Sitting opposite a lounge area where students can take a break from their hectic academics works the “middle school mom,” Melissa Grove. Whether it be providing socks and cleats for students, arranging travel plans, or revising student schedules, she works tirelessly to ensure everything at R-MA Middle School runs smoothly.
A native of Front Royal, Mrs. Grove was very familiar with R-MA’s presence in town, but had no idea of the impact it would have on her future. Mrs. Grove had a busy life—after working in the office at Royal Haven Rest Home, she ran her own business, and also raised her two children, Chase and Korinne. Then something happened that made R-MA more to her than just a building in town.
“My nieces attended R-MA and excelled, which got my attention for my own children,” she explained. Eventually that also led to her own interest in becoming what she calls “part of the amazing R-MA Family.”
In the fall of 2000, Mrs. Grove began working in the Upper School and later transitioned to the Middle School as the administrative assistant—a.k.a. “Momma Grove.” “All of the students know and respect me and I have definitely grown to be their protective ‘Momma Bear,’” she said. When kids get homesick, are panicked over forgetting an assignment, or are just having a bad day, she is there to simply listen, or offer advice or even a hug. She is also there to help with the celebrations of achievement, listen to the students’ excited stories, and wish students well on their birthdays.
Even after her children graduated from R-MA--Chase as the Vice Corps Commander in 2008, and Korinne thereafter in 2010--Mrs. Grove said, “The rest was history. I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I have been a fixture at R-MA for a fulfilling 15 years. I have watched the school grow and develop from the perspective of a parent and employee. It has been a pleasure to help provide a continuity of management required to make an excellent school of higher learning.”
In her own spare time, Mrs. Grove enjoys reading and spending time with her family.