Category Archives: Stories

Max Miller…Student to Coach!

Failing at something is one of the hardest things to deal with, especially when you have worked so hard to get to that point in life. And when it happens everyone tells you, “You have to fail before you succeed,” or “Try harder next time and hope for the best.” This was the case for Max Miller, former athlete and now a graduate student here at Piedmont University. 

Born a twin on Jan. 1, 1999, Miller seemed to be a lucky kid from the start of his life, but in his own words “life happens.” Miller ran cross country and track & field at River Ridge high school in Woodstock, Georgia. “At the beginning of high school, I wanted to run,” Miller said. “Then towards the end of my high school career, it was no longer a goal until I hit track season and started performing at a level, I thought was possible.”  

This “level” allowed Miller to be recruited by Piedmont University, to compete at the colligate level in cross country and track & field. “I never heard of Piedmont when I was in high school until they started recruiting my twin sister for hurdles,” Miller said. “After looking at some of their times, I signed up for a recruiting visit and got the same treatment as her. Then I came, and she did not. So, I stayed to run and study in the athletic training program.”  

Piedmont’s athletic training program is one of the best in Georgia ranking fourth behind University of Georgia, Georgia Southern University and Georgia College & State University. It requires some of the hardest courses on campus, and many students change majors. In the case of Miller, adversity struck his senior year, but he was prepared to face it head-on with the next step in his life. “I failed out of the A.T program, so things change, and life happens,” Miller said. “I had some environmental factors come in last year, I was athletic training all the way up until last spring and then I was forced to change master’s programs into health and human performance.” 

Now enrolled in the graduate program, Miller is excited about the potential opportunities in the field. “With that master’s program, you pretty much do one thing and that is become an athletic trainer,” Miller said. “Now with health and human performance, I can do a lot of things, which includes being a coach for many different sports. I am currently doing my internship with the Piedmont University track team, and I have loved every second of it.” 

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”.

Not Trump 2020

In every election year, Americans are given a unique freedom: the freedom to peaceably and legally overthrow the government as they see fit. In 2020, it is the predilection of journalists from coast to coast to overthrow the Trump presidency.

Journalists across the country have a vast array of political beliefs. For every policy and platform, there is a journalist who supports it and one who vehemently opposes it. However, there is one pillar of American freedom journalists from purple mountains to golden wheat fields can agree: the right to a free press cannot be infringed. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution demands that all citizens, while on American soil, be free to speak, assemble, petition, believe and report as they see fit.

Throughout the duration of his campaign, the election and presidency of Donald J. Trump, the country has watched him desecrate the sacred institution of the media. At every turn, President Trump has defiled journalists and spoken fear into the hearts of Americans. This puts a barrier between him and the truth, and between the American people and those whose sole duty is to keep them informed. 

From taking Jim Acosta’s press credentials to the rise of terminology such as “Fake News,” the president has made no secret about his distrust of the media. He has stated the true opponent of the Republican Party is the media and refers to media outlets by damaging nicknames if he doesn’t find them “friendly” to his administration. In doing so, he has convinced millions of Americans that a free press is the enemy of America and journalists are the enemy of the American people. A good journalist checks their biases and covers every angle. While we have our own beliefs, it is our duty to present the facts. Do not mistake this for balance, as the facts rarely fall in the center.

It is not our job as journalists to force our political beliefs onto people who trust us to report the news, but it is our job to protect and defend the First Amendment. As a result, TheRoar is endorsing ‘Not Trump’ in 2020. We aren’t toeing a party line. We all have different political views, but we do not condone the treatment of journalists by this administration and we strongly oppose his reelection. In November, we encourage you to go to the polls and vote, but we ask you to bear in mind the consequences of four more years of the suppression of media coverage. 

In 2020, we endorse a vote for the freedom of press.

Sunburst Stables: A Place to Remember

In a quiet town, nestled in the north Georgia mountains, there is a small business that has been committed to their customers for years.

“Sunburst Stables has been open for almost 24 years, and in these 24 years, It has been more rewarding than I ever expected,” says Becky Elliott, co-owner of Sunburst Stables. “People tell us every day how much they will remember their time with us.”

Sunburst Stables is a small business that provides activities such as ziplining horseback riding and boating tours on Lake Rabun. They have expert staff that are trained on the activities and on information about the area. This combination of well-crafted tours and expert guides creates an experience that attracts thousands of people a year.

“We are always looking at our property and trying to find new things to add and expand what we can offer,” says Mark Elliott, co-owner of Sunburst. “Everytime we add something new, it’s always rewarding to have customers tell us that they enjoyed it. It makes it worth it.”

