Morgan Eller has a support system at Virginia Wesleyan like no other, she has opened many of our eyes to the truth and difficulties surrounding Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and now she is breathing with new lungs.
Morgan and her brother, Meade Eller, were diagnosed with CF at birth. In August, Morgan traveled from her home in Virginia Beach and spent two months in Durham, NC waiting for a transplant.
“[Morgan] was getting ready to go through the double lung transplant. However, in the middle of October I received word that while Morgan was waiting for a lung donor, she suffered from a respiratory failure and was fighting to stay alive,” said senior Christy Kyrus, Morgan’s friend and Sigma Sigma Sigma Sister. “Two days later, on Oct. 20, our prayers were answered and she immediately went into surgery and received her new lungs.”
“It was a scary thing for all of us here to know that,” said Jasmine Rivera, Morgan’s sorority sister and friend. “But Morgan is a fighter and she didn’t give up, she got her lungs and has already started rehab, so she could be back home by Christmas and be back in school by next semester,” said Rivera.
“Morgan is determined. It is amazing how much determination she has,” said R.J. Bonniwell, sophomore. “Currently, she is breathing on her own and all of her tubes [from surgery] are gone.”
Bonniwell currently holds the titles of Risk Management and Brotherhood as a brother of Phi Kappa Tau. Last semester, Phi Kappa Tau raised $450 by selling shirts to support the fight for CF.
Morgan is set to graduate Virginia Wesleyan in the spring as a recreation and leisure studies major.
“I remember one day she invited me back to her room. At this point I had no idea what was wrong with her,” said Kyrus while reminiscing about their childhood together. “I went back to her room and saw IV bags, medicine, etc. all over her room and it caught me off guard. She said she could trust me and she wanted to tell me what she had and why she was always missing school. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to do something, anything, to help her.”
To show their support Kyrus, along with Riviera and Bonniwell, went to the Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Auction and Dinner on Nov. 15 at the Founder’s Inn located in Virginia Beach.
“The benefit was attended by [us] and one alumni. We each purchased a rose for $25 for the cause,” said Bonniwell.
Phi Kappa Tau men and Sigma Sigma Sigma women have attended the Walk for CF at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and will be attending in the future. Both organizations are involved with charitable efforts for the fight for CF.
At the Virginia Beach walk this past year there was a powerful moment between Kyrus, Rivera and Eller.
“Last year at the Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis walk down at the Oceanfront, Morgan pulled Jasmine and I aside,” said Kyrus. “She explained to us that since she has a certain type of CF she cannot be around others that have CF, because it will get both her and the other people around her extremely ill. She then began to explain to us that there is a ceremony called the ‘65 Roses’ ceremony. Each person who has either passed away or is still suffering from Cystic Fibrosis is honored with a single red rose. She was upset that she could not accept the rose herself, but asked if Jasmine and I could go together.
Rivera and Kyrus went up after Morgan’s name was called to receive her rose.
“I remember as we waited for her name to be called, I turned to Jasmine and said, ‘We aren’t going to cry. We are going to stay strong for Morgan.’ When Morgan’s name was called at the ceremony, I remember grabbing Jasmine’s hand as we walked together to the stage. We accepted her rose on her behalf, and naturally we began to tear up because of how emotional the ceremony was.”
After we received the rose we walked back to where the rest of our sisters were.
The Sigma Sigma Sigma sisters wanted to recognize Morgan with a smaller rose ceremony since she could not attend the big one. The surprise included each sister that was in attendance handed Morgan a rose and she ended up with a bouquet of roses.
“Morgan’s face was just in shock and awe. She was speechless, and had to put on her oxygen supply so she could breathe while she was crying. It was a beautiful moment,” said Kyrus.
At the end of Morgan’s rose ceremony line Kyrus and Rivera handed her the red rose from the ceremony.
“We both handed it to Morgan and she just fell into our open arms and could not stop crying, which obviously made us all cry and the Sigma Sigma Sigmas and Phi Kappa Taus surrounding us made the moment powerful.”
“If I had to say one thing to Morgan at this very moment I would tell her how extremely proud I am of her. She truly lives up to her nickname ‘Amazing Morgan,’ said Kyrus. “I cannot wait until the day where she is back in this area so I can tell her how much of an inspiration and role model she is for me. She is planning to be home for Christmas and I cannot wait to hug her again.”
Members of the VWC community plan to honor Morgan and recognizing CF at the Men’s Basketball and VWC Hall of Fame Game on Jan 25th.
