To celebrate Black History Month we will catch up with some current and former Coast Guard Academy cadet-athletes and learn about why they chose the Academy, their experiences here and what Black History Month means to them.
Adora Lawrence, a sophomore from Mobile, Alabama was the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Track and Field Co-Rookie of the Year last year. She was the runner up in the 800 meters setting a school record with a time of 2:15.08 and part of the 4x400 relay which also placed second at the conference championship.
The 4x400 relay earned Division III All-New England honors with a fourth place finish during the outdoor season and set the school record with a time of 3:55.27.
Last year during the indoor season, she was part of the 4x400 relay which earned All-New England honors with a third place finish at All-Division Championship while also setting the school record in the event.
This season, Lawrence picked up right where she left off a year ago. The 4x400 set the current school record becoming the first team in school history to go under four minutes posting a time of 3:57.26 as well as setting the record in the DMR with a time of 11:54.54 shattering the school record of 12:22.68 in 2013.
She has posted the second fastest time in school history in the 500 meters (1:19.60), the third fastest in the 600 meters (1:39.47) and fourth fastest in the 800 meters (2:18.72) this year.
This past weekend at the Division III New England Championships at Springfield, the 4x800 tied for sixth in program history running 9:36.76 for All-New England honors and a third place finish and she earned All-New England honors with a fifth place finish in the 800 meters with a time of 2:21.10.
These record breaking performances are among her most memorable experiences at the Academy. "Breaking relay records, by far have been great moment for me. It's one thing to break and individual record, but another when your share this feat with three other people that are all going through the same things you are, specifically here at the Academy. The strength you get from other strong and talented females running a race with you is unmeasurable."
Lawrence, a Marine and Environmental Science major, attended Marion Military Academy after graduating from St. Vincent Girls' High School in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where she set the school record in the 800 meters and was the top female swimmer ages 15-17.
She chose the Coast Guard Academy because of her dual love for being on boats and flying as well as the prospect of saving lives every day.
When she arrived at the Academy, the uncertainty of not knowing many people was one of her biggest fears, until she walked thru the front gate. "For me having the great support network that I have now subsided my fears immediately," said Lawence. "This not only propelled me to become the runner I am today, but the leader of character that the Coast Guard embodies its future officers to be."
Black History Month signifies the hard work her ancestors persevered through to get her the opportunities that she has today. "Without them I may have never gotten the opportunity to be a runner at all. My dad, who is a doctor, always tells me stories about him being the only African-American in his classes through medical school. I can't imagine the strength it must have taken to get through such adversities, and I am proud to say that I have a whole family here with me at the Academy, as well as the Genesis Council."
Lawrence believes teamwork is the key to being a good leader both on and off the track. "Of the many skills I am developing here at the Academy, modeling the way and teamwork are two of the most critical to me. In modeling the way, I try to align my values to what I am teaching my underclass or how I'm interacting with other cadets or members of my team," said Lawrence.
She also believes in leading by example. "It is important to practice what you preach for people to have trust in you and your decisions. Whether on the track or in the fleet, building chemistry through teamwork, and developing good work ethic between members is essential to achieving the goal," added Lawrence. "With good teamwork comes the motivation needed to execute each goal and move on to bigger challenges."
Although she is only a sophomore, Adora relishes her roles a record breaking female at the Academy and looks forward to what lies ahead after graduation. "It is tremendously rewarding to be able to give back to my country. The prospect of saving lives in the future is something I can't wait to experience. In track, being able to inspire kids to serve in the Coast Guard is a reflection of what my actions and attitudes can do, and I am grateful for my talents because of this," said Lawrence. "Females, especially, are making their mark at the Academy, and in sports now more than ever and it's a trend that I want to continue to see."