Sunburst started as a small horse stable that did the odd tour every so often, but mainly held on by housing local’s horses for boarding fees. Mark and Becky Elliott then bought the land and transformed the business.

“I first found Sunburst when I went to their kids camp,” says Savannah Roper, a current employee. “After coming back over and over I decided to apply for a job. I figured, I love it so much I might as well work here.”

The staff begins their training by shadowing a senior employee in their daily tasks. Then they are passed through the gauntlet of learning all of the procedures. Then finally, the employee must learn how to treat customers of all types. This allows the employees to be equipped to handle any situation and calm even the most anxious people.

“I remember one tour I was on. There was a little kid and he was terrified to zipline,” says Roper. “His parents had tried to help but he was set on not going. So I sat and talked to the kid for a minute and asked him if he would go with me on the first one. We went down together, and on the next line, I asked him if he could see if he could go first and that I would come down after. We had a blast on that tour. He cried when we got back to the barn because he wanted to go again.”

The future of Sunburst is still changing. New activities are always on the way, and new memories are always being made. The sky’s the limit, and the owners and employees at sunburst are ready to make dreams come true.

“There is one story that will last for me,” says Mark Elliott. “A very old woman came one day. She brought her daughter who was still older than me, and I’m not young. The two of them wanted to go on the ATV tour, but the old woman was too weak in her arms, so she couldn’t drive the vehicle. I could tell that she was very disappointed. I could feel the weight of it, so I went and got a work vehicle that we use to repair the trails. I loaded the two women in and I drove them on the entire tour. When we got back, the older woman told me that she had just finished the last thing on her bucket list, that she wanted to ride in an off road vehicle. She then told me that this had been her favorite one. These are the people that we did this for, the reason we love our jobs so much.

Sunburst is open year round and are always avalibe to give information or book activities. Visit or call at 800-806-1953 or 706-947-7433


Becky Elliott-

Mark Elliott- Doesn’t know how email works – 706-768-4692

Savannah Roper-

Living a Life Full of Travel – Final Story revised

Traveling the world is not everyone’s ultimate passion, but for one Piedmont College student it’s all she has ever known.  From adventures near her hometown to long international journeys, she has seen many indescribable sites that will stay with her for a lifetime.

“I have been travelling longer than I have been able to walk,” says Caitlin Parker, a history major at Piedmont College.  “At three weeks old I took my first trip to camping on the beach with my family, and at six weeks we traveled to South Carolina.”

On Wednesday, April 17, Piedmont College hosted its first annual Piedmont Research Innovation and Discovery Exhibition in the Swanson Center.  This event was held to give students the opportunity to present any research they have done over the year, share unique experiences they have been involved in or present their capstone presentations.  It was a huge success with over 130 students presenting throughout the course of five hours.

“Throughout the day, students discussed their research, described how study-away programs broadened their horizon, and performed works that inspire them,” says John Roberts.  

These study-away programs mentioned by Roberts are called Maymesters at Piedmont and this is where Caitlin Parker is able to continue her passion of travel, while still obtaining credits for classes.  She was one of the many presenters at the P.R.I.D.E event last week talking about Maymesters, gaining the attention of many listeners with her topic “Travelling enhances education.”

“Travelling is just in my family’s blood,” says Parker.  “Any chance we get on holidays or time off to spend together we just go somewhere new and exciting.”

Aruba, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands and Arizona are just a few places where Parker has gained new knowledge and experience for her works in history at school.  It wasn’t until she came to Piedmont, however, that she was able to travel across the world to England and Peru.  Piedmont’s Maymesters are a great opportunity for her to continue to explore areas of the world and learn more about the history of this earth she has never seen before.

“When I was at Buckingham Palace in England, It was completely life changing just to be able to stand in front of something so beautiful,” says Parker.  “Being a history major it really helps to see these amazing structures in person to appreciate them and learn more about them.  Architecture that has been standing since the Roman Empire has a lot of rich history to it.”

Last year, Parker took yet another chance to see a different area of the world by flying to Peru with the Piedmont College Maymester crew.  Having gained new experience in England the year before, she was ready to take on this adventure with a different group of students and learn more about the culture’s in Latin America. 

“My favorite place in Peru was definitely Machu Pichu.  Sitting on top of one of the seven wonders of the world at 15,000 feet elevation was incredible and something I’ll never forget,” Parker says.

In Peru, there are many different styles of living and a vast variety of how the locals make a living.  From farmers to expert basket weavers, Peru has a culture very different than that of America’s and Caitlin experienced it first-hand.

