Holly Tucker shares talent, Voice
Feb25

Holly Tucker shares talent, Voice

THE BELLS — Two years ago, 21-year-old Baylor student Holly Tucker auditioned for the TV show, The Voice, in Dallas, persuading each of the four coaches to turn around (indicating they wanted her on their team) while she sang. Tucker chose Blake Shelton as her coach, headed to California and eventually placed in the show’s final six. Tucker took the stage Feb. 12 for chapel before a crowd of Crusaders. She flaunted black, glittery cowboy boots, which she explained were mailed to her by a supportive fan to wear on the show. She said was “excited to do a gig for people her own age.” Sophomore marketing major Jessica Pitcaithly said the word passion best describes Tucker. “Not only does she work hard towards her music, she is a Christian, and it is very inspiring,” Pitcaithly said. Pitcaithly shares Tucker’s love for music and hopes to achieve songwriting success of her own one day. “I definitely feel like I can relate to Holly Tucker. She’s in school like me, and I’m also an aspiring musician in the song writing department,” Pitcaithly said. Tucker, a junior double speech communication and Spanish major, sang many well-known country songs, some of which she competed with on The Voice. Accompanied by her guitarist, she belted out Sugarland’s hit, “Settling.” The captivated audience’s response encouraged her to speak about herself and her story in between songs. Just days before one round of competition on The Voice, a vicious tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., devastating the town and calling for help and support from the rest of the country. Even though the potential for sizeable backlash was likely, Shelton and Tucker decided to use Tucker’s opening performance as an opportunity for prayer. She performed Carrie Underwood’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art” to remind a distressed country about God’s unceasing presence. Tucker said her faith is “a big part of who I am.” She wanted to be her most authentic self throughout the TV competition. Tucker performed the same song before dismissing students at chapel. Sophomore nursing major Lauren Garcia followed Tucker’s journey from start to finish that season on The Voice. She was excited when she met Tucker after chapel. “She is so sweet and is an amazing role model for young women,” Garcia said. “Her audition blew me away. I even have some of her covers on my phone.” Although Tucker is just a little older than she, Garcia said, “It’s not weird, but amazing. To manage school and a music career … that’s a lot of work.” In a post-elimination interview after her last appearance on the show, Tucker was gracious and...

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Reaching Out team to go on special mission to Independence
Feb25

Reaching Out team to go on special mission to Independence

THE BELLS — It’s important to have a connection to the past. Because of this, a group of students will travel to UMHB’s original home, Independence, March 1 as part of Reaching Out. The program gives students a chance to actively serve the community, and taking a trip to Independence shows that the university is still in touch with its origins. “Reaching Out is a university-driven service project,” said Michael Murphy, who is the student director for the event. “Students will partner with the Baptist church in Independence and help with various projects.” Director of Alumni Relations Rebecca O’Banion said Reaching Out gives students a chance to spread the gospel away from campus. “We have the opportunity to work together as faculty, staff and students to show Christ’s love in a tangible way to those outside the university family,” she said. A group of 20 students will participate in the service project, which will primarily take place at the Independence Baptist Church, the oldest continually operating Baptist church in Texas. The church opened in 1839 and was a center for mission work in the Republic of Texas. Aside from its age, the church has historical significance because it is also the congregation of which Sam Houston was a member when he was baptized. O’Banion said the trip will be a unique experience because students will not only have a chance to serve the community of Independence, but will also get a history lesson as well. “Those traveling to Independence will work on restoring the old church,” she said. “This has been an ongoing process, and our students will get to be a part of history by lending a hand to this church.” Even though UMHB moved from Independence to Belton in 1886, O’Banion said there’s still a strong connection between the university  and the town. “We have built a good relationship with the pastor and the community and wanted to do something to help them,” she said. “They are always such gracious hosts to us when we visit, and we wanted to serve them.” Because of this connection, the decision to plan a Reaching Out trip to Independence was easy to make. “It seemed like such a great opportunity to serve the church that was the church family of our students in Independence in the 1800s,” she said. “It feels like we are touching part of our history by serving this church.” Registration for the trip is currently closed, but students can sign up for a waiting list at umhb.edu/reaching-out-independence. Director of Student Organizations, Tiffany Wurdemann, said students who sign up for Reaching Out should be prepared to serve...

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Community members gather at Mayborn for annual Canstruction
Jan29

Community members gather at Mayborn for annual Canstruction

THE BELLS — Groups from across the community gathered in Mayborn Gymnasium Friday to construct monuments made from canned goods collected for charity. Saturday night the groups reconvened for a banquet.        

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FCA conference draws Cru athletes
Jan29

FCA conference draws Cru athletes

THE BELLS — The Cru Fellowship of Christian Athletes took a trip to Glen Rose, Texas, this past weekend. They weren’t looking for fossils but attending a college retreat that drew more than 500 Christian athletes from all across the state to take part in the fun-filled weekend of worship. “I had been looking forward to College Advance for a while now, ever since it was brought up in one of our weekly meetings,” senior physical therapy major Elijah Hudson said. “It seemed like such a great opportunity to get closer to the Lord.” The weekend consisted of silly games, plenty of food and, of course, praise and worship to give the athletes a break from their weekly routines. The speaker was Mikado Hinson, who is the athletic chaplain for the University of Houston. Mikado has met many athletes while being chaplain, and has become friends with a few names people might recognize. For Texans fans, Hinson and quarterback Case Keenum have a close friendship that grew strong while Keenum was playing for the Cougars. “I think he (Hinson) was the perfect speaker for the weekend. He made it clear that sports is just something we do, but our true calling is to serve our God in everything that we do,” Hudson said. Junior exercise sport science major Stanton Holland found the speaker to be very relatable and knowledgeable about the struggles of being a Christian athlete. “I have heard Mikado speak before, and he is awesome,” Holland said. “Everything that he talks about is completely relevant to what college athletes go through, and he also gave pointers on how to strengthen your walk with Christ.” The UMHB FCA group was just one of the very few small colleges that attended the retreat. “I didn’t really know what to expect going into the weekend. But when we got there, almost every big university from Texas was there it seemed like,” Holland said. The students arrived at Glen Rose around 7 p.m. on Saturday night and were kept busy until they left after lunch on Sunday. “I knew that it was going to be too busy, but when I got back, I was exhausted. It was worth it, though. I got a lot out of the weekend, and I would encourage everyone to try and make it to College Advance at least once,” Hudson said. Junior Christian studies major and FCA leader Taylor Irby hopes that this is just a kick-start to what will come for the UMHB FCA group. “I think this will light a fire underneath our group that went, and that group will impact the others,” Irby...

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Chapel speaker shares inspiring story of past struggles
Nov20

Chapel speaker shares inspiring story of past struggles

Sarah Thebarge has a unique story. The soft-spoken cancer survivor, Yale graduate and author made her first trip to Texas from Portland, Ore.,  Nov. 6 to share it with students during chapel. She said, “I missed the day God gave out voices in Heaven.” The distinguishable characteristic had the audience members sitting at the edge of their seats, hanging onto every word that came from the petite woman’s mouth. Thebarge grew up in an Amish community in Pennsylvania where she constantly struggled to overcome social  expectations that limited her as a woman. She attended Yale University and graduated with a master’s degree in medicine. Her next stop was Columbia University to pursue a master’s degree in journalism. While in New York, Thebarge was diagnosed with breast cancer and became very ill. Her lifelong dream of traveling to Africa crumbled apart just as her life seemed to be doing. In the parking lot of Starbucks, her boyfriend of three years broke up with her. Thebarge said, “I wish I could’ve driven cancer to Starbucks and told it ‘we’ve had a good run, but this isn’t working out for me anymore.’” With a broken soul and empty heart, Thebarge thought she was worthless. She bought a one way ticket to Portland, Ore., and landed there with just a suitcase of clothes. On a train, a Somali girl curled up in Thebarge’s lap. She made eye contact with the mother of five girls who turned out to be refugees. Thebarge got their address and visited a few days later. She found the family enduring horrible living conditions. The mother dumpster-dived for food. Many meals consisted of moldy bread and ketchup. They had one blanket to share and inadequate clothing for the winter. Thebarge created a relationship with the Somali family. With the help of her church, she gave them food, clothes and heat. She showed the girls Disney movies. What Thebarge really wanted to give the girls was an opportunity to go to college. Unable to write a check that large, she began turning the blog she had been keeping about the family’s story into a book called Invisible Children. The proceeds would benefit the girls’ college funds. Junior marketing major Joy Watson attended chapel and the question-and-answer session with Thebarge. Watson was most inspired to hear “how Sarah learned to use her past to inspire people.” She said, “It’s a reminder to not let the past get in the way of the future. God uses the broken.” Thebarge is passionate about emphasizing the importance of inner beauty in women. She said, “In fairy tales, women are always waiting to be saved....

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National Night Out makes students think about safety
Oct09

National Night Out makes students think about safety

In 2012, the campus had 42 cases of theft on record. Many students assume they, along with their belongings, are safe,   but they could be wrong. Campus police deputy John Ellison is the current crime and prevention officer. He attended National Night Out Oct. 1 to help broadcast this important event. “Crime prevention is a huge deal, especially here at UMHB. The better we do with crime prevention, the less we have to deal with burglaries,” he said. The occasion gave all campus police officers a reason to help students become aware of their surroundings. “We try to take opportunities like this to get the word out about crime prevention,” Ellison said. One of the goals of the event is for residents to have the opportunity to get outside of the dorms and meet people other than their direct neighbors and also those who serve for their protection. “We are out here and approachable so the students can get to know their officers in a laid-back environment. We don’t want just a business relationship, especially here with our students. We want them out talking to us all the time,” Ellison said. In addition to campus authorities, Belton officials were also at the event making their rounds while going to other block parties happening all over town. It might not be possible to get every resident on campus to attend an event like this, so Ellison hopes to at least get more involved and aware. “We would love for the students to swing by, get some free food and then go back to their dorm. We don’t expect them to stay the whole time, as long as they come,” he said. The event hosted attractions such as texting and driving, goggles that gave undergrads a chance to see what being under the influence is like and firefighter gear to try on. Senior business administration major Joanna Leath attended and participated in the activities. “Students who come can learn about several different parts like don’t text and drive and the seat belt simulator. They can also get their bike registered while fellowshipping with other students,” she said. Sophomore nursing major Jacob Barnes is a Belton firefighter and came to show his support with other volunteers. “It’s always good to know who’s watching your back and protecting you. It’s not just the firemen that were there. It was security, police officers, and medics, all of which help in the community. National Night Out is all about knowing who serves you,” he said. Barnes assisted attendees who wanted to try on the firefighter paraphernalia. “Honestly, it’s just cool to try on the gear...

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