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Alumni in the News

Alumni in the News

In September 2021, John Stout '82 was featured in the Williamsburg’s Next Door Neighbor Magazine, where the theme was “Arts”. The article chronicles how John found himself doing four of his favorite activities: Emceeing, photographing, playing softball, and making those around him laugh… all at the same time! To read the article about John on pages 49-51, click here.

Bill Francavilla ’98
was recently featured on the cover of the November 2021 edition of Williamsburg’s Next Door Neighbor Magazine. The month’s theme was “Thankfulness” and the article follows Bill’s journey from being a History major in college, to selling insurance, to him becoming a Pastor at Living Hope Church in Williamsburg. To read the article, click here

Mackenzie ‘07
and Miles Suttle ’06 not only welcomed their newborn into the world, but they were featured in a Wavy TV article for the occasion! Shepard Miles Suttle became the 2021st baby born in 2021 at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, VA on September 22nd. To view the story, click here.

After her July wedding, the following month Jordan Lipinski ‘11 started her position as News Producer for KOMO 4 News in Seattle, Washington. KOMO 4 News is an ABC News affiliate. 

On April 12, 2021, The National Black Lawyers (NBL) selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Jordan Gilliam ’12 as a Top 40 Under 40 honoree. NBL’s Top 40 Under 40 honorees represent attorneys from each state or region and are nominated based on: outstanding professional reputation, notable achievements as a lawyer and be active in state or national specialty lawyer organizations. Jordan is an attorney in Stites & Harbison’s Lexington, Ky., office where he is a member of the Real Estate & Banking Service Group. He assists clients with wide-ranging real estate needs, including land acquisition, zoning, development and leasing matters.

In January 2021, Courtney Gardner ’85 was named the new director of the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts. Click here to read more.

On November 9,2020, Dr. Céline Gounder ‘93 was appointed to the COVID-19 Advisory Board by U.S. president-elect Joe Biden. Céline is an infectious disease specialist, epidemiologist, and assistant professor at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. She is also the Founder, CEO, and President of Just Human Productions, a non-profit organization that elevates public health coverage beyond traditional media. Since being selected for the incoming administration's Advisory Board, she has been in discussions that prioritize resolving racial inequalities, keeping schools open as safely as possible, and restoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the premier public health agency. Céline was also honored to participate in the first-ever TIME Person of the Year Debates, which you and read about here and view here. To read more about her plans to navigate the Biden-Harris administration through the pandemic, check out this New York Times article

Leticia Foster '02
has been named to the STANDOUT Class of 2020 by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The award recognizes active and engaged Charlotte, NC area young professionals and philanthropists who exemplify leadership qualities, excel in their industry, and most importantly, dedicate their time and energy to the Charlotte community. Leticia, along with her peers in the Class of 2020, will be recognized during a virtual celebration on Thursday, October 29. To learn more about STANDOUT, details on the celebration, or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, click here

After graduating Magna Cum Laude as an Integrated Science and Technology Major with a double concentration in Energy and Environment from James Madison University in 2020, Kayla Rutherford '16 can now add published author to her resume. Her first book in a trilogy, Blood of Power, is a young adult science fiction novel about a young girl and a tragic fate. The second book is on its way, as well as an audio version of the first book. For more information regarding Kayla’s book and signing dates, you can find her on Facebook or Instagram at kayla_rutherford06.

Jeff Stout ‘15
is living in Sherman Oaks in Los Angeles, California for his new position as Associate Engineer in Manufacturing with SpaceX.

In 2019, Rachel Braig '14, known by her artistic alias Essy, began releasing her solo material, racking up over 4 million streams and 75,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone. Essy’s first EP “Second Thoughts” dropped in May 2020 and is available on all streaming platforms, while her second EP is to follow later in the year.

After graduating from college for psychology and film, Rebecca Schell '13 started to get into acting in NYC. She began working as the background on tv shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Quantico, and more. She then started doing modeling work. In January 2020, she was featured on Season 18; Episode 4: The Ultimate Upcycle of Project Runway, the hit reality television series that focuses on fashion design. Rebecca was chosen to model by Karlie Kloss, who is a fashion model, entrepreneur and judge on the show.

