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

Celebrating 106 years

Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.

YMCA breaks ground for aquatic center

YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.

Rotary donates to ‘Bright Beginnings’

The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Journey to mediocrity

‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ fails to capitalize on tasty concept
The Hundred-Foot Journey is a curious little Romeo and Juliet of a film. A family, forced out of their native India, begins a trek across Europe.

The family’s sole mode of transportation sputters and dies in a sleepy little French town, but the town’s food culture is high, and that’s a perfect place for a family of restaurateurs to settle down. There’s only one problem – the family’s rustic “Maison Mumbai” is right across the street (a hundred feet away, if the title didn’t clue you in) from a prestigious French bistro with a Michelin star, run with an iron fist by the dreaded Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren, pictured).

It’s here that a particular Romeo and Juliet story begins to develop, with Hassan (Manish Dayal) on the Indian side and Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) on the French side. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Bottoms up

Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.

The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.

As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.

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