Top Teachers: Stephen Worfolk
Jackson Davis E.S., third grade
Stephen Worfolk happened upon his career calling on a basketball court, while coaching a team at St. Mary’s Church.
“Even though we lost a lot of games my first year, I truly enjoyed teaching the kids how to play,” he said. “It was then I realized I would like to try my hand at teaching.”
Although he now “coaches” a classroom full of third-graders at Jackson Davis E.S., the challenges are similar in some respects.
“A large group of students come to you each year on different levels academically, emotionally and physically,” he said. “Trying to meet each student’s needs and creating a classroom environment where each can grow can be very challenging.”
Sometimes the students, like his basketball players, need physical help and encouragement. In September, for instance, when training begins for the mile or half-mile running test in P.E., many can barely run a lap around the track. But Worfolk makes sure that the students exercise each day and run a mile at least three times a week.
Worfolk notes that one of his favorite days of the school year is the spring running test, when students who ran with difficulty in September find they can now go the distance without stopping. “It’s incredibly rewarding,” said Worfolk. “It is so neat to see students get excited about conquering a challenge they might have hated in the beginning of the year.”
A parent who observed this transformation comments, “Some kids never have – and may never again have – the opportunity or the encouragement that he provides. The physical progress for many of the kids is very inspirational.”
Parents also admire Worfolk’s “relentless” energy and concern for his students, and note that while strict, “he has a huge heart.”
To his students’ delight, he makes a point of attending their extracurricular activities and sports throughout the year. And to the delight of parents, he compiles an end-of-year show featuring photos from extracurricular events as well as from in-school activities.
Worfolk’s interest in the children as individuals, say parents, has a tremendous effect on students’ motivation and enthusiasm when it comes to school.
When it comes to enthusiasm for his students and for his colleagues, it’s hard to match Worfolk, as well.
One of his more rewarding teaching experiences involved a student who came into his class reading far below grade level.
Worfolk said the student was “incredibly hard-working,” but required help from many teachers beside himself due to being so far behind.
“I was proud to be a part,” he said, “of this amazing group of teachers . . . who helped this student with her reading to the point where she could read proudly to the rest of the class.”
The 10th Annual Filipino Festival will be held Aug. 7-8 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 8200 Woodman Rd., beginning with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Friday and continuing with live entertainment, food and exhibits until 10 p.m. On Saturday the festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a full schedule of performances featuring traditional Filipino dance, music and song.
Filipino cuisine, including BBQ, pansit, lumpia, adobo, halo-halo, lechon, empanada and leche flan, will be available for purchase. The festival will also feature a children's area, church tours, exhibits, and health screenings. > Read more.
The Children’s Museum of Richmond last week opened its new Short Pump location at Short Pump Town Center, to the delight of children who attended a sneak preview of the location July 10. The new facility, located under the forthcoming LL Bean store (formerly the food court) is 8,500 square feet in size – much larger than CMoR’s former Short Pump location at West Broad Village, which opened in 2010. The new space includes The CarMax Foundation Service Station, the Silver Diner, a grocery store, a performance stage and an art studio, as well as a giant Light Bright Wall. > Read more.
Spinoff is predictably silly, devoid of plot
In Minions, those jibberjabbering little corncob things from Despicable Me have finally earned their own feature film. Specifically, three of them: Kevin (tall), Stuart (plays the ukulele) and Bob (loves his teddy bear), all voiced by co-director Pierre Coffin.
After tracing the evolution of Minionkind – we don’t know what they are, but we know they’re hardwired to serve the baddest villain around – our three Minion heroes set off upon a quest to save their species and find the newest, nastiest villain overlord. > Read more.
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