Monthly Archives: August 2020

Photo Exercise: Using my smartphone

  1. Alyssa Hall (Sophomore) is walking to her car while putting her mask in her backpack after leaving Swanson Center. 
  2. Allison Dean (Junior) is heading to the cafe while walking down the steps of her Dorm Room. 
  3. On Piedmont College’s campus there are beautiful flowers planted near the buildings. 
  4. Johnson Hall where residents stay is located near the outskirts of campus, compared to the Halls students go to for class.
  5. Alyssa Hall (Sophomore) is walking back to her room from attending her volleyball practice that was 6:00pm to 8:30pm. 

Conner Jelley: Grape Jelly is always the move

Hello, my name is Conner Jelley. I hail from the very flat, cornfield filled state of Indiana. I’m a hoosier. So how did I end up here is Demorest, Georgia? Well, my story starts a couple of years ago during my senior year of high school. I grew up in a small town called Monrovia. It is a great little town centrally located in between many major land marks and the city of Indianapolis. I didn’t know what I wanted to study or where to even really begin. So I thought about it, and I decided to do something that I would love.

I am a sports fanatic. From the time I learned how to walk/run and always had either a baseball bat in my hand. Or I was throwing a football. I grew up playing both football and baseball for most of my life. So, naturally I gravitated toward something that would involve sports. Which led me to the broad world of sports communications. I finally had what I wanted to do as not only a job, but also something I could consider a hobby. After that, the next step was to find a place that allowed me to continue my athletic career, and one that offered me that the chance to learn the realm of sports communications. Luckily, someone I was close with had a connection within the baseball coaching staff here at Piedmont. I quickly jumped at the opportunity and sent emails, videos, etc.

While on the way to Florida for a family vacation I took my visit and quickly fell in love with the campus. Being from Indiana it was definitely a scary decision to move nine hours away from all my family and friends that I have grown up with. What I found out relatively fast however, the world of communications is one of great opportunity. I have met some of the most amazing people so far in my journey here at Piedmont as a Sports communications major and baseball player. The opportunities that are provided here are like none other. Hands on experience in all aspects of the communication field ranging from radio, television, videography, photo journalism, and news writing.

Through all this I’ve been able to strive to pursue my dreams. I have been molded into a better person, better friend. The relationships I have within the communications community here at Piedmont are extraordinary. I have made friends with those who have entirely different back grounds from one to the next. All different in their own unique way. It has helped me learn not to judge those by what they wear, how they present themselves, race, color, religion. And that has helped me create friendships that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Piedmont has shaped me into a dedicated, hardworking, blue collar, Georgia loving, person. And being a junior I have much room to grow still. But when its all said and done, I will be able to walk into my first job in the communications field and be able to perform any tasks to the best of my ability. Because here at Piedmont, we build the next generation. Some day you will see us on the screen or you will hear us in your car, on your stereo. If you don’t see us, thats fine, we are behind the scenes making everything work.

As the great late Kobe Bryant once said, “Great things come from hard work, and perseverance, no excuses”.

How I ended up where I am

Hello, my name is Conner Jelley. I hail from the very flat, cornfield filled state of Indiana. I’m a hoosier. So how did I end up here is Demorest, Georgia? Well, my story starts a couple of years ago during my senior year of high school. I grew up in a small town called Monrovia. It is a great little town centrally located in between many major land marks and the city of Indianapolis. I didn’t know what I wanted to study or where to even really begin. So I thought about it, and I decided to do something that I would love.

I am a sports fanatic. From the time I learned how to walk/run and always had either a baseball bat in my hand. Or I was throwing a football. I grew up playing both football and baseball for most of my life. So, naturally I gravitated toward something that would involve sports. Which led me to the broad world of sports communications. I finally had what I wanted to do as not only a job, but also something I could consider a hobby. After that, the next step was to find a place that allowed me to continue my athletic career, and one that offered me that the chance to learn the realm of sports communications. Luckily, someone I was close with had a connection within the baseball coaching staff here at Piedmont. I quickly jumped at the opportunity and sent emails, videos, etc.

While on the way to Florida for a family vacation I took my visit and quickly fell in love with the campus. Being from Indiana it was definitely a scary decision to move nine hours away from all my family and friends that I have grown up with. What I found out relatively fast however, the world of communications is one of great opportunity. I have met some of the most amazing people so far in my journey here at Piedmont as a Sports communications major and baseball player. The opportunities that are provided here are like none other. Hands on experience in all aspects of the communication field ranging from radio, television, videography, photo journalism, and news writing.

