The History of Halloween

SPOOKY……..SKELETONS……..GHOSTS………COSTUMES 

Asherel Kaseorg, Staff Writer

 

It’s the end of October, and that means Halloween is in just one week! Front porches and yards are filled with skeletons, spiderwebs, and spooks, and store aisles are full of pumpkin-themed candy for trick-or-treaters.

Halloween is actually responsible for one fourth of all the candy sold in the United States, and 6 billion dollars are spent on it every year. Now this day is full of little kids dressed as their favorite princess or superhero asking for candy. This holiday actually has a lot of history behind it.

Halloween came from a day known as Samhain, a Celtic festival where people would dress up to ward off ghosts. The first day of their year was on November 1, which was the end of harvest season and summer. They believed that the night before this, the world of the living and the world of the dead intertwined a little bit, allowing spirits to return to earth and wreak havoc. The presence of these spirits also allowed druids to predict the future. They would make these predictions during a giant bonfire, sacrificing animals and crops to their deities.

When the Romans conquered Celtic territories, they combined their own holidays with Samhain. One was Feralia, and the other was a day to honor Pomona. This holiday is where the tradition of bobbing for apples started.

Over the years, the festivals changed slightly, and the day after Samhain was named All Saints’ Day or All-hallows, and Samhain became All-hallows Eve. Eventually this became Halloween.

Originally Halloween wasn’t celebrated in many areas of the American colonies. There would be celebrations for the harvest, and similar to Samhain, people would dress up, tell fortunes, and there were many ghost stories and pranks. In the mid-1800s, many new immigrants came to America, and with them, new Halloween traditions.

Trick-or-treating began here. By the beginning of the 20th century, Halloween had lost most of its spookiness due to a movement to make the holiday more about community and friendship.

Today, we have a nice mixture of scary traditions and fun traditions. Here at Wingate University, there is a festival and haunted trail featuring our own spooky monster, the Wyooter. Driving through nearby neighborhoods, you can see houses that went all-out with their decorations. One near Matthews has a family of skeletons sitting in a birdbath, and a house near Waxhaw has an entire outside wall covered in cobwebs and giant spiders. Hopefully this year we can make it all the way through Halloween before the Christmas music starts.

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Technology benefits students in the classroom

Technology not just at home but in the classroom

Josh Dominguez, Staff Writer

This month’s Union County Public School Board meeting was hosted at Cuthbertson High School. Cuthbertson has made it a point to prove technology has been emphasized over the years in schools as a learning tool to help students.

Cuthbertson High School has taken the non-traditional approach to enhance the nature of classroom learning for their students with the addition of multiple technological uses.

Over time technology has been criticized for being used in the classroom as “taking the easy way out” Cuthbertson thinks differently from that. Classrooms in Cuthbertson High School are filled with smartboards, laptops, and a lot of digital learning.

Teaching students in a way that they can understand and connect to is an important area in which this particular high school takes pride in.

Some of the things that they use the technology for in class is very interactive. For example, if a student were to be struggling in understanding something the smartboard allows the teacher to highlight the words or section on the screen so that the student can visually see what is being explained.

In addition to the smartboard, the High School has a college feel to it, in that a lot of the classes have their own course website. This allows the students to be on their laptops in class to follow along with the power points or digital notes being explained.

Cuthbertson High School students made a brief video exhibiting the uses of the technology in the classroom. “Having our laptops in class give us the ability to not only see what is up on the board, but have it in front of us so that we can look over it if we did not understand it.” said a current student from Cuthbertson.

The school board praised Cuthbertson for being one of many high schools that have taken the education to the next level by incorporating technology in the classroom.

The UCPS school board is in the efforts of increasing the budget to help the cause of technology in the classroom. “With the potential of us increasing the budget we want to be able to get the best products for our students, being Apple products, and even more software options to provide to our students.”

The school board meets monthly and in these meetings an array of topics are discussed and the board members vote on certain topics, but also allow for local teachers to pitch their ideas about what is needed in the school system. Union County Public Schools is one of the best in the state and the board plans for it to keep growing.

Edited by: Sara Gunter

The City of Charlotte recovers after the Keith Scott Shooting

Journalists discussed their coverage of protests at SPJ meeting 

Celestia Rene Randolph, Staff Writer

It was a restless atmosphere to begin with, but phones chirping with the tweets of mourners and activists, became the loudest to pierce through the tense atmosphere. Insistent that they receive answers regarding the shooting of Keith Scott.

A local of Gaston, South Carolina and father of seven, protesters and supporters of the “Black Lives Matter” movement kept the city of Charlotte swarming with activity distinctive of a tragedy rather than the typical buzz of city life.

