In 1992, Newport News businessman Walter Segaloff assembled a coalition of corporate leaders, educators, city officials, and military partners to launch An Achievable Dream (AAD), a summer education and tennis program for 3rd graders facing a variety of social-risk factors. The program soon expanded to a nearby elementary school, which then became An Achievable Dream Academy.
Although An Achievable Dream began as a tennis and educational summer camp, it has since expanded to 5 schools (as of 2020), serving over 2,000 students in Richmond, Newport News, and Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Walter S. Segaloff (1931-2013), AAD’s founder, was a well-known businessman in the Hampton Roads region who wanted to make a difference. So he did. He left a legacy of impact in his community and our nation. His awards and recognitions were numerous and his presence loomed large in Hampton Roads and beyond, but he was most proud of three accomplishments:
Mr. Segaloff began his involvement with the state of Israel in 1949 when, just a teenager, he worked his way to Israel on a boat carrying 2,000 cows, landing in Haifa with the city ablaze from Syrian bombings the night before. For the rest of his life he was intensely involved with life-long friends in supporting the growth of Israel.
In 1991, Mr. Segaloff was the co-chairman of the “Coming Home Proud” event in Newport News. This event welcomed home the Gulf Soldiers and honored the veterans of all wars, especially the Vietnam Veterans who had received no welcome home from that war 20 years earlier. Walter was an unabashed patriot, who dearly loved his country and deeply respected those who had sacrificed to serve it.
And his enormous education endeavor: An Achievable Dream. Mr. Segaloff established and guided An Achievable Dream — a public/private partnership beginning with Newport News Public Schools, which pioneered a model of social and moral focus coupled with a unique education curriculum, proving that all children can learn and succeed. This program was born from Mr. Segaloff’s core principles and nurtured by the involvement of the military, the business community and the community.
The foundation for his accomplishments were his core principles:
- Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God;
- It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty not to begin;
- Doing the right thing for the right reason will invariably produce good things;
- Right makes might — truth to power;
- “Never, never, never give up”;
- Make your life count;
- One person can make a difference;
- Never again.
Today, An Achievable Dream remains grateful for Walter and his passionate dedication to a dream. His dream was to create bright futures for young men and women, and we honor his legacy in continuing this work.