8 The Compass Wednesday, October 26, 1994
ECSU’s Nikita Sutton: a rising star
who keeps lier feet on the ground
Nikita Sutton, winner of the National Miss Black and Gold Pageant representing Alpha Phi
Alpha Fraternity, relaxes on the yard. In 1992 Suttonwasthe National Oratorical winnerfor
the Southern CWstian Leadership Conference.
By Trenace Fayton
Nikita Sutton offers living prcx)f to the
old addage "Dynamite comes in small
This soft-spoken ECSU junior from
Elizabeth Qty stands only one inch over
five feet, but every inch is packed with
talent, character, and determination to
She has already proven herself to be a
"rising star" at ECSU. This past summer
she won the National Miss Black and
Gold Pageant representing Alpha Phi
Alpha Fraternity. In 1992, she was the
National Oratorical Winner for theSouth-
em Christian Leadership Conference.
In addition to being active in SGA and
the Student Leadership Academy, she
has also attracted much praise and notice
through her performances with ECSU's
Concert Choir, of which she is a member.
"Anyone who has heard her sing Tre-
cious Lord' is sure to have felt chills run
ning down their spines," said Stephen
March, an assi stant professor in the Dept,
of Language, Literature & Communica
tion. "Nikki gets down into the marrow
of a song and she brings it straight to your
Sutton said she loves singing with the
choir. "Mr. Hines has really helped nr»e
increase my vocal range and develop
more control," she says. "It took ine three
years to leam how to breathe correctly."
Sutton, whose career plans include a
recording contract as a gospel artist, was
strongly influenced by her church,
Faithway Church of Jesus in the Apos
"We believe strongly in baptism in
Jesus' name and in keeping the Sabbath
holy," she says. "Our sabbath is Saturday
and that has caused a lot of questions in
Sutton described her church as being
"concise and to the point. They do not
believe in wearing pants, earrings, make
up, skirts above the knee, or rings. Cut
ting your hair is out of the question, and
short sleeves are out, too."
Sutton said she followed these pre
cepts when she was younger "because I
had to be obedient. But as I got older I felt
it was unecessary stuff that I did not want
to abide by. I might be getting myself in
trouble, buti decided to do whatl want to
do without being disre^jectful. I agree
with their teachings, but I want to come to
that on my own."
Sutton said she appreciates her church
and praises its role in h«r development.
However she adds that she is still "in a
developmental stage. I am not going to
put on a front for anyone."
Sutton, who feels religious denomina
tions are not that important, also believes
in allowing others their own religious
preferences. "I will not pud\ my beliefs
on you, and everyone has a right to be
lieve what they want. We are all trying to
get to the same place. We read the same
Bible, and Jesus has the final say any
The oldest child of ten children, Sutton
said she grew up in a good "old school"
home in which she was taught to say
"Yes, ma'am, no ma'am, and yes sir."
Her mother, a high school English
teacher in Edenton, stopped working for
six years to take care of the children,
recalls Sutton, who adds that she, too.
helped out with child care.
"It was an experience you will never
believe," she recalls. "I was washing
dishes and changing diapers before the
age of nine. I lost a little of my childhood.
I grew up quickly but leam^ a lot in the
process. A lot of the values my mom and
dad placed upon me will branch off into
what I teach my own children."
She continues to think of herself in a
maternal role where her younger siblings
"John, Michael, Abel and Johnathan
are my babies aixl will do anything for
me," she says. "Sandra looks up to me.
She likes to sing, too."
Sutton credits her father Ernest Sutton
as being her primary mentor.
"My dad is a smart man," she says. "I
find myself thinking things through, just
like him. I am getting to the point where
I am so much like him. Our ideas can
clash because of that. But If I were to go to
anybody with reservations about some
thing it would be him.'
Sutton says her father also ir\fluenced her
career choice. He is the superintendent
Maple Prison for the N.C. Department of
"My major is criminal justice, and he is
a big reason for that."
Although she is close to her dad, Sutton
admits that their strong personalities have
"I received my last whipping when I
was sixteen yeare old. I was subtlely re
bellious aiKl still am. He would tell me to
do something, and I would hear him, but
still do my own thing."
Sutton said she describes herself as
"quietly stubborn," which means "I am
not the type of person to cause an out
burst when I disagree with something. I
will either say it softly or not speak."
Sutton's hobbies ir^ude reading, ora
torical speaking, acting, writing stories
and listening to music. Her pet peeve is
seeing "men or women go in excess of
their drinking capacity and "xmtrained
children who act as if they have no home
Sutton's "ideal nrian" is a person "who
can get along with me, who's open to new
things—spontaneous. Everybody says
they want a man they can trust, but when
you find that true love, everything will
fall into place."
She is now in a "long distance" rela-
"He does fit the ideal catagory," says
Sutton. "The relationship is serious at the
moment, but we have established that
while we are so distant, we are 'very
special' friends. Since we are apart, we
realize we might make mistakes. We love
each other very much."
Sutton has a positive relationship with
ECSU. "I love the people here, and I
would like to thank ECSU for supporting
She considers student participation to
be low, however, and would like to see
more students vote.
Her advice to ECSU students:
"Be yourself. Know who you are be
fore you get here so you won't be swayed
into another life style that's not you.
Choose friends carefully."
After graduating from ECSU Sutton
plans to attend law chool and work in the
area ofdvil rights law. '1 plan to work for
the NAACP or the SCLC," she says.
''Be yourself. Know who you are before you
get here so you won’t be swayed into another life
style thafs not you. Choose friends carefully.’*