Through all this I’ve been able to strive to pursue my dreams. I have been molded into a better person, better friend. The relationships I have within the communications community here at Piedmont are extraordinary. I have made friends with those who have entirely different back grounds from one to the next. All different in their own unique way. It has helped me learn not to judge those by what they wear, how they present themselves, race, color, religion. And that has helped me create friendships that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Piedmont has shaped me into a dedicated, hardworking, blue collar, Georgia loving, person. And being a junior I have much room to grow still. But when its all said and done, I will be able to walk into my first job in the communications field and be able to perform any tasks to the best of my ability. Because here at Piedmont, we build the next generation. Some day you will see us on the screen or you will hear us in your car, on your stereo. If you don’t see us, thats fine, we are behind the scenes making everything work.

As the great late Kobe Bryant once said, “Great things come from hard work, and perseverance, no excuses”.

Justus and for all

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Hello, my name is Olivia Marie Justus. I’m from the most amazing county in the world, Habersham, Georgia. Maybe I went a little far by saying this small town is amazing, but I was raised here. All I can say is, we make due with the lack of opportunities we have here.

I’m not much of an interesting person. I’m weird with a cross between introvert and extrovert. I’ve always been one to draw people to me, but I always keep them at arms length due to my current and past situations I’ve been in.

I will say this, I love writing. At a very young age I’ve always been drawn to writing things down. I always participated in the Young Georgia Authors competitions, though I never won. While packing up for college, I found one of my old composition books from 5th grade. I picked it up interested in what was going through my young brain. It wasn’t pretty. It was quite hilarious if you ask me. But the effort was there, so I can be proud of that. I love to write songs, poems, nonfiction prose, articles, anything that my mind wonders off too. I use writing as a way to get what’s floating around in my  battered brain on to paper. It actually really does help a lot. I’ll let you in on a little secret. The account I am currently typing this off of is the blog I started my senior year. Thank goodness Piedmont has further my writing skills. I cringe every time I go back through and read my stuff. During the lovely quarantine we experienced, I decided to publish a book. I went back and forth on it for months. But, I finally got the balls to publish it to get my name out there. Well sorta, I’m still writing under a pin name until I start my professional career. You never know what could hurt you in the future. Especially for me, I tend to be an open book when it comes to writing.

Anyways, enough about that. I would really like to touch on the best thing that has ever been invented. Music. These beautiful sounds and voices has had such an impact on my life. I seriously have no idea where I would be without it. My love for music runs deep within my soul, but I am not musically inclined in the slightest. I could tell you every song by Red Hot Chili Peppers (THE BEST BAND EVER), The Neighbourhood, and Juice Wrld. But trust me, there is a lot of other bands and songs that have won my heart. I like to believe that my brain is made up of 95% song lyrics. It is a constant in my life. I listen to it when I work out, hang out with friends, when I sleep, when I do homework, you name it.

I chose Piedmont, not because of just soccer, but because it is such a great community to be apart of. I’ve met my friend soulmates, my worst enemies, and impactful professors. This place has been an absolute blessing for me. And, I am so beyond excited to be apart of the Mass Communications family. Ya’ll really are some awesome people. The opportunities that I have experienced here already have been far from amazing. I cannot wait to continue to meet new people, pursue further in my writing career, and become part of the Mass Communications family.

Mental Toughness

My name is Maria Allocco and I am 19 years old. I was raised in Nashville, Tennesse but then recently moved to Knoxville, TN at the beginning of my Junior year of high school. However, I was adopted in Bucharest, Romania at the age of two. My brother was also adopted from Romania, but at the age of four from a different orphanage; my brother is now 24. I grew up with my so called parents now and they have been married for 27 years. 

Throughout the move from living in Nashville to Knoxville I have attended 3 different schools, not including College. I first went to a private Catholic school kindergarden through sixth grade. Next, I attended Watertown Middle School for 2 years. After middle school, I went to Watertown High school for the first two years. At the beginning of my Junior year my family was moving to Knoxville, that is when I attended my last two years of High School at Maryville High. 

Throughout the years, sports have always played a big role in my life. Starting off at a young age watching my brother play basketball, football, and baseball I always enjoyed the action. At one point I was the water girl for his middle school football team. Growing up I also remember attending The University of Tennessee’s sporting events. I went to countless games of the Lady Vols basketball team, because we had season tickets. We also attended softball games and football games. Watching my brother play before I was able to and watching all the wonderful athletes in college it has influenced me to be a sports girl. I have tried to play every sport known, including soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, softball, gymnastics, swimming and track. I even tried to play hockey but my parents weren’t having that.

