since 1960 “of, by, and for the Wesleyan community.” May 28, 2021
N O R T H C A R O L I N A W E S L E YA N C O L L E G E , R O C K Y M O U N T, N O R T H C A R O L I N A 2 7 8 0 4
New MBA Graduate Excited about Future Opportunities
Amy Elizabeth Ashmus, one of our last semester, we examined ways to be thought I was crazy to make the move, but breathe. I’ve always been an over-achiev-
Wesleyan’s first MBA graduates, is creative in the workplace. Our main as- I knew that God had amazing plans for me, er, setting the bar ridiculously high. The
ready for her next challenge. signment was to study a corporation, pull and I wanted to be back home close to my last six years showed me that it doesn’t
its financials and write a research paper. family and friends. Even though Genesys is matter how many budget spreadsheets I
The Leland native is a senior accountant Students looked at well-known companies located out of state, it’s allowing me to work had, life will happen and sometimes tak-
for Genesys, a California-based software like Apple and Johnson & Johnson. remotely. I’m saying prayers that this contract ing that “Path less traveled” can lead to
company. She earned an accounting degree role will eventually become permanent. amazing opportunities. I’ve been thinking
from the APS program in 2017 at the age of But I think I would handle the last about earning my CPA certification. At
47. Four years later she finished her MBA. project a little differently. Hear me out. Q: What have you learned about your- my age, many people are ready to slow
She was interviewed by the Decree, weeks It would have been great, I think, if we self in the last six years? down, but not me. I love to learn and as
before she finished her graduate degree. could have taken all the information we long as I have the ability and the energy to
have been taught and applied it to “real A: That I can do anything if I set my do so, I’ll continue reaching for the stars.”
Q: Take us back to the year of your life’ companies in our communities. Each mind to it. I don’t back down from chal-
high school graduation. What were your student could adopt a small business lenges. But I have also learned to stop and
goals at the time? What did you do in the
years following high school? struggling with Covid-19 or other financial
A: I graduated from a small private problems and helped them with a company
makeover. Think of it as a Gordon Ramsey
Christian high school back in 1988. My Amy Elizabeth Ashmus Kitchen Nightmare spinoff, but on a
dream had been to attend Appalachian State
University. But my friends enrolled in a Q: Talk about other challenges you faced corporate level. We could have adopted
small Christian college in Tennessee, so I in balancing work, family life and school. a company at the beginning of our MBA
decided to follow them. It was very expen- A: I attended a college right out of high journey and in each class used our new
sive, so unfortunately, I had to leave before skills and applied them to our adopted
I finished my degree. I got married in 1991 school, but due to financial issues, I had to leave. company. We would have gotten a chance
and had two children, a son and a daughter Once my kids were older, I decided to start back
(I’m now a grandmother of two, a 5-year-old and no matter where we were stationed, I would to see everything from a business owner’s
and an 18-month-old!). Since my spouse was take classes at a local community college. In perspective, and I can tell you, that type of
in the U.S. Air Force, we lived in England, 2015, life sent me down a path I didn’t see MBA program would have not only made
among other places, and traveled all over coming. I knew I needed to finish my degree if me a better student but also would have
Europe. It was an amazing experience, but I I was going to have job opportunities that would allowed me to give back to my community. Senior Derrick Carter and the Bishops claimed the East Division title by
always dreamt of going back to school. allow me to take care of myself. I did research sweeping a double-header against William Peace May 2 at home. The
and came across NCWC. I loved that it was a Q: How will the Wesleyan degrees 17th-ranked Bishops got an at-large bid to play in an NCAA DIII regional
Q: Provide details on your current job. Christian school and that it offered seated and affect your career trajectory?
A: I’m a contract employee at Genesys.
As a senior accountant, I work on the general A: I’m hoping my MBA will open the
ledger team; we handle accruals, prepaids, doors to a full-time position with my current
bank reconciliations, and payroll for the U.S. online opportunities for adult students. I applied employer. I moved back home to North Caro- tournament in Marietta, Ohio.
and Canada. I came on board at the beginning there and started my journey that year. lina due to a Covid-19 job loss. Everyone SI photo
of a “month-end close” so it was challenging
to learn and meet deadlines at the same time. It was hard. I would wake up at 3 a.m. ‘It’s Been a Busy Year,’ But Brys-Wilson,
But I love being an accountant and I love to every day to do schoolwork. I was work- NC Wesleyan Made It through 2020-21
learn, so there was no hesitation in taking this ing full-time and my work weeks could NC Wesleyan completed its spring semes- to keep our campus community members safe,” guidance has changed repeatedly. Masks are an ex-
contract role. I use all the skills and past ex- be 40-60 hours. I followed that routine for ter. While students continued to contract the Dr. Wyatt said in a statement. “She had a very ample.At first it was thought that cloth face masks
periences to help me maneuver and I earned two years. I had to move several times-- difficult task in managing the nuances of symp- wouldn’t help prevent Covid. We now see that
some high praise from my manager. even out of state--to find career opportuni- Covid-19 virus and many were quarantined tom monitoring and contact tracing, and follow- they have been hugely beneficial in preventing the
Q:What do you like to do in your free time? ties that allowed me to pay the bills. But during the term, classes were held, both fall
A: Recently I’ve picked up the violin NCWC worked with me and if it wasn’t and spring sports teams played (in some ing up on sick or exposed students, faculty, and spread. This is how science is supposed to work-
again. I started playing when I was 9 years for the flexibility and the dedication of cases abbreviated) seasons, and the academic staff. The campus was able to function well and -we give our best guess as to what might happen
old and stayed with it through college. I my professors, I wouldn’t have graduated year culminated with graduation ceremonies stay open due largely to her leadership and her and then adjust that as data shows us otherwise. It’s
stopped playing the day my grandmother in 2017. I look back over my educational May 1 at the Rocky Mount Event Center. pragmatic guidance to individuals facing the been interesting to watch it play out in real time.
passed away back in 1996. I can’t explain journey. It wasn’t conventional, but I The college reported 102 cases of Covid real everyday challenges of Covid-19.” Q: We have the spring semester data from the
why. I guess she was my biggest supporter, never quit. When I walked across that web site. By the end of the academic year, were
and it broke my heart when she died. But stage back in December 2017, it was one among students (95) and staff (7) between Brys-Wilson was interviewed by The there any deaths or Covid-related hospitalizations
something woke up in me last fall and I of the greatest moments of my life. I tear January 21, the first day of classes, and the Decree in early May. among Wesleyan students and staff/faculty?
decided to begin playing again. I am far from up now thinking about it. My degree has last day of the semester. As of April 26, there Q: Will the college require that all students
where I used to be, but the music speaks to opened doors and allowed me to provide was one active case involving a student. A: No, not to my knowledge.
my heart and I hope to use my gift at church. for myself. It’s also shown others that, get a Covid vaccination before returning? It Q: What specific steps will the college
I also love to read and kayak. I used to love regardless of your age and circumstances, Health Services Director Jessica Brys- should be noted that Wesleyan already requires take over the summer to prepare for the
running, but due to years pounding the pave- dreams can always be accomplished with Wilson guided the college through the shots for measles, etc.?
ment, I had to hang up my running shoes and gumption, discipline, and faith. pandemic. A licensed physician’s assistant, A:This decision has not formally been made. return of students in fall?
now, for exercise, I walk and ride my bike. Bry-Wilson co-chaired (with Wayne Sears) Other than the flu shot this semester, we only require A: VIRT will continue to meet and to stay in
Q: How long had it been since you last Q: What’s one change you would make the shots that are required by state law.We don’t oth- nearly constant contact.At this moment, we’re
took classes? What was it like to be back in the college’s Viral Illness Response Team
the classroom that first semester at Wesleyan? to the college’s new MBA program? (VIRT). For her efforts, she was awarded the erwise have any shots required solely by the college. monitoring vaccine and infection trends at the
A: I completed my undergraduate studies A: As MBA students, over the last year, inaugural Charles Taylor Leadership Award. Q: Has the college been monitoring APS local, state, national, and international levels so we
29 years after I graduated from high school. we’ve taken classes that helped us learn Provost Molly Wyatt lauded Brys- students for Covid during the past year? can make informed decisions before fall semester.
