Issue 3 February 2016
College of Charlestonâ€™s student-run feature magazine
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Inside the Yard
Volume 4 Issue 3 February 2016
4 Letter from the Editor 6 From the soil up: Sustainable farming in Charleston 8 Full STEAM ahead 10 Drunk debauchery in Market 159 12 Off to the races 16 The City of Light shines on: A Parisian perspective 18 Finding their own beat: Student musicians at the College 20 Prejudice: Looking into the darker windows of our souls 24 Storytelling through craft 26 Taking Center Stage 28 The art of soul searching 32 Coach Heath is a hit
34 The Yin and Yang of mind and body 36 Left behind: South Carolinaâ€™s Corridor of Shame 38 Tecklenberg: Mayor to many, father to all
Editor-in-Chief COURTNEY EKER Managing Editor JUSTINE HALL Creative Director WESLEY VANCE News Editor SIGRID JOHANNES Sports Editor SAM OLEKSAK Feature Editor KATE POWER Satire & Opinion Editor CARSON SCHAFER Blog Editor CHELSEA ANDERSON Design Assistant JAQUAN LEONARD Contributors KATIE CARTER, KIM CORTELLESSA, JACK DALESSIO, KALEB DILL, BASTIEN FACHAN, KIMBERMARIE FAIRCLOTH, DUSTIN HACKER, BRADLEY HARRISON, SCOTT HARVIN, REAGAN HEMBREE, TAYLOR JOHNSON, SYDNEY MOREANO, VIRAJ NAIK, AMANDA PHAGAN, NICK RODRIGUEZ, KYE TOSCANO, MARIANNA VICK, EMILY WARNER, MICHAEL WISER
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Letter from the Editor In the last decade or so, people have claimed “journalism is dying.” I disagree. For example, our local newspaper The Post and Courier won a Pulitzer Prize last year for its series on domestic violence in South Carolina. That’s a big deal. But recently, self-proclaimed “publications” have been popping up online across the country. You’ve seen them. They crawl in and out of your Facebook news feed, infesting it with listicles and grammatical errors and “Open letters to…” Like little journalist leeches trying to suck the blood from an art that is fabled to be long gone. Like beady-eyed vultures, picking meat off the bones of a supposedly-dead industry. If we keep feeding them, they are only going to keep multiplying. It is an epidemic, a traditional journalist’s worst nightmare. And a new one pops up every week. But much like a fast food chain, just because they are accessible everywhere and to everyone doesn’t mean we should all jump on the bandwagon and gorge ourselves with the cheapest, easiest option. What is the reasoning behind these pesky publications that think they are holier than thou? Campus news is “outdated.” “Out of touch.” “Filtered” by The Man. (Terms taken directly from the source.) Let’s talk about that for a second. CisternYard News publishes online content daily. We cover every aspect of this campus. News? We received exclusive media access for our writers to attend both presidential debates that took place in Charleston this January. Sports? We sit courtside at every game. Features? Backstage passes at concerts, interviews with comedians, the list goes on. Not only do we attend these things, we get invited to them – by the broader journalism community. (Read: I interviewed Donald Trump on his private plane. Because CisternYard News was invited.) And yeah, I’m proud. The thing is, any person could apply for the position of Editor in Chief at these “publications.” What’s more, anyone could get the job. This is why the journalism community scoffs at the idea. Imagine all of the human resources workers at national news publications rolling their eyes at how many people claim listicles as work experience on their resume. You wrote a listicle for an online blog? Cool. So did 6,000 other online contributors. CisternYard News is an award-winning publication. Our feature magazine wins numerous awards from the South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Contest every year. We have AP Style workshops at every staff meeting. We train our writers and it pays off. So if by “outdated” you mean covering the biggest political events that South Carolina has seen in the past decade, then we will continue to be outdated. If by “out of touch” you mean increasing our social media presence to span over every existing medium (and getting upwards of 200 followers within the first day), then we will happily continue to be out of touch.
And if you really want to accuse CisternYard News of being “filtered by the institution,” go pick up any previous issue of The Yard. Read our article about the Koch brothers’ influence on campus, or our illuminating coverage of the college’s budget cuts this year. If I have to encourage my more than able staff to start writing listicles about the “61 Thoughts I Had During the Mid-Season Premiere of Grey’s Anatomy” (not kidding, that’s a real story on one of the aforementioned “publications”) in order to be considered modern and up to date, then maybe I was wrong. Maybe journalism is dying. But I refuse. This staff refuses. That is not who we are. We are, and will continue to be, the College of Charleston’s official student voice. This is The Soul Issue. The soul of this staff is in this magazine. Each writer, each photographer, has breathed life into these pages. We have been busting our asses to make sure that everything is just right. For you. Our reader. The soul of journalism, much like the soul of this staff, is wildly, unapologetically and exuberantly alive. So read on. Feast on this issue. Feed your soul with stories about life and passion and positivity. We believe in the soul of real, authentic journalism. We know you do, too. Why? Because the soul of real journalism will never die. Because you picked up this magazine.
Sincerely, Courtney Eker Editor-in-Chief
arts March 2 CMH Film Series presents: Salad Days Bar Opens: 6:30 p.m. Film Starts: 7:30 p.m. Charleston Music Hall $10 Individual $8 Student March 4 First Friday Art Walk on Broad Broad Street 5-8 p.m Free and open to the public March 15-19 Charleston Fashion Week Marion Square Student ticket prices are available http://charlestonfashionweek.com/ tickets
food Feb. 27 Butcher & Bee Night Bazaar Butcher & Bee 9 p.m – 12 a.m No ticket required Feb. 27 12th Annual Mardi Crawl on Shem Creek Red’s Ice House, The Shelter Kitchen & Bar and Vickery’s 12:00 p.m. $25 in advance or $30 at the event LCParrotHeads.org *Proceeds from the event will benefit Alzheimer’s Association of South Carolina, Pet Helpers and various local Lowcountry charities March 2-6 Charleston Festival
music Feb, 26 1770 Records’ JDRF Benefit Show with Mr. Rosewater and Sex Wax Charleston Beer Works 8 p.m. Admission is free; but donations are encouraged. March 5 TreeFest The Charleston Pour House Outside Deck 2 p.m.-8 p.m. (free) Inside Stage 8 p.m.-2 a.m. ($8 advance sale , $12 day of)
“You can just follow me around while I work and we can talk, if that’s okay,”
Chris Miller, founder of Sow Seasonal Farm, laying the soil for a sustainanble garden in Park Circle.
Chris Miller said, between breaths. He is in the middle of breaking down cardboard boxes to embed in the soil below our feet, part of a biological process that enables the plants to soak up the maximum amount of nutrients. A man constantly on the move, Miller has no time to sit down for an interview. Beginning at sunup, his day is set in motion. Miller operates Sow Seasonal Farm in Park Circle, North Charleston, a sustainable farm he began building in early 2015. Sustainable farming uses techniques that protect and enhance the environment, community and health of the surrounding community. To Miller, sustainable means edible and regenerative. It means growing healthy food for the people in his community. It means making sure no one is hungry. Miller grew up with his single mom in Tampa, Florida, where he learned how to cook and feed himself. Always outdoors, he developed a connection with conservation and a deep appreciation for the natural environment. “In a lot of ways, that’s kind of what raised me,” Miller said. “It taught me a lot about life.” In and out of school, Miller could not quite figure out where his life was headed. “I could never get a foothold on what I wanted to do exactly,” he said. “I was always interested in food, philosophy and science.” At age 22, he started managing restaurants and soon after left the sunshine state for Tennessee. There, he got his “business chops” helping his creative friends with their various endeavors, from art shows to radio time. Miller is captivated by creativity. “I’ve always been attracted to people doing things on their own,” he said. Eventually leaving Tennessee for Columbia, South Carolina, he took a job at Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina. While Miller enjoyed restaraunt work, he was still not wholly at peace. “I look around and I can’t tell you where any of the food is coming from or who’s growing it,” he recalled. This unsettled Miller. He wanted to be able to tell customers about the food they were consuming, and when he could not, he felt responsible. His quest for peace led him to Charleston, South Carolina, where he started as a waiter at The Grille and Island Bar on Folly Beach, and as a farming apprentice in Lowcountry Local First’s Growing New Farmers Program. Growing New Farmers paired him
from the soil up How one man is changing the landscape of Park Circle
by KATE POWER photo by MICHAEL WISER
with with Jim Martin, the owner of Compost in My Shoe and Miller’s mentor for two years. Eager to learn, Miller grasped every opportunity. “I was that guy,” he said. “I showed up for everything.” Being “that guy” paid off. When his supervisor moved on, Miller slid into the position of teaching plot manager alongside Rita Bachman, who owns Rita’s Roots Backyard Harvest. “This quote has shown up a lot,” Miller said, “but it was like, ‘I learned yesterday what I teach you tomorrow.’ I was devouring information… learning and giving it right back.” Miller taught for two years before a taco craving led him to Básico, a Mexican restaurant in North Charleston. After learning Básico grows its own food, he introduced himself to the chef. From there, he met the owner. And from there, he met Evan Fuller. Fuller collects entrepreneurs for Jamestown Properties, a company that invests in real estate with an emphasis on conservation. Wasting no time, they asked Miller for his business plan. Sow Seasonal Farm was born. “I realized that the traditional way of farming… growing food just to sell it to restaurants, is not what I’m interested in. I’m interested in healthy food for communities and for people who need it,” Miller said. So he put a farm in the center of the Park Circle community. “I quit all my jobs,” Miller said. “Got rid of all my bills. Got rid of my phone. And I got on a bicycle.” No car, no phone, Miller flies by the seat of his bike. He has accounts with restaurants and families, delivering the vegetables directly with the help of his faithful intern, College of Charleston senior Jaime Stacy, and occasional volunteers. All of Miller’s deliveries are within bikeable distance, the food grown in the soul of its consumers. With 30,000 people living in Park Circle, Miller is filling a necessary role. This community has zero access otherwise to locally grown, healthy food. The people comprise a community that, according to Miller, is often overlooked. Overlooked, that is, until he arrived. During the off-season, Miller keeps himself busy. Today, he is building a sustainable garden for a family in Park Circle. Each plant is multi-purpose, feeding life both indoors and out. “Let me look to the soil, to the birds, to the bees,” he said. Miller is also implementing a closed water system around the garden, a sustainable way of eliminating mud and creating a passive irrigation system. Through landscaping,
Miller realized that he, too, is an artist. The earth is his canvas. “I’m doing this in a way that makes everyone happy,” Miller said. The work Miller does goes beyond the creation of sustainable landscapes. He is creating a sustainable community, starting with its roots: the children. He works with the Carolina Youth Development Center in Park Circle and with his guidance, the children are building their own garden, fostering creativity, self-empowerment and environmental awareness. Miller develops weekly projects for them; one week, the children learned how to save seeds. Through this, not only did they learn sustainability in terms of the land, they learned about the importance of sustaining themselves. “When I started thinking about doing this for the long haul,” Miller said, “I considered what the appeal was. I thought and meditated about this for a long time. I concluded that it is about individual empowerment. The simple act of putting a seed in the ground and waiting for it to grow, nurturing it and ultimately being nourished by it is nothing short of life-changing for those who embrace the beauty of life cycling and participating in the whole ecosystem. I think that deep down, everyone is amazed by this beautiful blue space marble. I knew then that I wanted to share and teach people going through difficult transitions.” A little-known fact: North Charleston has amazing soil. Now all Miller has to do is find all the places food can grow. “If my neighborhood isn’t healthy, then I’m not healthy,” Miller said. “The whole world is one big community. If everyone, everywhere does not have access to healthy food, then I’m not living on a healthy planet.”
