This year, instead of hosting Honors Day, Grambling State University celebrated and recognized the academic achievements of students for a week.Dr. Lawanna Gunn-Williams, who has served as the chair for over nearly 20 years, said GSU president, Dr. Frank G. Pogue suggested that the observance be held a week.
Two new editions to the celebration were the parade and cookout at the president’s home. Ralph Wilson, Interim Director of Annual Fund in the Division of Institutional Advancement, served as the coordinator for the parade. He was assisted by committee member Melanie C. Thomas.
Wilson said it was a challenge to finally make the parade a reality. He said he thought the parade should be fun and not too long. “I wanted it to be representative of the students, as well as something with taste. I wanted it to be memorable since it was the inaugural parade,” he said.
“The honorees and onlookers along the route said they enjoyed it. Our band always tends to add excitement,” he said.
In addition to the Tiger Marching Band, there were vintage cars in the parade. GSU alumnus Lorenzo Stafford’s Studebaker was a crowd favorite, so was Williams’ car.
Students had a chance to display their rides as well. Honorees paraded down the route in their honors t-shirts. Colleges, departments and the Honors Week committee also rode in the parade.
Williams said the parade was magnificent and brought attention to students who deserved the attention. “It shows we appreciate the effort they put forth to be honor students,” she said.
After the parade, students were treated to a cookout at the president’s home. First Lady Dorothy Pogue said she thought the cookout turned out well.
When asked why she and Dr. Pogue decided to host the cookout at their home, she said, “The grounds here are beautiful, and the students should come to the president’s house to see it.”
David Stuckman, a junior majoring in business management and computer information systems, said he appreciated his hard work being recognized.
“It is hard being a student, trying to balance class work and football. The parade was great. It was good to get everybody out for a good cause,” said the Gainsville, Flo. native.
Gerald Makobong of Cameroon said Honors Week is about compensating what people have been doing and trying to keep them to keep doing it.
“It is a form of motivation. It is important to keep organizing Honors Week. When people see their friends being recognized, it will make them do better,” said the freshman nursing major.
He said, people, especially parents can see that the students are doing well academically. His roommate, Kometa Mufor, plans to send his honors medallion home to his mother.
Other committee members for Honors Week were Dr. Sue Abraham, Dr. Doris Carter, Dr. Sharon Ford Dunn, Peggy Ethridge, Sandra Lee, Barbara Lewis, Clair Lewis, Dr. Frances Staten, Arsenio Wilborn and Dr. J. Russell Willis.
Williams said the students were pleased with the activities and glad the university gave them recognition. “We plan to have Honors Week every year. We will continue to build, and it will become larger as the years go by,” she said.