Starr Rivers awarded place on Texas forensics team
Feb13

Starr Rivers awarded place on Texas forensics team

In a room full of college debate students, Starr Rivers stands out. The talented senior film studies major has worked to finesse her forensic speech skills during her college career here at UMHB. Rivers has advanced to the prestigious American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and the National Forensic Association’s Championship Tournament in the last four years. She is also the first student from UMHB to qualify for AFA every year of her college career. At the recent Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association State Tournament, Rivers was one of 10 students named to the All-State Forensics Squad. “It has been an amazing four years doing UMHB Forensics,” Rivers said of her time with the speech program. “I have grown so much as a performer and person. Doing speech is a lot of hard work and dedication, and I am proud to have stuck with it. It is such a rewarding experience.” While Rivers’ accomplishments are astounding, she feels that she would not have been able to achieve them without continuous support from her professors and a strong work ethic. “Starr’s work ethic is excellent,” Forensics Director Kathy Owens said. “I never have to worry about her getting her ‘homework’ done. We meet twice weekly, and I give her tasks to complete before our next meeting. “In addition to her work ethic, though, Starr has quite a bit of natural talent,” Owens added. “She seamlessly moves from character to character in her performances, showing a great deal of empathy in each one. Through her performances, Starr has not only entertained but has been a fierce advocate for racial equality. Her performances are truly inspiring.” The debate circuit that Rivers competes in is very competitive because it includes all of the schools in the area, no matter how big each school’s program is. Among the schools, the UMHB debate team competes against is the team from Wiley College, which preforms on a $100,000 budget because they are funded by Denzel Washington, who filmed “The Great Debaters” at their college. “The competition is extremely rigorous,” Rivers said. “The competition is hard and challenging, but so worthwhile and beneficial, because it makes you a better competitor.” While Rivers has accomplished qualifying for these events, she must compete at the tough level of competition against thousands of debate students across the country. “Competing on the national level can be intimidating,” Rivers said. “Nonetheless, I feel so blessed and proud to be able to break some barriers that a small school like UMHB has not done yet. I take pride in my accomplishments, but at the same time, I know there is still work to...

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The art of Sofia LeJeune: child prodigy’s artwork featured
Jan30

The art of Sofia LeJeune: child prodigy’s artwork featured

The art of Sofia LeJeune, a 10-year-old legally blind and autistic child artist from McKinney, Texas was on display from December 2018 to Jan. 14 at the UMHB Baugh Center for the Visual Arts. Sofia’s interest in art began when she was just 18 months old, and she has been creating ever since. During a phone interview, Sofia was more than happy to share about her life and her passion for art. She says that it is a great way to “…express your feelings, it looks pretty,” and it’s a “…good way to impress people.” Her mother, Rebeca Gracia, shared the details about how Sofia’s condition has developed over time. “She was severely autistic when she was younger. We have been using natural therapies… for the past five years with great success. Now, she is high functioning, and we thought we would see how she likes public school,” Gracia said. After being homeschooled since the start of her education, Sofia began her first year of public school in 2018. “Sofia’s vision impairment originates in the brain, not the eye. [It] has several components: nystagmus, which is improving, decreased acuity, which has remained the same, and astigmatism, which has worsened since starting public school,” Gracia said. In relation to Sofia’s talents, Gracia said that Sofia’s school does not have a strong art program, so it brings her daughter joy when people share an interest in art and talk to her about her artwork. Sofia said that she tried her hand at pottery and made some books with a lady named Helen. She was talking about Helen Kwiatkowski, who teaches book arts, photography and design here at UMHB. Although Sofia has experimented with various media and subjects, her preference is for drawing animals of all kinds. Using simple pencils and any scratch paper she can find, she creates lively illustrations through contour lines and expression. Sofia was recently diagnosed as legally blind but has struggled with her vision for a while. She described her vision as, “kinda good, kinda bad.” She can see to draw up close but has a very hard time seeing far away. Aside from her artistic hobbies, she, like most third graders, finds additional joy in a large array of things. Her favorite subject in school other than art is, as she said, “Science! Science! Science!” Sofia has also been participating in mixed martial arts for two years and is delighted to share that she has just earned her yellow belt. She also enjoys playing games inside and outside, like checkers, Go Fish and playing pretend. She shows pure excitement when she talks about the fun times she has on her great-grandmother’s...