Freshman Darrell Wood always knew he wanted to give back to the community. However, he was not quite sure when and where in life he would start his journey. Prior to starting his college career, Wood would go on a yearly medical mission trip to Honduras. On this trip, along with others, he would go to a mountain to visit different villages and give medical assistance to those in need.
“I can remember waking up early, then traveling up the mountain-which took a little over four hours-but being able to serve them was worth it,” said Wood.
In order for them to get up the mountain, they would travel by bus, boat, donkey ride or even hike it to help others.
Wood will never forget helping one particular man who was in a machete accident and accidently cut off his arm. He described that as an “eye-opener,” but was happy that they were able to take the man down the mountain to get him the help he needed.
“To see the joy in people’s faces when they get the medical attention they need is just a blessing,” said Wood.
However, Wood later found himself needing medical attention. During his senior year in high school, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 18. Wood went through two rounds of chemotherapy, and just recently had surgery in October to remove his swollen lymph nodes.
“My scars define who I am as a person, and they tell what I’ve been through,” said Wood.
He is still currently recovering, but most importantly, he is cancer-free.
“Don’t give up, and never stop dreaming or living life because of your illness,” said Wood.
Wood, who is a local from Hampton, VA, decided to start his college career at Virginia Wesleyan. His turning point was attending admitted student day, where he made his final decision based on the college’s ambassadors, who made him feel welcome, and Dr. Travis Malone, associate professor of theatre for making a connection with him.
“For a professor that you barely know to take that extra time to get to know you as an individual, to help you succeed, meant a lot to me,” said Wood.
Because of that instance, Wood fell in love with Virginia Wesleyan and wanted to be a part of the Marlin community. He ended up choosing Wesleyan over Bridgewater and Hampden-Sydney.
One of his favorite things is the liberal arts curriculum. He enjoys receiving a well-rounded education and being able to explore the different aspects of life. For example, Wood is currently taking a Modern Mathematics course and really likes it, despite being a Music and Theatre major.
“It allows you to expand your mind, and yourself as an individual,” said Wood.
As of now, Wood continues to share his story to show people that it is possible to overcome any obstacle that comes your way. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.
This year, sophomores had the opportunity to attend a panel that provided insights on how declaring a major early in your college career can be beneficial for the years following. Dean Keith Moore organized the event and began talking to a select group of upperclassmen consisting of senior Steven Bond, junior Thomas Mills, senior Kaitlyn Dozier, senior Stacey Sank, senior Brooke Ladyman and senior Taylor Ladyman, all of whom were later placed on the panel.
“Dean Moore reached out to us and gave us topics we could talk about; we bounced ideas off each other and picked the most appropriate topics for students,” said Brooke Ladyman, who shared her experience with applying to graduate schools.
“My preparation included reflecting on my study abroad experience and the planning and preparation,” said Dozier. “Many questions arose and I realized the importance of sophomore year.”
Although each panelist had a different topic, they all told their experiences in hopes that the audience would leave having learned something new or understanding the importance of being proactive in their college career.
“I wanted the students to know that I have been in their shoes. I wanted to spread wisdom and help them find interesting things they can dip their feet into,” said Mills, who shared with the students his experience with an externship.
As a result of this panel, students left with new information that will become important over the course of their time as an undergrad.
“I learned that students have found it to be really helpful to do an externship,” s I didn’t even know what that was until this panel,” said sophomore Brooke Totzeck.
Following the panel, questions were answered and many discussions were prompted as students were exiting the panel.
“I feel that the panel was very beneficial because I was able to ask questions and learn new ways to help expand my education,” said sophomore Kayla Brown.
There were many positive remarks from those in attendance.
“This panel encouraged me to declare my major and plan out what I want to do with the rest of my time here in college,” said Totzeck. “The panel made me realize that there are so many opportunities that I have available to me.”
Each panelist shared a common goal: to encourage their peers to begin thinking ahead.
“I wanted the students to understand the importance of planning early on and doing research for the future,” said Taylor Ladyman, who also spoke about her experience with applying to graduate schools.
Emphasis was placed on just how important it is to start the plans for your future and not procrastinate. There should be less dwelling on making decisions and more acting upon them.
“I wanted to inspire them to be serious about their education,” said Brooke Ladyman. “I also wanted to promote awareness of what it takes to apply to graduate schools and encourage them to pursue this opportunity.”
While sharing personal anecdotes in front of an audience makes many people nervous, the panelists were in the right mindset; they simply reminded themselves that it would be beneficial to someone out in the audience.