“We saw three women taking the time to hand weave blankets, mittens and scarves out of materials from Alpacas or other mammals,” Parker says.  “They talked to us about their traditions and how it relates to their customs in Peru.” 

Without Piedmont’s Maymester program, she would never have been able to gain experience for international travel. Parker has become a better world traveler in the past two years and now she can share her stories with the people who taught her the importance of exploring: her family back home.  From a young age her mother engrained the importance of experiencing the adventure and encouraged Caitlin to get out in the world.

Parker is a prime example of how people can start to understand and appreciate the differences we all have in culture and ways of life.  Once students step out of their comfort zones, they will begin to broaden their horizons and shape the way they live their life.

“There’s only so much a professor and textbook can teach you and once you’re out there on your own experiencing new traditions, you will learn more than you ever imagined,” says Parker.  “There’s so much to see beyond campus…beyond the States.  You just have to get out there and find it.”


Caitlin Parker

John Roberts

Digital Fabrication Lab

Not known to many people on campus, the Digital Fabrication Lab – also known as the Fab Lab – is where students learn how to manufacture through the process of machines. For students who love to cut things, create things, creatively solve problems and want to know programming and coding, this is the place.

“We can print something three-dimensionally, we can cut something with a laser or we can cut something with a router,” said professor Chris Kelly, Director of Art and overseer of the Fabrications Lab. “Everything in here comes out of the digital world.”

It was brought over to Piedmont by graphic design major Rebekah Kanipe, who took a two-week workshop at Penland School of the Arts and Crafts in North Carolina in 2018. In this workshop, she learned how to use computer aided design and computer aided machining  – also known as CAD and CAM technology – with laser cutting, solely on wood. This year, the program was brought over to Piedmont, and since starting the Fab Lab, Kanipe has made multiple innovative chairs and has taught other students of Piedmont on how to use the items in the lab.

Along with the ability to make innovative chairs, the laser cutter can also engrave to the tiniest detail on the side of a yeti cup. Along with the laser cutter in the fab lab comes a 3D printer, a paper cutter and sensory technology kits.

 “I want to make a lamp you could turn on by licking it,” said Hannah Oliver, who is working on building a lamp that turns on and off by the moisture in the tongue.

Other projects by students using sensory technology are a sensory piano and a rotating ballerina that switches direction with each tap.

“The idea is to solve problems,” said Kelly. “Students come in with problems and solve them.”

One of the main foci of the fab lab is to find solutions to everyday problems. A couple of the students made a cutting board with a measuring cup attachment to measure the food as it is being cut.

“It doesn’t have to be reasonable, it just has to solve the problem,” said Raleigh Wunderlich for her invention of solving the problem for Pringles cans. She plans to have an automated tube that pushes up the snack as chips are taken, as to not get one’s hand stuck half way through eating Pringles.

With Kanipe’s chair, she had to make multiple mockup models to find out if the chair was stable or not before she could make the real, life-size chair.

“It’s not necessarily an art class. It’s not a design class. It’s not a business class.” Said professor Kelly about the Intro to Digital Fabrication course. “But hopefully students from all the different majors can use this course to create stuff for their work.”

The fab lab is not exclusive to one major. Although it may be in the art annex building, the lab is not just for art majors. Theater Major Shanna Ward uses the router cutter to create faster and more efficient sets for plays.

“As we’re discovering what can be made within these walls, the idea is that you can make anything you want with the help of the digital world,” Kelly said.

Women’s Soccer feature story

Head Coach Timmy McCormack is ushering in a culture of success for the Piedmont college women’s soccer team.

“When you look at successful programs, at any level, it has a lot to do with what the culture is like in those programs to whether or not you are successful,” said Coach Timmy McCormack. “And that’s one of those things we put a ton of time into in our program.”

Since Coach McCormack took over as head coach in 2017 after eight years of being assistant coach, the Piedmont women’s soccer team has seen nothing but success. In his first season as head coach, McCormack guided his team to an undefeated regular season, but lost a close game in the conference tournament. Then in 2018 the Lady Lions got their revenge and won the USA South conference tournament for the fifth time in school history. Like many other coaches, McCormack doesn’t take credit for the success.

“I don’t think it’s my coaching as much as we just have had really good players,” said McCormack. “I think we’ve been really lucky to have a lot of really good foundational success.”

These really good players McCormack talks about have helped lead to an impressive 33-5-5 record in the last two seasons. And the talent won’t be stopping any time soon as the soccer team has 15 incoming freshmen to help win the conference title again.

