Perseverance pays off
Henrico student, mom earns fellowship
A Henrico woman is one of 10 outstanding students recently selected by The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) as part of its second class of Valley Proteins Fellows.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College student Daphne Jones was a perfect candidate for the program, which was created to celebrate and enhance leadership capacity of students who have demonstrated great potential in the community college system. Jones leads a busy life as a single mother of four who also has custody of her 17-year-old
special needs brother, who is the driving force behind her perseverance to become a nurse practitioner.
“I hit a point in my life where I made a decision to help understand my brother and educate people about taking care of others,” said Jones, who describes her life as layers upon layers of lessons.
“I can say to people, ‘I know the pain you’re going through,’ because I’ve been in their position. I know how it feels to wonder what the next step is, and I know how to help them through it; there’s a brighter side to everything.”
As a recipient of The Valley Proteins scholarship, Jones’ full tuition and fees will be covered at JSRCC. The Fellows also participate in a unique leadership curriculum through community service and receive individualized assistance in obtaining financial aid and transferring to four-year institutions. This added bonus will help Jones on her long path of continued education.
Valley Proteins is a 50-year old family-owned business based in Winchester that operates 12 plants in 7 states.
“I was nervous to go to school but I went in with the idea that once I start this, no matter how hard and frustrating it will be I’m going to do it,” Jones said. “I was scared but then excitement took over, then the excitement went away and I was filled with love. I’m in love with school and I’m learning to love what I’m doing; it gives me confidence.”
Jones is fully dedicated to her family despite her busy schedule, as she manages to communicate and get reports from her children’s teachers weekly to make sure they are on the right track. She hopes that her devotion to education will set an example for her children as she stresses that they should do what she’s doing but “100 times better,” while striving to go above and beyond normal expectations.
During her first year at JSRCC Jones did just that, as she earned a perfect 4.0 GPA.
JSRCC English professor Barbara Walsh remembered when she first met Jones on campus in the cafeteria and could sense that she was a hard-working student with a kind heart.
“She struck me as being a really good student, so I said, ‘Why don’t you sign up for my English class’ and she did,” Walsh recalled.
After a short time, Walsh became thoroughly impressed with Jones’ dedication and unusual habits. Jones would come into class a few minutes early with a vocabulary word of the day for the class and would teach the students around her, willing to share knowledge and help other students.
Walsh has been at JSRCC for six years and had never nominated a student for the Fellows program.
“When I got the email for nominating, I knew I should nominate her,” said Walsh. “I have never seen someone totally dedicated, and I have a lot of students that work hard but they don’t go above and beyond. I really have never met anyone like her before.”
Jones manages to balance her school and home life, involving her children in the studying process as she studies on average six to eight hours a day.
“My kids tell me I’m going to get a brain cramp,” said Jones with a chuckle. “If I’m studying science I’ll bring in Jayson, my 10-year-old, and I’ll go on Google and watch videos, make flashcards and a Powerpoint, and then I’ll have him test me on everything we just went through.
“Not only does he know about it and we both learn, but it is a bonding experience, it’s how I keep them involved, and I don’t have to leave the house for hours to study.”
Jones will begin her second year at JSRCC this fall with the goal of earning an associate degree in nursing. She hopes to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing degree and a minor in education.
She also wants to earn a master’s in nursing and then become a nurse practitioner. The schooling will be costly and timely, but Jones is dedicated and knows what she wants and intends to get it.
“I need to work even harder because so many people believe in me and think extremely highly of me,” said Jones. “Eventually one day I know I’ll be finished with this. Until then, I won’t stop.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will host a candlelight vigil of remembrance and hope Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the University of Richmond, outside the Cannon Chapel. The public is invited to attend and join MADD to honor victims of impaired driving crashes, while helping to remind the community to be safe during the holidays. > Read more.
Among participants at the Seventh Annual Coordinators2Inc Golf Tournament and awards luncheon Oct. 3 were (from left) Rebecca Ricardo, C2 Inc executive director; Kevin Derr, member of the winning foursome; Sharon Richardson, C2 Inc founder; and Frank Ridgway and Jon King, members of the winning foursome.
Held at The Crossings Golf Club, the tournament will benefit placement of children from Virginia's foster care system into permanent families through Coordinators2. > Read more.
Event will help kick of Marine Corps' 'Toys for Tots' campaign
All 140 A.C. Moore locations will serve as drop-off centers this year for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, and all toys collected will stay in the local communities served by the stores in which they are donated.
On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Willow Lawn location will kick off the month-long program by hosting a "Make & Take" craft event for kids. Children ages six and older will be able to make a craft and take it home with them. Representatives from the Marines will be in-store to teach customers about the Toys for Tots program. A.C. Moore team members will be on site to help with the crafts. > Read more.
The Dominion GardenFest of Lights Grand Illumination takes place tonight at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! This year’s theme is “A Legacy in Lights: 120 Years from Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden,” which celebrates the Garden’s history. You can also celebrate Thanksgiving again – tomorrow at Henricus Historical Park. More great events – Lavender Fields Herb Farm and Wilton House Museum will both host their holiday open house events this weekend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6,’ lovable robot Baymax delight
It may be time for Olaf to step down as our nation’s reigning cartoon character. Big Hero 6, the latest animated feature from Disney, contains a challenger to the throne: Baymax (Scott Adsit), another lovably chubby white wonder, who will bring joy to children’s hearts and invade every home in America inside a six-foot pile of Disney merchandise.
Big Hero 6 (based ever so slightly on a Marvel comic of the same name) is the story of Baymax – and also his closest companion Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter). And then also their four friends, all of whom join together to form the titular superhero team.
At first, though, it’s only Hiro, a young boy and an engineering prodigy, who’d rather spend his time in underground robot fight clubs than do something productive with his gifts. > Read more.
Bella’s feels – and tastes – like Italy should
Short Pump is known for its share of chain restaurants and strip malls, but diners looking for something more distinct can certainly find it without heading downtown or to nearby Charlottesville.
In fact, local husband-and-wife restaurateurs Valeria Bisenti and Doug Muir brought a taste of Charlottesville (and Italy) to Short Pump when they took a chance and opened Bella’s second location in the same shopping strip as Wal-Mart and Peter Chang China Cafe. (Bella’s original location is on Main Street in downtown Charlottesville.)
For a local Italian restaurant, Bella’s is as “Mom and Pop” as its gets. Valeria is Mom, and Doug is Pop. Since its opening about six months ago, diners have been eating rich comfort foods and drinking Italian wines. > Read more.
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