Alumni Take World By Storm

Ashley Williams Class of 2006

Ashley Williams, Founder & Owner of BareSoul Yoga
Prince George Class of ’06, University of Virginia Class of ’10
Maryland University of Integrative Health Class of ’17

In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today?
Being a student at Prince George offered me a safe, supportive space to explore my academic and social goals. My experience exposed me to a wide range of programs, supportive teachers and administration, clubs, athletics and community events that allowed me to explore my likes and dislikes, discover my strengths and limitations, as well as succeed and even fail; all experiences that have molded me into the person that I am today. In hindsight, Prince George is a fairly diverse community and it taught me the importance of building relationships by recognizing differences as a strength, which is sometimes not recognized in our greater world. This perspective has allowed me to sustain my friendships from PG and develop new relationships with others that teach me so much in life.

My leadership roles and experience in student government as the 2006 Class President, taught me how to be an effective leader, which played a major role in my confidence to run for leadership positions throughout college and currently, as a successful business owner. My experience at Prince George laid the foundation for my motto in life, “Create the Life You Dream and Do Good Work.” Today, as a Yoga Therapist and Owner of bareSOUL yoga and wellness, I have been able to merge all of my passions, gifts and skills to create my life and serve others through yoga, mindfulness and wellbeing initiatives.

What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?
Hard work and education pay off, but the real key to success is achieved through character and intellect. Take advantage of the excellent opportunities at PG and beyond by doing the things that interest you, and never let the fear of failure deter you because that is where character is built. Most importantly take the time to get to know your teachers, your fellow classmates–all of them, your community and build authentic relationships with yourself and others.

Karena Heyward, Ph.D. Class of 2003

Karena Heyward, Ph.D., LPC, ACS, NCC, Assistant Professor at Lynchburg College
Prince George Class of ’03, VCU Class of ’06
William & Mary Class of ’09 ’12

In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today?
Whoa! Holy loaded question, Batman! High school seems like a lifetime ago. Those four years were tough for me. I was a pretty anxious kid and I brought that anxiety with me to PGHS. On top of already struggling with anxiety, high school seems to be a place where anxiety is fueled…by everything; the pressure to perform academically, group dynamics, mean people, learning how to make friends and to enter different social circles, figuring out what comes after graduation, navigating the dating world…every. thing. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me anxious! My time at PGHS made me more anxious, but it also challenged me to find healthy coping mechanisms, and to grow in ways that I could have never imagined. Truly, the largest positive influence that shaped me during my time at PGHS was being a part of the PG Players under the guidance of Stephanie Bishop. I found a home with the PG Players. I found a place where it was okay to be anxious, awkward, and quirky. I found a teacher and a leader who accepted and loved us right where we were. Outside of my own family, I had not experienced that before. That validation and warmth allowed me to step further into my authentic self. Theater helped me to begin to find my voice, to step out of my comfort zone, and to recognize that there were other people who felt similarly to me — alone, anxious, misunderstood, awkward, and afraid. In becoming a PG Player, I was able to harness my nervous energy intro productive energy. I was able to reframe my anxious thoughts. I learned physical and mental activities to calm my fears. I grew in confidence, and in self-love. I found peace in that somewhat dingy, but ever-magical auditorium. I also made lifelong friendships and connections that are still a part of my life 15 years later.

What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?
Another question that is hard to answer briefly. 

