Salem native revealed to be one of Virginia Tech’s Class of 2020 HokeBirds

SALEM, Va. – After years of secrecy, Virginia Tech’s Class of 2020 revealed its HokieBirds last week.

A video played at virtual commencement showed London Hughes and Charlotte Powell wearing graduation gowns with their HokieBird feet.

Hughes grew up in Salem.

"I'm just far enough away to where I'm not too close to home,” Hughes said, “30 minutes away is just enough freedom where your parents aren't there."

Hughes said while he was disappointed that the “big reveal” didn’t happen in person, the way it happened virtually was probably just as epic.

“When the video came up it was one of the first things played for commencement,” Hughes said, “I was speechless, like it blew my mind how amazing that video was and the amount of text messages I got like 30 seconds after that aired, ‘London, are you serious? You were the HokieBird? Are you kidding me?’”

2020 HokieBird Reveal

Each year during commencement, the HokieBirds reveal themselves to friends and family by entering the ceremony wearing their HokieBird feet. 🦃 We knew this year would be different, but we made sure that this Virginia Tech tradition lives on. 😏 Congratulations to the 2020 HokieBirds, London Hughes and Charlotte Powell! Thank you for bringing so much joy to thousands of Hokies at events this year and during these challenging times. 🧡

Posted by Virginia Tech on Saturday, May 16, 2020

Hughes is not allowed to say how he became a HokieBird but admits it was one of his best experiences yet.

“I got to do a ton of things that I would have never even dreamed about being able to do,” Hughes said, “You know running out the team to enter sandman at the beginning of football games. Going to basketball games, going to film commercials in California, all that stuff, super fun.”

Hughes graduated with a major in biological sciences and he currently works at an animal hospital in Salem, but he’s heading back to Virginia Tech this August for four years of veterinary school.