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CSU welcomes alumni back to Morrow today

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Since Clayton State University's nickname is the "Lakers," Stacey Houghton couldn't resist making some water references in the school's new fight song.

Houghton, director of the university's BleWater Pep Band, wrote the lyrics and musical accompaniment for "The Mighty Fighting Lakers." The song was performed publicly for the first time on Friday, during the university's homecoming pep rally.

According to Houghton, this is the first time Clayton State has had an official fight song in its 42-year history.

He describes the song's musical accompaniment as a "traditional college fight song." It is the lyrics hat are a little, er, different. Houghton said he decided to run with the water theme that seems prevalent at the university. In addition to its nickname, Clayton State has several ponds and lakes on its Morrow campus. A family of swans live on campus, along with countless ducks and geese. The school's mascot is "Loch, the Laker," who is designed to look like the Lochness Monster.

Houghton used those examples as guidance for lyrics, such as "crashing like waves," and "drowning our rivals in defeat."

"Anything that I could come up with, that had to do with water, went into the song," he said.

The fight song will be played several times today, when Clayton State's students and alumni gather for homecoming. The university has several events planned, including a carnival and a free pancake brunch. The day will culminate with the men's soccer match against Francis Marion University, which begins at 7 p.m.

The homecoming king and queen will be announced during half-time of the soccer match, which will happen at roughly 7:45 p.m.

The pancake brunch is open to all residents of Clayton County, and the flapjacks will be flipped by Clayton State President Thomas K. Harden, and other members of the university's faculty and staff. The brunch, in the atrium of the Harry S. Downs Center for Continuing Education, will last from 11 a.m., to 2 p.m. It will be followed by the first annual Laker Fest, which will include music, food and games, from 3 p.m., to 7 p.m., next to Laker Field.

Clayton State has approximately 13,000 alumni, said Gid Rowell, the university's director of alumni relations. Rowell also expects between 100 to 150 alumni will come back to the university for homecoming. "I feel pretty good that we're going to have more alumni come back than ever before," Rowell said. "We have several reunion events going on that will hopefully encourage our graduates to return to Clayton State."

There were six candidates for homecoming queen and another six for homecoming king. Clayton State students voted from Monday until Thursday. The top three candidates for each title were announced during the pep rally.

Florencia Hernandez, Takeeia Williams and Leandra De Los Angeles are the three finalists for homecoming queen. Darius Thomas, Brian Kelly and Michael Ivie are the finalists for homecoming king.

"It makes it a little difficult to prepare for the game, since you don't know if you need to buy a dress for the game until the day before it happens," De Los Angeles said after the pep rally ended.

"I don't even have a dress, yet, so I'm going to have to spend the next 24 hours getting ready for the game by getting a dress, and then getting my hair done.

"I'm a little anxious to find out if I'll be the homecoming queen, but I'm also excited at the same time."