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Optimist the


a product of the JMC

Pg. 4A-5A Check out this year’s acts and our Editor’s predictions

Friday, February 20, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 38 :: 2 sections, 20 pages ::

Inside This Issue:

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The Show behind the Show: Students prepare for Sing Song

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Former ACU Olympian makes a living as a bail bondsman in Abilene

A Night with the Stars: The 81st Academy Awards Preview

Spring enrollment down, but follows retention trend By Laura Acuff Opinion Page Editor

Shortly after ACU’s unveiling of the Mobile Learning Initiative in the fall of 2007, Executive Vice President Phil Schubert found himself in the Bean Sprout, visiting with a group of pro-

spective students for a fall preview day. Upon meeting one family, the mother frankly said, “Pleased to meet you; we’re here because of the iPhone.” Immediately, Schubert protested, saying, “Oh no, don’t say that.” But the woman continued.

Photo Illustration by Zak Zeinert and Heather Leiphert :: photo staff

think outside the box. When I heard about what you guys were doing, I knew that ACU was going to be the right place for my son.” Relieved, Schubert said he appreciated the mother’s understanding of the culture the Mobile Learning Initiative seeks to support.

“No, I mean that in a good way,” she said. “It’s not because you’re giving my son an iPhone. It’s because we want our son to be educated in a place that is pushing the boundaries of innovation and is going to expose him to the kind of environment where he’s going to learn how to

Whether the addition of iPhones and iPod touches to ACU’s campus has supplemented the fall’s increased enrollment numbers and subsequently high spring enrollment numbers, Schubert said he does not know. Regardless, he said he hopes it adds to the environment that attracted the

largest increase in entering students in ten years. “If it’s because kids got a phone, then obviously that doesn’t begin to touch on the substance of what we are trying to create here in our effort to lead the world in a mobile See

Enrollment page 7A

Better ‘Believe’ Sing Song ’09 Has Arrived By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

Skunks? Mice? Judges? Oh my. Sing Song must be upon ACU. After months of preparation and practice for the myriad of performances that make up the 53rd annual Sing Song 2009, Believe, the students who are part of this year’s show will put on one performance Friday and two more Saturday. Tom Craig, director of Student productions, said, “Right now I’m excited because all of the wheels are in motion, and the talent this year so far has been great.” More than 1,500 students will participate in this year’s show as either a host or hostess, co-chair, member of a social club act or class act, as part of the production or video staff or as a member of a student dance team, Craig said. The first show begins at 8 p.m. Friday, and a matinee show will be at 2 p.m. Saturday with a finale at 8 p.m. Craig said he checked the ticket sales on Wednesday evening and no show had sold out yet, but the sales were ahead of the 2008 show. Ezra Witt, senior youth and family ministry major from Tulsa, Okla., said Sing Song is unlike any other event he has performed in and is excited about donning an orange jump suit as part of the Frater Sodalis men’s social club act. “I love Sing Song,” Witt said. “It’s just a time to hang out and just have fun with a show.” See

Sing Song page 7A

30 judges to choose winners By Katie Gager Student Reporter

Pictured: Cody Duncum, senior information technology major from Decatur, and Abigail Sutphen, sophomore biology major from Houston

A group of 30 alumni, music professionals, faculty and staff will choose the winners of this year’s Sing Song. The names of the judges will not be released until the time of the show. The judges will be broken up into 10 judges per show, three to judge

vocals and seven to judge originally, entertainment and appearance. The names of the judges are not released to protect the judges from being swayed in their vote, said Tom Craig, director of Student Productions. When the scores are received, the highest and lowest scores from each judge are also dropped to ensure fairness. See

Judges page 7A

Pictured: Adrian Dennington, junior biology major from Austin, and Aubrey Bonneau, senior graphic design major from Dallas

Hosts, Hostesses ready to entertain audiences

Businesses expect Sing Song surge

By Tanner Anderson

Three hotels near ACU already are completely reserved for Sing Song weekend, and some of the finer restaurants in Abilene also are nearly booked to capacity. Other area businesses are preparing for the flood

Page Designer

Some people learn to run before they can walk; they decide to dive in headfirst right into a challenge no matter how shallow the water may be.

Others pursue a dream with conviction, passion and fervor until their goal is met. Two of this year’s six Sing Song hosts and hostesses used these two methods with great success. See

Hosts page 7A




High: 73 Low: 44

High: 55 Low: 30

High: 64 Low: 40

By Molly Byrd Assistant Copy Editor

Sing Song

of families who will be looking for entertaining things to do and places to dine. “The Whitten Inn has been booked full for several weeks,” said Carri Hernandez, front desk manager at Whitten Inn. “The hotel is getting ready for the Sing See

The Whitten Inn has been booked full for several weeks. The hotel is getting ready for the Sing Song rush. :: Carri Hernandez, front desk manager at Whitten Inn

Surge page 7A

videos, Podcasts slide shows


Department of Journalism and Mass Communication ::

Online Poll :

a. The class acts. b. The social club acts. c. The performances between acts. d. The day after the show ends. Abilene Christian University

What do you look forward to at Sing Song? ::

Serving the ACU community since 1912


Campus Day Friday, February 20, 2009

Calendar and Events



7:30-10 p.m. The Department of Theatre will present Little Women in Fulks Theatre. To purchase tickets, call 6742787 or go to

2-4 p.m. Sing Song: Believe will take place in Moody Coliseum.


8-10 p.m. Sing Song: Believe will take place in Moody Coliseum.


7:30-10 p.m. The Department of Theatre will present Little Women in Fulks Theatre. To purchase tickets, call 6742787 or go to 8-10 p.m. Sing Song: Believe will take place in Moody Coliseum.



2-5 p.m. The Abilene Reporter-News’ Bridal Extravaganza will take place at the Civic Center. Tickets cost $2. For more information, call Emily Harmon at 671-6756.



