Henrico County VA
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Henrico’s Top Teachers – Julie Richardson

Godwin H.S., social studies
Julie Richardson has a way with her students, said a colleague who nominated her, that draws them to her and makes them want to keep in touch well after they have graduated.

A teacher of social studies at both the honors and AP levels, she is known as one of the best teachers at Godwin – respected by both students and faculty.

"She holds the students to a very high standard," said her colleague. "She challenges them and they come away better writers, thinkers and people.

"The impact she has on her students is profound."

Among those who had a similar profound effect on Richardson were her history teachers at Huguenot High School, who helped instill in her the love of the subject that made her want to teach.

"I wanted to be able," Richardson said, "to share that love with students." She also cited a number of college professors who influenced her, including Harold Greer, Rosemary Gallaher, Kathy Fuller, and Hussein Mustafa at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Richardson had no hesitation in naming her most formidable challenge as the pressures imposed on her schedule – especially by standardized testing. Under the testing time frame, she said, it can be extremely challenging "to teach in a meaningful manner."

But she has clearly met the challenge successfully – as her former students tell her often.

"On a daily basis I get emails from former students thanking me for preparing them for college," she said. " I just got one last week, bragging about how much better she is doing in college because I required them to complete many writing assignments. "

A colleague noted that with one student in particular, Richardson did more than just prepare him for college; she had a life-altering effect on his reactionary attitudes.

"One of her students she had as a freshman was from an overtly racist family," wrote her fellow teacher. "Julie is black, and she may have been the first, if not one of the few, black people he had interacted with."

Now serving in the US Navy, the student gradually changed his views and came to respect and admire Richardson. "With her patience and personality, she was able to replace ignorance with appreciation and knowledge," wrote Richardson's co-worker. "She is one of the only teachers he comes back to visit when he is on leave.

"Julie was a major influence on shaping this young man not only academically," the teacher wrote, "but in overcoming a viewpoint that would have shaped his life in such a negative way."


Community

MADD walk raises more than $26,000

The Central Virginia chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hosted its annual Walk Like MADD fundraiser April 12 at Dorey Park in Varina. More than 20 teams of walkers raised money from individual donors by participating in the walk, and in total the event generated more than $26,000 in donations for the organization. > Read more.

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > 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.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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Henrico's Top Teachers