Monthly Archives: March 2020

Justin White: Adventurer and Recreational Man

Being part of the sports staff on the Royal Caribbean and the Allure of the Seas before coming to Piedmont, Justin White has always known how to have fun and bring adventure into his life. White lives his life by the “send it” mentality and continues to send the vibe around campus.

“I actually got the send it mentality from Larry Enticer who performs stunts with his snowmobile and says ‘send it’ every time before a jump. I live by that motto because life is too short and sometimes you just got to go for it,” White said.

Being the coordinator of campus recreation and wellness is no easy task, but White manages to run the fitness center and provides more than 30 events in a calendar year. He doesn’t mind putting in the work to make sure all the students enjoy themselves.

“I want to make sure the students love the outdoors as much as I do, and I’m always up for a new adventure with friends to share wonderful laughs and memories,” White said.

One of those students who has shared in White’s adventures is Lucio Ruiz, a sophomore business administration major.

“Justin always makes sure everyone is having a great time, and I’ve enjoyed the bowling event he put on this past year,” Ruiz said.

White never had a hard transition into Piedmont since his job as a sports staff member made it easy to shift into his new position.

“The people I worked with on the cruise ships were very like-minded and were from all around the world. I worked with people from England, Slovakia, China, and Brazil.”

With all the adventures he had while traveling on a cruise ship, White managed to escape a lot of trouble, including a GI virus.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of broken bones with passengers, but never expected an outbreak on the first couple days on the job,” White said. “The CDC came on board, and I remember one day I walked up and down 300 flights of stairs sanitizing the rails for eight hours.”

Whenever White isn’t running the fitness center or providing events for the students, he is the adviser to the Klimbing Klub, helping it grow massively in the past year alongside President Noah Wood.

“Justin has been a mentor to me. He has taught me so much in the past three years I’ve been at Piedmont,” Wood said. “He is an amazing leader, and I am truly grateful to have him as my boss and friend.”

White continues to travel around the world and wants to inspire students to seek travel. He currently keeps track of his travels on a map he has posted in his office and circles the destinations he’s visited.

“My next travel will be with my girlfriend and grandmother. We plan on going to Italy and then after that a trip to Iceland with just my girlfriend.”

Accessibility is a Necessity

by Chelsea Harris

This year, Piedmont College installed ramps on campus grounds

for accessibility to those in wheelchairs and those with physical disabilities.

This is a great step in the right direction, but accessibility is still limited in

other areas on campus. For current and future students, we have to make all

areas on campus easily accessible.

There are currently two students who use electrical wheelchairs as a

means of getting from place to place. Yet, there are still places on campus

that do not allow easy access to these members of our school.

These places include both the entrance to the back of the Swanson Center after

crossing the bridge and the bottom floor of the library.

The bridge to Swanson is accessible in itself, but there is no way for a wheelchair to

get up the steps leading to the glass doors at the back of Swanson. The front entrance is

fine, but students in wheelchairs must either take the long way up to Swanson or have access

to a personal van that can transport wheelchairs. We could make it better for students to

take a quicker and easier route to their classes without assistance if we installed a few more

accessibility points and ramps in this area.

The library is also an issue for students in wheelchairs if they were to need access to

the bottom floor. Students are not allowed to have the code to the bottom floor entrance

from the outside. It is simple enough for students who can enter through the ground floor

and take the stairs down. However, the elevator does not travel all the way down to the bottom

floor. If a student in a wheelchair needed access to this floor, how would they get it?

It isn’t right for any one student to have difficulty getting where they need to go in

order to receive optimal education. While the college has made a step in the right direction,

we should be reaching further. Our campus should be accessible to everyone in search

of an education, and Piedmont may have many students in the future who need to be able to either travel across campus without a personal van or gain access to the bottom floor of the library. Not everyone is going to have someone who can help do these things for them.

Piedmont is always looking for ways to improve for its students. How about this one:

We make every access point for every building accessible for everyone. Every student—regardless of physical abilities—deserves access to all places on campus.

How I Became Toxic

By Chelsea Harris

I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning and thinks,

“I’m going to hurt the people I love today.”

The mindset isn’t pre-set to encounter unexpected situations.

We just react to the climate and deal with the consequences.

The problem is that consequences live outside of the world of context.

The consequences can seem endless when they are attached

to your name. Without context of all perspectives, a name can

be ruined. It can become bile in the throats

of enemies, spewing out to greet your friends and acquaintances.

