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HCS Academies of Hampton to receive the Dana B. Hamel award from Thomas Nelson Community College during May 13 virtual graduation ceremony

Thomas Nelson Community College will present the Dana B. Hamel award during a virtual celebration of its 52nd commencement on May 13, 2021. The recipient is the Academies of Hampton. The award honors those who champion education and public service.

The Dana B. Hamel award is named in honor of the first chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS). It recognizes individuals or entities for their commitment to public service, fostering access to higher education, and promoting an understanding of workforce development’s role as an essential part of the college’s mission.

Hampton City Schools superintendent, Dr. Jeffery Smith shared, “It is an honor for the Academies of Hampton to be a recipient of the Dana B. Hamel award. Over the past five years, we have witnessed a substantial increase in dual enrollment credits earned by our students as a part of a strong partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College. Receiving the Dana B. Hamel award is a true testament to how the Academies are preparing our young people to be college, career, and life-ready.”

“The relationships we establish in our communities are vital to the college’s success and that of our students,” said TNCC president Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon. “These connections allow us to aptly respond to the region’s higher education and career training needs while also strengthening our resolve to be a good neighbor and an active partner.”

Through the Academies of Hampton, students in the city’s four high schools are afforded a clear path for graduation and a seamless transition to college or a career. Students participate in a learning community completing courses together with peers who share similar interests and desires to learn about a specific field. Students in each of the 16 academies get a personalized setting where they learn English, science, math, and social studies meeting all graduation requirements. The Academies also offer advanced placement and dual enrollment courses as well as industry certification exams to help students gain college credits and required credentials in more than 40 career pathways, all before high school graduation. Another element is real-world exposure to business and industry. The Academies allow potential employers to share their knowledge and experience through classroom presentations, worksite visits, job shadowing, and internships. Plus, advisers and businesses introduce students to careers, opportunities, and industry skills through relevant hands-on learning experiences with practical applications. Given these components, the Academies contribute to the overall development of the Peninsula’s workforce.  

Of the Academies Mike Kuhns, Thomas Nelson board chairman said, “This is truly transformational in that it took a traditional school system making it relevant to the needs of not only students but to the community and employers. It engages the business community while really immersing students in studies that prepare them for college or to directly enter the workforce. This is absolutely what is necessary for the economic vitality of our region.”

Brannon agreed saying, “A trailblazing concept that I am certain is propelling students to new heights, the Academies of Hampton exemplify the importance of evolving and being innovative when it comes to educating today’s youth. The emphasis on practical applications of lessons and its career exploration component, which employs broad community participation, is truly impressive.”  

In 2019-2020, more than 350 Hampton City Schools students were enrolled in courses offered by Thomas Nelson at various locations and online, earning 3,899 academic credits.

The College established the Dana B. Hamel awards about 10 years ago. Past Dana B. Hamel award honorees include Newport News Shipbuilding, Continental, and Molly Ward, city of Hampton treasurer.

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As stated in School Board Policy AC and GBA, Hampton City Schools (“HCS”) does not discriminate with regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, disability, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, child birth or related medical conditions, status as a veteran, genetic information, or other characteristic protected by law in its programs, activities and employment practices and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.  

HCS also prohibits retaliation under School Board Policy GBAB for the purpose of interfering with a person’s rights and/or privileges under federal civil rights laws, which can include: (i) raising concerns with Division personnel about a civil rights violation; (ii) asserting a right or advocating for the rights of a student or employee under federal civil rights laws; or (iii) participating in a complaint investigation or related proceedings. 

All individuals are encouraged to promptly report any incident they believe to be discrimination, harassment or retaliation in violation of HCS School Board Policy.  All reports should be made to the HCS Compliance Officer, who also serves as the HCS Executive Director of Human Resources and Title IX/ADA Coordinator.  Upon receiving a report of alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation, the Compliance Officer shall promptly authorize an investigation into the complaint, determine whether the alleged act occurred, and determine whether any action must be taken to end or prevent further harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.  For more information about this process, please review the Formal Resolution Process and/or Informal Resolution Process.    

Should you have any questions about these procedures or the contents of this notice, please contact:

Executive Director of Human Resources
Title IX and ADA Coordinator
Department of Human Resources
One Franklin Street
Hampton, VA 23669
(757) 727-2300



Hampton City Schools (HCS) is committed to making its website accessible for all, including individuals with disabilities, and strives to ensure accessibility currently and as new technologies emerge.  The division welcomes questions and feedback on the site’s accessibility at each development phase.  By clicking on “Contact” at the upper right of the main webpage, all users are able to “Help Resolve a Concern,” “Share a Story,” “Provide Feedback,” and “Ask a Question.”  Additionally, the Contact Us page provides direct email access to HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper,


HCS’s computer systems and networks include all of the computer hardware, operating system software, application software, stored text, data files, electronic mail (email), local databases, externally accessed databases, CD-ROM, optical media, clip art, digital images, digitized information, communications technologies, and new available technologies.

Please note that some pages on the HCS website contain links to third-party sites.  HCS is not responsible for the content, facts, opinions or accessibility of third-party sites.


The majority of pages in our site are available in HTML format that can be deciphered by screen readers. Some documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF), which require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

  • To download this free program, visit the Adobe website.
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Also, many popular browsers contain built-in accessibility tools, and there are other plug-ins that make websites more accessible.

The HCS website is designed and monitored by HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, who serves as the gatekeeper for website content and accessibility.   The Webmaster is under the direction of the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, supervised by the Director of Graphics.
Web visitors using assistive technology who may have trouble accessing information on the website may contact the HCS Webmaster,, the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, and/or the Director of Graphics,

When submitting a question or concern via email, “accessibility” should be included in the subject line.  Every reasonable attempt will be made to address the user’s concern within twenty-four hours.  To assist HCS in responding appropriately, all inquiries should include the following information:

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HCS monitors all technology resource activity and requires all employees, students and individuals with access to HCS computer systems and networks to annually read and sign an Acceptable Use Policy.  See School Board Policy IIBEA for Students; School Board Policy GBBB for Employees.

Our continuing goal is for the HCS website to be accessible to individuals with disabilities in compliance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and that statute's implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 104, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and that statute's implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 35.

Good faith efforts are being made to ensure that our website complies with web accessibility standards. In addition to the federal regulations above, we are actively working to conform to level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
Prior to posting new website content, the HCS Webmaster determines if the proposed content meets the criteria of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  Periodically the HCS Webmaster checks the website with a recognized website checker such as 508 Checker and WAVE.  If the audit identifies issues of concern or content errors that impede accessibility to any user, the concerns/errors are evaluated and remedied within a six-week period.


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