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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Meet the 2024-2025 Yell Leader candidates

Student election voting open until noon on March 1
Meet+the+2024-2025+Yell+Leader+candidates

Texas A&M students can now elect their next senior and junior Yell Leaders for the upcoming academic year at vote.tamu.edu. The Battalion sat down with all seven candidates to hear more about their platforms and campaigns.

Editor’s note: The Battalion does not endorse candidates in any SGA or Class Council elections. Candidates are listed in order of appearance on ballot.

Senior Yell Leader (3)

Josiah Brantley

As a first-generation Aggie, Josiah Brantley said he embraces the unique values and traditions of A&M and hopes to further his connection with the Aggie Spirit. Brantley seeks to share his spirit with others, as he wants to give back to the university that’s given him so much. Currently, he serves as the chaplain of Company L-1 as a member of the Corps of Cadets.

Favorite yell: Locomotive

Favorite tradition: Silver Taps

Josiah Brantley, industrial distribution junior
Transcript

What is your Aggie story?

I grew up in Austin, which is enemy territory. But despite that, I come from a long line of Aggies, so I've been drinking the Kool-Aid long enough to know there's no other place I'd rather be than right here at Texas A&M. And since my time here, I've been able to come to know firsthand just how incredible the school is through the welcoming Howdys, the spirited yells or the heroes of remembrance. Everything we do. It's clear that Texas A&M is a unique and special place and I'm just reminded that it's not resumes or awards that matter, but it's the impact that you can have on others around you. 

What organizations are you involved with?

I'm currently chaplain of Lonestar Company and the Corps of Cadets, and I'm a member of Aggie Men's Club. 

What is your favorite tradition?

I think my favorite tradition would be Silver Taps. Just quite simply, the fact that we as a school honor students that have passed every month, is, again, so unique. You don't find that at other schools. It's just a reminder that everybody has value here. Everybody matters, and it's so cool to see the student body step up and show up and just stand there silently acknowledging that. 

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell would be “Locomotive.” I just think it's so cool how it sounds. Exactly like a train. Even with the hand signal as well. It's like blowing the whistle and then the yell itself. It's awesome. 

Why are you running for Yell Leader, and why do you think you’re qualified?

Yeah, I'm running for leader because Texas A&M it's unique and it's special, and it's worth giving back to because of what it's given me. The family and the sense of pride to be an Aggie that I've found here are things that I want to share with as many people as I can, and I see this as the best way for me to do that to brighten people's day, fire up the 12th Man and continue to live on that spirit of the 12th Man. 

If you could hang out with any former student, who would it be and why?

I think it'd be really cool to meet General Rudder. Especially with Rudder Tower being the same height as Pointe du Hoc. Just being able to talk with him about what it was like to stand at the base of that and realize we've got to get at this, and he's an incredible man. I think it'd be really cool to get to talk with him and learn from him.

Jake Carter

During his time as a junior Yell Leader, Jake Carter has channeled his enthusiasm and love for A&M into energizing the 12th Man. Carter is running for a senior position to humbly serve others and uphold the values of A&M. He is a current member of the Corps of Cadets in Company E-1.

Favorite yell: Locomotive

Favorite tradition: Midnight Yell

Jake Carter, finance junior
Transcript

What is your Aggie story?

I'm a first-generation Aggie. I came from San Antonio, Texas. I have a twin sister, and some amazing parents. … Didn't know anything about coming to Texas A&M, but I quickly got involved in the traditions and culture. During my high school years, my dad passed away from esophageal cancer, but he really just encouraged my sister and I about what it means to be an Aggie, even though he wasn't one. He saw what it meant to be. And, after my dad's passing, there was a really, really cool man and his name was Michael Parkman. He took my sister and I up, and my family, paid for our hotel and everything. His excitement and joy to show us what Aggieland represented. It was truly special, and I've seen that through the alumni before coming to A&M. I've been super blessed. My time here at A&M, getting involved in traditions, whether it be in the Corps or a fraternity. I've just seen what makes A&M so special. So it's super awesome to be here and I'm glad I chose Texas A&M. 

