Henrico’s Top Teachers – Brian DelCorso
Lakeside E.S., third grade
Brian DelCorso's love of basketball helped lead him to two other great loves in his life – teaching and his students.
DelCorso served as a manager for the VCU basketball team while in college and parlayed some connections into an assistant coaching position with a Dutch professional team after grad school. The experience abroad didn't pay much but gave him an opportunity to live a dream and experience a new world.
As part of the job, he regularly assisted with basketball clinics in local schools to get children interested in the sport. Many of the students were fascinated by America and peppered him with questions. His own future began to crystallize.
"I would have never thought I'd have been working with kids before that experience," he said.
Energized by his time in Holland, DelCorso returned to the U.S. and earned his teacher's certification at the University of Richmond. When a third-grade teaching position opened at Lakeside Elementary School midway through the 2005-06 school year, he was hired. He's been in the same classroom ever since.
DelCorso, who was a finalist for an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011, mixes classroom exuberance and a booming voice with patience and understanding. Mostly, though, he tries to be himself.
"I learned that a long time ago from my coaches," he said. "Even elementary school kids, they can spot a fake. They know when you're not being yourself. It's kind of the way I'm wired, to have fun, to be energetic."
DelCorso particularly enjoys teaching third-graders because they are impressionable and anxious to learn – even if it can be difficult at times for him to see the learning process taking form.
"Sometimes you'll teach something and come to the realization that you must be doing it wrong" because students don't seem to grasp the concept, he said. "But that presents the chance to have a magical moment when they do get it."
DelCorso regularly tells his students that he loves them, well aware that many at Lakeside lack prominent or consistent father figures in their lives. Sometimes, students aren't sure what to make of the pronouncement, he said, because they equate the word with feelings reserved for boyfriends and girlfriends or mothers and fathers.
But two years ago, one student suddenly understood.
"You love us like you love your mama," the boy blurted out.
"Parents have told me, 'You are my child's male role model,'" DelCorso said. "That's a heavy thing to have on your shoulders." But it's something that he readily accepts and embraces. He begins each day with a "family" meeting in his classroom, during which he discusses a life lesson with his class and engages students in a discussion.
Proof of its effectiveness comes sporadically, such as when a student returns from recess to tell DelCorso that he invited a lonely classmate to participate in a game with others.
The learning process continues after school hours, too. Each year on the first weekend of winter break, DelCorso takes his students to the Freedom House in Richmond to make and distribute meals for the homeless.
"They may not realize it right now, but one of the things that keeps me energized is that some of the life lessons that I teach them, they're going to remember for the rest of their lives," he said. "Hopefully these are lessons that they will keep with them long after they've forgotten a lot of the content I teach."
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.
The Richmond Raceway Complex has two exciting, albeit very different, events taking place this weekend: the Richmond Antique Extravaganza Show and Sale and Discover the Dinosaurs Unleashed. If you’re searching for date night ideas, Wild Ponies will be performing at the Henrico Theatre tonight, CAT Theatre will present “Wishing Well” and The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond will broadcast Bolshoi Ballet’s production of “The Sleeping Beauty.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarCat Adoption and Rescue Efforts (CARE) will hold a training session for potential foster parents from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Petco, 9051 Staples Mill Rd. The class will cover cat foster parent responsibilities as well as common needs of homeless cats and kittens. Foster parents provide temporary care for rescued cats and kittens until adoption. They are responsible for taking cats to veterinary appointments and for bringing the cats to adoption events on Saturdays. CARE covers medical and food costs. To register, visit http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090d4aa9ab2aa5fe3-care3. Full text