Mahari Chabwera ‘13
is an artist living and working between Newport News and Richmond, Virginia. She’s the 2019-2020 recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship, and the 2020 recipient of the Visual Arts Center Emerging Artist Award. Along with her other art pieces and murals, she has been collaborating with Asa Jackson ‘07 at The Contemporary Arts Network center as a 2020-2021 CAN Foundation First Patron Artist in Residence.

William Steinberger ‘12
, a Ph.D. student in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Michigan, has been awarded a Second Place prize in the Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Technology R&D. His award-winning research paper, “Imaging Special Nuclear Material using a Handheld Dual Particle Imager,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports in February 2020.

In April 2020, Matthew Rivera '12 debuted a new podcast called Loud 24/7. It’s a trio of LOUD people discussing current events, curious topics, and listener’s choices. They invite you to come be LOUD with them on new weekly episodes every Friday morning! Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Buzzsprout. 

The Virginian-Pilot
came out with their Inside Business’s “2019 Top 40 under 40” list and local artist Asa Jackson ‘07 was one featured. He is the president and co-founder of the Contemporary Arts Network, which hopes to empower artists, patrons and the community at large through the arts and has opened an arts center this year. For more on his current project: 

In February 2020, Andy Churray ‘05 became the new Wichita administrator for Vagabond Missions, a nonprofit which seeks to break the cycle of neglect, violence, and broken families often faced by inner-city teens. Read more about the company here.

Emily Goodson ‘03
is the Founder & CEO of the client-focused, culture-shaping consulting company CultureSmart, based out of Santa Monica, California.

Nicole Lamberson '96
is a Physician Assistant in Virginia, serving on the Medical Advisory Board for the nonprofit organization Benzodiazepine Information Coalition ( Nicole joined the outreach team of the documentary film, Medicating Normal, which reveals the untold story of the potentially disastrous consequences that can occur when for-profit medicine intersects with human beings in distress. It is currently premiering in film festivals. 

In May 2020, Bryan Doerries ‘94 premiered Theater of War Productions’ initiative, The Oedipus Project, on Zoom as a catalyst for powerful, guided conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals, families, and communities. When Oedipus the King was first performed, the audience would have been recovering from a plague that killed nearly one-third of the Athenian population. Seen through this lens, the play might be as relevant now as it was in its own time.

is a weekly podcast that premiered in March, hosted by Dr. Celine Gounder ’93, about the Coronavirus. The podcast helps explain the latest science, the bigger context and brings diverse angles- from history and anthropology to politics and economics. Celine is an infectious disease specialist who has worked on tuberculosis and HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and was an Ebola worker during the West African epidemic.

Mike Robert ‘91
is living the dream, traveling on his 40 ft. sailboat with his wife and two children. Their permanent home is in Denver, CO, where Mike maintains the headquarters for his production company De Ja Vu Media, Inc.. Among his awards are 21 Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and 4 North American Promax Awards. Read his blog about his latest travels: and catch this recent TV interview with Mike’s children about their brush with Tropical Storm Bertha aboard their boat.

2 photographs by John Lee Matney ’83 were featured in the book Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture. One of his photographs is of Jeremy Ayers, who the author says is the single most important figure in the Athens art and music scene. The other photo is of artist Patrick Keim.

The Virginian Pilot
announced The 2020 Inside Business Power List (The Next 50) in May 2020 and featured was Wendy Drucker ‘76, who is a third generation, 39-year firm veteran and Managing Director, passionate about Drucker+Falk’s role in providing quality housing to more than 100,000 residents. 

Jimmy Lee ’69
 was recognized by Best Lawyers in America as 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” in Bankruptcy Litigation for the Dallas/Ft. Worth region. Jimmy now serves as Counsel to the international law firm Vinson & Elkins, residing in its Dallas, Texas office, having retired as a partner of the firm at the end of 2018.

