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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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A year of transition: Incoming college freshman looks forward to challenges of academia
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Darius Simington is beginning his college career today as he moves from his home in Martinsville to his dorm room at George Mason University in Fairfax. The Bulletin will chronicle Simington’s first-year experiences through a series of articles. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

“It’s very exciting,” 2013 Martinsville High School graduate Darius Simington said of the new phase in his life that begins this week at George Mason University in Fairfax.

Simington, 18, said Monday night that he would be leaving home Wednesday and that the official move-in day at George Mason is today. He said he would be taking such things as a refrigerator, TV and a microwave, which will make dorm living more comfortable.

As he begins his freshman year, he plans to study computer science at George Mason. He aspires to become a program or software developer and wants to develop innovative cell phones. His classes will start Monday.

“I like technology. I’m pretty good with computers, cell phones and technology,” he said. Technology is changing, innovating and growing, and he thinks there are a lot of job opportunities, he said.

He said he likes the environment, atmosphere and location at George Mason. “It’s very positive, friendly,” he said. He has traveled to some big cities and thinks going to college in an urban area will be a good fit for him.

Adjusting to college life will take a little time, he said, but he isn’t worried.

Challenges he expects to face include leaving his parents, Clarence and Paulette Simington, behind, having to make decisions for himself, knowing what to do to benefit himself, time management and doing assignments.

“I think I can get through it and be determined,” he said.

Simington’s goal the first year is to maintain A’s and B’s in all classes with at least a 3.4 GPA.

He plans to stay in touch with friends back home through social media, and he plans to call his mother and paternal grandmother, Edith Marie Hairston of Martinsville, every Sunday, he said.

“The opportunity to make new friends is exciting,” he said. He describes himself as open-minded, loves to try new things, can communicate, a team player, easy to work with and talk to, and willing to listen and learn.

“I want to join the NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) chapter there. I’m debating on whether I will play club football,” said Simington, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 257 pounds.

Simington said he learned skills and values here that will help him at George Mason.

At Martinsville High School (MHS), he learned time management, though he realizes college will be more time demanding, he said. He also developed oral and written communication skills, including how to get his point across, have other people learn from him and vice versa, he said.

“I had to write a lot of papers,” he said. In the NSBE, he gave a lot of speeches, which helped improve his confidence as well as his ability to explain his thoughts and state arguments, he said.

He was named the national NSBE Pre-College Initiative Student of the Year (male) during his senior year at MHS and was awarded a $4,000 scholarship.

Also at MHS, he learned to be open-minded, respectful and “try not to give my teachers a hard time. We’re there to learn,” he said.

He got the Big M Trophy his senior year at MHS with a 3.7 GPA, he said.

From Bulldog athletics, he learned patience, problem-solving, communication, leadership and teamwork, he said. He was Piedmont District first-team defensive lineman and second team all-region defensive lineman, both awards his junior and senior years, he said. He also was captain of the varsity football team.

Simington acknowledged that he was affected by his parents, educators Clarence and Paulette Simington.

“I know right from wrong, what to do,” he said. He added that he knows “a lot of people are watching us (and to) do what I’m supposed to. I knew I had to set an example for my peers.”

Simington’s father is senior guidance counselor at Martinsville High School, and his mother is executive director of special education and student services for the Martinsville school division.

Simington has been a member of NSBE since seventh grade. He was co-president, vice president, parliamentarian and B-NET officer of the Martinsville/Henry County Chapter of NSBE. He was named Mr. NSBE Jr. for Region 2 (several states) at the 2010 fall conference in Pittsburgh. Pa. He attended the ACE (Aviation Career Education) Academy aviation camp in Oklahoma City, Okla., during the summer of 2009. He was selected to go to Washington, D.C. to interview Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, for publication in 2011.

At MHS, he was a member of CHILL (Communities Helping to Improve Local Lives), through which he was selected to attend the National Leadership Initiative in Anaheim, Calif., in July 2011. He said he also did a lot of community service through NSBE, such as going to nursing homes; helped the local chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi with highway cleanup; and, his freshman year, volunteered at the YMCA. He also participated in the Martinsville/Henry County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program.

This summer, Simington did two internships though New College Institute, the longer one at Commonwealth Laminating and a one-week internship on fundamentals of industry.


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