Cru Knights: Annual night of fun, laughter
Mar04

Cru Knights: Annual night of fun, laughter

The Crusader Knights contest was held earlier this month on Saturday, Feb. 21. Sophomore Austin Soto walked away with the crown and title of Mr. Crusader Knights after representing the sophomore class.   Crusader Knights is one of the many long-standing traditions that UMHB is known for. Not only is it fun for the student body, friends and family to watch, but it shows a great deal of character by the guys who participate along with the strong friendships they build through the weeks of practice.   This year was the event’s 22nd happening and it held up the 90s theme.   This brought back the 90s kids’ nostalgia with boy band music, the well-known in-sync dancing (not to be confused with popular boy band from the 90s known as N’Sync) and bubbly and colorful words. Everywhere.   While there was a lot going on stage, most of the important things took place behind the scenes. Soto, the winner of the contest, explained how being involved in Cru Knights had more of an impact on his life rather than just receiving a crown.   “…this was honestly so filling for me. I can’t express to you how awesome these guys were! They … poured out so much love. They acted as a true brotherhood and the coolest part is that we get to continue this brotherhood outside of Cru Knights,” Soto said.   Practices lasted for four weeks. During their practice time they would work on their dance numbers and learn how to have confidence in themselves. They also met in groups and did devotionals. This allowed the guys to connect on a deeper level.   While Soto made it look easy on stage, he had a rough time before practices started, but soon overcame his fears.   “Honestly once I heard I was selected to do Cru Knights I immediately questioned it. Being on stage and performing just isn’t my thing and I did not want to do this. Brandon Edwards, my roommate and also the Contestants Committee Head, really encouraged me to just give it a shot so I did,” he said. “After the first couple of practices, I was hooked. The guys were absolutely hilarious and loved Jesus so, so much and it was very evident. I had been longing for this type of community and there it was.”   Seth Michaelson also participated in Cru Knights this year. He represented the Campus Activities Board after adviser Jeff Sutton recommended it to him.   While Michaelson had a lot of fun during the weeks prior to the event, his main purpose was wanting to build more...

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Music department wows with opera
Mar04

Music department wows with opera

The UMHB college of Visual and Performing Arts is well-known for its productions and operas that happen each semester. On Friday, Feb. 20 and Sunday, Feb. 22, the metropolitan opera called The Magic Flute was put on for the students, family and friends at the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center in Temple.   The story is a popular fairy tale that takes place in a magical land. It has a prince, a princess, an evil queen and the popular comedic characters that most fables entail. It also has an older man who helps the prince defeat the queen with a special flute, hence the name of the opera.   Director and professor in the College of Visual Arts George Hogan plays a big part with the help of many others.   “We do not have a large production team like you would find in a large university (15-20 people) or especially in a professional house which consists of many hired professionals. I do everything along with my wife, Penny Hogan. We plan, prepare, build, stage, direct, conduct the show, move the stuff from UMHB to the CAC, etc. We do have some very important helpers that go unnoticed in helping us achieve this monster called a production,” Hogan said.   Junior music major Stephen Ash played Tamino, the prince in this year’s production. He’s been involved in the Opera Theatre since his sophomore year because of his love for singing and acting.   “I did this opera specifically because Tamino is such an iconic role, and one that I personally have always wanted to play,” he said.   The opera was well-rehearsed and proved to be a hit for the audience.   This might be because the students started practicing in November after “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” finished up.   “Sometimes, we schedule outside rehearsals in order to attain what we need to get done before the show,” Hogan said.   “That’s why it’s so important for our students to arrive prepared in the fall. I cannot express how fabulous our students are with their preparation. They are pros,” Hogan said.   Students also expressed how the extra practices helped them in the production.   “We rehearsed mostly just the music last semester, but that set a good foundation so that we were comfortable with it and able to focus on acting and expression later on. We were required to have it all memorized when we got back to school in January, and then we began consistent rehearsals from 3-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Ash said.   In most productions there are major and minor setbacks. The...

