Author Archives: jordanhicks411

Breaking News- Disaster at Piedmont College

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, a category three tornado struck the city of Demorest, GA causing mass destruction to the Swanson Center on the Piedmont College campus. Due to the powerful storm, the A.C. units on the roof tipped over causing a rooftop fire, which then made the roof collapse on the students inside the building. 

“We have approximately 70 victims, unfortunately, we have 10 deceased, and we have 15 that are in critical care that need to be transported to a hospital”, said Fred Bucher, who is the Assistant Vice President of facilities and safety. “The remaining victims have cuts and scrapes that we will be treating on sight.” 

Without a warning, this tornado went into action causing panic among all the students trapped inside the Swanson Center. Most students were just getting ready for their morning classes when this event took place. 

“I don’t know what happened”, said Kasey Ellis, a junior nursing major at Piedmont. “We were just enjoying the day, and then all of a sudden it got very quiet, and we looked behind us at what was coming.”

Habersham county police, firefighters, trauma doctors, and piedmonts student nurses all worked together to administer aid to everyone who needed it. The teams worked quickly to try and save as many victims as possible.  

“Not knowing what we were about to walk into, it’s scary. Especially on a mass casualty situation, you have a lot that you have to deal with,” said Sheriff Chris Hall.

While this devastating event has sent heartache to so many families, Bucher wants the community of Demorest to understand that the recovery process as already began.

“I wish the city of Demorest could see all these young men and women in their green suits. They all have a superb knowledge in their field of study. We have people that can and will get the job done when their name is called.”

The Man Behind The Bar

From being a friendly face on campus to a walking miracle on earth, Heth Cottrell proves to be way more than just a coffee genius.

“The doctors told me I would never walk again, and if that was God’s plan for me … then how could I fight that?” Cottrell said.

Cottrell was working as an officer manager of a real estate facility when he started to notice a sharp pain in his neck. Within weeks he was bounded to a hospital bed and was being told that his life would be changed forever. Shocked with fear, Cottrell had to endure a discectomy, which is surgery where an incision is made in the throat area to reach and remove disks found in the spine. After this very invasive surgery, Cottrell was paralyzed from the hips down for two days.

“I had a long road for recovery … I lost my job because of the injury and I became stuck,” Cottrell said. “I applied to over 112 [jobs] with no response to a single one.” 

After months of struggling to find a job, Cottrell finely landed at Piedmont College. He applied to be a barista and knew that he wanted to interact with students, however he never thought that he would have the impact on the lives of students that he has today. Students all over Piedmont come to the marketplace every day to see his bright smile or to hear his witty and uplifting comments. 

“Heth goes out of his way to remember you and remember what you like,” said Johnny Seven Goodwin, a sophomore theater art major. “He is truly one of the best workers here at Piedmont college and has made it harder for me to ever consider leaving.”

Not only does Cottrell help the students grow into young adults, but the gifted barista also believes that he is a better man because of the students. 

“The students here at Piedmont have changed me into a better man today. I am so humbled to see what students do here,” Cottrell said. “When I was their age, I would have never been able to stand up and do what they do.”

The students are what motivates Cottrell to come to work every day.

“I don’t stay at Piedmont because of the check, I stay for the students.”

Jordan Hicks: The Boy Down the Street

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While I may just look like your everyday boy who lives down the street, I am so much more than that. I grew up in Kennesaw, GA with my mom, dad, sister, and overly cute dog, Baily. Growing up, I was pushed into almost every sport you could think of; baseball, soccer, basketball, and even football. News flash, I sucked at all of them. My family was huge into sports; however, with me, sports never seemed to stick. Instead of being on a court or baseball field, I would much rather play outside with a few friends. I was a very shy kid, so shy that the chances of you to get me to talk were zero to none. Teachers would complain to my parents all the time that I would not talk in class and that they were worried about why I was so bashful to just about everyone. However; that all changed in the 9th grade when I discovered the world of theatre.


From the moment I hit the stage, my personality did a complete 360. I became way more outgoing, confident, and some would even say obnoxious or loud. I loved the attention that being on stage brought me and I fell in love with the idea that I was able to be someone else while others watch. In high school, I performed in every single show as well as participated in over 3 different types of choirs. Theatre has given to a chance to shine in ways that I never dreamed possible.


After 4 years of high school theater, I decided that the stage is where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. College was a very last minute decision for me, however, I’m so thankful that I decided to go. Up until the last week of my senior year summer, I was enrolled at both KSU and Piedmont. I genuinely had no idea where I wanted to go and felt as if it was just not worth all the stress. At the very last minute, I trusted my gut and moved up to Piedmont College.


Here at Piedmont, I have found a new love for Mass communications. Over the last 3 years, I have taken many classes in the mass commutations field and I’m interested to see where this huge career path could take me. While also being up at Piedmont, I have developed a new love for personal fitness and staying active. I work out almost every day and try to live a lifestyle that is both healthy and fun. I have an amazing friend group here at Piedmont, and I can’t believe that my journey here is coming to an end so soon.


When going out into the real world, I still have questions and uncertainties about what I want to do and where I want to go. However; I am fully ready to take on the workforce and make a name for myself in whatever that may be. From theater to mass commutations, I’m eager to see what this world has to offer for the basic boy that lived down the street.