It may seem hard to believe, given the virtual aspect to school this year, but the words “Virtual Lab” used to mean something quite different at FCHS. It meant Room 3108, the one computer lab at school where students with online classes would go during certain blocks of the day. In fact, Fluvanna has been offering virtual glasses at the school for 15 or more years.
Formerly a Special Education teacher, Kenny Larios is the newest virtual lab teacher at the high school, serving as the overseer and mentor for students who are enrolled in Blue Ridge Governor’s school, Virtual Virginia classes, and those who need a place to work. With nearly 50 computers in the room, students are able to work at their own pace and turn to Larios if they need assistance. Some of the virtual classes available include Latin, Psychology, AP Statistics, and advanced math courses.
Larios says that being the virtual lab teacher is rewarding. “I have great kids who care about their grades. If I need to remind them to get back on track they appreciate it and not take it the wrong way. Since we started hybrid, I would say I have an amazing group of students,” Larios said, adding that he would want to teach the lab every year. “It keeps me busy and the kids that I have are extremely kind.”
What makes the virtual lab special? “I try to interact with students to make them laugh and feel right at home. Anyone that enters my room, I want them to feel comfortable and welcomed. My students can come up to me any time without hesitation to ask a question,” Larios said. Being able to interact with students on a one-on-one basis is what he believes makes the virtual lab special.
So what is different about the Virtual Lab this year? “I have quotes on the door when leaving. I want the students to read them and remind them that they are amazing or to make today a great day. I also provided a supply table for them with pencils and pens and other things they need while working,” Larios said.
He notes that teaching was not his first choice of a career, and neither was college. “I was not planning on going to school, but I was forced by my cheer coach. While in college I was in the pediatric nursing track and realized that I was unhappy with it. I was asked what I wanted to do and I thought of my second grade teacher and told my advisor, ‘I want to be a teacher at the elementary level’. Since that day I have worked in the education system,” he said.
Larios said that he used to work as English as a second language and Spanish immersion in Kindergarten, and that this is something that he would go back and teach again if he were to ever leave the high school.
In terms of his education, Larios went to Washington State University where he majored in Elementary Education and ESL. Outside of school, Larios likes to cook Mexican food from scratch and binge watch The Office or Greys Anatomy.