Henrico’s Top Teachers – Pat Rogers
Glen Allen E.S., fourth grade
Pat Rogers couldn’t help but develop an interest in reading at an early age. As a child, “learning was a continual thing” in her family, she recalls. “You never stopped learning.”
Whenever a family member would share a new piece of information, others would ask, ‘Where did you get that?” The answer always was, ‘Well, I read it in a book.’”
Rogers, now in her 41st – and final – year as a teacher in Henrico County Public Schools has parlayed that love of learning into a lifetime of teaching. For the past 24 years, she’s taught fourth grade at Glen Allen Elementary School and finds working with students of that age particularly enjoyable because she can help them learn to take responsibility for their actions and themselves.
And, of course, because she can help them find joy in reading.
“If there’s one thing you can do to increase a child’s reading ability, it’s reading. Reading makes a better reader,” she says. “That’s one thing that you have to make time for every day. If you provide time and they’re reading at home at night and during school and they finish a book, then they’re excited. Then they start to feel independent about why they chose certain books, and that independence – when they feel in control – helps them get really excited about it.”
It’s a process that many parents have witnessed in their own children as a result of Rogers’ influence.
“One of Pat’s greatest strengths as a teacher is to forge an interest in reading in fourth grade,” a parent wrote in her nomination letter for Rogers. “In the primary grades, students are eager to learn to read because they see it as a path to independence, but Pat empowers students in the upper grades with the gift and appreciation of reading as well. I know that my own son was a non-recreational reader before entering her class. She found a way to reach him and hold him accountable so that he became a pleasure reader for those 184 days and even beyond that year.”
Rogers, who is a product of Henrico schools herself (Brookland Middle School and Tucker High School), now counts former students among her colleagues in the county’s public school system.
Despite her belief in the basic hallmarks of education, Rogers has been quick to adapt along the way as new technology arrived. She was among the first three teachers at Glen Allen to receive an interactive Promothean board, and she finds that technology has helped bring lessons to life for youngsters in a variety of ways. But trying to fit more information into the same amount of time can be challenging, so Rogers is careful not to overwhelm her students.
“I love every bit of the technology,” she says, “but you have to have comprehension skills, too.”
Though much has changed since Rogers began her teaching career, some things have not.
“As far as children go, I think they’re still excited,” she says. “The world has changed. Parents are still interested, but busier now than they’ve ever been. People don’t have as much free time as they used to. I actually think it’s good sometimes when the electricity goes out and people just have to sit there and take a deep breath.”
After years in the profession, one of the greatest joys for Rogers will never get tiring.
“When you see students ‘get’ something that they didn’t get before, they’re just excited about learning and excited about having something new to share. That’s exciting for me.”
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.
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.
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.
Tix Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.
Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.
The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.
“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
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.
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Sep. 18, 2014Click here to read the print edition.
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