Nothing beats the sound of the waves breaking, the wind howling and the water flowing peacefully as it skims off the sides of a sailboat into the expanse of unending ocean. The soothing sounds of the sea encaptured Prentice Brower when he was young and to this day, are what allow him to escape into tranquility. Brower, known as Tripp to close friends and family, has spent the majority of his life on the water, teaching sailing lessons from the age of 13. Sailing has been passed down through the Brower family tree; Brower’s grandfather sailed, his father sailed and his brother was the top sailor on the College of Charleston Sailing Team. After graduating from the College of Charleston in 2012 with a degree in political science, Brower expressed an interest in building wooden boats. He was determined to succeed and even apprenticed as a wooden boat-builder for two years. Yet, behind the walls of the boat building yard, Brower felt isolated from his true passion. “At the end of college, I was working on a boat at the time, but I was really focused on agriculture, especially Community Supported Agriculture (CSA),” Brower said. As much as Tripp loves the water, nothing could match his true love of serving others. While building boats helped him develop an important skill, more importantly, it led him into something that would leave an indelible mark on his life forever. “Working at the boat building yard one day,
by JACK DALESSIO photos by KATIE CARTER
a coworker, Matthew Milling, came to the yard and mentioned how he started this nonprofit organization, he had the 501(c)(3) set up, but not really much else. Months later, I asked him about it, and he told me, take it,” Brower recalled. From there, Brower’s life would forever be changed as the small organization, Lowcountry Maritime Society or, LMS for short, would become an integral part of him. At 25 years old, Brower was now the head of a promising, new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) based community service organization. Founded in 2014, this program was in its infant stages - it was up to Brower to research, develop and acquire all the necessary supplies and information to make this program a success. Long days and many long nights awaited Brower as he had to get this “boat into the water,” and find a way to present his vision to schools and donors. “The basis behind [LMS] was that we cared about the Lowcountry, and we were looking for a way to emphasize it, a way to raise people’s awareness about how cool it is where we live.” Charleston is unique in that it is surrounded by aquatic beauty on three sides. Coupled with a very significant maritime history, the ocean is an integral part of everyday life in the Holy City. Lowcountry Maritime Society is based around students at two local middle schools, Sanders-Clyde and
From left to right, students participate in various aspects of the Lowcountry Maritime Society’s STEAM organization.
Simmons-Pinckney. The program specifically focuses on grades six through eight, an integral age where students often get left behind and then, unfortunately, struggle in high school. Both schools are Title I schools, meaning that students come from low-income backgrounds, making many of the experiences in LMS a first for them. Though boat building is key, the most important aspect of LMS is the ability to tutor students in areas where their skills might not be up to par. Students in LMS must spend the first hour of the program completing either homework or in-class assignments. Volunteers act as tutors and assist students that might need help on certain assignments or concepts that they might find difficult. After the students complete their homework, the real fun begins. Students are able to go outside and work on their boats. Through this program, students have the unique opportunity to apply math and science techniques into their everyday life. Students are encouraged to help as much as possible, working with power-tools, glue guns, measuring tools, clamps, planes and even saws. During the process, students are aided by the expertise of site coordinators and volunteers, many of who hail from the College. As Tripp explains, the partnership between LMS and the Honors College has truly elevated LMS to the next level, allowing the organization to hit new heights that
were previously hard to envision. “We want to continue our relationship with the Honors College, because that is huge; that has made the program. Without the volunteers, the programs would not be what they are today,” Browers said. Looking toward the future, Brower has “grand” plans for Lowcountry Maritime Society, calling for its expansion and continued ability to improve its already solid foundations. He is planning to reach a third school in Charleston and working on a partnership with the YMCA to start LMS summer camps. While impressive, these programs pale in comparison to his ultimate goal. “The goal is to have these programs from Georgetown, possibly all the way to Jacksonville, where we can have students who have been through these programs compete against each other in races. We want these programs to be constantly improving, so that they are always getting better and better.” LMS has the opportunity to continue expanding and growing, as it is still in its formative stages. With a determined Brower at the helm and his resolute group of first mates, anything is possible. And with the continuous volunteer efforts from students at the College of Charleston, the only direction LMS can go is up.
Canoodling in the Freezer Section the view from behind the register
by SYDNEY MOREANO photos by REAGAN HEMBREE In a late night battle against a crowd of collegiate drunks, two forces stand solo and strong. One, a clear windowed hero welcoming all - well, all with sufficient Cougar Cash - into its tall doors. The other, a more exclusive helper requiring a passageway and a meal plan to its satisfying snack oasis. Market 159 and City Bistro’s Late Night Window join forces every Friday and Saturday night to combat the intoxication leaking onto campus after weekends of student bar-hopping and parties. But the real saviors are not the store owners who are soundly asleep or the items sitting on the shelves. They are not the students swiping for all the Oreos or Doritos they can get their hands on. The true heroes are the ones sitting behind the cash registers, scanning, swiping and serving to satisfy each late night snacker. This job always goes late and can get repetitive - but someone has to do it. And the customers that pop in make it worthwhile.
Layjayvias Ransome makes his way down the four flights of stairs in College Lodge just in time to clock in at Market 159. Tonight, he is stuck behind the counter until 2 a.m., the joint’s typical late shift. Ransome anticipates waves of incoherent people surprisingly early, at just a bit past 10 p.m.. The approaching flood of intoxication brings up an interesting memory: when a drunk college girl stumbled into the store and looked around for half an hour. Finally, she approached the counter - empty handed. “I’m like ‘are you going to get something?’” Ransome said. “And she’s just so incoherent, she’s just looking around like she didn’t hear me, and then she just, like, left.” Except the leaving part never happened. Five minutes later, she returned for a snack, this time buying Combos. Ransome watched as she sat outside eating them,
before having to deal with her a third time. “She’s eating them next to the sidewalk, and she comes back in and she’s like ‘there’s nothing in here,’” Ransome said. “I’m like, ‘Yes there was, you ate them.’” An argument ensued as Ransome insisted he saw her through the glass. Eventually she began repeatedly asking for a bathroom despite Ransome’s consistent answer of no. “She’s just all the way gone, and her friends are trying to get her to leave and she doesn’t want to leave,” Ransome said. “So she ends up falling asleep on one of those chairs.” Drunk students passed out on the cluster of chairs by the window is commonplace in the store. “As long as they’re not puking or anything like that, they can just chill,” Ransome said. Chill is the best word to describe the environment of Market 159 and its workers, including Ransome’s partner in crime, Sarah Feaster. Feaster actually prefers the
window. But some do not want to cough up the Cougar Cash for their cravings and instead cross the street to their other option: the Late Night Window at City Bistro. Every weekend brings the same scene: students huddle in front of the Late Night Window with Powerades in their hands and pizza in their stomachs. It is not often a college meal plan features access to 2 a.m. meals, so many students take full advantage of it. Among these students is sophomore Garrett Johnson, who likes not only the convenient food, but the simplicity of the swipe. “When you’re done partying, you’re really thirsty and tired and you just want to eat everything and drink everything,” Johnson said. “So you just come by here, get Powerade, get your electrolytes and then you’re done.” Not everyone at the window is as easy to deal with as Johnson. Peele Bennett has seen his fair share of drunk students. The Late Night Window shifts bring him some funny memories.
“As long as they’re not puking or anything like that, they can just chill.” - Layjayvias Ransome entertaining late nights over the monotonous day shift. “There’s just been random things,” Feaster said. “Like even on the street, people walking by kind of wave at us or just do weird things.” Sometimes, entertaining can turn to gross, like the time Ransome had to deal with a post-high heel, bloodyfooted girl and her resulting blood trail. Other times, it turns creepy, like when Feaster sees couples canoodling in the freezer section under false pretenses of privacy (there’s a hidden camera). Overall, Ransome focuses more on the humorous times, like when a soaking wet young man roamed the store with his clothes inside out and his toes poking out of his shoes. Only to discover, after some serious grocery shopping, that he had forgotten his wallet. It is hard not to miss the duo of Market 159 workers when the well lit, big windowed store lights up like a Christmas tree in comparison to its dark street surroundings. Students are drawn like moths to a light when they see the cereal and candy gleaming through the
“So one crazy night, we’re out here, right, and this young guy, he came up here, he was wasted, I mean, totally wasted,” Bennett said. “And he comes and he asks for some food... He’s like ‘Can I have a cup of pizza and a slice of Powerade?’ I’m looking at him like ‘What?’ And he says it again ... I’m like, ‘We don’t sell that around here, sir.’” All in all, he fed the kid and both walked away with something awesome. For Bennett, the story. For the college kid, the pizza. This tradeoff is common at both joints: satisfied students and entertained employees. Although a nocturnal job can get tiring on top of classes and life when it is light out, both sets of employees kept a light hearted and laughter-ready mood each day on the job. In a never ending weekend fight to sober students up, workers dole out everything from Combos to pizza in an effort to save the day.
