97-year-old TSU alumnus to join cheerleading team for homecoming

97-year-old TSU alumnus to join cheerleading team for homecoming (Image 1)

A 97-year-old Tennessee State University alumnus will rejoin the school's cheerleading team for this year's centennial homecoming.

Burnece Walker Brunson was a member of the school's cheerleading squad from 1934 to 1935.

Brunson said cheerleading is not only her passion, but it is just one way she stays connected to her alma mater.

“Tennessee State is in my blood. I love this school and I will do whatever it takes to keep coming back,” said the retired schoolteacher, who also returned and performed with the team at age 87 during the 2003 Homecoming.  “Cheering for your favorite players and entertaining your fans feel like you are also part of the game.”

Brunson said she will not be participating in the back flips, pyramids or cart wheels during the much anticipated event.

“We didn't do all of those fancy stuff back then,” said Brunson. “We did some jumps here and there but we did not do all that tossing and throwing.”

“It's much [livelier] that we were but I think it's wonderful,” she said of the sport. “We were much more covered up, as far as clothing and everything but that is true in all of life.”

Brunson's daughter, Carol Brunson Day, told Nashville's News 2 that her mom had been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

“My mother gets a lot of energy from being around other people, particularly young people.  She just absolutely blossoms,” Day said. “This means everything to her, she has been very excited about it which is why I came to Nashville because she wanted to do everything and not miss a single event.”

After graduating from the college, Brunson went on to receive her master's degree from the National College of Education in Evansville, Illinois.

She is among the estimated 25,000 alums expected to be on campus for the school's centennial.

The annual homecoming parade is Saturday followed by the football game at LP Field.

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