News & Features, October 2016

Her experience at SAU prepared her for job

Adrienne Stone’s education at Saint Augustine’s University was not easy. In addition to all of the work every student had to contend with, Ms. Stone was a student athlete – she was a member of the Falcons’ track team.

In addition to that, she had her first child while still a student here. “I remember sitting in class with my son tucked under my arm and he never cried once,” Ms. Stone recalled. “Once he got big enough to walk he was walking around the class still not making a sound.”

But she persisted and got her degree in 2003, and all of the obstacles she was able to overcome only helped her prepare for her current job. She is a deputy in the Johnston County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Department.

Now a single mom of three, Ms. Stone goes out in to the world everyday with people threatening to stab, shoot, and harm her. When she spoke to SAU students last month, Ms. Stone shared tales about her job, such as the time she had to deal with a man who was high on drugs and threatened to kill her. She encountered that same gentleman again when he tried to commit suicide.

The group of other male officers she was with said, “You’ve dealt with him before – he’s gonna come out with his hands up. He doesn’t have the gun anymore,” she recalled. “Well, he did have the gun and it was loaded. …It didn’t bother me that those men put my life in danger. What matters is I saved a life that day.”

Ms. Stone came to Saint Augustine’s to speak to participants in the TRIO program in a seminar held Sept. 28 at the Boyer building. She was curious about changes at the university since she graduated.

“I remember when I ran track here, the track was dirt,” she said. “Is it still like that?”

But students were equally curious about her. For instance, sophomore Alston DeVega asked questions like, “Did you have to get tased or pepper sprayed?” Ms. Stone shared that you actually have to go through both in training.

The seminar touched on police shootings that have created the Black Lives Matter movement. Students shared their views, saying things like, “People are just fed of with them killing us” and asking questions such as, “What can we do to stop all the killings and the violence?”

Ms. Stone addressed the concerns head on. “We have to learn how to use another weapon, one more powerful then guns, and it’s our mouths,” she said. She added: “You’re only afraid of something as much as you let yourself be.”

Ms. Stone has a strong impact on some of the students. “This might have been one of the best seminars we have ever had,” said John Ingram, a junior at Saint Augustine University.

 — Anthony Dixon