The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Meet the 2022-23 Yell Leader candidates

Senior+Yell+candidate+Kipp+Knecht+speaks+during+the+yell+leader+debate+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+22%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Senior Yell candidate Kipp Knecht speaks during the yell leader debate on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.

The Battalion sat down with the four junior Yell Leader candidates and the six senior Yell Leader candidates to discuss why they are running for the position.


SENIOR YELL CANDIDATES
ZAC CROSS
Construction science junior

Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with senior Yell Leader candidate Zac Cross.
Introduction
Howdy, my name is Zac Cross. I’m a junior construction science major from Pearland. I’m a member of the Corps of Cadets in Company H-1, and I’m a senior Yell candidate with 5 for Yell.
What organizations are you involved with?
I am part of Ol’ AGS, which is a men’s org on campus. I’m also a part of a philanthropy called Project Atlas Rucks, [where] we raise money for Special Operations Warrior Foundation by going on 1,000-mile rucks across the country. The year that I did the ruck — me and the other guys — we raised $27,000, so that all got donated, which was really cool. I’m also a midshipman in the Naval ROTC detachment here, meaning I’m going to try and serve as a Marine Corps officer once I graduate, and I’m also a member of the Corps of Cadets.
What is your Aggie story?

I’m a first-generation Aggie. I’m actually a first-generation Cadet, too. I came to A&M just because of my Marine scholarship. I thought the Corps would best prepare me to be a Marine Corps officer, but when I came here, I realized very quickly that A&M was the only school for me. I did not belong anywhere else. I fell in love with all the traditions, Silver Taps, Muster, Bonfire, all those. I just fell in love and I wanted to give back to the university that has done so much for me.
Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?
I want to be a senior Yell Leader because I was a first-generation Aggie when I came here, [and] I didn’t know anything about A&M. I realized that there’s a lot of generational Aggies here who are raised Aggies, and they know about all the traditions from when they’re five years old, honestly, from when they’re born. I felt a little bit left out, and I wanted to give that opportunity to someone like me because I didn’t have that opportunity. A lot of times, a Yell Leader, having served in this position, I’ve seen that we’re usually the first impression of somebody for A&M and I want to give a five-year-old kid or a kid in high school the chance to learn about A&M and find out how great it is and hopefully come here and experience it.
Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?
I’d say I’m qualified to be a senior Yell Leader because I’m very involved across campus, being in a men’s org[anization], being in the Corps and being a part of a philanthropy group. I also just served this past year as a junior Yell Leader, which has been an incredible opportunity and blessing. I think we had a great year. 2021 was a big come up from the past couple of years due to COVID[-19], and it was great to see the 12th Man just come together and show out and show so much support and love for all of our athletes and honestly just all students. Having facilitated that, I think that I can do that again next year.
What is your favorite yell?
My favorite yell would definitely be “Farmers Fight” because it is the first yell that I learned. It was the first one I figured out all the words to, and I could happily and confidently go along with it whenever the Yell Leaders were leading it when I was a freshman, so definitely “Farmers Fight.”
What is your favorite tradition? 
I would have to say my favorite tradition is Saw ‘Em Off because I vividly remember this: my first Aggie game was against [Alabama] when the 12th Man blocked the punt and it was still a close game. We were doing the War Hymn, right at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and I wasn’t an Aggie at the time, but I was doing it with them. It was so cool. I was able to see into the stadium, see the entire stadium just rocking back and forth, just getting behind the football team, and I thought that was the neatest thing ever. You could just see how invested everybody was in the game and the university.
What’s a hidden talent you have?
That’s a tough one, but I really like food a lot, and so I found out that I can eat an entire pizza all by myself when I get really hungry.


