Whats your story?: Wingate community helps Maria Cepeda cope with her loss

Kendall Sienon, Staff Writer

Wingate, N.C. — Life hands you lemons, throws you curve balls, and may knock you down. But it is how people deal with those adversities that make them truly incredible people. Most college students worry about finals or what they are going to wear that weekend. For some, life has different plans.

Maria Cepeda, a junior from Port Charlotte, F.L, faced one of the biggest challenges of her life—losing her father. “My father was very kind and loving,” says Maria, “he was non-judgmental and very accepting of everyone; he always had my best interest at heart.”

Photo Source: Wingate Athletics

On February 18, 2017 Nicholas Fortunato left the world due to cancer that spread throughout his body. “I feel like a different person since he left, but I know he is watching over me and cheering for me as I go through life,” states Maria.

Growing up, Maria’s childhood was filled with lots of family and laughter. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Maria and her mother moved to the United States at age five.

They moved to Miami and that is where her mother met her new husband and Maria’s stepfather, Nicholas. “Even though he wasn’t my father by blood that didn’t stop him from loving me. My dad taught me a lot about life and was always helping me strive to be better and for that he is my biggest role model,” states Maria.

Losing her father has been the hardest thing Maria has had to do. He raised her from age seven and remained her primary parent after her mother and him divorced. It’s never easy to lose a parent, especially at a time when you need them most.

Maria’s reaction to this tragic event makes her an incredible person. She remains positive even when it gets hard. “I try to have a good attitude about things and realize that I can’t control everything. It could always be worse,” says Maria. She is happy to have loving friends and support system here at Wingate that is always there when she needs them.

Maria came to Wingate when her lacrosse coach recruited her to play here. She visited twice before making the decision to commit. “I fell in love with the area and the people,” says Maria, “It feels like home. it has been filled with lots of support and love from my teammates, friends, and the community.”  

Life is unpredictable and erratic, but people like Maria who face everyday as it comes despite whatever adversity there plagued with, are truly admirable people.

Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s your story?: Aderson returns to Brazil after a year of experiences at Wingate

Andrew Elliott, Staff Writer

One night, I walked into my brother’s jazz combo rehearsal and saw an unfamiliar face; Arte immediately introduced him to me. “Andrew, I want you to meet our new guitarist, Aderson; he’s a student/teacher here.” said Arte, as I shook hands with Aderson da Silva. Who knew that this man would later become more than just a musician, student, and teacher at Wingate University.


As an international student that taught English in his native country, he couldn’t say no to the opportunity. “I’ve been teaching English for the past 10 years;” said Aderson, in regard to his decision to study abroad. “And to have the opportunity to come to a country I have been studying and teaching my whole life, and teach my own culture and language here, I felt that it was the golden opportunity to put different things I’m passionate about together.”

Though teaching was not his ideal career in the beginning for Aderson. “I started to teach as early as 17, and my mom is a professor, so I grew up with that,” said Aderson, “It started up on accident; I did not expect that I would teach. But when the circumstances lead into something— needed, let’s say the money— and I had the fluency of the language and they invited me to teach. And slowly, I began to realize that it was something that I really wanted to do.”

His musical experience, however, was strongly influenced by his father. “Let me add that my father is a musician. He and his brother had a musical group when they were younger; so they would perform all the time and I would have to say that was my top influence,” said Aderson.

“In my teenage years, I began listening to all sorts of genres of music and getting interested in different stuff. And before I knew it, I was interested in at first singing and then I decided to buy myself a guitar and learn how to play it. And slowly but surely one thing led to another and I was doing it.” Aderson’s guitar is a custom made acoustic from a company in Brazil.

As his vista comes to an end this semester, Aderson wants to be remembered by Wingate University as a man who was involved. “I want to be remembered as a person who is here and making the most of experience,” said Aderson. “A person who did his best to do what he was here to do. You know, the FLTA program tell us that we are cultural ambassadors; so if I could throughout this year show people around me a little bit of Brazil and a little bit our language, our culture, and what my country is then my goal would have been achieved.”

