Hampton student’s family survives close call in Las Vegas

Zoe Griffin | Contributing Writer

The Peterson Family | Courtesy of Carrington Peterson

Las Vegas native Carrington Peterson was awakened Monday by 59 messages and notifications from family members.

“My parents decided to go on a ‘staycation’ [Sunday] night and got a hotel room,” Peterson said.

They stayed at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where a gunman on the 32nd floor that night would kill 59 people, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, was identified as the

sniper suspect by police. His room contained 16 rifles, one handgun, 18 firearms, explosives and thousands of rounds of bullets, according to law enforcement personnel.

Shots red Sunday night from the Mandalay Bay down to the Route 91 Harvest country music festival sent thousands frantically scrambling for cover. As of Wednesday, the injured total was 527 people.

Not only were Peterson’s parents in the hotel Sunday night, her sibling was in the vicinity.

“It was also my brother’s birthday, so he was out celebrating on the strip,” she said.

Peterson was one of thousands of concerned family members unsure Monday about the whereabouts of their loved ones in Vegas. Her racing thoughts worsened as she worried about the well-being of her family.


“I cried, and I’m not one to show emotion immediately or at all, honestly,” Peterson said. “But waking up to those notifications was nerve-racking.”

Peterson’s parents, fortunately, were safe.

“By the grace of God, they checked out of the Mandalay room an hour before the shooting occurred,” she said. Peterson was relieved when she discovered her brother also had not been harmed.


However, despite her family members not being physically affected by the tragedy, the massacre has taken a toll on them mentally.

Peterson had always been aware of terrible tragedies that occur in America, but this tragedy in particular affected her in a different way because the area was all too familiar.

“Things have been happening so much in this country lately, and it has gotten to be the norm,” Peterson said. “But to have something happen in your town, where you come from, is an entirely different feeling.”

The motive behind the shooting remains unknown. Paddock reportedly committed suicide moments before police entered his hotel room.

Peterson is among those who suspected mental illness played a big role. She thinks this disaster should bring awareness to the issue.

“I hope that this tragedy raises awareness of mental illness because it does not get enough recognition,” Peterson said. “It is a life-challenging disease that isn’t taken seriously.”

City of Hampton’s 5K race helps West African Orphans

Ya-Marie Essay | Campus Editor

Courtesy of Ya-Marie Essay

Share Heart Africa raises awareness of West African orphans and widows in the Hampton Roads area during their 5K Race for Hope.

The organization hosted their 5 th annual 5k Race for Hope at the end of September near Warwick High School in Newport News, Virginia. The race is dedicated to raising funds for Sierra Leonean children in need, proceeds will directly impact the education of Sierra Leonean children and microfinancing for caregivers to assist their financial need.

The race began with an 8 a.m. 1-mile run followed by a 5K and 8K race at 8:30 a.m. The cost of participation began at $18 for one mile, $30 for 5K and $45 for 8K.

Saffiatu Harper, founder of Share Heart Africa, also a Sierra Leonean native said she was
inspired to host a 5k run to raise proceeds for Sierra Leonean girls that suffer to get access to an education. Last year the race took place during the August heat and had a greater turn-out than this year. With it being the 5th year the Share Heart Africa’s team had a stress-free planning process.

“It was really good to get a late September date this year, the early morning Autumn breeze felt good especially to our runners,” said Harper. “The event was a success but we definitely need more participants to make a major impact in children’s lives in Sierra Leone.”

Rapheal Kamanga came in first place during the 5K race. The Kenyan native was extremely excited to give back to Africa. He hopes to encourage people to participate in fundraising races to not only live a healthy lifestyle, but to also impact the lives of others through a great cause.

“When you’re doing something for Africa, I feel like you’re doing it for me and doing it for my people,” said Kamanga.

Share Heart in Africa focuses on families in the village of Sierra Leone, and main cities like Freetown, Makeni, Kenema, Gloucester, Waterloo and Grafton.

“Our hope is that each child will fully grow up, take what they have learned, and become an agent of change in their community,” said Harper.

Harper believes the Lord called on her to give back to her country. “My heart’s desire is to fulfill the calling God has placed in my heart by promoting the welfare of children in Africa,” said Harper on Share Heart in Africa website.

The organization was founded in and focuses on seven core values that include family and community, accountability, faith, quality, stewardship, integrity and individualized care. The organization also ensures that each child has basic holistic care through their physical, mental social and spiritual needs for a healthy and well-rounded life.

