Monthly Archives: February 2020

Be Prepared

English Professor Jennifer Gilstrap has three words that she often shares to students:

“Just be prepared”, she said.

Preparation has been key for Gilstrap as she built her career to lead into her current job. Teaching since 2005, she was a lecturer at UNG at both the Gainesville and Dahlonega campus, an adjunct at Georgia Highlands and an adjunct at Lanier Technical College.

Gilstrap’s introduction to Piedmont was about five years ago as an adjunct. The things that she likes about Piedmont is the small environment and that it is a small liberal arts college, and the academic freedom that comes with that. She likes the fact that it is a teaching college. Since there is not as much emphasis on publishing. Gilstrap noted that because the college is small, you can remember students by name.

“The students are really good here too, because it is such a small college and you can remember a lot of them by name”, she said.

After teaching English for several years, Gilstrap understands what helps students succeed.

“Be prepared and read ahead and read texts more than once”, said Gilstrap.

Georgia State Patrol wasn’t enough for Chief Jim

DEMOREST GA— Chief Jim Andrews is hoping to break stereotypes of police officers.

“Officers get a title of all they want to do is write tickets and lock up everyone that passes their path, but for me it’s the lifelong lessons and connections that make the job well worth it when you lay your head on your pillow at night,” said Andrews. For nearly three decades, Andrews has been making those connections.

He started his career working at a prison then vastly earned his way up to a K-9 handler, which then led to bigger and better opportunities in his career. In 1993, he joined GSP (Georgia State Patrol) as a radio operator and took that challenge on for roughly a year. Shortly after in 1994, he went to Trooper School and worked his way up quickly in rankings to a Buck Sargent. In 2010, he was given the opportunity to work with Gov.Nathan Deal during his campaign. During that time, he got to travel to Canada, Israel, China, Japan and Korea. 

“My most valuable lesson during my career was when I was in the small town called Madison, Georgia. I was just in training to become a trooper and I’m not sure if the officer I was with was trying to impress me or what, but there was this African male who was just trying to make a living hauling wood and he wrote him a ticket. Still to this day I don’t understand why that man got a ticket and that one will forever stick with me,” said the Georgia native.

Andrews made life-long connections with people throughout his career. Still to this day he catches up with Gov. Deal and his wife Sandra. The most touching connections he made throughout his lifetime were the families of loved ones that has passed away in a crash scene he had to attended. 

“ This may seem a little weird, but the most rewarding and most joy I got out of my job was working fatal crashes and then sitting down to talk to the family and friends listening to all the stories about the loved one who had just passed,” said Andrews.

Success is Not Just in Performance

DEMOREST- After 17 years coaching athletes all over the country, Jamie Jimison considers all his athletes success stories.

“It’s hard for me to identify a particular success story,” the head Piedmont cross country and track coach Jamie Jimison said when combing through all his past athletes’ careers,  “With each student I have coached, I’ve tried to understand what their needs are and coach accordingly; and the ones who buy into that are more fun. I’ve had a lot of All-Americans in my career, but watching people develop and grow is more fun.”

Jimison first came to Piedmont College in the fall of 2019. With such a young program that is as successful as it is, he had a lot of expectations from his new athletes and a lot of pressure from the Athletic Department. But this wasn’t his first team. Jimison started his coaching career at the collegiate level, beginning with an assistant coaching job at Berea College and after one year he received his first head coach position at Union College building the small program for five years. Jimison then took a break from collegiate coaching and tried teaching at a middle school in his area for a year. There he realized college athletes and coaching was what he wanted to be doing. He then earned another head coaching position with a young program at Mount Mercy College. He spent nine years building that program to the well- respected level it is at today, even getting a track facility built during his time there. During the summer of 2019, Jimison learned of an open coaching position at Piedmont College and he decided to go for it.

“I was ready for a professional change, and it worked out that Piedmont was also closer to family. Moving to Georgia also provided my family an opportunity for climate change compared to Iowa weather.”