What organizations are you involved with?

So currently I'm a member of the Corps of Cadets and Company E-1. I'm also a member of the Beta Upsilon Chi Fraternity. I used to be on the Corps soccer team, but not anymore, was too busy. I served as a Junior Yell Leader this past year. Also just got into The Maroon Coats here at A&M. 

Why are you running for Yell Leader?

I'm running to be a Yell Leader because it stems from my mission. My mission is to humbly serve others. Coming to college, I saw an opportunity with these four years I had. I remember my first New Student Conference I was like, who are these Yell Leaders? Like, what are these goofy hand motions they're doing? But I quickly realized that the position of Yell Leader is a heart of service. And that's where my heart stands. I want to serve others. I want to give back to this incredible university. And I believe I'm qualified. Not only because I've been involved here at Texas A&M and I've gained unique perspectives, but I believe at the heart of being a Yell Leader is one's values. And I believe the values that I hold align with that of Texas A&M. And more than that, I mean, a Yell Leader has to be enthusiastic whether in Kyle Field, sold out game days or in Reed Arena. I mean, you got to get the 12th man hyped up for the game. I believe that through my actions as a junior leader, I just may be able to show just my love and commitment to the 12th Man and to show what Texas A&M represents, to Aggies and people who don't go here. For those reasons, I believe I'm qualified to be a senior leader. 

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition is the same as last year. But I love Midnight Yell. Not biased at all, but really, what it comes down to is Muster for me. I think it's part of my story. Even though my dad didn't go here just to think that if he had gone here, his name would have been remembered, and called for at Muster is really special. I truly believe Silver Taps and Muster, that's truly what sets Texas A&M apart. Most universities, their culture is built around athletics. But I believe our university is built on traditions, whether in Kyle Field or saying “here” for Aggies that have passed. That's what makes A&M unique and different from every other university. That's my favorite tradition. 

What is your favorite yell?

So before becoming a Yell Leader, it's probably “Beat the hell.” But now being a Yell Leader, doing “Locomotive” in Kyle Field with 70,000 people on the side — it's just really, really cool. Everybody really gets into it. That's definitely my favorite, but “Beat the hell” is definitely up there as well. 

If you could hang out with any former student who would it be and why?

James Rudder. I'm really big into history. I love World War II. I just like to hear his story. And just to think that, the Rudder Tower is the exact same height as Pointe du Hoc. The cliffs that the Rudder Rangers scaled during their time World War II to, during Normandy is just truly fascinating. So I've actually spoken to some former Ags who knew him and have told some of his stories, and they're truly incredible. So to be able to meet in person, if he were still alive today, that'd be really special.

Brooke Huff

Brooke Huff is a second-generation Aggie who has dreamed of becoming a Yell Leader, with her love for A&M instilled in her during childhood. As an officer for TAMU PAWS, a philanthropic women’s organization dedicated to helping animal rescues, Huff said she is dedicated to serving. She has a background in cheerleading and her campaign is based on breaking the norm. Running as an independent, her slogan is “Why not now? Why not her?”

Favorite yell: Locomotive

Favorite tradition: Aggie Ring, Silver Taps

Brooke Huff, ag communications and ag leader junior
Transcript

What is your Aggie story?

I’m a second-generation Aggie. My dad is the only other Aggie in the close family. I grew up an Aggie. I actually only ever applied to Texas A&M so if I didn’t get in, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I just love this university and always wanted to come here and pursue my dream as a Yell Leader. 

What organizations are you involved with?

I'm actually an officer for an organization called Tamu PAWS. It's a women's organization, and PAWS stands for Pets Are Worth Saving. We donate all of our money that we raise back to local animal shelters. 

Why are you running for Yell Leader, and why do you think you’re qualified?

