Where the West visited the East
Nov18

Where the West visited the East

When Tommy Wilson said he was ready to jump out of a plane with a Bible and a shovel to help earthquake victims in China, he was only half joking. “They ran out of parachutes,” he said. The junior Christian ministry and business major may not have gone skydiving during his stay in Hong Kong, but he believes he served God in a big way. “That’s something every Christian can do without a seminary degree,” Wilson said. He packed up after his sophomore year at UMHB and moved to Hong Kong, China, for a year of missions. “I felt God calling me there,” he said. “The opportunity was there, and I felt I could meet the needs of the people.” Wilson’s main focus was youth ministry, which he had done before in the United States. He organized weekly youth services on Fridays and also led mission trips to India, mainland China and a summer camp shortly before he returned home. He happened to see filming for the summer blockbuster movie The Dark Knight, in which Batman jumps from Hong Kong’s International Finance Center Tower, but Wilson kept focused. “We did a broad range of things, and all of them had youth involvement,” Wilson said. Senior recreation major John Mark Harvey visited Wilson in Hong Kong and watched his ministry in action. “Tommy really adapted well to a culture and language different from anything in Texas,” Harvey said. “He had such a servant’s heart; it was incredible. Tommy was all about serving people.” Wilson went to India twice, to a city near the Pakistani border, where he worked with a local pastor to help newly-formed churches in slum areas, churches that were ministering to the needs of the most vulnerable in Indian society. “We went to a school that a church started where they brought in young girls and taught them how to sew, read and write,” Wilson said. “When they left, they would have a skill to support themselves so they wouldn’t be forced into prostitution or slavery.” What impacted Wilson the most, however, was the massive earthquake that struck Sichuan province in China on May 12, killing nearly 70,000 people. He was able to travel to the affected areas two months later. “The amount of destruction was phenomenal,” he said. “Home after home was just demolished. Some entire cities only had two buildings left standing, and even those were so heavily damaged they had to be demolished. There were reports of villages near mountain ranges where the mountains just crumbled down on them; entire villages of 10,000-20,000 people buried under 60 feet of rock.” Wilson welcomed the opportunity...

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Picturesque Pageant: Through the technical hiccups, blinding spotlights and treacherous staircases, contestants demonstrate poise and grace
Nov18

Picturesque Pageant: Through the technical hiccups, blinding spotlights and treacherous staircases, contestants demonstrate poise and grace

The set was reminiscent of a Broadway production as many beautiful and talented women on campus competed for the coveted honor of Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor. For this year’s theme, “Bright Lights, Big City,” the Chapel was decorated with many colorful lights and small cutouts of familiar skylines. Large spotlights lit up the night sky. The 2009 pageant was sponsored by the Campus Activities Board and was a student-led production in which young women on campus represented organizations, classes or resident halls in competition. Alumni judges were asked to rate the contestants based on their interview, evening gown and individual talent performance. “I’m really proud of all of the girls. They did a great job,” Mike McCarthy, director of campus activities, said. “You fall in love with all of the girls, and although it sounds cliché, when the night gets here, you want them all to win. The biggest reward for me is just to see them all do what they do well. Everyone did a great job.” Senior art education major Allison Daniel was this year’s pageant director. “I think (pageant) exceeded every expectation,” she said. “It was really cool after all was said and done, and after all our work, to just sit and watch each of these girls shine.” Daniel said the most common question she was asked during the pageant was who she thought would win. “Honestly, out of the girls we have, I could not pick one,” she said. “Every time I would think that one of the girls was pulling ahead of the rest, all of the other girls would step up and do just as well. I would’ve been pleased with any of these girls as Miss MHB.” This year’s winner, sophomore vocal performance major Brianna Edwards, said she had no idea that she would receive this honor. The McLane Hall representative said her original goals were to meet a lot of new people, make a lot of new friends and hopefully get to learn something in the process. “Now I’m standing on the stage with a heavy crown on my head,” she said. “It’s kind of surreal. I feel like the best description of this moment would be the scene in Talladega Nights when Will Ferrell wins the race and doesn’t know what to do with his hands. It’s kind of like that.” Edwards’ platform was “Empowering Students to Achieve Boldness.” “I want to talk to Shawn Shannon at the Baptist Student Ministry and set up actual courses to teach students boldness before they are sent out on the mission field,” she said. “So many times, students get caught up in this...

