Henrico’s Top Teachers – Lynne Norris
By Tom Lappas, Citizen Editor (Photo by Robert Thomas for the Henrico Citizen) 02/16/12
Years spent in the corporate world convinced Lynne Norris that what she really wanted to do wasn’t crunching numbers or clawing her way through middle management.
“I had said for a number of years that if I could do anything and money wasn’t an object, I would go teach high school,” she recalls.
Eventually, though, she dropped the financial condition.
“I quit my job, went to get my teacher certification and haven’t looked back,” she says.
The decision was an easy one for Norris, who is in her third year as department chair of Deep Run High School’s Center for Information Technology, which draws students from throughout the county. As a parent of two teenage sons herself – and as someone who found motivation from her high school teachers – there was little question where Norris wanted to be.
Deep Run’s program engages students in cutting-edge technology, helping to prepare them for college and careers in the field or as engineers, among other paths. The program counts 100 students among its ranks, and Norris says each one demonstrates skills and knowledge that impress her each day.
“I tell my students that in many ways they’re much smarter than I am, because they grew up with this [technology] and I didn’t. It’s part of who they are – they just take off and run with it.”
Norris requires each of her tenth-graders to become the class’s “consultant of the week” once, a role that asks them to become an expert on a new technology topic, then teach the class about it.
“Some of the topics they come up with are just amazing,” she says.
She also created a senior “Capstone” course that exposes students to four topics (information technology management, database design, network security or game design), during its first nine weeks, then allows them to choose one, study it in depth and write a research paper about the topic.
Norris fully involves herself not only in the center and her classes, but the students and the school community as a whole.
“Students enter her classroom eager to learn in a professional atmosphere where they are given up-to-date opportunities to discover, research and learn about the latest advancements in technology,” a colleague wrote in a nomination letter. “She serves on several committees, always volunteers for tickets sales, attends school events, speaks before community groups about the center and mentors new teachers in the center. She is also the advisor to the Computer Club and mentors girls in information technology. She must have a cape somewhere in her wardrobe.”
To Norris, her students make the job enjoyable and rewarding. They also keep her honest. “Being real with the students is really important, because they know when you’re not,” she says. “Putting it out there when I make a mistake, or if I don’t know an answer, I think they respect that. And because of those things they trust me.
“I love these kids and I tell them that regularly. I don’t have to care about these kids, but I really do. I care how they’re doing in all of their other classes and activities. They’re really willing to open up and do lots of things when they realize that people really do care.”
More than 300 participants took the plunge for charity Feb. 25 at The Shops at Willow Lawn, raising $40,000 for the Special Olympics of Virginia as part of the 2017 RVA Polar Plunge Fest. Participants jumped into frigid water as part of the event, having raised money through donations leading up to the event.
“At Special Olympics Virginia, our vision is to inspire the first unified generation; a generation of people who respectfully include each other in the school, in the workplace, in the community,” said Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia President. “Plunging this past Saturday included people with intellectual disabilities and those without; people of all ages, genders, races and religions; students and teachers; doctors and lawyers; military and law enforcement; one for all; all for one." > Read more.
CancerLINC's 11th annual "It’s in the Bag" event raised more than $50,000. The event, presented by Virginia Cancer Institute, was held at The Westin Richmond in Henrico Feb. 2 and was attended by more than 200 people.
“It's in the Bag” included handbag designer Thaddeus DuBois and his family from Syracuse, Ind. DuBois brought four handcrafted handbags, which were auctioned off and raised more than $4,000. Three autographed handbags from “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker also brought funds. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 02/28/2017 Features
Above, Varina’s Andre Watkins drives to the basket during the Blue Devils’ 52-51 win against Hampton in the Group 5A third-place game at Hermitage High School Feb. 25. Below, Tyrese Jenkins drives to the basket during the game. The Blue Devils (21-6 on the season), who earlier last month defeated Hermitage, 53-34, to earn a spot in the 5A state tournament, next will face Albemarle in that tournament. It is the program’s first trip to the state tournament since 2001 and first under fourth-year coach Andrew Lacey, who has turned around a team that was 6-14 during his first season. > Read more.
For the past two months, they showed up every day at the state Capitol, dressed in matching blazers and carrying pen and paper at the ready – the next generation of public servants carefully observing their superiors.
These young adults are known as pages. They are middle school and high school students from around Virginia who assist in everyday tasks at the General Assembly to experience firsthand how the legislative process works.
The program dates as far back as 1850, when the one page who worked was paid $2 a day. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 02/27/2017 Features
The Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) is seeking to raise $100,000 in 30 days to cover due diligence and closing costs associated with the historic Malvern Hill Farm. These include boundary survey, Phase I ESA, title search and insurance, recording fees, taxes, and legal work as well as a Section 106 review.
CRLC is scheduled to close on the purchase of the property May 31, and is asking community members to help support the site's acquisition. All donations will help CRLC leverage $1 million in matching funds. > Read more.
St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.
Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.
Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.
Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarEach month, the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter conducts support group meetings to provide the community with an opportunity to meet for mutual support and to exchange coping skills. A group for caregivers will meet at 6 p.m. at St. Mary’s Hospital, 5801 Bremo Rd., Room 163. For details, call 967-2580. Full text