Tiora Hackley spent 4 years at Oak Hill Academy, graduating in 2008. Her contagious personality and the personal growth she showed during that time have made her one of the most fondly remembered students to come through in many years. Tiora has been very busy and productive since graduating from Oak Hill Academy. After attending Norfolk State University and, later, Virginia State University on a basketball scholarship, the Virginia Beach native has gone on to some very prestigious internships and putting her BFA degree to good use while working in the graphic design industry and starting the Teekie Apparel brand (www.teekieapparel.biz). I recently spent some time catching up with “Teekie” and discussed the impact of the Oak Hill experience on her life.
Tiora is shown here presenting her Post-Baccalaureate Project at MICA
What are you doing now in the business world?
Right now, I am finishing my graduate work at the Maryland Institue of Art (MICA) and plan to graduate the post-baccalaureate program in graphic design in May. I’ve got some business opportunities with my apparel brand and am applying to some great companies. I can’t wait for my next move!
What has been your path since graduating Oak Hill Academy in 2008?
I was a student athlete (women’s basketball) at Norfolk State and transferred to Virginia State University for my last two years. I graduated VSU with a BFA in Graphic Design, did a lot of work for the VSU athletic department as a media specialist and started my own clothing line, Teekie Apparel, all in 2013. I was also able to secure a graphic design freelance assignment with the Under Armour Retail Design Team in 2014. I also extended the Teekie brand by working as a stylist consultant for a WNBA player, Monica Wright of the Minnesota Lynx. This year, I made the tough decision to go back to school to invest in my career and currently attend MICA.
This is one of the many marketing pieces Tiora created for VSU. She tells the story of how cool it was to run into one of her former Oak Hill classmates, Kevin Durant, during one of her work assignments.
What did you discover about yourself at Oak Hill?
At Oak Hill Academy, especially by my senior year, I realized that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. At Oak Hill, I developed confidence and was able to focus on my future. I had a lot of support from teachers like Rev. Turnmire and Mrs. Bonham who taught me that good things come from hard work. I feel that I was pushed to the highest potential and was guided in all areas of life – not just academics. The spiritual opportunities at Oak Hill also has a lasting impact and I always do my best to attend church and be thankful to God to this day. Because of this support, it became very important to me to leave a good impression on my peers and teachers. It wasn’t always like that – I grew up a lot at Oak Hill Academy.
Did Oak Hill Academy help foster your passion for graphic design and art?
Most definitely. I was involved with a lot of 21st century skills through Ms. Sargeant’s classes. I also enjoyed the art classes which rounded out my experience. I remember the many projects I was given the responsibility for such as the senior night video presentation, which I think was a big hit!
We are very proud of the ambitious, energetic young woman Tiora has become. During her time here, Teekie became “our kid” and we have lots of great memories of her. I must also point out that Tiora became the first 1000 point scorer in Oak Hill Lady Warriors history and is considered a pioneer of the program. Please contact Mr. Rodgers, Director of Admission for application information or to discuss our school. We want to part of your success story too!
www.tiorahackley.com to visit Tiora’s graphic design site.