A ton of athletes across different sports tell about how they have always loved playing their sport ever since they were a little kid. In the case of junior women’s track & field student-athlete Hannah Hinson of Suffolk, Va., being a thrower began during her freshman year in high school.
At a football game her freshman year, Hinson was approached by a P.E. teacher, who encouraged her to come out for throwing on the school’s track & field team that spring. She decided to take the chance and try out, which proved to be one of the best choices she ever made.
“I immediately fell in love with throwing when I started,” says Hinson. “It felt really natural from the beginning and I knew that it was something that I wanted to get good at.”
Hinson threw discus and shotput all four years of high school at Kings Fork High, and decided her senior year to pursue her passion at the collegiate level at Wingate. The transition from throwing in high school to college, however, was a lot more difficult than she anticipated.
“It was definitely a big change in terms of the different training styles between high school and college, as well as how much more the coaching staff at Wingate demands of you than high school coaches,” says Hinson.“But the coaches at Wingate have pushed me to be better every day since I’ve been here, which really helped me to get used to everything very quickly.”
Hinson throws hammer, discus and shotput for the outdoor and indoor Women’s Track & Field team, and has had a large amount of success in the two years she has participated. She broke the school record for indoor hammer throw, also known as weight throw, at the JDL Fast Track Meet in 2016, as well as winning All-SAC honors for hammer throw (2016, 2017) and discus (2017).
As she continues to challenge herself each season, Hinson has created two personal goals for herself during her junior season.
“I want to be the first thrower in Wingate history to make Nationals for indoor this year,” says Hinson. “I also want to win discus and hammer throw in the SAC for outdoor this year.”
As the new season begins, Hinson sees a lot of potential for her team as they compete against other schools in the SAC conference.
“We challenge each other every day by competing against one another to be the best at our sport out of the entire team,” Hinson says.“I believe that this healthy competition is going to help us when we compete against other throwers because we will already have that competitive edge that we give one another on the team.”
It’s always refreshing to hear that the people in your community are helping those in need. What’s even better is when those volunteers are coming from your very own college campus.
Part of the Wingate University mission statement is to take advantage of opportunities to go beyond the campus itself and make a difference, and that is exactly what the students of VITA are doing.
VITA, or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, is a nationwide program that offers free income tax preparation not only to low-income families, but to people with disabilities, people who speak limited English, and to the elderly, as well. The Wingate University branch of the program was started in 2008 by Dr. Bob Threatt, Assistant Professor of Accounting. His goal was to apply the knowledge of the Business School in a way that would make a significant impact and comply with the service component of the Wingate mission statement.
One of the most surprising aspects of this program is that there are no prerequisite requirements to be a volunteer. If a student desires to be apart of the program, they must only pass three online IRS tests. Before the tests, they are given IRS booklets to study over the holiday break.
The entire process also counts as a three-credit course and a ninety hour internship. Students must put in approximately fifty hours of studying and preparation, and approximately forty hours of doing the actual tax returns.
It is very student friendly due to the fact that the volunteer hours are not demanding. The volunteers simply send in a schedule to the VITA headquarters in Monroe stating the days and times that they are available.
It is no surprise that this program has been remarkably successful during its ten years of operation. According to Dr. Threatt, all of the feedback he has received has been positive, and Union County particularly enjoys having Wingate students volunteer.
During our interview, he recalled a time when the IRS sent an agent to come review the overall performance of the student volunteers, as well as how well our branch of the program was running. The agent went as far as to say that this was one of the best VITA locations he had ever visited, and that he was greatly impressed at how the students interacted with their clients.
Luis Aguilar, finance major, and Beau Hildebrand, accounting major, both of whom are seniors and VITA volunteers, reflected on how VITA has changed their own lives, as well as the lives of those they have helped.
Aguilar described feeling humbled, and called to mind a specific memory with a client of his. “I remember helping one lady who had two little kids. Her family was very cute and you could definitely see the unity.”
Hildebrand gave a different perspective, going on to say, “I haven’t officially started working yet, but so far I’ve had a great experience learning about the tax process, and I look forward to getting to know the people I work with better.”