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Teens deal with illicit drug issues
Nov18

Teens deal with illicit drug issues

Part one of a two-part series The big hand on the clock slowly ticks by as he runs out of motivation. He can’t focus anymore. Anxiety starts to trickle through the tips of his fingers. The small hand passes on the staring clock. Five more minutes. Three more minutes. The bell rings. Mark grabs his backpack and heads into the boys’ locker room toward the back of the school. It’s usually vacant mid-day because athletic courses are offered mornings and late afternoons only. He walks into the stall without hesitation. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees him. He needs another hit to make it through the day. Mark is not unlike 83.9% of high school seniors, who said in a national study that they could easily obtain drugs while 112 million Americans, ages 12 and older, reported illegal drug use at least once in their lifetime. Mark, like the rest of users, had a reason for starting. It began with alcohol and then the search for something stronger, yet less visible.  He was hurting, stressed and overwhelmed, just needing something to help him relax and sleep at night. Family heartache and social pressure got thrown into the mix. Marijuana was just available, and a culturally acceptable way to deal with his problems. Somewhere down the line, it became his refuge, his addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly two-thirds of young people try illicit drugs before they even finish high school. The White House Office of Drug Control approximates that every day about 11,318 minors try alcohol for the first time. It is obvious there is a national problem. So the questions have become why so many people are resorting to such unhealthy behaviors, what resources are available for young users and what the community can do to fight the drug war. Why youth turn to unhealthy behaviors There are a variety of reasons why teenagers are using and abusing substances, including alcohol. Program facilitator at the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission Center in Killeen, Keshia Keith, is a licensed professional counselor with a master’s degree in counseling and psychology. She sees youth on deferred prosecution and on probation. She believes children’s individual motives are different, but for the most part, it starts close to home. “They are having stresses with the family, and they haven’t found an appropriate coping mechanism,” Keith said. “They try this drug, and it helps them feel a little relaxed, and for a few moments, they don’t have to think about home, stress and school.” Keith works with teenagers on an individual and group basis. She leads the chemical dependency group at...

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Citizens anticipate completion of Temple construction
Nov18

Citizens anticipate completion of Temple construction

The Texas Department of Transportation’s project to reconstruct Loop 363 in Temple began Sept. 21, 2005. The development extends from South 57th Street to South 5th Street. The project consists of a two-mile widening of the existing four-lane divided roadway travel lanes, including shoulders and  increasing frontage roads to a minimum of three lanes. The department will also add continuous turn lanes to the 31st Street bridge, as well as improve the north-south approaches to the bridge from 31st Street. The project was predicted to be completed by spring of 2008. Today, months after the expected date, the citizens of Temple are still waiting for the day when the project will be finished. Professor of social work, Dr. Jose Martinez, thinks   the   protection   of citizens should have been the main priority of the city. “Safety should be the uppermost, and I doubt that the greater safety was number one in planning this,” he said. “I feel (it) could have been done even better.” Martinez described the danger of the arrangement. “I-35 is now what is called a ‘dog run.’ It is so narrow that it makes the drivers nervous and can give them anxiety,” he said. “The 363 Loop construction is similar to the little narrow kennels that dogs are kept in, and they only run in or out. The same for the driver—if a person is a little off, they will either hit the wall or another car.” Senior business administration and graphic design major Taryn Peither has experienced the danger of the roadways. “In April of 2008, when the construction was supposed to be done, I experienced my first wreck due to it,” she said. “I was on the loop … and a person rear-ended me. There was so much congestion.” Peither believes the city is not attending to the needs of drivers. She said, “The light at the Chili’s intersection is better suited for the construction workers, not the people.” TxDOT said the multi-phase project began with the construction of detours to change the one-way east bound lanes of Loop 363 to a single lane east-west two-way traffic movement. The west-bound lanes will then be closed as work begins to upgrade those lanes. As the project progresses, traffic will be moved to the west side as the east-bound lanes are upgraded. James Construction Group, LLC., of Baton Rouge, La, is the contractor for the $27.5 million project. Company officials anticipated the project would be completed by now, but due to weather, it is not. Besides construction, the  city brought in new restaurants and stores including B.J’s, Taco Cabana, Olive Garden and Super Target. The idea of...

