emailFacebookInstagramTwitterYoutube Portal Parents and Students



Hampton City Schools Academies of Hampton and NASA celebrate Black History Month with performances live-streamed to NASA facilities


In celebration of Black History Month, NASA and Hampton City Schools’ Academies of Hampton hosted a performance live-streamed to NASA facilities throughout the nation featuring a historical interpretation, a narrated culinary demonstration with a panel of taste testers, student-led skits, and a panel discussion. This event recognized the diversities of African American cuisines, illustrated how to prepare a quick healthy meal, and raised awareness of health topics relevant to African Americans. The event showcased the Academies of Hampton and its students and faculty from Hampton High and Phoebus High, specifically the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism; the Academy of Health, Human, and Financial Services; and the Academy of Digital Video Production.


Valerie Yemimah Davis, an award winning author, actor, storyteller, narrator, writer and voiceover artist, told the heartfelt story of Mrs. Martha Ann Fields, an enslaved cook who escaped and set out on an arduous journey seeking freedom for herself and eight children at Fort Monroe.


The culinary demonstration was led by former NASA chef, Travis Walker, and selected students from the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism - Culinary Arts Pathway.


In keeping with the spirit of Black History Month, the menu was student created based upon George Crum's invention of the potato chip. Crum was an African American who created a thinner version of a deep fried potato, thus resulting in the potato chip. Students also blanched the string beans in a garlic, salt and pepper bath to retain the flavor and the cauliflower was used in place of macaroni noodles as an option that was lower in carbohydrates. The macaroni option was inspired by an African American chef by the name of James Hemings.


The panel of taste testers included Clayton Turner, Director, NASA Langley Research Center; Dr. Kanama M. Bivins, NASA Langley Research Center’s chief financial officer; Dr. Stacia Barreau, Hampton City Schools Chief of Elementary School Leadership; and Dr. Raymond Haynes, Hampton City Schools Chief of Secondary School Leadership. The student chefs received rave reviews from the testers.


“The event was a great learning experience for our students,” said Walker. “My culinary students truly grasped the concept of teamwork. They worked collectively to deliver a great demonstration to our judges, staff and spectators. We would like to thank NASA for the opportunity to collaborate with our culinary department, we look forward to the future and this continued partnership.”


Student-led skits depicting families celebrating “Soul Food Sundays and Nourishing the Mind, Body, Soul, and Community” featured students in the Academy of Health, Human, and Financial Services - Nutrition and Wellness Pathway.


“The experiences I had cooking with my grandmother while I was growing up inspired the script and my performance,” said Deana Walker, HHS student, Academy of Health, Human, and Financial Services. 


Production support for the live-streamed broadcast features students in the Academy of Digital Video Production.


Hampton High academy principal Kimberly Sharpe said, “The experience of working alongside professionals from NASA for the Black History Month event focusing on health and wellness, was a truly remarkable experience for the students in the Health, Human, and Financial Services Academy and IB Academy at THE Hampton High School. The students were given opportunities to work with a variety of adults in their various professions, learn a great deal about their ancestry and the role food and nutrition has played. The students were afforded experiences that go beyond the scope of ‘the ask’ from NASA and extended into experiences in collaboration, teamwork, compromise in the workplace, and elements of video production. I am truly grateful to NASA for asking us to be a part of their celebration of Black History Month and for providing these once in a lifetime experiences to our students!”