Most high school students have no idea what they want to do with their lives and Donald Harrison-Wright was no exception. But, 16 years ago, he decided to accept an internship in the Alexandria Commonwealths Attorneys office and he is still there.
In 1991, Harrison-Wright was a senior at T. C. Williams High School, enrolled in Ellen Harmons government class. Ms. Harmon encouraged us to have internships and learn about how different branches of government really worked, Harrison-Wright said. I was interested in the law because of all those TV shows like Perry Mason so I came to the Commonwealths Attorneys office.
I didnt want to go to law school and I knew that. But I really enjoyed the support side of things and when a receptionist position was available after graduation, I applied and they hired me, he said.
They hired him for that job and kept on promoting him. Over the years, he has worked in the victim witness program, has supported the grand jury section and has served as the administrative assistant responsible for General District Court. Now he is the office manager.
I really love my job because no two days are ever the same, Harrison-Wright said. I have learned about most aspects of the office over the years and that has prepared me for this job.
Prepared him very well, according to Commonwealths Attorney Randy Sengel. Donald really does everything, Sengel said. We have a relatively small office so he is responsible for pay role, ordering supplies, trouble-shooting our computer problems and a lot of other things. It is unfortunate that the Citys personnel system doesnt allow us to compensate people like Donald as they deserve. If he fell off the face of the earth tomorrow, it wouldnt take long for things around here to fall apart.
Harrison-Wright encourages young people to seek internships. It gives you an opportunity to learn about careers you may or may not consider in the future, he said. I particularly encourage high school students to look for opportunities to learn about local government because it is very important to understand how democracy really works, he said.