Though sports have always impacted my life in a postive way, they have also done so in a negative way. I have torn both ACLs, MCLs, and meniscus’ in both my knees. My first injury happened on December 5th, 2015, six games into the season. My second injury happened on December 6th, 2017 once again only six games into the season. At some point it becomes a mental game you would think! I have broken both my arms for a combined of 7 times, and have had a broken bone in both of my ankles. 

To wrap things up, what most people do not know about me is that I have a heart condition and there’s really no specific name for it. When I was younger, my heart would start racing when I would be laying down. I went to the doctor and was put on a heart monitor and they determined I had a heart murmur. However, now it no longer beats fast BUT, when I eat starchy foods such as rice, and any sort of potaoes it takes a while to go down and then I get a sharp pain in my heart and there’s no cure for it.

Michael Thomason: Adversity

Hello, my name is Michael Thomason. I am 18 years old and I was born in Atlanta, GA on April 14th, 2001. I am an only child, which is extremely rare in today’s world and my parents were divorced when I was four years old. My eighteen years of life have experienced many ups and downs and because of these obstacles I am the person and athlete I am today.

I grew up in McDonough, Georgia. The city is not small, but not big either. My family had to work twice as hard to provide for me and make ends meet. This hard-working attitude my parents possessed rubbed off on me and for that I am extremely grateful. My work ethic has always been something I pride myself on in athletics and academics. I have not always been the most talented player on every team I have played on, but my work ethic and determination has given me an advantage. As a four-year letterman at Ola High School, I helped the baseball team reach the state championship for the first time in the school’s fifteen year history. While I have experienced high levels of success in my life, I have also had more than my share of setbacks and bumps in the road along my journey to college baseball.

It all started in my eighth grade year when I was a multi-sport athlete at Ola Middle School, playing Baseball and Basketball for the mustangs. Being that my mom worked for the school system as a psychologist, I could attend school anywhere I wanted. I had a really good eighth grade season in baseball playing select travel baseball for the Foundation Athletics out of Fayetteville, Georgia. When it was time to choose my high school, I ultimately chose to stay at the high school that would create less of a burden on my parents: Ola High School. It was here where my obstacles would begin and mold me into the person I am today mentally and physically.

As a freshman, I would play on the varsity team. While playing on varsity for Ola, I split time on the junior varsity team whenever we would play our region rivals and needed to win. This would hold to form as our JV team was playing Union Grove High School, our top rival. The coach wanted me to pitch against Union Grove. However, in the second inning, I took a line drive off of my left ankle, breaking my ankle and ending my season. As a fourteen year-old, this was the first injury I ever had in baseball. I spent lots of time on my rehab to get back to one-hundred percent. I eventually did, but this would be the first of a long lists of setbacks I would experience.

My sophomore year I separated my shoulder blade and was out for the year once again. After this happened, I was crushed mentally, two of my four years of high school down the drain. Coming off the shoulder blade injury, I was ready for a big junior season and looking forward to the recruiting process. I was in great physical and mental shape but unfortunately lightning would strike a third time. Just two days before the season opener, I contract both strands of the flu and I am out for half of the season. After recovering, my body weight dropped from a healthy one-hundred and ninety-five pounds, to a weak one-hundred and sixty pounds, a shell of what I once was. This was again crushing for me mentally, again discrediting all of the hard work I put in to get to this point. After getting my weight back up and getting my arm back, half the season was gone and I found myself at the bottom of the barrel in terms of playing time.

Because of my lack of playing time in my first three years, I was very underrecruited with most division one schools already finished recruiting my graduating class. Due to this lack of interest, my high school coaches wrote me off and concentrated their energy on younger and higher recruited players in my school. This was tough for me mentally because I felt as if my coaches and teammates did not have my back in a time of need. I felt like my coaches and teammates did not believe I could cut it. I began to develop trust issues and opened my eyes to who I kept in my circle socially. I began to question my own abilities and it impacted my play on the field, always worried if I made a mistake, I would not see the field for another month. This took its toll on my mental health.

Due to my lack of interest from college coaches and my high school coaches doing little to help, I was forced to do what high school athletes should never do: get myself recruited. I committed myself to getting recruited. I emailed every school at every division along multiple states all over the United States with a copy of my video highlights. A vast majority of the schools did not respond, but I did get emails back from several high level schools. I went on visits, acquired interest, and received scholarship offers. Out of all the interest I received, I ultimately chose Piedmont for two reasons: I wanted to go to a place where I felt wanted, and I wanted to win. With Piedmont being one of the best division III schools in the entire nation, it was an easy decision.