All in all, there have been sixty-eight Wingate University students who have participated in VITA, completing an average of forty tax returns each, equalling around 2,700 tax returns throughout ten years.
Our volunteers have gotten a total of $6,646,160 in tax refunds for their clients. In the fine words of Dr. Threatt, “It has been much more than I ever dreamed it would be.”
With the admission of over 1,000 freshman students last semester, which is almost double the size of all previous classes, there was bound to be some issues. One of the biggest issues to most students, and even faculty, would be parking.
No matter which parking lot you pull into, the game of luck always seems to be in full effect. With a grand total of 2,616 parking spaces on our campus it should be easy to find a convenient place to park but most students can’t even park in the lots outside of their own dorm. So, of course the issue of parking is very prominent to Wingate University students.
At the very beginning of the Fall 2017 semester, four overflow lots were added. Their locations are at the precarious gravel lot by the Cafeteria, on Camden Street near the intersection of Oak and Camden, and there are two lots on Faculty Drive.
However, most students are hesitant to park in those lots. Some stating the issue of tardiness because of the distance these lots are from their classes and or the issue of safety.
Some students, like Jaycie Haymore, work late at night and when it comes time to return to her dorms there are no open spaces in the lots closest to her residence hall. According to Officer Jane Horne, you have the option of calling Campus Safety for an escort if you park in one of the overflow lots that aren’t as close to your dorm or apartment building, in case you don’t feel safe.
Jaycie Haymore recounts, “And even if I park in a far lot, like behind McGee, it’s scary to walk back to Beam. I’ve even had someone follow me and catcall me.”. If she had known about this information beforehand, or if there were more panic buttons around campus then her situation could have been avoided, she believes.
When students were asked where they often saw people getting ticketed, most of the popular locations were behind the Neu building and the cafeteria parking lot. To avoid these tickets, students should be aware of the designated permit required for the lot, park inside an actual space, and to not park in the grass ever.
There have been several occasions where residential lots are riddled with commuter cars parked in their spaces, and likewise. It is a frustration that is mutually shared amongst all students and faculty alike when this situation could be avoided with mutual respect and understanding by all.
Most students report that parking for the new spring semester has not improved. With that concern in mind it was important to address the rumor floating about that the next class of freshman would not be allowed to bring their cars to campus.
However, Officer Jane Horne reports, “As of today, the freshman will be able to bring their cars to campus. I do not know if it will change in the future.”. She also reports that the University has not yet decided to add any more parking lots next semester. When presented with this information freshman commuter Kimberly Duong says, “I think that’s a bad move for everyone. Commuters already have it hard as it is, and having more cars and the same amount of spaces only calls for more issues.”. The issue of parking may never be fully solved but all further questions can be answered by Campus Safety.
Mackenzie Green is a first-year student at Wingate University, from Asheville, North Carolina, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, and is majoring in human services. She loves her sorority, spending time with friends, and helping others.
She also was born with a genetic disorder called Osteogenesis imperfecta, an extremely rare condition which causes the bones to be brittle and break easily. Osteogenesis imperfecta has caused Mackenzie to have to use a wheelchair for most of her life.
As a baby, Mackenzie’s mother suspected that something was wrong. When Mackenzie’s legs were curled up or bended, it caused her great pain. Her mother took her to the doctor, originally believing that Mackenzie may have a form of dwarfism.
However, after testing, it was found that Mackenzie had a genetic disorder. As a result of Osteogenesis imperfecta, Mackenzie had broken ribs and legs when she was born, and has broken over 100 bones in her life. She has also had twenty-one surgeries, and has another one coming up in December.
“Middle and high school were really hard, I had a hard time making friends and I often felt judged.” Mackenzie said. “People look at you differently.” However, she said that college has been different, and an eye-opening experience for her.“I joined Alpha Omicron Pi and I really love the relationship I have with my sisters. I’ve made a lot of great friends.”
Although she was not able to play most sports in high school, Mackenzie was a cheerleader and this was something that impacted her outlook on life. “I love to make people smile, and inspire them to do anything they put their mind to.”
