Hampton Superintendent Finalist for National Superintendent of the Year


Volume 14 Number 4 Mama's Bahamas FROM PAGE 4

January 2020

Dr. Jeffery Smith BY CITY OF HAMPTON

has been named one of four finalists for 2020 National

of the Year by AASA, the School Superintendents

Superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith Superintendent

Association. The

award honors school system leaders throughout

"making a postitive difference in the lives of the students they serve." Dr. Smith began his tenure as of

superintendent Schools in 2015.

Under his leadership, academic success is the highest it has been in decades, notes the school system. For the first time, 100% of the division’s 29 schools are accredited

Thomas Nelson Hampton City the country who are without

conditions. The school division has strengthened its dual enrollment program with

Allen Iverson FROM PAGE 1

Director, Lee Martin appreciates the time and attention Iverson has given back to the school. “Although our current students may have never seen him play [in person], Iverson is an icon throughout the world. He constantly visits when he's in town and lets our students know that he ‘is’ them, and vice versa. Seeing a Hall of Famer in person that you can actually touch, take pictures with, etc shows them that [that] it's not a fairly tale. It is reality and if he can become successful at that level, so can they,” Martin wrote in a statement to the Messenger. Throughout his retirement from

the NBA, Iverson has remained a pop culture icon. He is loved by people all

over the world. If he did not know it before, he should realize now how treasured he is in Hampton Roads. In a statement prepared for the Hampton Roads Messenger, Iverson said: "I am forever grateful to the City of Hampton, Hampton City Schools as well as Mr. Ralph Saunders and all the people from Bethel High. Tuesday, December 3, 2019 will be a day that I will never forget. It will stand as one of our greatest accomplishments that I share with so many from our community. Just to see my name on the gymnasium that I did my thing in is something that I never imagined. Thanks for giving me my flowers while I can still smell them”.

Tell us about your Church programs

Community College, to date yielding a 642% increase in the number of dual enrollment credits. The on-time graduation rate has increased from 88% for the class of 2015 to 92.73% for the class of 2019. The dropout rate has decreased from 5.1% for the class of 2015 to 1.26% for the class of 2019. In addition, the Hampton community has earned the distinction of being the first Ford Next Generation Learning Community in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The other finalists are: Gustavo Balderas, Eugene School District 4J, Eugene, Ore; Samantha Fuhrey, Newton County School System, Covington, Ga.; and Michael Nagler, Mineola N.Y.

Public Schools, Mineola,

tour that was still planning to proceed. This tour, led by 3N, involved taking a flight from Nassau to Exuma. After they assured us they would not cancel for any reason, we booked that tour and left early the next morning. We set our alarms on our phones and counted pigs until we fell asleep. The next morning I was surprised to see the smallest plane I had ever had the pleasure or disdain to book. While sitting in the last row of seats, I could almost touch the pilot on the shoulder. A whole lot of prayers later, we landed in Staniel Cay, Exuma, one of the most beautiful places on earth. The tour guides led us to the boat from the airport, it could not have been much more than 200 yards. The boat was adequate, if one does not mind not having cover from the rain. It was definitely fast and there were times that I was not sure if I might be thrown from it. I kept a smile on my face the whole time. Who does not love being on a boat, in the middle of beautiful island scenery, no matter how likely it may be that you may get thrown into the shark infested water? I did not really think about the

danger of sharks the whole time I was swimming on the tour. When we were actually swimming with the kind of sharks that are not dangerous, nurse sharks, I did for a moment think, ‘how would I know if the dangerous kind slipped in here with these tame ones?’

When we arrived at the island

with the swimming pigs I have never seen so many grown folks lose their minds over some animals. Okay, I did it too. The pigs were so cute when they swam out to meet our boat. They knew we were going to have something to feed them. The boat captain, yes, the same one who I was sure was trying to dump me out of the boat during most of the tour, gave us bread to feed the swimming pigs. There were huge pigs, baby

pigs and every size in between, on this island. They are feral pigs who somehow learned to swim and people will pay crazy money and risk life and limb to see these floating balls of fat. After

swimming over the with the

pigs we went to lunch and some of those same people who were going gaga

sandwiches for lunch. I just gasped as I heard them belt out their orders, shamelessly. Three of the four people at my table were vegan and the other person ordered fish (I do not believe it was shark meat). There were approximately 15 people on our boat including

the captain and another

person who worked for the tour company. After lunch, we went to a cool sand bar in the middle of the water. It looks like you are walking on water

pigs ordered BLT

from a distance. We also went to a grotto that was featured in the James Bond film Thunderball. We donned snorkeling equipment to see the fish in the cave but with the current and all of the swimming I had done earlier, my arms and legs were too tired to go inside. I did see some beautiful fish just outside the cave. The tour guides also took us to

the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the ‘70s, which is not something I wanted to see knowing I had to ride that Barbie plane back to Nassau soon. I would definitely go on that tour again if someone else was paying. I did not even mention that our first stop was Iguana Island. I was not that excited about seeing iguanas because I saw so many in Puerto Rico, earlier in the year; however, everyone else seemed to enjoy watching them. Tired, cold, wet and just plain

scared, I headed back to the airport and thought, this is one of the best days of my life. We made it back to Nassau in the Barbie plane and tried to get the city bus back to our hotel. Since it was a Saturday evening, I do not believe the buses run that late on the weekend. We did discover, however, that

instead of a $25 taxi, we could catch a bus for about $1.50, to downtown from our hotel. And earlier on Saturday, we rode the bus to the airport for approximately $2.00 each.

On our last day in the Bahamas,

we planned to visit the golf course that is part of Baha Mar. We did not have enough time to actually play. The Royal Blue Golf Club just happened to be hosting a professional golf tournament, as we arrived. We were given a tour of the course by the two very knowledgeable and delightful assistant golf pros, Georgette and JR. The course was immaculate, without a blade of grass out of place. I cannot wait to return to Baha Mar to actually play a round of golf at the Royal Blue Golf Club.

I met so many kind and thoughtful people while I was in the Bahamas. Even downtown, where we visited the Pompey and Pirate Museums. The history lessons were nice but the lessons in humility that the Bahamian people teach while going about their daily lives are priceless. I met a kind gentleman who owned a Jamaican Restaurant a couple of blocks from the Pompey Museum that put his heart and soul in the food he serves and his customer service. The staff at the Grand Hyatt always greeted us with smiles. I would challenge anyone to find someone there who is having a bad day. Although we intended to go, we never made it to Atlantis or Paradise Island. I felt like I was already in paradise at the Grand Hyatt. Actually, the entire country feels like paradise. I will be back in the Bahamas soon.

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