CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 5, 2014 — Craig Robinson of Hayti, Mo., came to Southeast Missouri State University in fall 2009 with a goal of becoming a school principal. He will leave Southeast this month with a teaching position waiting for him and four successful years under his belt as a member of the Southeast track and field team.
On May 17, he will receive a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in middle school science and social studies. He accepted a position last fall through the Teach for America program and will teach elementary school in Memphis, Tenn., for five to seven years. At the same time, he plans to pursue a master’s degree from Christian Brothers College, with his ultimate goal to become a principal.
“I have learned the skills I need to prepare me to teach in the classroom. Southeast has a great education department and all of the professors are helpful. I never had an unanswered question regarding my education classes,” Robinson said.
A thrower on the track and field team, Robinson was an all-Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) indoor and outdoor player for the four years he competed.
“I threw everything,” he said. “I would say that I was more specialized in the shot put, hammer and weight throw.”
He was a three-year regional qualifier in the shot put. He was ranked in the top 100 division of one-shot putters in the nation for three consecutive years. After his junior season, he was ranked 20th in the nation in weight throwing in Division 1. He was an OVC champion for three years. He was a 2011 indoor shot put champion, a 2012 outdoor champion in shot put, and a 2013 indoor champion in the weight throw.
“I was very successful,” Robinson says.
Unwilling to give up doing what he loved after his eligibility as a student-athlete expired, Robinson now assists Coach Eric Crumpecker as a volunteer coach, assisting the throwers on the track and field team.
“When I do not have to work on the weekends, I travel to meets and cheer on my former teammates,” he says.
In addition to volunteering with the track and field team, he is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity on campus, where he was the Homecoming 2013 Man of the Year runner-up. He participates in the Student Activities Council and serves the student body as a senator for the College of Education. He is a member of two honor councils, Kappa Delta Pi, the Honor Society for Education, and the Order of Omega, the Greek Honor Society.
While attending the University, Robinson says he has gained invaluable knowledge.
“I learned that it does not matter where you come from or what the color of your skin is. We are all here with the same goal. That goal is to graduate with a degree,” he said. “Southeast is a very diverse place, and for that I now have friends from Africa, France, Sri Lanka and many more places. Southeast has taught me to be sociable. This is a trait that will help me for the rest of my life.”
“I will graduate on May 17 as a proud alumnus of Southeast. I do not regret any of the decisions I made while at Southeast, and, if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the exact same way. Southeast was the perfect choice. Who knows, maybe one day I will be the president of Southeast … Hard work pays off,” he says.