Savannah’s Scoop

Staff Writer: Savannah Phillips

Spring break- something we all anticipate and look forward to after working hard the first half of the semester! It’s a week where time slows down and speeds up at the same time, ending so quickly. The individual moments that make the memories though, they take their time. 

Life gets so incredibly busy that we often fail to realize just how amazing this life is. Think about this: what if we lived everyday like it’s spring break? 

I know of someone who did- his name was Tommy Steen. I realize his name may not sound familiar, but Tommy’s life was tragically ended after being robbed on the street. In honor of him, his family and friends came together to form the Tommy Steen Memorial Scholarship, to aid a chosen student of Central High School, located in Pageland, South Carolina. Their hope was to keep Tommy’s memory alive and to help students afford college. During my senior year at Central, I’m honored to say that I was awarded this scholarship. I was moved by Tommy’s story and promised to always remember the role he played in my journey. 

Because of the generosity of his family and friends, my dreams started to become reality. It breaks my heart to know that I got to this point, in part, because of Tommy’s passing. It makes me realize that tomorrow is not promised. I’m reminded of his motto: “live everyday like it’s spring break.” We must make every single day the best day of our lives, because we may not have tomorrow. 

Tommy Steen was young and had such a bright future. The day he lost his life, I doubt he knew it would be his last. Though I never met him, I havel a very good feeling that he lived that day like it was his last- and it just so happened that it was. I bet that he had laughed a little too hard that day. Probably admired the world. Fell even more in love with his girlfriend. And maybe even went on an adventure. 

So as spring break approaches next week, acknowledge how you feel every day. As the week winds down and the weight of school crashes back down into your reality, take a moment and remember. Find something good in every day because I promise you, there is more goodness in this world if we only take the time to look. Let happiness manifest itself throughout your whole body, and in the words of Tommy Steen, “live everyday like it’s spring break.” 

-Savannah Phillips

I Want a High-Speed Transcontinental Railway and I Want It Now!!!

Staff Writer: Emily Werner

Since the ripe age of five years old (or sooner for some), we have been told that the United States is the greatest country in the world. We’re number one in so many things – student debt, divorce, covid deaths, and… something positive, I’m sure. But one thing we’re the absolute worst at? Having a high-speed transcontinental railway. 

That’s right! We don’t have one, that’s the worst thing about America… after all the other stuff.

Other developed countries have them. Western Europe, China, and Japan have the fastest trains in the world, the two fastest go faster than a plane. For some perspective, driving across the country from New York City, NY  to Los Angeles, CA would take 41 hours, if you never stopped. The typical plane ride of the same distance takes between six and seven hours. 

Our railway systems are limited. The most famous train system here is the  New York City subway, which is not even close to high speed. The average traveling speed is around 17 mph, with the highest speed being 55 mph. Our fastest railway is the Amtrak Acela Express, whose speed can reach 150 mph, but averages at 66. Even at its fastest, it is still not considered high speed. 150 mph would get you from New York City to Los Angeles in around 18 hours but only if the train never stops. It would also help if the Amtrak Acela didn’t start in Boston and end in Washington DC. 

Europe has several systems spanning across western countries. The fastest European train is located in France and is called the Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) which translates to “high-speed train”. The average operating speed is 200 mph, making the trip (you know, NYC to LA) 14 hours long. Its record speed of 357 mph cuts that time almost in HALF. A little under eight hours! That’s only 40 minutes slower than the typical plane ride. 

I don’t know about you, but that’s still not fast enough for me. 

The fastest train in the world is in Japan. It’s the L0 Series Maglev. Its average operational speed is 310 mph and its record speed is 375. It cuts the 40-hour drive down to only NINE hours. This train isn’t carrying passengers yet as the technology is still being perfected. 

These high-speed trains are typically around the price of a plane ticket, but they’re far better for the environment. Planes produce 12% of CO2 emissions, road transportation produces 74%, rail travel and freight are only responsible for 1%. One single percent. That’s it. Of course, that percentage would rise if more people started using trains instead of planes or cars, but it still wouldn’t be as high as cars or planes.

