Author Archives: Maria Allocco

From the Grass to the Court

“Left Foot, Right Foot, Breath, Repeat.” — a six-worded phrase that has so much meaning and potential, but yet is so small. Those six words are tattooed on Nakiyah Washington’s shoulder blade. A sophomore forward for the women’s Piedmont Lions basketball team, Washington lives her life a step and breath at a time, because she knows the importance of keeping a narrow focus on the road that’s ahead of her. 

“The quote is from legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt, and ever since my grandpa told me that as a little kid it was my motivation throughout life to play college basketball,” Washington said. 

Washington grew up in the small town of Adairsville, Georgia, which is just outside of Atlanta. She has a younger sister in middle school, and is supported by her two parents. 

“Where we live is all woods and grass, we don’t have a concrete pad,” she said. “My sister and I grew up shooting basketball in a grassy area that eventually turned into dirt from all the damage we had done shooting hoops. My dad had put a light on the back of the goal so we could see around us at night.”

With Washington wanting to make a name for herself after high school, she turned to her number one supporter, her grandpa. 

“Sophomore year of high school is when I became serious about college ball. I remember my grandpa and I being outside until midnight working on ball handling, free throws, layups and post moves. Really anything to boost my game — and he even made me run in the dark to condition my body whether it was freezing outside or really humid and hot.”

Washington’s freshmen year as a Lady Lion was a standout rookie season. She appeared in all 28 games and started 20. She led the team with 373 points (13.3 ppg) and 176 rebounds (6.3rpg) in the season. She was third on the Lady Lions team with a combined total of 613 minutes played. She also was 3rd in the USA South Conference in steals per game, averaging 2.8. Her career high for her 2019-20 season was 25 points. Not surprisingly, the accolades came in for the 5-10 forward. She was named to the All-USA South West Division Second team, a USA South Rookie of the week twice, and the USA South All-Academic Team. 

“I was really impressed with Nakiyah’s numbers for her first year,” said head coach Jaime Purdy. “She has the potential to be one of the best athletes that has stepped into this program.” 

Purdy has been the women’s basketball coach at Piedmont for 16 seasons.

“After my freshmen season, I knew I was doing something right,” Washington said. “Each practice I gave it my all, and luckily for me it transitioned to when the three black and white striped guys stepped on the court with their whistles.” 

Washington also succeeds in the classroom. She has made Dean’s list for three consecutive semesters as a Lion. She is the determined, strong-willed individual behind the meaning of a student athlete. 

“I have always taken my studies seriously. In high school I was a ‘B’ student. Every now and then I would make a ‘C,’ but I would try my best to make efficient grades. However, when coming to college I knew I had to do better because it’s now or never. It’s my future I’m working for.” 

Her determination is evident to others — both on and off the court.

“Nakiyah is a determined young lady, and you can see that determination in her eyes when just having a conversation with her,” said assistant coach Brad Cochran. 

Achieving excellence in the classroom and on the court has been a consistent goal for Washington, but her seemingly smooth path to success hit a huge roadblock when her grandpa passed away last year.

“It was a feeling of disbelief, I refused to believe it,” she said. “I had just gone home the prior weekend and saw him and we shot basketball in our favorite dirt spot that we had made with our long hard hours of work.” 

When the 2020-2021 basketball season rolled around Washington was a determined individual on a mission. 

“She was the first one in the gym and the last to leave,” Cochran said. “She wouldn’t leave practice until she made 15 free throws in a row and it showed in this past season.”

Washington led the USA South Conference and the Lady Lions team shooting 87% from the free throw line during her sophomore season. She credits the memory of her grandpa for her continued success.

“I knew I was going to dedicate the season to him,” she said. “Everything I did was for him. When I felt like giving up, I would hear his voice in my head saying, “Nakiyah Left Foot, Right Foot, Breath, Repeat.”

Traveling is just the Beginning

 If you were to go to Moldova to a small village named Malcoci, chances are the kids and supervisors know the name Sarah Hustey. 

“I’ve been traveling to Moldova since 2015, to help the young children. It is a humbling experience to see how much different life is overseas versus the United States.”

Sarah is a senior anthropology and sociology major at Piedmont College, but has different hobbies outside of college. If you spend any time with Sarah you would see that she has a loving heart with welcoming arms for everyone that’s around her and for the people she meets. 

But more than that, Sarah gets to know the kids she works with on a different personal level. One particular kid, Colea, says Sarah is the best caregiver he has ever had. She has worked with him since he was 3.

Sarah travels to the impoverished Eastern European country each year through her church.

