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Brenau tradition honors students moving up
Kimberly Bradberry of Jonesboro takes part in a Brenau University ceremony Friday night outside Pearce Auditorium. The event is part of a reunion weekend at the college that also honors students graduating and those moving to the next level.

In a fitting tribute to the soon-to-be graduates, the ladies of Brenau University gathered on Friday and sang, “To all the world thy blessing, Brenau thou sendeth forth.”

As the lyrics of the alma mater state, the university is preparing to send a new class of graduates out into the world, but first the students — past and present — gathered for An Evening of Class, where seniors are honored and the lower classes transition to the next level in their college careers.

“We’ve waited a long time for this day to come,” said Anna Sowell, a senior from Tifton. “It’s really exciting.”

During the ceremony, seniors make a final ceremonial trip to the top of the university’s Crow’s Nest, which was built as a gift to the graduating class of 1905. As is tradition, only seniors are allowed to fully ascend the winding staircase to the top of the deck.

“The ceremony celebrates their rise in rank and is also as a farewell to the seniors,” said Debbie Thompson, Brenau director of Greek life and campus traditions. “Each of the seniors will get a crown of ivy and the other students will each grab a portion of a rope.

“The seniors will climb down from the top of the Crow’s Nest and give their robe to the junior girls, who then take their place at the top.

Before they move up, the juniors pass the rope over their heads to the sophomores, who will take the juniors’ place (on the base platform).”

The sophomores then pass the rope over their heads to the freshmen, who take the sophomores’ place at the foot of the nest. They won’t be allowed on the Crow’s Nest until next year.

“I’ve been looking forward to being on the other side of this since freshman year,” said Farrah Rahimpour, senior class president.

Friday’s ceremony was the kickoff to the school’s reunion weekend. In addition to the changing of the guard, reunion events also include a garden brunch on the school’s lawn, a fashion show displaying the works of student designers and performances by the school’s music and dance departments. The weekend also includes a dinner for Brenau’s Golden Girls sorority for alumnae that graduated at least 50 years ago.

May Day activities are also a part of the weekend and include the traditional wrapping of the May Pole and the presentation of the May Queen Court and her attendants.