Henrico County VA

Top Teachers: Emily Mason

Baker E.S., third grade
Emily Mason felt a simple calling to life as a teacher.

“I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life,” she said.

As a third-grade teacher at Baker Elementary School in Varina for the past four years, she’s been able to do just that.

Mason focuses on messages of positive reinforcement for her students and rewards achievement by taking students to dinner or for ice cream after school. She holds afterschool tutoring groups and makes frequent use of her Promethean interactive board during class lessons.

In one nomination, the mother of one of Mason’s former students described her daughter as a shy student who normally wouldn’t have gotten involved in many activities. But with Mason’s encouragement, the girl signed up for a school dance performance.

“At first, [the student] was nervous, but as she practiced each week, she got better, she made more friends, and her confidence grew,” the mother wrote. “She started to try more things that used to intimidate her, such as reading much more complicated chapter books. Her confidence in [her] least-liked subjects, such as math grew. [The student] would walk around before a test saying, “ I am going to kick math’s butt”!

The girl continues to demonstrate the confidence Mason instilled in her, the woman wrote, and she even ran for office in the school’s SCA election.

“She did not win, but she felt like a winner,” the woman wrote.

Mason, whose father and grandmother both were teachers, said she feels at home with third-graders.

“I really love teaching this age,” she said. “They are still very eager to learn. They have a little more independence, and they are very creative. They’ve pretty much mastered the art of reading, but there are still light bulbs that come on every day.”

With the Promethean board, Mason has seen a difference in the way her students prepare and in their excitement levels during class.

“They’re just so eager,” she said. “They come to the carpet, where we normally sit, and it’s not a struggle. They’re just ready to learn, very excited about interacting with it. Every day we have a new activity up there, and they just can’t wait to see what we’re going to do.”
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

Weekend Top 10


It’s Halloween! Ghosts and goblins are everywhere…especially at Dorey Park’s Monster Mash and the annual Pumpkin Festival at Gayton Crossing Shopping Center. But don’t let the fun stop on the 31st – the Latin Ballet of Virginia will present El Dia de los Muertos Family Festival on Nov. 1. And if you need a break from the candy, enjoy some classical music at the University of Richmond and the Weinstein JCC on Sunday. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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.

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The 17th annual Benefit Dinner for the Comboni Missionary Sisters will be held at 6 p.m. at the Jefferson Lakeside Country Club, 1700 Lakeside Ave. The Comboni Missionary Sisters are… Full text

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