May 2, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. - Former Western Carolina Catamount football player Nate Harris- who is completing an apprenticeship with the WCU Athletics Media Relations Office - was a part of the 2012 WCU Student-Athlete Scholarship Banquet held last weekend at the Grove Park Inn & Resort in Asheville. Harris concluded his student-athlete blog of from this semester with a personal recap of the event.
Harris, a running back from Holly Springs, N.C., is majoring in Communication with concentrations in broadcasting and public relations, and is scheduled to graduate this weekend in Cullowhee.
A team captain in 2011, Harris finished his WCU career with 486 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while also hauling in 23 passes for 255 yards and a pair scores. All told, Harris amassed 2,022 all-purpose yards including 1,281 on kick returns during his four-year career.
That is the word that comes to mind when describing the Western Carolina Student-Athlete Scholarship Banquet that was held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville on Saturday, April 28. From meeting alumni of WCU, some of which were former Catamount student-athletes, to meeting people who didn't go to school at Western Carolina, but want to see the athletics program excel, the experience was nothing but humbling.
The banquet was an event that allowed numerous Catamount student-athletes to come into contact with people who are members of the Catamount Club, the fundraising and development wing of Western Carolina Athletics. It is through their generosity and donations every year that help fund scholarships for the student-athletes here at WCU.
Being around and coming into contact with those individuals who helped fund your education was an unforgettable experience. Meeting those members made me even more thankful for having received a scholarship, and thankful to them for helping fund it. On the other side, the donors expressed their gratitude for us as student-athletes sacrificing our time, hard work and effort to go out and represent WCU in the different sports arenas.
The Scholarship Banquet featured a meet-and-greet session at the beginning while snacking on some finger foods. After the social, the event transitioned into a ballroom that put you in the mindset of a fancy restaurant with the way the tables were set and how the lights were dim. While in the ballroom for an hour and a half, the student-athletes and members of the Catamount Club were treated to a three-course meal. Afterwards, all the coaches, players and important names were recognized for all their contributions. This recognition was followed by two student-athletes - women's basketball player, Diamond Hunnicutt, and myself - that were asked to speak on our journeys as Catamounts.
Seeing and listening to my fellow student-athlete speak so well and having such a touching story made me want to bring it. Throughout my address, I highlighted how I came from humble beginnings and earned a scholarship by my junior year; how I got closer to my teammates after the death of one of them, and how WCU has impacted my life in more ways than one. I tried my best to relay that the Catamounts will forever hold a special place in my heart.
After both Diamond and I spoke, the banquet keynote speaker - Mr. Willie Carpenter - addressed the audience. Carpenter was a former two-sport standout at Western Carolina. He spoke of his experiences at WCU, professional baseball and life after sports. He, too, had a touching story with the overall theme being described in one word: perseverance. I loved everything he had to say and drew inspiration from his story and experiences that he had in life.
As graduation is nearing, I can't fully wrap my mind around the fact that four years have come and gone. I have had a wonderful experience and am ever so thankful for the opportunity to have played sports in college. I wish I had another year; but my time is up and from now all I can do is wish all Catamount Athletics the best. With a new chancellor, new athletic director and a new football coach, WCU is on the rise and within the next few years is primed to make a splash on the national scene.
Remember, hard work pays off; keep on grinding Cats!
FOREVER A CATAMOUNT