11-11:30 a.m. A Dry Bones internship meeting will take place in the Mabee Library auditorium. Attendees will receive a Chapel credit for attending the meeting.

8 p.m. Comedian George Lopez will perform at the Civic Center. Tickets cost $48-$59.50. For more information, call 676-6211.

Online News Cast Watch videos to see the choreography of Sing Song and Ed George, a Sing Song composer since 1958.

Noah Project, a center for victims of family violence, needs volunteers to answer its hotline from 6-10 p.m. Training will be provided, and after completing training, volunteers can sign up for time slots. Volunteers can sign up as often as needed. Meals on Wheels is looking for volunteers to deliver meals to some of the homebound members of the community. The commitment is once a week. Volunteers will pick

up the meals from the Meals on Wheels building and deliver them to people around Abilene. It takes one hour each week. Call Mitzi McAndrew at 672-5050 to volunteer. Remember that this project is approved as a Faith in Action Chapel exemption project. HERO, Hendrick Equine Rehabilitation Opportunities, needs volunteers for its next program from March 17 through April 30. Volunteers will assist the rider with tasks and are needed Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:30–5 p.m. All volunteers must attend a training session the week before the program begins. Abilene Hope Haven needs volunteers to provide childcare while parents are in a class. Volunteers are needed Monday

through Thursday from 6:45-8:15 p.m. For more information, contact Christine Spillers at 437-0611. The Grace Museum is always in need of volunteers. Volunteers play a vital role in the daily operation of the museum. The minute visitors walk through the door, the experience in the museum relies on capable and trained volunteers. For more information

Webcast Log on to acuvideo this weekend to see videos from Sing Song.

To ensure that an item will appear on time, the announcement should be sent at least 10 days before. The Optimist may edit items for space and style. Corrections and clarifications of published news articles will be printed in this space in a timely manner.

ACU Police Tip of the Week The campus will be congested Thursday through Saturday because of Sing Song, President’s Circle Dinner and Board of Trustees meetings. Expect traffic, allow more time to get around campus and expect to walk farther.

Credited Chapels to date:


Credited Chapels remaining:


Announcements about volunteer opportunities at The Grace Museum, call 673-4587. Find more volunteer opportunities by visiting the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center’s Web site at and clicking on Volunteer Opportunities. For more information or to sign up to help, contact the Volunteer and ServiceLearning Center in the Bean Sprout.

Corrections/Clarifications n It was printed in the Feb. 18 issue of the Optimist that students could purchase a gift card from The Brew. net with only a student ID. Students can purchase a gift card with either cash or their debit and credit cards. Once the actual transaction goes

The Optimist maintains this calendar for the ACU community to keep track of local social, academic and service opportunities. Groups may send announcements directly to or to the Page 2 Editor at

Chapel Checkup

Volunteer Opportunities Communities in Schools at Fannin Elementary School needs volunteers for one to two hours at 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Volunteers will give extra help to students in an after-school tutoring class. Come by the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center downstairs in the Campus Center for more information.

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through, students will have a choice of receiving The gift card or have the gift card amount transfered to their student IDs. Students cannot directly purchase items from The with just their student IDs.

ACU’s 53rd annual Sing Song, titled Believe, will take place in Moody Coliseum this weekend. Performances will be Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $14$22 and can be purchased at the box office located on the north side of Moody. Tickets will be on sale Monday though Saturday from 11 a.m.-5:15 p.m. For more information, call 674-2069. University Park will sponsor an open house in the UP clubhouse on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Current residents will receive a $150 referral reward if they bring a prospective who signs a lease. Staff members will be available to answer questions or establish leases. For more information, e-mail acu@

Summer Registration dates have been changed to Wednesday. All classifications will begin registering for classes at 3 p.m. The advising release codes will be the same ones used for spring registration. Talk to your adviser for more information or go to the Registrar’s Web site: http://www. schedulebulletin/index.html. Wildcat Premier Weekend will take place this weekend. This is an opportunity for high school students, transfer students and their parents to experience the ACU tradition of Sing Song, while participating in campus tours, athletic visits, study abroad sessions, class visits and admissions and financial aid meetings.


Friday,February 20, 2009

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Student groups slip on dancing shoes for Sing Song By Shelby Holt and Tanner Anderson Student Reporter/Page Designer

A plethora of shimmies, shakes and smooth moves have made their way onto the Sing Song stage thanks to several student groups. This year in between club and class acts, Sing Song viewers will witness interpretive dances, stepping, Salsa and swing acts. SHADES’ performance this weekend will be the product of hours of work by the six men and 11 women who make up the ethnically diverse group. “We’ve all been working really hard, along with the downstage crew and our choreographer, to make this year’s show different than last year’s,” said Hannah Hendrix, secretary and second year veteran of SHADES. The group will perform two acts in the show; one will be the opener after the intermission. In contrast to the previous years of performing with A Cappella

music, this year’s group will be accompanied by a piano. The SHADES’ second act will be the traditional “step” routine, which is a type of dance including clapping and stomping to make rhythmic patterns. It will have the piano accompaniment with the song Wade in the Water. Eight members of the dance group Milonga will heat up the stage when they dance to hostess Jennifer Rasco’s performance Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About. Milonga was formed in 2007 and has been preparing for its first Sing Song appearance since the first week of spring semester. “We’re trying to convey a Latin style and atmosphere when we take the stage. It’s very interesting; we love to dance, and it’s an important opportunity to perform for ACU,” said Darrien Grays, senior information technologies major from Cedar Hill. After Frater Sodalis’ club act, the Swing Cats will perform to I Can’t Believe Your in Love With Me. With complex moves, four

couples will dance across the stage using aerials and other classic swing moves. “It was a really challenging song to choreograph because of the extremely fast tempo,” said Zach Wheat, junior political science major from Abilene. “We had to blend two different tempo styles together and create something that is smooth and clean.” Another student group making its first Sing Song appearance is the Virtuous African Heritage Sisterhood (VAHS). VAHS will incorporate sign language into its choreography, which is two songs. The group will dance to I’m a Believer and When You Believe. “I hope that all of these performances will stir more interest in VAHS and create new interests in Sing Song,” said Anna Peters, senior children and family ministry major from Houston and member of VAHS.

