Blue and red bows adorned every row in the school auditorium. On the stage, the new Entrepreneurship and Business Academy (EBA) banners hung with bouquets of red, white and blue flowers in front. The massive E-B-A balloons welcomed guests to the room.
After more than a year of planning, Kempsville High School (KHS) was ready to celebrate.
On the first day of school, KHS celebrated the launch of its brand new academy with a special ribbon cutting ceremony. The first class of academy students, who will graduate in 2020, were among the invited guests. Parents, staff members as well as community and business leaders were all in attendance to officially welcome the academy to its new home at Kempsville.
In October of 2015, the School Board unanimously approved for the creation of the EBA at Kempsville, which allowed rising ninth-grade students to be eligible to apply for admission for the 2016-17 school year.
The EBA offers students three strands of study: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Business Information Technology and Corporate Finance. In addition, the academy offers specialized elective courses and a senior internship within students’ chosen field of study. Through the program’s set up, students will have the opportunity to earn dual enrollment credit for college, participate in job shadowing with local businesses and seek an associate degree in business administration.
“I know I speak for my fellow classmates when I say that we have been looking forward to today for quite a while,” said freshman Vitali Rivera, who served as the student host for the event. “And, I know we are all excited for the journey that lies ahead of us here at Kempsville.”
Rivera is one of the more than 100 students enrolled in the academy as part of its inaugural class, and each member brings his/her unique perspective to the academy.
For example, freshman Shaniya Highter spoke to her fellow classmates and guests about her journey to Kempsville. Despite initially seeing herself in the International Baccalaureate program at Princess Anne High School, Highter shared that the idea of being able to walk away with an associate’s degree by the time she was a high school graduate was too great an opportunity to pass up.
Also too good of an opportunity for EBA students is the chance to put their creative and inspired thinking to the test.
During her remarks, Academy Coordinator Meghan Timlin read a book by Kobi Yamada, “What Do You Do With an Idea?” The story follows a child who has an idea, which is illustrated in the book as a giant golden egg. The child, at first, does not know what to do with this idea, but as it grows so too does the child’s confidence to make the idea a reality.
To inspire the students to treasure and foster all their ideas – big and small – every student was called to the stage Tuesday and on their way up, they were given a small, golden egg with the word “Idea” written across it.
“Today is about you because frankly none of us would be here without you,” Timlin told the students. “Thank you for taking this journey with us, thank you for choosing us as your home high school for the next four years. There is so much passion and energy in this group that sits before me that I cannot wait to see what they are going to do to change the world.”
During the 30-minute ceremony, guests were also greeted with messages from Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence, Virginia Beach School Board Chairman Dan Edwards as well as Kempsville High School Principal Bill Harris.
Spence, Edwards and all of Kempsville’s administrative team joined the students onstage to help cut the Kempsville-appropriate red ribbon. And, with one snip of the scissors, the EBA made its debut in Virginia Beach. One by one the academy students ushered out the auditorium and back to their classes where the real work – and real fun – is just beginning.
For more information about the Entrepreneurship and Business Academy, visit vbschools.com.