Coming back to college later in life, I ap- about management styles, accounting With guidance changing so frequently, we’re
preciated my education more. I had a pur- strategies for corporations, and even the Wilson for her steady guidance during A:Yes, and when we’re aware of them, we’ve hesitant to make decisions too early. We’re also
pose and a desire to learn. I earned a BS in ways to market a new business idea. In the past 15 months. included them in the numbers I’ve been report- following local and state guidance changes and
accounting with a 3.84 GPA and became a ing. It’s a bit more complicated because the APS making adjustments to our on-campus policies as
member of Sigma Beta Delta. “Jessica has put in 24/7 service to the college students don’t live on campus and not all of them appropriate. Hopefully, we’ll be able to continue to
Q: What was your favorite class in the report their condition to me. But I think that I was loosen restrictions as the summer progresses.
undergaduate program? Students Coped with Mental Health made aware of most cases. Faculty was really good
A: Hands down it was any class taught by Issues in Quarantine during Pandemic about referring students to me if they knew of an Q: Think back to the busiest period of the past
Dr. Wendy Achilles. I took classes from her Mental health was a concern on the Wes- with their schoolwork, others floundered, fell APS student in quarantine, which was helpful. year. What was a typical day like for you? You say
both in my undergrad and MBA program. leyan campus during the past 15 months, as behind. Does this align with your observations? your life is “boring,” but we think it might impress
Students always joke that accounting classes many students dealt with anxiety, relation- Q: Looking back over the past academic readers to see your level of dedication.
are so textbook-based and don’t prepare a ship issues and family illnesses, while A: I have to agree. Some students had one year, is it possible to trace the origins of Covid
student for real-world scenarios. Well, those quarantined students struggled with “low of their best years, while others struggled. Some outbreaks on campus? What were the trends A: On a typical day, I would wake up
students did not have Dr. Achilles. She was mood” and diminished motivation. students found it hard to complete their work that you saw when there were outbreaks? around 4:30 and spend about two hours responding
by far my favorite professor. She made sure due to low mood or depression, and some were to emails/team messages and managing the various
everything we learned could be used outside suffering from grief after losing a loved one. A: Yes. Very much so. We had zero cases trans- lists of who was currently infected/in quarantine.
the textbook. I’ve always loved numbers and The Decree interviewed Quenetta John- Q:As more and moreAmericans get vaccinated mitted during classes, which I think is fantastic! I would get myself and my three kids ready for
accounting, but she helped me appreciate the son, Director of Counseling Services, in Most often cases were traced back to individu- school and then typically spend another hour
value I could bring to a company with my early May just before she left the college and we return to “normal life,” what advice would als eating meals together or being a household responding to messages before heading to work.
skills. She also taught me never to back down to pursue other professional opportunities. you offer to students (and staff and faculty) who contact/roommate to someone who was infected. Most days, I would get early-morning calls from
and never let my fear of the unknown ever stop feel anxious about reengaging more with others? We did have a few instances of friend groups hav- diligent college employees with questions before
me from pursuing a job that interested me. Q: Did you find more students seeking your ing get-togethers that ended up spreading it to they came to work. My workdays were spent
Another influential faculty member counseling services during the past 15 months? A: Be aware of what triggers your anxiety. multiple people, but our spread was largely not seeing sick patients, performing Covid tests, and
was Dr. Seodial Deena. During my senior Ask yourself, what is the worst-case scenario related to students breaking the rules. doing physicals. I would run the Campus Clear
year (undergrad), I was met with an A: Before the pandemic I was constantly regarding your reengagement? After you’ve report daily and then contact any students who
unfortunate layoff from Caterpillar. I booked and that didn’t change during the identified the worst possible outcome, then Q: When it comes to Covid, what were some needed evaluation to give them appointments,
ended up having to move to find adequate pandemic. I did see new students and a high you ask yourself, what is the likelihood of that initial concerns of health professionals--or allAmeri- move them into quarantine, notify their faculty,
work, which forced me into taking two of percentage talked about changes that they happening? If it does happen, what can you do cans, for that matter--that turned out not be true? report positive results to the state, and contact trace.
my writing classes as independent studies. experienced during the pandemic. But I to handle the concern? Other helpful coping Between patients and during lunch, I would return
I needed a professor willing to work with wouldn’t say that was the bulk of my sessions. techniques include deep breathing and positive A: So much guidance has changed over the messages from students, parents, faculty, and staff.
me, and Dr. Deena was my guardian angel. self-talk. I suggest you slowly increase the course of the last 15 months. This was a brand-
He not only reached out to me during a Q: What was the range of pandemic-related number of people that you engage until you new virus so, as more data became available, the After work, I would help my own kids with
mission trip he made to India; he helped concerns that students were bringing to you? feel comfortable. their homework, feed them dinner, and pack
me get over my fear of writing. Without their lunches while again answering emails,
his kindness and understanding, I would A: Low mood, anxiety, and interpersonal texts, and phone calls, some of them in the
have been forced to postpone my account- struggles were common issues. I had virtual ses- middle of the night. In my free time, I would
ing degree. He was the answer to a prayer. sions with students in isolation/quarantine and check for any new data, guidance changes,
they went through an array of moods--mostly or state restriction changes. If a student tested
low moods--due to their confinement to one positive in the evening, I would need to get
room. Many students expressed anxiety about them moved into quarantine and complete
going into larger settings such as classrooms
and stores. As for the interpersonal problems,
there were roommate/housemate issues and
students dealing with the end of relationships.
Q: Based on your interactions, what has
life been like for students who were already
experiencing feelings of anxiety and depres- contact tracing and then follow up with any
sion even before the pandemic? subsequent contacts. Depending on the number
A: They seemed to be doing better than I had Wesleya n’s new indoor s ports an d education facility is nearing completion. of contacts, this could sometimes take several
hours. I would usually go to bed as soon as I
expected. Students were able to utilize the coping NC Wesleyan PR photo had everyone safely where they needed to be
skills that they’ve been developing over time. and all questions/concerns addressed. It has
been a busy year, but we made it through!
Q: Health Services Director Jessica
Brys-Wilson has pointed out that while some
quarantined students were able to stay current
2 North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27804 May 28, 2021
Wesleyan Graduate’s Last Year Began with Tragedy
By Isaiah Johnson Religion played a pivotal role in Searcy’s which, together with her father’s guidance, and the college’s EthicsTeam to her resume. ing the man who was not just her father,
Decree Staff Writer upbringing and she attended a private, encouraged her to become active in her For the past two years, she served as an RAin but her main source of inspiration.