Dick Schissler :: staff photographer

E-mail Anderson at:

Student dance group SHADES performs one of its two acts during Sing Song rehearsal in Moody Coliseum Wednesday.

Campus prepares for hectic Sing Song parking conditions By Heather Leiphart Student Reporter

“Organized chaos” is how Jimmy Ellison, chief of the ACU Police Department, describes parking and traffic conditions during Sing Song each year. The police department has made plans for the upcoming events with additional staff, traffic control and parking regulations. “We think our plan manages everything as best it can and we have appropriate levels of attention, but it is organized chaos, and everyone just needs to deal with it and be patient,”

Ellison said. “There’s no way our parking system is built to sustain that much pressure in that short amount of time.” Sing Song is not the only major event the ACU Police will oversee this weekend. In addition, the President’s Circle Dinner and the annual board of trustees meeting will take place Saturday. These events require the closure of the Teague Special Events Center parking lot and half of the Big Purple parking lot for attendees, Ellison said. In order to accommodate the heavy influx of traffic, the ACU Police will close park-

ing lots that fill to capacity. They will direct the traffic elsewhere, so guests will not waste time searching for a nonexistent space. Ellison predicts the new Bob and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center parking lot will help alleviate parking congestion this year. If traffic permits, the ACU Police plan to allow passenger drop-off stations at the Gibson Physical Education Building and the north side of Moody Coliseum. Often, guests are so focused on parking near Moody that the south side of campus is not fully utilized, Ellison

said. Parking lots around Nelson, Gardner and Sikes halls and the University Church are often overlooked, and guests would spend less time walking from these locations than searching for closer parking. Leaving campus from these locations after performances also would be less chaotic, he said. “For students, parking isn’t as much of an issue because many live on campus,” said Vanessa Butler, sophomore art education major from Longview. “It’s just easier to walk everywhere instead of trying to search for a parking spot.”

It’s just easier to walk everywhere instead of trying to search for a parking spot. :: Vanessa Butler, sophomore art education major from Longview

Ellison asks guests to plan ahead for delays, expect to see officers directing traffic and understand that they may have to walk a fair distance. “We have a lot of guests and dignitaries that come to our campus for this one weekend every year, so we ask that students, faculty and staff be

polite, courteous and patient,” Ellison said. “This a busy time, but also a great time for ACU to shine.”

E-mail Leiphart at:

Friday, February 20, 2009

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The Greatest Show on Stairs Galaxy Know, The Guys in Venice With The Boat and Pole and Hats” Director: Wade Huggins, junior Biblical text major from Abilene, and Chase Lindsay, junior biochemistry major from Houston Last year to win: 2008 Longest winning streak: Seven Victory Total: 25 Pictured: Adrian Dennington, junior biology major from Austin

Alpha Kai Show Title: “Move Over Mickey” Director: Megan McDonald, music education major from Kingston, Wash. Last year to win: Never Pictured: Abigail Sutphen, sophomore biology major from Houston


Frater Sodalis

Show Title: “Gondoliers: You

Sub T-16

Show Title: “EXTRA! EXTRA!

Show Title: “Go Directly To Jail” Director: Isaac Bray, senior

Read All About It!”

Show Title: “Pencil Me In” Director: Stephanie Smith,

junior elementary education major from La Habra, Calif. Last year to win: 1986 Longest winning streak: Three Victory Total: Nine Pictured: Allyson Keker, senior accounting and management major from Abilene

Maybe It Was”

Director: Jamie Lyn Spires,

senior communication major from Arlington Last year to win: 2008 Longest winning streak: Four Victory Total: 12 Pictured: Aubrey Bonneau, senior graphic design major from Dallas

nursing major from Austin, and Kourtney Nichols, senior marketing major from Midland Last year to win: 1977 Longest winning streak: Five Victory Total: 11 Pictured: Kaytlin Black, junior nursing major from Sulfur Springs

Show Title: “Second Star To

The Right and Straight On To Moody” Director: Ben Reeves, senior marketing major from Abilene Last year to win: 2007 Longest winning streak: Six Victory Total: 11 Pictured: Cody Duncum, senior information technology major from Decatur

Sigma Theta Chi


Show Title: “It Wasn’t Me...OK...

Show Title: “Mime’s the Word” Director: Carly Smith, junior

animal science major from Abilene Last year to win: 1984 Longest winning streak: One Victory Total: Two Pictured: Brett Rogers, junior business management major from Abilene

Christian ministry major from Ann Arbor, Mich., and Jared Hodges, junior English major from Crowley Last year to win: Never Pictured: Lucas Wright, sophomore electronic media major from Abilene

Ko Jo Kai

Delta Theta

Show Title: “Comin’ Clean” Director: Derrick Bibb, senior

Directors: Mike Miles, senior

music major from Abilene Last year to win: 1982 Longest winning streak: One Victory Total: Five Pictured: Luke Pinson, senior accounting major from Cookeville, Tenn.

Show Title: “Who Said Carmen Was In San Diego?”

