WSSU Football Classic more than a game

Students from local middle schools gather around the statue of Winston-Salem State University founder Dr. Simon Green Atkins during the Youth TRAMSformation Tour on Friday, Sept. 16.

WSSU Football Classic more than a game
September 22
08:30 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson

Inaugural event gives local students slice of college life



Last week Winston-Salem State University Athletic Department partnered with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System to host the inaugural Winston-Salem Football Classic.

The three-day community-centered event began on Thursday, Sept. 16 and was highlighted by the Ram’s match-up with Virginia Union at Bowmen Gray Stadium last Saturday evening. The festivities began with the Youth “TRAMSformation” Tour, which brought more than 700 seventh graders from middle schools across the county to campus to get a taste of college life.

During their visit, the middle schoolers had the opportunity to interact with WSSU student-athletes and professors, while touring various departments and key locations on campus, like the campus radio station, the School of Health Science, the Diggs Gallery and others.

Before the tours began, WSSU athletic director Tonia Walker welcomed the students to campus during a ceremony held inside K.R. Williams Auditorium.

“We want to make sure you know about WSSU and what we have to offer,” Walker told the students. “Use this time to learn from students. Learn what they did to get where they are in life.”

On Friday, members of the WSSU football team and the Panthers of Virginia Union volunteered at various schools across the county. Later that day, legendary football coach William “Bill” Hayes was honored during the Winston-Salem Football Classic Banquet.

Hayes served as the head football coach at WSSU from 1976 to 1987. During his tenure, the Rams won three Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) titles and made two Division II playoff appearances in 1987 and 1988. After leaving WSSU in 1987, Hayes went on to compile a 195-104 record at North Carolina A&T State University from 1988 to 2003.

On Saturday a block party was held for the students who participated in the Youth TRAMSformation Tour and WSSU students. The six-hour event featured games, vendors, exhibition booths, food trucks, and performances. Just before kickoff, the Red Sea of Sound led a parade to the stadium.

Although the Rams lost to the VUU Panthers 38-14, in a press release Chancellor Elwood Robinson noted the Winston-Salem Football Classic is about more than the battle on the field.

“The game is just one part of a great weekend that gives some of the best and brightest students from our local public schools exposure to a slice of college life,” he said. “The Winston-Salem State University Football Classic is about more than football.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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