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A Time to Remember

13 April, 2018 0 comments Leave a comment

As we Hokies know, spring brings about some beautiful traditions and opportunities to uphold Ut Prosim. However, spring also brings some sad memories as well.  

This year marks the eleventh year since we lost 32 lovely Hokies. These 32 individuals deserve to be at the front of our memory this week, next week, and forever. As Hokies, it is our duty to commemorate these souls by showing each other true kindness, participating in altruistic service, and embracing the foundations of our community. We must show love in order to properly love those we so heartbreakingly lost.

As Nikki Giovanni so brilliantly put it, let us never forget that “We are Virginia Tech.” Monday will be a hard day for many families and individuals of our community. It will be a hard day for the Hokie community as we mourn those who lost their lives. It will be a hard day for the faculty and staff that so reluctantly had to experience the tragedy. It will be hard. But, to quote Giovanni once more, “We will prevail.” We will always prevail. We will always hold hope in our Hokie hearts and love in our Hokie souls. We will cherish each other as individuals, cherish each other as a community, cherish each other as friends, and cherish each other as large Hokie family.

We will never forget; but, we will never lose our hope for this nation and our love for this college. We remember.

 

In loving memory of the following lives:

Ross A. Alameddine, Christopher James Bishop, Brian R. Bluhm, Ryan Christopher Clark, Austin Michelle Cloyd, Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, Kevin P. Granata, Matthew Gregory Gwaltney, Caitlin Millar Hammaren, Jeremy Michael Herbstritt, Rachael Elizabeth Hill, Emily Jane Hilscher, Jarrett Lee Lane, Matthew Joseph La Porte, Henry J. Lee (Henh Ly), Liviu Librescu, G.V. Loganathan, Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan, Lauren Ashley McCain, Daniel Patrick O’Neil, Juan Ramon Ortiz-Ortiz, Minal Hiralal Panchal, Daniel Alejandro Perez Cueva, Erin Nicole Peterson, Michael Steven Pohle, Jr., Julia Kathleen Pryde, Mary Karen Read, Reema Joseph Samaha, Waleed Mohamed Shaalan, Leslie Geraldine Sherman, Maxine Shelly Turner, and Nicole Regina White

 

Click on the names above to read each Hokie’s individual biography.

 

With love and endless hope,

 

Dottie.

 

 

           

The Secret Life of the HokieBird

08 November, 2017 2 comments Leave a comment

Lauren Hicks Photography

Cody Lopez was just like any other college kid. He spent his time as a R.A. keeping freshman alive in the dorms, attending club meetings and getting excited for Friday night dates. However, he had a secret—a huge, feathered, maroon and orange secret.

He was the HokieBird… and he couldn’t tell a single soul. Keeping the masquerade of living a double life for four years wasn’t easy. He’s no Hannah Montana—  but Cody found a way to keep his cover.

“People started to ask why are you on the field, I see you down there what are you doing, or why did you go to Daytona with the cheer team? Early on I kind of developed a story, I just didn’t use it as much. I told everyone that I was an intern in the Sports Marketing and Athletics department,” said Cody.

His story was clever, and for the most part it stuck. However, it was hard lying to loved ones and friends. However, Cody considers the white lies a small price to pay for his incredible experience.

“When I was an R.A., residents would see me come back super sweaty and I would just tell them I went to the gym. If they knew me well enough, they’d obviously know that wasn’t true. I never go to the gym!” he exclaimed. Cody set his mind on becoming the Hokie Bird at his first football game during his freshman year of college.

“There was nobody else on the field. There were people lining the sidelines, the stadium was full, but the Hokie Bird was just on the field in an orange effect shirt just goofing off, cartwheeling and rolling around in the middle of the football field. I was like that would be the coolest thing—  He can just goof off and enjoy himself in front of 60,000 people and it’s all in good fun.” said Cody. Cody decided that one way or another he was going to become the Hokie Bird.  In that moment, he whipped out his IPod Touch and took a picture to document the moment.

“I was like, you know what, I would love to do that. I posted a picture of the HokieBird in September of 2012 saying ‘that’s gonna be me someday’ as the caption. Whopping 12 likes. Crushed it,” said Cody.

The process of becoming the HokieBird wasn’t an easy one. If Cody’s heart and soul hadn’t been set on being the mascot, it would’ve been easy to give up. The first step to becoming the HokieBird was figuring out who to get in contact with to apply.

“I pretty much asked every single person I could find in athletics. I assumed it was athletics run, so I was like, how do I do this. Either they didn’t respond at all or they didn’t know—at least they told me that they didn’t know,” Cody explained. After a long point of getting nowhere, Cody was frustrated. It wasn’t until he began talking to a cute girl that things started to look up for his HokieBird career.

“I wanted to ask her on a date, and I wanted it to be this really big elaborate thing. I messaged the HokieBird on Twitter. I tweeted at him and said, can you follow me I want to DM you about something. My plan was to have him escort her to our date,” Cody explained, “He did it, and it was really cool. Then maybe a week after that, I messaged him and was like, ‘hey so I’ve been trying to figure this out for a really long time, can you help?’” The Hokie Bird hesitantly sent Cody an email. Cody finally had the “In” into the HokieBird program.