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Jácome Flamenco troupe ignites the Performing Arts Center
Jan30

Jácome Flamenco troupe ignites the Performing Arts Center

The latest Highways and Byways performance in the Sue and Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Jan. 24, left audience members in awe. Jácome Flamenco, led by Chris B. Jácome, performed breathtaking flamenco routines that had the crowd bobbing their heads and tapping their feet along with the music. During the introduction, Jácome encouraged the audience to interact throughout the performance by yelling “Olé!” and cheers to the dancers. Chayito Champion, the lead singer of the group, jokingly stated they didn’t want to hear any “yee-haws,” which prompted laughter from the crowd. Three of the troupe members played various instruments while Champion sang and three dancers made their way onto the stage. The emotion and intense dancing, as well as the beautiful music, captivated the audience, causing many to cheer and chant with the dancers. After intermission, each of the dancers performed a solo. Jácome and Champion performed a duet. There was never a dull moment. While the dancers underwent costume changes, Jácome shared some facts and trivia about the flamenco form to the audience. The show went wonderfully, which is why it was surprising to hear they didn’t rehearse beforehand. “We got here today, did sound check, talked about what we were going to do, and we did it. No rehearsals,” Champion said. When asked how she knew when to chime in with her singing or clapping without rehearsals, she explained, “Sometimes they just give me a look or do something with their body, and I know to come in. Its all about feeling.” After the event, audience members had the chance to buy signed CDs and take pictures with the performers. Paulina Riewald is a senior sports management major who attended the show. “I loved it. I wanted to be up there with them,” she said. “I loved the music and the dancing was beautiful and it was really fun.” To learn more about Jácomes Flamenco, visit jacomeflamenco.com. There you can browse merchandise, find tips and tricks about the art of flamenco and get a sneak peek at where they will be performing...

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Crusaders clinch national title
Jan30

Crusaders clinch national title

UMHB will be celebrating their second Division III National Championship win Thursday, Jan. 31, after their third consecutive trip to the Stagg Bowl. The UMHB Crusaders met the University of Mount Union from Alliance, Ohio for the second time on Dec. 14, and won back the trophy. The Crusaders spent the majority of the season unmatched by their opponents, winning the majority of their games by a landslide. The closest score gap of the season was Dec. 1’s playoff game against St. John’s University, where the Crusaders achieved a three-point win over the Johnnies. The largest score gap of the season was the very first game on Sept. 15, when the Cru traveled to Reading, Pennsylvania to defeat the Albright College Lions by 84 points. Despite their promising winning streak, the Crusaders still played every game with skill and spirit. This was partially because Mount Union kept a zero on the Crusader scoreboard at the 2017 national champion- ship. This year, UMHB was out to prove that they could defeat this strong rival. The desire to rise to the championship again and redeem themselves seemed to be great motivation for the Cru, as they started off the season with a huge win over Albright College. This motivation carried on throughout the season, and the team was undefeated going into the championship. However, achieving the national title would be no easy feat. The Crusaders were set for a rematch against the Mount Union Purple Raiders in Shenandoah. Michael Carpenter, a former running back for the Crusaders, felt that this year, UMHB had to prove themselves as they headed into the championship. “After coming up short like they did last year, they definitely had something to prove,” Carpenter said. “I think you always have something to prove, though.” UMHB definitely succeeded in proving themselves with a 24-16 victory over Mount Union. On the night of the game, the stands were packed. Because tickets for UMHB fans hadsold out quickly, Crusader fans filled both sidesof the stadium, despite the cold weather. The game started off in Mount Union’s favor, and the first quarter ended with a score of 10-7 with the opponent in the lead. By halftime, however, UMHB had stepped up their game, and they took the lead with a score of 13-14. At the end of the third quarter, the Cru hadimproved their score to 17-13, and by the end of the game, the final score was 24-16. In the final seconds of the game, the stadium erupted. Fans were ecstatic that the Crusaders had won their second title in three years. Players and coaches gathered on the field to accept...

