Daily Archives: December 5, 2013

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“Get your mind right”

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THOMAS MILLS
Photo Editor

Defense and leadership contribute to Marlins’ early season success.

All season long, the players of the Men’s Basketball team have been saying the same thing to get themselves ready for games.
“Get your mind right.”
“It’s a saying the University of Alabama football team uses,” said senior point guard Aaron Clark. “We have kind of adopted that saying to make sure that we are completely focused every single time we step on the court.”
So far, the mindset has worked. The Marlins have won six straight games to open the season, despite not being ranked in the national pre-season polls. Much of their early success can be attributed to their focus on the defensive side of the ball.
“Our attention to detail on the defensive end of the ball allows us to score easy shots on the other end of the court,” said senior guard D.J. Woodmore.
“Everyone is buying in to our defensive philosophy,” Clark said. “We are way ahead of where we were last year.”
The results have been dramatic. The Marlins are now winning their games by an average of 18.4 points per game, 23rd best in the nation. Moreover, the Marlins are shutting down their opponents’ three point field goal opportunities, allowing only 18 in their first six games, tied for 10th best in the nation.
However, their defensive success can be credited to the leadership by the upperclassmen players, who have helped create a cohesive unit despite fielding 10 new freshmen players.
“The upperclassmen have eased them along by either helping them with the plays or just telling them coaches’ tendencies,” said Clark. “Anything really to give them an upper hand, so they don’t make the same mistakes we did.”
“I think our leadership has kept all the freshmen and even the new guys focused,” said Woodmore. “There are no practices or games in which we just go through the motions.”
Despite how new they are to the group, the freshmen players have already made an impact on the team.
“They’re very energetic and they keep the locker room loose,” said Clark. “Some of them may not play as much as some of the upperclassmen but they are just as valuable.”
“We have a talented freshman class, and we are going to need a lot of them to step up big for us down the stretch in a couple big games this year,” said Woodmore.
With strong leadership and defensive performance, the Marlins have quickly climbed the national rankings, earning the 13th spot earlier this week. Despite this, the team has no plans to change who they are anytime soon.
“We know our game plan and our team identity,” Clark said. “We all know our roles and play them to the best of our ability and that’s why we have been successful thus far.”

“Catching Fire” takes flight

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Emily Gibson
Staff Writer

The phenomenon continues to build strength as the sequel is released and audiences across the world are engulfed and amazed

“This is not a fairy tale; it’s a war, and in war, there are tragic losses that must be mourned,” said Suzanne Collins of her “Hunger Games” book series. The wildly popular trilogy was published in 2008, and in just five years the first two novels have already been adapted into films, the latest of which premiered on Nov. 22.
The “Hunger Games” trilogy centers around a corrupt government that supresses its citizens by making two children from each of the twelve half-starved districts participate in a competition called the “Hunger Games”.
During the competition, the 24 participants fight to the death, leaving a lone, victorious survivor. While the novel also explores themes of power, class, identity and love, many people remain shocked at the brutality and violence of kids killing kids.
“I think a franchise about violence of any kind is popular because people are curious to know the consequences of such violence,” said freshman Lauren Aktug. “People also relate to the good guys of such a story, so they feel a sort of bitterness toward the antagonists, and even sort of wish this sort of violence upon them.”
The first “Hunger Games” film and its recent sequel, Catching Fire, were both rated PG-13. Since the movie makers were targeting teenagers and preteens to see the film, they adapted the movies to be less violent than the books, which if strictly followed would be rated R due to the level of violence and gore involved during the killing of children.
Still, the “Hunger Games” movies have been applauded for true to the books main plotline.
“I watched the first Hunger Games movie before I even read the series. And, although there were one or two differences between the two, I enjoyed them both the same. I was able to read the book as the movie played in my head,” Aktug said.
But more than portraying the violence of the war, the “Hunger Games” series has underlying themes of division, unity, and strength. The series’ protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, proves that women can be strong in a non-stereotypical or overkilled way, and the complexity and depth that she is written with has led fans to hail her as one of the most refreshing contemporary female characters.
“Katniss represents the women in the world who may live in terrible conditions yet have the ability to use their voice to change the world,” Aktug said.
The world of the “Hunger Games” is broken up into twelve districts by the government in the Capitol. With this concept, Collins makes a point about the powerlessness that comes with disunity, and the importance of overcoming class and race divisions to create a more equal society.
The “Hunger Games” world, though futuristic, highlights the way society is today,” Aktug said. “The gap between the wealthy and the poor is growing larger every day. [The series] represents how a community can come together to overcome corruption.”
When William Golding published his child violence novel, Lord Of The Flies, no one made #TeamRalph or #TeamPiggy T-shirts. But since its publication in 1954 to the beginning of “The Hunger Game’s” fad, society has not lost its interest in the brutal yet oddly fascinating situations in which children become savages. And such stories prompt young people to think about how they would handle a desperate situation like the Hunger Games.
The “Hunger Games” phenomenon has spread so far that the novel is beginning to replace “Lord Of The Flies” in school curriculums because of its contemporary look at gender, class, race and power, as well as desperation and violence.
As “Catching Fire” hits the box office, fans around the globe are pouring into theaters to see the highly anticipated sequel. The film has thus far received positive reviews and is expected to surpass the first installment of the trilogy in earnings and reviews.
As the film is released, fans flock to the movies with high expectations and visions of the book fresh in their minds. This movie promises more plot development, deeper interactions between the characters and some serious fight scenes involving apes, poison mist and trident wielding pretty boys.
“The Lord Of the Flies” has been a part of the American school curriculum for 59 years, yet that position is being threatened by the growing popularity of the “Hunger Games”. Whether or not the trilogy will last like Harry Potter or sink into obscurity like Twilight is unclear, but the odds are looking “ever in its favor.”

