Henrico’s Top Teachers – Jeannine Chewning

Although her dreams of becoming a Major League Baseball player and a detective didn't quite pan out as she'd hoped, Jeannine Chewning seems more than content that another dream – to become a teacher – did.

Now in her 26th year in the classroom – and her 16th at Hermitage High School – Chewning has found her calling as a government teacher at the school's Center for the Humanities.

She enjoys changing the minds of the high school students who feel that government is a far-flung entity – and empowering them to get involved.

"They think it's very remote and abstract," she said, "but I tell them they'll care if [a company] is going to build a Walmart in someone's backyard, or if they're going to widen a road in front of your house – now they're interested."

Chewning approach in the classroom is to immerse students in government – often directly, as she has done for the past five years through a grant from the Richmond Justice League.

That grant provided money for a human trafficking curriculum, which Chewning spends about a month each year implementing in class.

Two years ago, her students played a role in lobbying the General Assembly to pass a stand-alone anti-human trafficking law – making Virginia the last state in the nation to do so. (Previously, sex traffickers were prosecuted under various other laws because one specifically addressing trafficking didn't exist. Virginia had received a grade of "F" for its child sex trafficking laws from an anti-trafficking organization several years prior.)

The experience was eye-opening even for Chewning.

"This is going to save people’s lives," she remembers thinking. "This is going to put bad guys behind bars."

As part of the curriculum each year, Chewning arranges visits from experts from near and far, including the Henrico Police Vice Unit, Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney officials, an FBI agent and others.

"The Constitution, exciting? The U.S. government, interesting? Engaging? Maybe most people would not use these words when referring to The United States Constitution or our government, but that is because most people did not have Jeannine Chewning as a teacher," a nominator wrote of Chewning. "Jeannine is able to make a document that at first glance seems dry and lifeless come to life. She is able to make teaching government relevant and exciting. When students enter her AP Government class, they step into a magical world full of stories, exciting activities, and a teacher who loves and respects her subject."

Chewning is quick to credit her coworkers and the students of Hermitage, who she said make it a joy to come to work each day.

"This place is amazing," she said.
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Henrico Master Gardener training program accepting applications through Oct. 27


The Henrico County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for its next volunteer Master Gardener training program, which provides instruction in all aspects of horticulture.

Applications for the 2018 training program will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 27. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through March 22. > Read more.

Henrico Schools to host Oct. 30 job fair


Henrico Schools will host a job fair Oct. 30.

The event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fairfield branch library, is designed to attract potential full-time and substitute registered nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and school nutrition workers. > Read more.

Henrico Police to participate in ‘Tip a Cop’ Oct. 21


Henrico County Police Division and the Virginia Division of Capitol Police are participating in “Tip-A-Cop” to Support the Special Olympics Saturday, Oct. 21.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day at Red Robin, 11784 West Broad Street, members of the two agencies will be working for tips as a donation to the Special Olympics. > Read more.

Participants sought for ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’


The Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Saturday, Nov. 4, at Markel Plaza in Innsbrook, and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Richmond is seeking participants.

The event, one of three walks the association will hold in its service area this year (the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck walk was held Oct. 7 and the Fredericksburg walk Oct. 14) raises money to help the association fight the disease, which affects more than 26,000 people in the metro Richmond region. > Read more.

Fairfield meeting Oct. 25 to focus on cybersecurity


Henrico County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman and Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Wednesday, Oct. 25 to discuss cybersecurity.

Thornton also has invited candidates who will be seeking election to local offices on Tuesday, Nov. 7 to introduce themselves. > Read more.

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Henrico County will host the 15th annual Energy Fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Administration Building fountain courtyard at the Western Government Center. Learn about energy, green building and sustainable living. There will be exhibits on solar power, home energy audits, HVAC efficiency, weatherization, electric vehicles and more. The fair is free and open to the public. Rain or shine. For details, call 501-5763 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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