Reporters for The Charlotte Observer, Journalists, and photographers rushed into the center of the action, seeking answers and gathering what information they could from witnesses. The evening of September 22, 2016 became a zoo of hostile activity, demanding acknowledgment on a global scale.

Last Thursday, the local branch of The Society of National Journalists met at a venue downtown to discuss their involvement in the riots. The panel of speakers, accomplished reporters and photographers, recounted their own emotional experiences, the events as they personally witnessed them, and the intercession of the media from both in and outside of Charlotte.

Panel speaker David Sentendrey, digital journalist for FOX 46 television, was the first to recount his feelings on the subject of the protests, and the spiking emotions of African Americans in downtown Charlotte.

At the SPJ event, he recounted his most memorable interview with an individual. Sentendrey approached a very vocal group of young men, singling out a young man from amongst them to attempt a tentative discussion with.

“At first” He said “The guy was agitated and aggressive towards me, the White reporter with a live feed recording device, but after a few minutes, realized my sincerity and began to open up.” The young man expressed his concerns, fears, and the feelings of inferiority he had adopted from a society that convinced him “his skin was ugly”.

The speaker was moved by the youth’s frankness, and viewed the war claiming Charlotte as something more than a destructive feud over injured pride and social prejudices, but instead, understood the conflict to be the reflection of sentiments generations of subtle, as well as direct, insults bred within the community.

While stories similar to Sentendrey’s, occurred in separate rings of the ever expanding circus, unfortunately, it was the haunting images of violence and destruction in the city that earned a world spotlight. While the situation gained awareness rapidly, mostly due to the live streaming professionals covering the story posted to social networks, the two nights of fame brought with them mixed results.

Ryan Pitkin, an editor for Creative Loafing, a news source which reviews the local arts, dining, and public events of several major cities, emphasised the role of social media in the chaos of the riots and protests. By raising awareness through the spread of viral rap videos or “Am I next?” slogans, Twitter and Facebook ensured that no one could miss out on the action, and broadcasted the feelings of protesters to a concerned public, however the more publicity the violence attracted, the more it escalated the intensity of the aggression.

Pitkin distinctly recalled jarring images of rioters resorting to “throwing rocks, and water bottles and 2 x 4 boards” and stripping an officer whose head has been struck by a brick, from “throwing pebbles” and “ripping up grass”.

As reporters from outside of the local sphere flooded in, they attracted extremists and careless youth depending on the attention. At the Thursday night meeting, Bruce Hensly, a major public relations figure, questioned whether or not the media’s continued attention “poked the bear”,and milked the dramatic story for far longer than they should have; he shared his concern for those in his profession, saying that while “it was good for news, it was a nightmare for ‘PR’ representatives, and devastating to Charlotte’s image.”

Speaker Katie Peralta, Journalist for the Observer shared that for those of her profession, it did “make for a good story”, however, she did not believe the extended coverage affected the riots and the increasingly aggressive protests. “Imagery did so much more for a story”, she said, as she told the assembly how the media provided movements a way to express their beliefs.

“It is a representative’s duty to cover a community’s response to systemic racism.” Her memories of the emotional African Americans she had seen gathering together, and the sight of an elderly Black reverend seated on a curb, weeping for his city, motivate the young woman to inform as many Americans she can of the passions of the minorities of the Charlotte area.

By the third night, the situation became controlled, as a curfew was instigated, police units were organized and able to contain the riots, and facts of the Scott case were opened to the public. The noise which had grown far beyond the state of North Carolina died as suddenly as it came.

Reporters and journalists for major networks returned to their big cities and left Charlotte behind, and took the public eye with them. The city is recovering, and though the nation has shifted it’s focus to election controversies, and has already begun to forget the expressions of desperation and fear it observed in Charlotte, NC.

However, the images and moments active SPJ members experienced will remain with them, hopefully to be circulated to their readers and followers on Twitter

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Wingate Soccer Preps for Last Game in Season

Number 1 Team in the Nation Preps for Last Game

Zeriq Lolar, Staff Writer

With fall sports taking its end in the regular season, one team has been shining through it all. Wingate Men’s soccer team has reached the highest honor of ranking #1 in the nation for division 2.

Wingate has a record of 13-0, with only letting their opponents scoring one goal per game. But being ranked number one in the nation is a big task to uphold, “the target gets bigger and bigger the more you move up in the rankings,” Says Junior defender James Scott (Newcastle, Eng.).

