Henrico County VA
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Top Teachers: Blair Flynn

Nuckols Farm E.S., second grade
Parents of students in Blair Flynn’s second-grade class at Nuckols Farm Elementary don’t have to wonder what their children are doing during class – they just need to check their e-mail inbox.

There, they’ll often find updates and photos of their kids that Flynn has snapped through the Photo Booth program on her laptop and e-mailed to their parents.

“It’s one of my favorite things that I do,” Flynn said. “Parents will call me and say ‘That just makes my day. I might be at work, having a bad day, and then I see my child smiling and having fun.’”

Flynn prides herself on teaching in a way that produces results for each child, regardless of his or her learning style. During a recent lesson about magnets, she gave each of her 26 students two pipe cleaners, a piece of string, a piece of paper and other items and told them to produce something to reflect the lesson.

“Everyone came up with something different,” Flynn said.

One of her nominators cited Flynn’s ability to make the most of challenging situations.

“She had a boy who loved math but resisted practicing reading (a weaker skill for him),” the woman wrote. “She motivated him by giving him a stopwatch and graph paper so he could measure his time reading and graph his progress.

“She used his strength to address a weakness.”

Teaching was in the cards for Flynn from an early age. Her mother and stepmother were teachers, and she recalled playing “school” regularly as a child. When she moved to Virginia after three years as a teacher in South Carolina, she encouraged her second-grade students there to write her to stay in touch. One girl did so all the way through middle school.

Recently, Flynn received a Facebook friend request from the girl – now in graduate school, studying to be a teacher. Her motivation was Flynn – now a 17-year teaching veteran – who said learning of her own impact was a powerful and humbling realization.

Teaching second-graders gives Flynn many reasons to look forward to arriving at school each day.

“It’s a great age,” she said. “It’s just fun. There are a lot of hands-on things you can do. They’re so enthusiastic, and you see a lot of growth in them during the year.”

Now in her seventh year at Nuckols Farm, Flynn can’t see herself anywhere else.

“I call it my happy place. This school – I’ll be here until they’re ready to send me to teacher heaven.”
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

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

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