Category Archives: Wingate University

Student Spotlight: Mackenzie Green urges students to never give up and never back down

Aleah Cady, Staff Writer

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.

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Photo by Mackenzie Green

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.”

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Photo by Mackenzie Green

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.”

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo or Photos submitted by Mackenzie Green

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Candlelight Vigil held for the passing of Wingate student Geoffrey Dawkins

Gabriela Cabrera, Staff Writer

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.

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Photo from Wingate Bulldogs Site

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.

https://www.gofundme.com/geoffrey-dawkins-hospital-bills

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo cover by: Gabriela Cabrera

BIGG talks E-Waste

Celestia Randolph, Staff Writer

Southern Environmental Solutions of the Carolinas (SESC) is a family owned business dedicated to servicing local landfills established on government contracts. The objective of SESC is to collect recyclable electronic waste, or,  e-waste, promote organizational interactivity.

By setting high standards and collaborating and partnerships, site visits, SESC teaches individuals as well as corporations, schools, churches, and other social organizations the “four r’s”.

The four r’s are re-use, refurbish, recycle and respect which are central to recycling effectively.

Mrs. Lynda Kuehni, Director of Sales and Marketing of the SESC spoke to members of Bulldogs Into Going Green (BIGG) last Monday. She spoke on her organization’s mission to educate Carolinians on the responsible disposal of digital waste.

Kuehni also worked with BIGG to ponder ways for Wingate students to promote the safe distribution electronic devices.

Before diving directly into electronic waste management, Mrs. Kuehni broke the ice by discussing ways they already take initiative to educate others to treat their environment with greater respect and develop new habits of recycling, cutting down on energy usage, and other low-effort, green practices which eventually add up to a significant difference. Everyone managed to speak, and before long there were eco-warrior stories of inspiration ranging from sea turtle sympathies to influencing roommates or teammates.

What makes the SESC so important is that it spares the environment from the devastating effects of chemicals still trapped in damaged or aged electronics.  What the term “e-waste” refers to is anything containing wire, anything which plugs into an outlet, or battery supported items such as TVs, VCR, DVD players, stereos, appliances, copiers, etc.

The metals in these electronics such as aluminum, steel, iron and lead, which harm the environment, can easily be reused. Precious metals, such as copper and gold, can also be drawn from the inside of laptops, cell phones, and even automobile parts.

Currently, the number of cell phones coming into existence exceeds the human population by two million. When those are disposed of, the metals in the chips and intricate wirings inside them will either be collected and reused by facilities such as SESC or will end up releasing chemicals into a dump somewhere corroding precious, expensive metals.

Another factor of digital responsibility is erasing the data stored on these devices. Computers and communication technology have personal data stored on them, which, without proper removal, can be released or obtained by less than savory operations.

The SESC instructs universities, schools and other businesses requiring personal information from students and employees how to protect data stored on sim cards, and offers a way to safely destroy the data before disposing of the device. The hard drive shredding method used by the organization wipes data electronically and is Department of Defence certified.

If items cannot be either salvaged or repaired, it’s still important to recycle it because along with the aforementioned metals, lead and harmful chemicals can seep into the Earth.

The steps students realized they were making may have been impactful, but the students were still eager to learn more bringing them together in a conference with a representative of a local eco-system solutions institution. Now eager to learn more about this opportunity to once again spread green awareness, students were ready to learn more about the organization the speaker who caused them to reflect on their successes represented.

Edited By Andrew Elliott and Rachael Robinson

Students write letters to soldiers through Wingate’s Leo Club

Leah Joyner, Staff Writer

As the holiday season approaches, Wingate University students are gearing up to spread some holiday cheer through participating in a service project. Last Tuesday, students hand wrote letters to soldiers in the military as a part of the sponsored WU Leo Club event.

“Through hosting this event, we hope to spread the appreciation for our troops. Coming from a military family, I witness first hand the sacrifices they made to serve and protect our country. This represents Leo Club’s way of giving thanks,” said senior Kayla Jones.

Of the people who wrote letters in the W. T. Harris Dining Hall, several of them said they had family or friends in the military which made the event even more special and important to them.

“We got 38 letters and although that doesn’t seem like a lot, that represents 38 different individual soldiers or veterans who will be able to get handwritten letters for the holidays. I think any contribution we can make in our community matters, no matter how small.” said Gabrielle Slabaugh, WU Leo Club President.

The importance of volunteering our time and talents not only serves others, but gives volunteers a gift in return by knowing that they made a difference in someone else’s life. A simple handwritten encouraging  message can make anyone smile.