Mackenzie wanted to give special thanks to her best friend in college, Madison Oak. “She’s been through so much with me and I’ve never had a friend like her before. She’s always there to help and I know I can always depend on her.”
“Mackenzie is one of the most hardworking and persistent people I know.” Madison said. “She has an absolute heart of gold and always goes above and beyond for everyone else, which truly says a lot about her character.”
Madison Laney, who serves as Mackenzie’s ‘big sister’ in their sorority, also spoke to me about her friendship with Mackenzie. “From the moment she joined Alpha Omicron Pi, I knew that I wanted her as my little. She has the brightest personality and outlook on life.”
Another experience that really impacted Mackenzie since the start of college was a generous action from the members of Kappa Alpha Order, a fraternity whose philanthropy is the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In October, the boys from K.A. built Mackenzie a ramp to give her easier access to the on-campus apartments. “It was so eye opening and it really helped to accommodate me. It touched me and my family’s hearts that someone would do something so nice for me.”
One night at a Halloween mixer held at a haunted trail, Mackenzie was faced with being somewhere that was not handicap accessible. “I went through two ticket booths and paid money to go through the trail. I was in the trail with my sisters, and the owner came up and shined a flashlight in my face, asking to escort me out. I was told I would receive a refund, but it was still disappointing.”
A member of K.A, Gage Sumrall, approached Mackenzie and the owner to ask what was going on; he quickly defended Mackenzie and tried to find a solution. “Gage took up for me and it really meant a lot.” Mackenzie also would like to thank Domenico Napolitano for helping with her ramp. “They have been so kind to me.” she said.
“She’s so caring, friendly, and joyful. She’s always fun to be around and she’ll do whatever she can to make someone happy.” Gage Sumrall said about Mackenzie.
When she’s not participating in sorority events or spending time with friends, Mackenzie is working hard for her major, human services. Her career goal is to become a D.S.S. social worker. “I just want to give back to children. I love kids.”
She also participates in Delight Ministries, and is very strong in her faith. “Religion has helped me a lot with what I go through. I’m very faithful, even though I had a hard childhood, breaking bone after bone, God always kept me going.”
“I do have an I.E.P, which is an Individualized Education Program.” Mackenzie said, speaking about her experience at college. “My teachers know I have a chronic disability. The I.E.P. gives me extra time to do my work and get to class, but I normally don’t depend on it. I use a schedule to plan my day and I always leave 15 minutes early for class. My wheelchair is electric, and I always want to be prepared just in case. I have a pretty easy time getting around campus. The only building I struggle to get to is Burris. The doors are big and heavy, so I have to go in the back way. But I’ve learned to work around things, everywhere else I can access easily.”
“People think that just because I’m in a wheelchair, I can’t do things.” Mackenzie said. “I drive, I get myself to class, I am completely independent and do things on my own. The only thing I can’t do is walk. People are often mistaken and think that I’m paralyzed. They don’t understand my disorder and that it can happen to anyone. I am capable of anything.”
One problem Mackenzie mentioned is that she worries about finding a job. “I don’t think people understand how capable I am and how much my wheelchair allows me to move. I definitely worry about finding a job in the future, and I wish more people understood that.”
I asked Mackenzie what changes she wanted to see in the world. She said she wants to live in a world where there is no more hurt, and where people with her condition don’t have to experience so much pain. She also wants to be able to not feel judged, and for people to have a better understanding of wheelchair users, and their capabilities.
Mackenzie wants people to know that no matter what struggles they go through, they should keep their head up, and never give up. “There’s some days I don’t want to get up out of bed, but I get past it. I live by the saying ‘Never give up, never back down’. You’re going to have struggles in a wheelchair. You have to keep faith in confidence to get you through it.”
Wingate University students were silent as they gathered together on Thursday to hold a candlelight vigil for a sophomore who passed away earlier this week.
Geoffrey Dawkins, a sophomore criminal justice major, passed away at CMC Main in Charlotte, North Carolina. Students honored his memory by gathering together to share the joy he had brought to each of them. Geoffrey was a member of the Wingate Pep band and Marching band and also the Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Students gather for a candlelight vigil for the passing of Geoffrey Dawkins
Noah Couick, student manager of Wingate University’s Writing Center, said that Geoffrey was not only a fighter through his sickness, but also through his academics.
