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August 20, 2010

ULM Hawkline and other Spirit Groups bring campus back to life

It’s a hot and humid Tuesday afternoon and nearly a full week before the start of another academic year, but that hasn’t kept 27 members of the University of Louisiana at Monroe Hawkline from working on their signature moves as their constant chants of “Warhawks!” echo off the massive walls inside Brown Gym.

“Now someone was a little slow with their kick on this end,” warns Amanda Joseph, newly-named ULM Spirit Group Coordinator, to a cluster of young women with sparkling gold pom-poms dangling from their hands.

The team returned to school Thursday, Aug. 12, to begin conditioning exercises and practicing their routines from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Their first public performance is set for Aug. 25 during the annual Convocation in Fant-Ewing Coliseum, in which the new academic year is declared officially opened by ULM officials.

The Hawkline is just one of several spirit groups involved in key public events throughout the year that elevates campus life for students, faculty and staff, said Joanie Williams, director of student life and leadership. The groups are instrumental in bringing the campus back to life in mid-August, well before the first textbooks are cracked open, signaling the fall semester is in full swing.

“We are fortunate to have so many great students serving in our Spirit Group organizations, and every one of these groups start their school year early to produce great routines,” she said. “Not only do we have the Hawkline, we have our award-winning Warhawk Cheerleaders, we have two students serving as Ace, our Warhawk Mascot, and 28 members of ULM Scouts, who help out wherever possible at our home athletic events.”

Candice Johnson, 17, of Keller, Texas, is a sophomore pre-pharmacy major who has returned for her second year on the Hawkline. Johnson joined a drill team in high school, and she is an obvious go-getter. Johnson serves as a “Hawk Seeker” - a current student who helps recruit potential new students to the university – while also serving in a pre-pharmacy organization.

“I feel confident,” says Johnson. “A lot of us have been on the team before, so we know what to expect.”

Nicole Bertrand, 19, a sophomore pre-nursing major from Haughton, is equally assured that the hard work is paying off and the first performance will go well.

“We met for the first time during our camp in mid-July” she said. “It was our first chance to bond as a group. We’re growing together – I’m liking it, I was scared at first, but we are all bonding really well.”

As for Joseph’s leadership, both Johnson and Bertrand also heap high praise.

“She’s very determined,” Bertrand said. “We get a lot done.”

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