Director: Hannah Anderson,

elementary education major from Waco Last year to win: 2007 Longest winning streak: Six Victory Total: 14 Pictured: Erika Goldman junior elementary education major from Denver

Senior Class


Show Title: “Ask Not What

Show Title: “Kool-Aid...Oh

Brown Can Do For You...Ask What You Can Do For The Red, White, and Blue” Director: Joey Hopkins, senior accounting and finance major from Midland, and Angela Darden senior accounting and finance major from Midland Last year to win: 2008 Longest winning streak: Two Victory Total: Eight Pictured: Caroline Mattis, senior art major from Abilene


Director: Stephanie Robles,

senior psychology major from Mesquite, and Stephanie Saxon (pictured), freshman music major from Montevideo, Uruguay Last year to win: never

Gamma Sigma Phi

Freshman Class Show Title: “It’s So Easy, A

Freshman Can Do It” Director: Meredith Morgan, freshman music education major from Arlington and Brittany Herrod, art and photography major from Arlington. Last year to win: 2006 Longest winning streak: Four Victory Total: 22 Pictured: Julie Neill, freshman advertising major from Irving Disagree? Let us know your vote for this year’s show online today

Junior Class Sophomore Class Show Title: “Flight of the Sophomores”

Director: Jessica Williams,

sophomore English major from Arlington, and Lucas Wright, sophomore electronic media major from Abilene Last year to win: 2002 Longest winning streak: Three Victory Total: 11 Pictured: Carolina Williams, sophomore early childhood education major from Frisco

Show Title: “Be Leaves” Director: Lindsey Fleming, junior social work major from Ontario, Canada, and Brent Dill, junior English major from Wellman Last year to win: 2007 Longest winning streak: One Victory Total: Six Pictured: Nathan Pickle, junior physics major from Colorado Springs, Colo.

Editor’s Picks By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

GSP should win, but underdog Frats loom

1. Gamma Sigma Phi


After a runaway Galaxy train ran over the magic men of Gamma Sigma Phi’s hopes to extend their Sing Song winning streak to seven in 2008, GSP’s Peter Pan themed ’09 show, “Second Star To The Right and Straight On To Moody” may be the fairy dust the Kinsmen need to fly to the top of the Sing Song judges’ score sheets once again. Although I was let down by the absence of a “RUFIO!” chant somewhere in their arrangement, GSP’s loud vocals, Neverland props and well-timed choreography should earn them a title once again. Whether they were belting out the You Can Fly! song from Disney’s rendition of J.M. Barrie’s classic children’s tale or pointing out their not-so-flattering leggings while singing a comical tune from Robin Hood Men in Tights, GSP’s sound is consistent and their diction is clear. If they’re lucky, maybe Wendy will give them a thimble kiss to go along with another Sing Song victory.

Frater Sodalis

GSP may need some extra help from Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys if the criminals of Frater Sodalis have anything to do with it. A clear underdog — Frater Sodalis has not won a Sing Song competition since 1982 and has less than 30 members in its show — the Frats’ “Go Directly to Jail” show is chock full of hilarious pop-culture references, and their vocal quality and range is something worth singing about. Despite having the least number of men on stage, the Frats sound as loud as the bigger men’s clubs, while maintaining perfect pitch and clarity. A cornucopia of songs that include Greensleeves, Timbaland’s Apologize, Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues and even the throwback Coolio ballad Gangsta’s Paradise make up the Frats’ arrangement. But they do not lose their pure sound while jumping from genre to genre. Throw in a dash of references to the recent economic bailout and former celebrity inmates Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton, and the Frats clearly have a crowdfavorite arrangement on their hands. What are their only weaknesses? A lack of numbers and sloppy choreography that may dwindle these criminals’ chances of breaking out of the winless prison cell the Frats have been in for more than two decades.

3. Galaxy Beautifully designed props and good-looking costumes were not enough for me to feel the love for Galaxy’s show, “Gondoliers: You Know, The Guys in Venice With The Boat and Pole and Hats.” The show about the men who float the waters of Venice, Italy, was original but did not have the same affect on me as it would if I did not have a Y chromosome. Although I thought their costumes, which included blue, red and white striped shirts and straw hats, were among the best in the show, their song choice and lyrics did anything but make me feel like they were from the land of olives, pasta, wine and creepily forward Italian men. Their rendition of That’s Amore felt more like I was watching Lady in the Tramp than riding a boat in the Venetian canals. Galaxy’s show was entertaining, but I doubt the Moonies can paddle past two strong shows from GSP and Frats.

Freshmen’s clean vocals signal superior show

1. Freshman Class

A clever show with a title built on a cliché that Freshmen aren’t the brightest bunch has me going against my instincts by relying on freshmen to do something right and win the mixedvoices Sing Song this year. My laughter began when their clever Geico Insurance inspired title, “It’s So Easy, A Freshman Can Do It” and the laughter continued when the Freshmen sang the Four Seasons song Walk Like a Man. The laughter ended when I saw their well-rehearsed choreography and on-key vocals, which outshone the rest of the mix-voiced competition.

2. Junior Class

The Junior Class act, “Be Leaves,” was the most obvious pun of the show, and their lyrics and costume changes, while moving through the seasons of Sing Song, wasn’t enough for me to fall for the Juniors. The majority of their show was singing about their past losses; a tactic that worked for the Junior class two Sing Songs ago. Maybe this year it will work again.

3. Sophomore Class A good story is always key to a quality Sing Song show. The Sophomore class’ show “Flight of the Sophomores” tells a quality story of birds hatching and the show even includes R. Kelley’s I believe I can Fly. They have strong vocals, but I fear the limitations of their egg costumes put on their choreography may hatch third place for the Sophomore birds.

Kojies have winning scent, Kaios close behind

1. Ko Jo Kai The smell of a repeat lingered when the curtains dropped on the skunks of Ko Jo Kai after their show, “It Wasn’t Me...OK...Maybe It Was.” When I heard the announcer say the Kojies were next on stage, the aroma of their winning bee-themed show from 2008 filled my memory and hardened my expectations. After transforming the Moody stage into a lush, green forest complete with trees and a nearby skyline, the whiff of a winner reached my nostrils after I saw the detail and quality of the Kojies’ costumes and caught myself laughing at the predictable smelly jokes lingering throughout their songs that included the appropriately putrid lyrics of Jon Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life. The Kojies’ vocals weren’t the best in the show, that award belongs to Alpha Kai Omega, but the overall strength of the show and the climax of what includes a heart-pounding costume change makes me sure my prediction of a Kojie repeat is not a stinker.