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Week shines light on sex trafficking
Mar04

Week shines light on sex trafficking

Freedom Movement made great strides last week as the group celebrated End It Week Feb. 22 – 27, an effort created to inform college students on the cruelties of human trafficking.   “End It Week is our big event,” senior Public Relations major and co-vice president Andi Hale said. “It’s our main push for awareness and fundraising.”   The campus organization planned for a five-day crusade as a way to spread the message behind its actions, complete with guest speakers, a special documentary and a glow-in-the-dark dodge ball tournament while Freedom Movement wrapped up the work week with the worldwide event, “Shine A Light On Slavery Day.”   Each student sported a large red X across his or her hand to show support for the cause last Friday.   Freshman art education major Sam Shamard has seen first-hand the effects of human trafficking during a semester in Athens, Greece, last year. During her time abroad, she was exposed to the heartbreaking issue while working in the immigrant ministry, which sparked her desire to make a difference.   “It changes your perspective on so many things, knowing there are people all over the world not living in freedom,” Shamard said. “We are given freedom in Christ, and not only do these people not know this, but they are in physical bondage.”   Others, like Hale, heard about the growing problem of human trafficking through word-of-mouth. This eye-opening experience led to their involvement in order to equip others with the means to act on the information.   “I have an advocate’s heart and a passion for people,” Hale said. “Anytime I hear about injustices, it gets me worked up.”   Freedom Movement, inspired by a 2011 Passion conference in Atlanta, was brought to campus the following year by a group of students, which included the organization’s current president Nathan Gilmore and co-vice president Alec Loyd who were moved by realties and brokenness of human trafficking. The organization remains prominent at other college campuses around the United States.   While the efforts of Freedom Movement continue to grow, its endeavor is simply to provide support for similar nonprofits by raising funds and providing awareness.   “We didn’t want to compete with nonprofits already in place that have resources to effectively fight human trafficking,” Hale said.     As a result, the organization selects a local nonprofit to work directly alongside with for a period of time. This year, Freedom Movement tailored its efforts to assist Jesus Said Love, a Waco-based group passionate about building relationships with dancers and strip club employees.   Members of Freedom Movement invited a representative of the organization...

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Heartbreaker ends Cru’s season
Mar04

Heartbreaker ends Cru’s season

Led by senior Jerard Graham, the UMHB men’s basketball team made a late-season push to lock up the No. 5 seed in the American Southwest Conference tournament. The Cru’s run came to an end, however, as the team suffered a 72-64 defeat at the hands of Howard Payne University in Thursday’s first-round matchup.   The Cru gained control early and built a 10-point lead early in the second half, but an 11-0 run by the Yellow Jackets put HPU up 44-43 five minutes into the second half.   The Yellow Jackets would build a 54-47 lead, but the Cru fought back to tie the game at 59.   With 4:23 left in the contest, sophomore guard Avery Polchinski drained a bucket that gave UMHB a 63-62 advantage.   It would be the final field goal the Cru would make on the evening as HPU was able to ice the game from the free throw line.   Sophomore Daniel Mills led the Cru with 24 points on the game. The Belton High product averaged 18.8 points over the Cru’s final five games. Mills said his success down the stretch can be accredited to the bonds he built with his teammates throughout the season.   “I think I just got used to having new teammates and my confidence went up a lot,” he said. “I think it has to do with my teammates and coach having trust in me and I’ve just been more consistent with my effort and it has helped me.”   Graham was the team’s leading scorer on the season, averaging 18.9 points per game as he started every game for the Cru. The senior not only led his team in scoring, but became a more vocal leader as well.   “I have felt myself get more vocal in practice and in games. At the beginning of the season I was a tad quiet but now I’m constantly communicating with my teammates,” Graham said.   The team loses Graham and fellow senior Kevin Waller, but will bring back a core next season that includes Mills and point guard Layton Zinsmeister among others.   Zinsmeister said the players became more comfortable with each other as the season wore on, which they hopefully will be able to carry into next season.   “Throughout the season I have noticed our team improving in almost every way. We are starting to make the big shots and play together better,” he said. “We had a few new guys this year and it took some time to get the chemistry going but as of late we really have been playing well together.”   The...

