Henrico County VA
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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.”
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

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim 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.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

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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Calendar

Lavender Fields Herb Farm, 11300 Winfrey Rd., will host its annual Fall Herb Faire from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be classes, demonstrations and a farm tour. Admission… Full text

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