Updates from September, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • E-News U. Contributor 4:30 pm on September 30, 2009 Permalink |  

    ‘It’s finally my turn,’ says Hampton U. senior 

    By Chelsea Boone

    Ever since she attended opening convocation her freshman year Tara Haskins has thought about the day that she would get to put on her cap and gown and march in, just as those students did. 

    That day is drawing near.

    On Sunday, Sept. 28, at Ogden Hall on the campus of Hampton University, the Class of 2010 seniors will take part in opening convocation. 

    This is a Hampton tradition that allows the seniors to acknowledge their hard work that got them to the point they are at now, and to celebrate graduation that is now only months away.

    Haskins described the anticipated day as bittersweet.

    “Convocation means that I’m actually a senior and I’m about to leave Hampton University,” Haskins said.

    Although opening convocation does mean the beginning of the end, Haskins has positive feelings about the upcoming ceremony.

    “I’m excited. You look forward to opening convocation when you’re a freshman and you have to watch it. It’s finally my turn.”

    Haskins said her years at Hampton have allowed her to grow as a person and build long lasting-friendships with people that she may not have met otherwise.

    “I’ve made so many friends here. It’s going to be sad to leave them all.”

    Haskins of Virginia Beach will be spending this occasion with family and friends who have supported her throughout her Hampton career.

    “My mother, father, sister and brother are all coming to support me.  I’ll also be amongst my friends who I’ve known since freshman year, and some since high school. We’ve been through a lot together and now we’re graduating college together. I’ll be sitting with them; it will probably get emotional”

    Haskins’ roommates and friends Rhonni Hill and Simone Martin will be at the ceremony as well.  Hill, like Haskins, is a senior at Hampton and will be a part of the ceremony. 

    “I’m really excited,” said Hill. “Opening convocation means a lot. It means you’re almost at the finish line.  I’m just thankful that I get to share this experience with my closest friends, like Tara.”

    Martin, a former Hamptonian who now attends Old Dominion University, will be there for the support of her two friends.

    “I’m proud of Tara,” said Martin. “I’m kind of sad that I won’t be in the ceremony with her since we started at Hampton together, but I’ll be watching her and my other friends from the stands and taking pictures when it’s over.

    With opening convocation being the beginning of the end for many students, Haskins has given serious thought to her life after Hampton.

    “I haven’t completely decided what I’m going to do after graduation but I know I’m either doing the Teach for America program or going to graduate school to get my masters in urban education,” Haskins said.  “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher so now is my chance to finally be able to do that.  Plus, there is a great need for teachers all over the country and I can help fulfill that need.”

    With the recognition that her days at Hampton are limited, Haskins is doing her best to treasure the remainder of her college days.

    “I’m looking forward to the rest of the school year,” said Haskins.  “Senior year is supposed to be your best college year, and I want to cherish every bit of mine.”

  • E-News U. Contributor 4:10 pm on September 28, 2009 Permalink |  

    ROTC changed Hampton U. senior’s social status 

    By Alyssa Alford      

    “I’m ready to go.” Michael Turner said. “[The morning of Convocation] I’m going to wake up and eat Raisin Bran.”

    Turner, who will be a participant in a milestone event on Sunday, had not picked up his required graduation cap and gown.

    Turner, a print journalism major from Virginia Beach will be participating in Hampton University’s Opening Convocation. The event, held on Sunday Sept. 27 in Ogden Hall, inducts senior class students as the 2010 graduating class.          

    Despite the lack of enthusiasm, Turner said he does appreciate his experience at school. It was an anticipated journey.

    Turner chose Hampton University because of its importance to his life.

    “My family has history here,” explained the graduating student. “My sister and parents graduated from here. My father taught here.”

    The first year on Hampton University’s campus presented obstacles to Turner. He did not know what to expect at the university. In addition to his anxieties towards impressing his family and tackling a college curriculum, the freshman had to adjust to the social life different from high school.

    “I didn’t enjoy my freshman year,” Turner said. “I feared not fitting in and enjoying myself.”

    Initially, Turner he did not feel at home at his “Home by the Sea.” It was not until he enrolled in the campus Reserve Officers Training Core during his freshman year that he started to feel as though he belonged.

    ROTC is a program that trains students for the military service while they are in school. After graduation, they must honor their commitment of serving in respected fields.

    Both of Turner’s parents were ROTC cadets. Family legacy and the desire to find companionship drew the young scholar to enter the program’s Army division.

