My 42 year career

Retiree Ed Jones%2c Human Resources

“My 42-year career has always been to make things better for others and to make their jobs easier. As a teacher, make school better for my students by working to make my classroom exciting and educational at the same time. As principal, to make school safe and welcoming for my students and staff.  As the Director of Employment Services, to serve all VBCPS employees and future employees to help them carry out the mission of VBCPS…You could not ask for a better employer. VBCPS is a nationally recognized school division that treats its employees with respect and honors their role in providing the best educational experience for the children of Virginia Beach.”



ella williams


Retiree Ella Williams Music Teacher Indian Lakes

“I’m retiring after 41 years of teaching elementary school music. The best part of my job over the years has been selecting shy students who are unsuccessful in the academics, and when given an opportunity to shine in front of their peers by singing or playing a musical instrument, it builds their confidence in other areas. I am proud of the fact that there are thousands of young people who love and enjoy music today as a result of being involved in the music program of my school and other schools that they have transferred to. I will miss coming to school daily and being energized by my lovely students who bring me so much joy and laughter. I will miss my wonderful administrators, staff, parents and other colleagues that I consider to be a part of my extended family.”

What advice do you have for those you leave behind?

“Advice?  Continue to love and respect each other as colleagues, working harmoniously together for the success of our students who are depending on us to equip them for their future. Remember, it truly does take all of us to care for these precious ones who will make us proud in the future.”



I’ve been a physical education assistant for 41 years

Retiree Deborah Olds, PE Asst., Birdneck ES

“I’ve been a physical education assistant for 41 years. The best part of my job is to have students come back after high school and ask if I am still there or they come by the gym and say hello and some even tell me they have children at the school where I am teaching and please look out for them. Even some parents come back and say take care of the grand kids now. When I tell them I’m retiring they said, ‘No, you can’t go, I have another one for you to look out for.'”



“I’ve played all around the world, but playing the bagpipes at graduation is a rare privilege. I’ve been doing it for 20 years. I started it as a Kellam parent when I was still in the Marines. Mr. Biehl called me one day and said that the senior class wanted a bagpiper and he’d heard I was one. That first year, my son graduated and my daughter the year after that, so I got to play for them both before I started teaching here.”



“I’ve been a part of VBCPS


“I’ve been a part of VBCPS for the past 12 years. To me, graduating is just basically a mark in the road as to how I’ve grown and progressed to where I am today. You know 12 years, a lot can happen in those 12 years, especially as you’re going from 6 years old to 18 years old. There’s so much you can change and so much you can transform as a person. Starting from elementary school, you really just want to fit in and be like everyone else. And, then in middle school, it’s kind of the same thing and there’s even more pressure on top of that. But, then, once you get to high school, you really just find your clique and who you belong with. And, you really grow as a person and find who you really are and who you want to be. I think that’s what graduating means. It’s having that confidence in yourself and becoming who you really are and who you want to be in the future.”

Being a graduate means a lot to me because


“Being a graduate means a lot to me because I’m one of the first in my family to graduate with honors and to go off to a university and study nursing. It honestly took a lot of work. There were many struggles with difficult classes, but I pushed through and I got through it.”

What kept you motivated during high school?

“Being the first person to graduate with honors (in my family). Having my family be able to come here. My dad was somebody who really pushed me – Hearing from my dad and getting words of wisdom from him really helped me out.”

My last name is

Starts with Z

“My last name is Zeigler. I’ve always been last. Best for last, you know.”

What do you think it will be like when they call your name?

“I think it’s going to be wild – all the applause. It’s the end of the year. Everyone will be excited.”

The first time I sang

Jim Miller 2

“The first time I sang at graduation it was because I wanted to do something different for the seniors. Lisa Corprew was the only one who knew I might sing. I had no music. I had nothing. But I love the lyrics to “Believe in Yourself” from The Wiz. So I started to read it and thought, ‘that’s the only thing I could do for them that’s different.’ And so I did it. I sing every year now. Believe me, I would not sing in front of 5,000 people for anyone but these students.”



My sister



 “My sister was a freshman this past year so I’ve had experience giving someone advice for high school. My advice was to be more involved. I feel like a lot of people don’t enjoy high school because they don’t really get the full experience. They just get the go-to-school, go-home, do-homework experience. I really feel like they need to realize how many opportunities are here. That’s what I love about Tallwood. We have so many clubs and so many teams that you can get involved with. It really makes all the difference. I only did sports freshmen year. And that’s all I did up to junior year. And last year I went to leadership workshop and it is just changed my view on school and I really wanted to get involved with SCA. I did apply for SCA Executive Board, got that, and it’s just kind of opened up a whole new realm of high school for me. That’s the advice I would give to incoming freshmen. Get involved.”


This summer

thumbnail_Summer Trip for Triplets

“This summer I will spend time with my family because it will be my second-to-last summer with them before college. I’m a triplet and I’m super close with my two brothers, so I’ll spend time with them. We’re going on a summer trip – just the three of us. We’re going to California or Mexico. We’re not sure. It’s not planned yet, but it will be very fun. I’m excited to just spend time with them.

It’s fun being a triplet. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like that we always understand each other. They can tell what I’m thinking – moods and everything.”

I actually ended up

m campbell

“I actually ended up with a career in music and film, and I think that working with scripts and screenplays helped lead me to where I am today…I have always shared stories with (my children) that teach valuable life lessons and help to develop good character. I squeeze in a little history, some sports trivia and a bit of math in every story, and the fellas love it. Everybody has a story to tell. Sure, you can use your imagination, but sometimes kids get hung up on that. People’s lives are interesting, and with a little creativity, there’s a story.”



Now, getting closer to graduation

PAHS senior reflection

“Now, getting closer to graduation, it’s caused me to reflect a little more as a student because going through elementary and middle school I never really thought about the impact school was having on me. Talking to people from different schools when you go to tour colleges, you find out how different areas are and how there might only be one big high school in their school system. It causes me to be really thankful for the experiences I’ve had in VBSchools especially in terms of student leadership. A lot of school areas are not really emphasizing student leadership but we have an entire office for it. Those programs have really made me the person I am sitting in front of you today. It’s enabled me to be more confident and independent through being able to lead my peers. Having those experiences has prepared me for my future going on to college and starting to interview for jobs.”


We made this car

LandstownHS electric car boy

“We made this car an example of sustainability energy. It’s a pet project of mine. It runs on electricity. That’s it. It’s just one battery that powers it. It’s totally available for solar integration or wind power or anything you want to do – anything other than burning fossil fuels.

I took an electronics course earlier in high school and we had an entire three month unit solely dedicated to solar energy – learning all the mechanics behind it, how it works, how it’s implemented. I took interest in it. It kind of evolved into this.

What really got me hooked on this car is that, in about three weeks, it is going to be a functioning mobile T-shirt launcher. It’s going to be awesome. We’re going to use it at pep rallies. It’s going to have five T-shirt canons in the back on a trailer we design.

I’ve always had a passion for electronics and robotics and this general field of engineering. Landstown has really fostered that with all of the opportunities we have. It’s kind of ridiculous what an edge I have when I get out of high school because they’ve given us real-world, job application opportunities.”