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Students, faculty react to former president’s visit
Feb18

Students, faculty react to former president’s visit

Last week, former President George W. Bush spoke to a packed Mayborn Campus Center bursting with more than 2,800 students, faculty and staff members, UMHB donors and close friends of the university leadership.   Following his acceptance of an honorary doctorate of humanities to match the ones his parents, former President George H.W. and first lady Barbara Bush also received from the university, he was greeted by a long, thunderous standing ovation.   “I am so honored to receive an honorary degree. I noticed it is not a doctorate in the English language,” Bush joked. “When I was president, sometimes I could have put things a little more artfully. They asked me at the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks about Osama bin Laden, and I said, ‘we gonna get him dead or alive.’ Laura, when I got back to the residence, said, ‘You could have been a little more diplomatic.’ And I said, ‘At least they heard me in Texas.’”   Dr. Stephen Crawford who is a professor of music and the conductor of the percussion ensemble was among the faculty members in attendance at the Feb. 11 event. He was thankful he was able to listen to Bush on the campus he serves.   “I felt that it was such a privilege to hear from a former president. His words were uplifting as he shared his ideas on service and how important his faith is in setting his views,” he said. “We so enjoyed his humor and how he related to our university and community.”   Junior business major Jessica Pitcaithly echoed Crawford’s sentiments.   “I thought having George W. Bush speak at our school showed me how proud I am of our school and our country. To be able to come together and be excited about hearing one of our past presidents gave me a lot of school pride and patriotic pride too,” she said.   She was struck by his down-to-earth demeanor and agreed with the conservative and spiritual viewpoint most Americans associate with Bush.   “He was funny, genuine and was a great example of what a Christian leader looks like and I think we need more of that,” Pitcaithly said.   Savannah Davis, a junior education major was impressed with the humility she believes Bush displayed. She was also impressed that an important world leader would have a sense of humor.   She said, “I thought it was a great experience getting to see George W. Bush and hear him speak. For being the former leader of the free world, he was very humble and surprisingly funny.”   Davis said the part of Bush’s...

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Bush: Speech inspires students
Feb18

Bush: Speech inspires students

By Wesley Ashton   “Having President Bush speak at UMHB is a big deal,” senior sports management major Chris Brown said. “The atmosphere was loud when he got up on stage to speak. They clapped for several minutes before he even began to speak.”   A boisterous standing ovation greeted the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush as he walked onstage at UMHB’s McLane Lecture last Wednesday.   “I had seen him speak on television but getting to see him live was an entirely different experience,” Brown added.   During his address on campus, the former president spoke not only about his time in office, but also about life lessons learned while traveling abroad. While in power, many dignitaries and foreign leaders visited him, giving him an abundance of stories to share.   “I learned while in the presidency that it is a huge honor to serve others,” Bush said. “It’s no sacrifice to serve something you love, and I love the United States of America, its people and what we stand for.”   Bush went on to describe how he dealt with foreign policy as well as the value of getting to know other leaders before he made decisions. UMHB students seemed to receive Bush’s message warmly.   “I learned from the president’s speech that it’s better to listen to a person than it would be to argue with them even if you don’t agree with them,” junior cell biology major Esther Spanial said.   “He started talking about how Putin visited him in Crawford and how he wasn’t impressed by his dog. This hurt the President but he didn’t let that stop him from listening to what he had to say. Later Putin showed him his dog saying it was stronger and faster, revealing to the president his true character,” Spanial said.   Several students had the opportunity to ask Bush about his time in office and how he felt about current events. Questions students asked varied from foreign and domestic policy to regrets he may have had during the course of his two-term presidency.   “It was a great privilege to be able to ask Bush about his opinion on the terrorist attacks in France,” senior sports management major Deshon Kinsey said. “The way he talked about the terrorist attacks in France reminds us that terrorism is still here. Even if it’s far away they can still hit at home. We have to be ready.”   Bush faced many difficult decisions. He told the audience that sometimes the decision was clear to take action on the behalf of those less fortunate.   Among...

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