Monthly Archives: April 2019

Sunburst Stables: A Place to Remember

In a quiet town, nestled in the north Georgia mountains, there is a small business that has been committed to their customers for years.

“Sunburst Stables has been open for almost 24 years, and in these 24 years, It has been more rewarding than I ever expected,” says Becky Elliott, co-owner of Sunburst Stables. “People tell us every day how much they will remember their time with us.”

Sunburst Stables is a small business that provides activities such as ziplining horseback riding and boating tours on Lake Rabun. They have expert staff that are trained on the activities and on information about the area. This combination of well-crafted tours and expert guides creates an experience that attracts thousands of people a year.

“We are always looking at our property and trying to find new things to add and expand what we can offer,” says Mark Elliott, co-owner of Sunburst. “Everytime we add something new, it’s always rewarding to have customers tell us that they enjoyed it. It makes it worth it.”

Sunburst started as a small horse stable that did the odd tour every so often, but mainly held on by housing local’s horses for boarding fees. Mark and Becky Elliott then bought the land and transformed the business.

“I first found Sunburst when I went to their kids camp,” says Savannah Roper, a current employee. “After coming back over and over I decided to apply for a job. I figured, I love it so much I might as well work here.”

The staff begins their training by shadowing a senior employee in their daily tasks. Then they are passed through the gauntlet of learning all of the procedures. Then finally, the employee must learn how to treat customers of all types. This allows the employees to be equipped to handle any situation and calm even the most anxious people.

“I remember one tour I was on. There was a little kid and he was terrified to zipline,” says Roper. “His parents had tried to help but he was set on not going. So I sat and talked to the kid for a minute and asked him if he would go with me on the first one. We went down together, and on the next line, I asked him if he could see if he could go first and that I would come down after. We had a blast on that tour. He cried when we got back to the barn because he wanted to go again.”

The future of Sunburst is still changing. New activities are always on the way, and new memories are always being made. The sky’s the limit, and the owners and employees at sunburst are ready to make dreams come true.

“There is one story that will last for me,” says Mark Elliott. “A very old woman came one day. She brought her daughter who was still older than me, and I’m not young. The two of them wanted to go on the ATV tour, but the old woman was too weak in her arms, so she couldn’t drive the vehicle. I could tell that she was very disappointed. I could feel the weight of it, so I went and got a work vehicle that we use to repair the trails. I loaded the two women in and I drove them on the entire tour. When we got back, the older woman told me that she had just finished the last thing on her bucket list, that she wanted to ride in an off road vehicle. She then told me that this had been her favorite one. These are the people that we did this for, the reason we love our jobs so much.

Sunburst is open year round and are always avalibe to give information or book activities. Visit or call at 800-806-1953 or 706-947-7433


Becky Elliott-

Mark Elliott- Doesn’t know how email works – 706-768-4692

Savannah Roper-

Living a Life Full of Travel – Final Story revised

Traveling the world is not everyone’s ultimate passion, but for one Piedmont College student it’s all she has ever known.  From adventures near her hometown to long international journeys, she has seen many indescribable sites that will stay with her for a lifetime.

“I have been travelling longer than I have been able to walk,” says Caitlin Parker, a history major at Piedmont College.  “At three weeks old I took my first trip to camping on the beach with my family, and at six weeks we traveled to South Carolina.”

On Wednesday, April 17, Piedmont College hosted its first annual Piedmont Research Innovation and Discovery Exhibition in the Swanson Center.  This event was held to give students the opportunity to present any research they have done over the year, share unique experiences they have been involved in or present their capstone presentations.  It was a huge success with over 130 students presenting throughout the course of five hours.

“Throughout the day, students discussed their research, described how study-away programs broadened their horizon, and performed works that inspire them,” says John Roberts.  

These study-away programs mentioned by Roberts are called Maymesters at Piedmont and this is where Caitlin Parker is able to continue her passion of travel, while still obtaining credits for classes.  She was one of the many presenters at the P.R.I.D.E event last week talking about Maymesters, gaining the attention of many listeners with her topic “Travelling enhances education.”