Piedmont was the perfect fit. He loved what the school and athletic program represented. Jimison had worked with small private schools all his coaching career, but only Piedmont College had the administrative support that his other institutions lacked.

During his brief time at Piedmont so far, he has gotten a lot of work done in the program. He’s aided the school in planning and drawing up a blueprint for a brand new track facility coming in the near future. Even with the program progress he’s made, Jimison has had more of an impact on his athletes. 

“Coaching is a lot about numbers, but building relationships and trust is the root of helping folks get better.” 

With the training and coaching Jimison has put in place with the track and cross country programs, many of his athletes have reached goals they never thought possible. Because of the love and appreciation his athletes have for him, and the amount of fun he is having watching his new team be as successful as they are, Jimison is planning on staying at Piedmont permanently where he will continue to make success stories, on and off the track. 

“My biggest objective right now is not to leave Piedmont,” he said. “I like the area, but I also like the program.”

Stranger Things Long Review

The three and a half year old Netflix television series, Stranger Things, has been growing into a Netflix monster. Setting the Indiana 1980’s scene, seven friends, Eleven, Mike, Lucas, Will, Dustin, Johnathan and Nancy, have to battle the forces of evil in the supernatural world, also known as the upside down that was created by evil scientists, with the help from your typical sheriff in town, Jim Hopper, and Will’s mom, Joyce Byers. Eleven has powers that were instilled by the evil scientists and freed from her captor she uses her powers to the advantage of the friends. Throughout the series, Eleven is killing people with her mind, making cars go airborne… you know, things you see every day. These friends are on a heart pumping, adrenaline rushing adventure to defeat the evil forces and to close the gate to the upside down.

Spoiler Alert: At the end of season two, we see Eleven using her powers to close the gate of the supernatural to defeat the mind flayer – the leader of the evil forces, and his demons. But, in season three we see that the mind flayer was not fully defeated, and he is back for more. Season three provides us with older versions of the characters and is made for more mature audiences than previous seasons. We can see the action in season three is more graphic and there are more jump scares. Added to the group of friends in this season is Steve and Robin as they help to defeat the mind flayer by finding secret Russian codes that lead them to the open gate of the upside down. This season provides the viewer with a mystery that is still yet to be solved. In the end of season three, Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper find their way into the secret Russian lab to destroy the evil gate. However, the producers lead us into another mystery ending the season with Joyce being able to shut down the machines in the lab that is keeping the gate open, but Hopper being sacrificed as the machines blow up in front of him. But, did Hopper actually die from the explosion or is there another mystery to be solved? After this scene, we see that at the very end of the season, Joyce is moving her family somewhere else. The producers of the show want to make it seem as if there won’t be another season and that this is the end of Stranger Things. This is an amazing way to end the season because it leads the viewers into a sense of mystery of if this is really the end.

Not too long ago, Stranger Things released a trailer to season four, but the date of release is still unknown. The trailer sets the scene in Russia and people working on a railroad who look as if they are prisoners. As the camera slowly goes towards one of the workers the mystery is released that Hopper is still alive but is a Russian prisoner. This release of season four was brilliant by the producers of Stranger Things because people have been waiting for this mystery to be released, and now it finally is. This show will probably have more viewers than ever before when season four is released. We now see how everything is connecting, and that Hopper is indeed alive and, you know, probably not so well, going from Indiana to Russia. This series will continue to be a growing monster on Netflix, and it is exciting to see where the adventure of this show goes in the future.

“Hey Tim – The Story of my Life.” Short Review

Famous YouTube filmmaker, Sam Kolder, presents his audience with a more emotional piece, “Hey Tim – The Story of my Life.” With aesthetic shots and beautiful transitions of Sam and his friends embracing life to the fullest, Sam makes this video in memory of his brother, Tim Kolder. We see that Sam is now embracing life more, doing what he loves. It took the death of his brother to realize how precious life is. This chill driving adventurous video motivates viewers to pursue their passion and calling in life.