“At first it was scary and then it became much easier after I realized it would be helpful,” said Taylor Ladyman.
For the panelists, realizing they are examples of what can be achieved throughout college was what motivated them the most to share their story with the audience.
“I like being able to speak in front of everyone, especially panel discussions because I am informing people that are interested in the information I am saying,” Steven Bond said, another panelist who promoted externships because of the experience he gained from them.
Speaking on academic topics can be difficult, but with one look around the room everyone could always find a reassuring face to focus on.
“It was nice to speak because I knew everyone I was presenting with and the crowd was made up of great students and supportive faculty,” said Dozier.
The positive feelings of the attendees were shared by the panelists. They believed they achieved their goal of providing their peers with insight for the near future.
“It was good to see people express interest and I am happy there were quite a few enthusiastic people,” said Mills.
“A variety of presenters helped to show different experiences and motivate students,” said Dozier. “We also wanted to show underclassmen they have the support of the campus community and we can help in any way possible.”
The panelists were able to leave with a feeling of accomplishment because they helped put into perspective the importance of academics and emphasized the connections a student is able to create on or off campus.
“I thought the panel went extremely well. There was great audience participation and I think many got valuable information from the panel,” said Bond.
Inspired by the panel, students absorbed the information they heard and have begun to reflect on how to be the most successful they can be. The panel left students wishing that it will be repeated upon the arrival of each new class.
“I did find this panel useful but I wish I had heard this information last year [as a freshman] so I could have planned things out and had more time,” said Totzeck.
Overall the panel was a great success for all who were in attendance and for the panelists who shared their experiences.
Considering his catch phrase, “I slept with Kevin Hurley,” many VWC students put under his spell can now claim that they too have “slept” with a hypnotist.
Sophomore Maurice Reed was one of the few who saw Hurley’s magic tricks before the show. “[Hurley’s tricks were] crazy, unpredictable and funny,” said Reed.
Reed could not wait to see the actual show, especially since it was his first time seeing Kevin Hurley perform. One of his favorite tricks was when Hurley made a card signed by a student appear in a little wooden box. Reed was blown away by Hurley’s tricks and wanted to see more.
Sophomore Mike Washington also witnessed Hurley’s entertaining pre-show performance.Unlike Reed, Washington had seen Hurley hypnotize some of our fellow Marlins previously. One of his favorite parts about the show is seeing people do crazy things that they normally would never do.
“I’m looking forward to it, and getting a good laugh from the things they do,” said Washington. Little did he know that he would later become one of the few who was hypnotized
during the show.
The lights began to dim, music started playing, and the crowd knew
it was show time. Hurley came out on the stage filled with excitement, and found ways to pump up the crowd.
Students were quickly raising their hands, jumping out of their seats and
rushing to the front to claim their seats to have the opportunity to get hypnotized by Hurley. He had about 15 students on the stage, and the only thing left for Hurley to do was to try to put them all under a hypnosis.
Hurley gave participants breathing exercises and said things to help them use their imagination. Even with Hurley’s preparation, there were a few students who could not undergo hypnosis.
Sophomore Courtney Gwin was one of the few who did not completely go through with the transition.
“I think it’s because I was trying too hard to use my imagination,” said Gwin.
She thought she felt it working at first, but then realized the hypnosis did not last much longer. Despite this, Gwin states she would definitely be willing to try it again.
For the rest of the participants, after the transition, they were finally under hypnosis. Viewers saw people sitting on the edge of their seats, laughing with their phones out, while they recorded their friends on stage. Hurley’s activities for hypnotized participants included pretending they were wild animals fighting, spotting their crush as they walk through the door at a club, being pilots and one
individual gave birth with the help of two other hypnotized students.
Junior Jules Whitehurst was hypnotized throughout the entire show.
“I remember almost all of it. I knew what was going on,” said Whitehurst.
Hurley described Whitehurst as the kind of participant who was fully hypnotized, yet could still remember huge parts of what happened throughout the show.
“This was my first time doing something like this, but I really enjoyed it,” said Whitehurst.
He remembers being able to pet his imaginary pet lizard, which he named Reximus. One of his favorite parts was breakdancing in the dance battle.
This show was an unforgettable experience, especially for those who have never seen anything like this. Freshman Vanessa Smith was left speechless by Hurley’s performance.
“I died laughing! I loved it,” said Smith. She had seen videos of people under hypnosis, but she had never seen it in person until Hurley’s show.
A dance competition, which featured both Whitehurst and Washington battling each other, was one of her favorite moments.
