There was a definite sense of nostalgia that filled the air on the evening of Aug. 30. The shuttle escorted the Class of ’24 to the home of President Jim Gash and First Lady Joline Gash — the Brock House. Avesta Carrara, office manager of the Seaver Alumni Relations office, said over 350 students registered to participate in Rock the Brock this year.
“You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees was playing on the radio on the shuttle’s way up to the Brock House. Rock the Brock marked the onset of a “symbolic first day of their [the class of 2024’s] last year here at Pepperdine,” said Gash.
“They’re [the class of 2024 is] probably going to be the most resilient class we’ve ever had because they’ve gone through so much and have responded well,” Gash said.
The Class of ’24 has overcome several unexpected obstacles thrown at them from the onset of their college journey, Gash said.
The excitement was contagious — the students persevered despite a tough start to their college experience, and they were enthralled to be united again, Gash said. The 2020-21 academic year resulted in many attending classes over Zoom, Gash said.
As a result of COVID-19 disruptions, the Class of ’24 was not given the opportunity to attend the annual President’s reception for first-years at New Student Orientation, Gash said.
Rock the Brock is a beloved annual tradition that began in 2011 with President Andrew K. Benton, according to previous Graphic reporting. Gash, receiving the baton, has carried on the tradition of Rock the Brock.
The Gashes welcomed every guest with a handshake. Carrara asked students arriving at Rock the Brock to sign the Class of 2024 surfboard. The surfboard was raffled off later in the evening. The DJ played music throughout the event that brought many to the dance floor.
There was a very special guest who made an appearance and played at Rock the Brock — trombone player, Ricky Lucchese. Lucchese was featured as a trombonist and vocalist on Beyoncé’s Grammy Award-winning album “Lemonade,” according to Berklee Valencia.
Students took advantage of the photo booth to commemorate the night and snapped plenty of selfies overlooking the Pacific.
Gash said his advice to the Class of ’24 is, “Don’t wait.” He said now is the time to serve others and grow in the discomfort of any opportunities that arise. He expressed great confidence in the Class of ’24’s ability not to hesitate and to instead step willingly into the unknown.
Senior Hannah Rapier said one thing on her senior bucket list is to complete the hike to the cross with her roommates.
Seniors Emma Ammerman and Meg Brown, players for the Women’s Volleyball team, said their senior bucket list includes discovering new local restaurants in Malibu.
“I for sure want to go to Sunset [restaurant],” Brown said. “I haven’t gone there yet.”
The Seaver Alumni Relations office and the Gashes, sponsored the event, said Esther Chung, manager of alumni engagement. Chung announced prizes that included a trip to Disneyland, two round-trip tickets within the United States, a $1,000 gift card to Nobu and the Class of ’24 signed surfboard. The Class of ’24 shouted and cheered for their fellow classmates who won each drawing.
Senior Jonathan Koo said he has confidence this will be a good year.
“Everyone’s pretty hyped on senior year, so it’s gonna be fun,” Koo said.
Senior Julie Tingleff said that because COVID-19stole her first-year college experience, she is set on making up for it this year.
“I can’t think about why I’m here too much or I’ll get really sad,” Tingleff said.
Although senior year can feel bittersweet, Tingleff said she is set on making the most of it.
“My friends and I want to run through the fountain on Main Campus now that it’s back on,” Tingleff said.
The music could not be heard on the shuttle ride back to the dorms because the atmosphere was filled with life, laughter and tales of the night.
Senior Claire Copeland said she is soaking up every last bit of the Pepperdine experience and will not be taking it for granted.
“I just want to enjoy being here at Pepperdine and do all the things we never did on our bucket list because we had homework,” Copeland said.
Before running off the shuttle to catch up with her friends, Copeland said her senior bucket list item is to get a picture of herself surfing with her graduation cap on.
“I feel like it’s so Pepperdine just to get that graduation shot,” Copeland said.
Gash’s parting note with the students at Rock the Brock was that “the Class of ’24 was the most resilient class in the history of the world.”
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