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FCHS Grad Returns To His Roots

November 29, 2021

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A former Fluvanna County Student recently came back to visit the teacher who inspired him to go into news.

Chris Markham, a 2013 FCHS graduate, visited Elizabeth Pellicane’s Mass Media class on Oct. 26 to share about his past experiences at the high school. Markham was enrolled in three classes taught by Pellicane: Mass Media, Journalism I, and Journalism II. These classes inspired him to go into the field of journalism. 

While in Pellicane’s Journalism Class, Markham became an editor for the Fluco Beat student newspaper. In fact, he was one of two people who orchestrated the switch from a printed school newspaper to an online news site, now known as “The Fluco Beat.. While a student at FCHS, Markham also worked as a sports news reporter on “In The Know”  and ran cross country.

Following high school, Markham attended Mary Washington University where he majored in Journalism. He was also involved in cross country and edited the school newspaper. When he graduated from college he got a job at TV news station NBC29 in Charlottesville, working first as a web editor and later as a producer. He noted that he came to realize he liked being behind the camera rather than in front. 

Two of his most memorable stories as a reporter while at NBC29 were writing a memorial about a classmate who lost his battle to cancer, as well as three weeks of courtroom reporting on the trial of James Fields, the man who drove the car injuring many and killing one during the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally in 2017.

After a few years of working at NBC29, Markham got an offer to teach at Fluvanna Middle School (FMS). Markham took the job and began teaching seventh grade English this August. During his interview with Pellicane’s class, Markham noted that he is enjoying teaching more than working for NBC29 and that he sees a lot of overlap with what he learned studying Journalism and teaching English. “Two of my favorite things about teaching would have to be correcting mistakes in the students’ writing and getting to know and build relationships with my students,” he said. He also said he feels he is making more of an impact now as a teacher.

In addition to teaching, Markham is now one of the cross country coaches at the high school. Sophomore Jamie Rodriguez, who is on the cross country team, describes Markham as “a chill coach who lets stuff happen around him, but doesn’t let it affect him in a negative way.”

One interesting fact about Markham is that he met his wife McKenzie at FCHS, and actually had a crush on her when they were both in Pellicane’s Journalism class where McKenzie was the Yearbook Editor. They eventually started dating in college and got married three years ago. They now have a toddler named Henry. 

Markham feels life got easier for him after high school because he already knew what profession he wanted to go into at Mary Washington. As for life in the working world, he says, “It doesn’t get easier as you get older, but it gets easier with practice.”

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