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Over 1,600 Hampton City Schools freshmen make a commitment to graduate

On Wednesday, March 13, 2024, at the Hampton Coliseum, the school division held its seventh annual Commitment to Graduate Ceremony. The Hampton community came together to make a commitment to ensure every member of the Class of 2027 would return to the Hampton Coliseum in just over three years to walk across the stage prepared for success in careers, lifelong learning, and life as they graduate the Portrait of a Hampton Graduate.


More than 1,600 Hampton City Schools freshmen, approximately 300 parents and guardians, school faculty, and community leaders were inspired and reminded of the value of a high school diploma. The ceremony promoted a student-driven, career-ready future, instilling an individual commitment to achieve the Portrait of a Hampton Graduate accomplishments from every student.


The Class of 2027 committed to dreaming big, taking their lives in bold directions, envisioning greatness in themselves, and seizing every opportunity. The students pledged to graduate in 2026 and received commitment pins.


The students heard from the Hampton City Schools faculty, staff, and administrators as they pledged to do their best to help the Class of 2027 demonstrate greatness and achieve academic success. Parents and guardians pledged to emphasize the importance of education and stay involved in their child's education.


Students, families, faculty, and community members were inspired by the “real talk” of Dr. Adolph Brown, III. He elevated the attendee's perception of school by encouraging students, faculty, families, and community members to embody the acronym of UPS – Show Up, Cheer Up, Level Up, Lift Up, Never Give Up.

The Hampton community, represented by Jamie Porter, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia GEAR Up, pledged to be actively engaged in the Class of 2027's education and promised to help them become dedicated and invested citizens.

Angelic Meier, Ebony Morse, Ashley Ranger, and Britnee Porter, parents of freshmen students from each of the four high schools, led the parent/guardian pledge where families pledged to emphasize the importance of education to their children; make positive behavior the expectation in their household; pledge to monitor their children’s academic growth; and stay involved in their children’s education. They also pledged to engage in consistent, collaborate communication with their children’s school and stay committed to helping their children graduate from high school is 2027.

Student ambassadors Zoraya Meier (Bethel), Kennette Callis (Hampton), Brian Ranger, Jr. (Kecoughtan), and Josiah Porter-Jordan (Phoebus), led the students in their pledge to do their personal best to achieve the attributes of the Portrait of a Hampton Graduate; understand that their education is very important to their future; and help them become successful and productive persons. Their goal is to graduate from high school with a purpose, a plan, and ready for postsecondary education and a career. They pledged to be committed to graduating from high school in 2027.

Superintendent Dr. Raymond Haynes shared in his speech to the students, “My charge to you this morning, and over the next several years, is this…


Make the commitment to graduate from Hampton City Schools college, career and life-ready…or stated another way, make the commitment to graduate from Hampton City Schools the Portrait of a Hampton City Schools’ graduate.


Make the commitment to create a positive sense of self.


Make the commitment to embrace the content knowledge and real-life applications that will prepare you for your next chapter in life.


Make the commitment to develop excellent communication skills.


And, make the commitment to sharpen your leadership abilities.”

The class of 2021 was the inaugural graduating class of the Academies of Hampton (AoH). Through the Academies of Hampton - 16 wall-to-wall academies and 44 pathways in Hampton’s four high schools - Hampton City Schools is transforming the traditional high school experience into an innovative model that prepares all students for careers, linking academic courses to college majors and career sectors. Students and teachers use experiential learning to make lessons come alive. Different pathways designed and supported by community partners are created to introduce students to a variety of college and career options.


The AoH provides students with a clear path for graduation and a smooth transition from high school to postsecondary college and careers. Students become part of a group of individuals who complete courses together, share similar interests, and desire to learn about a specific career field. Each academy provides a highly personalized, small learning community where students learn English, science, math, social studies, and meet all graduation requirements within the theme of their academy. The academies also offer advanced placement courses, dual enrollment courses, and industry certification exams that may count as college credits depending on the college or apprentice program students attend and the major they pursue.