The choir is singing, doughnuts is invaded every building, streamers are lining the hallways and Viking Days is finally here. The Mirror sat down with homecoming king Shay Norris, a senior psychology and business major, and queen Katelyn Graber, a senior biology major, for an exclusive interview.
How does it feel to have been elected king/queen by the student body?
Katelyn: It’s so humbling. It’s just so sweet for students to vote and get involved in homecoming. It was a lot of fun to be up there with all my friends. This year’s group seemed really special, because a lot of us have known each other since freshman year.
Shay: It’s a big honor. I want to point out it’s cheesy, classic, but all the candidates really are deserving. We had some really, really great guys up there, some of the nicest that you’ll ever meet. I feel honored that everyone can have a great time and celebrate Viking Days.
What’s your favorite Viking Days tradition?
K: I really love the parade. My mom and both of my two older sisters also went to Augie, so every year now they come. My sisters have kids of their own. The last couple of years, I’ve gotten to ride through the parade and meet up with them afterwards, and the little kids are always so excited.
S: I’ve always like Saturday, the parade and the football game. I feel like it’s one of those classic things, where no matter where you are, the atmosphere gets more exciting and positive. On top of your regular life, you have a little celebration going on.
How has your perception of homecoming evolved since freshman year?
K: My freshman year, I wasn’t as involved, because as a freshman you’re kind of scared to go out of your room. I could see that it was a big tradition, but each year, my pride in Augustana grew. So now, instead of just kind of seeing the tradition of Viking Days, I feel more a part it. It’s a big celebration that I hope I can continue to come back to as an alumna.
S: Freshman year, I actually wasn’t too involved on campus. I was just in theatre my fall semester and just stayed in my room a lot. Homecoming just kind of came and went. As I came out of my shell and met more people, I became part of the community and it was just cooler and cooler every year. This year is just night and day in difference.
Who most inspires you at Augustana?
K: My advisor, Libby King, is pretty special to me. She’s a professor that everybody just loves. She’s just so kind to every student, and gets to know everybody. I’ve gone to talk to her about my classes or what I need to do to get ready for the next semester, but I’ll also talk to her about my life, and she just has a really genuine interest in not only your academics, but student lives in general. She’s a sweetie.
S: My favorite people on campus are the ones who just brighten up people’s days, like Bill [Rooker]. He goes around and tells a joke everyday. The people serving the food, [too], like Ana [Campos]. It can be anyone, professor, student or friend. I just really respect everyone on campus like that.
Why did you originally choose Augustana?
K: I chose Augustana for a few reasons. I love the location. Sioux Falls is a great city, and it’s pretty close to my hometown. Even though I don’t go home very often, it’s nice to have that option. I also loved the biology department. I met with Dr. Egland and was just so impressed at how knowledgeable he was and how kind and caring he was with my life and my interests.
S: My family has some history here. My mom is an Augie alumni from way back in the day. I also have a lot of cousins and aunts and uncles that went here. It’s always just kind of been there in my life. I’m from Sioux Falls, so growing up here, I took swimming lessons at the Elmen, came to camps and did scholarship things here. It’s always just felt like a familiar place. It’s home.
Which core value do you most emulate?
K: One of the core values that I strive for is excellence. I have a friend who reminds me that ‘excellence is not perfection’. I think that coming to Augie, you are challenged, whether that’s in your classes or in social and extracurriculars, but I think that striving to give my best is something that I always try to do.
S: I probably embody the community [value] best. Alongside my fellow royalty members, we’re all just involved in so many things. I just really like being involved and including everybody, and doing fun things to bring us together as a whole.
What are your plans after graduation?
K: I’m going to apply to Augie’s genetic counseling program, as well as a few Ph.D programs in the area in either genetics or cellular biology, those would be more so with the hopes to be a professor someday.
S: Hopefully getting into graduate school to continue my [psychology] degree, and maybe use my business one in there, too. I don’t know what the future holds, but we’ll just apply and roll with it.
What’s one piece of advice you have for students on campus?
K: Definitely try to get involved in one thing you’re familiar with that you did in high school, but also try something new, or something that you think you would never ever do. Get out of your comfort zone.
S: ‘You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take’ -Wayne Gretsky; -Michael Scott; -Shay Norris. Just be yourself.