Close-knit. That’s the one word that Christian school called Cornerstone. While community. Among other high school Collins Residence Hall. Searcy said the posi- She was asked whether she considered
comes to mind when describing Chasa- her parents both instilled in her strong faith, organizations, she was in the recycling tion allowed her to learn time management taking the semester off. “It was hard to push
die Searcy’s relationship with her family. Searcy pointed out that it was her mother club, student government, as well as the skills and responsibility. It also gave her the through the rest of the way,” she said. “But
An only child, Searcy lived in a strict, who was most influential in her relationship volleyball and track teams. chance to meet new people and network. I’d come so far. I knew I’d be disappointed if
but loving and God-fearing household. with God. Her mom made sure that Searcy Searcy graduated from North Farm- Dating back to high school, Searcy has I stopped, even for just a term. It was my faith
During the past school year, I had the kept engaged with their church. ington with a resume that she felt would faced many challenges, which she details in God that helped me finish the semester.”
chance to sit down and speak with Searcy Around the time Searcy began high gain her acceptance into the school of her in her new podcast, “Chasamiee’s Corner.” Searcy said she was grateful to her Wes-
about her upbringing, her interests and her school, her family moved from Detroit to choice. She graduated with a 3.6 GPA and She talks often in her podcast about her ex- leyan professors and staff for their support
goals. She graduated in May with a degree the suburb of Farmington Hills. She said earned membership in the National Honors periences and struggles within and outside and understanding. “The English Depart-
in English and a minor in journalism. her family wanted to escape the crime- Society. She also won an award for “Best of the minority community. In episode one, ment not only sent flowers to my mother
Searcy noted that she grew up on the riddled inner city and schools that were Social Media Presence” during her senior she discusses her battle with colorism. She and me, but they showed an immense
eastside of Detroit in what she called a underfinanced. She described schools with year. Searcy described her social media mentioned that she’s also experienced a amount of support,” she said, adding that
“somewhat overprotective household.” leaky water fountains, broken light fixtures posts as “comedic relief,” as she would long journey in learning to love herself. her RA supervisor checked in daily.
She disliked life as an only child and and other physical problems. She said her post lighthearted memes and dance videos. Searcy noted that through God she has Her professors were impressed with her
often told her mother and father that she neighborhood was growing worse each North Carolina A&T, an HBCU in been able to find that love, despite the igno- resilience. Searcy earned high grades in her
wanted a sibling. Searcy said she was year and many area schools were shut Greensboro, was Searcy’s top choice, but rance of others. When asked why she start- courses last fall. During her senior seminar,
closest with the cousins on her mom’s side down, as Detroit lost population. she was disappointed with the financial-aid ed her podcast, she said she wanted to find a she further explored her interest in colorism
of the family. “We used to wish on stars Having attended majority-black elemen- package that the school offered her. So she way to “practice and build a platform” and with a paper titled “Light, Bright, and
that we were siblings,” Searcy proclaimed tary and middle schools, Searcy dealt with continued her search until she came across use her voice to tell not only her struggle Almost White: Skin Color Stratification in
with a twinkle in her eye, as she recalled culture shock in her new school, North NC Wesleyan, which provided her with the but that of others in the community as well. the African American Community.” That
sleepovers and other fond memories. Farmington High, a public school which, most money. She liked the school’s “quiet Searcy brought up that the experience also and her other achievements earned her the
As a child, Searcy was engaged with a she says, delivered a more diverse experi- environment,” and it offered her spots in helps her practice her public-speaking skills, Senior English Award for 2020-21.
number of activities.When she was young, ence.As a young black woman, she said the Honors Program and dance team. which can only benefit her career. Searcy ended the year with the May
she dreamed of becoming an actress. Her she went from “majority to a minority.” At Wesleyan, Searcy has been involved As Searcy embarked on her senior 1 graduation as her mother and other
inspiration was Keke Palmer, star of movies It took time for Searcy to get used to in many different campus groups. During year and began to look forward to life af- family were on hand. She has since
such as “Jump In,” “The Longshots,” and the new environment, but she enjoyed not her freshman and sophomore years she ter college, tragedy struck her family. On returned to Michigan to spend time with
“Akeelah and the Bee,” which Searcy identi- having to wear a school uniform. At North was on the dance team, which performed September 2, while on duty at a Detroit her mother and plan her next steps. She
fied as her favorite. Smiling, she then recited a Farmington, Searcy was involved in many at Bishops football and basketball games. city jail, her father was killed in an attack expects to participate in an internship at
scene from the movie, a scene that has always different clubs that included two pro-black Searcy said she decided to step away from by an inmate, who sought to escape. An a local radio station while exploring a
been stuck in her head. Searcy said her dad organizations. The Black Student As- the dance team after two years to concen- 18-year member of the Sheriff’s Depart- position with the Detroit Lions football
would take her to audition for different roles, sociation and the Pretty Brown Girl group trate on classes—she was an English major ment, Bryant Searcy was 50. team. She is interested in pursuing a ca-
but conceded she enjoyed little success. contributed to her activism that she’s con- and journalism minor--and other interests. Devastated by the news, Searcy reer in communication and film. Gradu-
She credited her late father, Bryant, tinued through college. Searcy mentioned As a junior, she became more involved in returned home. She spent three weeks in ate school is under consideration, with
who pushed her to pursue new interests. that she took part in a book club where she the college’s Black StudentAssociation and Detroit, helping her mother, keeping up Wayne State University, the school that
Searcy loved to dance and act, and she read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” this past year she added LeadershipWesleyan with her Wesleyan classwork, and mourn- employs her mother, as her preference.
played softball and basketball, but said her
favorites were volleyball and track because APS Profile: Keith Poole—Proud to Be College Graduate at 54
of her skill level in both sports and the New Bern APS student Keith Poole Due to the pandemic, we’ve not been able to travel tion from Craven CC to Wesleyan?
team-oriented style play. She talked of her graduated with a B.S. degree in Organi- as much. During this time what we’ve learned is A: The transition was not a difficult one
volleyball memories. "There's so much zational Administration at the age of 54. that spending time with family and good friends
adrenaline when you’re volleying back and can be rewarding no matter where you are. for me. I guess the biggest challenge was
forth,” she said. Searcy admitted that she The Decree interviewed him in the learning to navigate through the NCWC por-
was not as talented in hoops. “I tried and I days before the May 1 ceremony. Q: It’s been about 30 years between high tal, which was quite a bit different than that
failed,” she said, letting out a light chuckle. school and your enrollment at Craven Com- of CCC. I would like to thank Mrs. Chenona
Searcy’s dad played a pivotal role in Q:Take us back to the year of your high school munity College. What was it like to be back
graduation.What were your goals at the time?And in school that first semester? Baldwin for helping me through this journey.
her life, and she called him her greatest what did you do in the years right after graduation? Q: We’re assuming that at least some of your
inspiration. Bryant Searcy, a corporal in A: It was a nervous time for me. I started
the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, A: Right after graduation, I just wanted to find professors were working professional them-
was a family man whose life revolved a job. College was the farthest from my mind. I back to school very late in life (at 50), and I often selves. If so, describe how their background
around Chasadie and her mother, also considered the Navy, but just a few days be- wondered if there were other students my age made classes more interesting, insightful.
Sherry. During our interview, Searcy fore joining, I changed my mind and decided to who were in school as well. Though most of my A:As a supervisor, I found my leadership classes
remembered a time she came home from continue working at a grocery store and looking classes were online, I remember attending a com- toberewarding.TheprofessorsofferedadvicethatI
elementary school with a report card that for a better job. One of my high school teachers puter class at Craven, and when I walked into the couldapplytomyeverydayjobaswellasmylifeat
included an N (on par with a D). Her told me about a job as an electrical lineman. I room, there were so many students who were the home.Theychallengedmetothinkdifferently,and
father taped it to the door of her room, worked at that for two years before starting my age of my children or younger. I remember think- they were always there to respond to my concerns.
issuing her a challenge and sending a career at Nutrien, where I;m still employed. ing, “I hope someone older than me walks in.”As Q: What was your favorite class?