In mid-August Sierra Leone faced a drastic mudslide killing over 300 people, and destroying many homes leaving over 2,000 people homeless. Many organizations including Share Heart in Africa are currently accepting donations to provide medical, sanitary and food supplies for those affected.

“We look forward to impacting more lives in Sierra Leone, West Africa with other future
events,” said Harper.

Share Heart in Africa is currently looking for hardworking and dedicated volunteers. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.shareheartafrica.org


Kyra Robinson | Contributing Writer

Americans were reminded of the President’s zealous opposition to illegal immigration when President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals, also known as DACA.

Immigration reform was a major focus during Trump’s campaign as he introduced various plans to prohibit non-Americans from migrating to the country including the wall on the Mexican border and defunding sanctuary cities.

In 2012, DACA was executively created by the former president Barack Obama to protect undocumented children who immigrated to this country with their parents.

To be eligible, the immigrants had to be under the age of 16 and had to have lived in the country since 2007. Those who applied had to have no criminal history and attend school.

Currently, there are about 800,000 dreamers in this country.

According to the Trump administration, the program is unconstitutional because it allowed non-citizens to live with the same rights and responsibilities as Americans without proper naturalization.

Trump has received much criticism from impactful figures including minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Pope Francis.

He has also received backlash from prominent universities who have a significant amount of enrolled dreamers. Representatives from Columbia University, University of California and University of Texas have spoken in favor of DACA.

The end of the program also had impact at Hampton University.

Political science professor, Dr. Joy Hendrickson a New York ntive who raised her kids in Nigeria with her husband, deemed Trump’s actions an injustice.

“It is breaking more promises, just as America has done so many times to so many people.”

Hendrickson sympathized with immigrant mothers who brought their kids from bad countries because, despite being an American citizen, she found it difficult to relocate from Nigeria for safety purposes because it felt like her home.

“People do not leave unless the situation is really difficult. They would rather stay in their own country, speak their own language, be with their family.”

Sophomore Emajja Bowen was also impassioned by Trump’s decision, for she has a friend who is a dreamer.

Her friend had not known she was undocumented until she applied for college.

“She has been here all her life and knows nothing but America,” Bowen explained, “He makes decisions off fear rather than logic.”

Reportedly, Trump has been negotiating with democrats in Congress to make a deal on the program. However, the future of DACA is still unknown.

NASA Langley dedicates new building to former “Human Computer”

Ya’marie Sesay | Campus Editor

Katherine Johnson at Hamptonhamptonu.edu

The legacy of Katherine Johnson, whose historical work was celebrated in the book-turned-movie “Hidden Figures,” continues at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton as the new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) opens Sept. 22.

“It was kind of a perfect storm that led to naming the building after Katherine. The book came out, then the movie, and suddenly it was everywhere,” NASA Langley spokesman Michael Finneran said. “It seemed like the right thing to do given her background and the significance of her work here.”
The Katherine G. Johnson CRF will be a lab dedicated to innovative research and development focused on NASA’s air mobility and space exploration missions. This will be the third new building under NASA Langley Research Center’s 20-year revitalization plan.
The 20-year revitalization plan is focused on building six new energy efficient research and development facilities due to their average 45 years of aging structures.

“Its success is critical to being able to modernize the buildings and infrastructure at Langley and bringing the operations and maintenance budgets into balance,” Cathy Mangum, director of Langley’s Center Operations Directorate, said in a news release.

The $23 million building will include energy-saving features, five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. Funding for construction was provided by the Norfolk District of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. The 37,000-square foot facility includes a data center and an office area for the chief information officer, the Atmospheric Flight Entry System Branch of the Engineering Directorate, and the Computational AeroSciences Branch of the Research Directorate. The building also will increase the advancement of modeling and simulation capabilities.

“Much of the work now performed in wind tunnels will one day be handled by powerful computers such as those in this new facility,” Finneran said.
The book “Hidden Figures” written by Margot Lee Shetterly, and subsequent movie showcased Johnson’s dedication and time as a “human computer” at NASA Langley Research Center from 1953 until 1986. In 1957 the West Virginia native calculated by hand the trajectories for America’s first space flights of Alan Shepard.

The Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module calculations were one of the greatest contributions to space exploration. Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The opening ceremony is expected to be attended by Johnson, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Mark Warner, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, and Shetterly, the featured speaker.

“It’s very important that the legacy of not only Katherine Johnson lives on, but that of her colleagues as well,” Finneran said. “People from all ages and backgrounds have been inspired and encouraged by the story, particularly because it is real.”