Students dig Israeli archaeolgy

By Ashleigh Bugg While others are relaxing or working at home this summer, Dr. Stephen Von Wyrick and a select group of students will get their hands dirty. Wyrick, who teaches Hebrew, archaeology and Old Testament, is leading an excavation at the city of Tel Gezer in Israel. “Students learn everything archaeologists do. They will work on site with people from all over the world. There are doctors, lawyers, botanists… people from all disciplines, but we all move dirt together,” Wyrick said. The Israel study abroad trip will count for 12 semester hours. It is open to all UMHB students, not just Christian studies or archaeology majors. Credit can be earned for social science, art and world issues. Participants will spend a month in the field and learn to take levels and measurements, work with ancient pottery and make field notes. “Students will engage in original research. They’re not just reading about it in a textbook or hearing about it from someone who has never been. They will learn about a people group that shaped much of Western society,” Wyrick said. Although Wyrick is interested in the biblical significance of the excavation, he maintains that the trip’s main goal is for the cultural and academic value. “I don’t want students to go over there to try to prove the Bible,” he said. “Archaeology was not designed to prove the Bible. It is interesting when what we find intersects with Scripture, but we are trying to understand how people in that area lived.” In Israel, students will interact with a diverse group, including graduate students from Oxford. “We have people who are Muslims, Christians, Jews and atheists excavating…. We are all curious about humans, about how this group lived and worked nearly 2,800 years ago,” Wyrick said. Freshman Christian studies major Leah White is especially excited about the trip. “I mean it’s Israel. We study about it but to actually be able to go there… to see what we are learning in a tangible form. It’s awesome,” White said. Students pay $9,180 for tuition; the actual trip is free for students. “Travel from site to site alone would cost over $5,000. It’s never been more convenient for students to go,” Wyrick said. Archaeological expeditions evoke images of roughing it in tent cities covered in ancient dust. However, students will stay in a resort called Nev Shalom or Oasis of Peace. Despite the luxury of air conditioning, the trip is not for the faint of heart. “Our day starts at 4:00 a.m.…. We work hard. We move a lot of dirt. It’s intense but a lot of fun. Students who have...

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CAB hooks with movie weekend
Mar14

CAB hooks with movie weekend

With gold coin chocolates, a chest full of treasure and scurvy scallywags gathered for a two-night movie adventure, the Campus Activities Board’s latest event proved a success. CAB’s pirate event docked in Shelton Theatre last Friday and Saturday. With the room completely decked in spooky style, the decor provided the atmosphere for viewing all four installments of Pirates of the Caribbean. Sophomore chemistry major Marie Stephenson explained that CAB got the idea from Howard Payne University then transformed it into a campus-wide, weekend event. “We had to buy rights to show the movie to the audience. We also had to book a venue, go shopping for all the decorations and snacks, as well as advertise,” she said. “Most of the planning was done by the committee for this event, but for advertisement we heavily relied on our ‘cabbers’ to get the word out through word of mouth, social media and chalking.” Sophomore nursing major Nathan Forrester helped plan the event and found inspiration from Treasure Island and its protagonist, Jim Hawkins. He joked about the planning process. “The idea came from the growing love of pirates on campus. We prepared by talking like pirates for a full week before in order to better understand the unique pirate culture,” he said. Guests received their very own pirate nickname and temporary tattoos before boarding the ship to the Caribbean.  When students walked through the doors of Shelton, they were greeted by a fog machine, theme music and the smell of buttery popcorn before being seated for the feature presentation. The first two films in the series showed on Friday, while the last two concluded Saturday evening. Because of the timing, the hosts were unsure of how the turnout would be. Stephenson, Forrester and their fellow cabbers were pleased by the outcome. “The turnout was great, especially for a weekend event. There are a few modifications we’ll make if we decide to do another one of these movie nights in the future, but it went great for our first venture into movie nights on campus,” she said. Sophomores Nathan Gilmore and Dawson Harmon and freshman Collin Cavendish decided to bring their own raft to the showing. “Collin and I were in the SUB really late laughing that CAB asked people BYOC, bring your own couch. We thought that was a really funny idea and then Collin said. ‘how bout we go bigger and try to get a sail boat,’” Gilmore said. “We couldn’t find a free sailboat, and Dawson had a raft.” The men decided to decorate the boat by adding an inner tube they found, then topped off the contraption with...