And his goal was achieved based off the people he interacted with at Wingate University. “Aderson has been such a great addition to this campus.” Said Dr. Little-Sweat, in regard to Aderson’s presence on campus. “I have many children around here, but I’ve never had a Brazilian son before; and that’s Aderson.”

Another one of Aderson’s close friends, Arte Elliott, was also touched by his presence on campus. “From the first time I met Aderson, I knew he was a person that was a great man and one who would benefit Wingate University.” Said Arte. “I’m so blessed to call him my friend.”

“I am certain that I am going home with a considerable number of very good friends that I made here; and I’m really thankful for that, but that’s just a bonus.” Said Aderson “Anything beyond what I said before just adds up to it”

After Aderson leaves the states, he plans to return to Brazil for two years according to his program. “After those two years, I’m going to apply for either a doctorate or masters; I’m not sure. But when I come back, I’m going to teach private classes and use some of that time to my musical work because it’s something that also helps me make a living, ” said Aderson.


Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s Your Story?: Kimmi Moore faces trials that make her stronger

Maggie Smith, Staff Writer

Wingate University’s total enrollment is approximately 3,150. Out of those 3,150 people, each one has their own story. Students walk past one another everyday unaware of each other’s stories.

Some stories need to be heard so others fighting the same battles know they’re not alone, but sometimes people are afraid of sharing their story. Sophomore, Kimmi Moore has her own story and is willing to share it with others.

Photo Source: Wingate Athletics

For many students freshman year is challenging as it is a big transition from high school to college. For Moore however, the transition was an easy one. Moore started Wingate University in August of 2015.

Moore went to Wingate on a soccer scholarship. “Because I came in on a sports team with people I already knew, the transition was fairly easy. I already had friends here and they were able to help me transition into the college life and help me with classes which showed me time management” said Moore.

Although Moore got off to a good start and liked Wingate, life threw her a curve. “My freshman year during spring break I went home for a few days and before coming back to school my boyfriend committed suicide” said Moore.

“When you lose someone to depression you automatically feel like it’s your fault,” said Moore, “It took me a very long time to realize it wasn’t my fault.” Moore also said “depression is an inner battle with yourself and the best thing you can do is find little things to look forward to.”

Moore said she took time off to cope and better her mental health after battling depression. “I didn’t return to school for awhile because my parents were worried and I wanted to remain home and stay close to them time.”

Moore eventually decided to come back and continue playing soccer. “I came back because I knew it was the best thing for me and I had so many opportunities ahead of me,” said Moore, “I’m glad I came back because I focused on soccer, bettered my play, made new friends, and I was beginning to be myself again.”

Moore credits her teammates and her coach for helping her on her “tough days.”

Moore also said her teachers were very understanding and helped with the work she missed. Moore said she was even able to finish the semester with a gpa over 3.0.

One of her teammates and best friends, Erica Pacello said Kimmi’s strength is something she’s never seen before. “Her situation from the outside looking in seems unbearable and somehow she managed to channel her weaknesses into strengths on and off the soccer field,” said Pacello, “she’s an amazing friend to me, she asks me if I’m okay when I know sometimes she’s barely getting through the day.” Pacello also said that she knows the battle Kimmi is fighting is internal but she roots for her every day.

Kimmi has found love again and is in a relationship. Her boyfriend Nick Sprinkle said she shows her strength everyday. “She doesn’t let little mishaps and setbacks deter her from being one of the most kind and caring people I have ever met,” said Sprinkle, “Every single day she gets up, goes to class, practice, rotations, and even has time for herself, when many people can barely balance school and homework she is balancing ten things at once and it puts into perspective how much she can bare.”

Sprinkle also said, “You would never know that she was struggling unless she told you. She always puts others before herself, even if it costs her something. She does not think twice about helping someone else.” Nick said Kimmi is one of the strongest people he’s ever met.

“Wingate has impacted my life because without all the support I was offered I would not have been able to come back. This school puts each other first, offers you with options to expand your knowledge and try new things, and is just the home feel,” said Moore, “this school has changed my life, made me a better individual and opened up new horizons.”

