Henrico’s Top Teachers – Marsha Grahek

Marsha Grahek knows how to treat bullies.

With compassion.

Grahek, an exceptional education teacher at Tuckahoe Middle School, has seen it all in her career as a social worker and exceptional education teacher. The students who act tough and try to intimidate classmates or teachers aren’t fooling her.

"The ones who try to intimidate are the ones who are hurting the most," she said, explaining how she approaches such students. “I say, ‘I’ve seen you helping another person, you're just trying to act big and bad – I know the game you're playing.’ Sometimes then they'll start smiling. I'll say, ‘You know what you're doing – I'm not scared of you. I care about you, I want the best for you.’”

Her approach has worked wonders for numerous students at the school, according to colleagues.

“Ms. Grahek is a special education teacher who helps students who are struggling to succeed,” a colleague wrote in a nomination letter. “She shows great sympathy towards these students and refuses to give up on them.”

Frequently, the colleague wrote, Grahek works with students who are not part of her daily caseload.

Another colleague cited Grahek’s compassion and willingness to help students however possible – even outside of school. In one case, she assisted an eighth-grader (who was homeless and living out of a car with his mother) after his mother died unexpectedly.

“She took him into her home that Christmas and shared the love of her family with him,” the colleague wrote. “He went on to high school, into foster care, was finally adopted and relocated out of town. He asked his new adoptive mother to invite Mrs. Grahek to the adoption ceremony because the adoptive mother reminded him of Mrs. Grahek, he said.

“Without the nurturing Marsha gave to this student when she did, I seriously doubt there would be the happy ending to the story.”

Such examples are logical, given the compassion that Grahek has shown people she doesn’t even know. Years ago, a pastor introduced her to a Kenyan man in Richmond who was nearly destitute but refused to accept donations of food because his family in Kenya was suffering.

“He said, I cannot eat while my family is dying,” Grahek recalled. So she pulled out the money in her pocket, wired it to his family and thus began a relationship that continues today. It led her to create Project Respect, a nonprofit organization that has raised money for the man’s village for some 15 years. It currently supports 200 people with its annual donations.

Grahek traveled to the village several years ago and was overcome with the joy and excitement the villagers showed her.

More recently, the organization sought to help those in need in this country and has partnered with an organization in the Appalachian town of Calf Creek Hollow, Kentucky, to provide food, basic necessities, Christmas presents, school supplies – and next month a weeklong summer camp for needy children there.

"We wanted to help people that nobody else was helping,” Grahek said.

Several of her fellow teachers will be joining her for the trip in June.

“Marsha is a leader in planning, implementation, and evaluation by means of instruction that is student-centered,” a colleague wrote. “Her innovative means of teaching opens doors that could otherwise remain closed.”
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Crime Stoppers’ Crime of the Week: Sept. 18, 2017

Crime Stoppers is seeking information about a shooting in Richmond that resulted in an injured child and the murder of an adult.

At approximately 10:21 p.m., Sept. 9, Richmond Police were called to the 3200 block of 5th Avenue for a report of a person shot. They quickly located two victims suffering from gunshot wounds, a 57-year-old male and a 9-year-old female. > Read more.

Business in brief

Commonwealth Senior Living at the West End, located at 2400 Gaskins Rd., will hold their grand opening on Oct. 3 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The community recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation which included the addition of a new memory care neighborhood, new resident suites, an expanded dining room, and brand-new courtyards and additional outdoor spaces. Commonwealth Senior Living associates will be on site to provide tours of the newly renovated community. > Read more.

Wegmans to sponsor Turkey Trot 10K

Wegmans Food Markets Inc. will become title sponsor of the Richmond Road Runners Club’s annual Turkey Trot 10K, a Thanksgiving Day tradition for many Richmond area runners.

Wegmans and RRRC have signed a three-year agreement whereby the race, beginning in November 2017, will be known as the Wegmans Turkey Trot 10K. RRRC will continue to manage race operations. > Read more.

Publix to open at Virginia Center Marketplace Oct. 11

Publix will open its next Henrico location at 10150 Brook Road in the Virginia Center Marketplace shopping center in Glen Allen Oct. 11 at 7 a.m. The store will host a grand opening ceremony at that time.

The location will be the Florida chain's fifth in Henrico, joining those already open at Nuckols Place and The Shoppes at Crossridge in Glen Allen, The Shops at White Oak Village in Eastern Henrico and John Rolfe Commons in the Far West End. > Read more.

Statewide tax amnesty period underway

Delinquent individual and business taxpayers in Virginia can pay back taxes with no penalties and half the interest from now through Nov. 14, as part of the 2017 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program, which began Sept. 13.

Approved by the 2017 General Assembly, the program assumes collection of $89.5 million for the general fund to support education, health, and public safety, as well as to provide a cash reserve. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

September 2017

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Home School Day at Henricus Historical Park will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students ages 4-14 will work with colonists as they set up their militia, economy and way of life in the re-created colonial citie. Students will also learn how the native inhabitants, the Powhatan Indians, organized their successful and widespread society. Students will be divided by age level to work on age-appropriate activities and curriculum. Registration is required by Sept. 4 by calling 318-8797. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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