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Speech team advances to national speech competition

For the second time in its history, the university’s speech team is heading to the National Forensic Association competition for speech and debate, which will be held at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. April 18-22. The team has qualified for nationals only one other time. Assistant Professor of communication and media studies Kathy Owens, who recently assumed official control of the program, is pleased with the progress it is making. “Our team is really growing,” she said, “both in the size of the team as a whole and in the personal growth of the individuals involved.  Every year we get a little bit better, especially since the university is sending more resources our way now than they did in the beginning.” One of Owens’ favorite parts of the program is building relationships with the students on their trips. “I love getting to know the students so well. We spend a lot of time traveling together, so we get to know each other,” she said. Kayla Stewart is a freshman speech education major and a native of Brownwood, Texas. She has only been on the speech team for one semester but has already attended two competitions, placing sixth at one event. This qualified her to travel with the group to the national competition. Having fun with teammates and making new friends was what Stewart enjoyed the most. “My fondest memory would have to be singing in the van on the way to competitions…. I am most excited for nationals because I love bonding with the team and getting to know other people,” she said. Stewart will be participating in the prose interpretation competition. Sophomore nursing major Rebecca Maul from Itasca, Texas, is in her second semester of the program. She has been to six competitions and placed first twice and third once. She, too, qualified for the NFA national tournament and is looking forward to it. Maul said, “I’m really excited not only about giving my speech but also hearing what everyone else has to say as well. I think there will definitely be some great speeches.” She is entered in the persuasive speaking section of the event. Sophomore theology and political science major Zachary Craig from Dallas, Texas, has seen his fair share of speech and debate competition over his two semesters on the speech team. He recently placed seventh in impromptu speaking. He will be competing in the persuasive speaking and impromptu speaking contests and looks forward to exploring a new place with his teammates. Craig said, “I’m excited to get to hear some of the top speakers at nationals and just to get to travel and visit...

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First Year Council brings fairy tales to life
Mar14

First Year Council brings fairy tales to life

By Alannah Domangue Loud music, flashy lights and jiving UMHB friends is not an every Saturday night thrill students get to experience. As the semester’s end approaches, First Year Council always hosts a night to remember—Spring Formal. “This (was) just one night that (was) absolutely amazing,” sophomore education major and FYC leader Erin Prica said. A valet service by seniors was but one facet that left a favorable impression on many guests.  This surprise was new to the formal. Beats started bopping at 7 p.m., but everyone made a slow entrance out to the dance floor. The Saturday night swing kicked off a little differently this year. Participants of Cru Knights made an appearance in order to get the night rolling. “The Cru Knights guys actually did a dance before the DJ started playing to get everybody on the dance floor,” senior accounting major Braden Buchanan said. Students thought the small flash mob that initiated dance time was a smooth transition into the night. After the men ended their routine, the disc jockey, senior history major Jake Hans, stage name DJ Lil’ Buddy, continued to play music as students made their way onto the dance floor. Buchanan and his girlfriend, sophomore education major Kayla Upshaw, frequent dance halls, so the night offered a different atmosphere from their typical Wild West Thursdays. Upshaw described the night as energetic and, like most students at the event, said the music selection was great. Now, DJ Lil’ Buddy has a new fan group. Similar to most girls with a keen eye for the ambiance, Upshaw was impressed with the evening’s decor. “I loved the color scheme, and all the decorations were really pretty,” she said. Everything from the food to the photo booth seemed to please the students. To make the one event fall perfectly into place, FYC members and leaders had to work diligently. A month of preparation for the group commenced after the Christmas break. The leaders wanted to solidify the location, and they simply opened the floor for students of FYC to select a theme and plan the fine details. “Ultimately (as leaders) we are there to say yes or no,” Prica said. “Other than that, they just take off with it, and we are there to keep them on track.” She was impressed with the group’s efforts this year and “blown away” by the results. FYC leaders sent the members on a mission to get creative, with a little aid from the social media site Pinterest. Yes, even the guys browsed the female favorite site in search of designs. Four weeks of planning and seven hours of set-up produced...

