By Jeffrey Waitkevich
This year’s homecoming dance, which took place on Tuesday, Oct. 10, ended with Sadandré Jackson and Shani Tracey crowned as king and queen. Let’s get to know them a little better.
Sadandré Jackson: Homecoming King
Jackson, a junior psychology major, wears many hats: president of the Herd Step Team, orientation leader, tour guide and peer coach. However, his true passion stems from his pride in being being a small-town introvert determined to make it at USF St. Petersburg.
“One of the main reasons I ran is to show people like me that we can do things, too. I really want to represent everyone on this campus,” said Jackson.
Despite being a self-proclaimed introvert, he also considers himself a people person.
“I really value rejuvenating on my own and what that looks like after I’m social,” said Jackson. “I just love to be around people, because that’s how you make connections and network in life and in college, especially.”
The Compass First-Year Experience program gave him the best of both worlds. His role as a peer coach gave him an opportunity to grow and be social while also helping incoming students transition and find themselves.
Compass also led Jackson to meet someone who inspires him: Compass Director Carolina Nutt.
“She is who I want to be,” Jackson said. “She’s able to be a role model on campus, all while being herself. She doesn’t try to be anyone else, so that’s my main goal because I really believe in authenticity.”
As the president of the Herd Step Team, Jackson performs and teaches people what he calls the “art of stepping.”
He also enjoys singing, dancing and writing poetry. One of his goals before graduating is to share some of his poetry at an open mic night.
After his time as an undergraduate, Jackson hopes to someday earn a master’s degree in higher education administration and in industrial organizational psychology. His dream job is to work as a consultant at a university.
Shani Tracey: Homecoming Queen
Homecoming night was an unforgettable experience for Tracey.
“It sounds so cliché,” she said. “It was one of the greatest nights of my life. Before I got crowned there were so many emotions running through me. I was happy, excited and extremely nervous all at the same time. I didn’t expect to win so I didn’t anticipate it. I cried. It was so surreal.”
Sharing the moment with her best friend, Jackson, made the moment that much more special.
Tracey is a junior mass communication major with a double minor in entrepreneurship and leadership studies. Like Jackson, she works as a tour guide, orientation leader, peer coach and is a member of the Herd Step Team.
She is also the founding president of the USF St. Petersburg Gospel Choir. “I’ve always lived to sing,” Tracey said.
During her senior year of high school, she auditioned for the hit television show “The Voice” in Atlanta. She made it to the final round of auditions before the blind audition round in Los Angeles.
Her decision to audition for the show was largely influenced by her parents. Her mother is her role model, Tracey says.
“Since I was younger, she always saw something in me that I couldn’t,” Tracey said. “I do great things because I don’t want to let her down.”
Tracey wants to be that kind of role model for her younger brother. She said she wants “to be great so he can see (that) it’s possible.”
Tracey is full of school pride. She credits the university for giving her opportunities that she wouldn’t otherwise have.
Some of that pride comes from her ability to help others grow while growing herself.
“I’ve been an inspiration to others. I’ve helped build leaders and it’s so humbling. I learn something new from every student I’ve been in contact with.”