OFF TO THE RACES! by SIGRID JOHANNES photos by MICHAEL WISER
From magazine rankings to movies, most portrayals of Charleston seek to capture the city’s secluded gardens, flavorful cuisine and charming architecture. But what happens when the gracious, old soul of the South collides with the muddy fury of modern politics? Quite a lot actually. Dr. Amanda Ruth-McSwain spearheads the College’s Bully Pulpit Series, a program that has been bringing major political candidates to campus since 2007. The series originated when the advisory board of the Department of Communication realized that “South Carolina plays such a big role in the primary season” and recognized the need for relevant programming at the College, McSwain explained. The first season of events took place in 20072008, including everything from “more intimate town hall events to a large rally in the Cistern Yard with President Obama,” McSwain remembered. The next election cycle, in 2011-2012, saw a marked increase in Charleston’s national prominence. “That’s when the series became a little larger than life.” McSwain works in an unpaid service position as the coordinator of the series. She teaches a Capstone course that integrates students into the process of planning and executing the Bully Pulpit events. The experiential learning is valuable and fast-paced, with a busy season of four to five months. McSwain pointed out that the program sometimes has “as little as 48 hours” to plan a candidate visit. The College extends a formal invitation to any candidate who has filed with the federal government and registered in the polls at some point; party affiliation is not a consideration. McSwain noted that Charleston has several unique attributes when it comes to attracting candidates. They see “the progress and the innovation
coming out of Charleston as a large city in South Carolina,” she said. “We’re an interesting area of the state because we do and have, as a majority, voted Democrat. It’s a small blue part of quite a red state.” This relative ideological diversity brings many candidates to Charleston instead of, say, Columbia. What has Dr. Ruth-McSwain learned from her time with the program so far? “These campaigns have very clear personalities,” she said. She recalled that some candidates wanted to control every aspect of their appearance at the College, while others were content to just show up. McSwain is also proud of the impact the series has had on student engagement. “I hope that it gets students thinking about their own voice,” she explained, “and how to share their voice in a larger discussion.” At the core of the series’ mission is a desire for students to think critically and develop their own authentic political identities. McSwain pointed out that a student does not have to be likeminded with a candidate in order to make something of the event. “A lot of universities that tend to host events surrounding elections are a little more reactive in nature,” she observed. “What I’m proud of is the intentionality now surrounding student engagement.” Want to refresh your memory? Here is a reflection on a few of the big events that have taken place in Charleston this election season.
Oct. 14 2015
What’s the Big Deal? This autumn, Charleston elected a new mayor for the first time in 40 years. One of the longest-serving elected officials in the United States, former Mayor Joe Riley left massive shoes to fill. The candidates came from diverse backgrounds in state government, nonprofits, education and faith-based activism. Businessman John Tecklenburg ultimately won the election.
Quote: “I’m a millennial in a baby boomer’s body” – Candidate Ginny Deerin You Had to Be There: Wading through the sea of suits and skirts backstage, a certain young reporter realized too late that her shorts and flip flops were not exactly up to par. But hey, it was hot as heck that day and nobody wants pit stains.
Nov. 16 2015
What’s the Big Deal? Sen. Ted Cruz was the first presidential candidate to visit the College through the Bully Pulpit Series. His speech came right on the heels of a major terror attack in the heart of Paris. Cruz, a favorite among very conservative voters, has since successfully separated from the pack of GOP candidates. But the competition is far from over if he wants to unseat frontrunner Trump in the polls.
Quote: “We cannot defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as we have a President who won’t utter the words radical Islamic terrorism.” – Sen. Ted Cruz
You Had to Be There: While Cruz shook hands and took pictures, two student protesters climbed on chairs and chanted their opposition to Cruz. Their slogans included “We don’t want a President who discriminates against Muslims” and “Where’s your uterus?”
Dec. 1 2015
What’s the Big Deal? Sen. Marco Rubio was the second presidential candidate to participate in the College’s Bully Pulpit Series. Hailed as a rising star in the party, CubanAmerican Rubio is the youngest candidate on the GOP side. His youth has worked both for and against him, with many opponents targeting his inexperience. His campaign slogan is “A New American Century.”
Quote: “The opportunities of the 21st century are as real as its challenges.” – Sen. Marco Rubio You Had to Be There: 79-year-old local Elease Pickens brought the house down with an emphatic declaration: “I would like to see marijuana legalized.” Rubio chuckled while the crowd, mostly students, applauded.
Jan. 14 2016
What’s the Big Deal? With so many competitors still in the field, Republicans went into this debate looking for stand-out performances. Although Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Jeb Bush gave strong performances, it was conservative darling Sen. Ted Cruz who pulled out in front of the pack. Cruz and persistent frontrunner Donald Trump established themselves as the ones to beat.
Quote: “Look what’s happening in Indonesia. It’s bomb bomb bomb bomb.” – Donald Trump
You Had to Be There: Trump’s entourage reminded us of the group photo they take on America’s Next Top Model after the makeover episode. The overall effect is impressive, but there’s always that one girl with a terrible weave.
Jan. 15 2016
What’s the Big Deal? Gov. Mike Huckabee was the third presidential candidate to take part in the College’s Bully Pulpit Series. Although Huckabee’s poll numbers at the time had labeled him as finished, he refused to quit until Feb. 1. Huckabee continued to campaign as a means of giving a conservative voice to the issues plaguing average Americans. Quote: “I’ve learned that politics is about giving something that doesn’t matter that much to you to get something that does matter to you.” – Gov. Mike Huckabee You Had to Be There: Huckabee’s microphone was not working properly, so the first few minutes of the event were just loud, awkward static. Good times.
Jan. 17 2016
What’s the Big Deal? Sen. Bernie Sanders has shocked establishment Democrats by gaining enough steam to challenge heavy-favorite Sec. Hillary Clinton. Sanders, a professed Democratic Socialist, has won big with young people. Clinton, an experienced establishment icon, tends to do better with moderates and minorities. All eyes were on this debate as the two faced off on gun control and healthcare. Quote: “I’ve never met a self-respecting deer hunter that needed an AR-15 to down a deer.” – Gov. Martin O’Malley You Had to Be There: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog made the rounds with the press in the spin room. While journalists questioned Gov. Martin O’Malley about the future of his campaign, Triumph shouted out facts about his feces.
In the 11th arrondissement of Paris, one of the trendiest
Of the most nightmarish night my home city has ever faced, the pride to be French remains – even half a world away by BASTIEN FACHAN
neighbourhoods of the capital city where one can enjoy typical French bars, restaurants and theatre, life is in full swing. Yet, when one walks by the Place de la République, old demons resurface and it is not unusual to lose track of time. Surrounded by scattered flags, wreaths of flowers and epitaphs, one of the most iconic monuments of Paris is a privileged witness of what happened three months ago, only a few hundred yards away. It has been a while since I have passed by, but my friends told me it is an uphill battle to stay unfazed by the heavy atmosphere there. I do not have a hard time believing them. All of them are safe and sound, though. I am aware of how fortunate I am to not be part of the 130 families and groups of friends who, more than three months later, are still mourning the loss of one of their own. These types of events are always gut-wrenching reminders that life is hanging by a thread and it somehow makes you want to pick up your phone and tell your loved ones how much you care about them. Of this infamous Nov. 13, the first thing I recall is a cringe-inducing thud - as if someone had just allowed all hell to break loose – in the midst of the France v. Germany soccer game that was underway at the Stade de France. At that stage, nobody, including myself, was really grasping the full significance of the impending doom. Mechanically scrolling through my Twitter news feed, it did not take me long to realize. That first kamikaze exercise was the foreshadowing of a night of mayhem in the City of Light, vengefully turned off by zealots who will never understand anything about the symbols at which they struck. As almost every Friday since the beginning of my exchange year in Charleston, I was out, but my heart was not in it – all the more so because I was in a foreign country that is a far cry from my hometown. Every acquaintance that I ran into that night had a touching word for me, providing a little bit of solace. I remember
ending up in a pizza restaurant with a friend somewhere around three in the morning, hollow-eyed in front of the TV screen watching the ever-growing count of victims scroll below footage of the stampedes. My attention only being punctually interrupted by a new Facebook notification informing me that a friend was safe. I would eventually receive more than 300 of them overnight. The only one missing belonged to the most important person in my life - my grandmother, 89, who understandably is not fond of social media. I was not that worried, though – she is not really the type to attend the Eagles of Death Metal concert that was going on at the Bataclan that night. I have always been extremely proud of my country, through thick and thin. As a New York Times subscriber gracefully formulated the day following the attacks, “France embodies everything religious zealots everywhere hate,” and continued, “No country does life on earth better than the French.” The latter is arguable, but I can speak from experience in this regard: all those faces that light up when I say where I come from testify
to how the French culture continues to hold the same appeal and fascination all over the world. The year 2015 went awry for France right from the outset. On Jan. 7, other radical terrorists seeped into the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters, in Paris, and ruthlessly gunned down symbolic figures of the publication only because they dared to caricature the Prophet Muhammed. Some dramatic hostage-taking followed the next days, encouraging a climate of fear throughout the city. In response, formidable gestures of support were spread out worldwide, notably throughout the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag – a hashtag which would mellow into #JeSuisParis 10 months later. However, this is where the parallel with November attacks end. Those who committed the latter did not attack a publication, or even the freedom of the press; they attacked random innocent people – not that Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists were at all guilty, but the symbol they were trying to bring down was even greater. ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.’ those are the words of the French Revolution and
those were the particular values these ISIS representatives were targeting. Most of them committed suicide afterwards, or were killed by the police. A few of them are still roaming somewhere. But if they wanted people to barricade themselves in their homes, they have reached failure. Paris inhabitants continue to embody everything these ISIS representatives hate; they continue to do life better than any other country in the world; they continue to enjoy breaks at local cafes, to attend concerts and to get punch-drunk on Friday nights to wind down from their week of work. Some things will simply never change, come hell or high water. France is my country, my pride, my everything. Although I aim to work in an English-speaking country in the future, I cannot imagine not coming back frequently. And it will take way more than bewildered fanatics to prevent me from appreciating every second of my time in the ‘Country of Human Rights.’
finding their own
by JUSTINE HALL
Charleston abounds with local artists of all sorts: visual, decorative, performing. You name it and the odds are Charleston has it. But there is something special about the following six musicians; not only do they write, produce, sing and play their own music, they are college students. On top of classes, internships and extracurricular activities, these six manage to create their own albums and EPs while balancing the stresses that come with being a student. The next time you might want to succumb to a Netflix binge, perhaps take a note from one of these six student musicians and instead listen to your inner creativity...you never know where it might take you.
Alessandro Di Marzio “The awesome weather isn’t what attracted me [to the College], it’s the balance between nature and city.” For Alessandro Di Marzio, being outdoors, whether that be for a day- long hike or just a walking between classes, serves as his main source of inspiration when producing- music which he describes as a self- reflection in the genre of “vocal electronic music.” Di Marzio began djing in his freshman year of high school; by the time he was a freshman in college, he had switched over to producing. “I fell in love with how to express myself through music. It was an outlet beyond just playing music for people.” His process consists of first humming lyrics, then laying down the instrumentals and lastly going back and recording vocals. He accomplishes all of this through a midi keyboard which acts as a USB piano he plugs into his computer. Di Marzio’s music is deeply personal. “If you listened to my lyrics,” he said, “you’d know exactly what I was going through.” Di Marzio has an EP coming out in late Feburary available on SoundCloud at soundlcoud.com/ fabriziomusic.
