Dominique Meeks: An Inspiration, A Mentor

Before I met Dominique “Dom” Meeks (‘09), I knew she was someone special. My volleyball teammates always boasted about her and anticipated her arrival at practices. When she entered Jacobs Gym, everyone looked up to greet her, and now I know why. Meeks attended Collegiate for eight years and is still tied into the Collegiate community through volleyball and basketball. She was the assistant varsity volleyball coach for the 2016 season and has helped with the basketball program in the past.

During the day, Meeks works at Dominion Power as an Associate Programmer Analyst, which Dom describes as “…basically a software developer.” Her commitment to this job made it difficult for her to come to all of our games and practices, so we took advantage of the time we had with her when she did this fall.

The volleyball team adores her. “I love Dom,” stated Kenya Minor (‘18). Match editor Olivia Hess (‘17) said, ”Dominique Meeks is a truly inspirational volleyball and formerly-basketball coach.” Avery Freeman (‘18), a veteran volleyball and basketball player for Meeks, said, “She’s an amazing person who always inspires me on and off of the court. I look up to her a lot.”

She stood out in Upper School for her basketball talents and accumulated various awards and acknowledgements. The basketball prodigy started her college recruiting process looking at University of Pennsylvania and Princeton. She didn’t consider Haverford College, located just outside Philadelphia, until Mr. Leipheimer, the Director of College Counseling, recommended it to her. While this college was not on her original list, she loved her visit and decided that was where she wanted to go to school. Haverford gave her the opportunity to play three sports: basketball, track, and volleyball. Most college athletes struggle to maintain playing one sport, but Meeks said she likes to keep busy because ”….if I don’t have something I have to do, then I just procrastinate and don’t get anything done.” Sports are a major passion in her life.

While volleyball may be her favorite, she couldn’t always find the time for it in her schedule and only ended up playing her sophomore year at Haverford. Meeks said, “There were times when I didn’t sleep much at all, but it was worth it.” Meeks was named the basketball team captain her junior and senior years and received a number of various awards throughout her athletic career.

Nowadays, Meeks fills whatever free time she has with athletics; she is obsessed. She does Crossfit with Director of Student Life and varsity volleyball coach Beth Kondorossy often and also practices with and plays for Capital Punishment, an adult flag football team based out of DC. This past weekend, (Jan. 13-15) she traveled to their national tournament.

However, Meeks is more than her many athletic accomplishments. On top of all of the commitments she had to her teams and work out schedule during Upper School and college, she found the time to raise her younger siblings, Daniel and Danielle, and care for her sick mother, Libby Meeks. Libby was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, (sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease) when Dom was only six months old, and Dwayne Meeks, her father, passed away from a heart attack when Dom was seven years old. While ALS patients typically have a 2-5 year survival rate, “[Libby] was a very strong lady,” says Meeks. She lived 22 years after her initial diagnosis.

Dom and Libby Meeks.

Meeks describes her mother on her ALS fundraising website, saying, “Even while raising three children on her own and burdened by a terrible disease, Libby devoted herself to helping other single mothers through the Fresh Start program.”

Libby passed away in August 2013, just months after Meeks’ graduation from Haverford, leaving her siblings Daniel and Danielle in Meeks’ care.

Meeks and her siblings have participated in the annual Walk to Defeat ALS in Richmond for over 10 years. In 2014 the “Faith Walkers” raised over $20,000 and gave all of that money to the ALS Association, the same association that provided Libby with equipment necessary for living with the disease.

As someone who knows Meeks very well, Kondorossy said, ”Dom is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. I have known her as an athlete, as a colleague, and as a friend, and she never ceases to amaze me. Watching her care for her mother while balancing the demands of high school, then watching her mentor her younger brother and sister after her mother passed, is something only Dom could handle, and handle with such maturity, love and overall grace.”

This post has been updated.

All photos courtesy of Dominique Meeks.

About the author

Eva Whaley is a junior at Collegiate.