“Travelling is just in my family’s blood,” says Parker.  “Any chance we get on holidays or time off to spend together we just go somewhere new and exciting.”

Aruba, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands and Arizona are just a few places where Parker has gained new knowledge and experience for her works in history at school.  It wasn’t until she came to Piedmont, however, that she was able to travel across the world to England and Peru.  Piedmont’s Maymesters are a great opportunity for her to continue to explore areas of the world and learn more about the history of this earth she has never seen before.

“When I was at Buckingham Palace in England, It was completely life changing just to be able to stand in front of something so beautiful,” says Parker.  “Being a history major it really helps to see these amazing structures in person to appreciate them and learn more about them.  Architecture that has been standing since the Roman Empire has a lot of rich history to it.”

Last year, Parker took yet another chance to see a different area of the world by flying to Peru with the Piedmont College Maymester crew.  Having gained new experience in England the year before, she was ready to take on this adventure with a different group of students and learn more about the culture’s in Latin America. 

“My favorite place in Peru was definitely Machu Pichu.  Sitting on top of one of the seven wonders of the world at 15,000 feet elevation was incredible and something I’ll never forget,” Parker says.

In Peru, there are many different styles of living and a vast variety of how the locals make a living.  From farmers to expert basket weavers, Peru has a culture very different than that of America’s and Caitlin experienced it first-hand.

“We saw three women taking the time to hand weave blankets, mittens and scarves out of materials from Alpacas or other mammals,” Parker says.  “They talked to us about their traditions and how it relates to their customs in Peru.” 

Without Piedmont’s Maymester program, she would never have been able to gain experience for international travel. Parker has become a better world traveler in the past two years and now she can share her stories with the people who taught her the importance of exploring: her family back home.  From a young age her mother engrained the importance of experiencing the adventure and encouraged Caitlin to get out in the world.

Parker is a prime example of how people can start to understand and appreciate the differences we all have in culture and ways of life.  Once students step out of their comfort zones, they will begin to broaden their horizons and shape the way they live their life.

“There’s only so much a professor and textbook can teach you and once you’re out there on your own experiencing new traditions, you will learn more than you ever imagined,” says Parker.  “There’s so much to see beyond campus…beyond the States.  You just have to get out there and find it.”


Caitlin Parker

John Roberts

Digital Fabrication Lab

Not known to many people on campus, the Digital Fabrication Lab – also known as the Fab Lab – is where students learn how to manufacture through the process of machines. For students who love to cut things, create things, creatively solve problems and want to know programming and coding, this is the place.

“We can print something three-dimensionally, we can cut something with a laser or we can cut something with a router,” said professor Chris Kelly, Director of Art and overseer of the Fabrications Lab. “Everything in here comes out of the digital world.”

It was brought over to Piedmont by graphic design major Rebekah Kanipe, who took a two-week workshop at Penland School of the Arts and Crafts in North Carolina in 2018. In this workshop, she learned how to use computer aided design and computer aided machining  – also known as CAD and CAM technology – with laser cutting, solely on wood. This year, the program was brought over to Piedmont, and since starting the Fab Lab, Kanipe has made multiple innovative chairs and has taught other students of Piedmont on how to use the items in the lab.

Along with the ability to make innovative chairs, the laser cutter can also engrave to the tiniest detail on the side of a yeti cup. Along with the laser cutter in the fab lab comes a 3D printer, a paper cutter and sensory technology kits.

 “I want to make a lamp you could turn on by licking it,” said Hannah Oliver, who is working on building a lamp that turns on and off by the moisture in the tongue.

Other projects by students using sensory technology are a sensory piano and a rotating ballerina that switches direction with each tap.

“The idea is to solve problems,” said Kelly. “Students come in with problems and solve them.”

One of the main foci of the fab lab is to find solutions to everyday problems. A couple of the students made a cutting board with a measuring cup attachment to measure the food as it is being cut.