I would like for Prince George graduates to know and understand that life begins after high school ends. There is so much more to life and the world than what can be found in Prince George High School or any high school. Right now, high school is your world, you spend most of your time there, but when you graduate, the possibilities are endless. If you’re anything like me, high school is tough. Believe me, life gets exponentially better. I have learned and grown so much since high school, but here are some of the highlights: There are kind people in the world and guess what? You’re likely one of them! Go out and find fulfilling ways to improve yourself, others, and the world. Spread love and kindness wherever you go, and by all means be kind and loving to yourself. You deserve your love and kindness as much as, if not more than, anyone else. Choose a career that allows your soul to shine. You may be motivated to join a profession because of your parents’ guidance, because your friends are heading in that direction, or because it pays well. There could be worst reasons to pick a career path, but if you find something that fills you with joy, that is rewarding, and fun, as defined by you, work will not feel like work. I am fortunate to have lived this. I am fortunate to be living my dreams. There are people like you in the world. They may be hard to find in Prince George County, but when you travel the state, the country, or even the world, your tribe will find you. You will find people who match your awkwardness, your quirks, your interests, and the way in which you see the world. It took me a while to find my tribe, but they were totally worth the wait. Take care of your mental health. Much like you’d check in with a physician periodically to get a physical check-up, get an emotional check-up. Find a licensed professional counselor to process life with — transitions, breakups, difficult decisions, mistakes, new relationships, coping strategies, etc. Life can be confusing, cruel, exciting, weird, fun, overwhelming… You never have to do it alone. I have been in counseling off and on since I was 13 years old, and I have never regretted a session. Every minute and every penny has been worth the growth I’ve experienced. For those of you who head to college, counseling is FREE. For those of you who don’t head to college, there are free or low cost company programs and community programs available. Check it out. Embrace vulnerability. Most things in life tell us that being vulnerable is bad. Don’t listen to any of that. Talk about your feelings and find people who value your feelings. Use your voice. Be unapologetically you. Brave awkward moments, and better yet, seek them out. Step into the awkward and celebrate it. And lastly, when all else fails, dance. Bounce. Shake. Whip your hair. Point and clap. Hokey Pokey. Circle your hips. Grapevine. Open your heart. Let go. Breathe. The world needs periodic dance breaks.

Tony Vaughan Class of 2000

Tony Vaughan, Marketing Strategy Manager at Edelman Financial Services
Prince George Class of 2000 (the best class EVER!)
VCU Class of 2004

In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today?

Growing up in Prince George, I was able to engage with a truly diverse group of students, teachers, and faculty. I was able to understand the many backgrounds and experiences that people bring to the table and that helped me to empathize and understand different points of views and ultimately, gave me the people skills to navigate corporate America. I was able to hone my leadership skills at PGHS, whether it was serving as class president or as captain of the baseball and basketball team. That has carried over into my professional career, as I feel very comfortable voicing my point of view and taking ownership of my career development.

What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?

It sounds cliche, but in corporate America, it is truly “Not what you know, but who you know.” Networking is going to be a vital part of your career development so you need to understand how to do it well. It’s much more than just handing your business card to someone you meet at an event or sending your resume to alumni, it’s developing and understanding what your personal brand is, and then being able to articulate that to others. I am a firm believer that people are willing to invest in you, once they see that you’re investing in yourself. People vouch for people that will help their reputation, not hurt it.

Clifton Crawford Class of 2006

Clifton Crawford
Prince George Class of 2006
Career Firefighter/EMT with Prince George County 
Member of one of the top volunteer recruit schools to ever come out of Chesterfield County Fire&EMS VRS29  “First Time, Every Time.”

In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today? 
Prince George is and will always be home. Prince George taught me how to be humble in everything that I do in life. To quote Rick Rigsby, “I made sure my servant’s towel was bigger than my ego.” Prince George is not a county or a community, it’s a family. It’s a melting pot that has all the ingredients in it to fill the soul.

What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?
My advice for the future Prince George graduates is to stay humble and never forget where you came from. As cliché as it sounds Prince George is home. This is where everything starts for you. You can be whatever you want to be in life as long as you stay humble and grounded in what you have learned and been taught in Prince George.

Amir Vera Class of 2010

Amir Vera
Prince George Class of ’10
VCU Class of ’14
Staff writer at The Progress-Index
Online and breaking news reporter at The Virginian-Pilot
Currently an associate writer for CNN Digital

In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today?
Working at The Royal News newspaper at PGHS definitely helped to shape who I am today. I’d say my time at TRN was the foundation for my career because I learned the basics of journalism and realized it was something I wanted to do professionally.

What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?
As far as advice to future PG graduates, I’d say start looking into taking career or technical classes your junior year. I originally wanted to go into sports medicine, so I took anatomy and journalism in the same year. As you can see I’m not a doctor or physical trainer because that was not the right path for me haha. Also, to PG grads, it’s OK not to know what you want to do right away, just be sure to look at all career options before settling on one choice.

