Finding out you’ve been admitted to your dream school. It’s a huge moment.

This fall, future Redbirds are finding out if they’ve been admitted to Illinois State for the next school year. For four lucky students, Reggie Redbird came to deliver the good news personally.

Reggie and his friends from the Big Red Marching Machine and the Illinois State cheerleading team traveled across the state this fall to hand-deliver acceptance packets to these four students. Working with their parents and high schools, Reggie kept his visit a big surprise.

“We are so excited and so proud of her. We’re so happy and thrilled.”

Dasha O’Shea, a senior at University High School in Normal, was one of the lucky four. She was sitting in her 10 a.m. creative writing class on a Wednesday when Reggie, Big Red, and the cheerleaders marched in, playing the “ISU Fight Song.” She was shocked and excited; Illinois State is her dream school.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay home or go away to school, and then I went on a campus visit at ISU and thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing. It feels like home,’” said Dasha, who plans to major in exercise science at Illinois State. “My mom’s an alum, so it’s cool to be a part of that too.”

Her mother, Karen O’Shea ’87, was in on the surprise.

“It’s been hard to keep a secret,” said Karen, a music teacher for District 87 schools in Bloomington. “We are so excited and so proud of her. We’re so happy and thrilled.”

Reggie and his team would like to thank all of the parents who helped surprise their future Redbirds, as well as the staff at Normal Community High School, U-High, Ottawa High School, and St. Charles East High School for their assistance.

Have you been admitted to Illinois State for fall 2016? Share your acceptance story on social media using the official hashtag #FutureRedbird.

The preferred application filing period for freshmen for fall 2016 ends November 15. Apply now!

Contact STATEside’s editor at