NATHAN DRAIN

Communication junior

Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with senior Yell Leader candidate Nathan Drain.
Introduction 
My name is Nathan Drain. I’m a junior communication major from Tyler. I’m a member of the Corps of Cadets in Squadron 17, but more importantly, I’m a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2023 and I’m a senior yell candidate with 5 for Yell.
What organizations are you involved with?
Right now, currently, I’m in Squadron 17 in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M and I’m also in Old Army Gentlemen’s Society, which is a men’s organization at Texas A&M.
What is your Aggie story?
My Aggie story is I’m a third-generation Aggie. I grew up loving Texas A&M, whether that was going to Fightin’ Texas Aggie football games as a little boy or having my middle name be Kyle after Kyle Field. I always knew that Texas A&M was the school that I wanted to go to, but unfortunately nobody in my entire family was in the Corps so I thought that was kind of a cool way for me to be able to experience the school that I’ve always wanted to go to since I was a kid and get to do something different than my entire family.
Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?
I want to be a Yell Leader because, like I said, I’ve grown up loving Texas A&M ever since I was a kid. I went to the football games and I got to see the spirit and the tradition since I was very young. Seeing the five guys on the field leading it all, I always thought that that would be a wonderful way to be able to selflessly serve and give back to the university that’s given me so much since I was a kid.
Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?
I’ve been involved in a lot of things on campus. I was in [Freshmen Leading Establishing eXcellence]. I was a Fish Camp counselor. I’m in a men’s organization called Ol’ AGS. I was a Pine Cove counselor, Texas A&M tennis camp counselor and then, right now, I’m in Squadron 17 in the Corps. I felt like that’s a great way that I’ve been qualified to be able to reach a lot of people around Texas A&M, and hopefully let everybody know that they’re welcome at Texas A&M and they should feel loved.
What is your favorite yell?
My favorite yell is “Locomotive.” I think that is my favorite yell by far because one, I think everybody knows it, everybody loves getting really into it. Then two, there’s always a ton of people that go over on the “rahs” and it’s super funny when everybody kind of looks around and laughs at each other and it’s always just kind of really good bull.
What is your favorite tradition? 
My favorite tradition is saying, “Howdy.” I have always loved saying, “Howdy” on campus, whether it’s an attention grabber or if you’re outside and you’re at the airport and you see somebody wearing maroon and they say “Howdy,” it’s kind of like a secret handshake with both of you. You’re like, “Wait, are we Texas A&M?” and it’s just kind of really cool to see that unity through campus or outside of campus as well.
What’s a hidden talent you have?
A hidden talent? Oh, I know. I feel like I know every word to a Frank Sinatra song. I’m a big Frank Sinatra fan.


KIPP KNECHT
Industrial engineering junior
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with senior Yell Leader candidate Kipp Knecht.
Introduction
Howdy, my name is Kipp Knecht. I’m a junior industrial engineering major from Batavia, Ill., a member of the Corps of Cadets and Squadron 3 and a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2023 and I’m a senior Yell Leader candidate with 5 for Yell.
What organizations are you involved with?
I am a member of the Corps of Cadets Squadron 3. I served as a Fish Camp counselor in between my freshman and sophomore year. I’m a member of Texas Aggie Men’s United, or One Army, a men’s org, and also a member of the Ross Volunteer Company, within the Corps of Cadets.

What is your Aggie story?

I’m a first-generation Aggie. Fortunately, I had some really good family, friends and some close relatives that came to A&M and knew about it. But I’m from Chicago, so I literally knew nothing about A&M. I applied for an Air Force ROTC scholarship because all I’ve wanted to do my whole life is be a pilot in the Air Force, like my dad and my grandpa. I was fortunate to receive that scholarship and I found out that A&M gives me in-state tuition with that, so it kind of saved me some money. I came down here, knowing nothing about A&M, and looking back, it’s just been an incredible moment for me because I’ve kind of realized that it was God’s plan for me to be here in Aggieland all along. It’s just incredible that I didn’t have a great reason to come here, but I still ended up here and I fell in love with this place every day.

Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?

Why I wanted to go out for Yell Leader originally, like I said, I came here knowing nothing. My first time on campus was with my mom during my New Student Conference and we were just completely lost. I failed my math placement test, didn’t know where any of the buildings were, but my New Student Conference ended with the Yell Leaders running out into Rudder leading the yells, doing the War Hymn and my mom and I didn’t know a single word. We were super lost, but I just thought it was the funniest thing ever and that’s the first time I felt at home here in Aggieland. So fortunately, I’ve had this past year to hopefully give that same experience to other kids, and I just want to keep continuing to do that for not only people who know nothing about A&M, but also people who have loved A&M their whole lives.

Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?

I’ve had some experience in the job this past year. We’ve done some incredible things; the 12th Man has come out and we’ve broken attendance records at Kyle Field, Reed Arena; we’ve opened the largest class of freshmen to A&M in a long time and I’ve been extremely blessed and lucky to have this opportunity to serve in this role. So, I just want to continue to do that this next year. I feel like the energy and passion I have for A&M is contagious. I think I represent the student body from the organizations that I’m a part of, and I just want to give back to the school that has given me so much.

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell is “15 for Team, Farmers Fight, Call It a Night.” I think it’s the funniest thing ever, nobody knows what’s going on. Everybody is turned around laughing to their friends. It’s a combination of like three different yells so it’s better than one yell, well, three. I just think it’s hilarious, the whole like, how we lead it. I just think it’s really funny.