2. Alpha Kai Omega The chorus of Alpha Kai Omega’s red polka-dotted army convinced me that Sigma Theta Chi’s reign as the queens of clean vocals may now belong to a chorus of Minnie Mice. The vocal variety and quality was the strength of Alpha Kai’s tribute to the queen of Walt Disney’s castle, “Move Over Mickey,” but I felt it didn’t match up to the overall quality and strength of Ko Jo Kai’s show. The Kaios dotted their show with classic Disney ballads and characters from any American’s childhood VHS collection, and the spinning teacup on the side of the stage and Dumbo the elephant helped the nostalgia set in. The Mickey, You’re So Fine song choice was perfect and a guaranteed laugh. But it was the only laugh generated. If the rumors are true and this year’s show will be more about vocals, then Alpha Kai has a legitimate shot at snagging its first Sing Song win in the club’s history. But when compared to Ko Jo Kai, Alpha Kai left me smiling, but not amazed. I have always been more of a Bugs Bunny guy anyway.

3. Sigma

Theta Chi

Where in the world is Sigma Theta Chi? Not in the running to win the show this weekend. Although I played the Carmen San Diego computer game in elementary school and watched the game show and cartoon as a child, I was not impressed by the Carmen San Diego-themed show, “Who said Carmen was in San Diego?” After bowling a 7-10 split as bowling pins in 2008, I was hoping for a Siggie strike in 2009. Sadly, the show I saw Wednesday did not have the cross-generational appeal needed to make an impact on judges and the audience. In addition to the catchy Carmen San Diego theme song, the Siggies incorporated several spy-related songs in their show — the Pink Panther theme and Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal to name a few — and the vocals were on key, but I had trouble making out most of the diction. If the Siggies clean up their diction and return to their winning ways, I’m sure this reporter will disappear as fast as Carmen San Diego did in the cartoon series I used to watch.


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February 20, 2009

‘Starbucks’ label misrepresents dining facility’s full menu


he ACU Dining Services homepage says: “Located in the library, Starbucks is one of the most recognized and respected specialty coffee brands in the world. Starbucks purchases and roasts high-quality, whole bean coffees and sells them along with fresh, richbrewed Italian-style espresso beverages, a variety of pastries and confections and coffee-related accessories.” The actual name of the café in the Brown Library is “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee,” not Starbucks. Starbucks has a strong grip on its franchises. Such a grip does not allow universities, like ACU, to have a Starbucks identical to those found in malls and along shopping strips. Universities have the option to become a licensee to Starbucks or sell a select number of its products under the name “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee,” said Nathan Hamilton, food service manager of Dining Services at ACU.

The university should not boast that it has a Starbucks when the food products sold in that same location are from a different company.

According to a Starbucks’ case study conducted for a McGraw-Hill university textbook, licensed locations pay a fee and receive coffee for resale directly from Starbucks. Licensed stores also have to follow operating procedures, and employees must receive specific training mandated by Starbucks. A “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee,” the route ACU has chosen, offers more freedom in regards to specifically which Starbucks products the organization chooses to sell. Employees are not required to receive the same training or follow exact procedures as a licensee does. Choosing to become a “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee”

also means the organization avoids the licensee fee, which is undoubtedly another reason the university chose this path. ACU buys coffee and the rights to use the Starbucks’ logo directly from Starbucks, said Philip Carlton, retail supervisor of Dining Services at ACU. Along with coffee, ACU purchases the rights to use the logo on cups, menus and napkins. However, Aramark — not Starbucks — provides all the food sold alongside the Starbucks’ coffee. A fully licensed Starbucks offers oatmeal with dried fruit and brown sugar, fruit and nut bars with baked berries, multigrain rolls with nuts and honey and power

protein plates with fresh fruit, a hard-boiled egg, a whole-wheat bagel and peanut butter. “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee” offers scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls and a wall of refrigerated goods provided by Aramark. A fully licensed Starbucks’ menu offers three sizes for drinks: tall, grande and venti. “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee” offers tall, grande and supremo. A fully licensed Starbucks’ menu offers a variety of Frappuccino. “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee” offers Creamice blends. The name of this location is slightly misleading. The ACU Web site boasts it has a Starbucks in the Brown Library. To the prospective student, this means a fully licensed Starbucks, not a “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee.” In addition to this, visitors cannot find a “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee” sign large enough to be understood as the location’s name, as The Den

The issue:

What is labeled as a “Starbucks” in the Brown Library Commons is actually a “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee.”

Our view:

Calling the coffee vendor a “Starbucks” only accurately labels the coffee itself. The remaining food fails to align with an actual Starbucks’ menu. .

The solution:

ACU should label its dining options accurately, lest it misleads prospective students.

or Java City have elsewhere on campus. Without a sign, customers look at the menu, recognize the logo and assume it is a Starbucks without knowing that the rights to use that logo were purchased at the same time as the coffee beans in the storage room. The university should not boast that it has a Starbucks when the food products sold in that same location are from a different company. The university should say it “has a ‘We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee’ in the Library that sells Starbucks

coffee along with food from ACU’s Dining Services.” A difference does exist between serving Starbucks’ products and having a Starbucks’ franchise. The name “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee” may be confusing to someone who has never heard it before, but at least we would have an honest claim.