Anjali Naik The first bass Anjali Naik played was given to her by a customer she served at her family’s restaurant. He brought the bass for her on Christmas and she still plays it today. Naik learned to play acoustic guitar when she was in seventh grade and now produces her own music, incorporating guitar and vocals that she describes as “socially conscious chill music.” Naik is the founder of Girls Rock Charleston, a volunteerbased grassroots organization that empowers girls and trans youth through music, feminism and social justice education in afterschool and summer camp programs. “I like doing things people wouldn’t normally think I would do,” Naik said. This line of thought led her to the Computing in the Arts major at the College. Equally passionate about the arts and music, Naik is working on her next release, which she is hesitant to call an album as she plans to incorporate both visual art and writing. Naik goes by the stage name of Diaspora, which loosely translates to a transient
immigrant population. She explained, “my upbringing in the U.S. is because of all the migrations that the Indian population has made.” For Naik, the name connects her to her roots and serves as a reminder of her passion for social justice which she expresses through her music. You can find her at soundcloud.com/diaspora.
Adrian Austin A self taught ukulele player, Adrian Austin also plays the piano, produces music and sings for the Charleston Vibes. While Austin has the most training in singing, they also taught themselves the ins and outs of producing music. Austin describes their sound as a “mix between electronic and psychedelic with hip hop influences.” Austin got their start performing in musicals and credits part of what got them to where they are today with the support they received from music educators. “They really changed my life, especially in high school,” Austin said. “There were times that the show choir was the only thing that really excited me about school.” Austin’s true passion islies in singing, whether
Seth Barry-Hinton Seth Barry-Hinton admits he had a bit of a clashing aesthetic in high school. It was a time when he found himself performing in musicals like “Oklahoma” and “Fiddler on the Roof” while also discovering his passion for punk rock. Currently Barry-Hinton, along with a friend from high school, is in thea band Erratticus Finch, which he describes as, “cleanly produced alternative rock with lyrics that are really politically oriented.” A Political Science major at the College, Barry-Hinton drawsfinds song inspiration from current events, both national and international, and from articles he reads. Erratticus Finch is working on releasing a second album in late March. “Native Son” is a song Barry-Hinton is particularly excited about. “The first verse is about immigrants coming from Latin America... the second verse is about the migrant crisis, specifically people from Syria trying February 25
to get across the Mediterranean.” In writing the song, he explained that he “wanted to draw a parallel between someone trekking through a desert environment and somebody trekking through an oceanic environment.” Barry-Hinton stressed that he is “not really about yelling at the audience for five minutes,” rather he is “about getting people to think about issues they might not think about every day.” To listen to Barry-Hinton, go to erratticusfinch.bandcamp.com.
Carson Keeter Carson Keeter taught himself to play the bass in three days. His middle school had a Friday morning band that neededwas in need of a bass player; Keeter jumped at the opportunity. “It was a Wednesday when the guy asked me to play and I was like it’s Wednesday? Yeah I can do it by Friday.” Nine years later, Keeter also plays the acoustic guitar and banjo. He has released a solo album and is also in a bluegrass duo, The Roadside Grocery Boys. “I like to tell stories with my music, comparable to folk because it’s just an acoustic guitar and me,” Keeter said. His favorite song to play is “Railroad Bill” from the late 1890s. “It’s about this guy who goes around and creates a lot of havoc and he’s just kind of a bum.” While Keeter writes his own music, he prefers to play songs that are not his own. They already have a “set melody and chord structure,” which he enjoys. Keeter’s latest album, “Songs for the Woods,”
Photo courtsey of Anfernee Robinson
Photo courtsey of Carson Keeter
Photo courtsey of Seth Barry-Hinton
that be at a piano or over beats they created. In the future they want to add “more choreographed pieces and set pieces” into their performances. While Austin frequently performs with the Charleston Vibes, they are also looking to become involved with a “new weekly show... a collection of transgender and gender non conforming performers” organized by Austin’s friends. Their advice to aspiring musicians is to “know that not everyone is going to understand what you’re doing...focus on the positive people who support your vision.” Listen to Austin on SoundCloud at soudcloud.com/adrianade.
comes with a coloring book made by a friend and can be dowloaded at noisetrade.com/carsonkeeter.
Anfernee Robinson “My music is me. Literally, it’s me.” Listen to any of Anfernee Robinson’s songs, which he describes as “retro classic” and this will become quite evident. Robinson wrote a poem when he was 13 that became his first song, though he did not start rapping in earnest until his senior year of high school. He began performing at local coffee shops where he had a “decent turn out, with people passing through.” But, he added, “I’m not Big Sean or anything.” After his senior year, Robinson was hooked on creating music as a way for him to express himself. “I’ve had anxiety for a long part of my life and dealt with the ups and downs that come with that...I felt like the best way to let people know what’s really going on in my life was through music.” Robinson studied abroad in France last fall, where he worked with producers and collaborated on an album with French artists. He is also currently working with producers in Russia; his next goal being to make an international album. “People are people…it’s like, you have great ideas, I have great ideas, we both love and have a passion for this music thing, so let’s get together and do it.” Robinson dropped his album “Anfernee” last year, which is available on “SoundCloud, Amazon, Spotify, Geezer, you name it.” soundcloud. com/anfernee_r/sets/anfernee. 19
Prejudice looking into the darker windows of our souls by KIMBERMARIE FAIRCLOTH photos by REAGAN HEMBREE 20
Prejudice Noun An unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion etc. A feeling of like or dislike for someone or something especially when it is not reasonable or logical Until the year 313 A.D., Christians were persecuted for being Christian. It was illegal to openly worship until the Roman Emperor Constantine passed the Edict of Milan to allow religion and the construction of churches. Until World War II ended, the Jewish community was one of the largest scapegoats for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, for beginning the Bubonic Plague and for hard economic times in Germany in the 1950s, to name a few. Until the 1960s, African-Americans were segregated. They were forced to use their own bathrooms, to ride on their own buses and to go to their own schools. After centuries of fighting for freedom from the chains of slavery and racial segregation, racial prejudice is still a fight today that has constructed a barrier between many ethnic and social groups. Prejudice still exists. It has existed for centuries, transforming year to year, community to community on a gradient of minute, passive-aggressive actions to dramatic and unforgiving tragedies. These prejudices still exist today, but in disguise. In the past few years, we have seen many instances where prejudice has reared its head into history and prompted many questions concerning different controversies: Is every cop abusing his power? Is every African-American deserving of suspicion? Is every Muslim a terrorist? Is every Christian judgmental? Even under the best circumstances, people still use prejudice to blame, to defend, to praise and to stereotype. Ironically, prejudice is not prejudiced; every soul is capable of it in some shape or form. So, what do we do? It begins as a child… Naomi Nudelman, 22, a Jewish Studies and Business double major at the College, recalled a story from her childhood when a childhood best friend confided in her. When Nudelman asked her friend why she was upset, the girl responded, “I’m just really sad because my mommy told me that you are Jewish, so you are going to Hell.” Although Nudelman was very young when this happened and is now at a point in her life where she can reminisce about that event with a mature understanding, the hurt still remains. Children are impressionable; every parent has that omnipresent fear of saying a cuss word in front of their wide-eyed child lest they repeat it like a broken record. February 25
The same applies to ideas. If you live a life expressing prejudice, your children witness it. They soak it in every minute of their childhood and they remember—parents define their children’s perceptions until they get to a point when they can see the line between their parent’s beliefs and their own. “The way we are all raised … produces prejudice in us that we are not necessarily aware of, but that does not mean … that it can not be brought to light,” Alyssa Boyle, 21, a biology major at the College, concluded. Many families rightfully have their own dynamics, their own traditions and their own beliefs and as American citizens, they have the right to live by those parameters and express these beliefs to the surrounding world. But what happens when two different worlds of opinion collide? Do citizens have the right to judge based on a biased opinion because their traditions and beliefs prevail in their eyes? If so, where is the line drawn between expressing those rights freely and impeding upon others? Bias Masqueraded:
“Asians are super smart.” “You’re really pretty for a black girl.” “All Muslims are terrorists.” “That’s so gay.” “Christians are so judgmental.”
The list goes on and on of all the misconceptions and generalizations that have been showered upon different cultures, ethnicities and societal groups. Many prejudices that have been considered outdated still remain in undercover nuances: jokes, assumptions, “microaggressions.” Mercedes Cain, 18, an exercise science and athletic training major at the College, explained that she has experienced bias in ways that are more underhanded than blatant. “People are not outright prejudiced like they used to be,” she stated. Yet, special treatment of individuals based on race or other superficialities is still very prevalent. “I feel like people treat me differently when I have braids versus when my hair is straight,” Cain said, to cite one example. This confession opened up to the discussion of microaggressions, which is basically a back-handed compliment like the one above: “You’re really pretty for a black girl.” Why must an African-American woman be considered pretty just for her ethnicity and not by general societal standards? Another student at the College, Morgan Sweeney, 18, pointed out that there are many instances of prejudice hiding behind jokes. For many, they are just that: jokes. But where is the line? Sweeney mentioned that speaking up when someone has made an untasteful or offensive joke is one of the first steps in recognizing instances of prejudice. 21
“It’s never going to stop if the other person does not know it is a problem,” Sweeney said. She also mentioned the individual responsibility that comes with speaking out; she believes prejudice is a “reducible” problem as long as people are willing to educate themselves and others. That being said, does this mean everyone should refrain from making a discriminatory joke when they feel the urge to tell one? Can you imagine what Saturday Night Live would be like if the cast never made a slightly insulting or incriminating punchline? Many of the comedians we watch today have found a way to take controversial subjects and breach a laugh from them, often putting themselves at risk for it. It seems to come down to an ageold criticism: if you can not take the heat of certain jokes, then you should refrain from surrounding yourself with those people; but if a tree falls when no one is around, does it still make a sound? Is it acceptable for people to be biased as long as it is in private? Obviously, going up to someone and making discriminatory remark is rude and unsavory; but in the name of joking and poking fun, should an exception be made? If everyone is ideally striving for a prejudice-free world, eradicating potentially harmful one-liners and censoring our statements and hate-speech seems to be the ultimate step.
fear of terrorism. But then again, if it is in the name of security and protecting American citizens, who is wrong and who is right? It seems safe to say that when it comes down to actually making the decision, no matter how it is resolved, the solution will never satisfy everyone. If we stop the immigration of one specific people, America becomes a nation of bigots. If we do not take any security measurements at all, we put our own security at
Right? Today’s World At the push of a button, anyone can tweet his or her latest and greatest 140-character punchline. In minutes, cars can blast blessed warm-air and de-ice windshields on a freezing morning. Humans no longer live in a world where good things come to those who wait. If a breaking-news event happens all the way across the United States, society is guaranteed minute-by-minute updates within 24 hours. Much of what citizens catch on the news or see on Twitter and Instagram tend to be the most popular ways of keeping up in a fast-paced world. In some ways that can have its own demons. If the media is fixated on an event, that will be the talk of the town for the next few days until something else coincidentally takes place. After interviewing a handful of students on their opinions of prejudice and its effects in today’s society, many of them brought up the Syrian refugee crisis. The controversy is over whether or not to stop Muslims from immigrating into the States to prevent potential acts of terrorism. With the presidential election coming up later this year, it is no surprise that this debate has risen to a boiling point: America is intent on knowing what their next President has in mind when it comes to the security of this nation and whether or not banning all Muslims is an option. Many people argue that America would be committing a huge human rights violation by refusing Muslims or Middle Eastern citizens at the border for
SUSAN DEMPSEY risk. If we decide to close our borders completely, we will seem paranoid and isolationist. So what do we do?