“He frequently visited the Writing Center for help with papers and had a zeal to succeed,” said Couick. “I look back and am honored to know that I read the papers of this student.”
Students assembled on the Stegall lawn, hugging and sharing support as Shannon Powell, the director of the Campus Fellowship for Christian Athletes, opened with prayer.
Shelby Dworek, a junior, said she felt comforted being surrounded by friends who also knew Geoffrey.
“You could hear people crying as Mr. Powell started praying. We were all there to support each other in this loss,” said Dworek.
Gage Sumrall, a sophomore who shared the same Kappa Alpha Order fraternity as Dawkins, said that Dawkins was not only a friend and fellow band member, but a brother to him as well.
“Geoffrey Dawkins will be missed by many, but I am so happy to know that his health will never be an issue again,” said Sumrall.
Geoffrey suffered from a skin disease that affected his skin, nails and hair growth. By sophomore year in high school he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that makes it hard for the heart to deliver blood throughout the body.
Cardell Rawlings, a senior, said that once someone got to know Dawkins, he was easily the most genuine and happiest person to walk this Earth.
Rawlings, along with Sumrall and others on the football team, surprised Dawkins, before he passed, by visiting him at CMC Main.
Rawlings said Dawkins kept mentioning how much he wished he could have been at the Wingate homecoming game.
“He stayed so positive and kept telling me, ‘Keep going, keep grinding, it’s all going to pay off’,” said Rawlings. “That hit me then and has hit me even deeper now.”
The vigil ended with the students reciting the Lord’s prayer.
The fraternity brothers of Kappa Alpha Order set up a Go Fund Me page for Dawkins’ family, to help pay his medical bills.
An excited cluster of spectators cheered for their brindled champions last Saturday at Wingate’s Homecoming celebration. The second annual Running of the Bullies Race sponsored by the BIGG organization, bulldogs into going green.
The event, hosted by BIGG, opened the promenade and Main Street to the furry foster friends of Bullies to the Rescue, a local, breed specific rescue organization of the Carolina’s. This year, not only families owning bulldogs attended the event, but also foster families with rescued bulldogs available for adoption.
Before the main event, many of the contestants participated in a costume contest, earning titles and prizes in categories ranging from “School Spirit” to a “clown category”. Crowned Homecoming King and Queen of the costume contest were the amazing Fenris and his lovely lady, Queen Cora.
By the time contenders began lining Main Street, a crowd had already gathered ready to support the adorable contestants. The race itself was a close one. The champion of each brackets eventually came to face each other in one final faceoff. In an upset, the crowd favorite, Meatball, whose three wins in a row convinced fans of his inevitable victory, was left in the dust by Cloony.
Along with some returning flat faces like Fen and Cloony, four new friends joined the fray. These special dogs were rescues arriving with their temporary caregivers.
One of these adoptable dogs was Emmet, a young brindle bulldog sporting a fashionable blue green harness and a drooly, endearing grin. His registered, Bullies to The Rescue Foster Handler, Wendy, explained more about the program BIGG and was so determined to support.
Bullies to The Rescue is an organization which rescues English Bulldogs and enables them to find permanent loving homes. Often, the rescued animals have been abandoned due to health conditions resulting from ignorance of how to correctly feed and provide for the animals on behalf of the owners.
Bulldogs found by the organization are completely rehabilitated, and all health problems are completely covered by the rescue, as well as expenses put towards behavioral training to prepare formerly mistreated or neglected dogs for life with a forever family.
To adopt a dog like Emmet, a prospective owner would participate in phone and personal interviews, as well as a house evaluation to ensure the family was the right fit for the Bulldog. Any volunteers willing to open their home to a foster dog go through a similar process.
Funds from Carolina Pet Pantry, the business’ physical pet feed and supply in Indian Trail, preserve the rescue and enable it to contact similar ministries around the South East. Because of the work the rescuers are able to do, dozens of bulldogs have been rescued from puppy mills and kill shelters in North and South Carolina, and even in Texas.
