Henrico County VA
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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.”
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

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

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Calendar

Enjoy a musical tribute to the legendary Judy Garland featuring Debra Wagoner with pianist Anthony Smith at 7 p.m. at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, 2880 Mountain Rd.… Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers