Ellie Poole (’11)

“My eyes have been opened, my mind has been challenged, and my heart has been nurtured.”

Emily PooleAs a freshman in high school, I walked across the Wake Forest Quad, taking in the picturesque fall leaves and Wait Chapel. I talked with my Dad about how much I liked the size of the school and thought about how much every student I met had raved about their time here. But I also knew I would have to work hard for the next four years not only to be accepted to Wake Forest but for the University to want me here – and want me here enough to offer significant financial aid.

Fast forward to the fall of my senior year.

As I sat on my living room couch with my mom and dad, my mom encouraged me to apply wherever I wanted, but also cautioned me not to get my heart set on one school because financial aid would be a major factor in my decision. In the back of my head – despite my mom’s warning – I was still dreaming of the school an hour and a half from my home. Growing up in Durham, NC, my family lived in a decent neighborhood. I happily went to public high school and drove a hand-me-down Volvo, but as the oldest of three kids, even two working parents could not afford the large Wake Forest price tag.

The next April, my letters of acceptance and financial aid arrived in my mailbox. As soon as I opened the envelope from Financial Aid, I smiled up at my Dad, handed him the letter, and said, “I get to go to Wake Forest!” I have not stopped smiling about Wake Forest since that day.

Now in the fall of my sophomore year, I have enjoyed being involved in campus ministry and Chi Omega sorority, as well as Football and Basketball with Screamin’ Demons. Coming from Durham, I was nervous about my ability to switch sports loyalties, but as I cheered Wake Forest on against Duke last winter in the Joel, I realized my allegiance was now with the Demon Deacons. With two and a half years left, I look forward to possibly studying abroad next fall as well as becoming more involved in the Wake Forest and Winston Salem communities.

Not only have I enjoyed all the fun opportunities at Wake Forest, I have enjoyed learning here. I declared my history major early and spend a lot of time reading and writing, but take pleasure in it. Teachers have invested in my learning experience and I genuinely enjoy my work. I believe that there is no statement that can more highly reflect upon an academic institution. I am enthralled as I investigate historical books, discuss religion and culture, and write about current political situations around the world.

At Wake Forest, my eyes have been opened, my mind has been challenged, and my heart has been nurtured. For each of those challenges, I am thankful. I am thankful for Wake Forest’s leadership. I am thankful for its commitment to its motto, Pro Humanitate, and most of all, I am thankful for the generosity of others.

I want to thank the alumni, parents and friends for their gifts. Know that your gifts are not simply checks to this institution, but that they change individuals, they bless families, and they allow students to learn how to be servant leaders and encourage them to challenge themselves.

Thank you for your gifts. I am thankful for your willingness to give and hope that you will be able to continue to support students like me who wake up every morning thankful for their time at Wake Forest.

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