The next few months were a whirlwind. Cody went through various tryouts, which he can’t disclose—it is a very secretive process. The university narrowed 60 applicants to 30.  In the end, Cody was competing against three other people for the two HokieBird spots.

“If it’s something that you really want to do, be persistent,” Cody advised, “Be positive and adamant about what you want to do.”

Cody found that the most rewarding factor about being the HokieBird was seeing the impact that he made in the lives of others.  He appreciated the moments that he experienced being the face of the university in times of joy and sorrow. Attending the April 16th memorial service was one of the most poignant moments in his HokieBird career.

“One year I decided that I was going to buy flowers, go as the HokieBird and put flowers on the headstones,” Cody explained, “Then this one older lady, I have no idea what her connection was, if she was from the area or if she was personally affected, I don’t know, but she made it all the way through and she was balling. Just absolutely, super hard sniffling, crazy crying and she walked up and she just wrapped me in this huge hug and squeezed me super tight. All she said was, ‘I can’t explain to you how much it means to me that you came here for this night. Thank you.’” Cody paused, remembering the significance of the moment.

“I’m inside the suit crying. I feel like I was able to see the rawest emotion of a person. People weren’t afraid to show that to me, because I was the mascot— If I had been a normal person, they wouldn’t just run up and hug me for no reason,” Cody explained.

Moments like those are what makes being the HokieBird worth it. Moments like those are the reason that the HokieBird stands inside a costume in a Florida heat wave at the Miami football game, or the reason why the HokieBird fibs to friends and family about being busy. For Cody, everything was worth it, if he could make a difference in at least one person’s life.

“I got to see when people were happy and excited, they don’t hold that back around you. I’ve seen so many people cry tears of happiness now, just because I showed up somewhere and that’s just such a touching thing,” Cody explained, “It just speaks to me about what it truly means to be a Virginia Tech student, alum, faculty member, or fan. I wouldn’t have given it up for anything and I’m so glad that I got to do it.”

Cody is a 2016 Virginia Tech graduate.

 

*Photo Credits: The Blacksburg Partnership does not own these photos. They are provided courtesy of Cody Lopez. Bryson Hicks Photography took the second to last photo. The graduation photos were taken by Lauren Rakes.

A Second Chance: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson

25 September, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

     

     Last year, the Hokies made it to the ACC championship to take on the Clemson Tigers. The game was certainly a nail biter, and the Hokies only trailed the Tigers by a single touchdown. While most believed the Hokies would suffer a devastating loss, the final score was a surprising 42-35. Fans were shocked by the outcome. While the loss hurt overall Hokie pride, Virginia Tech’s determination to win was extremely impressive. Their persistence and perseverance made every Hokie proud.

     This year, the Hokies will prevail.

     On Saturday, September 30, the Clemson Tigers will place their paws on Hokie territory. With a maroon effect in place, the advantage will be ours as a sea of maroon will be roaring with pride. The Tigers will shake with fear as a maroon wave repeatedly crashes over the stands, Enter Sandman blasting in the background. The ground will shake. The echo of triumph will bounce off the metal bleachers, the spirit of the Hokie will be heard in every corner. A mass of orange colored faces will be chanting wholeheartedly, victory on every heart and mind. Hands will fly in the air alongside the most beautifully constructed paper airplanes. Horses will run on treadmills, fans will dance to jukebox tunes.  Cheerleaders will lead the crowd while twirlers toss their batons in the air. Trumpets and drums will stir the crowd further. Cadets will do pushups, alumni will reminisce. Students will produce a boisterous H-O-K-I-E-S as Virginia Tech inches their way to the end zone.

     And then we’ll score.

     The Hokie bird will dance happily, the fans awed by this mascot of school spirit. Dottie will cheer as she watches from the stands; her family will cheer as they watch from home. Inch by inch and yard by yard, our second chance will sparkle before our eyes, fully reachable, fully tangible. The clock will tick down, time will pass. The Hokie Pokie will be played, turkey legs will be gnawed on. Sweat will drip from the team’s brows, determination will line their eyes. The thirst for competition is quenched as the final quarter makes its way around. Tigers tremble. Hokies hurrah. And suddenly, the Hokies are seconds away from tackling victory.

     And we win.

     Don’t miss the opportunity to see the Virginia Tech Hokies seize their second chance. We need your help. Lane needs your presence.

     We are Virginia Tech. We can, and we will, prevail.

How to Host a Tasteful Virginia Tech Wedding

02 August, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

It’s the time for cocktails and dress shoes. Something borrowed, something… maroon? With wedding season in full swing, you might start to daydream about how you’d like your own wedding to be. You didn’t go to college to get your M.R.S., but that’s what happened when you met your boo strolling across the Drillfield. Now you both are as obsessed with tailgates and turkey legs as you are each other. You couldn’t imagine your wedding being anything less exciting than a Lane Stadium football game. If you’re looking to represent your alma mater while walking down the aisle, look no further. Here are 4 tips you should know when hosting a Virginia Tech themed wedding.