Dr. Erica Merriam Elliott ‘66
released her book, “Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert!” in 2019 and has since narrated and produced an audio version. The audiobook is for sale on and on the iTunes app, while all of the versions of the book are available on Amazon. 

Trip Ferguson `67 was inducted on the HRA Wall of Honor during the Founders' Day Assembly on April 19, 2018. He is an alumnus who has been a loyal volunteer and a passionate advocate for Hampton Roads Academy for decades. He joins 23 other dedicated members of HRA’s community, including his late father. HRA’s Wall of Honor was created to honor individuals who have influenced in a lasting way the direction and quality of HRA.

National Business Aviation Assoc. has named Paige Kroner `95 to represent the Mid-Atlantic region, a newly added territory for the association. 

Barclay Shepard `87
was honored with the HRA Outstanding Alumni Service Award at Founders' Day on April 20, 2017. Barclay initiated and continues to organize the annual Alumni vs. Varsity soccer games at HRA, thus keeping several alumni involved with each other and the school.

Rising junior Nicole Piercy `15 of the University of Richmond Swimming & Diving team will be part of an elite group after being named to the Maccabi USA squad for the 20th World Maccabiah Games this summer in Israel. (04-17)

Katie Oates Small '06
 found great success as an opera singer in Atlanta. She also founded "small opera company." Please check it out on Facebook (FB/smalloperacompany) and

HRA alumnus Saxon Holt '70 was featured in an article by the Daily Press in April 2016. Saxon is an award-winning garden photographer in California and was a featured speaker at the Virginia Living Museum's 50th anniversary event on April 24. He also came to HRA on Monday, April 25, 2016 to work with two student photography classes.

Zach Wittkamp `95 and Gray Bowditch `02
are excited about the opening of the Tradition Brewing Co. in June 2016, as the first craft beer venture in Newport News. They are part of a group of investors and Gray will be the operations manager. 

Scott Herbert `06
is hiking the Appalachian Trail throughout the sping and summer of 2016 before attending law school at William & Mary is August 2016. His quest is about raising awareness and money for a veterans' organization.

Marika Yasuda `11
performed recently (May 2016) at the Williamsburg Music Club benefit concert. She graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and is working on a master's of music in piano performance at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, where she is also an associate instructor. She is making aname for herself in the music world. She has won numerous awards, performing as a soloist, soloist with orchestra, and vocal and instrumental accompanist.  
Time Inc. has named JJ Miller `90 as executive producer of video for its two pop culture brands, People and Entertainment Weekly (EW).

Alumna Courtney Elliott Gardner `85 won an ALLI award from the Cultural Alliance of Hampton Roads this past weekend for her support of the arts. She is currently Executive Director of the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.

Nicole Piercy `15
has been named Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week in her first college swimming matchup.

Robert Lanier `92
has been appointed Senior VP of international distribution, Asia-Pacific, covering Australia, New Zealand and Japan for Sony Pictures/Television. (October 2015)

Cary Frances Clark '07,
was featured in the Augst 2015 Auburn Veterinarian Magazine about her achievements  there and her legacy to her great-great grandfather, Dr. Charles Allen Cary, who was the first dean of the Vet School in 1907. 

Brooke Roberson Cushman '88
was recently elected to serve on the Board of Trustees of The Roberson Museum and Science Center/Planetarium in Binghamton, NY, joining her father, Robert S. "Bo" Roberson (HRA Trustee '81-'91). She is excited about continuing the tradition, since she represents the fourth generation of her family to be associated with the museum.

Congratulations to 3 former HRA athletes! Hampden-Sydney football players Justin, DeChirico '11, Will Banning '11 and Marshall Bagley '12 received their ODAC championship rings in April 2015 at their banquet. Justin and Will are seniors and this makes their third championship in their four year career. In addition, Will received the award for the highest gpa for the senior class football players.

Langley Speedway division champion Brandon Gdovic '10 to run in Xfinity Series race in Texas on April 10, 2015.
Click to read more:
Chase Worley HRA '14 has been named one of the team captains for his Division 1 Lacrosse team at New Jersey Institute of Technology.  A challenging 12-game schedule opens on Feb. 20 at Stony Brook and includes state rivals Rutgers and Monmouth.

