Hezroy Hammil has fond memories of growing up in rural Jamaica. “My first pet was a goat, and we spent hours running, never walking, around my dad’s farm,” he recalled. “I always loved school, and it was a big thing in my house to do well.”
Hammil’s family relocated to the United States in 2001 to give Hammil and his sister, Elaine, more opportunities.
The plan worked.
Elaine Porter is an Eastern Virginia Medical School-trained pediatrician with a thriving practice. She and her husband are raising a family of their own.
And on May 16, Hezroy Hammil will march in Tidewater Community College’s 58th Commencement Exercises at the Old Dominion University Ted Constant Convocation Center. His associate of applied science in information systems technology will be his ticket to a four-year school and an exciting career in robotics.
“My mom made a big sacrifice leaving her home to start a new life here,” Hammil says. “She stressed learning at home and had us reading the classics. She taught me to always do my best.”
A 2012 honors graduate of Oscar Smith High School, Hammil decided on TCC to keep costs low. “So many of my friends went off to school, and now they regret it, because they are under the gun with debt,” he says.
Hammil jumped into college life at TCC’s Chesapeake Campus his first semester, becoming a Student Government Association senator, and a year later, president of the group. “I got involved and realized right away that I have a passion for serving and giving back,” he says. “I also enjoyed advocating for the student body during a time when the new buildings were under construction.”
He and other student volunteers had an active voice in the planning of the Chesapeake Campus Student Center, and his portrait, along with other current SGA members, will hang onsite as a reminder of the hours committed to helping create a student-focused place for learning and success.
Hezroy Hammil in his own words
An honor student who holds a 3.8 GPA, Hammil hopes to one day develop robotic limbs for those who need them.
“I taught myself to program in HTML in middle school, and it snowballed from there,” he says. In high school Hammil placed third in a Future Business Leaders of America web design project. The other winners worked in groups; he worked solo.
“TCC has been a great place for me because I’ve grown as a leader and thrived as a student,” he says. “I like the family atmosphere of the campus and know that the people here have my best interest at heart.”
Hammil added with a wide smile, “It’s also been great having a support system at home. My mom makes sure I’m well fed.”
On the go from dawn to dusk, Hammil also served as Chesapeake chapter president of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) national honor society and has been an active member of the Computer Club, Bible Club and Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB). He also served as parliamentarian for the Student Government Federation Council.
Hammil was the student speaker at the dedications of the Chesapeake Academic Building and the student center, as well as the college-wide PTK inductions for 2013 and 2014.
In his free time Hammil sings bass in his church choir. “My faith is important and has helped to keep me focused and on the right track,” he says.
Hammil doesn’t know where he’ll be going to school next year, but he has applied to some impressive universities, including Cornell, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford universities; University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Virginia Tech. He plans to work toward a Ph.D., and hopes to one day open his own computer robotics firm.
“I’m ready for the next step,” he says. “My time here has honed academic skills, but more importantly gotten me ready for my future. I’m really happy that I started here.”