Deaf but not disabled: Author visits campus, shares inspiring story
Oct14

Deaf but not disabled: Author visits campus, shares inspiring story

Almost 40 years ago, a six-year-old little girl lost her hearing due to a serious bout of spinal meningitis. Later, this same little girl would overcome many obstacles, become Miss Deaf America, adopt a Deaf child named Zoe, and publish a book. This little girl’s name was Brandi Rarus. “When I lost my hearing about 40 years ago, I had no idea what an incredible journey I would go through,” Rarus said. Rarus spoke to UMHB students on Wed. Aug. 7, during chapel services about her incredible story. “It showed everyone on campus that being Deaf is not a handicap. It was really exciting to meet Brandi,” sophomore English major Guillermo Lopez said. Once Rarus became Deaf, she struggled, lost between the hearing and Deaf worlds. Because she could hear and speak before she was 6, she remained in hearing education, until she attended a Deaf camp. This camp proved to be a turning point in Rarus’ life. “Camp Mark VII was a rude awakening for me. It changed me,” Rarus said. “Everyone signed. The cooks, the lifeguard… everyone.” While Rarus was at camp, a minister taught the children that being Deaf is a gift from God and that they did not need to be ashamed of it. “I realized that I was okay. I didn’t have to keep trying to become someone I couldn’t become. I really think had I not gone, I probably would have gone to a hearing college, and married a hearing man,” Rarus said. From this point on Rarus embraced her Deafness. Rarus attended a Deaf college and married Tim, a Deaf man. Later down the road, Rarus desperately wanted a baby girl. However, God had another plan for Rarus. She birthed 3 hearing boys, the first hearing children in 124 years on Tim’s side of the family. The Rurus’ were looking into adoption when they received a phone call from the agency saying they had a Deaf female child. The Rarus’ knew that this girl, Zoe, was meant for them. “Zoe found her way to her home, my home,” Rarus said. “I cannot count how many people have said she’s lucky to have me, but I want to say ‘no, I’m lucky to have her.’” After adopting Zoe, Rarus dabbled in writing articles, but she could not get them published. Then Zoe’s story idea was born. Rarus interviewed Zoe’s birth family, and her first adoptive family to compile a book. Through Rarus’ book, Zoe’s birth mother and father were able to let go of their animosity towards each other and forgive. “When I started the book, BJ and Jess did not talk to...

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Bluebell makes a comeback

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream! During the hotter months, everyone loves to cool down with a bowl of their favorite Bluebell ice cream, whether it is sweet and salty Pecan Praline or old-fashioned Vanilla. However, due to a Listeria outbreak, Bluebell Creameries’ products were recalled in early spring. Southerners have been heartbroken to lose their favorite ice cream, and have supported Bluebell Creameries since their closure in April. The recall has inspired numerous memes, hashtags, and even t-shirts to commemorate what is being known as the Bluebell Famine of 2015. “It’s taken an emotional toll on my sweet tooth because I haven’t been able to eat Bluebell ice cream,” freshman marketing major Benjamin Roark said. Freshman Christian studies major Ashley Frank said that she was stunned that Bluebell had to be recalled. “I was really surprised by [the recall], because you think, it’s Bluebell, why is there anything wrong with it?” To get the ice cream business started up again, billionaire and philanthropist Sid Bass of Forth Worth partnered and invested in the company in early July. Selected flavors of Bluebell Ice Cream including Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Cookies ‘N Cream, and Great Divide, returned to selected counties on Aug. 31. Ice cream lovers flocked to the stores to buy a half-gallon of their favorite ice-cream. Sadly, Bluebell will not reach Bell County for a few months. UMHB has also been affected by the recall. When Crusader Stadium opened, the university partnered with Bluebell Creameries to serve a special purple vanilla ice cream now known as Crunilla. Due to the recall, UMHB instead partnered with Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream to create Cru Purple ice cream for the 2015 football season. Many people believe that there is a major difference in the two ice creams. “Bluebell’s Crunilla is more ice cream-like. Like when you have Bluebell’s Crunilla, it is much more traditional. It’s much more family-oriented. It might go for long walks on the beach, and have a nice quiet life,” junior international business and business management major Dylan Hall said. While Bluebell was unavailable, many people resorted to other brands; however, the diehards remained true to their Bluebell. “I didn’t eat ice cream. It didn’t have that same feeling of love,” Roark...