Take a person out of their context and all that is left is a description

of the person—their attitude and their mannerisms—all at the mercy of

one perspective.

What if they did do those things you heard about? What if they did

react that way and say those things? Do you know why?

I don’t know everyone’s reasons…but I will tell you mine.

The longest relationship I have been in lasted for

two years, and everything was relatively fine up until the last few months.

That was when the constant fighting started. For a long time, I couldn’t

even tell why we were fighting. It just felt like every time I turned

around there was something else to dispute.

He felt like he was walking on eggshells. I felt like I couldn’t be heard.

All at once, it felt like I wasn’t in a relationship. It felt like I was at war.

Every disgruntled face, every sentence said with attitude, every judgement passed

would start a new fight. And I couldn’t run for cover because the one person

who used to be my stronghold was now on the other side of the fortress.

“I don’t know what to do”: I’d say that more than a few times.

And every time I would try to communicate that I felt attacked

or hurt, he’d say something along the lines of: “You just assumed that I meant

that” or “That’s not what happened” or “I didn’t say that”—to the point where

I actually felt like a crazy girlfriend who had a bunch of problems for no reason.

Gas-lighting—that’s a term that I learned later.

But guess what? I don’t think he was doing it on purpose.

I think it was self-defense in a time where he felt like the

ground was crumbling beneath him.

He became toxic for me…but I also became toxic for him.

Part of our arguments came from not seeing eye to eye on certain subjects.

And there were things that I needed in a relationship that he

couldn’t emotionally or spiritually provide.

It’s not that he was a bad person or that he became a disappointment to me.

I became disappointed in myself for trying to save something that was

supposed to die. If I had noticed the things that were not going to work

between the two of us before we had started dating, I might have been able

to save something from dying at all.

Instead, I expected things from him that were never there to begin with.

He may learn those things eventually—communication, spiritual leadership,

humble love—but if he doesn’t, it’s not up to me to say whether he should

have those traits or not.

It is only up to me that I should want those things, but I don’t have

to have those things with him. And he didn’t need to change for me.

That is why, even if my name has burned like acid leaving his tongue,

I won’t do the same with his.

This is Caleb Rogers

By Chelsea Harris

A Student Emmy Award winner has come to Piedmont with the hopes of starting something new.

Caleb Rogers, 20, has led quite an interesting life, and this isn’t recent news. Yes, he has achieved a lot within the last couple of years alone; but he has always been used to feeling a little different.

When Caleb was 6 months old, his parents adopted him from Russia. From there, they moved to Richmond, Virginia where they lived for 10 years. Because of his father’s job, however, he had to move around a lot over the next decade—from Farmville, Virginia to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Chatham, Virginia. During this last phase of moving, Caleb attended high school at Hargrave Military Academy for 4 years, which was different from any private or public school he had ever attended. Ironically, in the strictest school he attended, Caleb found his love for art and ended up helping their school develop an art program.

“But I’ve always been interested in film,” Caleb says. “I started off doing drawing and painting because I was really artistic, but film has always been different for me. I’ve always had this dream of being an actor, even though it would never happen because I don’t like being in front of the camera very much. I’d rather be behind the camera creating things.”

He worked really hard in high school to develop his portfolio and ended up getting accepted into three prestigious art schools: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Caleb attended the SCAD summer program in his junior year of high school, and one of his professors actually worked for Ariana Grande. This was Caleb’s “in”— he was chosen to be one of the directors for his course. At SCAD, he ended up doing a lot of short films and a live show with students there. This is when his team won a Student Emmy Award.

“The best time I had there was being a part of the Savannah Film Festival,” Caleb says. “One of my really good friends was head of the journalism committee, and he said, ‘You have a really good presence, and you’re good at talking to people. Do you want to help interview celebrities?’ So I had the opportunity to meet and get to know Hugh Jackman, John Krasinsky, Emily Blunt, and a lot of producers and directs and other actors.”

After these first major accomplishments, Caleb was invited to work on three different music videos for Ariana Grande: “Thank You, Next,” “Seven Rings,” and “Boyfriend.” During November of 2018, he left SCAD and was solely working on these film projects in Atlanta. “Being able to be trained by Ariana’s videographers and getting to know her was really cool. When they asked me to do this, I was like ‘Oh, I’m not going to see her.’ But there were times when it was just me, her and her manager in a room.”