“I volunteered for this event to be more active in the Leo Club and to help spread happiness and holiday spirit to people who serve in the military,” said sophomore Leo Club member Kirsten Gade when asked why she volunteered to help with the service project.

For more ways to get involved with the Leo Club, all students are welcome to attend the next meeting held on Nov. 14 at 6:30 in Hayes 202 to share information about diabetes as it is one of the five service areas of the International Lions Club and World Diabetes Day.  A special guest speaker will speak about volunteer work at the local hospital.

On Nov. 28th at 6:30pm in Hayes 202, the Leo Club will host a holiday party to celebrate the semester’s successes. Both of these events provide a great opportunity for everyone to participate in Leo Club activities and serve the surrounding community.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo Credit: Leah Joyner

Pictured above: (Left to right) Gabrielle Slabaugh, President of Wingate’s Leo Club. Bailey Freeburn is the treasurer

Bulldogs beat Limestone at homecoming and claim the SAC title

(EDITOR’S UPDATE: The Bulldogs ended their regular season with a 25-17 loss at Tusculum on Saturday. But Wingate, ranked No. 16 in Division II, earned a spot in the playoffs and will host the University of West Florida in a first-round game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Irwin Belk Stadium.) 

Harrison Taylor, Staff Writer

The Wingate University football team moved to 9-0 on Saturday in a win against Limestone College. The Bulldogs claimed the SAC as they demolished Limestone 44-20, climbing to #12 in the AFCA/NCAA Division II Coaches’ top 25 poll. This breaks a record for the team, as they were ranked for a fifth consecutive week in that poll.

During the game, senior running backs Blake Hayes and Lawrence Pittman combined for 279 yards rushing. While Limestone scored a touchdown early on in the game, the Bulldogs dominated in the second-half, as redshirt junior quarterback Dylan Williams threw a career-high of four touchdown passes.

Yesterday Wingate played Tusculum as their final regular game of the season. Despite their loss, the Bulldogs have claimed the SAC title as theirs, with no competition on the horizon.

Last Saturday was also Wingate’s Homecoming game, as the University saw a return of alumni and the crowning of this year’s homecoming King and Queen. Seniors Isaac Aning and Hannah Overcash took the crown as they were voted in by their peers, thus ending the week of festivities leading up to the game.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Wingate’s BIGG holds its Second annual Running of the Bullies

Tia Randolph, Staff Writer

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. 

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Photo by: Tia Randolph

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.

Edited By: Brea Childs

‘Class Cab’ Kicks Off Homecoming With a New Ride

Allison Hoyle, Staff Writer

Putting a spin on the hit TV show, Cash Cab, BARC put together an event this past Monday dubbed “Class Cab” to help kick off Wingate’s Homecoming week. The campus could be seen with several golf carts which were decked out in blue and gold decoration zooming around and passengers blurting out answers to the driver of the cart.

Passengers ranged from just one to a full cart .  Students were able to catch a ride on the golf carts and could answer Wingate related questions to win prizes while they were shuttled to their next class.

While students who were on teams competed for the Homecoming Cup, other students were able to participate and could win spirit items such as pom-poms, Wingate cups, koozies and several other goodies.

“As I was walking to the McGee Center, someone pulled up beside me on a Wingate decorated golf cart and asked if I needed a ride to my destination, I said sure and the next thing I knew I was being cheered on by the driver and another member of BARC as they asked me questions,” said Class Cab participate, Lizzie Gamwell. “Whenever I got a question right, they kept cheering me on and I ended up winning some gold beads and a koozie.”

Students were asked questions that ranged anywhere between traditional Wingate history and the knowledge of locations of different things on campus.

“I loved being able to ride from class to my apartment instead of having to walk, plus I won a free cup in the end and was also able to help my team win some points that went towards the Homecoming Cup,” said Kaley Geer. “I was kind of nervous about it at first because I wasn’t really sure what all I would be asked, but once I got started I realized that I actually knew a lot more about Wingate than I originally thought!

With other homecoming activities going on throughout the week, it was important to get students in the spirit by starting with something as interactive as Cash Cart.

“We had a great turn out with participants doing the Class Cab and I really enjoyed being a part of it with asking questions to students because it really showed how much students actually pay attention to their surroundings on campus,” said Mariah Teague, BARC spirit chair.

“I really believe that by BARC putting on this event, it put students in the mood for homecoming and that’s really what it’s all about. Seeing everyone so excited makes us excited and lets us know that we’re doing a great job at putting on these events,” Teague continued

Edited by: Andrew Elliott and Rachael Robinson