message to a young Chasadie that remains the time for class to start approached, in walked a A: Religious Studies 342: Professional and
with her today. Searcy said her dad always Q: Describe your current job. lady who was older than me. I chuckled a little bit
pushed her to focus and “want better for A: I’m a maintenance supervisor for Business Ethics with Mr. Gerald Baldwin. This
herself.” Because of her job in the finance Nutrien, which is in Aurora, North Carolina. and realized that it is never too late to learn. class covered some sensitive topics amongst an
office at Wayne State University, Searcy’s I’ve been employed there for nearly 33 years. Q: What led you to Wesleyan’s APS extremely diverse group of students. Mr. Bald- Keith Poole
mom was often unable to attend her I’m responsible for the safety of 14 crew program? What appealed to you about it? win created an atmosphere within the classroom
daughter’s after-school events. But Searcy members and the maintenance on some of A: I heard about theAPS program sitting at that made us comfortable to share our thoughts Q: What is one change you would make
could always count on seeing her father in the biggest mining equipment in the world. my graduation ceremony at Craven.Afellow without judgment or ridicule. This class had one to improve the APS program?
the stands, cheering for her. Q: What do you like to do in your free time? graduate seated beside me mentioned it and of the heaviest workloads, but it was one that I
A: I have lots of hobbies. I love to spend time gave me the contact information. I went home looked forward to attending each week. I still talk A: I can be honest and say that I loved this
DeTchreee with my family and my Shih tzu dog named Bo- and searched it and found that NCWC was a about this class today on my job and at home. program. It was difficult at times, but it awesome to
gey. I’ve been married to my wife, Ginger, for 30 great fit.At first I had been looking to attend Q: In general, what did you like most me. Even during the pandemic, I was able to take
since 1960 years and we have three beautiful children. On East Carolina. What made me decide to attend about the APS program? classes that were not typically offered online, which
April 6th we became grandparents for the first time Wesleyan was the flexibility in the schedule and A: I love spending time with my family, allowed me to stay on track to graduate this May,
s ta f f“of, by, and for the Wesleyan community.” with a beautiful girl named Mercy. I’m a sports the ability to complete my courses online, which and to be honest, I appreciated the flexibility
fanatic and I love to hunt, fish, golf, and bowl.As was a necessity for me since I work 40-60 hours the APS program offered to working adults. I Q: It’s challenging to take college
Editor-at-Large an avid bowler, I’ve rolled two perfect 300 games. a week. NCWC also offered a degree that would cherish the friendships that I have made on this classes. Throw in work and other obliga-
My wife and I love to travel. Our favorite place is coincide with my current position at work. journey. And the knowledge gained is priceless. tions, and it becomes even tougher. What
Chasadie Searcy Jamaica. We’ve also visited St. Lucia andAntigua. Q: How would you describe the transi- Even at 54 years old, it’s never too late to learn. was the biggest obstacle you faced in the
APS Profile: Shataura Blount Adds years since entering Craven CC in 2018?
Senior Staff Writers B.S. Degree to List of Achievements
Shataura Blount, a high school drop-out, I obtained an associate degree in medical my kids, and taking classes on top of whatever A: It was the school and work-life balance.
Mary Cat Davis, has made tremendous strides in recent years, office administration. Still looking for more, else life wanted to throw at me. I can remember Sometimes work required extra hours and then I
Savannah Ekland, earning three degrees and a professional certi- I decided to go back to school and try to many days when I would sit in class or in front had to return home to do homework. It was often
fication that will allow her to pursue her goals. obtain my bachelor’s degree in business. of my computer screen with so much doubt in difficult to take part in family functions because of
Will Plyler, In May she was awarded a B.S. in Busi- Q: What are you doing now as far as my mind, telling myself I couldn’t do this. my obligations to complete schoolwork. I have a
Abigail Shah big family and we like to get together on Fridays
ness Administration. Before enrolling in the employment? Q: How would you describe the transi- and/or Sundays. While in school, I sometimes
Staff Writers APS New Bern site, she obtained an associ- A: I’m a property manager at Kinston Hous- tion from Craven CC to Wesleyan? found it difficult to be there with all the assignment
ates degree in medical office administration requirements. I also found myself doing home-
Kate Avila, at Craven Community College. ingAuthority, and I’ve been employed there for A: It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would work on family vacations that included trips to
Byron Golphin, The Decree interviewed Blount in lateApril. three years. I’m supervisor of my maintenance be. I think taking online classes was a bit scary Jamaica, Florida, Myrtle Beach and Pigeon Forge.
Joel Inzerillo, Q: Take us back to the year of your high school staff and I make sure that they make all necessary for me at first because I was used to taking
Isaiah Johnson, repairs at housing units. I help provide safe and seated classes. But I soon got into the routine I’m grateful that I work for an organization
Caitlin Leggett, graduation. What were your goals at the time? And sanitary housing for my residents. I deal directly of homework, papers, projects, and deadlines. that allows me to attend school and provide the fi-
Amanda Lucci what did you do in the years following high school? with tenants, respond to tenant complaints, collect nancial means to do so.And my family sacrificed
rent, and handle evictions. In January 2020, I Q: Could you talk about a favorite so much to allow me this time. They understood
Faculty Advisor A: My high school graduation was in 2007, passed my Public Housing Management Exam, professor at NCWC? what I needed to do. There were times that I
but unfortunately, I did not graduate. I was preg- and I’m now a Certified Property Manager. wanted to just quit. I kept asking myself what my
Dr. William Grattan nant with my first child and I had other things on A: I really enjoying having Mr. Gerald Baldwin purpose was for pursuing a degree. How was this
my mind besides an education. I dropped out of Q: What do you like to do in your free time? as an instructor because he made class very inter- going to benefit me down the road? Thankfully,
179 Braswell • Phone: 985-5336 school. In 2009 I started to realize that an educa- A: Over the past couple of years, I really esting.While going over the readings, he would my wife was my rock through it all. She offered
Email: [email protected] tion was necessary if I wanted to progress and push you to engage in conversation and he would so much encouragement when I needed it the
ask questions that made you dig deep into your most. What makes this even better is the fact
haven’t had much free time, but if I do have a thoughts.That helped me to retain the information that my son and daughter will be attaining
succeed in life, so I went back to school at Lenoir spare moment, I love to spend that time with their associates degrees in May. Life is good.
Community College and obtained my GED. I my family. I like to get my kids together and that I was learning. His background seems to be
wasn’t always sure what I wanted to do with my go to my mom and dad’s house along with my very political and religious, and he loves to get into Q: What is next for you? How do you
life, but I’ve always wanted to help people. brother and sister. We cook on the grill or have a debates, which I found very energizing. He was plan to use your degree?
Over the years, I’ve had many jobs. I’ve fish fry and just enjoy each other. I’m very fam- one of those instructors who made coming to class
been employed at McDonald’s, Master- ily oriented, and I love to see my family smile. worth your while. Class was never boring, and we A:After graduating, I want to first celebrate
brand Cabinets, Hatteras Yachts, Lenoir Q: When you returned to school, what was it always had many issues to discuss. with my family! I’ll have more time to enjoy the
Assisted Living and even Two Dogs Pizza. hobbies that I love.And I’m excited to spend time
Those jobs were not for me, so they never like to be back in the classroom that first semester? Q: What was your favorite class? with my granddaughter! My degree will offer me
lasted long, and I knew that I had to go A: When I went back, it was a bit much for A: It was Religious Studies 101. Andrew opportunities for advancement within my organi-
further with my education to get the kind of me. I felt overwhelmed, and there was anxiety Stern was the instructor, and I really enjoyed his zation. The knowledge gained has enhanced my
jobs that suited me. With the grace of God, because I had fallen back into a lazy mode. I had class. It was interesting to learn the religious skills to be a better supervisor and a better person!
to face the struggles of working fulltime, raising
See BLOUNT pg 3 Q: Who will be there with you at graduation?
A: In attendance with me will be my wife,
Ginger; daughter Faith; and son Joshua.
Samantha, Joshua’s girlfriend, will also be in
attendance. Samantha is a student at NCWC.