After “Thank You, Next,” Caleb worked on a few other music videos with artists such as J Cole, Chance the Rapper and 21 Savage. “Out of the people that I got to work with, I definitely know J Cole the best, and I got along with him well, too, because he’s actually from North Carolina. So we could relate and he knows a lot of the places I know.”

Caleb worked on music videos all the way up to this past summer (2019), and then decided to cool down on those for a little bit. He started working on a feature film in which his roommate at SCAD was acting. The feature film was The Conjuring 3, and he became a production assistant for the movie, working on it from August through October of 2019 as he was coming into Piedmont.

Between SCAD and Piedmont, Caleb had to decide whether to keep working on these film projects or to get a degree before continuing. “If I really want to get where I want to go, which is owning my own production company and directing big movies, then I’m going to need a degree in film.”

Caleb’s parents ended up moving their family to Clarkesville, Georgia in June of 2019 when his dad, Craig Rogers, became the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Piedmont. “We’re actually trying to develop a film program here, and things are being pushed in a really good direction.”

“When I came to Piedmont,” Caleb says, “I was only going to stay here for a year and then transfer because Piedmont doesn’t have a film program. But I ended up falling in love with Piedmont, and I thought, ‘I’m going to try to help build a film program.’”

Caleb has been involved with meetings for a film program that Piedmont may consider implementing in the near future. The outlook is positive.  The film industry is thriving in Georgia, especially in Atlanta. This makes it easier to justify bringing in a film program for the school, a fact that Caleb communicated with members of Piedmont College’s administration and mass communications department chair Joe Dennis.

“He came to me during the first week of classes and told me he wanted to help build a film program at Piedmont,” Dennis says. “His determination and desire is inspiring, and I’m hoping we can help him see his vision become a reality.”

They have a long road ahead, but the way things are looking, it seems almost definite that Piedmont will be looking at a fantastic addition to its Fine Arts Programs. Caleb said he is committed to helping see this project through. “It’s been amazing to be a part of this thing and to push this program for Piedmont.”

Mount Vernon Mills closes, leaving workers unemployed and homeless

Amanda Williams started working at Mt. Vernon Mills when she was 21 years old to support her child. 29 years later, she and about 600 other workers had the rug ripped out from under them. The mills announced 60 days in advance that their Alto location would shut its doors this month, and now hundreds of workers are left jobless.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she says. “I met a lot of people through the years, I’ve gotten close with a lot of people, and a lot of them are my family. That’s how I look at it.”

Mount Vernon Mills is a textile mill company based out of South Carolina, operating 12 facilities and employing over 2,400 individuals. The Alto location has been a major employer of Habersham county citizens for many years, but is closing its doors and leaving hundreds of loyal employees behind.

Amanda Williams filed for unemployment yesterday. Depending on her health and employment, she may have to consider turning to Social Security disability, but she says she doesn’t want to do that. She wants to work as much as she can. Right now, though, she’s jobless and trying to find work. Not having her share of the household income isn’t an option for Williams, whose income is not only for herself and her family, but for her grandchildren too.

The paycheck Amanda earned from the mill was what she raised her children on, and the people she worked with helped too. “Back in 2010, […] my husband and I were both in the hospital. I had just had my youngest child, he was in the NICU, and my mill family stepped up immediately,” Williams said. “We weren’t working; I’m blessed with them, but it [the mill closing] does sadden me.”

Williams says that some of her coworkers that were couples lost their jobs at the same time, and are now both unemployed with families to care for. “A lot of them are young,” she says, “and there are a few that are close to retirement, but not quite there yet. I’m one of them.”

She recalls her last days in the mill with her coworkers that became family as emotionally raw. “A lot of them have cried, a lot of them are angry,” Williams says. “No one expected it.”

Williams said the threat of the mill closing had been on and off all 29 years she was employed there. Sometimes the employees would hear that the mill was in good standing, and other times they heard that it wasn’t. “We knew our seasons,” she said. “January, it was slow, and then it would pick back up. We were told around December that things weren’t looking all that great. We came back off Christmas break and I was told it was shutting down.”

The official word from the mill didn’t come until Jan. 9, giving employees exactly two months to find new work. Some mill workers still don’t have the entirety of their earnings, waiting on the paychecks that sustain their lives.

“Them [Mount Vernon Mills] closing has [caused] me to lose my place to live,” a former Mount Vernon Mills employee said, who asked to be kept anonymous. “Now I’m staying here and there trying to find another job.”

