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

On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at the Hampton Coliseum, the school division held its sixth annual Commitment to Graduate Ceremony. The Hampton community came together to make a commitment to ensure every member of the Class of 2026 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 2026 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 proudly placed their commitment pins on their neighbors.


The students heard from the Hampton City Schools faculty, staff, and administrators as they pledged to do their best to help the Class of 2026 demonstrate greatness and achieve academic success. Parents and guardians pledged to emphasize the importance of education and stay involved in their child's education.


The Hampton community, represented by Karen Orie, president/CEO of Hampton Roads Educators Credit Union, pledged to be actively engaged in the Class of 2026's education and promised to help them become dedicated and invested citizens.


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 FEW – Faith, Education, and Work.


In closing, Superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith challenged the students to remain committed to academic excellence and graduate from high school as members of the Class of 2026. He said, “Remember that today is the first day of the rest of your life. So, I challenge you to make every moment count toward your greater purpose.”


The class of 2021was 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.