Newport News, VA – An Achievable Dream (AAD) announced, Riverside Health System and William B. “Bill” Downey, retiring CEO, and his family as the sponsor of the Class of 2023 during AAD’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at Christopher Newport University. Guests gathered to celebrate 30 years of dreams and nearly 1,000 graduates from the innovative education program. As a class sponsor, The Downey’s and Riverside have committed to providing annual merit scholarships for each member of the class for each year they attend college and maintain a certain grade point average. The graduates of the Class of 2023, who were honored at the 30th Anniversary Celebration, will be known as the Downey Family and Riverside Health System Scholars.
Of the Downey’s sponsorship of the Class of 2023, Dr. Lee Vreeland, president and CEO of An Achievable Dream, shared, “I could not think of a better sponsor for this class. Bill and his wife Carol and Riverside Health System have been longstanding supporters and friends of An Achievable Dream, and this class sponsorship is not only an example of his dedication to supporting our students, but their belief in the vision that our late founder, Walter Segaloff, saw in Newport News over 30 years ago. We are honored that Bill and his family and Riverside Health System have chosen to sponsor the Class of 2023.”
Class sponsorship of An Achievable Dream graduates is a concept dating from 1992 when the late Walter Segaloff, AAD founder, and local businessman, garnered support from the Newport News business community to fund scholarships. Each year since 2001, businesses and individuals have stepped forward to serve as class sponsors, ensuring that finances are not a limitation for AAD graduates attending college. On average, 90-95% of An Achievable Dream graduates have continued to a two or four-year college or trade school, while 5-10% have joined the military or entered the workforce.
Retiring CEO of Riverside Health System, Bill Downey shared, “To see what these students have achieved is a remarkable testament to their commitment to learning and to the Dream created by Walter thirty years ago. Carol and our entire family are excited to see what these fantastic young people will be able to accomplish, and we are so fortunate to be able to support them in this way.”
Walter Segaloff, who passed away in 2013, founded An Achievable Dream on the belief that, “given the right tools and opportunity, all students can succeed.” Segaloff’s vision has helped level the playing field for thousands of students since the program’s inception in 1992. The organization pays tribute to Walter Segaloff’s vision and memory as they celebrate 30 years of dreams.
Previous class sponsors are: the Frank and Marie Blechman Foundation (2001); Mary Hughes, owner, Hampton Roads Harley-Davidson (2002, 2012); Michelle Jacobs, former president of the Lee Group (2003); Chesapeake Bay Seafood House Restaurants, in honor of Alan and Beverly Diamonstein (2004); Caleb and Virginia West and Dollar Tree Stores (2005); Smithfield Foods (2006, 2015); W.M. Jordan Company (2007); Ferguson Enterprises (2008); NC and Linda Hardee (2009, 2010, and 2022); Bay Electric Company and the Biagas Family (2011); Aubrey and Peggy Layne (2013); Mike and Nancy Petters (2014); Charles and Mari Ann Banks and Ferguson Enterprises (2016); Ferguson Enterprises and the Fass Family (2017); the Levin and Friedberg Families (2018); and Charles and Mari Ann Banks (2019); Executive Leadership Team of Newport News Shipbuilding (2020); PBMares, LLP, in honor of Alan. S. Witt (2021).
About An Achievable Dream:
An Achievable Dream (AAD) develops independent, productive citizens through a Social, Academic, and Moral Education (SAME®) curriculum. Dedicated to the belief that all children can learn and succeed, AAD operates schools in partnership with Newport News Public Schools and Virginia Beach City Public Schools, and AAD Certified Academy in Henrico County near Richmond, Virginia.