Former Mr. Spartan says Norfolk State University
prepared her for the future and allowed her to tap
into her creative interests
Wynonna Alexis Carrington will never forget about her educational experience at Norfolk State University. It has prepared her for a career in social work and she is excited about her future. But her favorite moments as a student—and one of the things she will miss most—is marching with the NSU Spartan Legion Band at William “Dick” Price Stadium behind the foam, cotton and plastic suit that makes up the Mr. Spartan mascot.
"The best feeling is when the band lined up and we marched onto the field," said Carrington, who wore the suit on-and-off for two seasons. "The sound of the people screaming. That feeling was amazing, you can't pay for moments like that.
"I will miss it."
But on Dec. 14 at 9:30 a.m., Carrington will get to hear a different kind of cheer as she walks in a procession inside Joseph G. Echols Hall. Her family, peers and friends will applaud for her and nearly 500 students as they become graduates of Norfolk State University at its fall commencement ceremony.
The guest speaker will be Yvonne T. Maddox, Ph. D., the deputy director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The institute supports research child development, developmental biology, AIDS and other health related issues.
The former Mr. Spartan said she looks forward to the graduation ceremony, the speaker and will cherish the experience. The 27-year-old Newport News resident said she gave up the post so she could fulfill an internship requirement and complete her studies.
But she had plenty of practice for her former job. During the summer of 2008, Carrington worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando Fla., and suited in up costumes from popular characters such as Mikey Mouse, Donald Duck and Grumpy.
“I’m short, so they basically made me dress up in the costumes where the characters were small,” she said. “It was fun and it was a good learning experience.”
Though Mr. Spartan helped Carrington develop a sense of school pride, she says her journey at Norfolk State as a student has made her more disciplined and taught her about the importance of integrity and time management.
Rosalyn Durham, who directs admissions for the NSU School of Social Work, said Carrington is a very energetic student and is a go-getter.
“She has a compassion in regards to social injustice and that will serve the social work profession well,” Durham said.
Carrington currently is working an internship at a local counseling center and also works as an in-school suspension coordinator at Hines Middle School in Newport News. After graduation, the soon-to-be grad plans to pursue a master's degree in social work and divinity.
“It is by the grace of God…that I have the courage and strength to finish this race. Though I am preparing for the next chapter, in whatever career path I pursue, the foundation started for me here at Norfolk State.”