We win as a team.

Jason Hess

Jason Hess {attackman and musician}

Blue Ridge School has allowed me to open up to new perspectives and to see the world differently. The school has really taught me how to take advantage of the opportunities given to me and how to be productive in the class or on the field.

I first met Coach Hetzel when I came to a lacrosse camp. I got a really long e-mail from him about my potential as a lacrosse player. That started a new path and new goals for me, I think. But even as I have immersed myself in lacrosse, Mr. Hetzel surprised me again—he encouraged and supported my taking guitar lessons instead of winter lacrosse and I really appreciated that!

Andrew Link and I became friends in Honors Geometry class last year. We both love lacrosse and he’s gotten me interested in hockey and skiing out west. We both support each other in lacrosse and have a friendly competition going in academics. We push each other to do better on and off the field.

My mom has been super supportive of me being at Blue Ridge, even though it’s hard for her. She knows I’m doing well and is really proud of me. She follows me on the school’s Facebook page and texts comments on any post of me she sees. I guess I was pretty shy before coming to Blue Ridge, and one of the most important things I’ve gained here is confidence. Next year, as a senior, I will be a prefect on my hall. It’s been pretty satisfying to be able to lead while sharing my last two years with such close friends. 

[Jason is a sophomore at Virginia Tech this year.]

Jason's Team

Carol Hess

Carol Hess

{Jason's mom}

Jason started at Blue Ridge as a sophomore while his older brother was a senior. We wanted Jason to attend the school, but we really didn’t expect him to, as he had a good group of close friends and was doing fine academically at our local high school. He wanted to go to the lacrosse camp that summer after freshman year, though, and came home on fire about Blue Ridge. He met teachers and current students at the school and got a taste of life on campus. He felt good about his potential as a Baron lacrosse player. In a week’s time, the Blue Ridge coaches had done more for his confidence level than he had felt the whole previous year. Jason began to think that the Blue Ridge environment would help him excel and grow academically and athletically.

Now that Jason is finishing his junior year, we can say that the investment in his education and experience at Blue Ridge has paid dividends. He has developed from a B student to a consistent A student and he has grown and matured significantly. He has truly reached, taking on leadership roles that he never would have attempted at the local school. He demonstrates confidence in himself and has gotten involved in all aspects of the school, including lacrosse, student government, mountain biking, guitar and music. He pushes himself and is goal oriented, acknowledging that if he had stayed where he was, he would not have become the young man he is today.

Andrew Link

Andrew Link

{friend and teammate}

I met Jason as a sophomore. We have been friends a long time, it seems. One thing we share is we know how to motivate each other. Since we play lacrosse together, it starts on the field. Off the field, he’s doing a little better in history and I am doing a little better with literature, so we help each other with what we do best and where needed. I guess if you combined our skills, we would be the perfect student.

What’s nice about Blue Ridge is that it feels like family. In Jason’s case, he’s visited my family in Colorado and I’ve visited his in Maryland at the lake house, so we all are in touch year round. Another thing about Jason is he’s stepped into a leadership role here at Blue Ridge. He was a proctor on his hall and is now a prefect. As a captain on the lacrosse team, I try to motivate him on the field, but he motivates me in class—not a bad trade-off.

[Andrew is a freshman at Virginia Tech this year.]

Mr. John Hetzel

Mr. John Hetzel

{Lacrosse coach}

Jason came to Blue Ridge School after attending a summer lacrosse camp where his positive energy and coachability earned the admiration of his coaches and peers. Jason has quietly developed into a starting attackman on the varsity lacrosse team, where he is a steady and unifying teammate. Jason could easily have been content being a one-dimensional lacrosse guy, but he understood early the value of branching out and taking advantage of the plethora of opportunities inherent in the Blue Ridge experience.

Jason has distinguished himself in multiple areas of school. Academically, he is on the headmaster’s list. Outside of class, he rode with the mountain bike team and joined the Outdoorsman Program. Additionally, he excels in guitar, which he bravely undertook having little prior experience. As his coach, I have enjoyed watching him grow and become vice president of his sophomore class and class representative for his junior class. He was recently elected student body president and will be a prefect next year.

Jason is the epitome of the type of boys we seek: A great guy who pushes himself in a wide range of areas to not only better himself but to better the lives of those around him. 

{Mr. Hetzel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Virginia.}