I'm running for Yell Leader because I have always wanted to be one. I have this picture of me as a baby, not even a year old, where I'm wearing a Texas A&M cheer uniform. I know it's the wrong uniform, but it has the right idea. On the front, it says Future Yell Leader. If that doesn't prove that I've quite literally always wanted to be a Yell leader, I don’t know what else I can tell you. I've also just wanted to make sure that my journey here has a purpose, and I feel like the Yell leader position is definitely where I will be able to express my full potential as an Aggie. I think I'm qualified for this position because I'm very outgoing, I have no fear and I'm extremely loud. I was a cheerleader in high school. I was captain my senior year. And I know that's not the same thing, but you got the same kind of concept going. I feel like where I'm at right now, I have the time, and I have the dedication in order to take on this position.

What is your campaign platform?

I'm running for this position solo. I have a slogan, and it's “Why not now? Why not her?” That slogan did not come from me. It actually came from the people that I talked to about whenever I was deciding if I wanted to run or not. And the response I always received was, “Well, why not now? Why not you? Why can't we do this right now?” And so I took that from my friends and from the people who I've told, and I decided to make that my slogan.

What is your favorite tradition?

I have two favorite traditions, the Aggie Ring and Silver Taps. For the Aggie Ring, I have quite literally always wanted to get my Aggie ring. I even got a tattoo that says Aggie right here, so it'll be Aggie ring. And so once I get that, it's going to be the best day of my life. Probably my dad will present my ring as the only other Aggie in the family, and he had the men's ring, of course. So growing up, I always thought I was going to get this big ring. And then I got here and realized that the females all have the tiny rings, and I was like, that's not cut it for me. So I ended up ordering the men's ring about a few months ago, and I'm going to get that in April. So I'm super excited. And then also Silver Taps is just it's amazing experience. If you've never been. Highly recommend going along with Muster. It just truly affects you. Whenever you see the Aggie community come together for somebody they didn't even know. And it just shows that A&M isn't just a university, it is a family. And it's just an absolutely amazing experience just to be there and see here. 

What is your favorite yell?

So my favorite yell to do and to see other people do is locomotive. The spirit that just happens when students are doing this one. It just gets them going. It builds up anticipation, and I feel like it's the number one that students like to do the most. Other than Old Army, because that one's probably the second favorite in my opinion, but Locomotive, definitely the best one. 

If you could hang out with any former student, who would it be and why?

I would want to hang out with Memo. He's a past Yell leader. He was the Head yell leader. Maybe a year or two back. I've met him in passing quite a few times. He is probably my most favorite yell leader ever, ever to be lived. He also broke a norm in the elders by becoming the first Hispanic Yell leader. I feel like I'm kind of following in his footsteps, but a little bit more drastic.

Grayson Poage

This year, Grayson Poage has served as a junior Yell Leader. Poage wants to be a senior Yell Leader because he’s been inspired by the relationships he’s made at A&M and wants to spread joy. Poage said he values the privilege of meeting new people while representing A&M. He is a current member of the Corps of Cadets and has previously served as the mascot corporal for E-2.

Favorite yell: Locomotive

Favorite tradition: Reveille

Grayson Poage, civil engineering junior
Transcript

What is your Aggie story? 

For as long as I can remember, I've bled maroon. You know, one of my very earliest memories was coming to Aggieland and seeing the Corps of Cadets and hearing them march into Kyle Field before a fightin’ Texas Aggie football game. Ever since that moment, I think I always deep down knew I would end up here … Through high school, I figured out I wanted to do engineering here. And it was a really great school for that, too. So when I decided to join the Corps of Cadets and come to Texas A&M, I could not be more happy with where I ended up. I always knew I was on that path, but what I didn't know was just how welcoming everybody here would be and how much they would care for me. Since I've been here, I was a part of the Fish drill team my freshman year in the Corps of Cadets and Company E-2, and then I had the privilege of taking care of Miss Reveille as the mascot corporal my sophomore year. Since then, I, of course, was elected a junior yellow leader last year, which has been the experience of a lifetime. I've recently become a member of the Maroon Coats. 

