May Queen Amber Simmons watches as the rest of the May Court wraps the maypole during Brenau's Evening of Class. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau University’s Evening of Class highlights resilience of students in The Women’s College

Apr 22, 2021
Kathryne Davis
Mirella Reily shows emotion while looking at her peers during Evening of Class. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Braving the cold and wind on Wednesday, April 21, students from The Women’s College of Brenau University gathered on the historic campus Front Lawn for Evening of Class, an event celebrating many of the traditions normally observed during Brenau’s annual Class Day and May Day.

Like the traditional May Day celebration, which dates back to the early days of Brenau but was postponed this year, Evening of Class included the presentation of the May Court, crowning of the May Queen and wrapping of the maypole.

Amber Simmons, senior elementary education major and the 2020-21 Baxter-Bryan Scholarship recipient from Marietta, Georgia, was named the 2021 May Queen. Prior to wrapping the maypole, Simmons gave a toast to her fellow seniors.

“This class is filled with resilient, bold, hardworking and incredible leaders that I’ve had the absolute privilege of being around,” Simmons said. “I’m so blessed to know you all and even more blessed to call you all my colleagues. College is hard and even harder in the middle of a pandemic. You all should be immensely proud of yourself for the trials, tribulations and growth you’ve all gone through. I know in whatever path you all choose, you will do incredible things.”

Other members of the May Court included Brianna Mathis, senior English major from Hephzibah, Georgia, as May Prince, Dejah Williams, senior dance major from Lawrenceville, Georgia, as May Princess and four representatives from each class.

Brenau President Anne Skleder welcomed everyone in attendance and congratulated them for persisting through a difficult year. She noted that, while this year’s celebrations are different from years past, one of Brenau’s strengths is being able to adapt.

“The wonderful thing about Brenau is we have traditions that we hold dear, but we make changes as times and situations change,” she said. “I love that the event has been put together as a combination of the best parts of many of these traditions. I am so grateful we have been holding fast to those traditions for more than 140 years, but we have been moving forward with the times.”

Shania McAmis helps wrap the maypole during Evening of Class. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Student leader groups, such as international ambassadors, Golden Guides, student government, peer assistants, commuter council and resident assistants were recognized during the event by Student Services and Admissions. In addition, Greek Life awards were handed out and Phi Mu was named the Sorority of the Year.

Before students wrapped the maypole and ended the evening with the tradition of new seniors ascending the Crow’s Nest for the first time, Vice President of Student Services Amanda Lammers presented the Halberg Award, the highest non-academic award at Brenau. The award is given to a student who has demonstrated perseverance, overcome limitations and used all the opportunities offered to her by Brenau to become the example of the Brenau Ideal. The recipient of this year’s award, normally given during Cotillion, was Kailey Posea, senior marketing major from Cumming, Georgia, who continued to assist Student Services even after graduating early and dealing with a family emergency.

After having to cancel most events last spring due to COVID-19, Lammers expressed how pleased she was that students were able to experience some traditions in person this year.

“I think it’s very important that we do the best we can to honor the traditions this spring in any way that we can,” she said. “Thank you for your perseverance. We did it. We got through it, and there are better days ahead of us. I’m so excited for next fall.”