ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WVEC) -- A huge surprise greeted people at an assembly at Smithfield High School Thursday when Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced it would donate $3 million to Isle of Wight County Schools.

The company and the school division said the donation will fund the Smithfield Foods Legacy Project, an innovative and multifaceted educational program Smithfield Foods Legacy Project.

The gift fulfills the division’s capital campaign for an educational plan benefiting both Smithfield High School and Windsor High School.

“We’re incredibly grateful for Smithfield’s donation and the capital improvements it will provide to our area schools,” said Dr. Jim Thornton in a news release. The superintendent of Isle of Wight County Schools added, “This project will help us better train our students to think critically and collaborate effectively during their education and throughout their careers, and would not have been possible without this generous support from Smithfield Foods.”

The donation will fund a program at Smithfield High School that includes on-campus facilities with resources to prepare students for their college and professional careers. Those facilities also will serve active members in the community and include:


A state-of-the-art facility that gives students the opportunity to conduct research as well as design and develop products. The space will be fitted with three-dimensional printers and other emerging technologies to offer a collaborative, hands-on learning environment for students to prepare for college.

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) fieldhouse

The new facility provides ample classroom space and equipment storage as well as room for drill and competition practice. The new facility offers JROTC participants with the resources they need to prepare for a military career.

Multipurpose Pavilion

A space for hosting academic ceremonies and joint school-community events. Students will be able to use the space for presentations, exhibitions and gatherings that foster community engagement.

“Whether students are continuing their education or entering the workforce, we are committed to helping them prepare for the future and make that next step a successful transition,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, President and CEO of Smithfield Foods. “We are confident that this innovative project will lead to a life-changing experience for students as we have seen how nurturing new ideas – big and small – continues to transform Smithfield into a leading global food company.”

Innovation is a guiding principle that drives Smithfield in fulfilling its mission to produce good food the right way. The Smithfield Foods Legacy Project reflects this value as well as Smithfield’s commitment to helping communities where its employees live and work.

“Smithfield Foods has been a strong, longtime supporter of our school,” said Casey Roberts, principal of Smithfield High School. “Smithfield’s extraordinary gift brings a one-of-a-kind project to life that will help us better prepare our community’s youth for their next chapter.”