With regionals coming right around the corner the Wingate Bulldogs have a big test on October 29th when they face the seventh ranked Tusculum Pioneers in a dog fight. Wingate Midfielder David Fairgrieve (Newcastle, Eng.) says their success comes from their mentality.  “Honestly, I think it’s been the team’s mentality of taking every game at a time. It’s important we don’t get ahead of ourselves. We have absolutely everything we need from our coaches to facilities to do well, therefore it’s up to us on the pitch to go do it. We are a massive family, who have each other’s backs and stick together.”

Team captain Callum Ross also had some words that would give his team a sense of peace about the situation, “We have tried to think about it (ranking) as little as possible, at the end of the day its just a number and means nothing if we don’t win trophies. But I suppose it makes teams step their game up against us.”

So from the words of the captain, although the feeling of being ranked number 1 in the US is pretty great. The team must stay strong and motivated in order to bring home the gold. The team is now in preparation mode for their game against Tusculum on October 29th at Wingate.

After the last game comes the preparation for the SAC Tournament. Tournament begins November 1st. Needless to say the pressure is on to maintain the number 1 spot in the nation but Wingate sure can do it.

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Wingate Soccer hosts Alumni

Alumni homecoming, reflecting on the past

Delaney Smith, Staff Writer

October 14-15 the Wingate Soccer Program celebrated the opening of its new field house by hosting an Alumni Weekend. The festivities began Friday night with a get together at the field house and a co-ed alumni game.

On Saturday between the women’s and men’s games, the Head Coach’s office was dedicated to Coach Jerry Sutton who served as the founding head coach of the senior college men’s soccer team in 1980-81.

The most rewarding part of having the head soccer coach’s office named for me and the players from the first two years is that the program has continued to progress and be very successful,” stated Sutton.

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Currently, the men’s soccer team is undefeated, has been declared the 2016 conference winner, and is ranked #1 in the NCAA top 25 poll. Anyone attending a home game will notice a well groomed field with stands for the fans, a beautiful two story field house, lights for night games, and plenty of parking. But in 1980 when Sutton began the program none of those things existed.

Sutton remembers the start, “we began the program with only a few players that had past experience at a time when soccer was just being established in most high schools.” Soccer was not a prominent sport in the south and recruiting players who had ever played soccer was difficult.“We were playing against teams that were very well established and who had a number of international players who were experienced as their base.”

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Wingate was without a soccer field in those years. The team practiced on a rocky field that was an old football field, and Sutton said they had to travel normally twice a week for a number of miles to play the games. “This would have been stressful even with a team of experienced players.”

During last year’s homecoming, Sutton was honored for beginning the program 35 years ago. Many of his players from the first team surprised him to be there for the memorable night. They have kept in touch with one another over the years, bonded by the experience of learning the game of soccer and helping to establish a program. As I look back on those days, I think we as a team can be proud of the fact that we became competitive from the way we practiced. We also established a bond and played the games with heart and enthusiasm.”

This year, current head coach Gary Hamill celebrated his 25th year at Wingate and 300 wins. The team has developed into a nationally recognized program that attracts players from all over the world.  

My hope is that the players who play for Wingate now will look around and see the great facilities and realize that this was established and seeded by the players and coaches from the first two years of Wingate soccer,” says Sutton.

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Students are encouraged to take Astronomy class offered next semester

Faculty Profile – Dr. Grant Thompson

Oystein Fjeldberg, Staff Writer

Dr. Grant Thompson teaches the popular astronomy class at Wingate University, where students learn how to tell the time by the phase of the Moon, how stars move across the sky during the year, how our Solar System is held together, and why stars have different colors, along with an introduction to how the Universe works in general.

Dr. Thompson’s passion for astronomy developed early in his life. He grew up on a farm under clear skies, and what he saw during the nights fascinated him.“It was a combination of awe and ‘what’s going on?’” Dr. Thompson said. That awe has persisted to this day. “Astronomy is seemingly never-ending; you can always learn something that you didn’t already know.”

As a student he pursued this interest, and wrote his dissertation at the University of Kentucky on the center of galaxies, called Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). He wrote his dissertation there on the center of galaxies, called Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN).

These centers, AGNs, are usually extremely powerful black holes that the rest of the galaxy revolves around, and are among the most energetic things in the Universe. By studying how a galaxy as a whole and its central black hole impacts one another scientists can learn about how galaxies changed over time, and this gained knowledge can help us better understand how the Universe works.

Although there has been a good amount of research on AGNs in the last two decades, there are still unanswered questions. In his research, Dr. Thompson compared the light emitted from different types of AGNs. The project earned him his Ph.D. in astrophysics in 2012.

A few years later, during the summer of 2015, Dr. Thompson continued his research work on AGNs with the assistance from senior Alex Manzevitsch. They eventually found that the two types of AGNs actually seem to be the same, as the differences between them are merely caused by which way you’re looking at them; while we may have looked at one AGN from the side, we had looked at the other one head-on, which would give different results even if they were identical.