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition is “Howdy.” I had that on my overalls this year and I just love it so much because it’s like a small thing that takes very little effort, but it can just make somebody’s day. You’re walking down the street, you see somebody you don’t know if they’re gonna say, “Howdy,” or are you gonna say, “Howdy?” You make awkward eye contact and you’re like, “Howdy” and if they say it back or not, it doesn’t matter, because both y’alls’ day are just so much better because of that small thing.

What’s a hidden talent you have?

Hidden talent … I’m not very talented. I guess I’m a really, really good skier. I’m from Chicago, so I’ve been skiing a lot in Wisconsin and stuff. It’s like my one bragging point, I guess; I can do a backflip on skis. It’s been a couple years, so don’t ask me to do it. I need some training, but it’s probably my greatest accomplishment athletically in my life, too. 


MICHAEL MUBARAK
Petroleum engineering junior
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with senior Yell Leader candidate Michael Mubarak.
Introduction
Howdy, my name is Michael Mubarak and I’m a junior petroleum engineering major from Knoxville, Tenn., and I’m running for senior Yell Leader.
What organizations are you involved with?
I’m a part of Beta Upsilon Chi, or Brothers Under Christ, fraternity here at A&M. It’s just been amazing to have that brotherhood to walk through this college experience with and to have accountability throughout the entire process. I’m also a co-chair for IMPACT Retreat. It’s super cool being able to be those kids’ first interaction with Texas A&M and to be able to get them in with good community right off the bat.

What is your Aggie story?

When I tell people that I’m from Tennessee, they always ask me this question. They always ask, “Hey, why did you choose Texas A&M?” I give them a real short, sweet and simple answer — I tell them that I looked coast to coast, and this is the best damn school in the country. Now the full answer is a little bit more elaborate than that. I grew up an orange-blooded UT fan — now of course by UT, I mean the University of Tennessee. My conversion happened on Oct. 8, 2016, when the ninth-ranked Tennessee Vols traveled to Kyle Field to take on the eighth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies and my family made the 935 mile journey from Knoxville to College Station to see what the 12th Man was all about. My first interaction with Texas A&M happened when my dad was looking for parking, an Aggie walked up to our car and he was like, “Hey, you’re not going to be able to find parking here. Take our parking pass.” Then as we walked out of the car, he invited us to his family’s jambalaya cookout. As we were walking into the stadium, what felt like hundreds of Aggies walked up to my family and just said “Howdy. Welcome to Texas. Welcome to College Station. Welcome to Aggieland. We’re so glad that you’re here, and we hope you have an amazing experience and an amazing time while you’re here.” My dad later joked that Texas A&M doesn’t belong in the SEC, they’re too classy. During the game, I was just blown away by something that I’d never seen before. I had grown up traveling across the south going to all of the biggest and best college environments in the world and I can truly and honestly say that none of them compared to the 12th Man, the culture, the passion, the tradition, the spirit and the class of this university — plain and simple, cannot be matched. So, from my first experience, for my first time on this campus, I felt welcome, I felt at home and I was just blown away and in awe of the Aggie Spirit.

Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?

I’m running for Yell Leader under the assumption that every interaction I have will be that person’s first and last interaction with Texas A&M. Like I just said, my first experience with this university blew me away. It made me want to be an Aggie, whether it’s that person’s first time on campus, or whether they’ve been coming here for years, I just want them to be reminded or to be looked at or to learn for the first time, that this university is something special. I want to give that experience to everybody that walks on this campus

Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?

I believe that I’m qualified to be a Yell Leader because anybody on this campus who is passionate, who is spirited, who has the desire, who has the will and who is willing to put in the work is qualified to be a Yell Leader. That is the reason we are running — we are not just running for ourselves, we are running to prove that anybody at this university has those capabilities and can put themselves out there and do this. There are 70,000 Aggies now — that’s tens and thousands of stories from different perspectives, different cultures, different backgrounds, different everything, and our mission is to represent each and every one of them as Yell Leaders. We want to prove to the world that anybody who has the passion can do this. We’re the first time that a five person co-candidacy has ever run against 5 for Yell, and we will not be the last. Plain and simple — this is the inaugural year of an ongoing effort. Our intention is to prove to the world that what we are doing is possible. We want to prove to the freshmen who just walked onto this campus who has a desire to be a Yell Leader, that if you work hard enough, he or she can do it. We want to prove to the fourth grader that’s looking up watching Aggie football seeing those guys in white on the sideline, we want to prove to him that if he wants to bad enough, that one day that can be him

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell is “BTHO” — plain and simple, because there is not a soul on this earth that does not know it and hearing the entire 102,000 in the crowded Kyle Field, passionately screaming it at the top of their lungs is just one of the most intimidating things that I’ve ever seen, coming from somebody that came to Kyle Field as an opposing fan. That is as intimidating as it gets.