May 28, 2021 North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27804 3
Ali Cucinotta: Lax Captain, Ace Videographer, Algernon-Sydney Recipient
“lightbulb moment” after I explained sional sports one day.
Ali Cucinotta was among the Ali Cucinotta. SI photo a technique or concept to them. I felt Q: Talk about your honors project.
graduates who crossed the stage at the like I was really in my element.
Rocky Mount Event Center May 1. Q: Congrats on another fine season. when I reflect on the whole experience, Summarize it and tell us what you
What does it mean to you to hold the I’m so grateful for all the opportunities As far as a non-lacrosse experi- learned through your research and
Armed with her communication college’s goal-scoring records, many Wesleyan has given me. I was able to be ence, I really enjoyed working as a what you learned about yourself in
degree and tons of experience as a of them, in fact? a four-year captain, which taught me so videographer. I worked in the Media completing the project?
videographer, she is now weighing her much about myself, about ways to act Lab freshman through junior year
options for next year. In the meantime A: It means so much. I played so that people will respect me. I’m also and I made videos for people all over A: It was titled “iDENTIFY:
Head Lacrosse Coach Bridget Walker defense most of my high school career, so proud to say that I started this pro- campus: the women's basketball team, Theorizing Race in Film and Sports
and Cucinotta’s teammates wait to see so I learned most of my offensive skills gram as one of the first five recruits and volleyball, cross country, Dean Lang- Media.” It was about race repre-
whether the Bishops’ star midfielder will my freshman year here at Wesleyan. only two of us stayed on the team all ley, Dr. Wyatt, Greek organizations. It sentation in films as well as sports
exercise her extra year of eligibility and My success reassured me that my hard four years, Deja Hartman and myself. was amazing. media and the ways people identify
add to her school-record 195 career goals. work and passion for lacrosse paid off. with both. I created a documentary
Q: Think back to your freshman Q: What’s one change you would rather than writing a paper and I’m
This past year Cucinotta served her Q: Our understanding is that you’re eli- year. What are the main differences make at the college? so proud of the results. I interviewed
fourth year as team captain, a season that gible to play one more year after the early you see between that first team and the about 15 student athletes, and I
saw Wesleyan compile a 2-10 record. cancellation of the 2020 season due to the team that just finished 2021 season? A: I would hire more people of showed them two film clips from
pandemic. What do you plan to do? color to work at Wesleyan. There’s “The Hunger Games,” one of a white
While at Wesleyan, the Philadelphia A: I would say that a majority of a diverse student body, but that’s not “tribute” and one of black “tribute.”
area native was a member of the Taylor- A: I’m still up in the air about the current team now understands reflected in the faculty and staff. More I also showed two clips from NBA
Crocker Honors Program and a manag- using my years of eligibility (we lacrosse, and we can use lacrosse terms students would be willing to stay at players, again one white and one
er for the women’s basketball team. She have two years because this season without having to explain them. In my Wesleyan if they had people with black, and asked which character
coordinated the college’s Media Lab didn’t count either). There are a lot first year, half the team were random whom they relate and connect. and player they identified with
and dedicated many hours of her time of unknowns that I need to figure out students my coaches recruited from more. I was looking to see whether
to making videos for Wesleyan teams before I decide to put my career on around campus, women who had never Q: Do you like it when people write two film theories about race and
and other organizations on campus. hold just to play lacrosse for one or picked up a lacrosse stick. So we had or say “lax?” identification could be applied to
two more years. But I have talked to start from scratch when teaching sports media. The outcome was that
At graduation, with her parents and with my coaches about coming back them the sport. Now we all have at A: I’m indifferent about the slang yes, they can be used in the context
brother on hand, Cucinotta received the to Wesleyan to get an MBA. I’ve also least two years under our belt, so prac- term "lax." I tend to use "lacrosse" of sports media, but they were very
Algernon-Sydney Sullivan Award, one of thought about using the extra years at tices run a lot smoother, and we’re able more often, but it doesn’t bother me at situational for each athlete that I
the most prestigious honors the college a different college, one that offers a to do more advanced plays and drills. all when people say "lax." interviewed.
confers on its students, in recognition of master's program that relates more to
academic excellence and other contribu- my undergrad experience. Q: What did you enjoy most about Q: You were a team manager for I learned so much from this
tions made to the Wesleyan community. your time at Wesleyan? women’s basketball. What was that process about myself and this topic. I
Q: Do you ever regret not pursuing season like for you? learned that it’s okay to have difficult
She was interviewed in late April a college career with a more estab- A: It was not just being on the conversations with people and that
after the season. lished lacrosse program, whether in lacrosse team. I liked that I was able A: It was incredible. I got closer when it’s approached in the right
DI, DII or DIII? to use my prior knowledge of the to the girls and the coaches than I way, it can have a wonderful out-
BLOUNT from pg 2 sport to help teach and lead my team- had been in the past and I was able to come. The most rewarding part was
A: I have had days when I regret- mates. It was so rewarding to see their capture their phenomenal season on having several interviewees thank me
beliefs and practices of different cultures. ted coming to a startup program, but video. It was such a joy. I also grew for including them in my project and
This class provided me with the tools to as a videographer. I found my editing educating them. Here’s the link to the
understand the religious dimensions of life. style and realized that I would love to Zoom recording of my presentation:
be a sports videographer for profes- https://youtu.be/2tKtvNWKN7k
Q: In general, what did you like most
about the APS program? Ali Cucinotta (at left) with team- Q: What are you plans for next year
mates on Senior Day. as well as long term?
A: I would have to say that even though the SI photo
classes were very challenging and fast paced, I A: This summer I’m going to be in
liked the fact that I could take an 8-week class Costa Rica working as a mentor for
and then move to the next. In the end it’s made my female high school athletes. The pro-
journey veryswift.TheAPSprogramalsohashelped gram is called Beyond Sports Tours.
me in my leadership and spiritual development.
Q: How will you stay involved with
Q: It’s challenging to take college lacrosse?
classes. Throw in work and other obliga-
tions, and it becomes even tougher. What A: I really want to stay involved
was the biggest obstacle you faced? with the sport. I want to referee
college lacrosse as a side job and,
A: I’m a mother of three children, and it’s depending on where life takes me, I
been hard trying to raise them, take care of my may try to coach at some level.
household, and push myself to accomplish my
goals. Throughout my years of receiving an International Student Profile: Wesley Santos of Brazil
education I’ve wanted to give up many times. By Kate Avila than anything they like to share a laugh His high school did not offer organized dilemma, enroll in his dream school in
Coming from a household that was low income Decree Staff Writer together. "I get my sense of humor athletics, so Santos and other students California or go to North Carolina.
and seeing my mother struggle to make ends meet
made me who I am today. I’ve come so far from When you look across the Scalf from him,” Santos said. formed their own soccer team and com- For a number of reasons, Santos
where I used to be. My children had to go from Field, you’ll see Wesley Santos, 22-year- In describing São Paulo, Santos peted against others within the school. chose North Carolina Wesleyan. “It
living in a two- to a one-parent household and watch old Wesleyan junior, fiercely running Santos’s team won the championship was meant to be,” he said. “NCWC
their mother takeoneverythinghead-on by herself. and kicking a black-and-white ball. Off compares it to New York—at least the during his freshman and junior years. was looking for a player that played
Experiencing the struggles of being low income the pitch, Santos is a casual guy who New York he’s only seen in pictures my position, left-back.”