That’s what everyone at the mill seems to be doing, according to former employees. Amanda says that the mill couldn’t be around forever, new technology is coming in and “it’s time to learn the new stuff,” she says.

Even with her positive outlook and faith that everything is in God’s hands, losing her job isn’t easy.

“Pray for us all,” Williams asks her community. “That’s what we need more than anything– prayer. If anyone’s willing to hire us, we’ll all work hard, that’s what we believe in.”

The Bold Type (baby review)

Freeform’s drama “The Bold Type” smashes the glass ceiling of journalism through a stereotypically unlikely medium: a women’s magazine. This women-dominated cast tackles issues surrounding gender, race, sexuality, health, politics and privilege while following the lives of Kat, Jane and Sutton, best friends and employees of “Scarlet Magazine.” Though their New York City lives might look glamorous on the surface, these three women are wading through the occupational hazards of communications while also balancing friendships, family and all the personal growth that comes with being twenty-something.

Freeform’s “The Bold Type” Tackles Womanhood in Communications

Freeform’s programming tends to cater to a younger crowd, boasting critically-acclaimed series about college life and teenage dramas, but contrary to what lip-glossy stereotypes might have you believe, their content doesn’t shy away from important issues. From race to sex, mental illness to Cancer, Freeform offers a creative outlet for these often taboo topics to become conversation-starters for a younger generation. “The Bold Type,” Freeform’s women-lead drama tackles these topics under the umbrellas of journalism, young adulthood, and all the complications that go along with them.

Shows centered in a newsroom aren’t new to cable or streaming, and finding shows displaying the comedy and drama of the communications field isn’t a fruitless effort. But even in a changing world of inclusivity, finding other women to look up to in the often male-dominated field of reporting can leave any viewer frustrated. “The Bold Type” challenges that.

In a cast dominated by women that follows three friends that talk about more than boys, have differing opinions on politics, and even includes a queer black woman, finding a character to empathize with isn’t hard. The series, based around work at a women’s magazine, accurately displays the joys and struggles of working in communications.

Women’s magazines get a bad reputation. Often associated with diets and celebrity gossip, and reading them gazed at the same way someone reading a drugstore romance paperback might be, “The Bold Type” brings the realities of working at one of these publications to light. The journalism in the “Scarlet Magazine” newsroom, as the fictional magazine is called, is just as serious as those at more respected publications.

Journalist characters are courted by “real” news sources following their publications of articles surrounding controversial issues, are threatened with lawsuits and legal action following controversial stories, and deal with discrimination in getting information due to the public view of their magazine. Fashion designers and fashion photographers receive backlash from magazine board members for standing up to body image expectations. The magazine’s social media department head experiences targeted doxing by men angered by her article on video games and sexism, exposing her personal information and nude photos online.

The representation of these incredibly common (and often terrifying) complications and occupational hazards of journalism in a category of journalism often overlooked gives a voice to the population of women journalists working in women-centered spaces. We might hold sexist stereotypes surrounding publications like these consciously or not. The editor in chief faces scrutiny while moving forward with more progressive ideas, especially those surrounding the grittier side of women’s issues. “The Bold Type” shows viewers, without telling them, that the work these women do isn’t any less complicated or journalistically sound than what men do at similar publications.

While bringing sexism in the communications field to the forefront of the series, “The Bold Type” seamlessly covers issues surrounding sexuality, money, privilege and health throughout the plot. These topics receive broad coverage in the series, without straying away from the plot of the show and disengaging viewers. The scriptwriters delicately tackle debates and taboo topics while giving them the consideration they deserve and keeping conversations natural.

This binge-worthy series has engaging storylines, compelling relationships, heartwarming moments and hard-hitting social commentary. The filming is aesthetically pleasing with costume, makeup and set design that any fashion-forward millennial could drool over, and a tragic opening sequence that improves over the seasons from being painfully maximalist to sleek and simple. The evolution of the show, from characters to production, leaves dedicated viewers feeling like they’re part of something a little bit bigger than just a TV series.

Seasons one through three are available in full on Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV and the Freeform website while season four episodes premiere Thursdays at 9:00 pm EST on Freeform and upload to streaming services the next day.

Taylor Browning: Bigger Than You

Taylor Browning not only tries to bring out the best in himself, but also others.