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition is Midnight Yell. That’s one of the really cool things about A&M that really ignites the spirit of this university. It’s so cool while everybody else in the country is sleeping or partying or whatever else they might be doing, the Aggies are just full force and the Aggies are fully wide awake and passionately screaming and yelling for the university that they love — that’s something special.

What’s a hidden talent you have?

I would say a hidden talent of mine is that I am the world’s most average golfer. I would definitely not describe myself as good and I don’t think I could describe myself as bad, but the most average one there is, I think I got that title.


ANDREW PLANT
Computer science and mathematics junior
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with senior Yell Leader candidate Andrew Plant.
Introduction
My name is Andrew Plant. I’m a junior computer science and mathematics major from Houston, and I’m a loud, proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2023. A-A-A Whoop!
What organizations are you involved with?
Freshman year I came in and I joined Fish Aides, so that got me keyed into a little bit more of the SGA side of A&M. So, I joined through Fish Aides, Aggie Recruitment [Committee] and then as well as through Aggie Recruitment, a part of Tell Your Story [Leadership Forum], which is a little bit of a smaller org[anization] where people come in, and quite literally tell their story. It’s more of you learn a little bit about leadership through those people and that one was very interesting, I learned a lot from that. As well, now I’m part of COSGA [Committee on Student Government Association]. And of course, Beta Theta Pi, like Blake Schur.

What is your Aggie story?

There’s a lot of factors that brought me to A&M. Interesting enough, I actually originally only had my eyes set on the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. Those application processes were horrendous and then I went to their summer seminars. I decided that it wasn’t quite for me. My sister was here at A&M, she was like, “Andrew, come on, come see what A&M is about.” So I came down, I visited, everybody was so incredibly friendly. Everybody was just reaching out and they’re nice to you, and they care for you and I saw that very quickly, staying with her friends and meeting some of the guys there, who I eventually have become friends with. So that’s, that’s kind of how I figured out about A&M. Even still coming into A&M, I didn’t quite know, coming in here, I didn’t hear anything about the traditions yet. And so, upon coming here, I just fell in love with the university even more because of how inclusive everybody is, and how united everybody is at A&M. Then I’ve just really dove into that spirit that brings everybody together.

Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?

The Yell Leader position to me is everything that an Aggie should be, you’re upholding the Core Values, and you’re leading others to uphold those Core Values as well. And on top of that, you’re an ambassador for the Aggie Spirit; you’re going out to different organizations and you’re making them excited about those traditions that make this university so incredible. You’re going out and getting them to be pumped up about being an Aggie, and just to dive deeper into their friendships and their networks. Then it kind of has that ripple effect, where everybody’s more excited about A&M, and I really want to be a part of that process. I think that it makes this university so special, and I’ve been looking for a way and dying for a way just to give back to the university because it’s truly given me so much. So, I think I could accomplish that in the Yell Leader position.

Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?

I’ve held a couple of leadership roles throughout my time at A&M. I was placed on an executive board of ARC whenever I came in, and that helps me do things like public speaking and interpersonal skills. But, I think what’s most important when it comes to Yell Leader is the heart, and I think it really requires a love for this university. I think anybody will tell you, I love this university so much. It’s worked wonders for me and it’s so hard to put into words how much I care for this place and its people. I just want to give that back to the fullest and I want to make this university so incredible — more incredible than it already is. I don’t know how much more incredible it can get, but I just want to do my best to give back.

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell has to be “Locomotive.”

I have a strong argument for this because I really believe that it gets the crowd more pumped up than “BTHO,” because there’s something about the cadence to it. I think it gets louder in Kyle Field because of that cadence.

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition has to be Silver Taps. You’re going and honoring, as a student body, those students that were enrolled in graduate and undergraduate classes. There’s something so special about the student body being there with the family as like, we’re there with them. I know that if I were to pass away, and my family needed some sort of . . .consolation, I know that that would be the best thing, showing like, “Oh, they were loved by the university. They were cared for by the university. The people that they gave time to are giving the time back to them now.” And they absolutely deserve that time and that consolation.

What’s a hidden talent you have?

I can tap dance. I know y’all have gotten a lot of dancing, so I almost don’t want to do that. But yeah, I can tap dance. I did tap dance for a while throughout high school, as well as ballet.


PARKER WAGNER
Mechanical engineering junior
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with senior Yell Leader candidate Parker Wagner.
Introduction
Howdy! My name is Parker Wagner. I’m a junior mechanical engineering major from Austin, and I am also a loud and proud member of the Class of 2023. I’m running for senior Yell Leader.
What organizations are you involved with?