“I enjoyed seeing everyone’s real dance moves, as well as their true colors,” said Smith.
Other spectators agree with Smith’s response.
“The show went beyond my expectations,” said freshman Gabriella Ayala. “[And] there’s a possibility that I would do it next year.”
Even a few individuals who have previously been hypnotized by Hurley decided to come out to see his show. Sophomore Dionna Foxx was hypnotized by Hurley during his show last year.
“One of the things I liked about being hypnotized was that I knew what was going on, but I couldn’t control my actions. At the same time it was weird,” said Foxx.
Foxx enjoyed being a part of the show last year, but decided to sit back and watch some of her
fellow Marlins on stage this year. One of her favorite parts was when Washington gave birth to a baby boy and did not know what to name him. Even though Foxx was part of the show last year, she was intrigued to see what the students were going to do next.
Hurley definitely kept the audience on their toes, and the students kept him on his.
“I’ve never had a person who was hypnotized fall completely off the stage,” said Hurley.
This year he had just that. Hurley admits that this was the best show he has ever had at VWC and he would love to come back.
KEVNPHE are two young men who came to Wesleyan and have had the opportunity to turn their hobby into something serious. Kevin Bridgeforth and Greg Montgomery met through mutual friends before they attended college. They share a passion for music and have furthered their experience in the field.
When it comes to the creativity aspect, KEVNPHE share interests throughout the writing process. Each song stems from something deeper.
“We need to have a reason [meaning] to write; our inspiration also comes from beats within the industry,” said Bridgeforth.
Once they have been inspired, they begin to put the words to the beats as they are continuing to use their learned techniques to the best of their ability.
“When creating a song, we simply sit down and write together; we write to the beats of tracks which have inspired us,” said Bridgeforth.
Before each performance, they have warm-ups that get them pumped for the set ahead of them. In terms of preparation, they both listen to 90 percent of the music together. They also have individual routines which help them to prepare.
“Before each show, I always like to pray,” said Montgomery.
“I like to eat and do 50 push-ups before a show,” said Bridgeforth.
Performing in front of an audience causes a rush of many emotions; it is when all of the practicing and recording begins to make a difference.
“Being in front of an audience is a great feeling; it is definitely comfortable,” said Bridgeforth.
“It is a chance for us to get away from real life and it feels like it is just [us] up there on the stage,” said Montgomery.
There are many perks that stem from performing for an audience. KEVNPHE have had the opportunity to record in studios of their friends’ houses as well as professional places that are well-known in the industry.
While it is great to make music and work with one another on projects they are both passionate about, Bridgeforth and Montgomery agree the best part is actually being able to experience the transition of a song from the booth of a recording studio to the live performance on a stage.
Both performers love to see support from their friends and new spectators within the audience. It is one of the most exciting parts of performing for the group.
“I love watching the reaction of a new audience members; we love gaining new listeners as well as having friends and new people take in the set,” said Montgomery.
Their next performance is at the Iguana on 37th Street in Norfolk on Nov. 20 at 8 p.m.
You can listen to the group’s music on SoundCloud’s website and also keep up with the band by following them on twitter.
This semester has been underway for some time now, which means clubs are active and having meetings. There is a club out there for everyone. You can even turn one of your favorite hobbies into a club.
The Asian Culture and Entertainment Club is a special interest club that was started by a group of people who shared a common interest.
Sophomore Ashley Williams, who is currently the president for the Asian Culture and Entertainment club, joined last year because she was able to find people who shared a common interest in Asian anime with her.
“We accept anyone who comes to our meetings. We don’t judge at all,” said Williams.
Their meetings are every Friday in Batten 228 or Clarke 218 from 2-5 p.m. At their weekly meetings, they listen to music and watch anime television shows.
“As the president, I try to keep them on their toes by making each meeting interesting and different,” said Williams.
One interesting addition to their meetings is a “fact of the day.” The fact of the day is to educate members about the Asian culture. In the past, they have only focused on Japanese anime. However, this year they are embracing all Asian cultures, allowing the club to become more diverse.
Not only do they gain knowledge on campus, but they also find ways off campus. Nov. 1-3, members of the club will attend Nekocon, which is a convention focused around the Asian anime community.
“We put thought into our events, and try to get those from our community involved,” said Williams.
The club plans on having a Halloween party on Oct. 25 from 2-5 p.m. in Batten 228. Everyone is welcome.
Anyone interested in joining the Asian Culture and Entertainment Club should contact Ashley Williams at