Overcoming failure, Brain Gawne is the definition of determination

“My childhood growing up, was dysfunctional,” said Brain Gawne, throws coach of Piedmont College Track and Field team.

Battling the game of life, Brain Gawne didn’t let the dark times hold him back. Having parents that didn’t graduate high school and living among five siblings, Gawne taught himself by trial and error. During his time as a kid, he could only be perfect, or there was a chance of being hit. Everything changed once someone finally started to believe in him.

“One of my favorite teachers asked me to do wrestling, and he believed in me, which my parents never did,” he said.

Finally, having someone believe in him ignited the spark to become something great. Other sports wanted him to participate in their sports programs, and from middle school to high school, Gawne collected numerous accolades. After graduating, he used his knowledge to teach youth and coach in a variety of sports until he retired.

“I was miserable at home, and part of being a man is your job,” he said, discussing retired life.

Gawne’s wife made him come out of retirement and challenge himself to find a new job. The new job is Piedmont College, where he already led his throwers to a conference championship and is preparing to win another. Through all the tough times, Gawne appreciates sports being a part of his life.

“I have been very blessed with the coaches I had, they gave structure I didn’t have in the house,” he said.

School and sports were Gawne’s happy place where he learned and got the support he needed to be successful in life. Without sports Gawne wouldn’t be the man he is today.

“You have to find something you like to do and play with passion.”

Doctor Who

Season 12 of the cult-classic series “Doctor Who” brought longtime fans all of the aliens and adventures that were missing from the prior season. After the departure of former writer Steven Moffat an almost entirely new cast, the show had some issues finding its stride again in season 11. However, Jodie Whittacker’s performance as the iconic Doctor paired with several cameos by classic whovian villains–such as the Master, Cybermen, and the Daleks–helped get the series back on track. The final episode of season 12 will premiere on March first on BBC and Amazon Video.

‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ a timeless family comedy

Anna Watson 

Nowhere near outdated, “Arsenic and Old Lace” beautifully expresses the theme of loving your family despite their ridiculousness. Piedmont College’s production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” was performed Feb. 13-16. The plot is circled around two old aunties, Martha and Abby, who can’t help but be charitable to everyone they meet. However, they are ignorant of the danger it could cause. Their story is messily entangled with Mortimer’s, their nephew who wised up to the family business and got caught up in ensuring their safety. 

Set in the 1940s, the stage was well decorated with old furniture, doilies, lace curtains, a stainless steel tea set and a two-piece telephone. Alluding to the aunties’ homemade Elderberry wine, the walls are painted a dark wine red, setting the tone for what’s to come. The costumes were perfectly set to each character regarding personality and age. Martha and Abby had quaint ankle-length skirts with shirts to match, along with over-the-top funeral dresses paired with hats. Elaine is dressed in a fur coat with an elegant white hat adorned with a feather sticking out, emphasizing her brazen personality and shear sass. 

In stage theater, so much more goes on than what you see on stage. Students made the entire set: the walls, doors and staircase that Teddy charges up. True to the experience, the set extended to the walls of the theater–past the curtain–and truly enveloped the audience in the Brewster living area. Backlit with haunting blue lights, the windows make it look like night time when the stage crew comes in the dark to rearrange the props or whenever the characters climb through the window. Despite having set troubles, the cast worked professionally and went with the flow without blinking an eye. Instead of breaking the fourth wall or character, the actors and actresses persevered and delivered an incredible performance. 

The Christian ladies were meaningful and proper in everything they did. Whether it be caring for Teddy, their nephew, or strangers, Martha and Abby were simple and sweet; who would question what they did? Playing the aunties, Mikayla Walters and Kaitlin Conner gave a genuine performance, honing their future grandmother selves. Mortimer, played by Tyler Vandiver, was the funniest character for sure. He had the greatest reactions on stage and provided true sass, empathy and fear. As comic relief in a comedy, Teddy thought he was President Roosevelt and was working on the Panama Canal in the basement. Teddy, played by Hunter Blackburn, filled holes in the plot and assisted with the dramatic irony. Garrett Smith, in the role of Einstein, (not that doctor Einstein) had to use a German accent for the entire show – and didn’t slip once. Plus, Preston Welborne played the role of being the dead bodies under the window seat – imagine taking a nap and missing your cue. 

