UMHB alumnus brings new life to downtown theater
Oct26

UMHB alumnus brings new life to downtown theater

The Beltonian Theatre, originally built in the 1920s, will reopen for audiences to enjoy classic films Friday, Nov. 3. Because the new owner of the renovated theater is owned by UMHB alumnus, Zechariah Baker, it will accept Cru cash. Baker, who graduated from the university in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in music, bought the theater three weeks ago. “I’ve wanted to open my own business since I was a kid,” he said. “About three or four years ago, I was managing a movie theater, and I saw the Beltonian was for sale. I started saving and planning. Everything fell the right way a couple of months ago.” The Beltonian, located at 219 E. Central Ave, boasts a 150-seat screening room complete with a small stage. Baker hopes to show classic films, UMHB games and other sporting events, and silent films. He will also be bringing in local artists. “A lot of these old classic movies are films that people saw when they grew up and now can only watch at home,” Baker said. “Now, they’ll be able to see quality classics on a big screen again in a great theater that has a long history in Belton.” Central Texas native and country singer Jenna McDaniel will kick-off opening weekend with a concert from 7 to 9 p.m on Friday, Nov. 3. Then Baker will play The Magnificent Seven (1969) starring Yul Brynner, Steven McQueen and Charles Bronson. The theatre will be open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Baker also plans to keep the theatre open every day during the summer months. Tickets will be $3.99 apiece. “A lot of folks in the area have been to the theatre when they were kids,” Baker said. “I want to be able to provide the same kind of experience they got at a discount price.” The Beltonian will not only be showing classic films, but it will also serve buttery popcorn, cotton candy, fountain drinks, candy and a few locally-made gourmet items. Baker hopes that UMHB students will come to the theater for an inexpensive and fun experience. “It’s going to be affordable and close to [campus],” he said. “I’m working with several different organizations on the campus to get some activities here.” UMHB Junior Noah Crosby remembers visiting the theater as a child, when his church rented the theater to show a Gospel movie. “I went there with some old friends of mine, and they were serving popcorn,” Crosby said. “It was nice on the inside with dark red carpet. Crosby regrets that he didn’t go more often when he was younger. “I’ll probably go again. I didn’t know...

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Professor brings home international film prize
Oct26

Professor brings home international film prize

UMHB’s Assistant Professor Andru Anderson took the top prize at the 17th Annual International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films in Varna, Bulgaria on Oct. 12-15. His documentary about overcoming adversity, “Turn Left Now: Surviving the Unbelievable,” will have a preview showing at the new Sue & Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center Thursday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. Anderson’s film revolves around the lives of young adult stroke victims, and highlights the fact that as much as 1 in 7 strokes occur in adolescents and young adults, ages 15 to 49 (Centers for Disease Control, 2016) “Part of this movie is trying to show the audience that strokes are not a condition of the elderly. Strokes are actually something that can hit anybody at any part of their lifespan,” Anderson said. “Everyone has a grandfather or grandmother who was either affected by a stroke or has essentially died from a stroke,” he said. “I started looking at that, and then I met a bunch of survivors who were younger.” The film took four years to make, with the first two in pre-production and filming, and then two years of post-production. He had a lot of help from his wife Natalia, he said. “She did everything I did,” he described of her assistantship over the four years. The two met in Dzershinsk, Russia through some friends when traveling there, and six years later they were married. She has seen him go from his industrial film work with Andersen Worldwide and Applied Materials, utilizing his undergraduate and masters degrees from Baylor, to working as a lecturer at Baylor while pursuing his MFA at SMU in Dallas. During this time, he participated in many film projects, and perfected his craft. “I’ve done just about everything: small shorts, full length, film and digital and soup-to-nuts filmmaking,” he said. Anderson is in his third year now at UMHB as the Assistant Professor of Film Studies, and teaches Introduction to Film Studies, Screenwriting, Film History and Criticism, Documentary Film Making, Narrative Film Production, and Special Topics. The program has gone from four students when he got here, to now 22, “I’m preparing students to be independent filmmakers,” he said. He does this by addressing their need to tell stories. “Everyone who makes films wants to tell a story that has not been told before, and then have people see it.” Anderson’s creativity goes beyond film and teaching, as he has always had a glass blowing hobby on the side. But he knew he wanted to do something with production in his career, even in high school when he was building sets for theater. “I...

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Avery Polchinski, the back to school alum
Oct13

Avery Polchinski, the back to school alum

Avery Polchinski, class of 2016, earned his bachelor’s in marketing and his master’s degree in education from UMHB while earning accolades as a Cru basketball player. “I chose to attend UMHB not only because I wanted to play basketball there, but because it felt like home,” Polchinski said. “I can remember my first visit and I just felt like this was where I was supposed to attend college. It’s a special place filled with a lot of caring people.” It wasn’t long before Polchinski was settling in at his alma mater and playing with the Cru basketball team. He said that his time spent with his fellow players was life-changing. “It pushed me to my limits mentally and physically, and made me realize I can do things even when I think I can’t.” The alumnus said the rigors of being a disciplined player helped him manage his time better and ditch the excuses. “Everything that I have learned in basketball has prepared for me every aspect of life,” he said. “Through basketball I learned more about myself and life than the game of basketball itself.” As a freshman, Polchinski lived in the green hall of McLane in 2011. He remembers the ups and downs of being a first-year college student, and he has some words of wisdom for those who are just beginning their time at the university. “If I had any advice for a freshman it would have to be to follow the career choice that they would love doing, regardless of the money involved. No matter what it is, the path of happiness is far more important than the path of wealth.” Born and raised in Temple, Polchinski has a special connection to the central Texas community and chose to stay and teach in the area after graduating from UMHB. He currently works as a middle school math teacher and coach at Eastern Hills Middle School in Harker Heights. He finds being teacher difficult, but rewarding. “If I had to say one thing to future teachers, I would say this: treat each and every day as an opportunity to be a better teacher than you were the day before. Your students will be able to feed off of you, which will not only encourage them to do better, but it will make your classroom a better learning environment and help students thrive in school and in life.” He chose to become a teacher because he wanted to make a difference in the world. “There were many teachers that affected my life in a positive way, and I hope I can be a role model to some of...