(30 Rock, NBC.)

I mean, come on. We’re phenomenal in making new parents return to work before the baby even crowns and having people die from treatable illnesses because they can’t afford healthcare.

Local Union County Student Aims Survey at Young College Students

Staff Writer: David McCallister

When thinking back to high school, many college students may have thought little of their complete college experience. Some students may have thought too much about their future and how they want to have an impact on society.

For local high school student Reagan Fauser, her goals of impacting young adults have blossomed well before her venture into higher education. Fauser is currently working on a survey aimed at young adults and marine conservation.

“Hello, my name is Reagan Fauser and I am conducting research on the effectiveness of marketing strategies used by marine conservation organizations, specifically on teenagers. In order to take this survey, freshman and sophomores are highly recommended to take the survey. This survey is completely optional and you can terminate the session at any time. All answers will remain anonymous- a name and email are not required for submission of this survey. All data will be deleted after the AP Research scores are released. This survey should take about 5-10 minutes to complete. Thank you so much for helping me with my research!”

Fauser hopes her survey research can provide more of an insight into how teenagers can influence the future of Earth and improve quality of life. The link to the survey is provided below.

Wingate Baseball Feature Story: New Expectations for a Championship Program

Staff Writer: Troy Langmeyer

Last year the 2021 Baseball team won the second team national championship in school history and went on a run that will never be forgotten. But the measure of a great program is not if you reach the top of the mountain, but how often you can stay within reach of the summit. 

This year the team is in a new season with similar goals. Essentially what that means is, how often can the Bulldogs stay National Title contenders? As with every year, The Wingate Baseball team has lofty expectations.

The standard of excellence was set long before any of the current players and coaches arrived on campus and put on the Gold and Blue Jersey. The history is that of a rich tradition that can be traced back to the very beginning. But the recent achievement is new territory, even for a storied program like Wingate Baseball. 

Players realize that the bar is set that much higher. “We know that winning the National Title comes with new challenges and even higher expectations than before,” senior Pitcher and major contributor Brody McCullough says. “We need to realize that a target is on our back, but we also need to learn to embrace it and know that we’re going to get every team’s best when they play us.”

That is one of the new challenges that the team will have to face moving forward. Every team wants a shot at the champions and for some programs who might be in a lower spot, having a chance at beating Wingate is potentially the biggest thing they could accomplish all season. 

“Every team we face will be just that much more amped to play us and we need to be ready to take that on,” McCollough said. “We have to learn how to be on top of our game the whole season.”

The Bulldogs are ready for the task that is ahead. “Every program wants to get to this point – the point of being the standard within the conference, region, and even country,” said Austin Johnson, also a senior pitcher.

“It sounds cliche, but we aren’t satisfied with just one championship. By finally breaking through and winning our first title, the yearly expectations are now elevated to reaching the College World Series almost every season.”

Those are lofty goals for a program whose first College World Series appearance was last year making them 1 for 1 on making it to the final 8 and winning it all. 

Some people dubbed the 2021 Bulldogs as a “team of destiny” or a “Cinderella Story”, but the Bulldogs are eager to show that last year was not a fluke. And so far into the 2022 season, the team is undefeated at 8-0 and ranked #1 nationally. Right where they expected to be.

Dream On 3 Recognizes “Mr. Union County” and All of His Hard Work at the 9th Annual Dream Gala

Staff Writer: Madison Mataxas

Growing up and finding your place throughout elementary and middle school is a challenge in itself, but it becomes even more difficult when you are not able to express yourself in the ways you want. This was the situation that Michael Wayne O’Neill found himself in. At the age of 2, O’Neill was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and did not speak until he was almost 8 years old. This hurdle did not stand in his way. If anything, now he feels that he is “making up for lost time” by making a name for himself as both a public speaker, play-by-play commentator, and journalist. 