Cystic Fibrosis: the fight breathes on

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RAYVEN DAVIS
Community Editor

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.

Wood aspires to help make a difference

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KAYLA BROWN
Staff Writer

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.

Defeating setbacks, pursuing new goals

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Candice Weckman
Sports Editor

Erica Keil had been away babysitting for the weekend. About 20 minutes after she returned home, her body unexpectedly gave out. First, Keil felt extreme pain in her legs and developed a fever. Then, she had trouble breathing and communicating.
“I fell apart,” said Keil. “I’d rather break both of my legs than go through that kind of pain.”
Keil’s parents rushed her to the hospital. Ten minutes after arriving, she lost consciousness. The next morning, she was sent home with no clear answers to why the episode had occurred. In the weeks following her hospital visit, she continued to have seizure-like episodes.
“My symptoms started with severe pain in my legs and progressed to me posturing and losing control of my body,” said Keil.
Finally, the Keils saw a specialist regarding their daughters’ episodes and symptoms. The specialist tested for the parvovirus infection. The test results came back positive.
The parvovirus infection is a highly contagious illness most commonly found in children. While it is often mild and requires little treatment in children, the infection can be very serious in adults.
“Most people are immune to it, or if they have it, they don’t show symptoms,” said Keil. “I am not immune to it and I experience severe symptoms.”
The first weekend in August, Keil’s first major episode occurred. Her legs began aching and throbbing and pain surged through her veins. Her skin turned pale white as she entered her car to drive home.
Before she could start her car, Keil began to twitch and she lost all control of her body. This seizure-like episode lasted for two hours.
“When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t remember a thing,” said Keil.
A few weeks later, Keil experienced another major episode while driving on a major highway. After this episode occurred, she and her parents knew that there was more to her condition than just the parvovirus infection.
Keil’s parents took her to the hospital, where she stayed for three days. During her stay, she saw another specialist, who gave her further information.
“It [the parvovirus] clashed with another virus in my system, and when the two viruses clash that is what causes the episodes,” Keil said.
When Keil left the hospital, the doctors told her that she would not be able to return to Virginia Wesleyan on time, meaning she would have to miss the beginning of the soccer season.
Devastated by the news, Keil remained determined to finish out her senior year of soccer. She contacted her coaches almost immediately after learning of her illness.
“She let us know right away,” Head Women’s Soccer Coach Jeffery Bowers said.
Unfortunately, only a few weeks after returning to school and practice, the parvovirus stuck again. Keil began having episodes three to four times a week.
One evening on the way to a game, Keil lost all feeling in her legs, her feet turned purple, and her hands froze.
“It was scary. It wasn’t your usual soccer injury, and it was something I had never seen before,” freshman soccer player Tiffany Lennon said.
After the episode, Keil realized that the parvovirus was entirely too serious to allow her to continue playing soccer.
“I originally came to school with the intention of fighting through and playing, but after having a severe episode and seeing that my body was completely worn down and my parvo numbers were very high… I made the decision, along with my coaches, doctors, and family, that not playing soccer would be best for my health,” Keil said.
Not only has her soccer career come to a sudden halt, but her professional career has also been put on hold.
As a senior soccer player at Virginia Wesleyan, Keil has dreamed of working at a Department of State school and playing soccer in a foreign league after graduation for quite some time now.
“I have been told by my doctors that I will not be able to student-teach and that being in a classroom will probably not happen for two to three years because my immune system is just too worn down and I am too at risk from a health perspective,” Keil said.
Despite facing serious setbacks, Keil is determined to come out on top of it all.
“Regardless of what stands in her way, she always attempts to overcome it,” senior soccer player Emily Sheridan said.
Keil is unsure if she will ever be able to play soccer again, but she is still working toward that goal by running and doing sprint workouts. Her next goal is to start lifting weights again.
“Our main goal is to make sure she’s healthy,” said Coach Bowers “That’s the most important thing.”
Keil has even started making alternative plans for her future.
“I am looking to start coaching because I find a lot of happiness in that. We are currently looking for a graduate assistant position for me to take so that I can begin graduate school.”
While everyone is amazed by her strength and determination, Keil says that she owes it all to her family, friends, teammates, and coaches.
“I couldn’t ask for a better support system then the people I have in my life. It hasn’t been the easiest journey, but they have stuck by even when it was hard,” Keil said.
Her positive attitude has played a major role in the outcome of what could have become a tragic situation. Although her illness is life-changing, Keil has not let it overcome her.
“It’s definitely not what I thought would be going on at this point in my life, but I am excited to see what comes from it,” Keil said. “I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am just now starting to see the reasons for this.”

Panel helps sophomores strive for success

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KACI PARKER
Community Editor

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.