Henrico County VA

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

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Brews and bites done right

Urban Tavern’s big, bold themes impress

The Urban Tavern opened in August, replacing the former Shackelford’s space at 10498 Ridgefield Parkway in Short Pump. Because of local and longtime devotion to Shackleford’s, Urban Tavern has some big shoes to fill.

Without any background information, I headed to the restaurant for dinner on a Wednesday night, two months after its opening.

On a perfect fall evening, four out of eight outdoor tables were taken, giving the impression that the restaurant was busier than it was. On the inside, a couple tables were taken, and a few folks were seated at the bar. > Read more.

A terrible, horrible movie. . . that’s actually pretty good

‘Alexander’ provides uncomplicated family fun
It’s not surprising in the least that Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day doesn’t much resemble the book it’s based upon.

Judith Viorst’s 1972 picture book isn’t exactly overflowing with movie-worthy material. Boy has bad day. Boy is informed that everyone has bad days sometimes. Then, the back cover.

In the film, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad-ness is blown up to more extreme size. Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) has a bum day every day, while the rest of his family (Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey) exist in a constant bubble of perfection and cheery optimism – to the point that the family is so wrapped up in their own success that Alexander’s being ignored.

So on the eve of his 12th birthday, Alexander makes a wish: just once, he’d like his family to see things from his perspective; to experience the crushing disappointment of one of those no good, very bad days. Once he has blown out the candle on his pre-birthday ice cream sundae, his family’s fate is sealed: one full day of crippling disasters for all of them. > Read more.

Deep Run HS plans fall musical

Tickets for Deep Run High School’s fall musical production – Aida – will go on sale Nov. 3. The Elton John-Tim Rice pop opera, inspired by Verdi’s classic opera, tells the story of enslaved Nubian princess Aida, who falls for captain of the guard Radames, who is betrothed to the Egyptian princess.

Performances will be held Nov. 13-15 at 7 p.m. each day. > Read more.

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Sisters in Crime Central Virginia Chapter will present “Plotting the Cozy Mystery” with author Carolyn Greene from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Tuckahoe Library, 1901 Starling Dr. The meeting… Full text

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