O’Neill did not start with an interest in sports, until one day he went with his mother to his older brother’s football practice. It was there that the coach asked him if he’d like to be a water boy and from that point on he began watching football, learned about the game, and began listening to the commentators. 

He used this newfound love of sports and commentating to pursue a career in sports broadcasting and journalism in hopes of becoming a play-by-play announcer, or to be more exact, O’Neill said that he will be “the next Al Michaels on Sunday Night Football.” From 2018 to 2019, he secured an internship with The Enquirer-Journal in Monroe. Not long after he had his first article published, he was offered the opportunity to become a correspondent for the Enquirer.

He has had over 100 articles published for the Enquirer, and “his dedication to reporting the truth paves a promising future for him,” said Senior Sports Writer Jeremy Vernon. This kick-started his sports writing career and from then on O’Neill can be seen at practically every sports event in the area from college to high school. This dedication to journalism and being part of these events in the area are all factors that contributed to Michael Wayne O’Neill being known as “Mr. Union County”.

After becoming more involved in his love of sports and his love of people, he knew that his dream of becoming the next Al Michaels was within his grasp; that’s where Dream On 3 comes in. Co-Founder & Executive Director, Elizabeth Lindsey, is always more than happy to speak about the organization and what they do to help individuals achieve their dreams. “The organization grants sports dreams to individuals ages 5-21 with life-altering conditions.” Dream On 3 made Michael O’Neill’s dream of meeting his favorite sports commentator, Al Michaels in September of 2019 in Atlanta, GA. “I call him the GOAT of Sports Broadcasting,” said O’Neill.   

It was after this experience of a lifetime and getting to know Co-Founders Elizabeth, Brandon, and the rest of the DO3 team he knew that he wanted to support Dream On 3, and in March of 2021, O’Neill was asked to become the first Dream Ambassador for DO3. O’Neill said that he was “more than honored to take on this responsibility.” 

Each year DO3 hosts its annual Dream Gala which is one of the Charlotte area’s most anticipated charity events and the organization’s largest fundraiser. Here is where the honored guests, celebrity athletes, and DO3 friends from all over the country join the Dream Team to honor our Dream Kids and help fund the mission of Dream On 3. When looking for a recipient of the Volunteer of the Year award, Elizabeth Lindsey said, “We look for someone who displays the mission of Dream On 3 in character and action. This person typically attends events and/or helps the staff team with planning events, supporting Dream Kids and families, and engages regularly.” 

This year’s recipient for the 2021 award, Michael Wayne O’Neill, or Mr. Union County as many know him, is the embodiment of all those characteristics. O’Neill accepted the award, thanked his family, friends, and his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this blessing and the tireless work they have put in” to make all of this possible for him. “This award is another step forward in my walk with Christ. What a fantastic evening it was celebrating this milestone with my family and the organization that I cherish,” O’Neill said.

With many accomplishments already under his belt, Michael Wayne O’Neill is also pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with an Emphasis in Sports Media at Wingate University. After he graduates in December 2023, O’Neill wants to continue working toward his dream of play-by-play announcing and helping anyone that crosses his path. 

Remedy for a Broken World

Staff Writer: Savannah Phillips

Have you ever been driving and a song that you’ve never heard comes on? It makes your thoughts stop, and for a moment all you do is listen to everything it’s trying to say…

For me, that song was “Where is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas. If you haven’t already, I really suggest listening to this song.  A couple of days ago, I almost started crying right there in the car, because I was touched by the emotional truth of the lyrics. I wanted to blast the song from the rooftops in hopes of waking up the world, making people turn from their ways.

Violence. So much violence. From all areas of the world, running rampant on the streets. Corrupt officials in all areas are there to “help” us, from the White House all the way to the small-town police station. Guns – used to kill even when they gave all they had. Taking their lives because they had the gun. Color. Never seeing what’s on the inside- that we all have the same beating heart. Social media breaks the confidence of so many beautiful people, who are perfect just as they are. Children who have had their innocence stolen by someone who knew better. 