Prejudice: A Never-Ending Circle “An unknown is always scary,” said John “Trey” Campbell III, a middle grade education major at the College, in response to the question of how to solve, or at the least suppress, prejudice. “Education is key,” he said. Campbell emphasized the importance of teaching children about different cultures and ethnicities. How can students relate to people and cultures they have never even heard of ? When it comes to being nervous about specific groups of people, such as Muslims or individuals from the Middle East, Campbell made the point that being paranoid can lead to preparedness, but more often than not it just leads to a sheltered life of limited points of views and biased misunderstandings. Through education, speaking out and introspective analysis, many people will come to find that being open-minded and respectful toward other people’s lives and cultures is not hard. Being open-minded, contrary to popular belief, does not mean agreeing wholeheartedly with another’s opinion, or even at all. It does not entail becoming soft on your own values or belittling your own traditions—it is simply the understanding that you are STEVE COLE not the only living being on the face of this Earth; and as nice as that may seem sometimes, to live life with such a onetrack view of things begets emotional injury, bigotry and poor education. All of which only serve to hurt yourself and those around you. We cannot solve NYTIA DIX prejudice. It will always be here, lurking in the dark corners of our souls, because it is an innate characteristic of human beings. As Campbell eloquently stated, prejudice is a “suppressible” problem; but it is not something that will ever disappear because it is “engrained” in humans. Seemingly, many people today have found that to try and mend the damages humans have created, be it emotionally, environmentally
or physically, we need to hate our past, and thus, our actual being. But what kind of improvements would evolve from a relationship of despise and shame of humankind? Ideal Adjective Satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable. [attrib.] existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality. An unbiased, non-stereotypical and discriminationdissolved world definitely seems to be the answer to many woes, but it is also vastly unrealistic. Humans are selfish, territorial, competitive and capable of evil. That being said, humans are also altruistic, sharing, generous and capable of good. To try and convince people that change needs to happen by being ashamed of the fact that we have bad qualities is like slapping a child on the hand every time he does something wrong without ever praising him for doing something right . Perhaps the “ideal” world we need to strive for is a world where people finally understand that we are capable of just as many good acts as we are bad. If people went out and instead of pointing their fingers at what others need to be doing to make the world a better place instead of what they individually could be doing, there would be more progress than the social regress society finds itself facing more frequently these days. Every time you point your finger, you have three pointing right back at you. Each human being, regardless of race, religion or culture, is just as capable of change as the next. The question is whether they choose to make it a bad change or a good change - or to even try at all. That in itself is not an easy choice to make. There will be days that humans make a decision with good intentions, but that road leads straight to hell. There are days when humans will chase the coat-tails of a demon and on the way, find the right path. No matter which way we go, both lead in the same never-ending direction, which in itself is history. Readers may come away from this article asking why so many questions have been posed yet unanswered and deem it a flaw in journalistic execution. But perhaps the questions remain unanswered because it is not up to the writer to decide for the reader their opinion on what it takes to suppress prejudice. Perhaps, the writer simply just wanted to make the reader freeze for a moment in our fast-paced and sometimes ruthless world, to ponder what it would be like if more people did just that.
Charleston is a particularly creative, art-focused city
and for some students at the College, crafting is a way of life. CisternYard interviewed Danielle Mellem of local jewelry business Our Spare Change and independent Etsy shop owner Casey Witkowski to shed some light on the College’s most innovative and talented purveyors of craft.
by AMANDA PHAGAN photos by MICHAEL WISER and REAGAN HEMBREE
Danielle Mellem • jewelry maker for Our Spare Change Humble Beginnings Our Spare Change is a relatively new online storefront managed by Charlestonian sisters Danielle and Hillary Mellem. Danielle, a junior arts management major and the driving force behind Our Spare Change, had a humble start. She took an interest in crafting jewelry her senior year of high school at her aunt’s farm. “I’d go up there and kind of mess around with her tools and stuff. She had made some things out of flower pots, so that’s initially how I got [inspiration],” Danielle said. Meanwhile, her older sister Hillary was travel blogging. According to Danielle, Hillary is the strategic sister who manages Our Spare Change’s webstore, controls the business’s publicity and manages fiscal matters. “Hillary and I have always been very good at working together. She’s very business-minded, I’m very artistically driven, idea-oriented and spontaneous with my ideas; I’m always dreaming. Then Hillary’s like, how do we do it? How do we implement this?” Danielle said.
The importance of storytelling is something both Danielle and Hillary are passionate about. According to Danielle, all it took to get their business off the ground was a road trip together. Hillary blogged about their mountain getaway while Danielle noticed the excess coinage they accumulated. Following the road trip, they decided to combine talents and tell a unique, tangible story using the simplicity of words and discarded change. In addition to her heavy familial and story-based influences, Danielle calls her endeavor God-driven. “We want people to know the Lord. Through hearing people’s stories and telling our own stories, I think it’s a huge aspect,” she said.
How’s Business? All jewelry from Our Spare Change - including short and long chain necklaces, chain bracelets, leather bracelets and keychains - are made with purpose and love. All of
the work takes place in Danielle’s room on one of two small desks. “I wish I could say we definitely have an office. Hillary works from coffee shops because she only needs a laptop,” Danielle said. When buyers order jewelry through the website the sisters’ primary sales vehicle - they have the option customize their coins. They are also given the option to share a story, Danielle’s favorite part. “When I get the invoice, I get to read [customers’ stories] while I make their jewelry. I also get to personally write them back,” Danielle said. If you buy from these sisters, not only do you get a
special, hand-crafted piece of art, but a pen pal, too. When asked about the success of local craftsmen on campus and in the Charleston area in general, Danielle replied: “We started by marketing to the people we knew and went from there; it’s about connections. I think if you have a craft, it’s important that you choose the right way of going about it. The Farmers Market is great for that, too. I think [people are] ready to jump for new ideas around here, especially those with stories behind them. Anyone who has a hobby can make a business out of it.”a hobby can make a business out of it.”
Casey Witkowski • owner of Etsy shop, Crafty by Casey Calculatingly Creative Who says a math-minded person cannot also be a talented artist? Since Casey Witkowski opened her Etsy shop, Crafty By Casey, Casey has enjoyed decorating picture frames and using acrylic paint and whimsical appliques on canvas. Her multimedia pieces feature materials such as woodcuts, natural string and ribbon. Casey also occasionally makes greeting cards. “[Doing what I do] is a nice change of pace from my finance classes,” she said. “It’s fun to me, a destresser. I always feel a lot better when I take the time to be creative. I don’t always have the time, but when I do it really matters,” Casey started in a small, localized setting. This past spring, she had a tent at the Mayfest, her hometown of Bluffton, South Carolina’s largest celebration of arts and Southern culture. “I always did things like this for birthday gifts and really just because I liked doing it. I think it’s important to maintain a balance between both sides of your brain,” Casey said.
A Family Tradition A large part of Casey’s inspiration comes from her father, who reclaims and rejuvenates old pieces of furniture to sell on Etsy. His pieces - mostly bookcases and shelving units - are resurfaced and repainted in rustic styles and lively colors. Whether she fails or succeeds as a businesswoman, Witkowski is thankful to have inherited her father’s artistic gift. To sell items, Casey simply uploads photos of her piece, prices it and tags the type, style and material of the item. Etsy also provides shop owners with the opportunity to tell their story in their store descriptions. “They want it to be like a real shop. You try to make it personal and creative,” she said.
The Etsy Conundrum According to Casey, Etsy has recently changed its guidelines. “I’ve only sold a couple of things,” Casey said. “They recently changed the rules and so [crafts] no longer technically have to be handmade. That’s when [many c o m m e r c i a l businesses] got on there and so now unless you specifically search my item title, it’s really hard to find [my stuff].” Regardless, her shop continues to serve a meaningful purpose, both to Casey and her buyers. “I got really excited when I sold my first item,” she said. “It went all the way to California and [the buyer] said she was really happy to be putting the item in her house.” Her favorite item so far is a flower potthemed piece she made using a canvas, paper flowers and buttons. When asked about the business climate of local craftsmen, Casey acknowledged some of her successful favorites. “I do think the demand for handmade goods is growing [in Charleston],” she said. “I definitely like Candlefish a lot. They sell locally made candles and you can attend classes there where you are able to make your own.”
For students in search of stress relief or inexpensive ways to surprise friends and family with gifts, it won’t hurt to flex those creative muscles. And, who knows? You might have what it takes to start your own business.
center stage by VIRAJ NAIK
Charleston teems with theater aficionados, actors, playwrights and directors alike. From the Footlight Players and the Holy City Shakespeare group to College of Charleston’s own Department of Theatre and Dance, the same passion for drama is everywhere. This rings especially true for Center Stage, the only student run theater organization at the College dedicated to putting on productions and hosting theater events throughout the school year. Located on the second floor of the Simons Center, Theater 220, a 100-seat black box, acts as the organization’s headquarters and holds many of its events. Center is an SGA organization, and consists of a board of elected officials, including a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, each with specific duties such as heading an event each season. Rounding out the board is a
publicity chair, a social chair and a 220 commissioner. Center Stage is complementary to the College’s Department of Theatre and Dance. All majors are welcomed to Center Stage for all opportunities, regardless of experience. For those that are less experienced, they are paired with upperclassmen as mentors. Roles in Center Stage range from acting and directing to lighting, stagemanaging and playwriting. The highly collaborative group offers actors the opportunity to play roles they normally would not get to. Playwrights and directors also get the chance to create productions that they are passionate about. Senior theatre major Fadi Magdi, director of last semester’s “Waiting for Godot,” benefitted from this freedom firsthand. Interested in the universality of the play and the power of its multiple interpretations, Magdi originally pitched the show to the organization’s board.
