Class of 2024: These Baby Hoos Are All Grown Up

May 15, 2024 By Jane Kelly, Jane Kelly,

It went by in the blink of an eye.

The members of the Class of 2024 have grown from babies to toddlers, and tweens to teens, their parents spending the last 20-plus years carefully raising them and setting them on the launchpad to adulthood.

Soon they will be University of Virginia graduates.

In late April, University Communications’ social media team put out a call for then-and-now combinations of baby Hoo pictures and graduation snaps. Reese Hertel was one of dozens to answer the call. 

A Charlottesville local, he has been coming to UVA football and basketball games for as long as he can remember. His father chairs the University’s kinesiology department and sometimes brought his children behind the scenes at games.

Hertel will never forget Nov. 13, 2010, when the Cavalier football team faced off against the University of Maryland Terrapins.

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Two distinct pictures of Reese Hertel, one from his childhood and another from his youth..

Reese Hertel grew up in Charlottesville and went to lots of UVA football and basketball games with his family. (Contributed Photos)

“I ran into the Maryland mascot with its head off in the locker room,” Hertel recounted. “He was lost in the tunnel below Scott Stadium. And I really didn’t like that as a child.”

Who would?

Hertel plans to carry a turtle balloon when he graduates Sunday from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, but not because of the headless turtle. “My last name rhymes with ‘turtle,’” Hertel explained.

Seattle resident Jacqueline Williams crossed the country to come to UVA, following in her father’s footsteps; James Williams earned his J.D. degree from the School of Law in 1988.

Two distinct pictures of Jaqueline Williams, one from her childhood with her father and another from her youth..

English major Jaqueline Williams is the second in her family to go to UVA. Her father, James, earned his J.D. degree from the School of Law in 1988. (Left photo contributed. Right photo by Amanda Maglione)

The elder Williams said he was “overcome with joy” when he learned Jacqueline had been accepted “because I knew that that was her first choice,” he said. “She applied early decision. So, she doubled down and said, ‘Look, if I get in here, I’m going to go here.’”

Jacqueline is an English major and said she’s loved every moment of her time at UVA. Prodded to share some standout memories, she came back with a very simple one. It was about a recent Saturday morning and she and her best friends were piled into her bedroom.


“We were just hanging out and they were all just cuddled up in my bed, and we were just laughing and talking,” she said.

Williams walks the Lawn Saturday. She plans to take a year off and perhaps work in Washington, D.C., before applying to law schools, like her father. She said she wants to stay on the East Coast. 

“I really like UVA’s law school,” she said.

Media Contact

Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications