Tag Archives: Students

Whats your story?: Wingate community helps Maria Cepeda cope with her loss

Kendall Sienon, Staff Writer

Wingate, N.C. — Life hands you lemons, throws you curve balls, and may knock you down. But it is how people deal with those adversities that make them truly incredible people. Most college students worry about finals or what they are going to wear that weekend. For some, life has different plans.

Maria Cepeda, a junior from Port Charlotte, F.L, faced one of the biggest challenges of her life—losing her father. “My father was very kind and loving,” says Maria, “he was non-judgmental and very accepting of everyone; he always had my best interest at heart.”

Photo Source: Wingate Athletics

On February 18, 2017 Nicholas Fortunato left the world due to cancer that spread throughout his body. “I feel like a different person since he left, but I know he is watching over me and cheering for me as I go through life,” states Maria.

Growing up, Maria’s childhood was filled with lots of family and laughter. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Maria and her mother moved to the United States at age five.

They moved to Miami and that is where her mother met her new husband and Maria’s stepfather, Nicholas. “Even though he wasn’t my father by blood that didn’t stop him from loving me. My dad taught me a lot about life and was always helping me strive to be better and for that he is my biggest role model,” states Maria.

Losing her father has been the hardest thing Maria has had to do. He raised her from age seven and remained her primary parent after her mother and him divorced. It’s never easy to lose a parent, especially at a time when you need them most.

Maria’s reaction to this tragic event makes her an incredible person. She remains positive even when it gets hard. “I try to have a good attitude about things and realize that I can’t control everything. It could always be worse,” says Maria. She is happy to have loving friends and support system here at Wingate that is always there when she needs them.

Maria came to Wingate when her lacrosse coach recruited her to play here. She visited twice before making the decision to commit. “I fell in love with the area and the people,” says Maria, “It feels like home. it has been filled with lots of support and love from my teammates, friends, and the community.”  

Life is unpredictable and erratic, but people like Maria who face everyday as it comes despite whatever adversity there plagued with, are truly admirable people.

Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s your story?: Aderson returns to Brazil after a year of experiences at Wingate

Andrew Elliott, Staff Writer

One night, I walked into my brother’s jazz combo rehearsal and saw an unfamiliar face; Arte immediately introduced him to me. “Andrew, I want you to meet our new guitarist, Aderson; he’s a student/teacher here.” said Arte, as I shook hands with Aderson da Silva. Who knew that this man would later become more than just a musician, student, and teacher at Wingate University.


As an international student that taught English in his native country, he couldn’t say no to the opportunity. “I’ve been teaching English for the past 10 years;” said Aderson, in regard to his decision to study abroad. “And to have the opportunity to come to a country I have been studying and teaching my whole life, and teach my own culture and language here, I felt that it was the golden opportunity to put different things I’m passionate about together.”

Though teaching was not his ideal career in the beginning for Aderson. “I started to teach as early as 17, and my mom is a professor, so I grew up with that,” said Aderson, “It started up on accident; I did not expect that I would teach. But when the circumstances lead into something— needed, let’s say the money— and I had the fluency of the language and they invited me to teach. And slowly, I began to realize that it was something that I really wanted to do.”

His musical experience, however, was strongly influenced by his father. “Let me add that my father is a musician. He and his brother had a musical group when they were younger; so they would perform all the time and I would have to say that was my top influence,” said Aderson.

“In my teenage years, I began listening to all sorts of genres of music and getting interested in different stuff. And before I knew it, I was interested in at first singing and then I decided to buy myself a guitar and learn how to play it. And slowly but surely one thing led to another and I was doing it.” Aderson’s guitar is a custom made acoustic from a company in Brazil.

As his vista comes to an end this semester, Aderson wants to be remembered by Wingate University as a man who was involved. “I want to be remembered as a person who is here and making the most of experience,” said Aderson. “A person who did his best to do what he was here to do. You know, the FLTA program tell us that we are cultural ambassadors; so if I could throughout this year show people around me a little bit of Brazil and a little bit our language, our culture, and what my country is then my goal would have been achieved.”

And his goal was achieved based off the people he interacted with at Wingate University. “Aderson has been such a great addition to this campus.” Said Dr. Little-Sweat, in regard to Aderson’s presence on campus. “I have many children around here, but I’ve never had a Brazilian son before; and that’s Aderson.”

