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

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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Henrico's Top Teachers