NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Hampton Roads lost a civic leader and visionary over the weekend. Walter Segaloff, who founded the Achievable Dream Academy, died unexpectedly of a heart attack Sunday morning.
According to a news release from the Academy’s president, Segaloff died of a heart attack outside a Newport News gym, where he had gone to exercise. He was 82-years-old.
Segaloff started Achievable Dream 20 years ago in Newport News – a program that has helped hundreds of low-income and disadvantaged students in the area. He believed everyone could achieve the American Dream if they were on a level playing field – just as he achieved his.
Before he created the school, Segaloff was a successful businessman. He got the idea to found the academy because he couldn’t find skilled employees. First he started a tennis and tutoring program for poor children. Then he developed partnerships with local businesses to raise money for the school.
“From this day, I still love tennis because of this school,” said Jade Scott, who graduated from Achievable Dream.
Scott is one of many who reaped the benefits of Segaloff's vision and dedication.
“This community is not so good, but the school will give them some kind of structure instead of just hanging around in the streets, not doing anything with their life,” Scott said.
Along with reading writing and arithmetic, Achievable Dream staff teaches conflict resolution, healthy living and etiquette. The school is public with private partnership, which allows it to run two hours later each day with more social and moral programs.
Achievable Dream has had a 100% graduation rate for the past two years, and every single student is headed to college.
“That's what his concept was, and now we're 20 years out and its not a concept -- it does work,” said Lane.
In addition to founding the Academy, Segaloff also helped create the Achievable Dream School in Virginia Beach, slated to open in 2014.
"Lean how to earn" was Segaloff's motto.
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