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Top Teachers: Stephen Worfolk

Jackson Davis E.S., third grade
Stephen Worfolk happened upon his career calling on a basketball court, while coaching a team at St. Mary’s Church.

“Even though we lost a lot of games my first year, I truly enjoyed teaching the kids how to play,” he said. “It was then I realized I would like to try my hand at teaching.”

Although he now “coaches” a classroom full of third-graders at Jackson Davis E.S., the challenges are similar in some respects.

“A large group of students come to you each year on different levels academically, emotionally and physically,” he said.  “Trying to meet each student’s needs and creating a classroom environment where each can grow can be very challenging.”

Sometimes the students, like his basketball players, need physical help and encouragement. In September, for instance, when training begins for the mile or half-mile running test in P.E., many can barely run a lap around the track. But Worfolk makes sure that the students exercise each day and run a mile at least three times a week.

Worfolk notes that one of his favorite days of the school year is the spring running test, when students who ran with difficulty in September find they can now go the distance without stopping. “It’s incredibly rewarding,” said Worfolk. “It is so neat to see students get excited about conquering a challenge they might have hated in the beginning of the year.”

A parent who observed this transformation comments, “Some kids never have – and may never again have – the opportunity or the encouragement that he provides. The physical progress for many of the kids is very inspirational.”

Parents also admire Worfolk’s “relentless” energy and concern for his students, and note that while strict, “he has a huge heart.”

To his students’ delight, he makes a point of attending their extracurricular activities and sports throughout the year. And to the delight of parents, he compiles an end-of-year show featuring photos from extracurricular events as well as from in-school activities.

Worfolk’s interest in the children as individuals, say parents, has a tremendous effect on students’ motivation and enthusiasm when it comes to school.

When it comes to enthusiasm for his students and for his colleagues, it’s hard to match Worfolk, as well.

One of his more rewarding teaching experiences involved a student who came into his class reading far below grade level.

Worfolk said the student was “incredibly hard-working,” but required help from many teachers beside himself due to being so far behind.

“I was proud to be a part,” he said, “of this amazing group of teachers . . . who helped this student with her reading to the point where she could read proudly to the rest of the class.” 


Community

MADD walk raises more than $26,000

The Central Virginia chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hosted its annual Walk Like MADD fundraiser April 12 at Dorey Park in Varina. More than 20 teams of walkers raised money from individual donors by participating in the walk, and in total the event generated more than $26,000 in donations for the organization. > Read more.

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > 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.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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