Will Sessoms, former Mayor of Virginia Beach, receives the 2021 Dream Maker Award from An Achievable Dream during the 2nd Annual A Night to Dream – a Virtual Gala.
An Achievable Dream (AAD) presented the organization’s 2021 Dream Maker Award to former Virginia Beach Mayor, Will Sessoms, during the 2nd Annual A Night to Dream gala, held virtually on Friday, March 5, 2021. This is the second year AAD has presented the Virginia Beach Dream Maker award, which is given to someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in support of and service to An Achievable Dream, who believes wholeheartedly in the mission and works tirelessly in the community to support equity in education and provide opportunities and tools for success to AAD students. “Although we had to adapt with the 2nd Annual A Night to Dream gala being held virtually,” says AAD President and CEO, Dr. Lee Vreeland, “we already knew that we wanted to present Mr. Sessoms with this award. He is a true pillar of support for An Achievable Dream in Virginia Beach.”
During the previous year’s inaugural A Night to Dream gala, held in February 2020 at the Cavalier Hotel, Dr. Vreeland presented the first-ever Dream Maker award to Virginia Beach Police Chief (Ret.) Jim Cervera. Of Sessoms receiving the award this year, Cervera shared, “In the years I have been honored to work with former Mayor Sessoms I can truly say that he exemplifies the definition of a true statesman. Everything he accomplished as our Mayor was for the good of our City, our community and, most importantly, our citizens. Mayor Sessoms, and City Manager Spore were the catalysts for bringing Achievable Dream to our City and our students. The positive effects of this fantastic educational program are already being noticed and the long term growth will be positive not only for our students in the Academy but for the City as a whole. It has been an honor to know and work with Mayor Sessoms.”
Jim Spore, CEO of REINVENT Hampton Roads, shares “Will’s love for Virginia Beach has no limits. He has dedicated his life to supporting organizations and causes directed to providing achievable pathways to success and achievement for all.”
Sessoms was awarded the Dream Maker Award during the live streamed portion of AAD’s 2nd Annual A Night to Dream. The event was a virtual speakeasy event with sponsors and guests participating from their homes or their own small group watch parties. Dr. Lee Vreeland hosted the evening, which included an online fundraising auction and $10,000 cash raffle, and AAD Alum, Dr. Brian McGowan, delivered the keynote address. Accepting the award, Sessoms said, “If we don’t do everything we can to make sure every young person gets a good education and the resources they need, then shame on us, because they are our future. By working together to support systems like An Achievable Dream and Virginia Beach City Public Schools, this is how we make our city, Commonwealth, and country a better place to live.”
Tony Brothers, AAD Virginia Beach Board Member, shares, “Will is one of those people you know cares deeply about his community because you see it evidenced in his actions. I have always been inspired by his pride in his community, and his dedication to making it even stronger. And his passion for An Achievable Dream is one way he invests to make the community better. Will is truly a dream maker.”
As part of her remarks during the event, Dr. Vreeland shared, “Will always refers to Virginia Beach as “The greatest city in the world” and he believed that bringing An Achievable Dream to the students and families in Virginia Beach who needed it the most was part of fulfilling that vision. His vision has never been for the next year… or the next five years… his vision looked forward to where Virginia Beach would be in 20 years. And we are proud to be part of that vision.”
Sessoms served as Mayor of Virginia Beach from 2008 until 2018. In 2018, Sessoms returned to TowneBank and is now the managing director of Towne Vacations, a division of TowneBank. TowneBank Executive Chairman, G. Robert Aston, Jr. says, “Will has spent a considerable part of his lifetime engaged in civic affairs with the goal of improving his community for both current and future generations. His support of Achievable Dream is yet another example of his passion for building a better life for all the people of Virginia Beach and beyond.”
Sessoms was instrumental in bringing the AAD program to Seatack Elementary (now Seatack Elementary An Achievable Dream Academy) in 2014 and he and his wife, Beverly, remain closely involved with An Achievable Dream Virginia Beach. They have continually provided Dreamers with the support and opportunities that makes it possible for them to succeed. Gold Key | PHR CEO, Bruce Thompson, says, “There is no public official or citizen that loves this City more than Will Sessoms. As Mayor, his constant refrain of ‘we live in the greatest City in the world’ in not political rhetoric but his fervent belief that our natural resources, schools, and record on safety is unparalleled. His 22 years of public service has been transformative for our community and the effects of that commitment to our City will be experienced by all who live, work, and play in ‘the greatest City in the world’ for decades to follow.”
An Achievable Dream, founded in 1992 by Newport News businessman, Walter Segaloff, is an educational nonprofit partnering with public schools to provide a unique Social, Academic, and Moral Education (SAME®) framework for students in underserved communities. Currently operating a full K-5 program at Seatack Elementary An Achievable Dream Academy, and grades K-8 at An Achievable Dream Middle School Program at Lynnhaven Middle School, the first graduating class of An Achievable Dream in Virginia Beach will graduate in 2025.