My first year I joined the Brothers Under Christ fraternity, also known as Beta Upsilon Chi. That’s been a blessing to be part of that brotherhood for the past three years, make meaningful connections, have a great time and ultimately just give back to the university by our acts of service every semester. On campus, I get to work as a tour guide and ambassador for the university with Howdy Crew, which has been a blast. Highly recommend working for Howdy Crew, it is the best on-campus job there is. I’m also involved in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to kind of build up my reputation as a mechanical engineer as well.
I was also a co-chair for IMPACT, Omega Simeon, for last semester. That was so much fun. I got to invest in freshmen and make them feel loved and welcome here on campus and make sure that they find a home here in Aggieland, same way that I did my freshman year.

What is your Aggie story?

I love telling my Aggie story. I grew up in Austin. Thank goodness, I’m not a Longhorn today, but it was preached to me that I was going to go wear burnt orange for four years of my life. My parents didn’t go to UT, but living in Austin, everyone’s a fan of UT. So, just assume like if you got the grades, you’re gonna go to UT and I believe that up until my junior year until I started doing my own research, kind of feeling out what I wanted from a college experience. I went on tours and my first tour was Texas A&M and it completely changed my expectations and my mindset going into finding a college. Hearing about things like Silver Taps, Muster, how large the university is and how easy it is to feel like you belong here on campus. The second I stepped on campus, I forgot my little visitor tag saying, “Hey, I’m a guest.” There are students that walked up, they’re like, “Oh my gosh, where are you from? How can I help you find a visitor center? Like how can I make you feel loved on campus?” The past three years of my life have been incredible. Being an Aggie is so much more than being an Aggie, it means you’re part of the Aggie family and learning about what that means the past few years has been incredible. Standing at Silver Taps, standing as the 12th Man during football games, volleyball games, basketball games, it’s been a blessing. I truly believe I’m here at the best university in the world, so much so that I get to give prospective tours to prospective students every week, and just be able to share that experience and make a freshman’s decision much easier, in my opinion, bringing them to the best school in the world.

Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?

The main reason I want to be a Yell Leader is because every single person here on campus has a reason they want to give back. A&M gives us plenty of memories, friends and ultimately just an experience that is once in a lifetime here at Texas A&M. I want to give back in a form of being the face of the university. I used to do that right now as a tour guide and be that face for prospective students, but I want to take that to the next level and give back on Kyle Field, in Reed Arena. I want to unify the entire student body. Another huge reason that I’m running this year is because I’m running as part of Ag 5 and that is a platform that opens up Yell Leader positions as a candidacy for every student on campus. That’s super important to me, I think A&M is moving towards fighting for a more inclusive and representative body. I think opening up the Yell Leader position to the entire student body is an incredible, incredible movement to get behind. So, I’m proud to run as a Yell Leader – not just for myself, not for just for the four guys I’m running with in Ag 5, but ultimately for a freshman who’s like, “I have a dream I want to be Yell Leader, I want to make that a reality for me.” I want this platform to serve as an ignition to that dream for them and who knows, maybe there’s a fourth grader watching Aggie football and they might not get involved in the Corps of Cadets or they might not have a specific inclusion here on campus, that we can set them up for being a Yell Leader. This platform, I want this to be legacy. I want to be something I leave behind here at Texas A&M and to make sure that every single student here on campus that has a dream can make that dream a reality.

Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?

That’s a fun question to answer. I don’t really like talking about my own accolades, but I like to consider myself a very outgoing [and] friendly person. I feel like I’m well spoken — I have lots of training. I get to talk for 90 minutes about A&M every week to prospective students and their families so that’s a blast. I’m very well versed in our traditions. I mean, I’ve learned every single tour point about Texas A&M so when it comes to speaking at Fish Camps or going to Aggie Moms Clubs, I feel like I just have a blast sharing my experiences with the university. I mean, I still need to work on the yells themselves, don’t have that exactly down talking with some former Yell Leaders, they’re like, “You need to you need to fix this form a little bit.” Ultimately, I feel like the most important thing for anything is you have to have the passion because you are giving a lot of your time to university, you are becoming the face of the university. It takes a lot of grit to know that you are going to be serving [the] university every single week, multiple days a week, wearing all whites and representing every single student here at Texas A&M. That holds a lot of weight to me, so I know I need to mentally prepare for what that entails, but I feel like I definitely got the qualifications to make sure that I serve the university.

What is your favorite yell?

I’m a big fan of “Locomotive.” There’s something about the cadence of us slowly increasing all the “rahs.” I was always jealous as a freshman I couldn’t get to do “Whoops” like I love doing now as an upperclassman, but honestly just getting — and this is the the funny part about it, too — is sometimes people are like entirely off on the cadence. Sometimes I laugh about that. But honestly, one of my favorites right behind is “BTHO,” but my all-time favorite is “Locomotive.”