“The main reason I came here was for Timmy,” said freshman defender Madison Comer. “A lot of schools have great programs, but Timmy’s personality is what convinced me to come to Piedmont.”

Coach McCormack, or Timmy as all his players, call him is loved by the girls on his team for being one of the kindest, caring and best coaches they’ve ever played for. Comer was recruited by McCormack and got to be a part the championship team. She said that freshman will room with seniors on trips to bring the team together and make the older girls seem “not seem as scary.” This strategy brought the team together and helped unite team the for their championship run.

“We’ve all grown up with Timmy,” said sophomore midfielder Abby Cox. “We’ve been trained to always try hard in both practices and the games, you play for the team not yourself.”

Cox has played for McCormack for both of his seasons as head coach, she got to watch the changes he made after losing the conference tournament her freshman year, and what it took to win it this past season. Abby also credits the California trip the team took this season for helping bring the team together. Getting to go some place new and having these experiences is another way the team was brought together to have this culture of success.

McCormack said it’s these little things that lead to the overall success.

“Championships are not won in that season; they are won by doing the detail things day in and day out. You can have the pain of discipline or the pain of regret, you take your pick.”  

Lions PRIDE: 2019 Alternative Spring Break

Instead of taking a traditional style Spring Break, a group of Piedmont College students embarked on a journey to help build houses for the Habitat for Humanity in Sebring, Florida.

“The goal of the Alternative Break program at Piedmont College is to provide students, faculty, and staff with a service opportunity outside of the Habersham County area,” said Dr. Kim Crawford, Associate Dean of Student Life.

Not just any regular Piedmont College student can attend an alternative spring break. The requirements are having a minimum GPA of 3.0, submit a student resume in person to the Director of Career Education, Lisa Mann, and get recommended by two Piedmont faculty or staff members. The total number of students that got to attend this year’s alternative spring break was 11.

“The application process required students to submit an essay on why they wanted to go on the trip and students had to complete a Compass Reflection form after the trip; to talk about their experience,” said Megan Ramsey, Compass Program Coordinator.

At the 2019 Lion’s PRIDE research day event, students were asked to answer why they wanted to attend and even took the time to reflect on their personal experience and share anything they learned or took away from the trip.

Nicole Thomas, a junior mass communications major, said she loved to bond with others while volunteering and this experience is a great way to travel.

“This opportunity allowed me to learn more leadership skills and increased my appreciation of diversity,” said Thomas.

Savannah Cantrell, a junior art education major, emphasized that the 2019 Alternative Spring Break was one of the most humbling and rewarding activities she has ever participated in during her time at Piedmont. Although she worked hard each day, she reminded herself that these homes were potentially going to someone whose home was destroyed or have never owned their home.

“I learned to work alongside other Piedmont students while developing new relationships with the other team members on the construction site. The relationships I have built impacted me whether it was a Piedmont student, a Habitat for Humanity worker, or a Caravanner,” said Cantrell.

Alyssa Emmet, a junior mass communications major, said she found herself during this trip and capitalized on meeting people she would have never met without this trip.

“I learned several facts about Habitat for Humanity and found out I’m capable of doing more than I thought,” said Emmet.

Ashley Dean, a sophomore nursing major, found the opportunity to meet and work alongside many great people who are selfless with their time heartwarming.

“The most rewarding part of this whole experience was getting to meet some of the families that will be living in these houses that we helped to build,” said Dean.

Leslie Lopez, a sophomore business marketing major and graphic design minor always wanted to volunteer. She found that alternative spring break would be the perfect opportunity to explore and meet new people that have been volunteers for a while now.

“Alternative Spring Break reminded me to appreciate all the opportunities that I have. It also showed me the true meaning of “all help counts,” said Lopez.

Areli Albarran, a sophomore nursing major, applied because she wanted help to enhance her sense of vocation through the community service.

“Through the Alternative Spring I strengthened my leadership, communication, problem-solving skills,” said Albarran.

In the end, the students who attended the trip learned many things from home improvement to self-improvement, but one thing that will stay hard to perfect is to become one.

“It can be difficult for everyone to be on the same page, said Albarran.

How A Lion Became A Hornet

Imaging being on a court with NBA caliber players in a top notch NBA facility. For one Piedmont College student, this became a reality. Piedmont College hosted its annual P.R.I.D.E (Piedmont Research Innovation and Discovery Exhibition) on Wednesday, March 17th. During the event, Piedmont students presented well-crafted posters and gave speeches on a multitude of research projects, experiences or experiments that they have been apart of . P.R.I.D.E day has grown out of Piedmont’s commitment to highly valuable practices such as undergraduate research and inquiry, leadership and community engagement, as well as global learning.  One of these presentations included Piedmont men’s basketball player Mikey Joseph. Who addressed a room full of faculty, staff, teammates and coaches on his life changing experience of interning for the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise during the summer of 2018.