Rob Taylor '85 has a new job. He is now Senior Business Process Specialist at the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, working out of the Pentagon.

HRA alumnus, West Joseph '09, has founded a company called Nomad Longboards. "Nomad Longboards was created to promote and encourage community, progression and stoke in people who love action sports."

Hollywood producer, Mark Gordon, HRA Class of 1974, is being honored by the Producers Guild with a lifetime achievement award, the Norman Lear Award. Read more.....

Alumnus Will Banning '11 had an interesting about it.

Victoria Scott  '05
 will be on Fox News The Kelly File March 13 at 9 p.m. and on Hannity March 14 at 10 p.m. She will be a guest with her doctor discussing Obama Care. 

Read about the first novel by teacher and writer, Andrew Gretes '00.

Ashley Hanna ’08
 is now an Associate Producer at CBS Television’s omg! Insider in Los Angeles. She has been working there and with Entertainment Tonight (they are sister shows) since she graduated from the University of Georgia in May of 2012 and was promoted last month to the producing position.

TowneBank announces that John Hollingsworth '04 has been promoted to assistant vice-president. He is a dealer services officer, responsible for risk management at the Pavilion office. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and received his MBA from the College of William and Mary. 

Paul Trible `99 
was recently featured on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" talking about his luxury shirt business, Ledbury. Click on "latest clips" and scroll down to # 13.
He is also included in an article about Richmond in Virginia Living Magazine.

Tasha Rose `98 
announces a launch event for a new children's yoga company. It will take place at the Ferguson showroom in Newport News on October 11 at 6 pm. Check out the comapny on their Facebook page:  They have published the first in a series of children's books which incorporate characters and yoga positions for an interactive experience.
Daniel Shaye `86 has been a runner for years, but now is trying his hand at obstacle-heavy adventure races. He recently wrote an article describing these events, along with training tips, in the Health Journals' September issue.

Ben Hill `90 has been appointed to the Williamsburg Regional Board at Old Point National Bank. He is the President of Carcoop Inc. that will soon be opening Virginia's first Yogurtini franchise location in Williamsburg. He has his degree in Urban Planning from Virginia Tech.

Scott Madaras `07
 participated in the 100 fly Olympic Trials in Omaha this summer.  Way to go Scott!

The premiere of locally made horror movie "The Waterman" by Matt Lockhart '95 was held in Virginia Beach on April 19, 2012.  

Edward Smith '09 has received a Senator John W. Warner Public Leadership Undergraduate Research Award. Read full article here.

Ben Joseph '03 wrote an episode for the Simpsons which aired on Sunday, April 15, 2012, at 8 p.m. Read his blog here

Tiffany Haas '00 starred as Glinda (through March 25, 2012) in "Wicked" at Crysler Hall. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in 2005 and competed in the Miss America pageant as Miss Ohio in 2002.

Mark A. Short '83, a partner with Kaufman & Canoles, has been named president of the Newport News Bar Association.

Chris Sink '82 and his wife Leslie were featured in the Oyster Pointer with their business Hi-Ho Silver in City Center.

Samantha Turlington `08 has been directing a theatrical production called "HONK!" for the New River Stage company in Blacksburg, Va. It runs through March and has been a great success. She will direct a summer production of "Peter Pan" for Summer Musical Enterprise, also in the New River Valley.

Katie Wilson `00, a freelance graphic designer, will have a chance to share her talents at the Super Bowl half-time show on February 5. Katie will be the Senior Motion Graphic Designer for Madonna's half-time performance, in collaboration with a Montreal studio and Cirque du Soleil. Following her graduation from HRA, Katie studied at Virginia Tech and the Savannah School of Art and Design. She went on to work in Amsterdam and now lives in New York City.

Caitlyn Unsworth '11, a first-year women's basketball player at Columbia, was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week.

Hampton Roads Academy

HRA is accredited through the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and is a National Blue Ribbon School.