More than 800 high schoolers, counselors, parents visit Grambling State event
By: Keniae Henderson/GSU Media Bureau
Potential Tigers and their parents flocked to Grambling State University from all over the country. Although residents of Louisiana and Texas were the majority, guests from California, Florida, Illinois and Oregon witnessed the GRAMFAM in action.
Aysha Kemp, 17, a senior from Palm Harbor, Florida, came with the hopes of following in her sister’s footsteps. “My sister went to an HBCU, so I wanted to go to one. She went to Alabama A&M.”
Others, like Brieana Fields, 17, from Houston, were visiting Grambling for a second time. She liked GSU before, so Saturday’s visit was to determine whether the school remains her school of choice after an earlier visit. “The first time I came I felt home,” she recalled. “Everyone was nice and friendly.”
Kemp and Fields were among more than 850 participants, counselors, parents and alumni registered for the black and gold “Stomp the Yard” experience. It was a record attendance number for a spring High School Day. Of that number, 257 students pre-registered and another 342 students registered on site.
“Spring high school day has never looked this good or been this big,” Grambling State University President Rick Gallot exclaimed with enthusiasm. The president greeted visitors with warm welcomes, and he teased the crowd during a T.H. Harris Auditorium with a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity stroll, and with a red and white cane.
The day included campus tours led by student ambassadors. Current GSU students mixed with visitors in the auditorium, in the Black and Gold Room for academic program and student group browsing and in the McCall Dining Hall, creating one of the liveliest environments at recent high school days. The “Stomp the Yard” event hosted by MC Fiji and DJ Twinz turned everyone into a hype crowd of gold and black in the auditorium. Participants were amazed by the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, bobbing to their performance of ‘Bodak Yellow’ by Cardi B, and rocking to the GSU anthem. Rapper Whop Bezzy, a Baton Rouge native, shocked everyone when he appeared onstage to his song “You Know I Ain’t Scared.”
DeVaria Hudson, GSU’s director of admissions, coordinated the day’s big event with assistance from the admissions and recruiting team. Ms. Dee, as she’s known to students, arrived in Grambling in April 2017 after a stint at Nova Southeast University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The record-breaking turnout gave Hudson a lot to celebrate. She said student ambassadors were an important part of the success.
Referred to as the heart of admissions, student ambassadors lead visitors as student representatives offering a student-focused experience. Sophomore R’Reon Robinson, 20, a transfer student from Los Angeles, California, and a business management and history major, always wanted to go to an HBCU. She became an ambassador when a friend suggested it as something helpful she could do. She likes the idea of presenting a “student’s face instead of an administrator’s.”
This year’s Spring 2018 high school day was her Robinson’s first big event, and she was pleased with the energy. “I feel like we showed them the best of our campus,” she said.
Miniya Shabazz contributed to this report.
Photo Credit: Carlton Hamlin/GSU Media Bureau