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New organization gives students the chance to dance
Oct13

New organization gives students the chance to dance

UMHB has a number of student organizations on campus. There is at least one organization that everyone can get involved in. Impact Dance is one of the newer organizations on campus. The organization was chartered in fall of 2016 and began meeting during the spring of 2017. Shelby Rogers, a junior phycology major, who has been dancing for 17 years is a part of the new organization. “Impact Dance is for students who like to dance or would like to learn how to dance.” No matter your skill level, Impact Dance is a place where you can come to have fun and dance all your problems away. Rogers is also the organization’s chaplain. At each meeting, she leads a devotional and prayer time for all who come. The fact that this organization is also faith-centered is something special that UMHB is able to offer. Each week the group averages 10-15 people and focuses on a different types of dance, such as cha cha. “My favorite thing about Impact is the fun we have,” Rogers said. “Our meetings are full of laughter and I always leave in a better mood then when I first came in. I also just love to dance.” The group also tries to make an “impact” on the commmunity. Impact Dance dedicates time to help others. Last year, Impact Dance had a fundraiser, “Candy for a Cure” to raise money for McLane Children’s Hospital. In addition to the hospital, the organization has also raised money for the Methodist church near campus. If you are interested in dancing and want to help the community, Rogers suggests checking out Impact Dance. You can follow their Instagram @umhb_impactdance or stop by one of their meetings on Monday nights at 6 p.m. in McLane Great...

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Nurses Christian Fellowship
Oct13

Nurses Christian Fellowship

Nurses Christian Fellowship is a student organization on campus that is available to nursing students who are looking for a way to get involved and take a break from the crazy hectic life of being in nursing school to spread the love of Jesus throughout campus and in the local community. “We are an organization that just wants to share the love of Christ and encourage each and every one of you,” Senior nursing student and president of the Nurses Christian Fellowship Keyarius Johnson said during the first NCF meeting of the year. “We are a very team driven organization. We work together, we don’t leave anyone behind.” Bethany Whately, historian of NCF, takes pride in her position as a board member and wants to share her love of the organization with other nursing students. “We are little people that just love Jesus,” Senior nursing student and NCF historian Bethany Whatley said. “However, we are all graduating this semester, so if you want to be a part of something, help encourage others and want to be a part of the board, let us know. “We need people to take our spots.” NCF aims to create a sense of a community among students during their journey through nursing school by supporting and encouraging one another always and lifting each other up through the whirlwind of it all. “In the past, we have had devotions where we get up in the morning, feed you guys breakfast and pray and have worship before any major exams,” Johnson said. “We know that after a long week of studying, sometimes the nerves just get the best of us so we just try to make sure you guys are relaxed and confident and just able to go in there knowing that you can do all things through Christ.” In addition to loving one another, NCF also shares the love of Jesus Christ with members of the Belton and Temple community through service. After the devastating hurricane that left many people homeless in Houston this fall, NCF sprung into action to create donation box for those that were taking shelter at the Bell County Expo Center. This is just one example of the many opportunities that NCF provides students with. “We have volunteer opportunities throughout the semester that we will let you guys know about how you all can participate in. We are trying to partner with Temple ISD this semester to try to get kind of a big sister/big brother club going to where we can volunteer with kids on the weekend and bring them to Cru football games and stuff like that. We also...

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Contestants prepare for Miss MHB pageant
Oct13

Contestants prepare for Miss MHB pageant

The Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor pageant has been an annual tradition at the university since the 1950’s. However, the pageant we know today was a little different when it first premiered on campus. Originally titled the Miss Bluebonnet Pageant, the peageant was later changed to the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor College Pageant in the 1960s and was a part of the Miss Texas Pageant System for a short time. Once UMHB achieved university status, it was no longer associated with other pageant systems. Its purpose is simple— to provide the contestants and pageant staff an opportunity for developing leadership skills, theatrical training, responsibility, and confidence. Many changes have been made to the university and the pageant is no exception. In the past, the show was held on two separate nights with the latter involving the crowning ceremony. Last year, the university decided to show it only on one night instead. This year we will be continuing with this new tradition and will host the UMHB pageant on one night only. The pageant will be held in Walton chapel on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. Jenna Albright is a junior film studies major and is representing the junior class in this year’s pageant. She said that students can expect a lot of fun during the performances. Junior mass communication major Tori Pharris is representing Search Cru and is looking forward to the talent portion of the evening. “Each talent varies and wasn’t what I was expecting,” Pharris said, “The girls in the pageant are great so I have no expectations of being crowned, but if it happened my goal is to just love people. I don’t want to change just because of a crown.” Sophomore psychology major Sarah Szyperski, this year’s Miss MHB director, agrees with Albright. “All of the contestants are absolutely amazing and beautiful inside and out,” she said. “They each bring their own unique quality to the show,” she said. Szyperski said that her role as director is to develop a theme and vision from the pageant, as well as lead the ladies and prepare them for the process. However, she doesn’t take all the credit. Szyperski credits a portion of the work to her assistant directors, committee, and advisors. “I am so excited to watch the girls grow and discover new things about themselves,” she said. “It was a great transition last year from Miss MHB being only one night instead of two, and it was one we wanted to continue. The show still contains the main components: talent, dance, evening gowns, and stroll.” The director said it is more than a traditional beauty pageant – it is...

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