Suffolk stars in video

Published 9:19 pm Monday, September 16, 2013

A Suffolk citizen who decided to get a higher education after missing the opportunity earlier in life stars in a new Virginia Community College System promotional video.

Along with Ida Thompson, the VCCS video, a little more than a minute in length, also stars several business and landmarks in downtown Suffolk.

As Thompson makes her way down Main Street, after enjoying a coffee break while catching up on her “studies” at The Plaid Turnip, various other businesses — SunTrust Bank most obviously — can be made out.

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She strides past the Old City Hall bell before Paul D. Camp Community College enters the frame.

At the very end, Thompson strides toward the old courthouse.

Thompson served as a Presidential Student Ambassador at PDCCC, where she completed an education major before transferring to Norfolk State University to study political science and pre-law.

She’s due to graduate from NSU in the spring, and wants to study at William and Mary to become a lawyer specializing in advocacy and human rights.

Thompson said she was selected to appear in the video, of which she was told there would be several — each featuring a different Virginia student — after being named a 2013 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar.

“VCCS decided to revamp their website,” she explained. “Because I did previous work (representing PDCCC) and because I was a Top Scholar, that’s why I was chosen.”

Monday, Thompson’s video had top billing on She said she jumped at the opportunity to highlight the city’s rich history and handsome aesthetics.

The video opens with the voiceover: “Ida Thompson will always remember the day she took control of her life and began to dream again.”

A mother of two Oakland Elementary School students, Thompson said she was inspired to pursue law after fighting what she considered unfair treatment of her son when at Kilby Shores Elementary. (Suffolk Public Schools has since changed its disciplinary policy to give principals more autonomy in punishing students. Thompson’s wasn’t the only case.)

“There’s a lot of work to be done in advocacy and improving the status quo,” she said. “Helping to rectify that situation with my son helped me see that process.”

But opinions and points of view can differ — there will be some folks who want things to remain as they are, Thompson said.

“But I’m very excited to see how things are different with the school district,” she said.