This is how I have arrived to where I am today. Through hard work and determination, I never let the injuries or setbacks define me. I continued to use them as a tool to motivate me even more towards my ultimate goal of reaching the Major Leagues. This roller-coaster ride has taught me to be mentally tough keep a tight circle. As Gucci Mane would say, ” You’re either with me or against me or you’re in my way.”.

A traveling man

I don’t really know how to start off this blog post, whether to include a good quote or anything so I am just going to start it off like this.

Hey everyone, my name is Will Sargent and I am a senior here at Piedmont. I was born and raised and still live in Gainesville, Georgia. It’s about 45 minutes south of Demorest. I went to Gainesville Highschool, home of the Red Elephants. I played baseball for 12 years until I gave it up sophomore year of high school. I also played lacrosse all 4 years of highschool. I was going to continue my career at college but a torn Achilles and broken foot my senior year as well as a torn labrum in my shoulder prohibited that from happening.

I feel like traveling is a part of my DNA. Whether it be for mission trips with my church or the average family vacation, I have gotten to experience parts of the world and have once in a lifetime opportunities that are great memories. From swimming with sea turtles in Hawaii to having a snowball fight on a glacier in Alaska are just some of the things I have experienced aside from going to Haiti and the Eleuthera island in the Bahamas for mission work. I consider the wonderful city of Boston my second home because we have been up there a lot and I am a huge fan of the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins.

Some of my favorite teams include the Oregon Ducks and Clemson Tigers football teams. I am a big soccer fan and I am of course an Atlanta United fan, as well as FC Barcelona and Manchester United. I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan ever since I can remember, I have always liked them, as I have never really been a Braves fan. Some of my favorite foods are crab legs, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes just to name a few. I like to watch sports and longboard in my free time.


J.D. Kuchta: My life

My name is J.D. Kuchta, the first two letters in my name are just initials, for my full name, which is John Dominick Kuchta. I am 19 years old and was born in Bethel, Connecticut on January 2nd, 2001. I have a younger sister, her name is Marin Kuchta and she is 15 years old.

When I was about 4-5 years old my family decided to pack up our things and move to Virginia. More specifically Mechanicsville, Virginia where i have spent majority of my years growing up. I went to public school for a majority of my life. I experimented with many different sports until I found the sport that i love the most, which would be Lacrosse, I found out about Lacrosse through my dad as I heard he had played in college as well. I started playing when I was 8 years old and I have been playing and enjoying my time on the field ever since then.

At the end of my High School career at Benedictine College Prep. I was anticipating what this next chapter of my life was going to bring me at Piedmont College. When I arrived I tried to hit the ground running, but this was not the case I was finding myself lacking many skills to succeed in this environment.

I chose to major in Sophists Communication because it involves the two things that interest me the most in life sports and media. These two things have been interests to me my whole life, because sports is something I love to follow and stay connected with.

My aspirations at this time might seem pretty big, but I know if I strive to reach them I will. My goal is to work for NBC Sports after I graduate. This has been a dream of mine ever since I was a Sophomore in High School. I decided to pursue this goal because of my cousin’s heavy influence from the stories I have heard from him and his experiences. They have all interested me and influenced this choice of mine to pursue this career.

Caden, The Wheelchair Kid

My name is Caden Nelms, A.K.A The Wheelchair Kid. You know because i’m in a wheelchair… you get the idea!

Anyways, I was born on July 24, 2001, which means I am a 19-year-old… in a wheelchair. I was born with disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which you have probably never heard of. My life as an infant and toddler were boring, just full of doctor visits and my parents tears.. oh, and a wheelchair.

I went to Mossy Creek Elementary school which is where I officially gained the title of you guessed it, “The Wheelchair Kid”. It has unfortunately stuck with me, but that could be because the wheelchair has too. Who knows. The only other memory of elementary school is my spinal infusion surgery in third grade. Sounds cool, right? No, it sucked.

Middle school was pretty normal besides that stupid name. The most interesting thing happening in middle school was when a teacher, Mrs. Parks, said she’d rather kill herself then work with students. She also told me my chair was “to annoying” and that I am not allowed to move in her classroom. Looking back, I am pretty sure she hated her life and my wheelchair.

In high school I drove a car for the first and last time and loved it! Four years later, I graduated and started my journey at Piedmont College. Since being here, the name I was given in elementary school is slowly starting to fade away, which is amazing.

I am happy to be at Piedmont and, believe it or not, I’m still in a wheelchair!