“I did not want the play to have [just] one meaning,” said Magdi. Drawing on its vaudeville elements, Magdi also gave the play piano accompaniment, providing the play’s sole musical cues. In familiarizing himself with the play, he discovered a deeper connection with the material. “I had a lot of irrational blocks in my life,” Magdi said. ““Waiting for Godot” [seemed to] opened the door of the cell, and of discovery.” Center Stage produces two full length productions with SGA every semester. Auditions are normally held in the first two weeks of each semester, with general interest meetings held once a month on Mondays. One of the group’s primary staples is its 48 hour play festival. Held annually at the end of January, the festival stays true to its name. Playwrights are given exactly 24 hours to produce a script. Scripts are then chosen and assigned actors and directors. The following evening, the select series of plays, roughly ten minutes each, are performed in front of a live audience. Rough Draft, another event held during each theater season, also offers an open setting for anyone hoping to read plays, monologues, poems, screenplays or any other form of writing in front of an audience. Discussion and constructive criticism are always encouraged. There are also staged readings of unsolicited plays that sometimes do not get to see the main stage. These
season’s plays, “Good Boys and True” and “Gay Card,” focus on self-discovery and identity, with narratives centered on characters discovering their own individuality. “Good Boys and True,” written by Roberto AguirreSacassa, is about learning to take responsibility for your actions and facing the consequences of your mistakes. The play will be performed March 16-19. “The story we’re telling with “Good Boys and True” is one that could have and could still happen in real life. It’s one of privilege, hypocrisy and homophobia,” said the play’s director Niklas Abbing. “It’s an intense and gripping story set at a private all boys school in Washington, D.C. in the late ‘80s that deals with issues that are still prevalent in today’s society, which is why I chose to direct this show.” “Gay Card,” with music by Ryan Korell, lyrics by Johnathan Keebler and musical direction by Matthew Walker, is a musical that tells the story of a gay college freshman as he finds his way. The play will make its world premiere with Center Stage, running April 6-10. “I hope that ‘Gay Card’ becomes a story that’s bigger than the name,” said Director Clyde Moser, a senior Theater major at the College. “It is a story that focuses on identity, no matter who or what you are. As college students, we all try to figure it out as we go.” When looked at in the aggregate, one notices that each production deals with themes of soul searching and individuality. The narrative of “Good Boys and True” is one that uncovers true identities in a high school setting, with “Gay Card” telling the story of redefining yourself in college. Being involved with Center Stage, students can undergo their own type of self-discovery, where they can learn more about their art, their passions and themselves. “[Previous shows] focused more on shows and people,” Magdi said. “the newer shows [are] about the message.” Aside from its events, Center Stage is also heavily involved in philanthropy, raising anywhere from $200 to $400 per semester for a local charity. This year’s selected charity is Charleston Holistic Education & Art Recreation Therapy, or HEART, an organization dedicated to helping adults with special needs and intellectual disabilities through various activities and forms of engagement. Though there is plenty of fun to be had at Center Stage, this fun comes with responsibility. As a hands-on operation fully organized by students, the organization is a way for those interested and involved in theater to be rewarded for their creativity and hard work. At its core, Center Stage acts as a gateway for aspiring actors, writers, playwrights and directors to broaden their knowledge and enhance their understanding of theater all while gaining real world experience.
“It is a story that focuses on identity, no matter who or what you are. As college students, we all try to figure it out as we go.” - Clyde Moser
renditions of plays, performed in the black box theatre environment, are written by students at the College. This year’s readings, “Good Boy” by Harrison Tucker and “The Trouble with Normal” by Josiah Albright, will be held on March 25. Tucker is senior majoring in Arts Management and Albright is a sophomore majoring in Theater. The primary offering from Center Stage is its diversity of productions. From the dark, eerie nature of last year’s “The Crucible” to the unconventional humor of last semester’s “Waiting for Godot,” the themes and topics of Center Stage’s performances are both distinct and varied. Each season, the organization adheres to a specific theme or motif, epitomized by its productions. This
follow Dorian on Instagram at @dorianwarneck February 25
by BRADLEY HARRISON 28
ut as the days go by, in this gray world outside, days grow on colorful trees…in my secret place. In my secret place.” The lyrics, enveloped by the DIY drums and synths, swirl upon me as I write this. A warm crackle underlies it all; the popping draws my gaze toward the spinning record on my dresser. As I watch it go around and around, I slip into the usual deep thoughts and soul searching. I want to emphasize the word “usual,” because this type of soul searching is something that not only I am used to, but everyone in our generation. This is because we are the generation that has to invent its own jobs, rely less on our degrees and depend more on our creativity. The act of soul searching is
The Vinyl Countdown, 724 King Street Sound is fluid and forever changing. We will never hear the exact same combinations of noises twice. Perhaps this ephemeral nature of sound is the subconscious phenomenon that attracts us to vinyl music. Vinyl is a form that embraces every imperfect crackle and pop, allowing us to recognize the uniqueness of each moment. But whether it is because of the emphasized transitory qualities, the physical sensation of holding a record or the stimulating artwork, there is no denying the resurging interest in vinyl music. It is this interest that has made possible the presence of our very own downtown Charleston record store, The Vinyl Countdown. While you may walk into The Vinyl Countdown solely to peruse or purchase records, you will return for the experience. “I love it when someone comes in, picks up a record that I adore and asks me about it,” owner Aaron Levy said. “For instance, if someone ever approaches me with a Joni Mitchell album, I can give all the backstory about it, explain what was going on in her life when she wrote it and how that affected her
one of the most important ingredients (along with dedication and work) in our unique recipe for selffulfillment. What I am here to tell you is that, when you find yourself dreaming of what is to come, you are not alone. Our community at the College is full of dreamers brimming with creativity. And even better than that, there are some distinct places in Charleston that are perfectly conducive to our soul searching. As the song I am listening to ends, The Magnetic Fields croon “In my secret place…” over and over. Though these places are no secret of mine, they are full of “days growing on colorful trees” -just waiting for you to discover.
music.” These are the kinds of interactions the employees of the store love, and while each of their tastes are displayed on the “Employee’s Pick” wall, Levy is cultivating an ambiance conducive to conversation among all who enter. “One of my favorite moments of having the store was the grand opening. There were tons of people in here, and they were all discussing music, putting records on our state-of-the-art listening station and growing in their tastes,” he recalled. Levy’s primary goal is to create a place that gives back to the community in unique ways, whether by providing a gathering place for music lovers to converse and grow, or even by donating to a different local charity each month. Toward the end of our conversation, Levy looked at me and said, “You know, one of my favorite songwriters, Ryan Adams, once said in an interview, ‘I have no interest in making a killing, I just want to make a living. The rest I can give back.’” This is the philosophy on which he has built The Vinyl Countdown.
photos by Katie Carter
by NICOLE DEMARCO photos by WESLEY VANCE
photos by Katie Carter
Terrace Theater, 1956 D Maybank Highway
Perhaps cinema’s greatest aspect is its capacity to provide diegetic absorption; no other medium of art is as great at creating worlds in which we are able to lose ourselves so completely while experiencing a story. This is incredibly important, because when we are captivated by a story, we are able to feel its atmosphere, characters and emotions. To feel these things is to understand the completeness of another’s experiences, and shared experiences are the foundation of the humanity in our souls. The world of cinema abounds with films that capture the things that make life rich, but the average movie goer is only able to scratch the surface of what is out there. Paul Brown, owner of the Terrace Theater, is here to change that reality. Once an independent filmmaker himself, he said, “This is a place where movies like I made can be seen. The idea of the Terrace is to be a theater that provides movies that are creative and important, and make them directly available to an audience.” Brown went on to praise the community for making this possible. “Charleston is an ideal town in supporting independence. If you walk down Main St. of most cities in America, you see box store after box store. But when you walk down King St., you see that Charleston rejects this idea and supports independent businesses.” He continued to say that the Terrace Theater is the anti-upsell of big business: “Just like any jewelry store, flower shop or local restaurant, we get to pick and choose what we provide to people.” This fine tuned curation, combined with the wonderful stories told on screen, are what give the Terrace such a unique, incredible culture. It is this careful combination which affords anyone who enters the ability to experience joy, pain, peace, regret, excitement and hope all in a few hours. There are very few places in this world that can offer something as satisfying to the soul as that, and we are lucky enough to have one in the Terrace Theater.