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Welcome to Hollywood: Journeying back to the 1960s, students act in upcoming HBO film
Nov18

Welcome to Hollywood: Journeying back to the 1960s, students act in upcoming HBO film

By Laura Beth Gebhardt Digressing from being a college student studying in the library to a high school student playing in a school yard during the 1960s seems like an impossible transition. Yet, this journey back in time became a realistic opportunity for some UMHB students. It was the involvement with the upcoming HBO film, tentatively titled Temple Grandin, that made the experience possible. Professor of performance studies at the university, Dr. Diane Howard, had previously been a part of the film, and was impressed by it. “This was the most redemptive, substantive, large production, with top stars that I have seen produced in Texas,” she said. While involved with the film, Howard discovered that the casting director, Kira Burns, was searching for a core group of students to be the high school classmates of the main character, Temple Grandin, who is played by Claire Danes. She had already searched three universities, but had not found students who had the specific look the director wanted. Howard eagerly told Burns about the students of UMHB. “She came the next day, and fell in love with our students,” Howard said. “They were just what she had been looking for. They were wholesome, positive, cooperative students who had the right looks for the scenes.” After talking to 150 people at UMHB, Burns chose 25 to appear in the film. The majority who accepted spent four days on the set and had the opportunity to experience the movie-making process. Being a part of the production not only brought noteworthy recognition to the students involved, but to the communication and media studies program and university as a whole. “This put us on the map of major movies and in the networks of major movie companies,” Howard said. “They know us now and will call us again. This has been a wonderful opportunity  for  us to  be salt and light  in  the movie industry.” The paid students involved were treated like little stars. They got their makeup and hair done every morning, had catered meals for both breakfast and lunch and had their own wardrobe. However, being an extra on a film is not always as glamorous as it may seem. They were in small scenes with the stars who had more face time on camera than extras usually do. “The experience was ten times better than I thought it would be,” sophomore Nathan Jenkins said. “I had been warned that the position, an extra, that is, was not as extraordinary as Hollywood might want you to think, but the majority of the cast were very nice, and the crew was extremely personable.” The movie...

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White House welcomes historical first
Nov18

White House welcomes historical first

By Mateo Gamboa Stuart Platt Terrance McGee More than 50 students huddled around the TV in the SUB in anticipation of the final election results Nov. 4. Some Crusaders were disapointed by the Republican party loss, while others celebrated the announcement of the new President-elect, Barack Obama. Sophomore public relations major Angel Bell, a supporter of Obama, was among those marking the victory. “I cannot believe this,” she said. “Now I really feel like I can do anything. Now I can look at my kids … and tell them they can do anything and mean it.” According to CNN’s analysis, the 47-year-old first term senator’s agenda for change gained a wide spectrum of supporters across the nation. Obama beat Sen. John McCain 365-162 in the Electoral College, while gaining 53% of the popular vote to McCain’s 46%. Senior Carlton Lemley was ecstatic about the results. He said, “It feels like a dream has come to fruition. I said in 2004 ‘this man will be president’ when he gave a speech at the DNC.” Lemley said he has faced opposition because of his political views. “It feels like the divisions that fostered a partisan attitude towards me can begin to be healed,” he said. “I’m not mad at Republicans.” Under Obama, America will see a new face representing the nation, and the country will undergo various transformations. Senior Jeremy Williams looks forward to the changes. “This election is not something that will be talked about for the next four years or … for three or four generations. This is an infinite marker in history,” he said, “Martin Luther King was right: The progress does take time. Some people are ready. Some people are not. I am ready.” Annie Ferguson, a cashier for Sodexho, the university’s  food management services, said she is  proud  that  Obamawas elected the president because it tells her grandchildren that despite the color of their skin, they have the opportunity to become whatever they want. “Because Barack is our first African-American president,” she said, “it opens the doors to all other nationalities.” Others placed an em-phasis on Obama’s policies rather than his race. “Not only am I ecstatic because Barack is black, but I feel he is the better choice to deal with the social and economical issues of middle-class citizens,” criminal justice major Karon Heckard said. Heckard said he grew up in the South and has experienced racial bigotry. He is proud to support a black president, who seems willing to take a stance for bridging the gap among various ethnicities. He said, “Time for a change existed a century ago, but Obama has fulfilled those...

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