    “I wanted to feel like part of something bigger, Turner said. “[ROTC] It’s like a frat without the title.”

    Joining ROTC has drastically changed his social status and gave him confidence to pursue other students for friendship.

    Tiffany Tompkins is one of Turner’s good friends and fellow ROTC Army member. Tompkins knows her favorite memory of her and her friend off the top of her head: When they took a trip together to the local McDonald’s.

    “We stayed there for hours and talked about bodily functions and the birds and the bees,” the senior business major from Newport News recalled. This simple trip to a fast-food restaurant made plain that Turner had evolved into a self-assured young man who could bring entertainment to any situation.

    Jessica Wilkins, a senior psychology major from Seoul, Korea, also met Turner through ROTC. For them, though, the road to friendship was bumpy and the duo often pushed each other off course.

    “We didn’t see eye to eye when in uniform,” Wilkins said. “But he doesn’t hold that [against] you. He’s a good guy.” When asked about Turner as a student, she laughed and said, “ He is intelligent. But his punctuality is nowhere near his intelligence.”

    Transitioning from being an unpopular freshman to a social butterfly preparing to graduate is one of the most important chapters in Turner’s life, almost more than the prospect of Convocation.

     “I feel a lot more comfortable,” he said. “I understand people [now]. I appreciate different lifestyles more than before.”

    Sept. 27 is the official first day of acknowledgement that students are graduating seniors.

    Leaving the university, Turner admitted that he will miss being in an environment that shows his fellow African-Americans succeeding and holding important positions in society.

    But will Turner miss Hampton University?

    “No,” he said, “I’m ready to go.”


  • E-News U. Contributor 3:39 pm on September 28, 2009 Permalink |  

    Real reason why some HU student-athletes miss convocation 

    By Shemar Woods

    John Silvanus Wilson, executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, was the keynote speaker at Sunday’s 67th annual Opening Convocation. 

    Former Hampton University football star Wakeem Goode won’t be at the Convocation Center to hear Wilson’s speech. 

    “I didn’t even know (Opening Convocation) was this weekend,” said Goode, who spent his last year of athletic eligibility during the 2008 football season, but needed an extra year to finish his 144-hour health and physical education bachelor’s curriculum.

    “The only thing I’m worried about,” he said, “is walking across the stage in May, when my mom comes down.”

    Goode is an example of why many athletes do not attend Opening Convocation, either because they are unaware of the community-wide event or because there is just too much on their plate these days to add another appointment. 

    But what about those professionals who leave the classroom for the pros before graduation year even arrive? Penn State transfer Chris Baker arrived at Hampton University the spring before the 2008 season and by spring 2009, he left school before his senior year to enter the NFL Draft.

    “Attending Opening Convocation never really crossed my mind,” said Baker. 

    Former football coach Jerry Holmes, who was unavailable for comment, told the Daily Press in January, “From my experience, I think he needed another year to develop,” ultimately allowing the Denver Bronco the opportunity to attend the official school year kick-off. 

    For Goode, it is not that education took a backseat to the football program during the fifth-year senior’s tenure at Hampton University. Actually, his accomplishments on the field stole from his many highlights in the classroom. After Goode’s senior season, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference second team linebacker compiled a team-high 111 tackles and three sacks, while holding over a 3.0 GPA in his academics. 

    “I was a student in the classroom, but I was also a student of the game,” Goode said. “During some semesters, I wasn’t taking as many credits in order to balance both (activities) and still be successful.”

    Goode’s decision to skip Opening Convocation this Sunday draws back on his desire to finish school and move on to the next level, wherever that may be. Although the 2009 NFL Draft served as his class’ draft year, opportunities still exist with teams like the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions, thanks to his agents. If the NFL closes its’ doors, Goode considers joining the Canadian Football League (CFL). 

    But, let’s say football doesn’t pan out into a career. The Cleveland native is in the midst of partnering his grassroots travel agency with another company in the next two months.

    Goode, expected to graduate in May 2010, has plenty of options.

    “Goode was one of the brightest players I’ve seen come through the program,” football coach Donovan Rose said. “He studies hard during film sessions and in the classroom.” 

    Sure, keynoter Wilson will provide some encouraging words to those seniors looking to survive one last year in college. 

    But it appears Goode doesn’t need to hear the speech. 

    He has plenty of self-motivation.

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