What is your favorite tradition?

The most meaningful tradition to me is Silver Taps. I heard about it on my own prospective tour, and I was like, “Wow, that’s really different.” Not oftentimes, we hear colleges giving back and respecting a family that much. So, hearing that on my tour was like, “Oh my gosh, I want to be part of that,” and then I was part of it. I’m not a super emotional guy, but when I attended my first ever Silver Taps as a freshman, walking in silence hearing “Amazing Grace” in the bell tower, immediately walking into it, I knew I was about to experience something extremely special. Standing in the grass next to my brand new friends I literally met in the past week, I felt right at home. Watching the Ross Volunteer squad walk in with such excellence and, the amount of respect I have for those positions, and the amount of respect I have for … I mean I don’t remember the names of the Aggies who are lost, I have no idea who they are, but watching the families get escorted, I watched that and was brought to tears knowing that if, unfortunately, if that was me, my family would be holding hands walking through Academic Plaza, knowing that there’s 1,000 students supporting them in the plaza, but there’s 70,000 students supporting them outside of that. I was brought to tears knowing that that’s how much this university cares about people, that’s how much this university cares about me. No matter if people know my name, people are gonna call “Here” for me when I pass. My time as an Aggie started with “Howdy” and will ultimately end with “Here.” But like I said, just hearing the buglers play to the north, south, west but not the east. It just meant the world to me to know that I was part of the Aggie family and Aggie family cared about me.

What’s a hidden talent you have?

For some reason in high school, I got really into beatboxing, so I learned a bunch of random noises and one that I learned was a cricket noise so I can make a cricket noise in my mouth. So, there have been times in high school where the teacher would have a really awkward silence, so I’d look into the corner and [make cricket noises]. I thought that was the funniest thing in the world, but yeah, I can do beatboxing. For some reason I’m good at dancing, I was highly involved in Songfest so I got to enjoy that. But, my favorite go-to is that cricket noise.


JUNIOR YELL CANDIDATES
THOMAS GREVE
Philosophy sophomore
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with junior Yell Leader candidate Thomas Greve.
Introduction
Howdy! My name is Thomas Greve. I’m a sophomore philosophy major from Arlington, a member of the Corps of Cadets in Squadron 3, a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2024 and I’m a junior Yell Leader candidate with 5 for Yell.
What organizations are you involved with?
I’m a member of the Corps of Cadets in Squadron 3. I also had the privilege to do Fish Camp over the summer, and I’m also involved at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

What is your Aggie story?

I come from a T-sip family. Thankfully, my dad decided to correct that when he came to Texas A&M. He introduced me to A&M and the Corps of Cadets, and I was blown away by how impressive they were. I wanted to join the Air Force and serve our nation as a pilot, so when I saw how impressive the Corp of Cadets at this university were, I knew it was for me.

Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?

I want to be a Yell Leader because I want to give back to the university that has given me so much. As a Yell Leader, you have the amazing opportunity to serve the greatest student body on Earth. So, what better way to serve?

Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?

I believe I’m qualified to be a Yell Leader because of my involvement at Texas A&M, whether that’s from the Corps or all the way on the other side of things to Fish Camp. I’ve been able to help all walks of life at A&M be immersed into the Spirit of Aggieland that makes this place so special. As a Yell Leader, you have the amazing opportunity to be able to touch a wide spread of students here.

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell is definitely “Locomotive.” Every time I hear the 12th Man say that in unison, they’re just chills throughout my body and I can’t imagine how terrified the other team is when they hear that.

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition has got to be Bonfire Remembrance, specifically when the head Yell Leader recites the “Last Corps Trip” and when the 12th Man soon after says, in unison, the beginning of the War Hymn. It is such a somber moment, and it really reminds us why we’re here — we’re here for each other, we’re here for this community and we remember those who have come before us.

What’s a hidden talent you have?

A special talent of mine — and maybe this isn’t even considered a talent — I’m able to talk on the phone while I’m asleep. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve woken up and I’ve sent texts to people and they’re like, “What is this?” and I’m like, I have no idea, I must have been asleep. Or I’ve woken up with the phone on my ear and I’m in mid-conversation and it’s been like a 40-minute phone call. Maybe that’s a special talent, maybe not, but that’s what I’m dealing with.


RYAN JABLON
Industrial engineering sophomore
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with junior Yell Leader candidate Ryan Jablon.
Introduction
Howdy, my name is Ryan Jablon. I’m an industrial engineering major from Arlington, and I’m running for junior Yell Leader.
What organizations are you involved with?
When I was a freshman I joined Saw ‘Em Off, which is a brotherhood org[anization] focused on traditions, and our motto is “Unity through traditions,” so every Silver Taps, every Bonfire Remembrance, every Muster is a required event for us and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is your Aggie story?

