Henrico County VA
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Henrico’s Top Teachers – Lynne Norris

Deep Run H.S., Center for Information Technology
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.”
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

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

Extras sought for AMC’s ‘TURN’

Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.

No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.

Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.

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Registration ends today for the Henrico NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner on Sept. 27 at Quioccasin Baptist Church, 9011 Quioccasin Rd. The speaker will be Ms. Clayola Brown, president of A.… Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers