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First lecture: Take school seriously

Aug. 24, 2012 @ 12:05 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Exhausted and still nervous, some 1,700 Marshall University freshmen packed the Cam Henderson Center on Thursday morning for what amounted to their first college lecture.

Providing some serious points were Thundering Herd head football coach Doc Holliday, head basketball coach Tom Herrion and President Stephen Kopp.

Their underlying message for the young crowd was to take higher education more seriously because a post-secondary degree has become the norm in the global economy.

Kopp said four of five jobs lost in the recession were those that only required a high school diploma and the trend is continuing.

"It's imperative you finish, whether it takes you four, five or ... six years," Kopp said. "If that's what it takes to finish it."

Holliday was even more direct, telling the crowd of mostly teenagers that until now they've been rewarded for just showing up. But that stops after high school, he said. If you can't get out of bed and show to class, you'll lose.

"The next four years will define your next 50 (years)," Holliday said. "If you take care of business, you'll be all right. If you don't, there's going to be some dismal times."

That's a message that Brooke Booher took to heart. The Berkeley Springs native said she is taking a big step for her family, which has a mix of people who range from not finishing college to not finishing high school.

"I'm nervous, like it's not real yet," said Booher, who will major in business. "But I'm ready for a new chapter."

In addition to hard work and dedication, Booher said the key to her success will be surrounding herself with people who will be there for her.

"I want to make good friendships that will last and have people to count on so I'm not alone in this big school," she said.

That's something that two Cabell Midland High School graduates, Zack Sturgill and Mason Rimmer, already have in their favor. But they said they don't want to get so comfortable that they don't get involved and meet new people. As commuter students, both vowed to become more than academic visitors.

"We'll go to the games and the concerts, anything on campus," Rimmer said. "I'm going to be here.

"I used to drive through Huntington and see all the college students walking around," Rimmer added. "Now it's going to be me."