My story starts when I was three years old, my dad taught me the Fightin’ Texas Aggie War Hymn on a cassette deck that still sits in my truck today. It was really defined, he took me to my first Aggie Muster. Growing up, he always told me how important Muster was about some island in the Pacific, but I didn’t really understand it. He took me to a local Association club that had an Aggie Muster, it was just a bunch of barbecues and guys sitting around talking and then a speaker came over with the microphone and they asked if anyone could hold a candle for people whose family members couldn’t be present. When I walked up there, and they handed me a card, the name of that card was Dan Grant. He was Class of 1994, and I didn’t know that man, but I stood there and I called “Here” for him and someday someone will call “Here” for me, too. That’s what I want to embody.

Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?

Well, it started out as kind of a selfish intent that being Yell Leader always sounded awesome to me. I mean, we led Yell Practices in Saw ‘Em Off, but meeting some of these guys and hearing their stories, it really shows that they have the same passion and drive that I do, and maybe some of the same stories that we were told that we couldn’t because we weren’t in the Corps, or we couldn’t because of certain involvements, and I just want to show everyone that they can also do that.

Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?

I don’t know any other org that’s more passionate about traditions than Saw ‘Em Off. I mean, we led away-game Midnight Yells at the YMCA building during COVID[-19]. We were still able to safely meet, of course, but I mean, no one’s more passionate about those guys and I want to show everyone how great they are.

What is your favorite yell?

Favorite yell has gotta be “Military.” It’s a little unsafe when the guys get rowdy together, squads left is not a shuffle, it’s a sprint across the stands and I’ve taken a fall or two, but it’s got the most memories and just always gets me hyped every time.

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition is definitely Bonfire Remembrance. Saw ‘Em Off was founded by a couple of guys that were also in Bonfire, so I’ve had the pleasure of going out with them. I went out to cut. It was one [of the] most amazing experiences of my life and to see Aggie Spirit from that. Then, everyone showing up at 2:42 at night … they may have a test the next morning, it’s awesome to me. No other university honors fallen students like A&M does, and Bonfire Remembrance is an example of that.

What’s a hidden talent you have?

I don’t know if it’s quite hidden, but country dancing is my favorite thing in the world. I’ve probably spent more time and money at Harry’s than I have on tuition, but it’s one of my favorite things to do and I’ve gotten really, really good at it and it’s just my relaxation for the week.


BLAKE SCHUR
Agricultural economics sophomore
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with junior Yell Leader candidate Blake Schur.
Introduction
Howdy, my name is Blake Schur and I’m an agricultural economics major from Leonard, and I’m a junior Yell Leader candidate.
What organizations are you involved with?
I’m a part of Beta Theta Pi, the FIRE Club, which is a real estate club, and the Big Event.

What is your Aggie story?

My grandpa and my great uncle, they were here in ‘66 and they were with the Corps of Cadets and it’s kind of been in the family. I kind of came out of the womb with Aggie blood, that’s what we’d like to say. But I’ve loved the culture ever since my first Texas A&M football game when I was eight years old. Seeing the atmosphere really blew my mind, watching the band march out was what amazed me. Coming here to A&M, there wasn’t another choice in my mind, I only applied to A&M. I didn’t apply to anybody else, it was either A&M or nothing. Good thing, it wasn’t nothing. I would just kind of say, I was born and raised an Aggie and I only applied to A&M because it’s just my home, so definitely the right choice.

Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?

Going back to when I was younger, my first A&M football game, I was eight years old and I was such in awe, I was mesmerized how the Yell Leaders can synchronize thousands of people together and motivate the Aggies from the start to the very last second of the football game. But also, now I’m here, and I’m not an eight-year-old kid anymore. I want to make an impact on this campus. A&M and the people here, the Aggies, have treated me so well. I wouldn’t be in these shoes, I wouldn’t have taken this interview right now if it wasn’t for the great individuals around me. Plus my personality, who I am, I just want to give back. I love impacting people, and love putting smiles on people’s faces. And then I would say the last thing, the rich traditions that we have is what unites 70,000 kids together. You couldn’t find another university this large, but yet this close that the Aggie family is . . . it’s kind of a one of one.

Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?