“It’s a lot more challenging to try to bring the best out of other people versus yourself”, he said.

Browning experienced great success throughout his athletic career and the trend has seemed to carry over into his coaching career as well. Browning was born in Reno, Nevada, but for the majority of his childhood grew up in Colorado. He ran track at the University of Redlands, where he became an All-American sprinter. After graduation, Browning moved to Georgia for his first official job as an assistant track coach at the University of Augusta, which jump-started his career.

“The biggest challenge is knowing that you’re not going to be able to help everybody, he said.” “Some people just aren’t going to hit PRs and sometimes as a coach there’s not really much you can do, it’s hard to accept that sometimes.”

Browning goes into a little more detail of how his coaching career started. He says there are minor differences in place setting because “people are people.” He gives insight to aspiring athletes about how to shape thinking and future coaches about networking/making connections.

“Comparison is the thief of happiness and you’ll always have to try to be the best that you can be and be satisfied, he said.” “Like making peace with the fact that some people are going to be better than you no matter how hard you work.”

Hayden Craig: More Than a Game

Sports shaped Hayden Craig from a very young age and taught him to be a better man before being a better baseball player.  

“Being a good person comes before being a good player,” said Craig, the assistant baseball coach at Piedmont College. “We have all had teammates who were talented but not the best people. Even if the pitch before or after was awful, you always have to be ready for the next one, that’s how baseball and life parallel to each other.”

Hayden Craig was born on Sep. 7, 1992 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Baseball has been the focal point of his life and is the reason he lives in Demorest, Georgia. Craig played collegiate baseball for four years at Adrian College, in Missouri. While teaching, he started coaching at a high school in the same county in which he grew up. He did what was necessary for his career and a week after Craig accepted the head coaching job, he terminated his contract and took the position of assistant baseball coach at Piedmont College. 

“This was my foot into the door,” Craig said. However, Craig’s coaching philosophy is a reflection of his personal experiences and beliefs throughout his life as a student of the game of baseball. “If one day is crappy that has no bearing on what today will bring. Growth in the weight room, skill, and maturity are things every player should see strides in” he said.

Being in the position of coaching collegiate baseball is just a step into the right direction for the young coach. Craig strives to be a better coach every day and relies on the 10,000 hour rule, which is something that he has been studying. The 10,000 hour rule implies that if you want to become great at something, then 10,000 or more hours must be spent on that craft. He is ready for all the challenges of college coaching whether it is recruiting, gaining player’s trust or making them a better person.”I got my first taste of recruiting at Piedmont, it was awesome to really zone in on players and look for individual skill and if they are playing the game the right way” he said. 

Craig looks forward to launching his collegiate coaching career and helping the Lions be successful. “I love it, it’s a dream. It is all baseball and if you’re passionate about your work it isn’t work,” Craig said.        

Barrett Courtwright: Life and Baseball

Growing up in a small town in South Carolina, Barrett Courtwright was involved in many sports to occupy his time- basketball, football, and swimming, but the one sport that always stuck with him was baseball.  Courtwright was born into a Christian household with three siblings and both parents. His parents made it a priority to make sure all of the Courtwright children were hardworking and worked to be the best version of themselves.

“My goal was to be a college baseball player. My parents tried to involve me in as many athletics as possible.” Said Courtwright, Piedmont alum and graduate assistant for the baseball team.

Barrett Courtwright grew accustomed to change and adapting quickly. After being born in Hookstown, Pennsylvania on June 24th, 1997 and raised in South Carolina, he was once again forced to adapt when it came time to pick a college to pursue his baseball career. He ultimately chose Piedmont College and became a Lion. Courtwright was forced to grow up fast and work hard for his opportunities.

“I chose Piedmont because I had the opportunity to play college baseball.” said Courtwright. “I was attracted to the small class sizes and that my major education was highly regarded.”.

With one of the top Division III programs in the nation, the Piedmont Lions have had tons of recent success. Courtwright would become a huge part of that success as a starting pitcher. After contributing to the Lions baseball team and graduating in 2019, Courtwright became the graduate-assistant coach on Head Coach Justin Scali’s 2020 coaching staff, alongside Luke Harris and newcomer Hayden Craig.

As of right now, Courtwright plans to pursue a career in teaching while also continuing to help mentor the Lions baseball team.

“The next step in my life is to begin my career whether that is in teaching, coaching, or possibly both.” said Courtwright. “I’m excited to impact others.”