The BAA asked this year’s Legacy Scholarship applicants to reflect on what it has meant to be part of a Baylor legacy family and to grow up surrounded by Baylor traditions, and what the scholarship means to them. This week, we introduce Will Aker of Waco. Will expects to graduate in May 2017 with a BBM in Management and a minor in Film and Digital Media. In the part of his application where he talks about his Baylor Legacy family members, he listed seven people — all on his mother’s side — including mom Amy Darragh (Martin) Aker ’90; grandmother Gwendolyn Agnes (Spear) Martin ’58; and great grandmother Grace Gwendolym (Darragh) Spear, who attended Baylor in 1927-28.
Ever since I was young, Baylor was always talked about in our household. My mother and grandmother would always reflect on their experiences at Baylor whenever we would hear about how the football team did that weekend and other occasions. My grandmother would tell me stories of the cheers that the students would yell at the games and how the school always had the best people and environment. My mom would talk about how she ran track and field with Michael Johnson and how she loved the culture and community at Baylor.
She also would tell us as kids that if it weren’t for Baylor, she would have never gone to China on a mission trip with the track team and met my dad. Baylor has impacted my family in a huge way, which is one of the reasons that I really wanted to go there. I wasn’t set on going to Baylor at first. In high school I really wanted to go to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. At the time, I dreamed of becoming a pilot. During that time my mom planned a trip to Waco for my family to experience Baylor Homecoming. We spent a whole week during Homecoming at Baylor and attended the pep rally, the parade, and the homecoming football game. After we left Baylor I was torn between interests because even though I still had the desire to become a pilot, I didn’t want to go anywhere but Baylor. I didn’t want to miss out on the community that I felt while on campus with the relationships I knew could be found at Baylor. I didn’t want to miss out on the traditions that I so quickly fell in love with and I definitely didn’t want to miss out on the football.
During the next two years after a long series of events I ended up only applying to Baylor and getting in. I only wanted to go to Baylor and couldn’t see myself going anywhere else…
The reason that this scholarship is important is because my family has struggled over the past year to pay for college. My primary resource in paying for Baylor is through my grandparents who have a large amount of money invested in oil. This past year with the price of oil decreasing rapidly, much of the return that they have been using to pay for my education has been decreasing as well. There was a point last fall where I was not even sure if I would be able to attend Baylor but God is good and provided for the next semester.
I have been so content with my decision and love Baylor and always will. This is largely due to my mom. If she had not brought my family to Waco that year I would never ended up at the best school I could imagine attending. I only hope to continue the legacy and reflect on the amazing memories, the relationships and experiences that I could never get anywhere else other than Baylor University.
The Baylor Alumni Association awarded scholarships to 54 Baylor legacy students for the 2015-16 school year. Our goal is to give out more scholarships with larger amounts to help these students and their families pay for a Baylor education, and we hope to award more scholarships for the Spring 2016 semester. If you’d like to make a donation, please go to this page. We will send a pair of Baylor BattleHands spirit gloves to anyone who donates $100 or more toward Legacy Scholarships (or renews their annual membership for $100 or more).