Henrico County VA
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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

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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The Professional Singles Association (PSA) will host a Happy Hour for 50+ singles at 5 p.m. at Urban Tavern, 10498 Ridgefield Pkwy. There will be specials on beer and wine.… Full text

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