Freshmen take part in homecoming tradition

Students at Thursday night’s Mass Meeting wait for the ceremony to begin. Mass Meeting is an annual memorial service honoring the Immortal Ten and promoting Baylor spirit and unity among students. Photo credit: Dayday Wynn

By Taliya Clark | Reporter

Baylor University Chamber of Commerce kicked off homecoming weekend hosting Mass Meeting Thursday night in the Ferrell Center.

Mass Meeting began in 1928 as a memorial service to honor the lives of 10 Baylor students, later called the “Immortal Ten,” who were killed in a bus-train accident the year before. After World War II, Mass Meeting evolved to not only be a memorial service to the victims in the bus accident, but also an event to promote the Baylor spirit and ideas specifically among new students.

The audience watched fervently as the speaker and Baylor graduate Neil Knighton narrated the story of the Immortal Ten, describing each of the men, how the Baylor spirit was born and what their legacy means to Baylor.

“Tonight I realized that Baylor isn’t just an academic center or a football school, it’s so much more that,” Sherman freshman Meribeth Phillips said. “It’s the people and the renewing spirit that I saw tonight that made the Baylor spirit real.”

Legendary Baylor football coach Grant Teaff also spoke at the about facing adversity and to never stop trying no matter the odds.

“In life, you have to turn a setback into a comeback,” Teaff said.

During the event, students were introduced to the four 2016 homecoming torchbearers, each representing their respective classes. They were Pearland senior Curtis Johnson, Denver, Colo., junior Melissa Williams, Arlington sophomore Grant Wilkie and Lubbock freshman Tom Vincent.

Though historically geared towards freshmen, Mass Meeting was open to all who wanted to learn more about Baylor and its history.

“When I was a freshman, Mass Meeting was a very moving event,” Nacogdoches senior Peyton Miller said. “It was cool to learn a little bit more about Baylor and why homecoming is so important, and I think that it’s a great way for students and alumni to connect back to their alma mater.”

Martin’s Mill junior and Chamber of Commerce homecoming chair Cassidy McCoy said she hopes students will take to heart what they heard at Mass Meeting.

“I hope that students, especially first-year students, hear the story of the Immortal Ten and have the opportunity to learn what it means to embody the Baylor spirit,” McCoy said. “I also hope that students are motivated to go out and impact the world in a way that those 10 students never got the chance too.”