Henrico County VA
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Top Teachers: Erin Bourne

Byrd M.S., eighth grade
Erin Bourne is willing to concede that the future employment opportunities of her current algebra students are unlikely to depend upon their abilities to solve quadratic equations on the spot.

But, they may depend upon their abilities to solve problems.

Bourne, who has taught eighth-graders for 11 years at Byrd, does her best to make algebra fun for her students while impressing upon them the importance of understanding the process they use.

“They might not use this specific topic, but what I’m teaching is problem-solving skills and how to use them,” Bourne said.

It’s working; Bourne is a student favorite who earns high marks for her classroom demeanor and willingness to help students who need assistance.

“Every child that has or has had her as a math teacher loves her,” one nominator wrote of Bourne. “She is patient and inspiring. Her knowledge of algebra and trigonometry is above and beyond. She takes algebra and applies it to real life, and therefore the kids seem to appreciate why algebra is essential for life. She is well respected and highly regarded by all of the students in her class.”

Math comes naturally to Bourne, who said she has always loved it but wasn’t sure what she’d end up doing with it. A career fair in college helped sway her toward teaching.

Students appreciate her personality – a mix of excitement and occasional silliness.

“I have been told before by my kids that I’m very funny – they compare me to Jim Carey in my facial expressions,” Bourne said with a laugh. “I’m very enthusiastic – I almost feel like I’m performing when I’m teaching.”

Bourne regularly holds tutoring sessions before school begins to offer extra support for any students who need it. She can relate to those who do.

“The kids would probably be shocked to know that I took algebra twice,” she said. “I got a C the first time in private school, then took it again in ninth grade.”

The fit at Byrd has been a comfortable one for Bourne, who describes the faculty as a supportive family.

“Everyone is supportive, willing to help,” she said. “Every year there’s a new initiative that the county wants us to take on, and those faculty members who have been trained in it are anxious to help others.”
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

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tix Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond will present Marc Broussard, with special guests Mingo Fishtrap and Andy Suzuki, at 7:30 p.m. at Alice Jepson Theatre.… Full text

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