Four City teachers to rock pencil sneakers on first day of school is your source for free local news and information in Virginia Beach

(Courtesy Pamela J. Barre)
From left to right: Avery Horton, Beth Kelly, Roseanne Jacob, Christine Marcus (Courtesy Pamela J. Barre)

Four Virginia Beach elementary school teachers will be wearing matching yellow sneakers on the first day of school next Tuesday.

They’re not just any tennis shoes, though. The teachers, Beth Kelly, Avery Horton, Roseanne Jacob and Christine Marcus, are colleagues at Woodstock Elementary School, 6016 Providence Rd. They got together over donuts last week at Kelly’s house and painted the canvas shoes to look like No. 2 pencils.

“We’re so excited about our new shoes,” said Kelly in a phone interview. “They’re so teacher-y,”

The idea came about over the summer. Kelly, who has taught third grade at Woodstock since 2006, saw a similar pair of shoes, made to look like pencils, on Target Teachers, an Instagram account. She tweeted a photo of the sneakers on Aug. 9 and said: “I will be making these before the end of the month!” She used a pencil emoji at the end of the tweet.

Before long, she heard from her three colleagues, who teach second grade. Internet research led to finding yellow canvas sneakers on Amazon, for about $12. They each ordered a pair. Kelly, who is a crafter, went to Michael’s and bought acrylic paints. She mixed them with a fabric medium, so the paint would stay flexible and not dry out.

“I do enough crafts to know all this,” she said.

The four educators met at Kelly’s house on Aug. 24. About three hours later, after using a hot blowdryer to set the paint, they were done, and ready to unveil them on the first day of school.

As for her students’ likely reaction?

“I think they’ll be enamored,” she said.

To cement the point, she refers to a teacher in the book, “The Magic School Bus.”

“I’m a Ms. Frizzle,” she said.

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Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post,, and Talking Points Memo. Her recent book, Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mark Lynton History Prize. Her first book, The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy, won the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.