System recognizes Lunenburg teachers celebrated by VFW

Published 11:59 am Thursday, April 21, 2016

Four Lunenburg County Public School teachers honored with the National Citizenship Education Teacher Recognition Award by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post have been recognized by the school system.

A teacher at each school was recognized.

Lt. Col. Whit Bragg, JROTC teacher at Central High School; Shawn Sandifer, civics teacher at Lunenburg Middle School; Mark Roncinske, special education teacher at Kenbridge Elementary School; and Charlene Zhe, third- grade teacher at Victoria Elementary School, were recognized by post 9959 on Saturday, March 26.

The award recognizes teachers who promote citizenship education in the classroom and at the school.

Consequently, the school board acknowledged the recognition during its Monday, April 11, meeting.

School Superintendent Charles M. Berkley Jr. praised the teachers for their efforts in helping students learn the values of citizenship and being exemplary teachers.

Bragg concentrates on good citizenship in his lessons for his classes, the school system wrote.

“He not only is an instructor for the JROTC program, but he is also a mentor for many young people at the school,” the superintendent told the school board. “He constantly works with students during and after school and on many weekends he can be seen participating in local competitions and events. His dedication to his students is seen every day at CHS and he constantly assists staff, administration, and students with projects that will be beneficial to students and the school.”

At Victoria elementary, Zhe has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to teaching service and patriotism to not only her students but to the entire school, the system said.

Zhe annually organizes a Veteran’s Day Program at the school presented by students and faculty that involves recognizing veterans in the community, and also organizes an annual Turkey Drive in which students at the school bring in canned goods for the Salvation Army.

She is also instrumental in inspiring our students to demonstrate their Panther Pride school wide by organizing events such as:  100th Day of School Celebration, Valentine’s Day Dance, Black History Month, Dr. Suess Week, positive behavior events and yearbook.

“Mrs. Zhe is committed to not only teaching her students the lessons in a book or how the rivers flow, she is committed to teaching all students about the importance of giving back to their community and taking pride in our school,” the system wrote.

At Kenbridge elementary, Roncinske, affectionately referred to as Mr. R, works with second- and fourth- grade students. An avid runner and cyclist who participates annually in the MS Bike-A-Thon, Roncinske is a marine and currently serves as Sergeant at Arms and Historian in 1085 Lake Country Detachment Marine Corp League in South Hill.

Last school year, he led a presentation with fellow veterans from the Lake Country detachment for fourth grade students reading about the Navajo Code Talkers.

“Students were given the opportunity to rehearse and present written accounts from actual Marines who fought on the island in 1945,” the system stated.

This past fall, Roncinske spearheaded construction of a community garden at the school with help from two local businesses, with a goal of using it to promote healthy living while fighting childhood obesity. The students work in the garden when weather permits.

“Mr. R’s next initiative is to begin a composting program using the leftover food from the cafeteria,” the system stated. “Mr. R is a teacher driven by the love for his students, the commitment to his community and the honor for his country.”

Meanwhile, Sandifer has been teaching 8th grade civics and economics for the past 17 years, providing enriching and creative ideas for his students.

“He is an excellent team player who is always willing to avail himself to do whatever is necessary for the betterment of students’ lives,” the system stated.

Sandifer assumed a baseball coaching position not because this was an area of expertise for him, but because he did not want students to lose an opportunity to participate in an additional sport. He also organizes annually the eighth grade field trip to Kings Dominion and the fundraiser to support this endeavor.

“Mr. Sandifer enthusiastically accepts any responsibility requested of him,” the system wrote. “Mr. Sandifer not only teaches civics duties and responsibilities; he displays them in his everyday interaction with his students and peers.”