“It doesn’t have to be reasonable, it just has to solve the problem,” said Raleigh Wunderlich for her invention of solving the problem for Pringles cans. She plans to have an automated tube that pushes up the snack as chips are taken, as to not get one’s hand stuck half way through eating Pringles.

With Kanipe’s chair, she had to make multiple mockup models to find out if the chair was stable or not before she could make the real, life-size chair.

“It’s not necessarily an art class. It’s not a design class. It’s not a business class.” Said professor Kelly about the Intro to Digital Fabrication course. “But hopefully students from all the different majors can use this course to create stuff for their work.”

The fab lab is not exclusive to one major. Although it may be in the art annex building, the lab is not just for art majors. Theater Major Shanna Ward uses the router cutter to create faster and more efficient sets for plays.

“As we’re discovering what can be made within these walls, the idea is that you can make anything you want with the help of the digital world,” Kelly said.

Women’s Soccer feature story

Head Coach Timmy McCormack is ushering in a culture of success for the Piedmont college women’s soccer team.

“When you look at successful programs, at any level, it has a lot to do with what the culture is like in those programs to whether or not you are successful,” said Coach Timmy McCormack. “And that’s one of those things we put a ton of time into in our program.”

Since Coach McCormack took over as head coach in 2017 after eight years of being assistant coach, the Piedmont women’s soccer team has seen nothing but success. In his first season as head coach, McCormack guided his team to an undefeated regular season, but lost a close game in the conference tournament. Then in 2018 the Lady Lions got their revenge and won the USA South conference tournament for the fifth time in school history. Like many other coaches, McCormack doesn’t take credit for the success.

“I don’t think it’s my coaching as much as we just have had really good players,” said McCormack. “I think we’ve been really lucky to have a lot of really good foundational success.”

These really good players McCormack talks about have helped lead to an impressive 33-5-5 record in the last two seasons. And the talent won’t be stopping any time soon as the soccer team has 15 incoming freshmen to help win the conference title again.

“The main reason I came here was for Timmy,” said freshman defender Madison Comer. “A lot of schools have great programs, but Timmy’s personality is what convinced me to come to Piedmont.”

Coach McCormack, or Timmy as all his players, call him is loved by the girls on his team for being one of the kindest, caring and best coaches they’ve ever played for. Comer was recruited by McCormack and got to be a part the championship team. She said that freshman will room with seniors on trips to bring the team together and make the older girls seem “not seem as scary.” This strategy brought the team together and helped unite team the for their championship run.

“We’ve all grown up with Timmy,” said sophomore midfielder Abby Cox. “We’ve been trained to always try hard in both practices and the games, you play for the team not yourself.”

Cox has played for McCormack for both of his seasons as head coach, she got to watch the changes he made after losing the conference tournament her freshman year, and what it took to win it this past season. Abby also credits the California trip the team took this season for helping bring the team together. Getting to go some place new and having these experiences is another way the team was brought together to have this culture of success.

McCormack said it’s these little things that lead to the overall success.

“Championships are not won in that season; they are won by doing the detail things day in and day out. You can have the pain of discipline or the pain of regret, you take your pick.”  

Lions PRIDE: 2019 Alternative Spring Break

Instead of taking a traditional style Spring Break, a group of Piedmont College students embarked on a journey to help build houses for the Habitat for Humanity in Sebring, Florida.

“The goal of the Alternative Break program at Piedmont College is to provide students, faculty, and staff with a service opportunity outside of the Habersham County area,” said Dr. Kim Crawford, Associate Dean of Student Life.

Not just any regular Piedmont College student can attend an alternative spring break. The requirements are having a minimum GPA of 3.0, submit a student resume in person to the Director of Career Education, Lisa Mann, and get recommended by two Piedmont faculty or staff members. The total number of students that got to attend this year’s alternative spring break was 11.

“The application process required students to submit an essay on why they wanted to go on the trip and students had to complete a Compass Reflection form after the trip; to talk about their experience,” said Megan Ramsey, Compass Program Coordinator.

