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O Here's to Wake Forest- Josh Strickland says farewell to Mother So Dear

With graduation looming on May 20, Wake Forest senior Josh Strickland sends a love letter to Mother So Dear.

Wake Forest Senior Josh Strickland, Class of 2013
Wake Forest Senior Josh Strickland, Class of 2013
Streeter Lecka

O Here's to Wake Forest

Josh Strickland, Class of 2013

It has become tradition for the members of Wake Forest Football's freshman class to stay after practice during training camp and learn the lyrics to the school's fight song along with Coach "Big Daddy" Faircloth." It is here that the first bonds of the class are born, and it was also here when I learned that I had made one of the best decisions of my life.

"O' Here's to Wake Forest...

The past four years have flown by. Looking back, though, the moments seemed to drag by. Oh how I wish I could go back in time to ECON150 at 8am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Maybe I didn't know it at the time, but I never had it better. Little did I know how fast May of 2013 would arrive. Now four years later, it's amazing to look back and see how much our class has changed. We're old. And we're graduating from one of the top Universities in the country.

...A glass of the finest...

There is no better place I'd rather have spent these years than in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Though a native, and so close to home, donning any other color other than old gold & black was never really an option. Where else can you play big-time football, earn a top education, REALLY get to know your professors, and establish amazing friendships at the same time? Find me a good school, and I'll raise you Mother So Dear.

... Red ruddy, rhenish filled up to the brim.

You get the full experience here. You don't get that everywhere. A liberal arts degree allows you many options and courses that you may have never thought about taking. Whether it's ballet, acting, golf, on-camera performance, or Tai Chi, there are enough electives out there for everyone. Would I have had any intention of taking a dance class upon entry to Wake? Probably not. However, I'm glad I did, as it opens your eyes to hobbies and lives outside of yours. The liberal arts degree values the well-rounded individual. You earn an admiration and respect for the actors in the theater department, or the dancers on stage. You're opening up. There's always more out there. Thank you, Wake Forest.

...Her sons they are many ...

We may not be large in size or number, but our word is heard. The Wake Forest motto of "Pro-humanitate," for humanity, is echoed from gate to gate around campus. Being involved with CHAMPS-Life Coordinator Julie Griffin has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I, as well as many others, have done everything from tutor students at local elementary schools, speak at assemblies about the importance of an education, and dress up as Santa Claus and run around the greater Winston-Salem area delivering presents at Christmas time. Yes, all jolly 200 pounds of me. There's something about the feeling you get when YOUR actions put smiles on the faces of others. WAKE FOREST provides those opportunities.

...Unrivaled by any...

So... there's UNC-Ashville, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Pembroke, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, etc. etc. etc. I tend to get them all confused at one point or another.

There's only one Wake Forest.

...With hearts o'erflowing we will sing a hymn ...

You fall in love here. Strolling across the sunny upper quad the other day further verified that fact in my mind. Birds were chirping, there was a slight warm breeze, no voices were heard, and the smell of the well-maintained quad ran through. You don't find trash around. You never have a worry about a blade of grass being out of line. You're gated off, in a delicately prettied environment, one where learning and growth flourish.

You're at Wake Forest.

...Rah! Rah! Wake Forest, Rah! ...

Freshman year was Ish's shot against Texas, as well as the shellacking I was luckily in attendance for in the Dean Dome - in the Ram's Club no less. My junior year was knocking off highly ranked Florida State in football and a berth in the Music City Bowl. And my senior year was Tanner Price's game winning drive, knocking off UNC-Chapel Hill in Winston Salem. I don't think anyone was happier than I was that night. After a rain-delayed hour and a half, the energy bounced off the walls of the Rickey Proehl locker room, before we FINALLY took the field to what I will call the loudest environment I've ever heard BB&T Field. I was about five feet in the air when Bud Noel knocked down the last Hail Mary attempt. I'll never forget that feeling, or that night.

...Old Alma Mater's sons are we ...

In a mere week I'll be an alumnus of a school that I've loved and followed since my early childhood. That, my friends, is an eerie feeling. My mind often wanders to the question, "What next?" I don't always have an answer, but I am always confident, as I have that Wake degree.

...We'll herald the story and die for her glory...

I've been at a special place with special people. This University has helped shaped me into the man I want to be, just as it did my father (Class of '81). Although the last semester of my senior year has been anything but stressful in the classroom, I've found myself selling this University to newcomers every day. I've found love and joy selling Wake Forest to others. With that said, it's not for everyone. It's for special individuals; ones who hope to attain the most of themselves, ones who WANT to be challenged, ones who want to succeed. So here's to Wake Forest, truly, and always, a glass of the finest.

...Old Gold and Black is ever waving high."