Henrico’s Top Teachers – Nick Lapres

Nick Lapres didn’t always expect to become a teacher, but his passion to advocate change, open people’s eyes and invoke communication with young people in order to seek solutions to the world’s problems landed him at Brookland Middle School in 2013 as a U.S. history teacher.

“Teaching allows me to do what I always wanted to do,” Lapres said. “I could have tried to be an author, journalist, podcaster, documentarian, activist, etc. but those weren’t in the cards for me. Teaching is my way of doing it. It is a special profession, but if you’re going to try it you need to be thoughtful about your motivations.”
Lapres attended Randolph-Macon in Ashland and earned a degree in history. Along with his collaborative partner Rick Joyner, they provide a very structured system for behavior and learning in the classroom at Brookland M.S. Their combination of ‘old-fashioned elements’ (such as no talking aside from history-based conversation), along with the modern use of podcasts and discussion of current events, seems to be working.
“He teaches in a way that is both consistent and engaging,” said a faculty member. “Students enjoy Mr. Lapres’ history classes because he relates history to student experiences and interests. Mr. Lapres leads a strict classroom, but students respect him for that. Mr. Lapres also has quirky jokes and activities that he does with his students. This makes history more intriguing to students and it also allows students to relate to the teacher instead of feeling inferior to him. Students trust Mr. Lapres and seem to find his classroom as both a safe-haven and place to be comfortable, while also learning.”
Lapres’s ability to create a balance between being strict and allowing students to feel welcome, engaged and important has led to a high level of respect from the students for himself, as well as his subject matter.  Last year, he earned the nod as “Favorite Teacher” among sixth-graders who voted for the award.
“I think history as a subject is difficult to sell to students, or anyone,” Lapres said.  “People with no sense of or interest in or appreciation for history get along every day in this country and live happy lives. Many of my students over the past few years have told me that history is now their favorite subject. To me, that is special and it is unlikely.  I recognize and appreciate how rare it is for a young person to actually enjoy history and see its value.”
Lapres says teaching at Brookland is the best job he’s ever had because of the diverse environment, which plays into his interest in history and culture of other nations and walks of life.
When Lapres isn’t teaching he can be found exploring the country with friends. He will embark on his fourth road trip this summer, to Washington state.
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June 2017

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A free music camp will take place July 18-20 at Corinth United Methodist Church, 23 W. Williamsburg Rd. Students in grades 3-6 will learn hand drumming techniques and explore rhythms and world music through the playing of the cajon, a box drum. Class size is limited. The class will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day. Registration is required by July 7. To register, contact Diana Greer at 737-4837 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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