“We teach them the grammar and vocabulary of the English language,” she said. “We also try to incorporate Bible lessons that fit into the vocabulary they are learning. We also do arts and crafts and they have an hour of recreational time so we can teach them new sports and games.” 

Every summer Sarah and the small group of three that she travels with looks forward to seeing how much knowledge the kids they work with have progressed since the previous year. 

Chris Hudson, who organizes the annual trip, said the goal is to help children gain skills they may not otherwise attain. “We go to get one job done and that’s teaching kids valuable skills they can use in their daily life. We basically watch the kids grow up from a young age until they are in their teenage lives,” he said.

In the profession Sarah is studying she sees all the gruesome and bad parts of the world. However, her outgoing personality and optimistic outlook on life is what allows her to keep pushing forward when times get hard. Within herself, she has found a way to be able to make other people smile around her and allows them to learn not only the way of life in the United States, but also in Eastern Europe.  What sparked the rest of the road for Sarah is when she was given the opportunity to teach Sunday school classes at her local church. 

“Sarah is always going out of her way to make those around her feel welcome and secure,” said Ms. Kary, Sunday School Superintendent at First Baptist Church in Gwinnett. “The first day of Sunday classes, the immediate interaction with the children and seeing their faces light up made me want to cry. Sarah definitely has a pure heart and for her to be able to connect with children on a different level is a blessing in disguise and I hope she realizes the impact she has on younger kids.”

She never thought that she could find a way to correlate with college and kids in the field she is studying. However, whenever summer rolls around Sarah looks forward to meeting the new kids, but her mind always goes back to the children she mentors in Moldova.

“I think the most rewarding part of going to Moldova is that the kids always remember who I am from the previous year,” she said. “All types of emotions come to me when I walk out of the van and the kids run toward me and yell, ‘Sarie.’ It lets me know that I play a significant role in their lives, when no one else will.”

Cardi B “Up” and “Good Girls” Reviews

Cardi B Up

Cardi B’s new hit song “Up” immediately broke the world charts as soon as it was released in 2021. With that being said, the song prior to her new hit song is what made her the well-known artist she is now. “W.A.P” by Cardi starts off with her flaunting a sexual toy while licking her lips. In “Up” Cardi features the same madness in her dance video and gives off the same sexy vibe to her listeners. Cardi is well-known for her outlook on life and enables her listeners to be able to express themselves. 

Good Girls TV Show

“Good Girls” started trending on Netflix in 2021 even though it was first released in 2018. The TV series is about three women — Beth, a mother of four; Annie, Beth’s little sister and a single mom; and Ruby who is their best friend who is happily married and a mother of two. The three women decide to rob a grocery store because they have severe financial issues. But to their dismay, their foray into criminal activity attracts the attention of a local gang member. 

When the show first started, critics called the film a “gentle, no good show.” Season 1 started off introducing the girls and momentum built when the local gang banger Rio was introduced into the show. When Season 2 took off, the show wasn’t considered “gentle.” Anymore. The series is more intrigued in showing not just the many bad decisions the women take part in, but the dilemma they face while trying to have a moral compass. The supposed murder of supermarket manger Boomer in season 1 comes back to haunt the girls, as he turns out to be alive and threatens to go to the FBI for their wrongdoing. The women soon realize that they accidentally disposed of a different corpse and now have the threat of Boomer running around town — and they still have an innocent body to dispose of.  Meanhile, the FBI is still on their tails, chasing and watching their every move. 

The show is based around the obstacles of being a good wife, person and mother. The more the women try to maintain a normal life, the more extracurricular activities take place with Rio. Ever since Beth discovered her new passion for crime, she gets even more confidence  and develops a plan to seduce Rio and take control of her husband Dean’s car business. However, it didn’t go as planned for Beth — nothing does in this show. Dean eventually takes the kids away from Beth and tells her she must change her actions before she can see the kids again. As the season comes to an end, Beth feels like there’s a huge burden on her and she feels trapped. 

Ruby also feels trapped. She lies to her husband and kids about her wrongdoings, but also wants everything in life and more; even the crime aspect of life. However, she comes close to betraying Annie and Beth, while putting her husband Stan’s job as a police officer in severe jeopardy  for stealing evidence in a crime case she was involved in. Towards the last episode of the season Stan gets arrested in front of their daughter, who no longer looks up to them. 

Meanwhile, Annie is getting intimate with her ex-husband and she ends up losing custody of her child Sadie. What the show fails to prevail is that Sadie is a transgender boy, which is an exceptional moment not only for TV but all of the LGBTQ community. It sets the tone to allow all genders and or people to feel welcome when watching the show.

