Oak Mountain High School student commits to COES at Louisiana Tech University

Published 12:45 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

SHELBY COUNTY – Current Oak Mountain High School student Tess Gardner participated in a signing day to announce she has committed to the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University and has earned a spot as a twirler with the Band of Pride marching band.

“I am thrilled to be committing to the COES at Louisiana Tech,” Gardner said. “Last year when I toured LaTech.  “I had the privilege of seeing the inside of the COES building and even learning about what a typical class might look like. I also learned about what courses are required as well as the curriculum of some of the freshman classes. I want to major in computer science, so a lot of the classes that were discussed were geared toward computer science.”

Gardener said she realizes that the field she is going into is a very male dominated, but she seeks to strive for success in all she does.

“I know that the computer science field is extremely male dominated, but that does not affect me at all,” Gardener said. “If anything, it will only make me more motivated in being successful.”

Gardner said while touring the university, she felt like she would be made to feel at home during her time there.

“The entire time I was touring the school, I felt as if LaTech genuinely cared about me and my interests, rather than just showing a broad view of the entire school,” Gardener said. “I was overcome with a strong feeling of knowing that I will be looked out for at LaTech, and no other college I toured made me feel this way. The fact that I am now only mere months away from attending the COES and LaTech is so exciting to me, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.”

Gardener said during her tour at LaTech last year, the admissions specialist for the COES explained the program to her and what all it entailed.

“She also explained to be accepted into the COES, you must have a certain ACT math score,” Gardener said. “After listening to her discuss it in detail, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

In addition to her overall acceptance to the university, Gardener has earned a spot as a feature twirling with the Band of Pride marching band at LaTech.

“Of course, my plans for the future include twirling at LaTech,” Gardner said. “In addition to twirling during football season, I also plan to continue twirling competitively during the off-season. I have been competitively twirling since the 8th grade and have won numerous state titles. Indoor competition requires lengthy training multiple times a week, but the hard work always pays off in the end. I also plan to compete in the collegiate category, which means I’ll get to compete at national competitions and perform a routine representing LaTech.”

In addition to her twirling, Gardener will pursue her computer science degree wholeheartedly as she has been interested in the subject since middle school when she first took computer classes.

“We learned some basic programming, and I caught on very easily and found it extremely enjoyable,” Gardener said. “When I realized my classmates around me didn’t find it fun as I did, I thought this might be something for me. I continued to take as many classes as possible in high school, and the interest has stuck with me. I can’t picture doing anything else for a living.”

In order to be considered for a spot as a feature twirler at LaTech, applicants must send in an audition video and a twirling resume.

“The audition video is a video of an individual routine that highlights all your skills and strengths as a twirler, and the twirling resume lists all your accomplishments as a twirler,” Gardner said. “Once the deadline for submissions has passed, the band director reviews all of the applications and will select a twirler, or even multiple.”

This year, two were selected and there will be three in total, with Gardner earning one of those three coveted spots.

“When I found out that I was selected for the spot, I was ecstatic,” Gardner said. “I’ve been working very hard for this position, so knowing that all my hard work has finally paid off was an incredible feeling. I have such a love for twirling, and I can’t believe that I get to continue my passion for the next four years.”

For the last four years, Gardner has been a part of Oak Mountain High School’s majorette line, and co-captain for the last two years.

“I get such a special feeling when I’m out on the field performing with them, and this feeling is what caused me to fall in love with twirling,” Gardner said. “No feeling compares to being able to perform my heart out on a football field.”