At the 2019 Lion’s PRIDE research day event, students were asked to answer why they wanted to attend and even took the time to reflect on their personal experience and share anything they learned or took away from the trip.

Nicole Thomas, a junior mass communications major, said she loved to bond with others while volunteering and this experience is a great way to travel.

“This opportunity allowed me to learn more leadership skills and increased my appreciation of diversity,” said Thomas.

Savannah Cantrell, a junior art education major, emphasized that the 2019 Alternative Spring Break was one of the most humbling and rewarding activities she has ever participated in during her time at Piedmont. Although she worked hard each day, she reminded herself that these homes were potentially going to someone whose home was destroyed or have never owned their home.

“I learned to work alongside other Piedmont students while developing new relationships with the other team members on the construction site. The relationships I have built impacted me whether it was a Piedmont student, a Habitat for Humanity worker, or a Caravanner,” said Cantrell.

Alyssa Emmet, a junior mass communications major, said she found herself during this trip and capitalized on meeting people she would have never met without this trip.

“I learned several facts about Habitat for Humanity and found out I’m capable of doing more than I thought,” said Emmet.

Ashley Dean, a sophomore nursing major, found the opportunity to meet and work alongside many great people who are selfless with their time heartwarming.

“The most rewarding part of this whole experience was getting to meet some of the families that will be living in these houses that we helped to build,” said Dean.

Leslie Lopez, a sophomore business marketing major and graphic design minor always wanted to volunteer. She found that alternative spring break would be the perfect opportunity to explore and meet new people that have been volunteers for a while now.

“Alternative Spring Break reminded me to appreciate all the opportunities that I have. It also showed me the true meaning of “all help counts,” said Lopez.

Areli Albarran, a sophomore nursing major, applied because she wanted help to enhance her sense of vocation through the community service.

“Through the Alternative Spring I strengthened my leadership, communication, problem-solving skills,” said Albarran.

In the end, the students who attended the trip learned many things from home improvement to self-improvement, but one thing that will stay hard to perfect is to become one.

“It can be difficult for everyone to be on the same page, said Albarran.

How A Lion Became A Hornet

Imaging being on a court with NBA caliber players in a top notch NBA facility. For one Piedmont College student, this became a reality. Piedmont College hosted its annual P.R.I.D.E (Piedmont Research Innovation and Discovery Exhibition) on Wednesday, March 17th. During the event, Piedmont students presented well-crafted posters and gave speeches on a multitude of research projects, experiences or experiments that they have been apart of . P.R.I.D.E day has grown out of Piedmont’s commitment to highly valuable practices such as undergraduate research and inquiry, leadership and community engagement, as well as global learning.  One of these presentations included Piedmont men’s basketball player Mikey Joseph. Who addressed a room full of faculty, staff, teammates and coaches on his life changing experience of interning for the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise during the summer of 2018.

During his presentation Joseph discussed all facets of his internship, starting from his first day on the job where the entire coaching staff and his hiring manager were fired. After facing that challenge he took the audience through some of the responsibilities that he had during the course of the internship. The list included: working on court with players and coaches, practicing with the team, attending team meetings, video editing, working with potential draft candidates and being present on NBA Draft Day. “I never knew how big of a deal Draft day was for these teams, it’s almost like a holiday for them.”

Joseph’s freshman teammate Justin Quick was one of the many in attendance for the presentation. “Mikey did a great job of explaining how the internship helped him and how it is going to affect his future. It was really cool to be there for my teammate and listen to his experience.” Joseph went into detail about all the benefits that came from his time with the Hornets including the on court experience he received as well as learning about the business aspect of the NBA and professional sports. He also gained experience in film/video editing as well as navigating an unfamiliar area. Joseph, a Gwinnett native, stayed at local Queens University for the duration of his internship.  “At first it was hard to be on my own in an unfamiliar place but as it went on I became more comfortable and it was really fun.”