Moore advises others who are dealing with depression to keep busy and to lean on your friends. “Your friends are here to help you, call them…you think you’re burdening them with your problems so you bottle them up which makes it worse.” Moore said she has a tattoo on her spine that says, The pain you feel today is the strength you’ll feel tomorrow. Keep going. “If you tell yourself that everyday, it’ll start to get better and you will achieve what you want, so just keep fighting” said Moore.

Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s your story?: Dorso graduates with masters degree, walking boot, and ever-present smile

Nick Vaughn, Staff Writer

Aimee Dorso is no stranger to Wingate University. Dorso spent her undergraduate years here, graduation with a degree in accounting last spring. She returned this year to complete the Master of Accounting program. By day Dorso is a student getting her masters, but by night she is the night manager at the Ethel K. Library where she is dubbed “Queen”

Dorso is set to graduate with her masters in Accounting in just a few short weeks. Looking back on her four/ five years at Wingate University— there have plenty of ups and downs. One thing that has stayed constant, is that Aimee Dorso will always, no matter the circumstances, have a smile on her face. That smile and positive outlook has been tested through her years at Wingate, especially the last two.

During her senior year of undergrad, Dorso broke her foot. She was in a walking boot cast for nearly two months. It was always a lighthearted joke and funny memory amongst friends. Just a few weeks ago after Dorso was closing the library for the night and walking to her car she stepped off of the curb wrong and broke her foot once again. The boot may be back, but the smile remains.

Caleb Ramey, a close friend of Dorso said: “The one thing I have always loved about her is her willingness to always look on the bright side and be positive. I don’t think I have ever seen Aimee not make light of a bad or hard situation. “Breaking both of your feet twice in two years would be hard on anyone’s ability to go about daily life in college and while working. But Aimee chooses to push through and keep going, it’s as if she never broke them.”

She is bummed that she will be in the boot when she walks during graduation this spring upon completion of her master’s degree. But she stated, “Stuff happens, if this is the worst thing that I will encounter, then I am doing okay. You have to stay positive, rather you are going through a break-up, a death in your family, a hard financial situation, a broken foot, or whatever it may be. Just know you will get through this. This situation you are in now does not define you as a person. You just have to keep going, just keep kicking as Dory from “Finding Nemo” says!”

Aimee is right. We all go through ups and downs, barriers and disappointments. What defines us is not what happened, but how we react and choosing to get up from that setback. Erin Draughn, a close friend of Aimee said “If it’s bad news, a bad grade, a disappointment, a broken foot, whatever it is Aimee reminds me to keep going. If she can do it, we can. That’s why I love our friendship and look up to her. She always sees the silver lining in anything that happens that we might not have planned for.” Draughn stated.

Dorso recognizes how hard life is for some, and tries to take things into perception. That is something that we all need reminding of from time to time. A problem can seem so huge at the time, but in the grand scheme of things, they were small and we can get through them. Aimee reminds friends like myself, Erin, Caleb, and all of Wingate University of that each and every day.

When asked if she had any closing words, Dorso smiled, turned around and said: “Just remember, these boots were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do, one of these days these boots are going to walk all over you. But seriously have fun everyone, college goes by in the blink of an eye, enjoy the moment, you will get through the barriers and be all the much stronger for it.”

Edited By: Brea Childs

What’s your Story?: Shaw shares her experience at Wingate

Alex King, Staff Writer

Rebecca Shaw’s story began in 2012 when she began applying for college. She had her mind set on getting far away from the small town of Indian Trail that she has lived in her whole life.

“I applied to Wingate because it was right down the road and my brother went there but I had no intention of going there,” Shaw stated. “My dream school was Anderson.”

Shaw found out about a few colleges before finding out that she had been accepted to Wingate but not Anderson, but she was still determined to move away from Union County.  In January of 2012, her perspective changed.

“We found out my sister was pregnant in early January and we were all very excited. It was my first nephew.. Then on January 20th my dad passed away,” Shaw remembered. “That was horrible and I realized what was really important, and that was family.“

Due to these life events, Shaw decided being right down the road was for the better.

