PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — From the Elizabeth River to Hollywood, people across the country with ties to Hampton Roads are devastated to learn the Spirit of Norfolk is history. The excursion ship was destroyed in a fire that burned for days last week.

From her home in Los Angeles, Patrice Covington, a veteran of Broadway, Hollywood, and television, was crestfallen to learn where her career started is likely a total loss.

“I am devastated; I am devastated but also grateful that I had the experience and the memories did not burn up with it,” said Covington in a Zom interview.

Covington, a graduate of Western Branch High School in Chesapeake, was only 16 years old when she landed a job on the Spirit of Norfolk. That was just one of her local stops on the road to the Great White Way and beyond.

( Photo courtesy: Patrice Covington)

“We were able to have so many things right at our hands including The Governor’s School for the Arts, Harrah Players, CenterStage Inc., and my beloved Spirit of Norfolk…honestly it was my first performing job.”

The skills Covington learned in the 757 would take her all the way to Broadway to Hollywood and to television where she won an Emmy.

“It’s a dream come true. It’s wild, it’s glamorous, it’s busted and I would not change it for the world,” said Covington while reflecting on her two decades in the business.

Next month, Covington and other professionals will bring that world to the children of the 757 in The Galaxy Experience Musical Theater Camp. Over five days, children 8 to 12 years of age, will learn the fundamentals and more.

“Stage directions, being able to take criticism constructively and also give it, also performance and using emotions, your day-to-day emotions, to tell a story.” The camp takes place at the Murray Center which is near several public housing communities in Norfolk.

With help from the community from this GoFundMe, Covington is setting a stage to create not just stars but galaxies.

“There’s so much access and I want to put it all in one place to let people know this can be your life; you just need the encouragement and the tools,” said Covington.

For more information contact: THEGALAXYCAMP@GMAIL.COM