Joseph concluded his presentation by  stating how this opportunity was a “dream come true”, he gained so much experience and was in the presence of His Airness, Michael Jordan, at one point. The internship helped him build many relationships and this was evident to all who were in attendance, including Piedmont Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Jake Brooks, who spoke on Joseph’s presentation. “I thought Mikey did a great job presenting the experiences he had this past summer with the Charlotte Hornets. The relationships he built there will serve him well going forward and the experience he gained there is invaluable for a guy his age.”

Joseph hopes his presentation inspired those on his team who now see what it is like to have such an opportunity and how it can have such a positive impact on one’s athletic and business career. “It’s  a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone who has a love for sports.” Joseph encapsulated the essence of what P.R.I.D.E day is about, enriching others through the sharing of your experiences and hard work.

PC Softball

  Maintaining their history of success, as a USA South conference powerhouse, the Piedmont Lions softball team is having yet another spectacular year. Coached by Terry Martin, John Winters and Taylor Waldrop, the Lady Lions posted an overall record of 29-8, good enough for second place in the conference in the regular season. They will be going to the conference tournament Wednesday in hopes of bringing a conference championship back to Demorest. 

This year’s team is filled with experienced seniors but having younger players is playing a key role in their success. The Lady Lions are led by senior sluggers Hannah Hoban and Mariann Kennison. Both have had monster years; Hoban is slashing .447/.545/.913 with 59 runs batted in and 10 home runs. Kennison is slashing .491/.560/.860 with 34 runs batted in and 8 home runs. “I think I’m having the year I am having because I’m just playing for my teammates and keeping things simple,” Kennison said.   

Kennison has been a huge help in the Lady Lions offense this season and hopes to continue her production in the conference tournament. Rebekah Stegmayer, along with Kennison both broke the regular season record in runs scored. Stegmayer also stole 35 bases while only being thrown out one time. While Kennison and Stegmayer are breaking records now, the future of the team looks good. 

Freshman making the transition into college is always hard, not only with softball but with school as well. “We miss a lot more class now and I have had to adjust my time management to stay caught up,” says freshman Maddy Holloway. 

Having more difficult classes to go along with workouts, conditioning and practice, causes students to miss a lot of class and they must stay on top of all their school work.  

“In high school I always played shortstop but here the coaches told me I will play anywhere so I had to learn new positions and adjust to being thrown in wherever,” said Holloway.  

Most freshman do not start right away but must be ready to go in whenever and do their job. Holloway hopes to land a starting spot in the future. 

Every good team must have a good team chemistry. If your team does not get along with each other than your team most likely will not succeed. “Overall, we have become more of a family than just teammates. We have each other’s back off the field so when we are on the field, the bond just becomes so much stronger. We all know that everyone on the team has confidence in each other. We have learned to just have fun and forget the mistakes,” said senior pitcher Kory Best.  

“This year we have had the talent, heart and the ability to do a lot of things and I couldn’t be prouder in how far this team has come in just one year. This team has truly been special no matter how far we go,” said senior outfielder Haley McCurry. 

The Piedmont College softball team heads to LaGrange tomorrow with hopes of winning the championship and getting a ring. 


One of the unique opportunities offered at Piedmont is the chance to study abroad during Maymester.

“I think there is no better way to learn about another society and to get to know its people than to visit in person,” said Beth Lovern, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology , who traveled on the trip as a mentor.  

Alyssa Gibson is a junior mass communications major at Piedmont College who attended a  Maymester trip to France and Switzerland during the summer of 2018. Gibson, 19, knows exactly what she wants to do in her life and her trip helped her find that passion. 

“In the future, I want to go into photojournalism and be a journalist that travels and goes on a bunch of adventures,” she said. 

While on the Maymester she had to do some classwork and got six hours of credit for going on the trip. Gibson believes every student should go on a Maymester, or study-abroad trip, and encourages students to do that trip with Piedmont College. 

“We definitely had an amazing time… and one of the beauties of taking a trip with Piedmont is you get to split up and go off with smaller groups while interacting and experiencing the culture,” she said. 

