FVSU's spring recruitment tour a hit at high schools

March 23, 2011 –  The day begins at 6 a.m. for members of Fort Valley State University’s Wildcat Force, who wolf down a breakfast sandwich and catch catnaps between stops on a 7-city recruitment tour throughout the state during spring break. There is no time for sleeping in with three performances at high schools in Cordele and Albany.

The singing team, clad in khakis and blue polos step off a leased motor coach and unload a drum set, stands, cymbals, a keyboard, amplifiers and microphones. They set up and rehearse. Then, high school seniors and juniors pile into an auditorium for a 20-minute show packed with history, pop tunes, choreography and antics.

FVSU’s Wildcat Force put in Work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dEFMcyq9gA

“Our main objective is to recruit students in a way that engages them. Our show is designed for students to participate and understand what the school is about,” saidFVSU freshman Jason Wynn.

FVSU Wildcat Force Style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uADwg5lpuWg

FVSU junior Jasmine Daniels hobbles gingerly on a crutch into Dougherty High School’s gym in Albany. While running across the stage during the tour’s first show, she sprained a ligament in her leg. “I’ve been walking around gaining strength in my leg. Being the trooper that I am, I had to keep going to support my team. I’m a Wildcat. This is what we do. We fight and fight on,” said Daniels, who has been a member of the ensemble for 3 years.

The show has nine skits accompanied by rhythm and blues beats and hip hop music.FVSU’s history is peppered into Stevie Wonder’s, “Love’s in Need of Love Today” with choreography; then there’s a music bridge to more contemporary tunes. “Fort Valley Swag” draws the loudest, wildest response. Its lyrics were written by FVSU freshmen and set to rapper Soulja Boy’s song called, “Pretty Boy Swag”.

Watch Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNY-xypvB8Q

Ashley Wright, an FVSU junior, sings another crowd pleaser, “I Believe I Can Fly”. A group of Albany High School students sitting in the first row wave their hands and sing aloud with classmates. Audience reaction is the same from Savannah, Augusta, Macon and Atlanta to Mableton. “The energy from the crowd and the Wildcat Force feels really good,” says Wright, a Wildcat Force member for two years.

FVSU sophomore Dominique Nichols leads a gospel music segment before transitioning into a ditty about student activities. A pep rally and pseudo step show begins as Nichols shouts the names of Greek organizations. When Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s name is called, he breaks into the “Alpha Stroll”. Onstage, university president, Dr. Larry E. Rivers, an Alpha member, steps, high jumps and kicks. Rivers begins and ends the show with first lady Betty Rivers dancing and singing at his side.

Watch Rivers Dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJMTtiPMGQc{/youtube}

Watch Principal’s Reaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9GR9rFTR2k

Watch High School Student’s Reaction 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ6gfepA3VY

Watch High School Student’s Reaction 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dptXblpJRMY

“This is our best tour of all,” says FVSU senior recruiter Sammie Haynes, who organized the weeklong event. “Students really participated; and the Wildcat Force shared FVSU’smessage with enthusiasm”.

During the tour, more than 500 new applications were submitted. The recruitment tour is credited with dramatically boosting FVSU’s enrollment for the last four years.

Visit FVSU’s photo gallery for pictures of the group’s performance in Cordele.