Henrico’s Top Teachers – Louise Robertson
Steward School, English
By now, Louise Robertson is used to the puzzled looks and quizzical responses some people give her upon learning her profession.
"I've had people say, 'You teach middle school? God bless you. How do you do it?'" she said with a laugh.
But for Robertson, now in her 21st year at the Steward School and fourth year as academic dean for the middle school, it's a worthwhile challenge. As a seventh-grade English teacher, she strives to impart traditional standards and philosophies to students who have grown up in a technology-frenzied world. And though technology is a big part of her classroom, she finds that students sometimes gravitate toward old-fashioned favorites.
"The kids can do their reading on an e-reader or hard copy," she said. "But I find that most of the time, they'll sit down with a book."
During an era in which texting, tweeting and e-mailing seemingly have made proper sentence structure and spelling a thing of the past, Robertson makes sure that her students know they have higher expectations in class.
"We're strong on teaching grammar, because it makes for better writers or thinkers," she said. "It's a tool they can take with them. [Students' performances] just depend on how you structure an assignment, what you accept and don't accept. I try to teach them to be good writers."
Robertson has made a tremendous impact on the school during her time as an educator. She was named the recipient of the Paul R. Cramer “Best Faculty Award” last year, a tribute to her dedication in her various roles.
"In the classroom, this teacher challenges and cares, discovers and shapes, inspires and requires," said Ken Seward, headmaster of The Steward School. "While honoring Steward's past, this individual looks to the future and initiates and supports changes to ensure that the School continues to meet its mission in a changing world."
Though she embraces advancements in education, Robertson's underlying philosophies as a teacher have an old-school feel.
"My standards come from the '60s and '70s, but those core values shouldn't change," she said. "I don’t pride myself on being their friend. I pride myself on making sure they know I'm fair. It's important that students see someone they can respect. You can get their attention that way."
Recently, she recalled a former student who had expressed a particular fondness for a specific book when he was in her class. When she got an illustrated copy of it this past Christmas, she contacted him to let him know.
"He came down to my office within an hour, and we sat and talked about it," she said. "I hadn't had him in class in five or six years."
Helping students understand how their English skills can open doors for them or help them find their passions in life make each day a rewarding one for Robertson.
"What you look for, particularly with seventh-graders, is that teachable moment," she said. "You try to make that real world connection with them. It's the age that I love."
Richmonders Jim Morgan and Dan Stackhouse were married at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Lakeside Mar. 7 month after winning the Say I Do! With OutRVA wedding contest in February. The contest was open to LGBT couples in recognition of Virginia’s marriage equality law, which took effect last fall. The wedding included a package valued at $25,000.
Morgan and Stackhouse, who became engaged last fall on the day marriage equality became the law in Virginia, have been together for 16 years. They were selected from among 40 couples who registered for the contest. The winners were announced at the Say I Do! Dessert Soiree at the Renaissance in Richmond in February. > Read more.
The Fourth Annual Healy Gala will be held Saturday, Apr. 11, at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The event was created to honor Michael Healy, a local businessman and community leader who died suddenly in June 2011, and to endow the Mike Healy Scholarship (through the Glen Allen Ruritan Club), which benefits students of Glen Allen High School.
Healy served as the chairman of Glen Allen Day for several years and helped raise thousands of dollars for local charities and organizations. > Read more.
The Richmond Battlefield Ruritan Club is holding a Brunswick stew sale, with orders accepted through March 13 and pick-up available March 14. The cost is $8 per quart.
Pick-up will be at noon, March 14, at the Richmond Heights Civic Center, 7440 Wilton Road in Varina.
To place an order, call Mike at (804) 795- 7327 or Jim at (804) 795-9116. > Read more.
Disney’s no-frills, live-action ‘Cinderella’ delights
Cinderella is the latest from Disney’s new moviemaking battle plan: producing live-action adaptations of all their older classics. Which is a plan that’s had questionable results in the past.
Alice in Wonderland bloated with more Tim Burton goth-pop than the inside of a Hot Topic. Maleficent was a step in the right direction, but the movie couldn’t decide if Maleficent should be a hero or a villain (even if she should obviously be a villain) and muddled itself into mediocrity.
Cinderella is much better. Primarily, because it’s just Cinderella. No radical rebooting. No Tim Burton dreck. It’s the 1950 Disney masterpiece, transposed into live action and left almost entirely untouched. > Read more.
The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen’s 2nd Stage series will present “An Evening of Country” with The Honky Tonk Experience, April 9-10 at 7 p.m. in the center’s Cardinal Ballroom.
Formed in the spring of 2003, The Honky Tonk Experience performs country classics and current country music, from Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings to Dwight Yoakam and Dale Watson. The “Experience” is composed of five local musicians – Brad Spivey, Mike Lucas, Mark Watts, Clark Ball and Ryland Tinnell. The group has shared the stage with several national acts, including Travis Tritt, BR5-49, Dale Watson, Webb Wilder and Junior Brown. > Read more.
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