A Tribute to Lushon Swinney

By Ron DeChirico, HRA’s Director of Finance and Operations and Rhonda DeChirico, HRA’s Head of Middle School
Lushon Swinney’s passing was swift, and the unexpected news caught all of us unaware. It was amazing how such a small person (Lushon often joked about being vertically challenged) could have such a huge rippling effect within the community. Lushon’s open heart and caring nature were infectious and knew no boundaries. She shared them with everyone at Hampton Roads Academy - from her co-workers, to the parents, and most especially with the students.
Lushon loved working at HRA and loved being a part of our community. The best part is that we loved her back, each in our own special way. Lushon would enter the faculty room, see one of her co-workers and say, “I like working with you! You always make me smile.” That was just Lushon being Lushon! Her positivity was contagious, and always left folks feeling better for being around her.

Much like a family that loses a special family member, HRA felt the impact of her loss immediately. When we heard the news, we grieved, we cried and most importantly we surrounded David, Savion and DaShonte' with love and support. As we spoke about Lushon, we recalled stories about her. Our hearts grew lighter with the sharing. Special memories of Lushon brought smiles to our faces and laughter back to our hearts. This is exactly what Lushon would have wanted, and we all knew it. As always, she left us better for having shared time with her.

At HRA, we often speak about how as part of a shared community, we can positively impact others. Lushon embodied this and lived it every day. Her spirit inspired so many here within our community and always through simple things, like a quick conversation or just a good laugh. She would leave notes on the desks of “her teachers” just to say “Have a Great Day” for them to find the next morning. Who does this? Lushon did!

That bottle of great smelling hand soap in the faculty bathroom. . . The special cleaner that “just makes that beautiful cabinet in your room shine”. . . The little treats of candy always present in her pocket for students leaving late in the day. . . . The trinket she happened to see somewhere and purchased for someone simply because, “It reminded me of you” . . . Who does this? Lushon did!

“I missed your smile yesterday!”; “I thank The Lord for you!”; “Every day is an opportunity for me to be thankful!”; “Life ain’t always easy, but I am blessed to be here!”; “I appreciate you!” Who shared such words, without fail? Lushon did.

As the new school year begins and the hustle and bustle of children are echoing through the halls, we invite you to pause for a moment by the Middle School hallway. If you listen hard enough, you may hear the beautiful music of her laughter, still an echo in the hall. You may feel the vibes of positivity and love that linger there. It is the lasting, ripple effect of a special family member and friend who would also stop and pause, and share a hug and happy greeting with all who passed. In those times and spaces, we will remember Lushon. She will continue to lighten our hearts, inspire us to share smiles and kindness, and challenge us to be better by loving and caring for all those we are blessed to share our lives with, if even in the smallest of ways.

Thank You, Lushon, for making all of us at HRA a better community through your constant examples of kindness. Thank you for leaving a legacy of love.

A note from Lushon's family:

Dear HRA Family,

On behalf of my family and I, we would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support you have shown us during this difficult time. From the phone calls/text messages, cards, gifts, home visits, and FOOD, we are forever grateful and overwhelmed from such heartfelt acts of kindness. Know that your warm sentiments are felt by all, including Lushon. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we will do the same for you.


David, Savion, DaShonte', Delonte and Family