Freshman move-in is one of the most highly anticipated days on the fall calendar. While this year’s two-day move-in looked different from past years due to Covid-19 precautions, there were many key elements—the dads hauling mini fridges, the cases of ramen noodles and the tears—that made it feel much the same.
Longwood is welcoming more than 900 freshmen to campus for the fall semester. Their moving in was stretched over two days this week to allow for proper social distancing. Students were asked to limit the number of helpers they brought with them and only one family was allowed per elevator. That meant the elevator line was often longer than the line of cars outside Moss and Johns halls, the newly renovated and renamed twin high rise residence halls that house mostly freshmen on the southern end of campus.
Below is a snapshot of five freshmen who moved in this week and are preparing to start their college adventure:
For Anna Barrett ‘24, the decision to attend Longwood was an easy one. Longwood is one of only a few schools that offer her major of therapeutic recreation, a field the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars freshman is passionate about.
Upon visiting Longwood, it was clear that therapeutic recreation is a strong program with a lot of support and amazing faculty.Anna Barrett ‘24 Tweet This
“I have always enjoyed working with at-risk children as well as those with special needs, and the therapeutic recreation major puts me in a great position to pursue my career path,” she said. “Upon visiting Longwood, it was clear that therapeutic recreation is a strong program with a lot of support and amazing faculty.”
Barrett, from Ruckersville, Virgina, was also quickly sold on the welcoming atmosphere of Longwood’s small campus and the opportunities that await her in the Honors College.
“Coming from a small town, Longwood brings that big-school feel while still having a strong sense of community and belonging,” she said. “I'm excited to dive into my major, get to know my professors and peers, and become involved in the variety of clubs offered on campus. While COVID-19 is changing a few plans, Longwood has already done a wonderful job of communicating and I am sure that this is going to be an amazing first-year experience.”
Jett Williams ‘24 moved into his third floor room in Wheeler Hall on Sunday, Aug. 16. The freshman from Richmond is a member of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars and those students return to campus a week before the start of classes for a leadership retreat. He and his roommate, Collin Gilbert, a fellow honors college member, were excited to unpack their things and start decorating the walls in order to make their room their own.
I’m definitely bringing my desire to fight for social justice and equality for everyone.Jett Williams ‘24 Tweet This
Williams plans to major in psychology and his goal for his freshman year is to balance both academics and work. He’s set his sights high in both areas. He wants to maintain at least a 3.7 GPA and his goal is to sell $40,000 worth of Cutco cutlery. Williams worked hard this summer selling kitchen knives to help pay for college and in the month of July he sold $13,000 worth of product.
“I’m most excited to see what type of person I become without the supervision of my parents,” Williams said of moving away from home for the first time. “I’m already very independent, but the thought of accepting more responsibility is a little scary. I think that’s a good thing because it means it will bring about change within me.”
Williams decided to attend Longwood when he received his on-the-spot acceptance at an accelerated decision event last year. He said the campus felt like a perfect fit. It wasn’t until later that he learned he also has a unique connection to Longwood.
Williams’ mother works as a mental health administrator for the Virginia Department of Corrections and she worked with N.H. “Cookie” Scott ’72 for a decade. Scott, who retired as deputy director for administration for the DOC, is the first African-American graduate of Longwood and a member of the university’s Board of Visitors.
“It was super cool to find out that she served as my mom’s boss and mentor,” Williams said. “It also made me feel good knowing that I had someone with strong ties to this campus who wanted to help me succeed.”
When asked about one special item from home that he brought with him to Longwood, Williams said it wasn’t something that he could hang on his wall.
“I’m definitely bringing my desire to fight for social justice and equality for everyone,” he said.
Daniel Ellis ‘24 knows when something is for him—and when it’s not.
He knew it in fourth grade when he switched to the trombone after a year of playing the cello. And he knew it when he came to Longwood for a visit during his senior year of high school.
“The cello just wasn’t for me,” said Ellis, a music education major from Gainesville, Virginia. And neither were the other universities he visited during his college search that felt “stone cold.”
I’ve always wanted to do something with music. I want to teach as many kids as I can to love music just like I do.Daniel Ellis ‘24 Tweet This
The trombone turned out to be the perfect choice—Ellis was first chair in his band’s trombone section all four years of high school—and he is confident Longwood will be just as good a fit.
“When I was going through all the different schools I visited, the Longwood music program stood out to me because of how personable and welcoming the professors were. They made me feel like they really wanted me there. I could see Longwood as a home.
“I also really liked the campus, and I liked the size,” added Ellis, who received several scholarships from the university, including a Waverly M. Cole Music Scholarship.
A member of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars, he has always loved music—just like his dad, a pianist. Daniel is a fan of classical music, particularly Dvořák, but he doesn’t limit himself to that genre and has signed up to play in both the Wind Symphony and the Jazz Ensemble.
Long-term, he has his sights set on a career as a high-school band director.
“I really like the marching band aspect of it,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do something with music. I want to teach as many kids as I can to love music just like I do.”
Kayla Puentes ’24 and her roommate, Mary Martino ‘24, met at Longwood more than a year before move-in day—before either knew they would one day return as Lancers.
The roommates, who are living on the 6th floor of Johns Hall, first met and became friends as rising high school seniors attending Virginia Girls State, a program of the American Legion Auxiliary held annually on Longwood’s campus.
I love the homey feel I get on campus. It’s not too big and not too small. It’s just right!Kayla Puentes ’24 Tweet This
“At the time neither of us knew where we wanted to go to college, but we were in the same city and exchanged info during that week,” Puentes recalled. “Once I posted I was going to Longwood she told me she was going, too. That’s when we decided to be roommates!”
Not long after getting all of her things moved in Thursday morning, Puentes got to work decorating her side of the room with pictures of her friends and family. All summer the King George native has been anticipating having a blank canvas to create her perfect college residence room—and meeting fellow Lancers.
“I’m most looking forward to making new friends and all of the new adventures that come with this new chapter in life,” Puentes said.
Puentes is a student in Longwood’s Nursing program, which has achieved a 100 pass rate on their required licensure exam for four of the last five years, an accomplishment few schools across the country can boast.
She decided to pursue nursing as a career because she has always had a passion for taking care of others.
“The nursing program was a huge factor in my decision to come to Longwood,” she said. “Also I love the homey feel I get on campus. It’s not too big and not too small. It’s just right!”
Holden Acheson ’24 is one of at least six double legacy students who are part of the incoming Class of 2024. Both of his parents are members of the Longwood Class of 1993, and met during their senior year of college.
Even though his parents met at Longwood, he didn’t always know that he’d end up becoming a Lancer as well.
The friendly environment and sense of community I felt at Longwood is what led me to come here.Holden Acheson ’24 Tweet This
“The friendly environment and sense of community I felt at Longwood is what led me to come here,” he said. “After a few tours, it became one of the top schools on my list.”
Acheson, who is from Glen Allen, Va., is getting settled into his first-floor room in Moss Hall. His father, Jerry, also lived in the twin high rise residence halls when he was a student.
On move-in day Acheson was excited to meet his suitemates and other students on his hall. He has been talking with his roommate over the summer and planning for move-in day. One of the first things Acheson put up on his wall was an NBA poster he’s had since middle school.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people, exploring campus and getting familiar with where everything is located,” he said.
Acheson is undecided about his major, but is considering business. He said his goals for his first semester are to maintain a good GPA and enjoy college life. His parents are pretty pleased that he will be doing that in an environment they know well.
“They’re super excited for me to be attending Longwood,” he said.