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New PAC sets the stage for the future
Sep16

New PAC sets the stage for the future

Performing arts students are eager for a building of their own. Construction could begin as early as December 2015, or as soon as the building can be fully financed. Currently, performing arts students are using Presser Hall. Built in 1929, Presser is one of the two oldest buildings on campus. With the arrival of the new PAC, students and professors will have ample room to practice and to thrill audiences with their performances. The $18.5 million project will include a new performance stage that will seat 540 people (163 seats in the balcony), a small 100-seat performance room similar to a blackbox, a rehearsal room that is the same size as the performance stage, dressing rooms for men and women that can be converted into classrooms, a state of the art design shop, a costume shop, a small recording studio for small ensembles or individuals, a box office, and office space for staff members. The new PAC will be built on the corner of University Drive where the Huckins Apartments are currently located, right at the entrance of the university. The 40,725 square-foot building is an original design by co-designers Randall Scott Associates, and Westlake, Reed, and Leskosky. The building will cover an entire avenue. “The design, while modern, fits with the campus architectural style,” Associate Vice President for Campus Planning Robert Pattee said. “The new space will certainly be beneficial to the college of the visual and performing arts because of what happens there,” Dean of Performing Arts Ted Barnes said. Right now, performing arts students are using Walton Chapel, Meyers Christian Studies Building, Manning Chapel, and Temple’s Cultural Activities Center for their performances. “We do a pretty good job with the old venues we have … but it [the PAC] will make it so much more fun for not only the performers, but also for the patrons who come and watch it,” Barnes said. One of the main reasons that the students and professors are looking forward to the new PAC is because the new building will keep the opera musical theatre troupe and various wind ensembles from having to travel somewhere for a performance. Sophomore music education major, Brianna Frederickson, expressed that not having to constantly pack up all of their equipment and move it miles away in another place will be very beneficial for the students. “We can just have everything central in one location. We don’t have to worry about anything being lost. Associate Director of Opera Music Theatre Penny Hogan said the PAC will give the opera theatre program more room to build sets, to house costumes, and to keep track of props....

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Freshmen experience first taste of campus
Sep01

Freshmen experience first taste of campus

As the school year begins, high school graduates from across the nation are moving into their respective colleges and universities, and adjusting to life away from home. Each university has its own customs, traditions, and majors, but I believe I attend one of the best universities in the nation This past Wednesday, all the incoming freshman moved into their dorms. Unlike most universities, the students did not have to lug all of their belongings up three flights of stairs. The university employed upperclassman to haul in the freshmen’s belongings into each dorm room. When I arrived on campus, I checked into Remschel Hall and took the elevator to my room in the basement. I waited around five minutes, and then my belongings arrived. I did not have to spend 30 minutes unpacking everything from my car, then drag it across the quad. Once I finished unpacking, I went to meet the president of the university. Dr. O’Rear and his wife did not just shake my hand and let me go on through. They asked me about my major, and talked to my mom. During Welcome Week, the Wednesday through Sunday before the first day of classes, the freshman were divided into family groups based on their major. I have enjoyed getting to know my family group, and getting closer to them. We are not all from the same major, but it has been interesting and rewarding to get to know students from my seminar class before the class actually begins. On Tuesday evening, Dr. Byron Weathersbee taught the freshman class about the traditions of the university, the alma mater, and the spirit dance. Once we did this, the freshman class led a tradition walk across campus. I enjoyed just cheering beside my fellow Crusaders, and walking across campus with them, where we finally ended up in the student union building. Then the pep band and the cheerleaders led us onto the field. It was impacting for me to run onto the field with all of the other freshmen. Some of them had never been to a game or even seen the field. But this week has not just been all about playing games and having fun. On Thursday, our first full day of Welcome Week activities, each family group went to different organizations in the Temple/Belton community to lend a hand. My family group went to a shelter called Family Promise, where we washed windows, cleaned the baseboards and walls, tested mattresses, and picked up trash. It was rewarding to give back to the people in our community. Sometimes I think we forget that there are people less fortunate...

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