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SA assembly closure violates students’ rights I was infuriated when I found out the Students’ Association Congress decided to close its meeting because of a tape recorder. I’ve heard several members say these meetings are open to the public and they encourage My Take students to By Tanner attend. HowKnauth ever, when the Optimist provides Congress a way to give students access to its meetings without the constraints of time (the audio recording is posted on the Optimist Web site), Congress members promptly close the meeting. This seems a hypocritical message to me. In reading some of the comments from previous articles about SA Congress, specifically the article, titled SA divvies up more than 30K, an obvious disconnect appears between the students and Congress. I have a lot of respect for people who would take time out of their already busy schedules to represent a constituency of several thousand students. It is a difficult task, and for every student they make happy, they know there will be one they make mad. But whenever they choose to hide behind closed doors, they come off as either secretive or arrogant. I’m not saying Congress is either of these, but that is the image its members project when they make decisions to close a supposedly open meeting. If Congress truly was interested in full disclosure and interaction with the students, the members missed a golden opportunity when they voted to close Hart Auditorium’s doors. By allowing the meeting to be recorded and made readily accessible via the Optimist Web site, students would be able to “attend” the meeting at their leisure and would be allowed a forum, via the comment section, to voice their approval or disapproval. Congress said its meetings are open and members welcome petition and ques-

Rent relationships depend on both parties Looking first to the left and then to the right on one of the East North streets near campus reveals two very different scenes. On the left is a wellmaintained h o u s e , f r e s h l y painted with a clean-cut front yard. Quick Hits The property is spotBy Grant less, with a Abston long driveway that leads to a back gate and a large backyard. However, on the right is a different scene. The paint on the next house is visibly chipped, and one of the front windows is cracked. The front door appears to be falling off, while the yard is overgrown with weeds. The difference in care that has gone into these properties is obvious. As college students, we spend our time at ACU surrounded by a student community, including where we live off-campus: rental homes, garage apartments, duplexes, triplexes or converted family homes. One of the problems

with living in a rental property is that students do not feel a sense of ownership. While many students blame landlords and vice versa, we must remember it is our responsibility, as well as the landlord’s, to maintain the places where we live. Houses around college campuses are evaluated by the Central Appraisal District of Taylor County based on the economic drive of the neighborhood, whether or not similar houses in the same area are maintained. They are evaluated on their condition, and these conditions affect the rental and resale value of each property. The rental properties around the ACU community reflect many different types of ownership. You can identify which houses are maintained and also possibly evaluate the student and landlord’s relationship based on the houses’ outside appearances. For property owners, it is necessary to maintain their property, so they can sustain any type of revenue stream with future students constantly evaluating each house. If the landlord does a good job of keeping up with his or her property, the house has a greater value

Editorial and letter policy Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the Optimist and may not necessarily reflect the views of the university or its administration. Signed columns, cartoons and letters are the opinions of their creators and may not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Optimist or the university. The Optimist encourages reader response through letters to the editor but reserves the right to limit frequent contributors or to refuse to print letters containing personal attacks, obscenity, defamation, erroneous

information or invasion of privacy. Please limit letters to 350 words or fewer. A name and phone number must be included for verification purposes. Phone numbers will not be published. Address letters to: z Box 27892 Abilene, TX 79699 E-mail letters to:

and attracts potential renters and buyers more easily. However, one thing is clear: landlords must develop and maintain a codependent relationship with students, so their property can maintain its value, and the student can be provided basic needs. “Keeping up with maintenance is also my responsibility,” said Stan Smith, a local landlord. “You can get beat up by irresponsible tenants, and it creates an unfortunate situation, so you are better off maintaining a relationship.” As students, we must do a better job developing relationships with property owners. Many students do not make an effort to develop a relationship because rental contracts usually last one to two years. However, for problems to be addressed, we must alert landlords in addition to making an effort to show a concern for the property. Unless a problem is brought to the attention of the landlord, nothing can be fixed, and the rental value will continue to decrease. As a property owner, the goal is to maintain or improve the property value, so the need for information on the property is vital to its success. While the

responsibility of maintenance may fall on the landlord, it is the student’s responsibility to maintain it as well by taking out the trash, replacing things the tenant breaks and cleaning and maintaining an overall good appearance. If you take the time to drive around ACU’s campus or have looked into renting different properties around ACU, you witness the differing levels of care put into rental properties. It is obvious which renters and landlords make an effort to maintain their property and which do not. While the need for better housing and more quality rental properties exists, we must remember it is just as much our job as the landlords’ to make sure this happens. We must take an active approach, and with this effort, we will see an improvement on both ends. Whether you are looking to the left or right, make sure the house you see is a house you want to reflect you. It is not just “their” responsibility to fix things; it is ours as well.

E-mail Abston at:

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tions; however, when students are unaware or unable to attend meetings, either by choice or due to schedule conflicts, how can they question or petition Congress? I know not every member of Congress voted to close the doors, and I applaud those representatives who recognized the consequences of closing the meeting. Under Robert’s Rules of Order, as I understand them (and I admit my knowledge of the rules leave much to be desired), they state Congress can close the meeting by voting without debate. Maybe if debate had been allowed, a voice of reason would have persuaded the other members that the recorder presented no risk to privacy and was intended to protect the Congress members from misinterpretation.

…whenever [Congressmen] choose to hide behind closed doors, they come off as either secretive or arrogant.

I apologize for the soliloquy, but feel completely disregarded by this Congress. I will, however, take a positive out of this. From now on, I will pay closer attention to who I vote for in Congress and will keep those I vote to Congress far more accountable for their actions than I have done in the past. Until then, I implore Congress members to allow their meetings to be recorded and made easily accessible to students. This will give the students that Congress represents an opportunity to be more aware of what Congress does and who its members are. It also will allow them the opportunity to respond to the actions of their representatives.

