Star Achievers Academy YMCA

Star Achievers Academy is a carefully integrated program of academics, technology, athletics, and life skills, which builds the self-confidence, academic skills, motivation, and discipline children must have to succeed in school and to become productive, responsible citizens. It reaches out to “children in the middle” to give them hope for the future, keep them excited and successful in school, and to prepare them for tomorrow’s workforce.

P.O. Box 7593
Hampton, VA 23666
Phone: (757) 345-8310
Fax: (757) 223-7926

Our Y staff welcomes your questions and comments.

Pete Kovalcik, Executive Director

Tracie Albea, Principal
Cooper Elementary Magnet School for Technology
200 Marcella Road
Hampton, VA 23666
Phone: (757) 825-4645

Helping children “in the middle” move beyond

Our Mission

Star Achievers Academy YMCA and Cooper Elementary Magnet School for Technology is a unique community partnership which provides innovative programs, tools and resources necessary for the academic and personal success of children.

Our Guiding Principles

  • Provide a creative, motivating and exciting program that promotes academic success
  • Develop positive attitudes about school and the relationship education plays in success
  • Develop students’ skills for responsible behavior and social interaction
  • Help students develop a positive and realistic self-concept
  • Expand student aspirations and instill a belief that these aspirations are achievable
  • Foster student awareness of individual responsibility to the community
  • Strengthen parental involvement in their children’s development
  • Bring a variety of resources from the community through collaborative partnerships to broaden and enhance student experiences and learning

Quick Facts

  • Fully accredited school on Virginia Standards of Learning Tests (SOL’s)
  • Program funds over 400 citywide enrolled students
  • Made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
  • 32,200 books circulated by school library, one of the highest book-student school library circulation rate
  • 97% daily attendance rate
  • Grade retention less than 2%
  • 100% staff support of partnership

“I have been evaluating community-school partnerships for more than a decade or two, and the Hampton Star Achievers Academy YMCA stands out as one of the most exciting ones that I have ever seen.”

Lawrence Bailis, PhD. National Evaluator
Associate Professor, Center for Youth and Communities,
Heller School for Social Policy, Brandeis University

Getting the gold star in education

The Y believes that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover their full potential. Every community has at least one school where kids just need a little extra help to make the grade. At our Hampton branch of Star Achievers Academy, what a difference it makes when you add the resources of the business community, and the loving hand of a YMCA director supported by a volunteer board of management.

Star Achievers Academy YMCA is a community partner with William Mason Cooper Elementary Magnet School. In 2002, the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, with support from the Peninsula Rotary Club and Hampton City Schools, identified Cooper as a target school. Cooper was a Title I school and students were struggling in all areas. They were experiencing an increase in school violence and had one of the lowest promotion rates in the city. More than 75% of the children from Cooper come from single parent homes. Today Cooper is a shining star. They are fully accredited on Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) and they have made adequate yearly progress.

YMCA Programs at Cooper

  • 5210
  • After School Enrichment/Academic Clubs: 160 students benefit from our creative program design. Clubs and programs are unique to the school and are very effective hands-on, inquiry-based learning, where students must problem-solve and work in groups. Clubs are designed to increase students’ desires to learn and achieve. Clubs are held the entire school year.
  • Character Education: The school-wide character education program stresses the importance of the six pillars of character: caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, fairness and citizenship. The program is promoted throughout the school on a daily basis.
  • Field Trips: Field trips provide opportunities for students to participate in activities, which enrich their educational experiences. All field trips must serve a worthwhile purpose and be aligned with grade level Standards of Learning.  Field Trips are held are the entire school year.
  • Summer and Weekend Engineering Camps: Summer Engineering Camp provides enrichment/academic skills and innovative resources for students and exposes them to engineering, technology, science, and hands-on inquiry-based learning, while promoting the skills and love of learning.
  • Mentors in Engineering, Medicine, Mathematics, and Science: Every young person occasionally experiences difficulty at school and/or in their personal life. Mentoring is a great way to fill the void for students who need a positive role model in their lives. Our mentor’s role is to have fun with our students, display positive behavior, be an advocate for positive education and be a good role model. Program benefits are numerous. Youth that are mentored develop improved attendance, better grades, and have fewer disciplinary problems. Adult volunteers also find the program very rewarding.
  • Teacher Professional Development: Star Achievers Academy YMCA provides amazing opportunities for Cooper staff members to further their professional education outside of the classroom setting. This assistance maintains a competitive edge on effective learning needs at Cooper Elementary.

Major Contributors / Sponsors

Volunteer board of Managers

  • Davena Andress
  • Jean Braxton
  • Robert Dick
  • Joan Harper-Neely
  • Chavis Harris, Vice Chairman
  • Sean Holleran
  • Gary Hunter
  • Ronnie Jefferson
  • Patricia Johnson
  • Hank Lewis, Chairman
  • L. Richard Love, Past President
  • L. Elizabeth McCoury
  • Gay Reilly
  • Sonja Vega



Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.