The show isn’t all glamorous as the viewers may see, because shortly after the groundbreaking reveal, Sadie Beth starts to receive pieces in the mail each morning of random body parts of a deceased person. Not surprsingly, Sadie Beth doesn’t keep the body parts, but continuously disposes of the pieces down her kitchen sink disposal drain before her kids wake up for the day. 

Good Girls is its own genre of a show. It’s a comedy, love story and criminal drama all in one. It is produced by Jenna Bans from the hit crime show Scandal. 

Most importantly, the show ties together how women are very powerful and can make choices on their own. In today’s society, that is very important. The three “good girls”  are all acting within the show — not only are they criminals, but they are moms trying to give their kids a perfect life on a daily basis. Should we despise them as criminals or praise them as moms who are doing what they have to do to succeed in life? This show presents a moral dilemma for viewers. This tension is what makes “Good Girls” so good.

Season 4 Episode 1 of the Crime thriller is set to air on March 7, of 2021. 

Legal Adults Trapped in High School Rules

Every college student counts down the days to their 21st birthday. Finally, reaching this special day gives them the ability to do certain activities they were dying to check off their to-do list. Those certain activities include: having that free access to go to that fun club for young adults, hearing their parents tell them they can stay out past midnight, and most importantly, purchasing an alcoholic beverage. Walking out of the store with that first alcoholic purchase is like a gateway to adulthood, but how can college students enjoy this great privilege if they are still treated like high schoolers?

Piedmont College only allows private consumption of alcoholic beverages for students who are 21 and live in the Village. This rule is reasonable, but some students are 21 and live in other dorms. Students need to have a certain amount of credit hours and have three other suitemates to live in the Village. Students can have the right amount of credit hours but don’t have three other suitemates. These students are not able to enjoy their special privilege of being young adults. Additionally, Piedmont also doesn’t allow the possession of alcohol paraphernalia unless approved by a Residential Living Professional staff member. Prohibited alcohol paraphernalia includes alcohol-related clothing, alcohol-related decor, pong tables, alcohol bottles and anything else that falls under the realm of this list. 

“It is designed to keep students safe of all ages, regardless of 21 years of age or not,” said Mark Jestel, Director of Residential Education. “When you wear alcohol you give off the impression that you drink, and regardless of age, we don’t want students to get hurt or think it’s okay at any given point.” 

It’s  understandable that Piedmont College wants the campus to be a safe environment, but some students feel that not allowing certain clothing because it might give the impression of drinking alcohol is not fair.. 

“I’m a big NASCAR fan and I would love to be able to support my favorite racers by wearing my NASCAR shirt, not to endorse alcohol but because I would love to endorse my favorite drivers who win,” said Brett Loftis, sophomore sports communications major. “I think it is infringing on my rights.” 

These restrictions seem to be at the core of what gets students frustrated about their Piedmont experience.

“Res Life made me take down my American flag that had the Bud Light armor guy on it,” said Andrew Bennet, freshman psychology major. “I saw the flag advertised during the Super Bowl one year and I really liked it, so I bought it. It wasn’t supposed to give off any impression of drinking. Unless my roommates had an issue with it, I believe I should’ve been able to keep it up.” 

Because alcohol brands frequently sponsor events, the policy prohibits students from wearing or displaying images that have little to do with alcohol. According to “Alcohol Sponsorships and Athlete Endorsements in Sports,” Dwayne Wade, who has had a phenomenal career in the NBA, partnered with Budweiser and helped promote the new Budweiser Zero drink. The article states, “Designed with athletes in mind, the living Miami Heat legend has further utilized the new product as a platform to champion social justice.” By no means does this mean that Wade is endorsing that he drinks alcohol, but being a world-known celebrity, he wanted to help the company so that a face with a brand is what consumers see.   

“Piedmont needs to come up with a better alternative to allow students to be able to support their favorite icons in the sports world,” said Andrew Bennett. 

Editorial: Piedmont College Cafe needs to add some spice

As we begin another week on campus of busy classes, balancing assignments, tests, athletics or other extracurricular activities, the last of our worries should be, “What type of day will it be at the cafeteria?”  

The staff at the cafe work tirelessly day in and day out to provide students breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, some days we feel like nothing has been given to us in return. Every day is the same food, often lacking flavor and variety. Our daily hot meal consists of chicken and rice, along with our daily pizza and pasta. Or we can opt for the fried food section of hamburgers and fries. Many students prefer the G8 station.  

