Every aspect of being a Hokie and working here at Virginia Tech makes me proud.
I love the school, I love the arts, I love the athletics and I love the whole ambiance of being a part of this world here in Blacksburg. But now I want to let everyone know what other aspect of Tech that I love and am most proud of - the Marching Virginians.
For all the years I have worked here at the university, I have always enjoyed our band (but, to some extent, taken the band for granted). The band is always there full of energy, talent and that wonderful Hokie spirit of which we are all so proud. That, in and of itself, is what most university bands are all about. And that is good. But the Marching Virginians bring so much more to the table.
In the last few weeks alone, the Marching Virginians (under the most able direction of David McKee) have shown to the world what a wonderful collective heart they have (and, in so doing, made Tech shine even brighter than ever). I am referring to the Marching Virginians going to the hometown of Ryan Christopher Clark (one of the 32 people who lost their lives on April 16, 2007). They performed at the high school there to honor one of their own. But with this performance, they not only honored Ryan Clark, his family and his hometown, but they honored all of Tech. As a member of the Hokie community, I felt a great sense of pride for what these young people chose to do. Another example of their generous spirit and sense of pride was shown this Saturday during halftime of the home football game against Marshall. Zach Bird, a 15-year-old freshman at Patrick Henry High School in Glade Spring, Va., got the opportunity to play with the Marching Virginians through the Make-A-Wish-Foundation (for three years, Zach underwent chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow). Quoting from the article in the Roanoke Times: "As part of the wish, Zach, his parents and his 18-year-old sister, Ashleigh Bird, got to spend Friday night at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Band members gave him T-shirts and signed a drum head for him. He got to practice and have lunch with them before the game. ...
'I'm overwhelmed,' Karen Webb, the president and CEO for Make-A-Wish in Virginia said Saturday at Lane Stadium, where she spent the day with Zach and his family. Band director 'Dave McKee and everybody in the band has just put their hearts out for him.'"
I feel very proud and honored each time I walk onto this beautiful campus or walk down the streets of Blacksburg. We have so much of which to be proud. So, while I have always loved the Marching Virginians and felt a great sense of pride while watching them, I believe that my heart will be even fuller when I next see them. Their star, and Tech's star, will shine even brighter for the wonderful example they are setting.
Office manager, Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts