James (Jimmy) Hollins, Chairman
James (Jimmy) Hollins was born on June 21, 1947, in the city of Charlottesville and was reared by parents who wanted the best for him and from him. They insisted upon good manners, good behavior, good school performance plus involvement in church and community. Jimmy attended Jefferson elementary school and went on to Jackson P. Burley High school where he was actively engaged in academics and extra curricula activities to include football and band.
After graduation he went to trade school and then into the United States military. After discharge from the military he went to work for Amtrak until he was retired on disability. Throughout his work career he maintained a home in Charlottesville and returned upon his retirement.
Always curious and interested in his surroundings Jimmy began to think about things that would improved the community as well as things to keep the spirit of Jackson P. Burley alive. On January 27, 2007 four former Burley High School athletics, Donald Byers, Jimmy Hollins, George Lindsey and Beverly McCullough, came together to form the Burley Varsity Club. Jimmy was elected chairman, Donald became the secretary, Beverly was the sergeant at arms and George Lindsey treasurer. The first goal of the club was to recruit former athletics. The club wanted to make a difference in the community and wanted to give back to the school.
In the spring of 2008, under the leadership of principal, Dr. Bernard Hairston, the Youth Leadership Initiative of Burley Middle School held an event and invited Burley High alumni. At the time of the event, Jimmy noticed the former Burley High trophy case and realized that something had to be done to preserve and protect the hard won trophies. In May 2009, the club became very busy with various fund raisers and in September of 2009, the club presented Burley School with a new trophy case. Once the trophy case was in place the club set about finding and restoring trophies. Following this, the work of the club began to gain support and new projects were undertaken.
The first of these projects was the naming of the football field for head football coach Robert (Bob) Smith -1951-1960; and Clarence Jones who served as head coach from 1960-1967 and naming of the basketball court in honor of A.P. Moore and Walter Greene. This action was approved by the Albemarle County School Board in November 2009. On April 30, 2010 a dedication program was hosted jointly by the Burley Middle School Youth Leadership Initiative and the Burley Varsity Club at which time the field and the gymnasium were named.
Following, on October 8, 2010 the Burley Varsity Club along with the Charlottesville Historical Resource Committee collaborated on and unveiled plaques at the front and rear of the middle school celebrating Smith, Jones, Moore and Greene. It was at this ceremony that then Mayor Dave Norris was asked for a Proclamation which would on each October 8 or 9 proclaim Henry Avenue Burley Bear Drive. This type of action requires the approval of at least four council members. Amazingly, four council members were present at the event and the Mayor put the question to the council members who voted yes without any hestitation.
After the passing of the proclamation, in 2011 the Varsity club started working to have the name of Rose Hill Drive changed to Jackson P. Burley Drive. Permanently changing the street name met with some resistance from residents and the club was sure the project was doomed. After conversations with friends, it was discovered that an easier method would be to ask for an honorary street name. With this information the spark was relit and city council was approached and asked to consider the honorary naming of Rose Hill Drive to Jackson P Burley Drive in honor of Mr. Jackson P Burley for whom the school is named.
In October of 2011 the Burley Varsity club held another celebratory program naming the old band room in honor of the late Elmer F. Sampson and placing a bronze plaque on the hallway.
In June 2011, Jimmy led the charge to have coach Robert Smith induced into the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame. Ms. Deb Tyson, Albemarle County High School Athletic Director made the application and some of the former football players wrote letters of support to accompany the application. It took more than a year, and finally on July 13, 2012 an announcement was made that Coach Robert Smith would be induced posthumously into the Virginia High School League Hall of fame. This was a glorious day as was the induction ceremony which was held at the Doubletree Hotel in October of 2012.
By November 2012, the Varsity Club would end its renaming and other school projects with (1) the naming of the road that leads to the football field to George Tinsley Drive; (2) the unveiling of a masonry sign in front of the school; (3) placing a plaque and picture for the naming of the media center for Mrs. Alberta Faulkner; and (4) naming the hallway where the graduation class pictures are hung in honor and memory of Alicia Lugo.
The last major project that Jimmy and the Club worked on was a graduation ceremony for Olivia Ferguson McQueen held in May of 2013. Olivia was a principal in desegregation suits against the city of Charlottesville and should have been a 1959 graduate of Lane High School. Instead, of a diploma she was given a certificate of completion and never enjoyed the thrill of high school graduation. So, a ceremony was held an Olivia received an actual diploma. This event enjoyed much local and national publicity and Olivia even had the opportunity to visit at the White House and meet President Obama.
While Jimmy and the club are delighted about the opportunity to help keep alive Burley through the various events they have sponsored, they receive so much joy from the awarding of scholarships through the Stephen Waters Scholarship Fund that operates through the Varsity Club. Over the last three years, seven scholarships have been awarded
and all the recipients are doing well academically.
In addition to his work with the Varsity club, Jimmy is an active member of Zion Union Baptist Church where he is an usher and serves on the Capital Improvement Project Team. He is the current vice president and past president of the Rose Hill Neighborhood Association and is chairman of the newly formed VIA Heritage Association founded in 2014. In addition, he serves on the Piedmont Housing Board and eagerly participates in other community activities and projects.
Jimmy says that he has enjoyed a good life and feels it is his responsibility to give back to his community.