Maya Shipman Class of 2004

Maya Shipman, AKA Suzi Analogue
Prince George Class of ’04
Temple Class of ’08
Founder and Owner of Never Normal Records
In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today?
My time at PGHS shaped who I was today because the school had great teachers who encouraged me to challenge myself. The school activities really helped me to feel confident about working with different types of people. Now that I work in the creative industry I realize that my beginnings in high school played a role.
What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?
For future PG graduates I would say, don’t feel afraid to venture out into the world after you graduate. Try to travel and see the world. PGHS helps to start us with a great foundation, and as long as you trust in yourself and stay focused, your great possibilities in life are endless.


Demetrius Brockington Class of 2001

Demetrius Brockington
Prince George Class of 2001
Virginia State University
Salem University
Virginia University
CEO of HolBrock Estates Assisted Living, LLC
I graduated from Prince George High School in June of 2001. I went on to further my education at Virginia State University where I received my Commission as an Officer in the US Army QuarterMaster Corp and my B.S. in Industrial Engineering. From there I went to Salem University for my M.B.A. and to Virginia Union University to receive my Masters of Divinity and Pastoral Counseling certification.  I’m currently in school, working on my PsyD. in Clinical Psychology! I currently own and operated HolBrock Estates Assisted Living, LLC, Community Wellness Center, and a non-profit, UPLIFT INC, which services individuals who are homeless and less fortunate with physical and mental disabilities. The intent is to provide holistic services to those who are not able to take care of themselves by providing housing, medical assistance, mental therapy, and vocational training so that they can become productive and functional members in society.
In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today?
When I first came to Prince George High, I was really lost and in the transition stage of self-discovery. It wasn’t until I met Mrs. Stephanie Bishop, my 10th grade year, that life began to take shape and the glimmer of hope was ignited in me. She taught me that I can be whatever I want to be and that nothing is too hard, if you only believe in yourself and just push yourself to try! I’ve learned a lot from that lady and I owe her a lot…she’s part of the reason of why I am the way that I am! I’m thankful for her life and glad to say that she’s my mentor and friend, an example of what teachers should be and a glimpse of what Prince George High School offers students like me!
What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?
If I could leave a word of advice to the graduating seniors, i would say, “be yourself! Don’t allow anyone to dictate to you what you should be or what you can do! If you stay focus and have a plan for your life, with the help of God, the support of family and friends, or even by yourself…you can change the lens of life and create your own success! Go be Great and don’t stop until you have reached the top and when you get there, no matter what!!!!”


Wayne Epps Jr. Class of 2012

Wayne Epps Jr.

Prince George Class of 2012
James Madison University Class of 2016 Media Arts and Design
Richmond Times-Dispatch – VCU Atheletics Beat Writer & Former Sports Producer
In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today? 
My time at PGHS showed me the importance of putting in the work. And that goes for everything, whether classes or extracurriculars. It’s not always easy, but you have to put in that effort and push yourself to accomplish what you want to accomplish. And I learned that during my time at PGHS, and have tried to carry that with me since.
Also, getting the opportunity and the outlet to do sports journalism with The Royal News while at PGHS showed me that that was what I wanted to pursue as a career. And that was huge for me.
What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates? 
That you really can achieve anything you want if you continually put in that work. It’s cliche, but it really is the truth. No dream is too big   you can get there.


LaWanda White Class of 2006

LaWanda White
Prince George High School
Old Dominion University -Bachelors in Communications
Georgetown University – Masters in Public Relations and Corporate Communications
Assistant Director at Georgetown University
Communications Expert at The World Bank
Communications Consultant for Department of Homeland Security
Owner at IndependentlyPR (www.independentlypr.com)
In what way did your time at Prince George shape who you are today?
For me, it was the teachers and the staff. Prince George provided me with the the confidence to also take my career in Communications seriously. I was provided many opportunities to write and sharpen my skills as a communicator to influence, educate and entertain because now I’m more than just a good writer, I’m a storyteller and that a skill that I probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for Mr. Waugaman and others educators like him.
What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?
Your thoughts and dreams can be manifested into actual tangible things. Design your life the way you want. Do not put limits on what you can achieve. You can truly do whatever you dedicate your time and energy into – it just takes a little bit of passion, persistence and you have to be a little bit crazy, too.