During his presentation Joseph discussed all facets of his internship, starting from his first day on the job where the entire coaching staff and his hiring manager were fired. After facing that challenge he took the audience through some of the responsibilities that he had during the course of the internship. The list included: working on court with players and coaches, practicing with the team, attending team meetings, video editing, working with potential draft candidates and being present on NBA Draft Day. “I never knew how big of a deal Draft day was for these teams, it’s almost like a holiday for them.”

Joseph’s freshman teammate Justin Quick was one of the many in attendance for the presentation. “Mikey did a great job of explaining how the internship helped him and how it is going to affect his future. It was really cool to be there for my teammate and listen to his experience.” Joseph went into detail about all the benefits that came from his time with the Hornets including the on court experience he received as well as learning about the business aspect of the NBA and professional sports. He also gained experience in film/video editing as well as navigating an unfamiliar area. Joseph, a Gwinnett native, stayed at local Queens University for the duration of his internship.  “At first it was hard to be on my own in an unfamiliar place but as it went on I became more comfortable and it was really fun.”

Joseph concluded his presentation by  stating how this opportunity was a “dream come true”, he gained so much experience and was in the presence of His Airness, Michael Jordan, at one point. The internship helped him build many relationships and this was evident to all who were in attendance, including Piedmont Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Jake Brooks, who spoke on Joseph’s presentation. “I thought Mikey did a great job presenting the experiences he had this past summer with the Charlotte Hornets. The relationships he built there will serve him well going forward and the experience he gained there is invaluable for a guy his age.”

Joseph hopes his presentation inspired those on his team who now see what it is like to have such an opportunity and how it can have such a positive impact on one’s athletic and business career. “It’s  a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone who has a love for sports.” Joseph encapsulated the essence of what P.R.I.D.E day is about, enriching others through the sharing of your experiences and hard work.

PC Softball

  Maintaining their history of success, as a USA South conference powerhouse, the Piedmont Lions softball team is having yet another spectacular year. Coached by Terry Martin, John Winters and Taylor Waldrop, the Lady Lions posted an overall record of 29-8, good enough for second place in the conference in the regular season. They will be going to the conference tournament Wednesday in hopes of bringing a conference championship back to Demorest. 

This year’s team is filled with experienced seniors but having younger players is playing a key role in their success. The Lady Lions are led by senior sluggers Hannah Hoban and Mariann Kennison. Both have had monster years; Hoban is slashing .447/.545/.913 with 59 runs batted in and 10 home runs. Kennison is slashing .491/.560/.860 with 34 runs batted in and 8 home runs. “I think I’m having the year I am having because I’m just playing for my teammates and keeping things simple,” Kennison said.   

Kennison has been a huge help in the Lady Lions offense this season and hopes to continue her production in the conference tournament. Rebekah Stegmayer, along with Kennison both broke the regular season record in runs scored. Stegmayer also stole 35 bases while only being thrown out one time. While Kennison and Stegmayer are breaking records now, the future of the team looks good. 

Freshman making the transition into college is always hard, not only with softball but with school as well. “We miss a lot more class now and I have had to adjust my time management to stay caught up,” says freshman Maddy Holloway. 

Having more difficult classes to go along with workouts, conditioning and practice, causes students to miss a lot of class and they must stay on top of all their school work.  

“In high school I always played shortstop but here the coaches told me I will play anywhere so I had to learn new positions and adjust to being thrown in wherever,” said Holloway.  

Most freshman do not start right away but must be ready to go in whenever and do their job. Holloway hopes to land a starting spot in the future. 

Every good team must have a good team chemistry. If your team does not get along with each other than your team most likely will not succeed. “Overall, we have become more of a family than just teammates. We have each other’s back off the field so when we are on the field, the bond just becomes so much stronger. We all know that everyone on the team has confidence in each other. We have learned to just have fun and forget the mistakes,” said senior pitcher Kory Best.  

“This year we have had the talent, heart and the ability to do a lot of things and I couldn’t be prouder in how far this team has come in just one year. This team has truly been special no matter how far we go,” said senior outfielder Haley McCurry. 

The Piedmont College softball team heads to LaGrange tomorrow with hopes of winning the championship and getting a ring.