  1. Set the tone. Invitations or save-the-date cards are a great way to introduce the theme of your Hokie wedding. You can set the tone of your wedding by making your invites look like a Virginia Tech football ticket. Whatever you do, make sure to incorporate plenty of maroon and orange in your!
  2. Make the colors pop. Maroon and orange go together like PB and Jelly. However, that doesn’t mean that there needs to be Burnt Orange on every decoration, or that you need to paint the venue Chicago Maroon. You can take an understated approach by pairing neutral colors like cream or beige with tasteful pops of color. You can use white and orange flowers for a beautiful bouquet combination. Your bridesmaids can dress in maroon dresses, and groomsmen can wear orange bowties. A little can go a long way when it comes to color.
  3. Decorate like a pro. There are various ways to incorporate Virginia Tech into your décor. You can make a simple yet elegant centerpiece out of maroon and orange flowers and glass jars. Another idea is to use small chalk board signs on top of each table that have names of a places on campus—think Lane, Burruss or Drillfield. You can even incorporate Hokie Birds statues or Hokie art into your décor. The Hokie Pokie Dot bird makes for an excellent decoration and a memorable keepsake for your wedding.
  4. Be creative. At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your partner.  If you want your guests to sign a Virginia Tech Jersey instead of a guest book, go for it. If you want to play tailgate games such as cornhole at your reception, why not? Tailor your wedding to what you like and don’t be afraid to get creative.  Add enter sandman to your wedding playlist, invite the Hokie Bird to your wedding, have a lunch pail shaped groom’s cake. Whatever you do, make sure that you are having fun.

Dear Virginia Tech Class of 2022,

17 July, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

Welcome to the best school on earth! Well I may be a tad bit biased, being that I am a Hokie Bird and all…. But I really do believe that this school is all around great. I’m sure as soon as you toured here you knew—from the friendly faces at every corner, to the comfy sport t-shirts seen on every student, to the delicious on-campus food. Yes there is a reason that we get ranked among the top campus food in the nation every year….. can you say Qdoba? Or lobster? Or Chicken Parm?! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

Now hold on one second. Before you pack your bags filled with all the new Hokie attire that your family stocked you up on, or snap your last going away Insta pic in your #hometown, here are the things that you should know.

  1. Get a Planner. Trust me on this one. Planners can keep you sane, especially when you are trying to balance school, work, working out, volunteering, a social life and Netflix. To beat stress, and—let’s face it— procrastination, you need an agenda to tell you exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. Get one before you get to school to avoid feeling overwhelmed— you will thank yourself later.

 

  1. Make-an-Effort. College is a magical place where you go to school with 36,000 potential friends. Trust me, it’s a lot different than the high school cafeteria. However, unlike your high school class, in college no one knows you. You must make-an-effort to have friends. Meeting people in your hall is one easy way to make friends. if you leave your dorm door open while you are home, your dormmates are more likely to drop by and say hi.  Joining an organization or club is another way to make friends. Gobblerfest is a great way to find the best organization for you. This year, Gobblerfest is Friday August 31st.

 

  1. Adapt Your Wardrobe. Blacksburg is a beautiful small town nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains. That is the mantra that every tour guide and Hokie advocate has ever told you. This is true; however, what they don’t tell you is how crazy the weather is. Welcome to Blacksburg, we like to have all four seasons shoved into a seven-day week! Combat the unpredictable weather by arriving prepared—with layers! If the weather calls for sunny and 75, take my word for it, and bring a sweatshirt. If your phone says cloudy with a 0 percent chance of rain, bring the umbrella anyway.

 

  1. Get a Workout Routine.  It’s true, Virginia Tech is known for their great food. If you wanted to, you could eat Queso and chips every single day! Unfortunately, being an adult means being responsible, which means you probably—technically— shouldn’t do that. Enjoy the food in moderation, and get a workout routine. Working out helps reduce stress levels induced by group projects, increase endorphins to keep you happy and of course, stave off the freshman 15! Lucky for you, Virginia Tech is also ranked one of the fittest campuses in the nation. There are multiple ways that you can get fit: Take group classes at McComas, play intramural sports, hit the pavement and explore the Huckleberry, or pump some iron at the gym.

 

  1. Most Importantly… Call Your Parents. Because you will miss them. Everyone does. Even if you are having the time of your life at college, don’t forget about good ol’ Mom and Dad, or Grandma, or whoever you love. They’ve cradled you and loved you your whole life and it nearly broke their heart to see you go. However, they know that you are doing great things and they are proud of you. It doesn’t have to be every day, but at least every so often just let them know that you love them, and that yes, you are safe, and you are still eating your vegetables.

So now that you have the inside scoop, good luck with your future adventures Virginia Tech Class of 2022. As cliché as it sounds, you’re in for a beautiful, perfectly-imperfect ride.  Live it up, do well in school and enjoy some of the most amazing years of your life repping maroon and orange.

Sincerely,

Gobble de Art

P.S. Find my friends at our Hokie Bird store, along with Hokie memorabilia and keepsakes! We make great presents…. Pstt Mom and Dad.