“Once I had decided on Wingate, I tried to get really involved right away,” said Shaw. “I joined the Facebook page, I added everyone as a friend. I was so excited. Honestly, probably too excited.”

When she moved in, it was a different story.  “When I actually got here, I stayed in my room most days, I wasn’t really that involved until the spring. I was really worried I was just going to drop out or end up transferring.”

Shaw said she looked to transfer to Appalachian State but ended up staying at Wingate.

“When I decided to stay at Wingate, that’s when I really started to get involved. I applied to be an Orientation Leader, the position we call Orientation Coordinator now.” Shaw explained that she was the only freshman girl to be accepted for the position.

“I immediately fell in love with being an Orientation Leader. It gave me such a sense of family and I talked with some of the Orientation Leaders and they said, ‘I would do this for the rest of my life if I could’ and that’s when I realized that I would totally want to do that, too.”

Shaw started looking into working more with involvement and orientation on Wingate’s campus and found that working on a college campus with students was something she would really enjoy.

“Once I got involved with Orientation, so many doors opened up. I worked pretty much anywhere you could imagine.” Shaw said working at all of these places around campus helped show her that marketing was not what she really wanted to do with her life.

Shaw looked back and realized the mentors she had played a huge role in finding that higher education is something she would like to pursue. “My mentors really helped me see that I can make an impact in students’ lives.”

“I did some research and found that I wanted to go to school for my Masters in Higher Education. I talked with my boss and she helped me figure out what schools had good programs and I found a few schools to apply to.” Shaw had a similar experience while applying for graduate schools that she had when she applied to college in 2012.

“I had my heart set on University of Rochester but they were the last school I heard back from,” said Shaw. “I heard back from my two other backup schools, in which i didn’t get into. I felt awful.”

A few weeks after her second rejection letter, she got an email from the University of Rochester. “I got an email from them and it said that I was going to have to wait even longer to hear back and I thought ‘you have got to be kidding me, I have to wait even longer’ and I was physically sick to my stomach, that’s how bad it was.”

The next day, Shaw received another email. This time it was much different. “I got the email and I didn’t want to open it, like, I was so nervous I almost just deleted it. I got enough courage to open it and I’m glad I did because I had been accepted into their Masters of Higher Education program.”

From there, the journey has only gotten better. “Once I was accepted into the program, I got started applying for assistantships and I’ve already accepted an offer to be basically what we would call an RD or residence director.”

Shaw looked back at her time at Wingate and realized that everything worked accordingly, even when she thought it wouldn’t.

Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s Your Story: Sherwood reflects on his time at Wingate

Jackson Kaplan, Staff Writer

Since 1985, David Sherwood has served as the Sports Information Director at Wingate University. Sherwood resides in the same town where he has lived for his entire life and never had plans of going anywhere else. A graduate of nearby Forest Hills High School, Sherwood was granted the opportunity to go to another college besides Wingate, but chose to stay here after earning a full scholarship. The rest was history for the WU athletic department.

Photo Source: Wingate Athletics

Over the last 32 years, Sherwood has enjoyed watching the campus grow including the school’s transition from a junior college to a four-year university. The Bulldog athletic department continues to provide its student-athletes, coaches, administration and fans with new facilities.

The new building that first came to mind for Sherwood is Cuddy Arena, which was established after the retirement of Sanders-Sykes Gymnasium where the WU basketball teams used to play their home games. The brand-new, state-of-the-art McGee Center is another new addition that has impressed Sherwood as another sign of Wingate’s rapid growth.

Being an NCAA Division II school, Wingate University is significantly smaller than many major Division I institutions with its small, yet growing student body. Sherwood sees many benefits of working at a smaller school rather than a larger one including “there is more opportunity to learn about people’s stories.” Building strong relationships with fellow colleagues and student-athletes are more great benefits of working at a small university, which Sherwood cherishes greatly.

For the last three decades, Wingate University athletics has seen tremendous success in many sports, but the memory that has stood the most was the opportunity to see the Bulldog men’s soccer team win its first National Championship in the athletic department’s illustrious history.