E-mail Knauth at:

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Page 7A

Sing Song: Show to begin Friday Surge: Primetime offers discounts Continued from page 1A Five men’s and women’s social clubs are competing in this year’s show, and five mixed voice acts also are participating. The groups will perform for family, friends and alumni that come to one of the three shows, and a host of judges will rank their performances and give out awards at the end of each performance. “I would say across the board that the vocals have improved dramatically for our upstage groups, especially for some of the smaller groups,” Craig said. Although the newly reinstated Trojans men’s social club is part of the show, they will not compete, but will still have an

I love how everyone can come together and put on a show that has been around for so long and be part of this; it is amazing. :: Erika Goldman, junior elementary education major from Denver

act. One key difference to this year’s show is the placement of the ACU Jazz band on its own visible stage, as opposed to on the floor in front of the stage, like in past years, Craig said. In addition to the club and class acts, several students will participate as part of a dance team. Milonga Latin Dance, Swing Cats, SHADES and Virtuous African Heritage Sisterhood also will perform.

Hosts: Students rehearse for acts Continued from page 1A Donovan Plummer refers to himself as being a shower singer. He never joined a choir, never did theatre and did not sing in any public setting outside of church, until now. Now Plummer has been preparing to entertain thousands of students, alumni and doting parents as one of this year’s Sing Song hosts. “I was the most shocked person. I thought they had made a mistake,” Plummer said. “I give all the credit to my accompanist Adrian Chew; he helped me lighten and loosen up.” During the second audition, Plummer said the sight reading and choreography gave him some trouble but instead of getting flustered, he kept his demeanor and decided to have fun and be himself throughout the audition. “What fueled me was adrenaline. It was a fight or flight situation, and I always choose the fight,” Plummer said. Jennifer Rasco, senior elementary education major from Abilene, has a slightly different story. Rasco grew up in Abilene, two blocks away from ACU, and attended many Sing Song performances. She has been involved with singing and acting since a young age. Her parents and older brother, Jeffrey Rasco, attended ACU; Jeffrey was one of the Sing Song hosts in 2004. “I grew up watching my brother as a host, and after that, I’ve always wanted to be a hostess; that was my dream,” Rasco said. “I felt a little added pressure since I was a senior, but I let go of all my insecurities and doubts when I went on stage to the audition.” Moody Coliseum has seen practices, lots of them, and right now the six members who make up the host and hostess group are about to command the stage after several weeks of rehearsing

vocals and choreography, while attempting to balance school and their social lives. A former high school football player, Plummer said he was used to long gritty practices and he assumed he could fulfill his skills as a host in the same “grit your teeth and bear it” fashion. “I had no idea how draining singing could be. I also didn’t know how emotionally involved I would become in the lives of five other people, and I thank God for the experience,” he said. “I’ve never been around such a musically talented group.” Even seasoned veterans, such as Rasco who directed Sigma Theta Chi to a first place club performance two years ago, had to mentally prepare for her hostess’ responsibilities. “I always knew it would take a lot of time and energy, but every step of the way has been a great experience,” she said. “All of the practices and rehearsals have kept me busy, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.” Beside being a senior and a host of Sing Song, Plummer is the president of College Democrats, involved in Essence of Ebony and has begun a Wednesday night devotional, titled HIGHways, that meets at 9 p.m. in The Grove’s clubhouse. Rasco has a busy calendar as well. Besides being a member of Sigma Theta Chi, Rasco devotes her time to her fourth grade class that she began student teaching this semester. “I’ve been amazed at the talent that everyone has, from the hosts and hostesses to our vocal and dance coaches. I’ve grown and have learned so much from them. I want to thank them for this whole experience,” Rasco said. “I’ve enjoyed it 100 percent. It’s been a huge part of my college career, and whenever I think of ACU, I think of Sing Song and all the memories that I will take with me.” E-mail Anderson at:

Continued from page 1A

Erika Goldman, junior elementary education major from Denver, is participating in the Sigma Theta Chi show and said the unity of Sing Song is what drew her to perform. “I love how everyone can come together and put on a show that has been around for so long and be part of this; it is amazing,” Goldman said. E-mail Johnson-Kim at:

Song rush and is hurrying to complete its room renovations by Friday.” Hernandez said the hotel offers a special discount to ACU students’ family and friends, so it never has any problems filling up during special events. Special discounts are found not only at the Whitten Inn. Primetime Family Entertainment Center, a 43,000-squarefoot indoor facility with bowling, laser tag, arcade and more, is offering new package deals, allowing families to save $15-35 per person. Penny LaRocco, Primetime manager and event

coordinator, said the company wanted to provide the new discounts because it knew a lot of families would visit this weekend. “I’m excited to see how many people come to Primetime right after Sing Song,” she said. One of the newest features at Primetime is the fog and light show in the bowling alley; LaRocco said it is her favorite because it is really intense. Primetime also is discounting prices on burgers, fries and drinks, so families can snack while they play. If families are searching for something a little more filling than burgers and

fries, they could eat down the road at Copper Creek, a seafood and steak restaurant. Alan O’Neal, executive chef at Copper Creek, said he definitely would advise visitors to make reservations if they plan on dining there Friday or Saturday evening because the place fills quickly. He said if anyone is unable to make a reservation, they should consider coming in before 5 p.m. or after 9 p.m. All these preparations for Sing Song visitors are in the process at local businesses, and efforts will continue until the eventful weekend ends. E-mail Byrd at:

Judges: Enrollment: Numbers decrease Online voting available Continued from page 1A