In a world that is so “advanced” and “intelligent,” it lacks the basic needs, the common sense, to put itself back together. We can fix broken computers, busted phone screens, repair totaled cars, restore ancient treasures… but we can’t seem to fix our world. 

If I tried to list what is wrong with our world, that list would never end. But, it isn’t our responsibility to change the whole world- our work would never end either. Because there will always be those who stand against coming together. All that we can do is shine a light, even on the darkest days. We are responsible for ourselves and how we treat one another. We are responsible for planting a seed

Going back to the message of this song, I ask you, where is the love? Love is the simplest answer to our broken world. Love for one another. Holding hands and facing life together. How far we could have come if only people loved one another. 

“I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.”

-Jana Stanfield

-Savannah Phillips

February Wingate Track and Field Update

Staff Writer: Dwayne Davis

WINGATE, NC — Wingate University’s indoor track and field team is on their way for the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Indoor Championship on Feb. 26- 27 in Winston Salem, NC. The Bulldogs previously were chosen as a favorite in the SAC conference as they racked up 10 first-place votes between men and women teams combined.  

Senior Darius Weathers is a standout to look for around the JDL fast track as he currently holds an NCAA outdoor All-American title in the triple jump from 2019. The All-American jumper was also previously All-Southeast Region as well, both indoors and outdoors, in the same event in 2021. The last time Wingate attended an indoor championship, Weathers led the league both in the long jump (6.86) and the triple jump (14.31).

Distance specialists Jakob Rettschlag and Meg Rapley of the Bulldogs are also two other big names that will attend the SAC championship, as the two runners previously put up school record-setting numbers. At the Camel City Invitational, Rettschlag finished sixth with a school-record time of 4:10.55. Closely behind him, Rapley recorded another record-setting time of 4:59.73, placing her at seventh in the same indoor event. 

Looking back at the past, the Wingate men placed second while the women finished fifth in the SAC indoor championship of 2020. The previous 2021 indoor Championship was not held, so the Bulldogs are expected to come back with even more firepower.

Wingate’s School of Business Bridging Gap Between Health and Media

Staff Writer: Alexandria Sessions

While students were gearing up and preparing for in-person classes, Dr. Ralph Frasca, Chair of the Communication and Arts department at Wingate University, was preparing for a new addition to the Communication Department staff. After two weeks of interviews and careful consideration from both the search committee and selected students. while the decision was tough, the hiring process concluded with Dr. Kimberly Kristfuek being hired to teach the new Health Communication Concentration at Wingate University.

Kristufek received her Bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communication and broadcast cinematic arts from Central Michigan University. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars member continued at CMU  to receive her Master’s degree. During that time she worked as a teacher assistant and completed a thesis about the use of virtual worlds in the healthcare industry. The next stop in her educational journey was at Wayne State University where she was awarded the Thomas C. Rumble Fellowship to study the topic of fat talk communication.

“During my time at Wayne State University, I worked with the World

Health Organization to better understand disaster preparedness in underdeveloped countries,” Kristufek said.

             “After one year at Wayne State University, I transferred to George Mason University to get my Ph.D. in health communication… My dissertation investigated fat talk in romantic relationships and healthcare outcomes.” 

Along with studying for her Ph.D. and writing her dissertation, she taught Public Speaking at GMU and prepared graduate students for research in her Graduate Research Method course. 

Frasca points out that Kristufek experiences under the health and communication umbrella were substantial.

         “We [search committee] thought Dr. Kristufek was the best because she was more advanced in her career and she had work experience in the healthcare field…and we thought that she’d also be a good fit here with our students and our colleagues,” Frasca said. 

While her career experience spoke loud volumes to the search committee and the Communication Dept Head, Kristufek’s own life experience was the most audible to her. She decided to pair her passion for patient-centered healthcare with her own life experiences to help others with a similar past.

“I have struggled with an eating disorder my entire life. When I graduated high school, I was underweight and anorexic. When I started college, I had to have steroid treatments that made me gain a significant amount of weight,”  Kristufek said.