Another one of Aderson’s close friends, Arte Elliott, was also touched by his presence on campus. “From the first time I met Aderson, I knew he was a person that was a great man and one who would benefit Wingate University.” Said Arte. “I’m so blessed to call him my friend.”

“I am certain that I am going home with a considerable number of very good friends that I made here; and I’m really thankful for that, but that’s just a bonus.” Said Aderson “Anything beyond what I said before just adds up to it”

After Aderson leaves the states, he plans to return to Brazil for two years according to his program. “After those two years, I’m going to apply for either a doctorate or masters; I’m not sure. But when I come back, I’m going to teach private classes and use some of that time to my musical work because it’s something that also helps me make a living, ” said Aderson.


Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s Your Story?: Kimmi Moore faces trials that make her stronger

Maggie Smith, Staff Writer

Wingate University’s total enrollment is approximately 3,150. Out of those 3,150 people, each one has their own story. Students walk past one another everyday unaware of each other’s stories.

Some stories need to be heard so others fighting the same battles know they’re not alone, but sometimes people are afraid of sharing their story. Sophomore, Kimmi Moore has her own story and is willing to share it with others.

Photo Source: Wingate Athletics

For many students freshman year is challenging as it is a big transition from high school to college. For Moore however, the transition was an easy one. Moore started Wingate University in August of 2015.

Moore went to Wingate on a soccer scholarship. “Because I came in on a sports team with people I already knew, the transition was fairly easy. I already had friends here and they were able to help me transition into the college life and help me with classes which showed me time management” said Moore.

Although Moore got off to a good start and liked Wingate, life threw her a curve. “My freshman year during spring break I went home for a few days and before coming back to school my boyfriend committed suicide” said Moore.

“When you lose someone to depression you automatically feel like it’s your fault,” said Moore, “It took me a very long time to realize it wasn’t my fault.” Moore also said “depression is an inner battle with yourself and the best thing you can do is find little things to look forward to.”

Moore said she took time off to cope and better her mental health after battling depression. “I didn’t return to school for awhile because my parents were worried and I wanted to remain home and stay close to them time.”

Moore eventually decided to come back and continue playing soccer. “I came back because I knew it was the best thing for me and I had so many opportunities ahead of me,” said Moore, “I’m glad I came back because I focused on soccer, bettered my play, made new friends, and I was beginning to be myself again.”

Moore credits her teammates and her coach for helping her on her “tough days.”

Moore also said her teachers were very understanding and helped with the work she missed. Moore said she was even able to finish the semester with a gpa over 3.0.

One of her teammates and best friends, Erica Pacello said Kimmi’s strength is something she’s never seen before. “Her situation from the outside looking in seems unbearable and somehow she managed to channel her weaknesses into strengths on and off the soccer field,” said Pacello, “she’s an amazing friend to me, she asks me if I’m okay when I know sometimes she’s barely getting through the day.” Pacello also said that she knows the battle Kimmi is fighting is internal but she roots for her every day.

Kimmi has found love again and is in a relationship. Her boyfriend Nick Sprinkle said she shows her strength everyday. “She doesn’t let little mishaps and setbacks deter her from being one of the most kind and caring people I have ever met,” said Sprinkle, “Every single day she gets up, goes to class, practice, rotations, and even has time for herself, when many people can barely balance school and homework she is balancing ten things at once and it puts into perspective how much she can bare.”

Sprinkle also said, “You would never know that she was struggling unless she told you. She always puts others before herself, even if it costs her something. She does not think twice about helping someone else.” Nick said Kimmi is one of the strongest people he’s ever met.

“Wingate has impacted my life because without all the support I was offered I would not have been able to come back. This school puts each other first, offers you with options to expand your knowledge and try new things, and is just the home feel,” said Moore, “this school has changed my life, made me a better individual and opened up new horizons.”

Moore advises others who are dealing with depression to keep busy and to lean on your friends. “Your friends are here to help you, call them…you think you’re burdening them with your problems so you bottle them up which makes it worse.” Moore said she has a tattoo on her spine that says, The pain you feel today is the strength you’ll feel tomorrow. Keep going. “If you tell yourself that everyday, it’ll start to get better and you will achieve what you want, so just keep fighting” said Moore.

Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s your story?: Dorso graduates with masters degree, walking boot, and ever-present smile

Nick Vaughn, Staff Writer

Aimee Dorso is no stranger to Wingate University. Dorso spent her undergraduate years here, graduation with a degree in accounting last spring. She returned this year to complete the Master of Accounting program. By day Dorso is a student getting her masters, but by night she is the night manager at the Ethel K. Library where she is dubbed “Queen”

Dorso is set to graduate with her masters in Accounting in just a few short weeks. Looking back on her four/ five years at Wingate University— there have plenty of ups and downs. One thing that has stayed constant, is that Aimee Dorso will always, no matter the circumstances, have a smile on her face. That smile and positive outlook has been tested through her years at Wingate, especially the last two.

During her senior year of undergrad, Dorso broke her foot. She was in a walking boot cast for nearly two months. It was always a lighthearted joke and funny memory amongst friends. Just a few weeks ago after Dorso was closing the library for the night and walking to her car she stepped off of the curb wrong and broke her foot once again. The boot may be back, but the smile remains.

Caleb Ramey, a close friend of Dorso said: “The one thing I have always loved about her is her willingness to always look on the bright side and be positive. I don’t think I have ever seen Aimee not make light of a bad or hard situation. “Breaking both of your feet twice in two years would be hard on anyone’s ability to go about daily life in college and while working. But Aimee chooses to push through and keep going, it’s as if she never broke them.”

She is bummed that she will be in the boot when she walks during graduation this spring upon completion of her master’s degree. But she stated, “Stuff happens, if this is the worst thing that I will encounter, then I am doing okay. You have to stay positive, rather you are going through a break-up, a death in your family, a hard financial situation, a broken foot, or whatever it may be. Just know you will get through this. This situation you are in now does not define you as a person. You just have to keep going, just keep kicking as Dory from “Finding Nemo” says!”

Aimee is right. We all go through ups and downs, barriers and disappointments. What defines us is not what happened, but how we react and choosing to get up from that setback. Erin Draughn, a close friend of Aimee said “If it’s bad news, a bad grade, a disappointment, a broken foot, whatever it is Aimee reminds me to keep going. If she can do it, we can. That’s why I love our friendship and look up to her. She always sees the silver lining in anything that happens that we might not have planned for.” Draughn stated.

Dorso recognizes how hard life is for some, and tries to take things into perception. That is something that we all need reminding of from time to time. A problem can seem so huge at the time, but in the grand scheme of things, they were small and we can get through them. Aimee reminds friends like myself, Erin, Caleb, and all of Wingate University of that each and every day.

When asked if she had any closing words, Dorso smiled, turned around and said: “Just remember, these boots were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do, one of these days these boots are going to walk all over you. But seriously have fun everyone, college goes by in the blink of an eye, enjoy the moment, you will get through the barriers and be all the much stronger for it.”

Edited By: Brea Childs

What’s your Story?: Shaw shares her experience at Wingate

Alex King, Staff Writer

Rebecca Shaw’s story began in 2012 when she began applying for college. She had her mind set on getting far away from the small town of Indian Trail that she has lived in her whole life.

“I applied to Wingate because it was right down the road and my brother went there but I had no intention of going there,” Shaw stated. “My dream school was Anderson.”

Shaw found out about a few colleges before finding out that she had been accepted to Wingate but not Anderson, but she was still determined to move away from Union County.  In January of 2012, her perspective changed.

“We found out my sister was pregnant in early January and we were all very excited. It was my first nephew.. Then on January 20th my dad passed away,” Shaw remembered. “That was horrible and I realized what was really important, and that was family.“

Due to these life events, Shaw decided being right down the road was for the better.

“Once I had decided on Wingate, I tried to get really involved right away,” said Shaw. “I joined the Facebook page, I added everyone as a friend. I was so excited. Honestly, probably too excited.”

When she moved in, it was a different story.  “When I actually got here, I stayed in my room most days, I wasn’t really that involved until the spring. I was really worried I was just going to drop out or end up transferring.”

Shaw said she looked to transfer to Appalachian State but ended up staying at Wingate.

“When I decided to stay at Wingate, that’s when I really started to get involved. I applied to be an Orientation Leader, the position we call Orientation Coordinator now.” Shaw explained that she was the only freshman girl to be accepted for the position.

“I immediately fell in love with being an Orientation Leader. It gave me such a sense of family and I talked with some of the Orientation Leaders and they said, ‘I would do this for the rest of my life if I could’ and that’s when I realized that I would totally want to do that, too.”

Shaw started looking into working more with involvement and orientation on Wingate’s campus and found that working on a college campus with students was something she would really enjoy.