One thing that stood out to her about France was the urban art surrounding the city. She saw ruins from previous wars that had been painted to resemble different things, and it really fueled the love of art inside of her.

“It was really cool to see the urban art surrounding the city and it helped me understand the struggles of each city,” she said. 

Gibson noted that Piedmont College makes sure that student needs are accommodated for while the students are traveling. Mike Adams, a commuting Piedmont student, went on a Maymester and said he was initially worried about the language barriers and struggles, but was pleasantly surprised at the smooth transition and encourages students to dive into other cultures. 

“When you swim in the culture for just a few days, it’s unbelievable how you acclimate to that,” he said. 

Another unique thing that Piedmont students are offered is financial benefits and grants that students can apply for that can help cover the cost of the trip abroad. Dr. Julia Schmitz talked about the scholarship and what it grants the student. She emphasized the importance of this grant and how it has made the dreams of some students actual realities after the grant. 

“I enthusiastically recommend Maymester trips. They’re a great way to make new discoveries about yourself and connect with people in other cultures in ways that you never could have before. The trips teach [valuable lessons] while completely immersing you into another culture outside of your comfort zone. For me, it was a defining moment in figuring out what I wanted to do in my field of study for a career and sparked a long-time love of travel,” Gibson said.

The Theater Department

Lights, camera… stop? Piedmont College’s production of The History of America (abridged) may not get the standing ovation it was looking for.

The History of America (abridged) was the theater department’s latest production satire that ran from April 11-14. However, the show was met with mixed reviews.

One of the main platforms where students were complaining was the Piedmont app. Due to this, many people who hadn’t even seen the play had their views influenced. This made it hard for the other people who were trying to defend the play to be able to voice their opinion, because they were being bombarded on all sides through this social media outlet.

Ashton Black is one those defenders. A Piedmont College theater member, he was promoting this event very heavily. He was greatly concerned as to why people took offense to the play, and really wanted to understand. “I think the root of the offense some people took was the fact that a great deal of the play was misunderstood. I just don’t think people realized that the play’s message is not malicious, just… a comedy about what’s wrong with American history,” he story.

An audience member who requested to remain anonymous, was not so understanding of the play. They said that “… the play was terribly offensive. It had something to say about everyone, whether it was racial or political, and that’s not right. We’re trying to bury the past, not dig it back up and make jokes out of it! I love Piedmont to death, and the theater department is filled with nothing but talent, but this was just too much.”

The were others who were right on the site of the production who got to have a fly-on-the-wall type of view. Rosellyn Miles, a seamstress for the play, seemed to not even bat an eyelash. “I was behind the stage during the entire run, and I saw it all. Those who claimed they got offended are the same ones who were laughing their heads off. If people gat offended it’s because they don’t know how to take a joke,” she said.

William Gabelhausen, Department Chair of the Piedmont theater, was somewhat concerned with the complaints of the play as well. He, however, looked at it in a different light. He said “… it made fun of everyone. It’s just satire at its finest. How can we become desensitized to our horrible past if we don’t face it and make it something we can handle? It’s almost inevitable that someone would get offended. It’s not everyone’s type of humor.”

With all the varying opinions targeted towards the theater department, it is safe to say that the say “art is subjective” still hold true, even for college play. As said simply by Joe Dudley in defense of the theater department, “… we didn’t write the play.”

Reading Response 10

In Chapters 12 and 13, Filak discusses laws and ethics. Chapter 12 talks about how the law is constantly changing and that good reporters should always keep their heads up on what is going on in the field of media law. Filak also relays the importance of being careful no matter what your publishing, wether it be a short tweet or a published article. Just use caution.

When it comes to ethics, Filak says it is important to understand ethics and know that they are very important for reporters and journalists. If you ignore ethics then you put your credibility at risk and your readers might stop paying attention to your work. He also talks about how important it is to adapt your ethics and change the way you work. It is important to use ethical standards that you can support and actually hold onto than it is to “fake” the concept of good ethics.