Henrico County VA
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Bike giveaways assist schools

What is a dream come true for an elementary school student? Winning a brand-new bicycle.

Thanks to the combined efforts of Henrico elementary schools and local businesses, several lucky students will be living the dream with their very own new bicycle: the ultimate reward for their hard work throughout the school year.

Last year, Seven Pines Elementary School organized an end-of-the-year bike raffle to motivate students to perform to the best of their abilities on the Virginia Standard of Learning (SOL) exams.

“What kid isn’t super excited by the prospect of a brand new bike?” asked Seven Pines Principal Paul Llewellyn. “This raffle is an excellent incentive for the children to work hard and do their best on these standardized tests.”

Teachers are not permitted to assist their students during standardized tests, which measure how well students are using the strategies they have been taught throughout the year.

School officials want to encourage students to utilize their independent test-taking skills with confidence. In order to develop these habits, students at Seven Pines earned tickets for the raffle based on their ability to demonstrate command of basic test-taking strategies.

For example, students who displayed good test-taking skills, such as highlighting a passage while reading, were rewarded with raffle tickets. After testing was finished, all tickets were entered into a raffle and the four winning names were pulled during the last week of school.

To secure bicycles for the raffle last year, the PTA at Seven Pines approached Mark Romers, president of the Eastern Henrico Business Association. Romers was successful in procuring the four requested bikes, two of which he donated personally. While this effort was definitely a success, it was also only the beginning.

This year, Romers sent out an e-mail request to friends and members of the association and received five bike donations within 24 hours. Since only four bikes were needed for the raffle at Seven Pines, Romers decided to send out another request, in the hopes of receiving more bike donations so that the Seven Pines raffle could be emulated at another local elementary school. The response again was positive, and soon three more bikes had been donated.

The four extra bikes were offered to Jonathan Hochman, principal at Highland Springs Elementary School.

Both principals are very fond of this motivational bike raffle. They feel that it serves as positive motivation for the children to do their best on these tests, despite the fact that they take place at the end of the school year and the students are worn out.

The prospect of winning a new bike “helps them push through and ensure that they are trying their absolute best on these tests,” Llewellyn said.

Romers says he is committed to helping out these schools and rewarding the hard-working students in Henrico County. He is already looking ahead to this time next year, and is hoping that churches, banks, businesses and individuals will continue to exhibit such generosity through their donations.


Community

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden raises admission $1

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.

The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

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Entertainment

‘Top Chef’ finalist to open Willow Lawn restaurant

A finalist in the Bravo television show Top Chef is bringing one of his four restaurant chains to Henrico County.

Bryan Voltaggio, who was the runner-up of the sixth season of Top Chef, (finishing second to his brother, Michael) and his business partner, Hilda Staples, will open their third Family Meal restaurant, at Henrico's Willow Lawn shopping center. The restaurant is expected to open early next year. > Read more.

US Army Field Band to perform in Henrico Aug. 3

The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.

Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.

The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Get up and dance – square dance, that is – with the Tuckahoe Square Dance Club tonight! More musical events this weekend include family-friendly karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House, the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus Concert and the Henrico Teen Theatre Company’s production of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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