firsthand has given me a better outlook on life. wears black Adidas pants, a sweater or and movies. “Sao Paulo is always Santos graduated from high school
a jacket, a watch on his left wrist and a busy,” he said. “There are a lot of peo- in 2015 at age 17. After months At NCWC, he studies Organi-
I became a Section 8 participant in 2015. I white book bag hanging off his back. ple, there is so much traffic, and lastly, of looking for a job, he landed an zational Administration and hopes
was not working, so it was a difficult time for like New York, São Paulo is classified administration position at Johnson & to become a soccer coach and then
me. Section 8 assistance was a steppingstone When I first met Santos, he had as the largest town in my country.” Johnson, where he worked in record reach his ultimate goal of working as
to help me as I strived to reach my goals. I long curly hair, but now the curls have maintenance and customer support. an athletic director. Besides playing
understand the struggle, and I understand that been cut short and he prefers to wear When he’s home, Santos likes to He called his two years at J&J a on the soccer team at NCWC, Santos
even though you may not have much, you still a hat. He stands at five feet, seven hang out with his friends on the field and positive experience. “It helped me works at the Hartness Center and
want to live comfortably and decently. I want to inches tall and because he enjoys in public areas; he goes to church with realize that if I didn’t get into sports takes part in international student
succeed in life and progress to where I can help going to the gym often, he has a bulky his family, rides his bike around town as a career, administration would be organization activities. When he’s
people who have struggled just like myself. I build. Santos speaks three languages: and walks his dog. What he dislikes my second choice,” he said. not in class, at work or practice, he
want to help people by telling them my success Portuguese, English and Spanish. He about his city is the local police. “They likes to spend time at the gym, with
story and letting them know how I’ve done so learned Spanish by working at a res- don’t protect those with low income,” Along the way Santos participated “shoulder day” his favorite workout.
much even though I started with so little. I want taurant, surrounded by Hispanic peers. he explained. “If you’re rich, you have in his country’s 12-month military He also loves playing video games,
to encourage others and act a role model for According to Santos, “Most people protection; if you’re poor, you don’t.” training that’s mandatory for males hanging out with his friends, reading
them so that they may succeed in life as well. seem to think that Portuguese is the that turn 18. He had also signed up to books, and playing ping-pong and
same as Spanish, but it’s not!” As surprising as it sounds, when be a part of the MVP Exchange, which pool. He enjoys eating American fast
Q: What’s next for you? How do you Santos was a young boy, he was a is a program that helps students learn food as well as Mexican cuisine. “My
plan to use your degree? Santos was born in Joao Pessoa, troublemaker! “I didn’t like to study English, train in soccer, and prepare favorite snack is an Oreo milkshake
Brazil, on the 23rd of February, but or do homework,'' he said. Often, his to come to the United States to play with fries from Sheetz,” he said.
A: I plan to start my own business. My goal is grew up in São Paulo where his mother mother would be called because of his their sport at the collegiate level. Soon
to own rental properties and become a landlord.As and father still live. In Joao Pessoa, behavior. He recalled that he was either Santos had to choose between fulfill- Considering himself religious,
a property manager and supervisor, I’ve gained the Santos has family that he used to visit fighting or refusing to do work. ing his father's dream by making the Santos likes that Wesleyan is a Chris-
hands-on experience I need to become a landlord. I during the holidays, but now that he military his career, or following his tian school. As the only Brazilian on
want to help provide services to people who may be and his older brother are in the United When he was seven, Santos had a dream of playing soccer in the U.S. He campus, he appreciates that the college
struggling, giving people of low income a chance to States, they don’t go as often. big birthday party that he describes as eventually chose to play soccer and is welcoming to international students.
stay in decent homes without the steep expense. the best party and childhood memory study abroad, in what he describes as a Sometimes he does wish for a larger
His brother, Wey, is a civil engineer ever! “Big cake, all of my friends and “chance of my life.” Brazilian population, but he makes
Q: Who will be there with you on May and he studied at a university in Brazil. family, lots of big gifts and candy--I the most of every new friend that he
1, graduation day? And what will you be His mother is a housekeeper/chef. Ac- was a happy boy!” he said. There was It was not easy to come to the meets. “I value the different cultures,”
thinking as you cross the stage? cording to Santos, she makes the most one gift that stood out from the rest. United States, he said. He would need he said. “If I were in Brazil, I wouldn’t
delicious food and desserts! One of his “I’ll never forget this gift,” he said. to deal with a new culture. But he said have been able to live this experience.”
A: I am beyond excited. My mother, father, favorite dishes is stroganoff, which in “It was just one piece of clothing: yel- his São Paulo friends now look to him
brother, and sister will be supporting me on Portuguese is “Estrogonofe.” It’s made low underwear.” as an example because he took such a There was a time when Santos felt
this wonderful day. When I walk across the with rice and “Açaí na tigela,” which big leap in his life. homesick and it was reflected in lower
stage, I’ll be thinking that I have finally ac- translates to ‘Açai in the bowl.’ His When he entered high school, San- grades, but he’s been helped by building
complished another one of my many goals. father works in security and Santos tos changed his character and became Santos first went to Talladega Col- connections with his soccer teammates,
describes him as his best friend. When less of a troublemaker because, “I lege, a four-year school in Alabama, dorm neighbors, and his roommate.
Shataura Blount they’re together, they listen to their started thinking about my future goals, to play soccer there. Disappointed
favorite song, “I don’t wanna talk what I wanted to accomplish.” with his experience in Alabama, he In 20 years, Santos sees himself as
about it” by Roodie Stuart, talk about requested a transfer after a year. Two a father, husband and, hopefully, an
life, watch soccer games (their favorite In high school, Santos was known schools, one in California and the other athletic director. Whatever his position,
Brazilian team is called Corinthians), as a popular guy. “People liked me in North Carolina, expressed interest he wants to help students play soccer
and cook BBQ for the family. More because I would help them,” he said. “I in Santos joining their programs. At and develop basic life skills.
was dependable.” that moment, Santos faced his second
He had a large friend group and they
always wanted to be around him, he said.
4 North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27804 May 28, 2021
Bishop Sports Briefs: Tennis Teams Claim Titles,
Baseball and Softball Teams Finish as Runners-up
BASEBALL a one-hitter against a very disciplined team,” a particular match. As far as doubles, we try to higher. In high school there are a lot of girls
said Coach John Brackett. “Grace then put us team players with complementary skills. For that play volleyball just to play and they don’t Freshman Sloan Martin became
The NC Wesleyan baseball team is in position to win game two, and Beth came in example, John (Falke) has a great serve, but is care that much about it. In college everyone the volleyball team’s primary setter.
waiting to learn whether it will receive and shut the door. Beth always wants the ball, not so good on returns. He’s often teamed with loves the sport and has a huge passion for it, so
an at-large bid in the upcoming NCAA and her rise ball was untouchable that day.” Roberto who is the opposite. the competition level is a lot more advanced. Wesleyan Athletes
tournament after it lost the USA South Share Their Rituals
Conference championship. Braswell took the mound a week later Q: It must be tough not to play in matches? Q:The team started slowly, but in recent weeks And Superstitions
to face Piedmont, which won the West A: It can be tough. If you’re lower in the won more than half its matches.What changed?
