Top Teachers: Mesa Hinkle
Glen Allen E.S., first grade
Mesa Hinkle found her inspiration as a student inside a Henrico County elementary school. Today, she shares it with her own students inside a Henrico County elementary school.
Hinkle has spent 29 years as part of the county’s public school system – 13 as a student at Trevvett, Brookland Middle and Hermitage High and 16 as a teacher.
Now in her sixth year as a first-grade teacher at Glen Allen Elementary, following one year at Dumbarton E.S. and nine at Carver E.S., Hinkle is as excited as ever about what she does and about the children she teaches.
“It’s really special to watch them grow from September though June,” she said. “It’s amazing to see the progress that they make with their reading and writing. They’re so enthusiastic, and they get excited about everything and anything.”
Hinkle recalled being called to a career in teaching when she was a first-grade student herself, in Suzanne Boswell’s class at Trevvett Elementary years ago.
“She had a love of learning and was able to present things in different ways for different learners,” Hinkle said. “She made learning fun.”
Now, Hinkle is the one passing on those lessons to her own first-graders.
“She is a loving, guiding, nurturing teacher and it shows in her daily instruction and interactions with her students,” one nominator wrote. “She makes learning fun while challenging her students to be the best they can be.”
Said another: “Her high expectations and dedication to the success of each student has impacted my son, who is currently in her class. She is willing to try new things and use a variety of approaches to meet his needs.”
Hinkle stays in regular contact with the parents of each student and uses small-group differentiated instruction as a way to effectively reach students who learn at different speeds or who have different needs. Her positive attitude and frequent encouragement to her students were cited by several nominators as strengths.
“As a former teacher, I recognize how positive she is in her dealings with children - accentuating the positive every day,” one nominator wrote of Hinkle. “The reaction of my grandson is obvious. All teachers should have the commitment to their profession and respect for children that Mesa has.”
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.
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.
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.
Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space
A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.
Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.
Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.
Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.
“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.
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