Henrico County VA
Henrico County Opinions

Letters to the Editor


School overcrowding causes foundation problems

Editor:

I believe the article “Henrico School Board weighs projects” by Citizen Editor Tom Lappas is important to those of Henrico County. I am originally from Henrico but I am currently a student at James Madison University. In my current sociology class, education is a big topic of discussion.

I am sure that it is common sense that a bad foundation of knowledge leads to later struggles with education; however, what some may not realize is overcrowding, like what is occurring at the four elementary schools in Brookland District, is one of the leading causes in a weak foundation. Based on research, boys struggle with verbal skills early on.

The immigration complication

When he was 14 years old, my grandfather left the tiny mountaintop village in Greece where he’d spent his entire existence and walked with several other teens and young men down the mountain – a journey that must have taken a week or more – to the nearest port to board a ship to Athens, then another to New York City.

He never returned to Greece, never saw his parents or three younger brothers again.

I never knew my grandfather, because he died when my dad was just 15, so I never had the chance to ask him: Why?

Why was he willing to make such a painstaking journey at such a young age, giving up everything that he knew in exchange for so many things that he did not. A language. A country. A history. A family.

Heroes of the classroom

The highlight of my eighth-grade year at my Northern Virginia middle school was landing in the social studies class of the incomparable Mr. Hart, a teacher whose reputation for pure awesomeness was well-established long before I entered his classroom for the first time.

Middle-schoolers seem, on average, to be less than enthralled with history, for reasons I never fully understood when I was one. Me? I couldn’t get enough of it.

And as I quickly learned, everything I’d heard about Mr. Hart was true.

School calendar overhaul long overdue


It's a 19th-century anachronism, and long ago stopped serving its intended purpose.

It has failed to keep up with social change, continues to stifle progress, and acts as a major obstacle to growth and improvement.

It makes no sense whatsoever in the 21st century, yet continues to exist because of bureaucratic inertia, resistance to change, and the attitude "we've always done it that way."

It wastes space, time, manpower and – most of all – it results in the waste of millions of young minds.

Yes, I'm talking about our antiquated and inflexible school calendar.

The right to vote – or not

Another election is in the books. Did you vote?

If you did, you’re to be congratulated.

If you didn’t, you’re to be castigated automatically as a thoughtless jerk and a horrible citizen.

Or so it seems in certain circles.

I don’t happen to hold membership in those circles, however.

At a crossroads

A pedestrian attempting to cross West Broad Street at Gaskins Road was struck by a car and seriously injured on Monday night. Immediately afterward, some in the community began calling for increased safety measures at the busy intersection, which serves some 36,000 vehicles a day.

But is fixing the problem of frequent accidents at a busy intersection as easy as that? And in this case, is there truly a discernible and recurrent problem that needs to be fixed at all?

A shot in the dark

A man was shot and killed in Canada on Wednesday, and his death brought the entire nation of 35 million to an emotional standstill.

A man was shot and killed on Laburnum Avenue in Henrico County Monday, and this may be the first you’ve even heard about it.

As a nation, we long ago became numb to the impact of gun-related violence and homicide. It’s simply an expectation now – one that hardly surprises us even when it is particularly awful and cruel, as a host of school shootings have proven in recent years.

The crisis that isn’t

Getting run over by a cow.

Receiving a bite from a poisonous spider.

Becoming infected with MRSA.

Suffering a bunk bed accident.

Being legally executed.

No, these aren’t all just things I’d rather do than watch Dancing With the Stars – they’re actually things that are, statistically, far more likely to kill you than Ebola.

Why I walk to fight Alzheimer’s

People have asked me why I am involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer's. The answer is simple. I will Walk this year and every year, in memory of my grandmother, Edith (Mimi) Bartkowiak.

Mimi passed away on Aug. 16, a mere eighteen days past her 87th birthday, from Alzheimer’s disease. She was truly one of a kind. I know we all say that about our grandmothers, but it’s true. There was, and never will be, another Mimi. She was an amazing woman.

Mimi was compassionate.

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Community

Weekend Top 10

Looking for something to do this weekend? You've come to the right place. Below are details about this weekend's top 10 events around town, as selected by Henrico Citizen Events Editor Sarah Story. > Read more.

Achievement gap strategy session at Varina H.S. Feb. 27

Varina High School PTSA will host an achievement gap strategy session in the school’s library on Monday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m.

The program “Be a Part of the Solution and Not the Problem” will discuss the work Henrico County Public Schools began in January. Varina High School is experiencing an achievement gap when compared to Deep Run High School. The informative session will candidly discuss solutions that will move the students toward excellence. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10

Looking for something to do this weekend? You've come to the right place. Below are details about this weekend's top 10 events around town, as selected by Henrico Citizen Events Editor Sarah Story. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Tucker graduate to perform in VCU Theatre’s ‘Avenue Q’

J.R. Tucker High School graduate Max Moore (pictured, seated), a VCU student, will play the role of "Brian" in Theatre VCU's performance of "Avenue Q," a Broadway hit that won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical.

The show features a cast of people and puppets who tell the story of adult life in New York City in a funny and raunchy way. > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

Submit your holiday photos!

The holiday season is upon us, and the Henrico Citizen wants to share good memories with you. Send us a favorite photo from a previous Christmas, Hanukkah or other winter holiday and we may publish it in an upcoming issue. If your photo is selected for publication, you'll also receive a gift certificate for food or entertainment! > Read more.

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Ages 8-17 are invited to Craft Like Crazy on the first Monday of each month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum… Full text

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