“Once I got involved with Orientation, so many doors opened up. I worked pretty much anywhere you could imagine.” Shaw said working at all of these places around campus helped show her that marketing was not what she really wanted to do with her life.

Shaw looked back and realized the mentors she had played a huge role in finding that higher education is something she would like to pursue. “My mentors really helped me see that I can make an impact in students’ lives.”

“I did some research and found that I wanted to go to school for my Masters in Higher Education. I talked with my boss and she helped me figure out what schools had good programs and I found a few schools to apply to.” Shaw had a similar experience while applying for graduate schools that she had when she applied to college in 2012.

“I had my heart set on University of Rochester but they were the last school I heard back from,” said Shaw. “I heard back from my two other backup schools, in which i didn’t get into. I felt awful.”

A few weeks after her second rejection letter, she got an email from the University of Rochester. “I got an email from them and it said that I was going to have to wait even longer to hear back and I thought ‘you have got to be kidding me, I have to wait even longer’ and I was physically sick to my stomach, that’s how bad it was.”

The next day, Shaw received another email. This time it was much different. “I got the email and I didn’t want to open it, like, I was so nervous I almost just deleted it. I got enough courage to open it and I’m glad I did because I had been accepted into their Masters of Higher Education program.”

From there, the journey has only gotten better. “Once I was accepted into the program, I got started applying for assistantships and I’ve already accepted an offer to be basically what we would call an RD or residence director.”

Shaw looked back at her time at Wingate and realized that everything worked accordingly, even when she thought it wouldn’t.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Wingate Baseball helps to fight cancer one swing at a time

Brandon Bowles, Staff Writer

On Wednesday May 3rd Wingate University Baseball was able to give back to the community by partnering with the Levine’s Children’s Hospital. As of 2014, 15,780 children and adolescence from ages one to nineteen suffer from cancer. Those that lose their battle with cancer are a little less than 2,000 in the United States.

To do their part, the baseball team decided to host a Homerun Derby that anyone willing to donate to the Levine’s Children’s Hospital could participate in. $20 was the entry price for athletes and $10 for non-athletes.

To make things fair, portable fences were brought in one for the guys and one for the girls. Each participant was given five outs to hit as many homeruns as possible. Baseball players had to hit the ball over the normal outfield fence for it to count as a homerun, whereas the guys had to hit it over the second closest fence from home plate and the girls the closest fence from home.

Once everyone got their chance to swing the top eight were selected to move on to the next round. Those participants were Rebekah Woods with eight homeruns, Naomi Sapp with six, Reece Daniel with five, Bub DeLuca, Tyler Napierala, Bradly Brown, Kemper Patton, and Brandon Donahue with four. There would be four head to head matchups to see who would make it to the semifinals and the winners of the semifinal match would make it to the finals.

In the quarter finals Woods would oust Sapp with 11 homeruns, Daniel would hit one to oust Donahue, Brown would oust DeLuca with four homeruns and Patton would oust Napierala with four. In the semifinal round, Woods and Daniel went ont to the finals after beating Brown and Patton respectively.

By this time both players were tired and did everything they could to muster the energy for one more round. When Daniel went first, you could see the fatigue in his eyes. He went through his batting routine and prepared himself for the first pitch.

Knowing that he is setting the bar he hits the second pitch out of the park followed by another one. He then proceeded to make two consecutive outs followed by another homerun followed by another out. On his second to last swing, he kept the ball fair giving him four total for the round.

Woods, on ther hand, knew what she had to hit four to tie five to win. As she stepped to the plate, she took the first pitch like Daniel. She swung at a pitch that didn’t quite make it out, giving her one out.

Then on the third pitch she hit the ball over the fence and followed it with another,, giving her two for the round. She made another out on the next pitch following it with back-to-back homeruns. At the end of the round both players were tied meaning that they would go to a swing off.

In a swing off both batters got a chance to take one swing and if both players fail to hit a homerun the process is repeated. The swing off happened twice with Woods taking the title of Homerun Derby Champion.

In the end, it was not about who hit the most homeruns it was about giving back and helping those that are fighting for their lives.   

Photo Source: Wingate Baseball Twitter

Edited by: Brea Childs

Wingate Senior Athletes are preparing to hang up their collegiate sports careers

Maggie Smith, Staff Writer

Some people’s first words are ball. Some people start playing a sport not long after they even learn to walk. People grow up around sports, and sports become apart of people’s life. For some, it is their life. So what’s it like when it’s all over?