 “The experience of being both underweight and overweight influenced my desire to help patients and healthcare providers to better discuss weight management together.”

The health communication researcher saw potential at Wingate to further her research with, and expand upon, the communication department and the public health program.  While the research was a plus, educational growth was not the only thing that caught her attention.

“The University’s faith-based mission also made me feel comfortable and welcome. I felt like this would be a good place to raise a family and make a difference,” Kristufek said.

Kristufek has big plans while she is at Wingate, and she hopes to contribute towards implementing diversity in course topics and internships in the Health Communication concentration while also collaborating with other departments on campus.

  “I would like to help the communication department be seen as a credible department where students can gain valuable skills that will transfer into a post-college career. I’d also like to help the communication department collaborate with other health-focused departments on the Wingate campus,” Kristufek said.

 “I would also love to find internship opportunities in the health industry and bring those opportunities to communication majors. The department is also desperately in need of entertainment trivia, particularly the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek and the history of Superman comics. It is my hope I can impart both my health knowledge and my geek knowledge on my colleagues and students.”

Kristufek will be teaching Public Speaking, Health Communication, and Organizational Communication. The soon-to-be Wingate professor advises future students who are looking forward to taking her courses, to come prepared to learn skills that would be great on a resume and to reach out to her whenever they need assistance. The recent hire wants to give her students time to work on group projects, classwork, and discussion because she values productivity.

“I would like my students to know that my lectures tend to be shorter than average to allow class time for group projects and discussion. In my health courses, as well as my other communication courses, we will analyze healthcare research and learn translatable skills that students can put on their resumes,”  Kristufek said.

Anyone can take her classes, including Health Communication, without having prior knowledge about the field.

 Professor Kristufek will be starting in the fall semester and thinks health communication will be a beneficial course to bring to the department. The topics will range from fake news, to how the media plays a role in the spread of medical information.

“I think having this type of media literacy will make students better able to navigate a healthcare landscape that utilizes and is influenced by the media,” Kristufek said.

Other than her plans of teaching at Wingate, she wants to make a bigger impact on the community.

“Another passion of mine is animal rights, and I am looking forward to the chance to influence Wingate into making some new cruelty-free choices on campus,” Kristufek said, “ I think that together we can help shape the health of patients, providers, and animals around campus and our community.”

Wingate Basketball Season Updates

Staff Writer: Ben Robertson

Wingate, N.C. – With the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) tournaments just a few weeks away, the men’s and women’s Wingate basketball teams are primed for deep postseason runs. 

The men’s Bulldog squad has put together an excellent season so far, currently sitting as the fourth seed in the SAC. They are 18-6 overall, with 14 wins in the conference. 

So far, junior guard Jarren Cottingham is putting together another All-SAC level performance, once again averaging over 17 points per game. He currently ranks in the top five of the conference in scoring and has picked up two SAC Player of the Week awards. 

Transfer sophomore Sean Elmore has been a massive addition to the Bulldogs, and he leads the SAC in three-pointers made this season. Junior Andreas Wilson has also been a lethal shooter, and both players have double-digit scoring averages. 

Sophomore Donell Nixon has asserted himself as one of the top point guards in the SAC. Nixon is top five in the conference in both assists and steals and leads the team in minutes played.   

Quantra Taylor and Vontrez Roberts have been solid in the paint all season, and Rashaard Pringle and Destin Clark consistently provide energy, solid defense, and inside scoring for the Bulldogs. 

On the women’s side, the Bulldogs have proved to be an elite team in the conference and are ranked #17 in the nation. After losing their season opener, the team rattled off a program-record 18 straight victories before falling to Newberry. 

They are currently the top seed in the SAC by multiple games. They are 21-2 overall and 19-1 in the SAC. 

Junior forward Bryanna Troutman is putting together a case to be the SAC Player of the Year, averaging 18.8 points and 7.8 rebounds. Troutman and graduate student Haleigh Brandon pair to make one of the best frontcourt duos in the country, with Brandon averaging a near double-double with 9.7 points and over 13 rebounds. 

