CAMPUS Alumnus Gives a Life Lesson

Dr. Nekisha Grigsby, an alumnus of the CAMPUS program gave a life lesson to this year’s graduates at the CAMPUS Senior Celebration on Thursday, May 30th, at the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Administrative Offices in Ashburn.


CAMPUS is an LCPS high school program designed to meet the needs of students who are prospective first-generation college students.


“Life is more than success. We have to discuss what we’ve gone through and that has allowed us to grow,” Grigsby told the seniors and their supporters in an address she titled “Welcome Change.”


Grigsby said she grew up in a single-parent household and was the first in her family to attend college. “I wanted to prove that my circumstances would not define the person I would become.”


“After you prove yourself, there will be times when you are doubted and you will be forced to reflect on how far you have come and you will have to continue to push through.”


A 2008 graduate of Loudoun Valley High School and Gates Millennial Scholar, who went out to earn a doctorate of pharmacy from Virginia Commonwealth University, Grigsby is now the pharmacy manager at the Front Royal Walmart.


Grigsby became a pharmacy manager two years after she graduated from pharmacy school. She said she understood the responsibilities and effort required of the job and was told she would be leading a challenging store. Grigsby did what she thought was a good job.


“I was doing everything – and I mean everything – that I could think of to get this pharmacy into working order.”


Eight months into this position, Grigsby got a new boss and received a negative evaluation. “We proceeded to develop a 30-day plan for the store. During that meeting with my boss, I felt the lowest that I have ever felt. I felt like my best was not good enough and I started to question all of my abilities and capability to do this position. I will admit, I felt like giving up. I was thinking of stepping down as manager or reconsidering the workplace I was in altogether.”


Grigsby soon re-thought these ideas.


“I wouldn’t have been blessed to have this position so early in my career if I wasn’t capable of doing it. So, just maybe, our eyes have to be washed by our tears once in awhile so that we can see life with a clearer view…


“Everything I was going through was preparing me for what I asked for. This experience taught me a few things; the type of manager I did not want to be and allowed me to grow and make tougher decisions, accept both compliments and criticism. After all, it does take both the sun and rain to make a flower grow.


“Being successful does not mean that you don’t face moments of uncertainty or doubt. Being successful is consistently and continuously rising above challenges, believing in yourself when it’s hard to and releasing and letting go of any pain. It’s about moving forward and improving yourself in any situation.”


Grigsby said her boss was amazed by the changes she made during the next 30 days. “The pharmacy was finally, finally, running like a well-oiled machine. My boss now refers to my pharmacy as her favorite pharmacy to visit.”

Grigsby then told the graduates how her experience relates to their future.


“During your transformation, you may feel like everything is falling apart. But, in reality, everything is coming together for your better self. You’re being pushed to evolve and come out of your comfort zone so you can live and experience true greatness.” 


LCPS Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams told the CAMPUS graduates the milestone they have achieved will spur them on to greater achievements as they go through life.


“Every student working toward graduation overcomes a variety of obstacles in earning a high school diploma. When you face future challenges, your graduation can serve as a reminder to never to give up. Important goals, such as graduating from high school, are worthy of hard work and persistence.” 


Former Del. Joe T. May, chairman of the Loudoun Laurels, presented Maria-Paula Proano of Riverside High School a $40,000 scholarship on behalf of the Loudoun Laurels.

Of the 81 CAMPUS graduates, 95 percent will be going on to college.


School Board member Tom Marshall (Leesburg District) attended the CAMPUS celebration.