For some people sports becomes a way a life. It requires commitment, hard work, and dedication. It can be rewarding and disappointing all in one. Sports is an emotional journey and the emotion of your last game is indescribable.

The saying goes, “All great things must come to an end.” This saying only helps a little. Like anything in life, you don’t realize how much you love something until it’s gone and you never know when it’s going to be taken away.

Through sports you gain your best friends. You see each other every day at practice and you bond because of the mutual passion you share for the sport. You bond through competing against each other. You bond over wins and over losses. You build each other up and you have each others back.

In high school, your last game is sad because you know you’re about to go separate ways with your teammates and most of them you’ll never see again. It’s sad to know you’ll never be apart of that same team with those same players again; it’s sad to know you’ll never play for that same coach again.

But for those who get to play again in college it makes it a little easier because you know it’s not completely over. You’re excited to move on to bigger and better things and to play at the next level.

For Wingate Senior Lacrosse player, Kendall Sienon, who’s Lacrosse career just ended, she said that playing a sport in collegian level versus a high school level is “virtually incomparable.”

Leaving high school behind and your high school teammates behind can feel like the end of the world. You’ve known most of your teammates and friends since elementary school, and you honestly believe nothing’s going to compare to it and the goodbyes are the hardest.

What you don’t realize is, playing a college sport is completely different. Sure you may only know your college teammates for four years whereas you knew some of your high school teammates for 12, but the goodbyes feel completely different and maybe even worse.

In college, you start all over. You have a new coach to impress and new teammates to become friends with. You have to adapt and gel with your new teammates. Playing on a collegiate team, you play with teammates from all over, not people you’ve known since elementary school, and not people who were raised like you. You start over and you think you have a whole four years to develop your role on the team and to become best friends with your teammates.

What you don’t realize is you only have four years and how fast they’ll fly. You don’t realize it’ll fly even faster than high school. You don’t realize that you’ll make lifelong friends that you develop even closer relationships with than the ones you had in high school.

You leave high school and never talk to some of those teammates again, and knowing that, you’re aware that it’s most likely going to happen with some of your college teammates, and that hits home. Especially because you and your teammates are all about to go separate ways all over the country and join the real world.

Sienon said she cried after her last game. “The emotions got to me and not because we lost but because of the sinking realization that this was the last lacrosse game I will be playing in,” said Sienon, “It is a little sad to be done but it hasn’t sunk in quite yet that I will not be stepping on the field again.”

When your high school sports career ends and you leave those teammates behind, it almost feels like your world is coming to an end, and in a way it is…that part of your world, that chapter, does end…but a new one begins.

When your college career ends, it’s a whole different story. When it ends your whole sports career is over, and it’s an even harder goodbye. You only had four years with those college teammates who also became your best friends, and those long four years spent everyday together and those long hours of practice, still aren’t enough.

When you play a college sport your best friends automatically are your teammates because those are the first people you meet on campus and they’re the people you spend the most time with. Moving on to the real world is already scary but leaving behind your best friends is even scarier.

I have gained some of my closest friends through lacrosse. Lacrosse brings us together as a mutual interest but I feel as if being apart of a sport and experiencing those things as teammates and friends brings you so much closer together. Some of them will definitely be in my wedding and a part of my life for many years to come,” said Sienon.

College is the best years of your life and a huge part of that for a collegiate athlete is because of the sport they played. In college you find yourself and a huge part of that is because of your best friends, you find yourselves together.

Playing a college sport plays a big role in finding yourself. You learn to lead, to work with others, how to communicate with others, etc. There is a lot you can learn about life from a sport.

When your college career ends it’s hard to accept that you’re about to leave this place that has been your home for four years. You’re about to leave a place where you find yourself.

You’re leaving a place where a thousand memories were made. It’s hard to leave that and all your friends behind and it’s extremely hard to leave behind the sport you’ve been passionate about since you were young.

The sport that has brought you so much happiness. When you play on your home field for the last time you realize you’ll never get that feeling back. The feeling of your friends and family in the crowd cheering for you.

Playing the sport you love with your best friends. Laughing on the field and leaving everything you have on that field. A sport can even be a stress reliever during college. For those few hours your on that field your head is in the game and all the stress of school is temporarily gone.
The question then becomes. what happens when you enter the real world? What’s your stress reliever? Sure you can play in rec-leagues, intramural leagues, adult leagues, etc. but will it ever really be the same?

Edited by: Brea Childs