Last year the organization was able to place two hundred bulldogs in happy homes, and this year, 160 bulldogs have already been matched with loving families. Besides the income of the store, donations, fundraisers and partnerships such as this year’s partnership with Wingate’s BIGG , help to keep both the online and physical store operational. This allows Bullies 2 The Rescue reach English Bulldog Rescues all over the United States.
College can be an exciting, enriching experience. For most young adults, college is their first step into the world of “adulthood”- that may mean living away from home, having a job, paying bills for the first time, and taking on the responsibilities of college-level courses.
College is a different experience for each student, but unfortunately for some, the fun parts of school such as making new friends, or having more freedom, are overshadowed by situations which can be stressful, and make school feel like a burden.
It can be pretty shocking to transition from four years of high school and living at home, and suddenly adapt to a faster-paced, unfamiliar environment which may mean living in a new city, state or even country; moving away from your friends and family, taking six or seven classes at a time, being responsible for student loans or bills, struggling to decide on a major, etc.
These experiences can be especially hard for students with mental illness, or those who struggle with stress. For these students, college can be less of a fun experience, and more of a contributor to their stress and worries. Sadly, the stress of college can often lead to heightened anxiety and depression, sleeping problems, poor school performance, or more serious issues including drug or alcohol abuse.
Some students even drop out of school entirely. According to a 2011 study from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 62% of students who withdrew from college before graduation did so because of poor mental health.
With the increasing prevalence of anxiety among young adults, mental health is being discussed more than ever before on campuses across the nation. Schools are making changes to accommodate students with mental illness, and help them succeed despite their differences.
Luckily at Wingate University, there are a variety of resources available to help students cope with their problems and be successful. One resource is the counseling services. Students can email the counseling department to set up an appointment to meet with a counselor that fits their schedule.
Students are welcome to discuss a variety of concerns from school, to grades, to social life, and beyond. You are meeting with a trained professional who can listen to your concerns, and help you understand your options.
Other helpful resources include the ARC, or Academic Resource Center. ARC offers tutoring services to all Wingate students, free of charge. You can receive help with studying or doing your homework, which can help improve your grades and give you more confidence in school.
If you are a student with a disability, you can turn to Disability Support Services for accommodations in concern to housing, testing, or other specific services that can help you. There are options to make school more comfortable for you, despite what challenges you may be facing.
If you’re a student struggling with mental illness or stress, you are not alone.In addition to reaching out and talking to a professional, you can also make small lifestyle changes to better your mental state.
Try to get enough sleep. It’s really hard when you have classes all day, and work and assignments to do at night, but try and get a twenty or thirty minute nap into your day, or take advantage of the weekends and get some rest.
Eat healthy foods, drink water, and exercise. Again, this may require changing your schedule up a bit, but take a few extra minutes a day to think about foods and drinks you’re putting into your body. Also, many studies show that light exercise such as going for a walk, or biking, can reduce stress levels, and improve your grades.
Avoid taking on too many responsibilities at once. You are at school to learn. Between academics, clubs, sports, work, homework, studying, and a social life, you can easily become overwhelmed. Evaluate what is really important to you, and try and cut out tasks or activities that stress you out. It’s okay to be human, and have weaknesses. Everybody needs a break sometimes.
Avoid drugs and alcohol in excess. They may feel like a temporary way to relax, but overusing drugs and alcohol use can increase stress levels, and result in more problems to face.
Know when to ask for help. It can be hard in such a fast-paced society to stop and say “I need help.” However, if you are struggling with self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or any other problems which may threaten your safety, it is important to get help immediately. Listed below are the phone numbers to contact Campus Safety, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. However, always call 911 in an emergency situation.
Remember that it’s okay to be stressed and worried. You aren’t alone, and it’s okay to cut yourself some slack every now and then. Take time to do things that make you happy, and try to cut out negative situations or people who may bring you down.
If you need help with a situation in which counseling services or any of the other resources mentioned above may not be able to help, here are a list of other resources you may turn to, especially if your safety is at risk:
➔ In an emergency situation, always call 911.
➔ Wingate Police (Non-emergency) (704)–233–5657
➔ Campus Safety (704)–233–8999
➔ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800)-273-8255