The G8 station at Piedmont is supposed to be the healthiest station and is intended for people with food allergies. It is also the line that is the longest. Students have come to learn that not only does the G8 station have the healthiest options, its food has the most seasoning and tastes the best. Every day, the station prepares a meat, a starch and a variety of wholesome vegetables for students.  

In high school we were limited to what kind of food that was “allowed” due to local, state and federal guidelines. But we are no longer in high school, and expect to be treated as adults, including the cafeteria food we have to eat.  

If Piedmont puts the same effort into each station as they do with the G8 station, the cafe would be more pleasing to not only students but also faculty.  

What kind of day will it be at the cafeteria? Our hope is that question won’t have to be asked anymore. While our plate is jam-packed with classes, tutoring, practices, clubs and so much more, the last of our worries should be if our plate in the cafeteria will have good food. 


One of the things I can remember is the smell and sight of the room that my parents adopted me in.  

One big room with at least 30 air mattresses and toys. There was writing on the walls and carpet stains, but the room smelled like fresh coconuts. Still to this day, occasionally, I will get a whiff of the smell.  

This was the room where I first met my adopted parents. 

The dictionary definition of the word “orphan” is, “a child whose parents are dead” But mine are not.   

Being adopted from Bucharest, Romania at a young age of 2, I always grew up being the outsider. I had no choice but to “fit in,” despite having a different skin color than my adopted parents, a different accent, different hair color, facial features and just an overall different appearance. Some days it was hard, but other days I was just a “normal” kid like everyone else.   

Growing up was hard, needless to say. Never resembling my parents, people questioned me all the time if I knew I was adopted, even calling me “foreign” to this day. Do I look back? Absolutely not.   

Flashbacks come and go. Playing on the playground and hearing kids laugh and scream feels just like yesterday. I’ll be outside walking around the park and hear the voices in my head of the kids that I learned to like and grow up with. It’s all a blur but some days are better than others. It’s kind of like going through dialysis, some days you wake up feeling good, other days you wake up in a mood.   

As I grow up, I finally understand the true meaning of “orphan.” It’s embracing all the bad times that people make fun of you. It’s being able to open up and be passionate about your past. It’s about proving everyone wrong who looked down on you. To me the meaning of an “orphan” isn’t about your parents being dead, it’s about embracing the opportunity to live for them.

My parents are still with me. And, when I smell coconuts, I know my parents are looking down at me with tears of joy.   

National Handwashing Day

Piedmont College

Email: alloccomaria@gmail.comContact: Maria AlloccoCell: 615-260-6609Website:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                        September 4, 2020
National Handwashing Day to be celebrated at Piedmont College
            Piedmont microbiology and mass communication students team up to promote handwashing
Demorest,Georgia,Sept. 4, 2020—Piedmont college will be celebrating Global Handwashing Day on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 with a student competition and a handwashing event. 
Since the COVID outbreak, Piedmont College has taken many precautions to keep students on campus. The College has required wearing masks to class and has implemented social distancing restrictions. Handwashing is another way to prevent the spread of corona.
Schmitz said she is very serious about the material she is presenting to her students. She makes sure everyone washes their hands before entering upon her classroom, during experiments, and right before they leave. A feisty way she is making hand washing fun for her students is using colored dye in place of germs and having students vigorously washing their hands to see who can win with the least amount of “bacteria” on their hands.                                                     
“Washing your hands is the easiest way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and it helps protect other individuals around you,” said Schmitz. 
To recognize National Handwashing Day, the College will hold an online contest for where students can post their most creative and entertaining handwashing videos on TikTok. Also, in the students commons there will be an activity for students to partake in a handwashing exercise with a type of “germ dye”.

Not only is the 15th National Handwashing Day but it is when the campus wide event will take place. After collaborating ideas, the students and professors have found the ideal event for people to partake in. Everyone has heard of the go to social media TikTok. Thus, people can choose to make one and whoever makes the best hand washing one gets a prize! Also, in the student commons there will be an activity for students to partake in with a handwashing exercise with a type of “germ dye”.For more information about the handwashing event hosted by Piedmont College on October 15, 2020 email 
About Piedmont College:  One of the most dynamic small colleges in the Southeast, Piedmont is an Independent liberal arts college of more than 2,260 students. The college’s four schools—Arts & Sciences, Education, and Nursing & Health Sciences—develop tomorrow’s leader by engaging students in the classroom, in their community, and around the world. Founded in 1897, Piedmont offers bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral programs at its Demorest residential campus in the foothills of the northeast Georgia mountains and at its Athens campus in the heart of Georgia’s Classic City. Information can be found at
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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. 

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.