Upper Deck Tavern, 353 King Street
The reason you venture into The Vinyl Countdown or the Terrace Theater is because, on some basic level, you desire the connection that art offers. This connection reminds you of your human nature. But while experiencing art is fulfilling, the purest form of human connection comes from face-to-face interaction. To have an actual conversation with someone is what spurs the most profound growth of the soul. And for that, there is the Upper Deck Tavern. Ken Newman, the owner of the Upper Deck Tavern, told me about a coffee shop he would visit in high school in the 1960s called the No Exit Café. “It was this hole in the wall in the middle of a nice Jewish community in Chicago. It had black floors, black walls, a black ceiling…black everything. People would go in there to smoke and drink coffee. The first time I wandered in, no one asked me, ‘What are you doing here?’ because everyone in there was wandering. Back in the ‘60s we called that having an existential crisis, it’s the same thing as what you’re calling soul searching now. No one in the No Exit Café ever challenged me, but what they did was let me challenge myself.” He said this is the type of atmosphere he has allowed to cultivate in his bar. “The people who come in here are all working on something. Whether it’s music, a film, a novel or even construction, they all have these creative ideas in their heads and they come here to sort them out.” “It’s not your normal bar scene,” he said. “We don’t really have the dating game or the alpha dog fights happening. Instead, it’s the type of place where you can come in and ask somebody, ‘What are you working on?’” He said that genuinely asking someone a question like this helps you to truly connect with him or her, and that, “You become a better person when you are connected.” Newman gives a lot of credit to his staff for creating a place that truly promotes human interaction. “You call them bartenders, I call them producers. That’s because they own and produce their own nights. They create relationships with the people that come in and construct the
setting to fit the scene,” Newman said. “We don’t have any ownership of how it’s supposed to feel in here, we just feel you.” This is the attitude that actualizes such a malleable venue, all in order to make you feel as comfortable as possible in putting yourself out there to connect. Human connection is the truly authentic experience in life, and for this to happen, the Upper Deck Tavern provides an equally authentic place. Soul searching is a grand and necessary task that feeds our creativity and guides us to purpose. We wander in our quest for fulfillment, hoping to find places where it is possible to reflect and grow in humanity and connection. We find humanity and connection in everything from art to conversation. And, sometimes, we get lucky and stumble upon places so rich in authenticity that we must stop and let it sink in. What I am suggesting is that the three places I have mentioned - The Vinyl Countdown, the Terrace Theater and the Upper Deck Tavern - all offer precisely this feeling. The feeling of discovering, at least in part, your soul. So whether you hope to discover your soul within the lyrics buried deep inside of a melody, in the humanity of a poignant story told visually or simply in the conversation that connects all of these things, maybe one of these places will help you along the way. February 25
Heath is a Hit:
Old face, new philosophy for College of Charleston
by NICK RODRIGUEZ photo by KALEB DILL
On June 22, 2015,
Matt Heath was promoted to be the head coach of the College of Charleston baseball team when news broke that former head coach, Monte Lee, was leaving to coach the Clemson Tigers. Since the 2011 season, while Heath served as the pitching coach to Lee’s Cougars, the team won an impressive 197 games (197-103) including trips to the Lubbock Super Regional in 2014 and the Tallahassee Regional in 2015. Heath’s familiarity with the College of Charleston along with his experience and leadership makes him the best choice. This will not be Heath’s first time as a coach at the College of Charleston. He worked as the hitting coach from 2006-2008 and, more recently, as the pitching coach since 2011. Heath is one of the few coaches in college baseball
who has had immense success both as a hitting coach and a pitching coach. “I have had good players that have bought into a system and the systems I have learned are the systems for the guys that I played for,” Heath said. Heath believes in himself and his players wholeheartedly. The transition from pitching coach to head coach will be smooth not only because of the systems that he has in place that have proven to work time and time again, but because of the rapport he has with the team. Heath is the right hire for the College of Charleston not only because he has the credentials to show that he can coach, but also because of the relationships he has formed while at the College of Charleston. Both senior
outfielder Alex Pastorius and star pitcher Bailey Ober echoed sentiments that they were excited about Heath’s promotion. “After watching what he has done with our pitching staff for the past four years and how successful they have been, I realized how great of a coach he is and how great a person he is in building both a team and character,” Pastorius said. “And to me, he was the best person for the job. I was happy that he got it.” The excitement from the players shows that Heath is someone for whom the team is able to get behind and play. Ober echoed these comments. “I was excited, I really wanted him to stay. I actually got in contact with our athletic director, Joe Hull, telling him I believe he is the right fit for us since he has been around this program and knows what it takes to take us where we need to go and I felt like he has done a good job so far.” It allows him to come back with a coach who has helped him develop into a great pitcher. Heath’s roots in college baseball go back to his days playing under great college coaches Andy Lopez and Skip Bertman. He first attended the University of Florida in 1999 to play under Lopez. In his 33 seasons as a head coach, Lopez won two national championships and compiled an impressive record of 1,177742-7. Heath left Florida after two seasons to play at Louisiana State University where Bertman was the head coach. Bertman, known by many to be a great coach had mountains of success during his tenure at LSU. In addition to winning five national championships, Bertman also took the Tigers to 16 NCAA tournament appearances in his 18 year stint at LSU. He was also inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame on July 4, 2006. Both coaches had major success and played a role in developing Heath as a future head coach in college baseball. Heath flourished as a player at LSU; he was selected as a two-time ALL-SEC Tournament Selection in addition to being selected to the All-Tournament Team at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. Health played at LSU from 20012002, when, in both years, the team reached the NCAA Super Regionals. The accomplishments that Heath had at LSU allows him to understand what the Cougars need to do in order to have that type of success. Being a great college player and also a successful assistant coach for many years warranted praise from many of his former coaches and current players when Heath was named the head coach at the College of Charleston. Ober, along with former coach of Heath, Bertman, are among the many that made positive comments about Heath’s article.
“Matt was always a great player for us at LSU,” Bertman said in an interview with CofC Sports. “I’m not surprised that he’s a head coach now, having put in the time and hard work as an assistant during his coaching career. I believe he will do a really good job of following Monte (Lee) and continuing to lead the College of Charleston to more success.” When asked about how he felt about the praise he was getting from his players and former coaches, Heath said, “Those guys are unbelievable guys and any compliment that you get from them whether it’s Andy Lopez who has won national championships or Skip Bertman it’s a great honor.” Heath believes that he can take things away from both Lopez and Bertman. “The one thing I would say is both of them were very different and unique in their ways but the things they brought [is that] Andy Lopez is a stickler for doing things fundamentally sound and Skip Bertman was more into the emotion and high energy that the game brought. Both taught in different ways but were both extremely successful. Hopefully somebody says I have taken something from both of them. If anyone ever says I’m like Andy Lopez or Skip Bertman I am pretty dang good.” Even as a first time head coach, Heath has high expectations - MATT HEATH going into the season. “My expectations are that I want these guys to just come out and compete,” Heath said. “I want them to give great effort and I want them to stay focused if they do those things I will be happy with them. I don’t think you walk out and say I want to be 56-0 at the end of the regular season. My goal is that these guys are getting better and growing as men and I think they are and I have been extremely impressed with the effort and the tenacity that they are showing.” Heath has the mindset to be a great head coach as he is focused on the development of his players and the success that the team can have. He is eager to establish winning ways in the new era for Cougars baseball. “I told our guys we are preparing for opening weekend and we are preparing to sweep. We don’t know [what will happen] but that is what we are preparing for. We are going out like we are going to sweep that series and I think our team is very capable of doing that.” The College of Charleston has found their coach of the future and Heath looks to come out swinging in his first season.
I have had good players that have bought into a system and the systems I have learned are the systems for the guys that I played for.
BalancingAct Our culture is o the yin & yang of mind & body
by CARSON SCHAFER
Our culture is obsessed with fitness and self-improvement. We all want our bodies fit, lean, toned and full of energy. How can we do the same for our minds? Is there a miracle workout or diet that cures stress, depression by REAGAN and anxiety? Not completely, but a growing body of research shows that the way we treat our bodies is intimately linked with our mental well-being. Mind and body are two vital parts of the same whole that mesh together in the most unique and special way. They make you who you are.
Well, Well, Well “Wellness,” or the idea of mind and body health as one, appeared in Western popular culture just after World War II. Since the ‘60s, scholars and health professionals have defined wellness as multi-dimensional health covering our personal, social and physical lives, where balance and personal responsibility are key. “You have physical health, but there’s also mental health, social health, environmental health, spiritual health. So there are a lot of different things that pour into what wellness is,” said Bucky Buchanan, Assistant Director of Fitness at the George St. Gym.
But everyone is doing it! Fitness culture and motivational workout quotes may dominate the Internet, but college students notoriously love junk food and hate exercise. “I think of students who are not eating well, who are staying up overnight to study and write papers and using a lot of caffeine, and maybe going out afterwards and drinking a little bit more than they should,” said Rachael McNamara, advisor to the Cougar Counseling team. These are some of the biggest mistakes we have all been guilty, in spite of the consequences. Misconceptions about what is and is not healthy are equally dangerous. Ashley Galloway, Dietician and Food Service Manager at Liberty Fresh Foods, mourns the many souls led astray by the decadent toppings available at the salad and greek yogurt bars. “Bacon bits with the cheese and all the ranch dressing, still a salad, right?” Wrong. Greek yogurt topped with a ton of honey and chocolate chips is not good for you by virtue of being Greek yogurt. “You may as well have a brownie,” she said. Prioritizing weight loss over wellness by cutting out calories and carbohydrates is yet another grievous sin. By
cutting out your body’s preferred source of energy, “you essentially starve yourself,” said Galloway. “Your body is always wondering when it is going to get its next meal … it’s going to hold on to everything and store it as fat for fear of you not feeding it again in the future.” Students, especially freshmen, are new to the responsibility of feeding themselves. Some of us eat a jar of Nutella before bed, others live on salad and water, neither option is healthy.
Stressed spelled backwards is “desserts” College students are, by nature, stressed out. We feel like adults, but we are still learning how to take care of ourselves while managing commitments, responsibilities and relationships. Feeling overwhelmed is totally normal and sometimes all we need is a sympathetic ear. The Cougar Counselors are a team of peer counselors highly trained to deal with a wide range of issues. Sometimes it’s an annoying roommate who ate your yogurt. It can be homesickness, relationships or, more seriously, suicide ideation, according to Virginia McCaughey, Co-Executive Director of Cougar Counseling services. “Sometimes they say ‘I don’t know if my problem is legitimate enough to talk about,’” McCaughey said. “If you see it as a problem, it is a problem. All of your feelings are valid.” When stressed, our body thinks it has to fight for survival, so it draws on energy normally used for important functions like digestion and immune support. Constant stress leads to a weakened immune system, according to McLernon-Sykes, increasing chances of getting sick. For those with diagnosed mental illness, the mindbody connection is even more acute. Caitlin Hastie is a volunteer with Cougar Counseling services; her depression
and anxiety manifest themselves through extreme fatigue and and physical sickness. “I tend to oversleep a lot,” she said, “I can’t eat, sometimes I throw up.” So our mental health can affect physical well-being, but does it work the other way around? Absolutely. Lack of sleep or exercise, overuse of caffeine, alcohol and processed sugars all feed into a vicious cycle of stress and poor physical health. A good workout staves off stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins, but food plays a role too. To supplement exercise, Galloway advised eating foods containing a few specific nutrients, minerals and vitamins that fight stress by lowering levels of specific hormones. Vitamin C and Zinc, found in whole grains, nuts and seeds, and Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, tuna and walnuts, have shown to reduce rates of suicide and depression.
the work that Galloway and Buchanan do at the College. Buchanan said he uses a highly individualized approach to the fitness plans he creates for students. He laments that students come in with plans that are too advanced or unbalanced for their needs. Galloway creates personal diet plans based on wellness needs and foods available on a meal plan. Everyone has different boxes that need ticking to achieve full mind-body wellness. On her journey to personal wellness, Hastie discovered that avoiding coffee, energy drinks and even exercise kept her anxiety down. “It’s different for everyone,” she said. “So you’ve got to be on the right medicine, if you need medicine. Get the right counselor, if you need a counselor. It’s a matter of balance, either way.” What is the point of having a tight core and a thigh gap if you look better than you feel? Sacrificing one aspect of
Photo by Reagan Hembree
All about that balance Your mind and body are yin and yang, meaning what you put into one will affect the other. Personal wellness is a highly individualized pursuit, all about tuning into that balance. Our unique relationships, beliefs, preferences, genetics and personality all fall under the umbrella of wellness. “It’s hard to put everybody in a single box,” McCaughey said. For instance, caffeine, alcohol and marijuana can all affect stress levels differently, depending on individual past experiences and genetic profile. Individualization of personal wellness is crucial in
health for another will deal damage to both. We think we are going to live forever, and hedonistically fill our bodies with garbage. We might accept the physical consequences because we are aware of them, but is your wellness and sanity really worth that caffeine-fueled all-nighter? As more research emerges linking mind and body health, society may change the ways we approach our own health. In the future, physical and mental illness may be treated in the same facilities, and having self-esteem may be as important as having a thigh gap.