Junior Hannah Clark has been one of the best and most exciting guards in the SAC all year long, averaging double-digit points and shooting nearly 40% from the three-point arc. Sophomore guard Lauren Sullivan has proved to be an absolute sniper for the Bulldogs as well, averaging 8.3 points and shooting a ridiculous 47% from deep so far. 

The SAC tournament begins for both men and women on March 2. Both Bulldog teams believe they have very legitimate shots at winning the whole thing. 

I Live With Roaches on Purpose

Staff Writer: Emily Werner

Listen, I know what the title of this article tells you about me: I am out of my mind. And maybe you’re right, but I live with roaches on purpose, and they’ve only enriched my life.

Maybe this will soothe your soul. The roaches are kept in a plastic tub with a top, which is kept inside a glass terrarium with a door that locks. And I don’t have them, just to have them. I have them because I have 2 very hungry lizards. One is a two-year-old veiled chameleon whose government name is Herb Ertlinger (It’s a Schitt’s Creek reference) but I call him Herb or Herbie for short. The other is a six-month-old pictus* gecko named Flick.


Herb, Veiled Chameleon

Veiled chameleons and pictus geckos really only eat bugs. In the wild they might have a bite of a plant but the domesticated/captive breds will refuse it every time. So, because they eat bugs, I need to have bugs.


Flick, Pictus Gecko

Most people with reptiles opt for crickets as a staple food. This is because crickets are widely available in pet stores, and therefore are fairly convenient. I currently use them as a staple since the roaches take a while to breed, but they’re a hassle. In order for your lizard to get any nutrition, the crickets have to be gut loaded (fed lots of healthy food).  Since pet stores don’t do this for you, you have to do it yourself. They can also carry diseases that quickly spread to other crickets and end up wiping all of them out. If they feel overcrowded, they will fix it themselves – by eating one another. 

Crickets chirp loudly at night, they have a tendency to bite, are very sensitive and will die extremely fast if not taken care of daily. Worst of all – they reek. The only thing I can equate the smell to is a dead fish that has been left in 100º weather for a week. It’s putrid and they know it! Every couple of days, the cricket carrier has to be cleaned or they’ll die from their own wretchedness. It is no treat. Not just because they stink, but because they jump which makes it easier to escape. They’re fast and very hard to catch. 

Dubia roaches, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. They can’t jump, they’re silent, do not need daily care, are incredibly durable, don’t bite, and they do not stink. Dubia roaches are more nutritious as well. They’re higher in protein, fiber, and necessary fats. Yes, you have to order them online as pet stores almost never sell them, but they come gut loaded and ready to be fed to your reptile. They typically cost around $7 for a 25 count. As crickets are around $5 for 50, roaches are a little bit more expensive, especially for college students. The cheapest option is to buy a couple sets of adults and breed them, so that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s incredibly easy and not as gross as I thought it’d be and I’m an avid hater of bugs. I’ve always said that the only good thing about winter is that all the bugs are either dead or hibernating.

The little colony I have is made up of about 10 adult dubia roaches. I want nothing to do with them, and they want nothing to do with me. All I have to do is spray some water in their container, toss in a sliced orange, provide a heat lamp, and leave them alone most days. Once in a while, I’ll open the container to a lovely surprise – 30(ish) baby roaches, some of which can be fed to Flick right away, some that need a little more time to grow for Herb to enjoy them. They have had three clutches in as many months, and I’m hoping to get to the point where I don’t have to purchase bugs at all. 

Ok, saying the roaches have only enriched my life is a lie. The adults still scare me.  Some people own them just as pets which is a huge red flag to any sane person. But Herbie and Flick are my little angels and for them I’ll keep breeding dubia roaches. However, I don’t think I’ll ever stop screaming when the big ones touch me. 

*Note: Pictus geckos have multiple names: ocelot gecko, panther gecko, Madagascar ground gecko, etc. The scientific name is paroedura pictus, if you are interested.