The Bishops had placed first in the con- Division with a 13-2 record. She shut out lineup, you fight for a spot at practice by By Ignacio Alia
ference’s East Division and then swept Wil- the home team, 3-0, allowing only three playing challenge matches. It can be intense A: I think our mentality changed. We played Decree Staff Writer
liam Peace University in two playoff games. hits while striking out six in seven innings. as we all want to win so we can get in the very good teams in the beginning and it’s a huge
That earned the team a chance to win the lineup. If you’re not playing in matches, it adjustment to play in masks while competing in Stepping onto the field with the left foot first,
overall conference title against LaGrange. Starting the nightcap that day, Preston can lessen your confidence. two, 3-out-of-5-set matches in one day. That’s a eating half of banana before every match, or listen-
pitched a strong game, but the Bishops Q: As usual, Wesleyan breezed through lot on your body, if you’re not ready for it. I think ing to “Power” by KanyeWest on the bus ride to
Playing at home on Sunday, May 16, the were unable to solve Piedmont’s Martina the USA South regular season, winning all we got beat down a lot and when we finally saw the game--these are some of the rituals, or supersti-
Bishops lost the opening game, 6-5, as ace Maloch, getting only one hit and a walk, its matches. Do you think this might work a win, we got very hungry for more. Everyone tions, that athletes follow to help them order
pitcher Derrick Carter (8-1) yielded nine as the Lions won 2-0 and evened the against the team in the NCAAs? worked together to try and beat more teams. their thinking,focusand,inmanycases,relax.
hits and four walks in six-plus innings. The best-of-three series at one game apiece. A: I don’t think it makes us less prepared,
Bishops then tied the series with a 7-6 win because we play a lot of hard teams out of the Q: Looking ahead to next season, what One recent spring day I interviewed a
in the nightcap, on the strength of a five- The two aces faced off again the next conference throughout the season. But who are the benefits of playing matches in number of student-athletes here in North
run sixth inning. Catcher Brad Pennington day, but it was not the pitcher’s duel that knows what would happen if we had more spring rather than just doing workouts, as Carolina Wesleyan College to learn about
drove in three runs, and freshman Daniel had been anticipated, with Maloch sur- competition in the conference? would be the case in a normal spring? their rituals and superstitions.
Thompson earned the save by striking out rendering five runs in three-plus innings Q: Are you optimistic about the team’s
two batters in the bottom of the ninth. of work, and Braswell giving up eight chances in the NCAAs? A: We’ve gained so much from playing First I went to the tennis team, as I felt
runs in four innings, enough to provide A: I think we have a really good chance just a little bit in the spring. Last fall’s more comfortable asking my teammates to
On Monday, the Panthers jumped to for the final margin of victory. this year to go far in the NCAA tournament. workouts and team scrimmages clearly share their thoughts. I talked to Jhonny Acos-
a 7-1 lead. In what might have been his The team is well balanced. didn’t train us the best since we started out ta, a junior from Ita, Paraguay. He confessed
last collegiate game, Pennington clouted “Game three was going to come down so slowly in spring. Games are so much dif- that before every match he does two things.
a three-run homer to bring the Bishops to which team made the better adjustment WOMEN’S TENNIS ferent from practice; this spring we found a The first one is drinking a Monster energy
within three. But the Panthers (24-8) added against the other’s ace pitcher,” Brackett said. groove in games and kept going with it. I’m drink that he buys at the Sheetz store across
two runs in the ninth to secure the win and “Both teams were successful in doing that. The women’s tennis team followed an so excited to see what fall brings us. from campus. If he doesn’t drink one, he’s
their own berth in the NCAA tournament. Piedmont is a great team, and they were able undefeated USA South season by win- not ready to battle, he said. The second part is
to push across a few more runs than us.” ning the championship May 2 at home. FOOTBALL listening to Ed Sheeran in the car on his way
The Bishops lost just one game in regu- to the match. Jhonny is a big fan of the Irish
lar-season conference action on their way to Coach Brackett noted that there were The Bishops cruised through the regular Head Coach Jeff Filkovski expressed singer and he said his music relaxes him.
a 17-1 record (32-8 overall). The team was nine seniors on the 2021 team, some of season, taking all six of their conference optimism about next fall’s season after
ranked 13th in the nation at one point. whom may elect to use an extra year of matchups. The team then vanquished Meth- the Bishops went winless in a shortened AfterAcosta, I went to the women’s side
eligibility due to the pandemic. odist 6-3 in the first round of the conference spring campaign. and askedAnaAguilar, a senior from Bogota,
“What makes this team special is our tourney. It was led by freshman Stefanie Colombia.Ana has been an important part of the
drive to win,” backup catcher Nikolas “We had a great run,” he said, “and The Bishops lost five straight, four to team for several years, so I wanted to ask about
Megrichian said. “That’s about all it really I’m so proud of our team.” USA South conference opponents. Three her rituals.Areligious individual,Ana said she
games were played on campus in March. always prays before the match. Besides that, she
Wilske, who won at number-1 singles, 6-4, The Decree interviewed Coach always bounces the ball five times before serving.
6-1, after teaming with Elisa Mariotti to Filkovski in April following the season.
prevail at number-1 doubles, 8-1. Q: Let’s begin by talking about recruit- Leaving the tennis courts, I went to the
The women’s team then shut out West ing during the pandemic. How many fresh- other side of the campus to the soccer pitch. I
Division champ Piedmont, 5-0, to claim men did you bring in this year? interviewed junior Kailey Munro from Nokes-
the conference title. Against the Lions, A: We brought in just under 70 freshmen. ville, Virginia. Kailey is a starting midfielder
Wesleyan won all three doubles matches That is about the same as a normal year, off for the Bishops and I wanted to know about
and then clinched the title when Wilske, about a half dozen. Some recruits didn’t attend her superstitions. “Whenever the referee blows
at number-1 singles, and Guilia Zanetti, that were supposed to come due to Covid. the whistle to kick off the match, I always
at number-2, each won their matches. Q: How has recruiting gone for next touch the grass with my right hand and then
A week later, opening in the second round year? How has the process worked? I start running,” she explained. “It’s habit that
of the NCAA regional tournament, the Bish- A: Little different recruiting this year. I started a long time ago. I don’t know why I
ops fell to Carnegie Mellon University, 5-1. North Carolina schools didn’t play in the fall do it, but now I can’t start the match without
TRACK and really didn’t have in-person classes. We touching the grass. If I enter the game as a sub,
Participating in their first full season weren’t able to visit schools in NC so we’re I do the same whenever I get onto the pitch.”
taking a hit in our home state. We did visit
of competition, the women’s track team schools in other states that played in the fall- After talking to Kailey, I stayed at the
finished in 8th place in the 12-team USA -Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. With soccer field and found my great friend Jack
South Conference meet held at Berea that, we’ve seen an uptick in our out-of-state Holden, who seemed tired of me interview-
commitments. I hope through the spring, ing him. This interview was much shorter,
Second-baseman Davie Morgan drove in 42 runs during his first season. SI photos. College in Kentucky in late April. just one question about his superstitions. An
The Bishops were paced by sophomore we can balance it out a bit with NC student/ Englishman, Jack admitted that he’s not very
Teanna Bellamy, who finished second in athletes. Typically we would have around 60 superstitious, but the team captain told me
takes to be successful in baseball: wanting MEN’S TENNIS the 400-meter race with a time of 1:03.3 percent of our class come from NC. that he always chooses to defer whenever he
to win more than the other team.” wins the coin toss. He said he does not con-
After once again dominating the USA Freshman Florentina Lonati placed Q: It's been said that you're a young team, sider that a superstition; it’s more a strategy.
The team racked up impressive of- South Conference, the Bishops advanced to fifth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time having lost lots of graduating seniors in 2020.
fensive numbers in 40 games: the NCAADivision III regional finals, losing of 1:22, a 4-second improvement over In what specific ways would that youth have Continuing with my interviews, I next
• 341 total runs, or an average of 8.5 per game. to Johns Hopkins University at home May 15. her time in the prelims. manifested itself to spectators this spring? went and grabbed a bat to interview players
• A .301 team batting average (plus .401 from the baseball team. I spoke to junior Josh
on-base and .444 slugging percentages). The Bishops won all five of their USA Bellamy teamed with Snejana Spinache, A: We are young. But we’re very Kellogg, from Jacksonville, North Carolina,
• 30 homeruns. South matches and then defeated Cov- Catalina Hermosa and Toni Foster to earn talented! We had two freshmen (linebacker and Chris Day, a senior from Nags Head.
