WSSU uses classy hat affair to celebrate girls and women in sports, raise funds

Photo by Tevin Stinson Porsche Jones, right, and Vanity Oakes, left, took part in a panel discussion how sports shape them into the people they are today during the third annual She’s Got It Covered Classy Hat Affair.

WSSU uses classy hat affair to celebrate girls and women in sports, raise funds
February 23
00:01 2017

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

The Grand Pavilion Ball Room of the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Winston-Salem was filled with vibrant colored hats of all shapes and sizes last Saturday morning as more than 300 women, and other supporters gathered for Winston-Salem State University’s third annual She’s Got It Covered Classy Hat Affair.

Since 2014, WSSU has invited women to don their best Sunday hats and celebrate National Girls & Women in Sports Day with the Lady Rams. NGWSD is designed to shine a light on the extraordinary achievements by women in sports and the signing of the Title IX which, outlawed exclusion from participation on the basis of sex.

While fan favorites like the parade of hats and presentation of awards for largest, smallest, and most unique hat were still included, this year instead of a keynote speaker WSSU invited a panel of speakers to share their stories. To open the discussion, Valonda Calloway, moderator and co-owner of 360 Elite Entertainment, asked the panel of dynamic women to discuss how being an athlete helped shape them into the people they are today.

WSSU athletic director Tonia Walker said she learned the value of teamwork and how to become a leader.

“I really believe playing softball and basketball at Hampton University really cultivated my leadership skills,” continued Walker. “The whole aspect of teamwork and learning how to surround myself with the right people really helped me to become the leader I am today.”

Vanity Oakes, a 2014 graduate of WSSU and four-year letter winner in cheerleading said, she learned how to manage her time and how be flexible. Oakes, who now serves as the project coordinator with Delhaize America in Salisbury, said she learned as a freshman while balancing her school work, cheerleading and social life that it is important to prioritize and to be flexible.

“Sometimes in life things are going to come at you that you aren’t prepared for but, that’s why you have to be flexible and you have to be willing to transition your priorities to get things done.

Porsche Jones, a graduate of Wake Forest University and member of the Lady Deacons basketball team from 2003 to 2006 said the experience of competing at a high level helped her to develop the skills to be victorious.

Jones said the same mindset she developed to win while at Wake is the same mindset she teaches today’s youth through her organization B.O.N.D (Building On New Development), a sports event hosting company that sponsors dozens of youth basketball tournaments every year.

“The main thing I think helps as an athlete is being able to get the mindset of how to win. I think that prepares us as adults to understand how to set goals,’ continued Jones. “The experience of going through some tough practices, tough losses and even having some tough coaches can build a lot of character and it’s important that we share that experience.”

When asked about the future of women’s sports, Delores “Dee” Todd, the first female and minority to serve as assistant commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), said she would like to see more coaches and women administrators.

“We’ve come a long way but we still don’t have any women of color who are head coaches at the college level. I would like to see that change,” said Todd. “Before someone is hired a couple of women should be in that poll.

Former senior associate commissioner of the Horizon League Alfreed Goff echoed Todd’s sentiments when asked the same question. She said although women sports have grown over the past 40 years it hasn’t grown fast enough. Goff mentioned more than anything women’s sports needs more support from the community.

“We need to encourage our young girls to chase their dreams. Let’s allow them to grow. We need people in our community to spark that at a young age,” said Goff. “Encourage them to be leaders, encourage them to be dreamers and set the example.”


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Timothy Ramsey

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