What organizations are you involved with?

Organizations that I'm involved with here at Texas A&M would be Mascot Company E-2 in the Corps of Cadets. I'm also a Yell leader, so part of Texas A&M Yell Leaders. I’m also in the Maroon Coats and I attend Faith Bible Church here in town. 

Why are you running for Yell Leader, and why do you think you’re qualified?

I'm running for senior leader because this past year, and really my whole time at Texas A&M, I've been so inspired and encouraged by the relationships that I've been able to make. Whether that be just as a freshman, you know, walking on campus, meeting people, or in this past year in this role, I've met so many people that I otherwise would not have been able to meet. And that's been truly the privilege and honor of a lifetime. Just getting to know those people makes an impact in any way I can and hopefully serve them. Just like people did for me when I was a freshman, helping me feel welcome. I want to be able to do that for those people, too. 

What is your favorite tradition? 

I would say my personal favorite tradition is Reveille. You know, I think that there's nothing better than something that brightens the face, the smile on people's face every single day. For me, I've had a special part of that. But I feel like she's also something that everybody here at Texas A&M can take part in and be happy about. 

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell’s got to be “Locomotive.” It's a longer one, which I think people engage in more during it. You know, it's one of the ones we don't do as much, but when we do it, the crowd gets really loud. And it's almost like you can hear that train coming down lower, and that's the point of it, so I really enjoy that one. 

If you could hang out with any former student, who would it be and why?

If I could hang out with any former student again, I would say it'd be my great uncle, Roy Elrod. He served in World War II, and he passed just recently when he was in his 90s. But he told me some of the coolest stories I've ever heard. About his time in the war and also just his life. It's a different, completely different world. Super inspired by that and someone I would love to sit down with and hang out with again. 

Junior Yell Leader (2)

Kyler Fife

Kyler Fife first visited A&M in 2021 to see the Kent State game at Kyle Field. There, he was inspired by the passion of the Yell Leaders and the striped stands in honor of 9/11. Now a sophomore, Fife’s involvement in student organizations has changed his life, and he wants to give back to the community by serving the 12th Man. Fife is a member of the Corps of Cadets in Squadron 5, and he is a member of the Traditions Council.

Favorite yell: Locomotive

Favorite tradition: Silver Taps

Kyler Fife, communication sophomore
Transcript

What is your Aggie story?

So, I’m actually a first-generation Aggie. My dad was a Texas Tech Red Raider and my mom went to a T.U. system school. I didn’t ever come to Texas A&M until September of 2021, where I got to experience the Kent State game where we striped the stands with red, white and blue to honor the anniversary of 9/11. From that moment, I knew I wanted to be a Fightin’ Texas Aggie, and I left Kyle Field that day trying to find out exactly what that meant. 

What organizations are you a part of?

I am currently involved with the Corps of Cadets, a member of Squadron 5, Traditions Council and I just got into Maroon Coats and I am a 5 for Yell candidate.

Why are you running for Yell Leader?

I am running for Yell Leader because when I first came to Kyle Field for that Kent State game, I saw the unique passion and love those five men in white had for the university. I could tell they wanted to give everything they had to Texas A&M University. In my time here, the organizations, the 12th Man and pretty much everything at Texas A&M University has shaped my life tremendously, and I want to spend the next two years — Lord willing — giving back to this community, being the smiling face on campus that can greet every new student, and just serving the 12th Man in every way possible.

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite campus tradition is Silver Taps. I am actually on the Silver Taps committee with the Traditions Council. I remember my first Silver Taps like it was yesterday. I called my mom and dad afterward just crying my eyes out because I didn’t understand a community that was so willing and able to bond and mourn a fellow Aggie even if they didn’t know them. This is something that on the first Tuesday of every month still sticks with me and now having the opportunity to communicate and work with those families changes my life each time. 