• Eight players with at least 21 RBIs, led enant, 9-0, in the championship on May third place in the 4 x 100-meter relay. James Hayden and safety Benyon Wil- Both told me that baseball is all about super-
by Pennington (43) and second-baseman 1. It marked the school’s 12th consecu- liams) make All-Conference. This will be stitions and rituals. They both agreed on one
Davie Morgan (42). tive conference title. In field events, Lonati made her debut an exciting group to watch in the fall. of the most common superstitions for baseball
in the pole vault, placing third with a players--the number of practice swings a
SOFTBALL Entering the NCAA regionals as the mark of 2.3 meters. Q: We imagine shifting the games to spring player takes before getting set in the batter’s
second seed, the Bishops defeated Drew Uni- messed with the rhythms of your team, that box. Chris says he only does two, while
After beating a higher seed in the versity, 5-0, May 14 on the Wesleyan campus. GOLF the pandemic was quite disruptive. But what Josh takes five. Chris shared one more of his
opening round, Wesleyan’s softball team The team swept the doubles competition, were some of the specific upsides to playing superstitions. “I have to listen to Drake before
fell short of winning the USA South title, as the duos of Jhonny Acosta/Juan Vallejo, The Wesleyan golf team finished last in games in spring, in advance of the fall season? every game,” he said. “It gets me pumped.”
losing to Piedmont, 8-6, in the decisive Roberto Puig/John Falke, and Max Robinson/ the USA South Conference championships.
third game of the championship series. Valentin Mussi all earned decisive wins. The A: This has been the best spring ball that After a big round ofAmericans, I went
Bishops earned the victory after the first two Playing host at Benvenue Country DIII’s ever had. We had the opportunity to back to my territory, the internationals. In this
Wesleyan finished 10-4 to place second singles matched ended in Wesleyan’s favor. Club April 22-23, the team ranked tenth see the talents of the team while the bullets case I went to see one of the sports that gets
in the East Division behind Pfeiffer (9-3). after the first two rounds and failed to were flying. There’s nothing like game speed. less attention. This sport is cheerleading. I
But Wesleyan avenged two regular-season The next day, with a chance to qualify qualify for final-round action. don’t know much about it, to be honest, but I
losses by sweeping the Falcons in the first for the national semi-finals, Wesleyan lost Q: What did you and the coaches learn knew one member of the team, Vicky Mayer.
round of the conference tournament. to Johns Hopkins, 5-3. Wesleyan’s Acosta The Bishops were led by junior Frankie about this group of players this spring? Vicky is a junior from Santa Rosa,Argentina.
and Vallejo won at number-1 doubles, but Schmitt, who tied for 11th place in indi- She told me that she has some superstitions
Senior Beth Braswell led the way by JHU took the other two doubles matches vidual competition. The Argentinian shot A: It’s very talented. The sky’s the limit whenever she is getting ready to cheer. She
throwing a one-hitter and striking out and the top three singles matches. scores of 84, 78 and 72, or 18 over par, with this group if they stay together and said she always does her makeup with her
eight in the opening game, a 4-0 Wes- for the three rounds. He finished 9 strokes grind on their craft. friend Maria; they don’t want anybody else
leyan victory. The hitting star was Briana Though the team has ended its season, behind Piedmont’s Ben Balen, who shot do their makeup. That’s her only superstition,
Myers who drove in two runs with a three athletes will compete at the end of May a three-day total of 225, 9 over par, and Q: What areas do they need to develop to be she said. “I just enjoy the moment of being out
clutch single to centerfield. in individual competitions—Puig in singles, earned medalist honors by winning a play- more competitive in the USA South next fall? there doing flips and jumps; it’s really fun.”
and Acosta and Vallejo in doubles action. off with Cooper Hrabak of Methodist.
Braswell made a huge contribution the A: I don’t want to be competitive; I want to After a day of doing interviews, I had run
second game as well. Grace Preston got the In Aprill the Decree talked to Ignacio Piedmont claimed the team title, win the league. This group can do it if they ma- out of ideas, so I came back to tennis practice,
start, yielding three runs on two hits and two Alia, who was not, by the end of the edging Huntingdon by four strokes. The ture fast and commit to doing something special. and I decided to mix it up a bit. I went and
walks. Then, summoned from the bullpen, season, among the team’s top six, the Lions tallied a cumulative three-round interviewed my coach, Albie Brice, who said
Braswell pitched the last four innings, limit- number of athletes who participate in a total of 920, 56 over par. Q: What's the status of Storm Yarbor- he had several rituals while he played tennis at
ing Pfeiffer to three hits to record the win. typical match. Earlier in the season, Alia ough's injury? Do he and Terrence Craig the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
won his lone singles match, 6-1, 6-0, VOLLEYBALL enter next season as your leading candi- Coach Brice told me about his obsession with
“Beth showed her greatness in throwing against Methodist’s Owen Findley. He dates to become starting QB? bottles. At his matches, he always had two
was 3-1 in doubles action on the year. Sloan Martin, a setter from Wood- bottles, one of water and one filled with a
Pitcher Beth Braswell led the stock, Georgia, just completed her first A: The QB job will be open moving into the sports drink, whether Gatorade or Powerade.
conference with 18 wins; her The Decree wanted to know what it’s like year of college volleyball. fall. Storm had a setback with his injury, but will He said that every time there was a change-
1.43 ERA was second best. to be a member of an ultra-competitive team. be fine to compete in the fall. Terrence took most over during a match he’d drank the water first
The Bishop roster includes 20 athletes, all After the cancelation of their fall of the reps at the position this spring, but no hier- and then the sports drink. He also had to put
from Europe, Asia, Africa and South Ameri- season, the Bishops and other USA South archy has been set. We’re excited about what we the bottles one in front of the other with the
ca. Alia, a junior, is from Toledo, Spain. programs played an abbreviated spring return and who will be joining us through recruit- label facing his side of the court. This is the
season. The Bishops began with seven ing. But we must get more out of the quarterback biggest superstition I had heard all day.
A: Being on a team with so many strong straight losses, but regrouped and fin- position if we’re going to be successful.
players has its advantages and disadvantages, ished with five victories in their last eight
depending on your position. The family is matches, including two-match sweeps of Q: We want to ask you about the field and
bigger; the atmosphere is great, and you enjoy Mary Baldwin and Methodist. plans for a new stadium. Why is it important
it. But it’s hard for some athletes to get enough that you now play games on campus rather
playing time. The lineup is based on perfor- In her inaugural season, Martin estab- than the Rocky Mount Athletic Complex?
mance at practice, as well as what you did lished herself as the team’s primary setter.
last year, or your “legacy.” For example, this Averaging 8.8 assists per set, she totaled a A: For any college football program, it’s
year’s number 1 is Roberto Puig. He’s a great team-leading 415 on the season. She record- important that the players have a place that
player, but he might not be the best player at ed a game-high 41 assists in Wesleyan’s 3-0 they can call home. I’m a strong believer in
the moment. He’s a senior and I think that’s a shutout of Methodist on April 10. an on-campus facility. Maybe it’s because
factor. The numbers 1, 2 and 3 are really close. I grew up in Pittsburgh and I saw Pitt
In deciding whom to place at number 1, etc., it She was interviewed in late April Stadium get torn down. That football pro-
often comes down to the coach’s strategy for about her season. gram will never see the success it once had
playing off-campus at Heinz Field. Playing
Q: What was the biggest single adjust- on-campus brings an energy! It’s so special!
ment for you as you moved from high I’m so appreciative of our administration
school to college volleyball? and our athletic leadership to spearhead the
new stadium project and make it a priority.
A: It was that the competition was so much