NSU Senior Pushes Forward to Graduation
(NSU NEWSROOM--April 25, 2014)--Dwayne Daniels has waited 25 years to become a college graduate.
In 1989, Daniels was just 17 years old when he decided to drop out of Norview High School in Norfolk. He said he made the decision to drop out of school so he could help his family financially and take care of his younger siblings.
“I was really confused,” Daniels said. “I sometimes wish the person I am now could have talked to the person I was then.”
Daniels’ choice took him down a different path in life than he originally dreamed of. He has worked in fast-food restaurants, driven a bus, sorted mail and even became a licensed cosmetologist. Through it all, the 42-year-old said he is appreciative of his journey and it won’t take away from the sense of accomplishment he will feel in a few weeks.
On May 10, Daniels, a psychology major, will graduate with nearly 800 students at Norfolk State’s spring commencement ceremony at the Norfolk Scope Arena. Levar Stoney, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, will be the commencement guest speaker.
“I’m going to feel like I just won the biggest lottery anyone could ever win,” he said. “I never thought I would make it to this point in my life.”
Daniels, who is a married father of two and who also has custody of his two nephews, said he was driven to complete his degree so he can show his children the importance of completing tasks and persevering through struggle. Daniels withdrew from NSU on a few occasions because he had to work to support his family.
He transferred to Norfolk State in 2007 after earning an associate degree at a community college. He currently works as a transition coach in the special needs department at Booker T. Washington High School.
Daniels said he decided to attend NSU because he wanted to sing in the Norfolk State Concert Choir. It was there where he befriended Dr. Carl Haywood, director of choral activities, who Daniels refers to as his mentor. He said several professors and administrators at NSU have helped him to complete his studies.
Haywood said he is proud of what Daniels has accomplished. He described Daniels as “selfless” and said he will be proud to see him walk across the stage at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
“He is a student that came to us under considerable hardship,” Haywood said. “He’s had a lot on his plate, but he has always been willing to help others.
“He saw it through, and he did it with hard work and determination. It will be a significant milestone for him.”
Daniels said he is grateful for all of the help he has received from the University. He said he feels he not only got a great education, but has gained an extended family during his time at NSU.
The processional for the graduation will begin at 9:30 a.m. The program will follow at 10 a.m. For more information about the NSU Commencement, contact 757-823-2987.