Welcome New Teachers!

August 6, 2008

School is just about ready to start!  There are hundreds of new teachers and educators about to start new careers in Southside VA classrooms.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the Henry County New Teacher Orientation held at Magna Vista High School.  They appear to be a very good group of people.

One person I met is Miguel, a Spanish teacher.  In speaking with him I found that he has traveled the world and was once a lawyer in his home country of Spain before teaching in the U.S.  I don’t doubt that his overall life experiences will make him a wonderful teacher and a favorite among students.  Then there was Mrs. Layne, a returning Henry County teacher, who I found looking up at the list of students who have received academic honors over the years.  I asked if any of her kids were up there.  She proudly said “Yes, quite a few”.  Upon finding out that she taught English I told her my story about how I did very poorly in high school English.  However, I learned much more about English (and about life in general) from those classes in which my teachers challenged me and made me suffer the consequences of half-hearted work.  (Thanks Mr. Raferty!)

There were other teachers I met both new and returning.  Magna Vista High School is nestled in a beautiful part of Virginia.  They even have a really nice greenhouse where they grow plants and flowers for sale.  I bought a lovely Caladium for $2!!!

Here are a few flickr photos from the New Teacher Orientation.


Our Heartfelt Condolences…

August 1, 2008

On behalf of Piedmont Credit Union our hearts go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of Samuel Massie.

Samuel Massie, 1954-2008

Samuel Massie, 1954-2008

Below are links to the Register & Bee articles about him.  As a teacher and principal he was a faithful educator devoted to the betterment of his students.  He touched many many lives in our community.  Read more about him here and here.

Athletic Excellence Just Around the Corner

November 14, 2007

Hargrave Post Grad FootballHere’s a little known fact about the Dan River Region. The town of Chatham is home to a very prestigious preparatory school called Hargrave Military Academy. Today I had the pleasure of meeting their Post-Graduate football coach, Robert Prunty. Coach Prunty took some time to explain the Post-Graduate program to me. It is a program designed to give extra personal, educational, and athletic development to athletes before they enter college. Their players keep all their years of college playing eligibility while at the same time competing against college level teams and taking classes to prepare them for college.

This one year program has a long list of great players who have gone on to play in college and many in the NFL as well. Several of them were first round draft picks. (One of whom plays for my favorite team, Carlos Rogers of the Washington Redskins.) The school website also tells of many other prominent alumni who have graduated from Hargrave. There are U.S. Congressmen, CEO’s of major companies, high ranking military officers and public service leaders to name a few. Hargrave is clearly committed to excellence in all aspects of life. Here’s a quote from their website:

Since 1909, Hargrave has cared for the development of young men guided by these concepts. While our campus has grown and evolved, the caring and earnest desire to see young people better themselves remains the same. We do not promise miracles. Rather, Hargrave prides itself on the small, often hard-won achievements found within each graduate.

“Stong in Mind. Strong in Body.” That’s their school motto and it certainly appears that they’re living up to it.

Hats Off to Elementary Teachers

October 23, 2007

Last week as I sat quietly during faculty meetings at Kentuck Elementary School and Brosville Elementary School, I watched teachers express their ideas, concerns, and solutions to the issues facing their schools and their students. During this time I realized that I can recall by name and face every one of my elementary school teachers along with memories from their classes. Elementary school teachers make such a profound influence on children. Seeing today’s teachers tackle the difficult issues at these faculty meetings only makes me have even more respect and admiration for them.

So here’s my own personal elementary school hall of fame.

  • In kindergarten there was Mrs. Adams and another teacher who left due to pregnancy. This was my first experience seeing a pregnant woman. I also remember my older brother and I making an erector set model of a spaceship for show and tell.
  • In first grade there was Mrs. Martin. It was here that I learned to read and write. These are quite possibly the two most important skills a human being can learn.
  • In second grade I had Mrs. Lifsey. She had a very nice smile. I remember getting in trouble because of telling a lie to her once. I used that story recently to explain to my daughter the importance of telling the truth and the consequences of telling a lie.
  • In third grade there was Mrs. Bush. Michelle Eberhard and I were the only two students in the class to make perfect scores on our multiplication tables. She was also very compassionate when I developed a sinus condition and had to change seats.
  • In fourth grade Mrs. King always had us start the day with singing. She had a wonderful operatic voice and taught us every patriotic song under the sun. My favorite at the time was You’re a Grand Old Flag. (And she never assigned homework!)
  • Finally fifth grade was marked by the Challenger explosion. Mrs. Tyree(who did assign lots of homework) let us skip class that day to watch the news coverage.

So my hat is off to the elementary school teachers of yesterday and today! The impact you have is truly special. Thank you for making a difference by helping students develop into the model citizens of tomorrow.

Pittsylvania County Schools Building Plan

October 16, 2007

If you have a child or plan to have a child that will attend a Pittsylvania County high school sometime in the next 20 years you should definitely take a look at this short video from Pittsylvania County Schools. Click here to view the video.

This worthy project appears to be dependent on the voters of Pittsylvania County. I prefer the term “voting responsibilities” rather than “voting rights”. So whatever your position on the matter, please exercise your responsibility to vote on election day which is Tuesday, November 6, 2007. To register to vote in Virginia you can visit the VA State Board of Elections website. You can even check your voter registration status there.

A Visit to Woodrow Wilson Elementary

October 8, 2007

Once again I’m amazed at how happy and joyful teachers are on a Monday afternoon. Of course Ms. Graham was thrilled that her dance students were featured this weekend in the newspaper! They recently performed a dance in celebration of Constitution Day. While they didn’t have much time to prepare for it the performance was very good, the kids had fun, and they learned something while doing it.

It was also very nice speaking with Mrs. Thomas at the end of my time in the teacher’s lounge. She has been an educator for 47 years working in both private and public education! There’s something to be said for experience. I’ve been working in credit unions for only about 9 years now, and I have such a greater understanding of how it all works now as opposed to when I started. It was great to hear from a teacher with so much experience that this local school is doing a good job of teaching our children. Keep up the good work Woodrow Wilson Elementary School!

Thank you to all the other teachers and staff who stopped by to say “hello” and thank you for your kind words about our your credit union.

Note for people who didn’t go to elementary school in Virginia: Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, VA and was the 28th President of the United States during World War I.

To the faculty of G.L.H. Johnson Elementary…

October 1, 2007

Thank you for making my Monday! Mr. Macklin, your principal, obviously doesn’t like to waste time. This morning when I called about planning a visit sometime in the next two months he promptly said “How about today?” I’m sure glad I took up his suggestion because the teachers who I spoke with there were so full of fun and life that it simply made my Monday. It must be a great place to learn.