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell is “Locomotive.” It is just so fun, and I love hearing the people mess up as we go through it. I just think it’s funny and it's a good laugh and the 12th Man gets so excited every time we do it.

If you could hang out with any former student, who would it be and why?

I would love to hang out with Frank Cox, Class of [1965.] He was in Squadron 2 of the Corp of Cadets, and he was a Yell Leader. He is a great Christian figure, and after his time at A&M he wrote a book called “I bleed Maroon,” and in that, he talks about how Texas A&M shaped his life and his journey as a man of God and gives it all back to God.

Sawyer Rabalais

Upon graduating high school, Sawyer Rabalais only applied to A&M but was initially redirected to attend an A&M system school. However, Rabalais’ journey to A&M has taught him perseverance and hard work. He said his mom raised him on the Aggie Core Values and hopes to embody the Aggie Spirit as a Yell Leader. Currently, he is a member of multiple organizations, such as Philosophy Club, Walton Bonfire and counseling for Aggie Transition Camps.

Favorite yell: Aggies

Favorite tradition: Bonfire Remembrance

Sawyer Rabalais, communication sophomore
Transcript

What is your Aggie story?

My Aggie story begins with my Aggie mom, Class of 1997. She raised me on the Aggie values, and when it got time to picking a college, there wasn’t a doubt about where I wanted to go. I only applied to one college. Unfortunately, A&M didn’t want me at first. They sent me off for the [Program for System Admission], and I took a year at A&M-Commerce. But now, I am here, and that is all that matters, and I am happy for that experience because it taught me the hard work needed to be going here and made getting here that much more great. 

What organizations are you a part of?

I am a part of Aggie Transition Camps, I’m on the officer board for the Philosophy Club and I’m also a part of Walton Bonfire. 

Why are you running for Yell Leader?

The reason I am running for Yell Leader is just as much as I am a part of this university, I feel like this university is a part of me, and I really want to embody the Aggie Spirit for all the 12th Man. Why I believe I am qualified is as I am running for this position, I have truly committed myself to not just representing the student body, but representing this university’s values as a part of my mission. I believe that if elected to such a position of Yell Leader that I would put everything I can into representing that Aggie Spirit the way I believe it should be represented. 

What is your campaign platform?

I believe a Yell Leader should be four things and these are the four things I would dedicate myself to being if I became a Yell Leader. No. 1, I believe a Yell Leader should represent the student body. No. 2, I believe a Yell Leader should represent this university’s values because it is what we are built on. No. 3, I believe a Yell Leader should go above and beyond for the 12th Man because we deserve it. No. 4, most importantly of all, I believe a Yell Leader should be a friend, somebody you see on campus and you can approach, and somebody that actually reaches out to the entirety of the student body to see how they feel about things. 

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition is Bonfire Remembrance. Being out there this past year, I was able to truly understand what it meant by “There’s a spirit that can ne’er be told.” I really enjoyed myself there, but being able to understand the story of the 12 [Aggies] lost from the tragedy and just knowing that everyone was still out there for them regardless of how late it was, and there being a game the next day and it being Midnight Yell just recently. Being out there, it felt like that was my welcoming to the Aggie family.

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell is “Aggies,” not just because it was the first one I was able to learn from the first ever game I went to. But I also just love how loud the stadium can get and hearing it for the first time on an actual gameday, it was so impressive to me like, “Wow, this has to be the best stadium experience in Texas — if not in the entire world.”

If you could hang out with any former student, who would it be and why?

So, I do love the current former students I hang out with, but if I had to choose one that I could really want to hang out with it would be [Arouna “Boo Boo” Davies Jr.] He was a Yell Leader in 2002, I recently talked to him over the phone, and he sounds like a really outstanding guy. He passed down a lot of wisdom to me, and he would be the one I would want to spend some time with.

