For many African-American families, like the Spikesfamily, attending a historically black college is sharing a legacy and there is a pride in continuing the legacy.
Harry Hooker III, a junior from DeRidder, La., is carrying forward his family’s legacy of attending Grambling State University.
His mother, Shamika Spikes is a Fall 1999 graduate of Grambling State University.
“My experience at Grambling was wonderful,” said Spikes, who received her degree in elementary education with a minor in Spanish. “It was like family [on campus], I met some of my best friends there.”
She mentioned that one of her best friends from her time at Grambling ended up becoming her son’s godmother.
Several members of Spikes’ and Hooker’s family are proud alums of Grambling State University, including cousins.
Spikes’ brother, Joshua Spikes, and her father, who is a 1974 graduate.
Hooker grew up hearing stories about his mother’s college experience at Grambling.
Spikes said Grambling State University’s campus has evolved since she was an undergraduate student.
“The dorm rooms have changed,” Spikes said. “When I was here, we had dorm mothers, and now it seem as if everyone lives together.”
She also mentioned how the Tiger Express and Favrot Student Union has improved.
“It has been expanded since I’ve been there,” Spikes said.
Spikes is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., having been initiated through the Alpha Theta chapter on campus.
Hooker said that he always knew that he would attend Grambling, no doubt, due to his family’s tradition of attending the college.
“I knew when I was in pre-school,” Hooker, a chemistry major and biology minor, said. “I would attend Grambling.”
Hooker remembered visiting the campus of Grambling quite frequently as a child.
“I went to [Grambling’s] homecoming with my church every year since about the second grade,” Hooker said.
“I’ve attended the Bayou Classic a few times in my childhood.”
Hooker enrolled into Grambling State University in the fall of 2017 as a precocious freshman and member of the university’s World Famed Tiger Marching Band, where he plays the alto saxophone.
He eventually crossed into the Delta Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the same chapter and organization that his uncle, Josh Spikes, crossed into years earlier.
“I felt ecstatic about it,” said Josh Spikes, a 2006 graduate of Grambling State University and former member of the World Famed Tiger Marching Band.
“Of course, I’ve been in his life since he was born, so to see him march in the band like I did and pledge the same fraternity like I did, it’s kind of surreal,” said Spikes, who recieved both his bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision.
Hooker’s uncle served as high school director for 10 years.
Spikes said that she hopes that her son takes away a pride and love for Grambling State University when he graduates, as she did.
Spikes also said that the love and care that the teachers at Grambling showed her, impacted her life.
“There is a genuine concern at Grambling to do well,” Spikes said.
Hooker believes that the family tradition of the Spikes family members attending Grambling State University will continue.