Henrico’s Top Teachers – Marc Seccia
Pinchbeck E.S., fifth grade
By Patty Kruszewski, Citizen Managing Editor 03/07/13
Marc Seccia credits his wife, Ginny, for inspiring him to become a teacher. A first-grade teacher at Crestview Elementary School, Ginny has taught for almost 20 years.
"Any award or recognition I receive should be partly shared by her," Seccia said. "She helped me develop a path toward reaching my degree after I stopped working in communications."
He also credits teachers from his childhood home of Brooklyn, N.Y., for motivating him to excel in certain subjects – particularly music.
"Mr. Tucker and Mr. Rubin took chances with their kids," said Seccia, noting that the teachers pushed their students to play in public places and become visible in the community. "I still play music as a result of their strong feelings about how music influences work and helps energize the mind.
"It is also a great stress reliever!" he added.
A parent who wrote to nominate Seccia emphasized that the teacher has a talent for energizing his students' minds as well, and that it is evident he truly cares for them.
"He makes himself available when they need extra help, and helps them with more then just the book lessons," wrote the parent, noting that Seccia helps impart life lessons as well.
Among those lessons are the ability to help children understand how to deal with what the parent called the "not-so-nice-people" of the world, and how to let the "small, petty things roll off their backs." While a parent can try and fail to teach this lesson time and time again, wrote the nominator, the children take it seriously when it comes from Seccia.
"My [child] looks up to Mr. Seccia as a great person and teacher," wrote the parent. "[My child] wants to be a teacher someday and be able to get through to kids the way he does."
Among his biggest challenges as a teacher, Seccia said, is facing a changing and diverse student population that is constantly acquiring more ways to find information and guiding those students through "a flood of resources" toward the ones that are the best for their needs.
"In truth," he said, "the real answer is being passionate about what it is that you are teaching, be confident in the way that you are teaching it, and be willing to try things and not always succeed the first time." Seccia is proud to have known many wonderful teachers in his life -- not only as colleagues, but as a student, parent, mentor and friend.
"Teachers are the lifeblood of this country," he said, "the heart and soul of what makes this society the one that most around the world flock toward." He sees his life work as helping to fulfill the American dream, because as an educator he can help students open doors, find ways to problem-solve and learn to persevere through adversity.
One memorable student who persevered through adversity spent the school year in a wheelchair after a car accident but progressed throughout the year until he was able to walk out the door at year's end.
"Every teacher and student in that school lined the walkways that day and cheered for this boy who had gone through so much. He triumphantly made it from my classroom to the front entrance, being cheered the entire way. There wasn't a dry eye in the building."
Another former student who stands out in Seccia's mind is the one who told him that he was responsible for her becoming a teacher.
"She said [she chose teaching]," he recalled "because I had inspired her to help others -- and the best way that she thought she could was to become a teacher like me."
His most satisfying moments as a teacher, Seccia said, are having students like that come back to tell him "how great they are doing, or how happy they are that they listened to me and stayed positive about school and their education.
"The human reward that you get from this job is unparalleled."
By Holly Speck and Hannah Matheson, Capital News Service 02/24/2017 General AssemblyGeneral Assembly 2017
Senior students at Glen Allen High School will get a personal touch when studying elections with their AP government teacher.
That teacher, Schuyler VanValkenburg, recently announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 72nd District seat in the House of Delegates. If he earns the nomination, he will run against Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, who has been unopposed for 10 years.
VanValkenburg, a 2004 University of Richmond alumnus who majored in history, is running for office for the first time. Although he has lived in Richmond since he began his undergraduate studies, aside from one year spent in Seattle, he said he never felt it was his time to run. > Read more.
School and business leaders from around the region, including (pictured, from left) Simon Hodges of Dominion Resources, Daphne Swanso(president of Junior Achievement of Central Virginia) and Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas, gathered at Libbie Mill Library Feb. 23 for the Junior Achievement Finance Park construction kickoff. > Read more.
Finishing a day early, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a budget Wednesday that includes employee pay raises and more money for K-12 education and mental health.
The negotiators presented their budget to their fellow lawmakers in time for the required 48-hour review, which could be completed by Friday night with a chance to adjourn their 2017 session before Saturday’s target date.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate praised the spending plan’s conservative fiscal policies. > Read more.
A section of Charles City Road, from Lewis Road to South Airport Drive, will be closed beginning Sunday, Feb. 26 as part of a project to widen and improve the road.
The Henrico County Department of Public Works expects the closure to last for a few weeks.
Westbound traffic on Charles City will be detoured around the work zone by way of South Airport, Seven Hills Boulevard and Laburnum Avenue. > Read more.
By Rodrigo Arriaza and Maura Mazurowski, Capital News Service 02/24/2017 General AssemblyGeneral Assembly 2017
Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday to veto Republican-backed legislation banning local governments in Virginia from designating themselves as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. They also said they plan to fight federal and state policies that they believe violate immigrants’ rights.
At a news conference, representatives of the ACLU of Virginia and other civil rights organizations criticized anti-immigrant measures passed by the General Assembly. They also condemned the recent spike in deportation raids on immigrant communities in Virginia by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as President Donald Trump’s recent executive order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries. > Read more.
St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.
Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.
Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.
Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarTrinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Rd., will present James River Brass with organist Daniel Stipe at 7 p.m. Five of Richmond’s best brass players, led by Mike Davison, in exciting music for brass and organ by Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Carlyle Sharpe, Craig Phillips and others. Admission is free. For details, call 270-4626 or visit http://www.trinityrichmond.net. Full text