Dr. Thompson and Alex presented their results at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Orlando in January this year, and even though the research was “basic for an undergraduate project,” according to Dr. Thompson, their findings were “eye-opening for professional astronomers.”

Research has, however, not been the main focus of Dr. Thompson’s career. Ever since he graduated, Dr. Thompson has taught astronomy as a professor, trying to help students see how it affects their lives.

“I am so inspired by astronomy that I want other people to appreciate the science,” he said. “Everyone is looking down these days, looking at their phones, but I want them to look up at the sky.” As a teacher, his knowledge has come to good use. “Lots of people come into astronomy with misconceptions; I enjoy the wow-moments of students, when they begin to understand [something] for the first time,” he said.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Thompson is always looking for ways to improve himself as a teacher. He goes to state and national meetings in science education, where he seeks to pick up new teaching techniques to bring to the classroom.

Techniques that he has already incorporated into his astronomy class include computer simulations, quick response multiple choice quizzes, simple experiments to illustrate concepts, and handing out whiteboards to pairs of students who will use them to solve a problem.

The desire to teach astronomy also extends beyond his class, as he arranges public astronomy nights at least once each semester, typically at Campus Lake. He brings with him binoculars and telescopes for people to use, which are powerful enough to allow them to see the full shape of the planets in our Solar System, the moons and bands of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, nearby nebulae, and, if the conditions are good enough, certain galaxies (such as the Andromeda galaxy).

During the event he is available to whoever has questions, and he will often talk about the constellations spread across the night sky. “It’s more about just watching the sky, not lecturing,” Dr. Thompson said.

Anyone is welcome to join, and the attendance has normally been in the range of fifteen to twenty people; mostly students, but some non-student community members as well.

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Space Travel becomes reality

Better get your rockets ready…..its time for a space mission. 

Asherel Kaseorg, Staff Writer

 

Have you ever wished you could just leave this planet and go be a hermit for awhile? Good news- according to President Barack Obama, NASA has plans to send humans to Mars. Obama says, “We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030’s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time.”

This is very exciting for anyone interested in space travel. Astrophysicist and Wingate University professor Dr. Grant Thompson says that while people used to be incredibly enthusiastic about the United States space endeavor, watching all the launches and landings, but many of the new generation have lost interest. Millions of people aren’t even aware that humans are in space right now, aboard the International Space Station.

The idea of traveling to Mars has gained more attention, though. Whether or not NASA will actually put humans on Mars in the 2030’s is arguable. Some people think there’s no way NASA can meet that deadline, while others say the deadline isn’t soon enough.

Dr. Thompson thinks we should return to the moon before we attempt to go to Mars. “It has been over four decades since we have set foot on the Moon, and we have so much to learn from our nearest astronomical neighbor.”

Thompson says. “Establishing a lunar base, an array of telescopes on the far side, and many other developments seem much more worth it than jumping the Moon to Mars.  At the same time, holding true to the 1960’s platform of showing great power and ability, perhaps we should shoot for more than the Moon, let’s shoot for Mars as a major goal to truly achieve interplanetary travel.”

Before arriving on Mars, NASA plans to test its systems on and around the moon, sending astronauts on spacewalks between 2018 and 2030. Along with NASA, there are several private companies also working to set foot on Mars. One of the more well-known programs is Mars One, which is based in the Netherlands and plans to begin unmanned robot setup missions to Mars in 2020, with one-way manned trips to Mars in 2027.

Another program, SpaceX, has even bigger plans. SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk announced that they aim to establish a million-person Mars colony in the next 50-100 years.

In September, they released their Interplanetary Transport System, which will be the most powerful rocket to date and will carry over 100 people. Not only is it extremely powerful and fast, making the trip in about 80 days, but it will also be a fun trip for the passengers.

It will have movie theaters, restaurants, and lecture halls. And unlike Mars One, there will be return trips. The ships will depart every 26 months, when Mars and Earth align near each other.

While it will certainly be a very long time before normal civilians are able to live on Mars, it will eventually be a necessity. “Humans need to be a multi planet species,”, says NASA. If humans only stay on Mars, we may follow the same fate as the dinosaurs.

Mars is a good planet to start with, because it is relatively similar to Earth. It has roughly the same day and night cycle, and it has water in the form of ice.

“I do think humans will get to Mars,” says Dr. Thompson. “How soon, I don’t know, but it will take centuries to develop and maintain living conditions suitable for extensive expeditions.” Hopefully, we’ll be able to watch the first flights happen with the same excitement that the moon landing gathered.

Edited by: Sara Gunter