Henrico County VA
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Henrico’s Top Teachers – Linda Korpics

Echo Lake E.S., second grade
It didn’t take Linda Korpics long to figure out that she wanted to become a teacher.

Just a year or two of being a student.

By the time she was in second grade, Korpics realized how much she enjoyed helping other students “and seeing their happiness when they got the skill I was teaching,” she says. A fifth grade teacher reinforced her interest in the profession – and today Korpics is a second grade teacher marking her 30th year in the classroom.

But even after decades of experience, she says, it’s still a thrill to see children light up with the excitement of learning.

This year, Korpics has a child who has been shuffled from one school setting after another, with the result that she started the year struggling in all subjects. Her guardian told Korpics that the child was not very trusting and has always been reluctant to participate in class. But after months of one-on-one work, Korpics reports, the student has shown daily progress.

“Now her hand is up for every lesson,” she says, “even when it isn’t her reading group.”

Korpics recalls that at the beginning of the year she briefly put her arm around the student, but noticed that she tensed up so she resisted doing it again. Then, a month later, the child came running into the room “and gave me the biggest bear hug you can imagine,” she says.

“I teared up and told her that hug was the best present she could have given me,” says Korpics. “I have been teaching for 29 years and it is moments like those that always mean so much to me and show me why I teach.”  

A fellow teacher at Echo Lake who has observed Korpics at work says, “It gave me chill bumps to see Linda get so excited and overcome by emotion when talking about her students and their successes.”

Korpics’ colleague also noted that she works constantly at developing new and innovative ways to teach, such as creating “books” to accompany the science and social studies curriculum and interactive notebooks to reinforce math concepts.

A parent wrote that he, too, admires the way Korpics is able to customize her teaching methods according to each child’s needs, and that he believes her ability to individualize her teaching methods has been instrumental in his child’s school success -- not to mention whetting his child’s intellectual curiosity outside the classroom.

Korpics’ ability to combine cutting-edge techniques and technology with the experience and passion of a long-time educator, said the parent, help create a learning environment that is unmatched in its effectiveness.

“In an era of 21st-century learning,” wrote the parent, “it is a joy to know that 29 years of experience still counts.”

Among the former students that Korpics has enjoyed hearing from recently is one that was in her second grade class in 1983. “[She wrote] a letter,” says Korpics, “telling me that she is teaching in my old classroom in New York and that she went into teaching because of me.” 

Another former student who is now a senior came to visit Korpics recently and told her that he plans to study physical therapy. Korpics recalled that when she had him in her class, the student struggled in all areas and had behavior issues. “We had many lunches together,” she says, “to strengthen skills and to have discussions on behavior and consequences.”

Her now-grown-up student told Korpics that he had come to thank her.

“It is great to know that I have touched the lives of these kids in such a positive way,” says Korpics.

“[He told me that] I made a difference and that he wants to help others just like I helped him.  

“How awesome is that!”
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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Henrico's Top Teachers