Jack Semerau Class of 2013

Jack Semerau
Prince George Class of 2013
Georgia Tech 2017 Aerospace Engineering
Spaceworks Enterprises Inc Systems Engineer

In what way did your time at PG shape who you are today?
My involvement in many different clubs and organizations as well as speaking with so many different types of students and teachers each day enabled me to be a very confident speaker and be open about what I want to accomplish. The faculty of Prince George showed nothing but encouragement in my growth.

What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates?
Go see what is out there in the world and do not let your viewpoints be dictated by any sort of attachments. Challenge yourself physically and intellectually, however don’t forget to celebrate your achievements with friends and family. Do not feel pressured to necessarily attend college, but rather see if it or another form of schooling will be the right tool for you to gain knowledge and to shape a career that you will love. The real world sounds very intimidating and scary at the moment, but I promise you are all very capable and will succeed in whatever you seek out!

Talia Fletcher-Gay
Class of 2003

Talia Fletcher-Gay

Prince George High School Class of 2003
Norfolk State University Class of 2007, B.S. Biology
Virginia Commonwealth University Class of 2009, M.S. Biology

Clinical Laboratory Manager of Proteomic Clinical Operations for NantOmics, LLC

In what way did your time at PG shape who you are today? During my time at PGHS, I was very active in different sports, clubs, and activities. I truly enjoyed my time in high school because of these groups; the opportunities they afforded me both in and out of school and the friendships that were built that I have maintained over the years. I took the different skill sets that I gained and strengthened from being a part of these different organizations as I ventured to college, then grad school, and even into my career.

Cheerleading taught me teamwork and how to navigate different personalities. Being a member of the SGA, and eventually SGA President, taught me leadership skills and how to be confident in my decisions. Playing the flute in Symphonic Band allowed me to train my ears and mind to appreciate different types of music and its impact on other artistic media. Induction into academic honor societies impressed upon me the importance of my education and the doors it could open. Being a part of the PG Players theatre group (some of my favorite memories in high school) encouraged me to be creative and think outside the box. To this day, I have a love for public speaking and interacting with a crowd. The ability to be animated, lively, and engage with an audience actually helped during my time as a Teaching Assistant in grad school and Adjunct Professor at John Tyler Community College. And the teachers and staff who led these teams and organizations set examples for how I try to lead and encourage my team today in my current occupation and with past positions. I am thankful for the impact that they had in my life and the network that I established while at PGHS.

What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates? For future graduates, know that the end of high school is actually just the beginning. You can take what you have learned and who you are in high school and continue to positively expand upon that person. Or you can take what you’ve learned and experienced and decide to positively change the person you are. It is all up to you. Whether you continue to further your education, jump into the workforce, or hone your craft or trade, take a leap and see what is out there in the world. Prince George is a great place to grow up but there is so much more that life can offer. In venturing out to build a life for yourself, try to maintain the friendships and connections that you have built while at PGHS. You never know when you may need to reach out to someone or when you will be in a position to help someone from your past. In the end, high school, like life, is what you make it. Enjoy this experience as much as possible, because when you look back on it, you will realize how fast it flew by.

Pierre Perry Class of 2000

Pierre Perry, Ph.D.
Prince George Class of 2001
Grambling State University Class of 2002, 2004, 2006, 2013 Criminal Justice, Criminology, Administration of Justice
In what way did your time at PG shape who you are today?Prince George helped me in many ways. I found high school to be fun, enjoyable, and one of the first places to push me to be better. I had a lot of wonderful teachers and counselors that help mentor me and reinforce my desire to succeed. High school is also where I learned that you can truly do anything you put your mind to. While, in school I volunteered with the Jefferson Park fire and the emergency crew, worked at food lion and pizza hut as well as ran track and performed in Band and served on the yearbook. This rigorous schedule helped prepare me for college, where I was able to graduate in less than 3 years. All in all, PGHS played a major role in my life, especially the friendships that I forged. They have endured to this day and for that I am truly great full. PG will always be a part of me.
What advice do you have for future Prince George graduates? To the future PG graduates, I say you can do anything you put your mind to. I know this seems like a cliche but it is true! In life you will have lots of people telling you no or that you won’t succeed, use that as your motivation to do great things. I have always used the doubts of others as fuel for my success. I expect nothing less and you should accept nothing less.