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Rob Shuford 

Billy Milton

Billy Milton of Kroger and Rob Shuford of Old Point National Bank VSBA Business Honor Roll honorees

Upon nomination through a Resolution from the Hampton School Board, Billy Milton of the Hampton Kroger and Rob Shuford of Old Point National Bank were recognized by the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) Business Honor Roll.

Both gentlemen received a letter and certificate from VSBA and were recognized by the Hampton School Board at a School Board meeting on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

“Our Hampton Kroger, under the leadership of manager Billy Milton, stepped up in a variety of ways during this very challenging 2020-2021 school year, positively impacting the learning experiences of so many of our students,” said Ann Bane, director of community and legislative relations.

Prior to the start of the school year, Kroger partnered with Mark Crump, State Farm Agent and previous Business Honor Roll honoree, to offer a highly visible venue for a school supply drive to benefit Hampton City Schools (HCS) and students. Additionally, they provided a generous contribution of supplies. Subsequently, HCS elected to create and distribute packets of “essential supplies for virtual learners”, relying heavily upon donated materials. When asked, Milton did not hesitate to supply bags for packaging at no cost to the school division.

Ensuring students have access to books is a top priority for Hampton City Schools, even during a global pandemic. The division launched BUSter the Book Bus in order to take library books to students in their communities. Recognizing that not all families could meet BUSter at the appointed time in their respective neighborhoods, HCS wanted to establish a central stop at the end of each run. Hampton City Schools is grateful to Kroger and Milton for enthusiastically, and without hesitation, welcoming BUSter to the Kroger parking lot in Coliseum Central, allowing HCS to reach students who might have otherwise experienced difficulty accessing books.

“This relatively new partnership, made possible by the expanded presence of Kroger in our community, has already proven to be incredibly robust and reliable,” said Bane.
Th HCS partnership with Old Point National Bank (OPNB) is one that is long-standing and substantial. For years, OPNB has consistently participated in school division and community initiatives in support of the priorities and strategic initiatives of Hampton City Schools.

Hampton Superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith’s January 2016 LOOK, LISTEN and LEARN Report to the School Board and Community outlined a variety of goals and action steps intended to enhance outcomes for students in Hampton City Schools.

“Increase in literacy for every student” was identified by the superintendent as a key goal in the 2016 report. He wrote, “Realizing the importance of reading and the impact that sound literacy skills have on all aspects of a child’s educational experiences, creating a literacy program which focuses on literacy development from birth to postsecondary will not only further enhance students’ literacy development, but more importantly, such a focus becomes a vital aspect to closing achievement gaps.”

One of many strategies employed to this end is Hampton Reads One Book (HROB), a strategic and highly visible campaign to grow student libraries, provide literacy supports for families, engage our community, and establish that reading is a core value in Hampton.

As the result of a very generous three-year commitment of sponsorship by Old Point National Bank, HCS has been able to provide four different shared reading experiences for all of our PreK-5 families, since Spring 2019. A fifth event was held in March 2021. Every PreK-5 student received a copy of a selected book each semester. Additionally, principals, teachers, and parents learn methods, techniques, and activities to be incorporated in daily practice, even when the month-long experience has been completed. Materials, to include: letters for families, reading schedules, questions, talking points, and suggested activities are provided. Hampton is one big community of readers during each HROB event.

Bane said, “Hampton Reads One Book has been an enormous success over the past two years. To date, 30,000 books have been given to PreK-5 grade students to read together and build their personal libraries. This could not have been accomplished without the generous financial support of Old Point National Bank, and their support has gone far beyond funding. Mr. Shuford takes time from his demanding schedule to participate in the “kick-off video" for each book, reading a portion of the selected title and demonstrating that bank presidents love reading. Further, employees of Old Point participate on our Hampton Reads One Book committee, and the bank provides financial literacy resources in support of the shared experience. We are deeply grateful for the support of HROB, a single example of an enduring relationship with OPNB, an outstanding corporate citizen’.”