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Henrico’s Top Teachers – Brian DelCorso

Lakeside E.S., third grade
Brian DelCorso's love of basketball helped lead him to two other great loves in his life – teaching and his students.

DelCorso served as a manager for the VCU basketball team while in college and parlayed some connections into an assistant coaching position with a Dutch professional team after grad school. The experience abroad didn't pay much but gave him an opportunity to live a dream and experience a new world.

As part of the job, he regularly assisted with basketball clinics in local schools to get children interested in the sport. Many of the students were fascinated by America and peppered him with questions. His own future began to crystallize.

"I would have never thought I'd have been working with kids before that experience," he said.

Energized by his time in Holland, DelCorso returned to the U.S. and earned his teacher's certification at the University of Richmond. When a third-grade teaching position opened at Lakeside Elementary School midway through the 2005-06 school year, he was hired. He's been in the same classroom ever since.

DelCorso, who was a finalist for an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011, mixes classroom exuberance and a booming voice with patience and understanding. Mostly, though, he tries to be himself.

"I learned that a long time ago from my coaches," he said. "Even elementary school kids, they can spot a fake. They know when you're not being yourself. It's kind of the way I'm wired, to have fun, to be energetic."

DelCorso particularly enjoys teaching third-graders because they are impressionable and anxious to learn – even if it can be difficult at times for him to see the learning process taking form.

"Sometimes you'll teach something and come to the realization that you must be doing it wrong" because students don't seem to grasp the concept, he said. "But that presents the chance to have a magical moment when they do get it."

DelCorso regularly tells his students that he loves them, well aware that many at Lakeside lack prominent or consistent father figures in their lives. Sometimes, students aren't sure what to make of the pronouncement, he said, because they equate the word with feelings reserved for boyfriends and girlfriends or mothers and fathers.

But two years ago, one student suddenly understood.

"You love us like you love your mama," the boy blurted out.

"Parents have told me, 'You are my child's male role model,'" DelCorso said. "That's a heavy thing to have on your shoulders." But it's something that he readily accepts and embraces. He begins each day with a "family" meeting in his classroom, during which he discusses a life lesson with his class and engages students in a discussion.

Proof of its effectiveness comes sporadically, such as when a student returns from recess to tell DelCorso that he invited a lonely classmate to participate in a game with others.

The learning process continues after school hours, too. Each year on the first weekend of winter break, DelCorso takes his students to the Freedom House in Richmond to make and distribute meals for the homeless.

"They may not realize it right now, but one of the things that keeps me energized is that some of the life lessons that I teach them, they're going to remember for the rest of their lives," he said. "Hopefully these are lessons that they will keep with them long after they've forgotten a lot of the content I teach."
Community

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.

Commonwealth Parenting, CMoR-Short Pump to present 6-part parenting forum series

As part of its 30th anniversary year and partnership with the Children's Museum of Richmond, Commonwealth Parenting will present a six-part RVA Parents Forum Series to address some of the toughest issues confronting parents.

Parenting experts and family educators will tackle topics ranging from bullying to alcohol, sex to divorce, and technology and stress. Parents will learn how to identify potential problems.

"We're excited about bringing this much-needed forum series to parents in central Virginia. Through our valuable partnership with Commonwealth Parenting, we can have a deeper impact in the community through parent and caregiver education," said Karen Coltrane, president and CEO of the Children's Museum of Richmond. > Read more.

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.

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Entertainment

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.

When the cliche stands tall

Inspirational football movie tries too hard for its own good
When the Game Stands Tall is based on a true story – an unbelievable true story that takes the word “inspiring” about as far as it can go.

It’s a film about Bob Ladouceur, coach of the De La Salle High Spartans, a California high school football team with 12 consecutive undefeated seasons (a staggering 151 games won in a row).

Along the way, Ladouceur (played by Jim Caviezel) faced the kind of hardship most football coaches (thankfully) can only imagine – suffering a near-fatal heart attack, the death of a star player, and rebuilding the team after that 151-game streak came to a humiliating end. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Enjoy political comedy at its finest with The Capitol Steps at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Methodist and Baptist churches unite for the fourth annual Mission Footprint 5K, taking place at Trinity UMC. Or in honor of Grandparent’s Day on Sunday, treat them to A Grand Family Affair or maybe a movie – the 1978 film “Superman” is at the Henrico Theatre. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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The Henrico Business Leaders Third Wednesday Social will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar at Willow Lawn. There is no charge… Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers