Henrico’s Top Teachers – Molly Guerrant

Because she has always loved children, Molly Guerrant grew up knowing her career would involve working with kids.

At first, she assumed that she would become a classroom teacher. But while she was student teaching, Guerrant discovered that what she liked best was talking with students, encouraging them, and helping them with problems.

Today, after two years as school counselor at Arthur Ashe, Guerrant says, "I cannot imagine doing anything else. . . I not only have the awesome privilege of caring for these children, I also benefit from them. They teach me how to be a better person."

Guerrant is the first to tell you that the job is not without its challenges. Being a Title One school, Arthur Ashe has many children who come to school hungry, and are "pre-occupied with where their next meal is coming from." Other children are struggling with relationships or difficult home lives, or are dealing with the death of a family member. One student she counseled was fighting the urge to harm herself or even take her own life.

"There are many times I wish I could take their pain away," Guerrant says. "Being a school counselor can be emotionally draining – but it is oh so rewarding."

One of her more rewarding moments occurred after she counseled a student who felt isolated and was having problems connecting with his peers. The student eventually told Guerrant that he now felt comfortable coming to school – "because he knew he had a safe place to go, and that place was my office."

Guerrant also cherishes a long thank-you letter she received from the student who had been suicidal, after she moved on to middle school. "She was able to find a more positive perspective in an unfavorable home environment," Guerrant says, "and discover life was worth living."

An admirer who wrote to nominate Guerrant marveled that at 27 years old and in only two years at Ashe, the counselor has transformed the school. Partnering with Feedmore, she implemented a program that allows students who lack a consistent home food supply to take backpacks with them on Friday containing nourishment for the weekend.

To help the children who have trouble concentrating on schoolwork due to hunger, Guerrant began an open-door food pantry in her office. Students know that when in need of food, they can go to the pantry and take canned food, tuna packs, granola bars and fruit – no questions asked. Just before Christmas, she also rounded up food and small gifts for families in need and delivered them.

Her nominator notes that while the school and Feedmore help with funds for food programs, Guerrant often contributes her own money, and adds that in addition to mothering her "Ashe children," Guerrant is foster mother to a young girl. Another program she initiated is "Leader of the Month," which recognizes a student along with family members at a breakfast at the school. She has also implemented a yoga program with "mindful" minutes to help the students develop control of their emotions.

"I love getting to be creative and implementing new programs and ideas," says Guerrant, who is quick to credit "the unwavering support" of the school's principal, family advocate, fellow teachers and school community for the success of various initiatives. It is that community support that allows Guerrant to pursue what she sees as her calling: "to unmask the talents in every child – especially those who might fall through the cracks.

"I can say without any hesitation," Guerrant continues, "that I love my job and enjoy coming to work every day primarily because of the children. I feed off their energy and love them all as if they were my own."
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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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October 2017

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The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond will present “Top Girls” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5-7 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 8 in Cousins Studio Theatre. Caryl Churchill’s audacious and inventive play asks this thought-provoking question, "What would you be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve ‘success?’” Join the Department of Theatre and Dance for a post-show question-and-answer session with the director and members of the cast following the Friday and Saturday performances. This event is part of the Tucker-Boatwright Festival of the Arts. Tickets are $10. For details, call 289-8980 or visit http://www.modlin.richmond.edu. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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