Going back further in time, another great memory for Sherwood was following the 1987-88 women’s basketball team when they won 33 straight games and advanced to the NAIA Final Four. Sherwood also covered the 2010 WU football team when they went to the NCAA Playoffs for the first time in 2010. He also remembers being at the game where Wingate defeated Morehouse in the first round and recalls the memory of how excited the school was when it happened.

In his illustrious tenure at Wingate, Sherwood has received multiple awards of recognition including winning the 2016 Lester Jordan Award last summer from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The Lester Jordan Award is presented annually to an individual for exemplary service to the Academic All-America® program and for promotion of the ideals of being a student-athlete.

He was also the recipient of the CoSIDA 25-year Award. Sherwood was also awarded the AVCA Grant Burger Media Award for the NCAA Division II Southeast Region in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

The AVCA Grant Burger Media Award is an honor intended to recognize members of the media who have been involved in the advancement of the sport of volleyball.

In 2007, he received the Wingate University Faith Award and the Wingate University Service Award from his peers. In 2003, Sherwood received the Bob Kenworthy Award from CoSIDA. The Kenworthy Award is given annually to a CoSIDA member for community involvement and accomplishments outside the sports information office.

The Bulldogs lead the state of North Carolina across all divisions of athletics in producing Academic All-Americans. He has spent 20-plus years on the Academic All-America® committee and a one-year stint on the Membership Services Committee. He has also been part of the Daktronics All-American and the NCCSIA All-State committees.

There have been many changes to Wingate University over the last three decades, but one thing has remained constant, David Sherwood. The dedication to his craft, the treatment of his student-athletes, love for Wingate and production of exemplary work is unmatched in collegiate athletics. Sherwood is the gold standard of Sports Information Directors regardless of any level and is loved by everyone in the community. Sherwood’s legacy still continues to this day as the WU athletic department continues to produce champions on and off the field of competition.


Edited by Brea Childs

Library holds program on plagiarism for Academic Integrity Week

Dustin Kiggins, Staff Writer

In recognition of Academic Integrity Week on Wednesday, librarians from Ethel K. Library presented students with tips on how to avoid plagiarism when doing research and writing papers for class and future careers.

The presenters showed examples to students on plagiarism in music to see if the students understood the difference between what was and wasn’t plagiarized. This was so they had an idea of what to look for when presented with a written work.

“Music is different because there are only a few beat patterns that are used a lot,” said Amee Odem, a Wingate librarian. “If you are doing a parody of a song that is fine but if you want to use someone else’s song in part or entirely you must ask for permission first and pay royalties.”

The ability to properly cite other works when writing is important because it gives proper credit to the author of the original work.

“You need to treat citations as a conversation that you’re having with others,” said Kevin Winchester, director of the writing center. “When you cite works and then write your own you are joining the conversation and then contributing to it by writing your own  that will one day be cited as a source in another work.”

With citations you can also trace back the history of cited works and find things that you may have never seen before.

“Citation chaining is a neat trick where you can jump from one work to the next just by following their works cited sources,” Winchester said. “I’ve spent hours just going through other works to see all of the other works that someone else already cited.”

In order to emphasize the importance of citing, the presenters told several stories about people who didn’t properly cite their works and it ended their career. Odom told the story of Joseph Netti and Anil Potti who fabricated research data collected during their cancer study.

“The cancer society had funded their project at Duke University and they were fabricating data,” Odom said. “They were conducting studies with data that wasn’t properly verified and cited which was a problem since they were conducting studies on patients.”

This led to Duke University and the researchers to lose all scientific credibility that they once had. “Use this as an example as to what can happen if you don’t use proper citation methods.” Winchester chimed in.

The presenters advised students that changing one word in a portion of a work or using outside sources need to be cited.

“If you use anything from another work that is a direct quote, summary or paraphrase you need to cite it,” Winchester said. “There needs to be a path of search results showing you cited your work properly. The best thing to do is to keep a running citation of all the works you used in a paper,” Winchester said, “along with a bibliography of all the sources that you may have considered to ensure you aren’t plagiarizing.”
A representative of the honor council noted that when it comes to plagiarism, ignorance isn’t bliss.

Photo Source: Al Young

Edited by: Brea Childs