“Arsenic and Old Lace” is a timeless piece that will continue to reach a mass audience when Elaine and Mortimer have grandchildren of their own. All seriousness aside, this show will help you relax and forget about your angst for the next two and a half hours. The humor flows throughout the character interaction and contains seamless and dramatic irony in all the right places. With characters like Elaine, the priest’s daughter who is frisky with Mortimer, and Jonathan, the outcast son who has anger issues, there are no overdramatized jokes – they just fit. While you missed this show, be sure to catch the next one and steer clear of the Brewster wine.

‘Doctor Who,’ a Time-traveling Classic Re-charms Its Audience

The twelfth season of the cult-classic series “Doctor Who” is finally giving fans the silly space adventures they were missing in season 11, as the new writers and cast begin to settle into their place in the iconic “whovian” universe.

After long-time “Doctor Who” writer Steven Moffat left the show during season 11, the series took a turn down a path it’d never gone before. The new writers tried to take the historical-fiction route, which made the show seem too dramatic for a comedy about quirky space-time adventures. The fans were all too eager to offer their feedback: more aliens!

The show creators answered by bringing back the Master, the Judoon, Cybermen and several other extra-terrestrial villains that the Doctor has been battling since the 60’s. Fans were also treated to a special cameo from John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness in episode five. The flamboyant, immortal time-traveler finds the Doctor’s crew of companions to warn them not to give the lone cyberman what it wants.

Though it’s a bit vague at this point, the new plotline gave Whitaker more opportunity to show the gritty, angsty side of the millenia-old time lord as the knowledge gap between herself and her human companions begins to show itself. It’s refreshing to see some of the straightforward and predictable stories from last season transform into token complexity that “Doctor Who” is known for. 

Part of the complexity comes from the family-like relationship between the Doctor and her companions, which we are only now starting to develop after a full season. Last season’s new set of companions continued their journey with the Doctor across space and time in season 12, though the team dynamic has changed. 

One of the greatest issues of season 11 was the poor characterization of companions Graham O’Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan. The writers gave Graham the type of witty lines that would normally be given to the Doctor, whilst leaving Whitaker with an overall lack of personality. It felt like the creators gave us a woman Doctor, but then took all of the Doctor’s powerful cleverness and gave it right back to an older man.

It was frustrating to watch, and coming into this season I was worried it would be much of the same. The “Doctor Who” setup is interesting, because the time lord’s ability to “regenerate” and change bodies has allowed the show to continue for nearly six decades. However, if the writing and acting for the character doesn’t remain consistent, it can begin to feel like you’re not watching the Doctor at all.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to see Whitaker’s classic character be given much more attention. The overall plots of the episodes have taken on more of the wacky charm of past seasons, and the Doctor has been in the center of it all. Season 12 has taken several giant leaps towards being the energetic sci-fi adventure that fans have been following for years.

Despite a few bumps in the time-vortex as the new writers started developing new characters and plotlines, the drastic improvement from last season has renewed the Whovian’s hopes for the future of the show. The final episode of season 12 will air on BBC on March 1, and can be found on Amazon Video the following day. 

Short Review ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’

Anna Watson

Persevering through broken door knobs, magnetic curtain rods falling and all the drama, Piedmont’s production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” was an incredible show. The plot is circled around two old aunties, Martha and Abby, who can’t help but be charitable to everyone they meet. However, they are ignorant of the danger it could cause. Their story is messily entangled with Mortimer’s, their nephew who wised up to the family business and gets caught up in ensuring their safety. Set in the 1940’s,“Arsenic and Old Lace” beautifully expresses the theme of loving your family despite their ridiculousness.