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

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.

Henricus Historical Park to host Publick Day Sept. 20

Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.

Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Extras sought for AMC’s ‘TURN’

Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.

No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.

Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


TGIF! Celebrate the weekend at Oak Hall Baptist Church’s Community Block Party on Saturday. Learn more about ballroom dancing, art and Colonial times. Or take the kids to Generation Z Games for water play or Southern Season to cook up a Disney-theme meal. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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The Henrico Volunteer Rescue Squad will hold an Open House in conjunction with Henrico Police, Henrico Fire and Med Flight from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5301 Huntsman Rd.… Full text

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