Our history is rich, our alumni is diverse and now we are looking to the future while shining a spotlight on the past. The rebirth of St. Paul's College is taking place right now!
Lisa Sykes-Winstead, quality operations director at the Merck Manufacturing Division, donates Merck drawstring book-bags to the students at the Halifax Stem Center.
Participating in the presentation are (from left) Sarah Reaves, calculus and statistics teacher, Faye Bruce, STEM supervisor, Henry Morrison, statistics student, Aaliyah Paige, chemistry student, Lisa Sykes Winstead, Merck MMD quality director, Lanette Spencer, chemistry teacher, Iyisa Smith, biology student, and Anthony Pasciuta, biology teacher. The Merck MMD is located in Durham, North Carolina, and produces the varicella vaccine.
Lisa Sykes-Winstead is a down-home girl, a 1986 graduate of Halifax High School who believes her most important accomplishment, aside from a B.A. in biology from St. Paul’s College and an MBA earned at Iona College, Hagan School of Business, lies in the continuing encouragement she can give to local teenagers. Sykes is proof, she said, that a young woman from a small southern town can bring home the gold. Today she is a quality and compliance leader in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, director of quality operations at Merck, the top-tier pharmaceutical manufacturer headquartered in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
Sykes also has worked for Hospira and Pfizer, two more big names, ensuring manufacturing processes, products, testing and everything in between meets regulatory compliance. It’s a big job—Merck’s reputation and its billion-dollar ability to compete depend everyday on Syke’s expertise and judgment.
Did she know, when she graduated from Halifax County High School, that one day she’d be carrying a corporate reputation as big as Merck’s on her slender shoulders? Absolutely not. What she did know was that girls could do well in non-traditional fields —math, for example.Sykes said her middle school math teacher, Essie Richardson, is responsible for who she is today. Richardson, a woman who came each day to class dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase, made Sykes love math, and along the way, she taught her the intangibles that allowed her to compete with the best of them.
“She was one of the most important influences in my life,” said Sykes. “She not only made me believe I could excel in math—she also made me love myself and my possibilities. She taught me the importance of self-respect, of dressing professionally, of good posture…how critical it is to believe you are bright and talented and then presenting yourself that way.”
Sykes went on to study biology, a field still too short on women, at St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, but she didn’t rest on those laurels.
Instead, she tackled another “traditionally male” challenge, enrolling in a Master’s of Business program, Hagan School of Business and Management, at Iona College. The college, in New Rochelle, New York, provided Sykes with another testing ground: not only was she running with a mostly male pack, she was on foreign ground — the North. Sykes never missed a beat. With a B.A. in biology and an MBA in business tucked inside her portfolio, the job offers streamed in.
With her very first paycheck, Sykes went out and bought the best business suit she could afford—a tribute to Essie Richardson.
For the past 15 years, Sykes has proved her on-the-job expertise, not only ensuring compliance in the manufacturing process, but also advising on business and financial best practices. Not long ago, the circle closed for Sykes. With a winning job in Raleigh-Durham and hopes of starting her own consulting company, she turned to her personal life, meeting and marrying a Halifax native, Derick Winstead (U.S. Army, retired).
Her husband, said Sykes, is the icing on the big, rich, delicious cake that has become her life. Without him, the picture would be less than complete.
Sykes is scheduled to light up the pharmaceutical stage once more — in October she will be a speaker at the Global Manufacturing Innovation Summit in San Antonio, Texas, and in December in San Diego, California, representing Merck, at the 16th Annual Global Bioproduction Summit and in a much quieter way, Halifax.
“I love my job,” said Sykes, “but I want to be a role model for young women in Halifax as well. I want to give them what my math teacher at Halifax County High School gave me—confidence that they can aspire to any occupation in any field and make it to the top.
“I love my county, and I am just so glad to be back home,” she concluded.
Merck Pharmaceuticals Executive
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Terrified Richmond teachers called 12 On Your Side claiming they do not feel safe in their own classroom. 24 hours later, the principal at Martin Luther King Middle is speaking out.
Principal Rickie Hopkins took us inside MLK Middle School to address teacher complaints that they don't feel safe in their own classes.
"And I can understand why a teacher would feel like that," said Principal Hopkins as he walked us through the school. "But the classrooms all have glass at the front door, and most of the time security is walking from one end of the hall to the other."
Hopkins admits teachers have been threatened in their own classrooms.
"But we need to make sure everyone feels safe in the building," said Hopkins. "We are going to have some more training with our teachers on how to work with students that are difficult."
MLK middle is a large two-story complex with 750 students. The principal is requesting at least six more security staff. That would allow the principal to assign two security personnel to each hall.
Hopkins notes there were 686 out-of-school suspensions last fall alone. He says there have been 68 out-of-school suspensions since he became principal in February of this year. He has reinstituted In School Suspension, or ISS, on campus.
"Because suspending a child out of school is not the answer for every case," said Hopkins. "Our goal is to educate the child."
That leads to one of the larger complaints in the two-page letter from teachers.
"The administration made a rule that prevents students from being removed from class," said teachers in the note.
"Part of that is true," replied Hopkins. "Because teachers do not have the right to tell students to get out."
Hopkins says the code of conduct requires teachers to first contact parents if a child becomes unruly. He says in extreme cases, teachers can request security personnel escort a student to the office. Hopkins says he encourages teachers to focus on classroom management skills.
"But you understand you have teachers saying they cannot teach in this environment because of the behavioral issues?" we asked Hopkins.
"I think if a teacher feels that he or she cannot teach in this particular school, I would prefer for them to come and say that to me," said Hopkins. "I would definitely assist them in finding a school they feel safer or more comfortable to teach in."
Hopkins says he plans to meet with teachers in the coming days to address their concerns in a formal setting. He is also encouraging parents to conduct school visits more regularly.
Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
Principal Rickie Hopkins & Student
Martin Luther King Middle School
By Eric Perry
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It was a day of love for four couples at McGuire Veterans Medical Center.
“Love never fails and love conquers all,” Chaplain Brad Bradley said.
Four couples recommitted to their partners again.
“What better day to say I love you all over again and I will do it all over again,” Bradley said. Bradley said he’s learned so much just from being around the lovebirds. “Ah man they are wonderful. They have gone through the process of marriage counseling and talking about things and talking about what marriage means to them,” Bradley said.
From the first dance tot he kiss these couples experienced a day like no other.
“It’s beautiful,” Clementine Bailey said. As Pompay and Clementine Bailey made their way down the aisle, they couldn’t help but to think of the 22 years they have been married. “I love my husband and I will probably get a little chewed out because I didn’t even know it would be this nice. I just thought we would have a few words and that’s it,” Bailey said. The honeymoon didn’t last forever for these two. “It’s a new experience and has gotten me to where I am today,” Pompay Bailey said.
“We were put through the test of love and through sickness and in health,” Clementine Bailey said. Clementine was there for her husband when he was at his lowest point for seven months while he was in and out of three different hospitals. “I just can’t imagine and when he is not feeling good, I don’t feel good,” Clementine Bailey said. “It’s like a re-commitment to God and a re-commitment to each other to stay married and fulfill the vows they originally agreed to,” Bradley said.
“For me it’s knowing someone cares for me, going to support me, love me unconditionally,”Clementine Bailey said. Unconditionally, these two promised the will remain in love, always and forever.
A reception was held after the wedding for guests.
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Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.
CHAPLAIN BRAD BRADLEY
MCGUIRE VETERANS MEDICAL CENTER