Luke Widener

Luke Widener embraces his second-generation Aggie heritage with his deep-rooted passion for A&M’s traditions. Initially drawn in by the camaraderie of A&M while visiting as a child, Widener hopes to foster the same sense of pride and unity in other students. As a sophomore, he advised freshman cadets on the Corps’ Fish Drill Team, turning them into national champions; he’s proud to be a part of Company E-2.

Favorite yell: Farmers fight

Favorite tradition: Silver Taps

Luke Widener, economics sophomore
Transcript

What is your Aggie story?

I'm from Cincinnati, Ohio. Growing up as an out-of-state student — I'm a second-generation Aggie, so my parents love Aggieland, and they were having me drinking the Kool-Aid since I was really young. But it was hard to imagine leaving all of the friends that I have grown up with behind. After coming down and visiting A&M a couple of times, I really got to see the Aggie Spirit and the 12th Man in person and getting to see that kind of made me realize how special of a place Aggieland was. Pretty much from that day on, after coming down and visiting, I knew I was going to be an Aggie.

What organizations are you a part of?

I'm in the Corps of Cadets and Company E-2, and then also within the Corps, I'm a sophomore advisor for the Fish Drill Team, where we take about 70 freshmen who are interested in doing drill that have never done drill before and we turn them into national champions over the course of just a few months.

Why are you running for Yell Leader?

I'm running for Yell Leader because when I came down to Texas A&M — and the whole reason I'm here in the first place is — because I got to see the power of the Aggie Spirit, and I got to see that shared with me. After coming here, it's kind of been my mission to not only get involved but also to share that spirit and give back to the university. I think I'm involved or I think I would be qualified for that because, like I said,  I've served as a sophomore advisor on the Fish Drill team this year, which has been a huge time commitment, just like Yell Leader, would be an honor. In that position, we're focused around centering and developing the growth of these freshmen throughout the course of their time here. I think that qualities like Selfless Service and time management would really carry over well into the position of a leader.

What is your favorite tradition?

My favorite tradition, by far, is Silver Taps, and the reason being is I think that that is a tradition that no other college or university in the entire world does. The fact that we have a time once a month, where we commemorate Aggies [who] have died while being an undergraduate or graduate student here, it says a lot about the character and the values that we hold dear. 

What is your favorite yell?

My favorite yell is “Farmer's Fight.” One of my favorite memories is when I was in high school and I came down to Texas A&M, and my dad was with me, and we were in the stands. He pointed out, and we were about to start yells, and the very first one I remember was “Farmers Fight.” So we got to do that together, and that's definitely my favorite yell.

If you could hang out with any former student, who would it be and why?

If I could hang out with any former student, I think I would want to meet [James] Earl Rudder just to hear about the history and hear more about A&M through the time of its growth and just how much has changed over the years.

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About the Contributors
Ana Renfroe
Ana Renfroe, Head News Editor
Ana Renfroe, Class of 2025, is a journalism junior with a minor in professional writing from Bryan, Texas. Ana has served as The Battalion's head news editor from May 2023 to May 2024. Previously, she was the assistant news editor for the spring 2023 semester. Ana has covered breaking news, politics, and more. She typically covered the Texas A&M System and university administration, Texas and Bryan-College Station politics, student government and more. Ana previously hosted and produced episodes of The Batt Signal, The Battalion's news podcast. Additionally, she was a copyeditor and feature writer for Maroon Life magazine, and helped contribute to the Aggieland Yearbook.
Ashley Acuna, Senior News Reporter
Ashley Acuna is a communication senior from San Antonio, Texas. Acuna joined The Battalion in June 2023 and now serves as a senior news reporter.
Mia Putnam
Mia Putnam, News Writer
Mia Putnam is a junior (a-a-a-whoop!) public health major and masters epidemiology student. She has written for the Batt for over a year now and enjoys writing stories over politics, current student interests, and environmental issues.
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    Kelsie GrassmanMar 2, 2024 at 12:34 pm

    Kyler* Fife 🙂 RAHHHHH

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