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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Gov. Scott Walker: A higher degree of success?
Mar04

Gov. Scott Walker: A higher degree of success?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who has been outspoken on U.S. economic matters and is known for breaking up labor unions in his home state has been turning heads in both parties as he’s gained momentum as a possible GOP contender for the presidential nomination in 2016.   Walker’s critics, Democratic and Republican alike, have already begun their smear campaigns against him. Their point of focus: his lack of a college degree.   Howard Dean, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, appeared on cable news channel MSNBC’s talk show Morning Joe late last month and said Walker was unfit for office because he didn’t continue his college education past his junior year.   “I worry about people being president of the United States not knowing much about the world and not knowing much about science,” Dean said.   What Dean and many of Walker’s critics who share similar viewpoints fail to acknowledge is that the man became the governor of a state and enjoyed a fairly high approval rating without the help of a diploma. This fact, combined with his age shows he clearly has more insight into life and government than many college juniors.   Traditionally, while most recent presidents have had degrees, their successes and failures in smaller political arenas are what make or break their presidential campaigns and administrations.   Walker’s beginnings further illustrate that not everyone needs a college diploma to be successful. Upon leaving Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, accepted a job with American car manufacturer IBM. After success there, he took a marketing position at the American Red Cross. He worked his way into politics at the age of 23, winning a seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly, and became governor 17 years later in 2010.   In some ways, his lack of a college degree makes him more successful. He’s competed in the job market and the world of politics at a disadvantage, and he has still managed to rise to prominence. Further, it shows a resolve and a confidence on his part that his record speaks for itself.   The American people should not fear a potential leader who lacks a degree. In fact, those who would criticize Walker have an out-of-touch, elitist mentality. Less than 30 percent of American adults have a bachelor’s degree. It’s insulting to the other 70 percent to say that someone with a background similar to theirs is unfit for service to his or her country based simply on their educational level.   Is life experience completely valueless? Even within the halls of academia, real-world learning is essential. Internships, student teaching and observation hours play vital roles...

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Jon Stewart, signing off from The Daily Show
Mar04

Jon Stewart, signing off from The Daily Show

Jon stinkin’ Stewart signs off; he leaves The Daily Show at the end of the year. ‘Bout time. The only thing he contributed to the world was a sub-par satirical act and the occasional laugh when he attempted to combine the show with hard news.   The New York Times deemed him the nation’s satirist in chief. That seems to put him on the same level as our commander in sleep, Barack Obama: the hip, young, pointless president we all know and love.   I’ve got a Buzz Feed article for you. It’s entitled “The top three knuckleheads who make a joke out of our nation:”   1)   Barack, the selfie-stick groper, Obama 2)   Joe, the wife-groper, Biden and 3)   Jon stinkin’ Stewart   At least Stewart’s job description allows him to be an idiot.   He’s no Jimmy Fallon, however. Fallon’s no friend to a conservative base. Shoot, I wish he could be NBC’s only pundit, though. He’s hilarious. He and Bruce Springsteen spoofed The Boss’ Born to Run making fun of Gov. Chris Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’.   It’s real comedy, whether I agree politically or not. It’s like when Frank Caliendo impersonates George W. Bush. I get a little upset. Bush is a hero of mine. (Heck, he gave an amazing speech at the McLane Lecture). I still chuckle. Know why? It’s well-executed comedy.   Can’t say the same for Stewart’s 15 painful years on The Daily Show. So, what’s next for him?   There is talk of him taking Brian William’s spot. Let’s just hope Williams’ is responsible for that rumor. The only good thing the world ever received from The Daily Show is Steve Carell.   Stewart isn’t going anywhere. You think he’d disappear? Heck no. He couldn’t stand not getting to duke it out with Bill O’ Reilly and other conservative talking heads. And as cynical as this Op-Ed is to his comedic career, Jon Stewart might bring something viable to the media world’s table.   We saw a glimpse of it when he took a hiatus from The Daily Show to direct ‘Rosewater,’ a well-done film adaptation of Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir. He was imprisoned for 118 days after reporting on the nation’s disputed 2009 election.   In our field, Stewart is a necessary evil. For his entire progressive, pompous thought, not having him is like the Roadrunner not having Wile E. Coyote. It’s a relationship.   And as joyous an occasion it is to not have to hear his antics on The Daily Show, it’s also nice knowing the bird-brain’s coming back to the media world in some...

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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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Goodwill gives jobs to local vets
Mar04

Goodwill gives jobs to local vets

HALO (High-altitude, low opening) jumping: it’s a free-fall from 21,000 feet. Paratroopers release chutes moments before meeting mother earth in the most unfortunate way. The jump’s purpose is to avoid enemy radar detection.   Our military personnel preform extraordinary tasks during service years, yet many find the leap back into the civilian world a formidable foe.   “They’re used to military jargon, military everything,” Goodwill’s Operation Good Jobs program manager Katie Martin said. “They hit the reality of what the actual standard salary is in the Temple/Killeen area.”   She serves clients, some of which made an “upwards of $70,000 a year,” in the military, by helping them succeed in the workplace.   Operation Good Jobs is a non-covert mission to thank our military persons. It’s a program funded by a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation.   Goodwill expects to serve more than 4,000 veterans and military families over the grant period that extends into July 2016.   Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries is one of 12 Goodwill store participants.   “Our area covers from Killeen to Waco, so we have exactly 220 people enrolled in the grant right now,” Martin said.   The grant is performance based. Heart of Texas Goodwill’s potential funds from the grant sits at $300,000.   Martin added that it’s not a program just for veterans: “it’ active duty transitioning out, family members, both spouses and dependents, and it’s even Reserves and National Guard,” she said. “Just as long as they don’t have a dishonorable discharge, we’ll absolutely take them.”   The goal of the program is geared to find participants a job that is “career sustaining, family sustaining,” she said.   Heart of Texas Goodwill Learning Center Coordinator for Temple and Belton, Victoria Cairo, said they would help participants in any way possible.   So, whether it’s helping clients get a bus pass, enrolling them in a computer class, providing them with interview clothes or even advice on resume and portfolio building, the learning center staff will help.   She echoed Martin’s statements of the long-term placement being the backbone of the program.   “There’s only so long you can work at a minimum wage paying job with three kids,” Cairo said.   The learning centers are for everyone, not just those who meet the Operation Good Jobs requirements.   “We’ll help you find a quick job if that’s what you want, but our goal is, what’s long term?” she said. “If you’re real goal is to make a certain amount of money and be employed full-time, come back in. Let’s make sure we update that resume and we’ll check in...

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