LEFT BEHIND South Carolina’s Corridor of Shame by JESSICA WILKINSON A few days ago, I was waiting for my Political Science 101 class to start when a fellow student entered the room wearing a shirt that read: “School sucks.” Our professor was appalled — and so was I. I am disappointed with the educational system of this country. Students don’t want to learn. Students don’t want to come to college. They don’t want to be students. College is seen as the final stop on the road that has been pre-paved by parents and teachers who “force” us to take the SATs and spend hours on essays and applications. College of Charleston students sit surrounded by their peers, intellectually stimulating lectures and engaging discussions, while simultaneously texting, posting Facebook statuses and checking Instagram. Scholarship is dead. And education is dying with it. Students who show no respect for learning are not only disrespecting their peers and professors, but also the hundreds - if not thousands - of South Carolina minority students who do not have the opportunity to attend college. Charleston County has one of the worst achievement gaps in South Carolina. In one school district, Charleston contains South Carolina’s lowest performing and highest performing schools based on SAT scores from last year. Not coincidentally, Lincoln High School, the lowest performing school, is 90 percent African American, while Wando High School, the highest performer, is 82 percent white. I’ve heard thousands of reasons why predominately white schools perform better than minority schools. Judgemental stereotypes say black students aren’t as driven. Black students don’t learn as well. Black students are too poor to care. Black students have no chance. Skin color does not determine academic worth, but it does apparently have an effect on the Department of Education’s ideas about where we need to focus our attention. Charleston is just a case study on the achievement gaps that plague this state. We should be
investing more money in the at-risk Charleston schools. We should be focusing on pre-K education to solidify the necessities of a non-prejudice education early on. And the state should be focusing on districts that are plagued by achievement gaps and finding solutions rather than exacerbating the problem by ignoring them all together. These improvements will give local students the tools they need to be accepted to college — something we all take for granted. Cue the infamous “Corridor of Shame.” If you aren’t an education major, you probably don’t know what I mean. Along I-95, from Beaufort to Marlboro County, stretches a concentration of the poorest schools in the state. They are falling apart as you read this — both structurally and academically. Not coincidentally, all of these schools are primarily minority. Molly Spearman, S.C. state superintendent of education, visited the College of Charleston in September to speak to students and faculty about the issues we face in education. Spearman addressed the ongoing issues of the Abbeville v. South Carolina supreme court case in which the majority of South Carolina public schools sued the state for lack of funding and resource allocation to rural schools, many of which are located in the Corridor of Shame. Of all possible solutions, Spearman suggested consolidation, which essentially combines small, low performing school districts with bigger districts. “Consolidation. Some don’t want to talk about this, but there are some very small districts that are too small and very inefficient, and we have got to come up with some incentives,” she said. She also remarked that these districts are still racially segregated and economically unequal, proof that prejudice in education still exists after years of struggle. Consolidation is the right solution. Combining the low performers with the high performers will effectively desegregate South Carolina once and for all. The low
opportunities.” Clinton believes that these opportunities need to start as early as pre-school. She made compelling arguments as to why we need to invest in Head Start programs to increase early-childhood education potential. Investing in the early years will spark an individual student’s motivation and drive for the next twelve years of his or her educational journey, regardless of racial and financial barriers, and will significantly lower the number of at-risk youth. The tracking program would be irrelevant, as all children would be ready for the most invigorating classes and honors programs to prepare them for college. Clinton remarked that the I-95 stretch should be a “corridor of opportunity,” yet the fact remains that the state itself is a corridor of misopportunity. South Carolina’s education system is ranked 45 out of the 50 states in this nation. That is an appalling number. Charleston County itself is an example of the achievement gaps seen outside of the I-95 corridor, and it proves that this state needs a serious educational overhaul. Dr. Jon Hale, professor of teacher education at the
Skin color does not determine academic worth, but it does apparently have an effect on the Department of Education’s ideas about where we need to focus our attention.
Consolidation would also allow for individual students to have better access to innovative programs including Advanced Placement classes, STEM programs and extracurricular activities. Spearman’s speech focused on the summer and after-school programs for at-risk children that have significantly improved individual student advancement in recent case studies. If we consolidate these schools, we need to make sure that the at-risk students who come from the rural districts are given special attention and proper care. Schools should do everything in their power to ensure that all students are offered the same programs and this begins with ending what is known as “tracking.” Tracking is a hot-topic in education right now. Tracking students means that the level of classes they take as early as middle school will determine the rest of their educational journey. Enrolling in honors classes in sixth grade will put a student on the track toward Advanced Placement classes in high school. This sounds great, but the problem is that the students who aren’t ready for those classes early on are never able to move up the rankings. It is historically minority students who come from difficult financial situations at home that simply do not have community support to assuage the difficulty of advanced classes early on. Hillary Clinton, who visited South Carolina in June, commented on the serious problems associated with the achievement gaps, the Corridor of Shame and the mess our government has created here. “We cannot wave a magic wand and make everybody have the same opportunities,” Clinton said, “but we can do a better job by offering those
College, recognizes the racial stigmas that plague S.C. schools. “The biggest issues facing education,” he said, “are the lack of political will among the public to substantively reform education to meet the needs of all students and the public good, and the fact that quality education is not a right protected under the United States Constitution.” I see these injustices happening everyday, and it is time to make a change to revitalize our natural right to equality. The public essentially needs to support the investment it will take to improve barriers in education, otherwise we risk staying in this backward and discriminatory system of schooling. Consolidating rural and urban schools, combined with pioneering Head Start programs to diminish the need for tracking, will require government funding. Recently, an infamous egomaniac named Donald Trump had some interesting words to say about this nation’s education. “No, I’m not cutting services,” he said, “but I’m cutting spending. But I may cut Department of Education.” What neglect this would be on behalf of public school students. The Department of Education should be receiving more funding in order to solve issues like South Carolina’s Corridor of Shame. I don’t care what anxious conservatives say about cutting the budget — education is the most important investment this country and this state could make. And we need to do it as soon as possible.
performing, predominantly black schools will combine with the high performing, predominantly white schools. The inadequate school buildings will be left behind — abandoned in time, representing the necessary and imperative need to abandon our deep-rooted racial prejudice in both the individual mind and in government funding. As Charlestonians, College of Charleston students need to be aware of the educational injustices happening around them. There are reasons why we still have black versus white school statistics, and they all stem from racist roots. People often joke about the fact that black families always live in specific areas, but the reason for this is because black people have a hard time securing jobs and are forced to reside in places with easier access to blue-collar jobs that do not require much experience. Naturally, these areas are where the predominately black schools are, and where school funding is at the bottom of the priority list. It is a never-ending cycle. Consolidating districts could be a form of modern desegregation, and would be revolutionary in the educational world.
John Tecklenberg: Mayor to Many, Father to All by CARSON SCHAFER
Change is scary; change is hard. Especially after 40 years of stability and love in the hands of our beloved mayor, Joe Riley. Luckily, one twinkle of John Tecklenburg’s baby blue eyes and his cherubic smile are enough to assuage our fear of the unknown. Tecklenburg’s easy manner, benevolent air and general delight at simply being alive make him the lovable dorky dad we all wish we had.
Mayor Tecklenburg starts every morning arranging the pieces of his miniature model of Charleston. “One day, all this will be a reality,” he said as he gleefully wound up the working trolley. He lovingly ran his finger over the little bike lanes lined with bike-sharing stations, propping up a parking meter the size of a pinkie finger that fell over while he hummed, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
After adding some trees to a new park in the tiny downtown, the mayor must attend to his regular duties - meetings, ribbon cuttings, press conferences, the like. He won the devotion of council members early on when he invited them all out for a game of catch. “Just to show that I’m really there for them,” he said. “My father was a cold man. We weren’t close, but I never thought I was missing out,” said Councilman Chester Lear, still tearyeyed after a council meeting. “Then Mayor Tecklenburg ruffled my hair and called me ‘champ’ after I made a proposal. I lost it.” In his first council as mayor, Tecklenburg organized a series of name games and sharing activities for council members. He opened with, “So what do you guys think the best ice breaker is?” He paused, then pulled out an ice pick, giggling. In city meetings open to the public, Mayor Tecklenburg takes the time to tell every one of his people that he or she is special, unique and good - and he usually takes them all out for ice cream afterward. Attendance has since skyrocketed. “I’ve never felt so loved and supported,” said Gina Manigaulliard. “After shaking his hand I felt like leaving the thug life and going back to school. Try to get my life together, you know? I don’t want to disappoint him.” Tecklenburg has a unique way of addressing the concerns his people bring before him. “Mr. Mayor, we’re concerned about drainage and flooding in some of our neighborhoods,” one constituent said in an early February meeting. “Well hi, Concerned-about-drainage! I am Mayor Tecklenburg,” he laughed. The audience groaned. “Sure, his jokes are terrible, but he is just so darn adorable,” said Lear. During a discussion on where to put residents of downtown “Tent City,”’ the mayor spoke passionately on the rights of the homeless. “We are all neighbors here, we must take care of each other.” The city has been struggling to find shelter for “Tent City” residents around Dancing Riverdog Creek. With shelters and other accommodations filling up quickly, administration does not want to see anyone left out in the cold. “You know, we could always just put one family on every corner,” said Tecklenburg, looking around the room expectantly, “because they’re all 90 degrees.” He had reportedly been sitting on that one for a while. Mayor Tecklenburg’s infectious glee and sense of wonder have helped him heal wounds, build bridges and bring Charlestonians together. He orchestrated an armistice in the resident-tourist turf war over King Street, installing a tourist lane for slow walkers after disgruntled students started running tourists down with their new hoverboards.
“Sure, his jokes are terrible, but he is just so darn adorable.”
- Councilman Chester Spear Charleston’s carriage companies finally made peace with the animal rights activist over “Do the Neigh-Neigh,” an event allowing activists to set the horses free in the wild on the condition that they rounded them up and brought them back at the end of the week. Tecklenburg himself cut the ribbon on the barn door, but not before turning toward the horses to say, “Hey guys, why the long faces?” He even invited the entire city over for a barbeque in his backyard. Everyone stood around the grill ooh-ing and ahhing over the mayor’s famous short ribs. “The trick with these puppies here is to start by only lighting a few coals at a time, get a nice slow burn going.” Everyone nodded in agreement. By the end of the barbecue, frat boys and old neighbors, meter maids and disgruntled drivers, police officers and activists in “Don’t Shoot” t-shirts were all hugging and laughing, saying, “We should really do this again sometime.” Tecklenburg is fully expected to fulfill Charleston’s unique 40 year term requirement, and he’s already off to a great start. He gestured at his tiny cityscape, peppered with literate children and blossoming industries. “Someday all of this will be yours,” he said to the council members.
All works by the Swamp Fox are written purely as nonfiction, with only the most noble intentions in mind. 39
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