I’ve been in different leadership roles, different positions, to be able to be capable of moving people in the right direction. I would say I’m a very motivated and very interactive guy. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background comes from, because we’re all Aggies and I feel like I could come into an atmosphere and definitely change people for the best. Definitely teach those fish at Fish Camp rich traditions that we have. I would say I’m your guy in a sense that if you’re talking about a Yell Leader and putting people in that position to definitely impact people, I’m one of those people. I’m very passionate about this university, almost too passionate. My friends that aren’t Aggies, they mess with me about it. But, I love this university so much. I’m not running just to call myself a Yell Leader. If I was elected and I saw those whites putting on the first time, I’d probably cry just because it’s like it’d be such a surreal moment. This university means so much to me.

What is your favorite yell?

I would say “BTHO” because it energizes the crowd every time we do it and when we do it, we typically do it more than once. So, that’s definitely my favorite.

What is your favorite tradition?

Aggie Muster would be one of my favorite traditions. It really symbolizes what Texas A&M is. It’s a very emotional tie with me because I’ve been to an Aggie Muster where I’ve had a family member that passed away and we recognized that. Also, it’s just a tradition that makes you feel like a family, no matter if you’re a former student or current Aggie because regardless if you know the person or not they’re part of your family, and you will always be recognized till the day you pass.

What’s a hidden talent you have?

I’m not a bad dancer. There was a date party yesterday, and it was me, Parker and Andrew, we were there. It was actually at Kyle Field. But, I would say dancing. I’m passionate about dancing. I’m a fearless dancer. Not necessarily like Andrew, talk to Andrew about his dancing, he can tap dance and he can actually dance. I’m just a fearless dancer. So, I’d say that’s one of my hidden talents.


TREVOR YELTON
Construction science sophomore
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcription of The Battalion’s interview with junior Yell Leader candidate Trevor Yelton.
Introduction
Howdy, my name is Trevor Yelton. I’m a sophomore construction science major from Colorado Springs, Colo., a member of the Corps of Cadets in Squadron 17. But more importantly, I’m a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2024, and I’m running with 5 for Yell as a junior Yell Leader.
What organizations are you involved with?
I’m in Squadron 17. I wasn’t involved in any FLOs or anything as a freshman, so, basically all I do is Squadron 17. With that comes service trips and service projects that we do every Thursday, and we try to get one or two big service trips per semester.

What is your Aggie story?

I first came to Texas A&M as a plus one to my brother on a college visit, having no clue what the 12th Man was, nor any of the traditions that A&M had. I quickly learned to fall in love with this place. After a campus tour and learning about the traditions like Silver Taps, Muster, Midnight Yell, I knew that this place is different. My brother decided to become an Aggie and a year later I went to my first football game in Kyle Field where Texas A&M beat the hell outta New Mexico. The energy I felt in Kyle Field was unreal, and that’d be my first Aggie football game — I didn’t know what to do during the Aggie War Hymn, the yells, but it didn’t matter because I watched Kyle Field join together to Saw ‘Em Off and yell for our 12th Man. I knew I wanted to become a part of this special place. So, come September, my junior year of high school, I applied to one school: Texas A&M. Upon arrival, I joined the Corps and was instantly immersed into traditions like Silver Taps, Muster and Midnight Yell, and I knew I wanted to become a part of this special place.

Why do you want to be a Yell Leader?

So, two reasons why I want to become a Yell Leader: one is to give back to the university that has given me so much. Another reason is to just impact people for the good — that’s been a goal I’ve had all my life, and I believe as a Yell Leader you have that position to do that on such a large scale.

Why are you qualified to be a Yell Leader?

I’m qualified to be a Yell Leader just because coming from the Corps of Cadets, you have your people that are above you and your people below you and you learn how to respect and you follow through all those Core Values that Texas A&M holds so strongly. I believe that embodying all those Core Values is what helped me get to the point I am, and with 5 for Yell, it was a strenuous process just to get to this point and so that’s why I do believe I’m qualified to run for junior yell.

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell is definitely “BTHO T.U.” or in my case it was “BTHO New Mexico” because that was my first Aggie football game. Coming in as a high schooler, I literally had no clue what Texas A&M was, I just knew that my brother went here and I saw these yells happening and I had no clue what to say, but the one that stood out to me the most was the “BTHO New Mexico,” because it was easy, was five words to memorize and I could see everybody do it, so that was definitely my favorite yell.

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition is definitely Silver Taps. I think it’s super awesome that all these Aggies that are current students here and some are past, gather around the Academic Plaza to honor and commemorate the Aggies who had died during that month and to show that their lives go on past that date and that we will honor them forever.

What’s a hidden talent you have?

That’s a tough one. I feel like I don’t know if I have a hidden talent, because I’m so open. I did gymnastics for like so many years. I have a lot of little things I can do. Are you expecting me to do that right now? No. Let me think … I can do the worm really well.

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