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UMHB’s 10-year Transformation
Jan30

UMHB’s 10-year Transformation

If you have been on the internet or social media recently, then you have probably noticed the new trend called the “10-Year Challenge.” People are posting a photo of themselves from ten years ago next to a current photo to show how their look and personal style have evolved over time. Just like the individuals in these personal comparative photos, the UMHB campus has also seen many changes in the last 10 years. Since 2009, several new buildings have been added to campus to accommodate academics, athletics, visual and performing arts and residence life. There is also a new parking lot. The Baugh Center for the Visual Arts, named after Eula Mae and John Baugh, opened in the fall of 2012. The art department had outgrown its home in the basement of Presser Hall, creating a need for a new building solely for the visual arts. Located across the street from the Mabee Student Success Center, the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts has accommodations for all types of art, including studios for painting, drawing and ceramics, as well as computer design labs and an art gallery. The Scott and White College of Nursing at UMHB has grown substantially in the last 10 years, presenting the need for a building for all things medical.   Dedicated in 2013, the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center brought a new look to campus. Thanks to generous donations, including a leading contribution from the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation, the three-story building was designed to include classrooms, offices and a simulation hospital equipped with state-of-the-art technology. One of the greatest and most recognizable additions to UMHB is Bawcom Student Union and Crusader Stadium. This two-year construction project resulted in a new main hub for student activity on campus. In Bawcom, you can find students enjoying a meal in the dining hall, studying with friends, buying supplies at the bookstore or practicing their instruments in Farris Band Hall. In addition to several offices and conference rooms, each floor has a panoramic view of Crusader Stadium. This 8,000-seat stadium was the first football field on campus, providing a permanent home field for the Cru. In 2017, a dream was turned into a reality when the first performing arts center at UMHB was opened. The Sue and Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center is outfitted with rooms used to host theater productions, ensemble performances, dance recitals and other performing arts events. The Baugh Performance Hall occupies the main portion of the building. It seats 524 audience members in front of a multipurpose performance stage equipped with an orchestra pit and accommodations for theater productions. Each year,...

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Briana Frederickson crowned Miss MHB
Nov13

Briana Frederickson crowned Miss MHB

“Here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem.” No quote could be more fitting for this year’s Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor pageant theme, which is derived from the 2016 rom-com film “La La Land.” Nineteen female students representing various organizations and campus buildings took to the stage to showcase their talents and passions. The pageant was split into numerous sections, such as the talent competition, special talent presentation, group dance, evening gown walk, behind the scenes video, and interviews of the top five finalists. In addition, the women were judged according to four categories – interview, talent, platform, and evening gown. The person behind the pageant was Alexis Goddard, a senior social work major. “I have loved the process of pageant,” Goddard said. “The audience only gets to see the final production, which is awesome, but it’s really fun to be there for every comical, creative, and captivating moment,” Goddard said. “Seeing the unique growth in each girl is what this pageant is all about. Being the director has reminded me that it truly takes a village to make this tradition happen. Going into it, I had the mindset of ‘okay, I’ve got to do this, this and this,’ but if I tried to do it all on my own, the show would go horribly wrong,” she said. “There are a million moving parts involved and I have had the most talented team surrounding me.” Some of these talents featured spoken word, interpretive dances, musical skills such as singing and piano performance, and skits. Jordan Eilers, a senior English education major, represented an organization called Circle K, and performed a skit about a story close to her heart, called “Pinkalicious.” She chose this story because her platform is engaging struggling learners through reading. “My favorite part has definitely been getting to know all the girls and making friends with people I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet,” Eilers said. Senior Criminal Justice and psychology major Kelly Taylor represented Campus Activities Board. She performed a comedic skit about wrapping Christmas presents. “Getting to know the other 18 amazing girls has definitely been my favorite part,” Taylor said. “Everyone is so encouraging and uplifting and they brighten my day at every practice.” In addition, the contestants performed group dances to “La La Land” songs such as “Someone in the Crowd” and “A Lovely Night.” After the group dances came the evening gown walk. The women entered the stage in stunning dresses, and were escorted by male students as their background was described by the hosts. The judges came to a decision about the top five finalists: Miss Student...

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