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Historical fun in downtown Belton
Mar14

Historical fun in downtown Belton

Over the weekend, students are used to traveling back home or visiting their favorite hangouts around the Belton area. But besides the everyday coffeehouse, or the recently built movie theater down the street, so many buildings around this small town are left untouched and ready to be explored by    Crusaders. Take Cochran, Blair and Potts, for example. This building is the oldest family-owned department store in Texas. The building has been around for almost 144 years and includes a historical museum upstairs above its main floor. In the museum, you can find old mannequins that were used to display clothing and old log books. Owner and president of Cochran, Blair and Potts, Rob Potts has worked at the store for 40 years. He says the books were used to keep records of every customer and sale during that time. He continues to add to the museum, not just with artifacts left in the store, but also with goods brought in from the people of the community. “Whenever we get something…we’ll either have something we find down here (in the store) we want to put up, or people bring stuff that they may have gotten from the store 50 years ago,”        he said. Potts is the sixth generation to work at the store. It was founded in 1869 by his great, great, great-grandfather Col. H.M. Cook, who originally named the store Cook Mercantile Company. Today, various products are sold, including clothing, shoes, assorted candies      and statues. Potts said December is the busiest time of year for the store, with customers looking for unique gifts. The customer favorite is the various types of cowboy boots located in the store’s shoe department. Potts said the clothing section is also a big hit with shoppers. The store offers ladies’ and men’s departments. Even after working at the same place for so many years, Potts finds his career to be satisfying. “It’s a unique job. I like it. I like all of the people who I’ve met over the years and gotten to know. They’re not just customers, but they’re friends. So, that’s been rewarding. There’s not a lot of stores left like this anymore,” he said. Not only will first-time shoppers leave the store with fun new trinkets to enjoy, but they will also get to experience a taste of some good old-fashioned Texas history. “I think everybody likes it. It’s not anything you really see anymore because there’s not that many stores left like this. It’s something I thought we needed to do to kind of help preserve history,” Potts said. Similar to Cochran, Blair and Potts, the Bell County Museum has...

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Paint and passion: students compete
Mar14

Paint and passion: students compete

Colors and life flow off the walls, and intricate designs adorn the various artwork displayed in a student art competition in the Baugh Center for Visual Arts building. However, a painting that portrays a smiling young woman surrounded by butterflies stands out among the rest. The art department held a student art competition, and the results were announced March 7. The Best in Show award went to senior mass communication/journalism major Samantha Hardcastle, for her piece titled My Inner Mona-Lisa. “It’s actually (from) a photo my sister took of me, and it represents kind of how I feel inside,” Hardcastle said, “ my passion for God and for life and for what I want to do.” She cleverly combined both faith and family aspects into the self-portrait. The butterflies in the painting are symbolic of how Christianity and her family have influenced her life. “The butterflies represent my Christianity because there are seven of them, and the five that are actually on me represent my family,” Hardcastle said. “The one on top represents my father because we were adopted when we were really young, and so he took us under his wing. (It represents) God as well because we’re sheltered under his wing in Psalm 91.” Hardcastle wishes that anyone who sees My Inner Mona-Lisa can see how God influenced her art and that her art can influence them as well. “I know you can’t see God exactly on it, but I know that that’s what it’s exemplifying and that’s what I hope they (people) see,” she said. “It’s also very humbling… that it can serve its own little purpose in a way to      inspire.” More than 40 works are displayed in the student competition room in. Hardcastle applauded every piece of art in the room. “They’re beautiful. They’re absolutely beautiful,” she said. “Everyone has their own expression in art, and it’s beautiful to see.” Six honorable mention awards were given at the event, and five cash awards to two third-place winners, second-place winner, first-place winner and Best in Show award. Professor of art at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Tom Richard, was the juror of the competition. “I was struck by the amount of quality artwork available for selection into the exhibition,” Richard said in a statement displayed at the exhibit. “The artists’ work made it quite difficult to choose work to be selected for the exhibition and to choose the best of the best.” The painting selected by Richard to be first-place winner was The Odyssey by junior graphic design major Chance Alvis. His painting stood out because of its unique style and message it conveyed...

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