Continued from page 1A “If there are any unreasonable biases, we are able to get rid of it,” Craig said. In preparation to choose judges, Sing Song co-chair Sydney North, senior marketing major from Bedford, sent out letters to alumni who had served as Sing Song hosts and hostesses in the reunion years of 1999, 1989 and 1979. “It is fun to have these past Sing Song participants back on campus and involved,” Craig said. “It becomes like a mini-reunion for them.” The judges also will include music professionals from the Abilene and surrounding areas, as well as faculty from ACU. “There is a wealth of performing art expertise right here in Abilene,” Craig said. Audience voting will be available again for this year’s Sing Song. Ticket bearers can log onto the Sing Song Web site at singsong and vote for their favorite act using an ID number found on the tickets. The link will be activated directly after the show Friday evening and will remain open until 6 p.m. Saturday. “It’s a small percentage of the overall score,” Craig said. “But it is part of the process. This year the audience can actually vote from their iPhones while sitting in their seats during the show.” Craig said this year’s show includes sets and props more technically advanced than ever before. “All of the clubs do have intricate costumes and sets,” North said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what the judges view as the overall look of the show.” E-mail Gager at:

learning initiative,” Schubert said. While Schubert said raw enrollment numbers decreased from the fall semester to this spring semester, ACU is on track, considering that spring semesters usually maintain 90-92 percent of the student population enrolled in the fall. “Enrollment numbers are good,” Schubert said. “They’re up from last spring and right where we would have expected them to be based on fall numbers. It appears, at least at this point, that our historical trends on students for enrollment in the spring are actually right on top or actually a little bit more healthy than when they’ve been in the past, so that’s a great thing in this environment.” Schubert said the university has been closely monitoring enrollment numbers

due to the economy, but admissions do not seem to be hurting. “There’s not any indicators yet that we have that the economic environment has had a negative impact on enrollment,” Schubert said. “Certainly there are pockets of impact that are more significant, and I know there are a number of our students that have been impacted individually. Our hope is that we create the avenues for them to get the support, help that they need.” Financial aid counselors have received special training to assist students struggling financially to fund their ACU education, he said. “Affordability is always a major area of importance to us, and we’ve strengthened our commitment to ensuring the resources that are necessary to make an ACU education affordable to as many families as we can,” Schubert said.

Admissions counselor Jeremy Davis said the boosted enrollment adds to the campus’ environment. “We’re excited about the possibilities of having more students come and be involved on campus,” Davis said. “A lot of the faculty members and people I’ve talked to are excited about the new students we have on campus, so it is an exciting time.” Despite a successful year of recruiting, Schubert said there always exists room for growth. “We’re always trying to be better,” Schubert said. “We can never be as good as we need to be, and so we always pay a lot of attention to what we can do in the upcoming recruiting cycle to better the position of the university in the marketplace for people to truly know and appreciate what happens in this place.” E-mail Acuff at:

Page 8A


Friday, February 20, 2009


Friday, February 20, 2009

Page 9A

Backstage chaos brings Sing Song performers closer together By Kelline Linton Chief Copy Editor

Cramped in the hidden, narrow space underneath the Sing Song stage, three women race to change mics and dress the hosts and hostesses between each act. Sometimes they have less than three minutes to outfit the performers in new costumes, complete with shoes, jewelry and fake eyelashes, while at the same time redoing their hair and makeup. “It gets really hectic back here, but it’s organized chaos,” said Mallorie Frank, backstage manager. “We all know what we are doing, but the hostesses also help a lot, especially when dealing with mic changes.” The confined quarters allow little wiggle room, much less the space needed to prepare the six main entertainers for their numerous acts. The area does feature two sections: one for the hosts and the other for the hostesses. A thin curtain separates the two dressing rooms, providing scant privacy for the harried performers, as they strip almost bare between each musical set. A multitude of colorful dresses and suits hang from makeshift

rods under the stage, while boxes of jewelry and racks of shoes clutter the cement floor. A stack of water bottles is setup in a corner, within easy reach of the thirsty singers. Frank, (’08), said outfitting the hosts and hostesses can be challenging, especially with the time limitations. “The difficult part is nailing the time,” she said. “During the show, we may not have an extra five seconds. They have to be on the stage before the band starts.” Frank, who worked backstage in last year’s Sing Song, said her favorite story involved former host Ben Reeves. All the hosts were on stage for Love Train, when Reeves runs back behind stage, frantically saying he cannot find his mic. As everyone looks for it, Frank sees the mic — on his head. “He had to come up the stairs singing his part,” she said. “It was hilarious; I will never forget it.” Amanda Duke, sophomore social work major from Arlington, and Jennifer Lewis, sophomore family studies major from Plano, are the other two students who help Frank control the chaos backstage. “A lot of stuff goes on back here that people don’t

realize,” Duke said. “We’re always moving, always doing something. There’s one time where we took a breather for two seconds, then the song ended, and it all began again.” Duke joked she does anything and everything backstage and may soon begin to wear a toolbelt filled with hair and makeup products. Lewis said working behind the Sing Song scenes was exciting. “The hosts and hostesses are a big part of the show, and it’s just nice to be able to help with that,” she said. “They are fun getting to know.” Hostess Jennifer Rasco, senior elementary education major from Abilene, said the backstage workers are professional and good at what they do. “Everything is really organized, and we couldn’t do it without them,” she said. “It’s clothes, makeup, hair and mics flying.” Lewis said the hosts and hostesses constantly have to rush on and off stage, and the stress can strain on them, especially for hostess Adrienne Linge who has bronchitis. “They come back here, and they are sweating,” she said. “It’s just exhausting, and

Dick Schissler :: staff photographer

Sing Song host Donovan Plumber and hostess Jessica Patterson share a laugh while getting ready backstage during Sing Song rehearsal Wednesday night. they are so nervous. People just don’t know how much work they put into this.” Hostess Jessica Patterson, senior nursing major from Winchester, Va., said the trickiest thing for her to remember off stage is which mic she needs for each act. While backstage, Patterson changes her handheld mic for a head mic on several occasions, while also changing costumes and accessories. Keeping mics and their accompanying wires untangled can be a daunting task for the

already busy performers, but Scott “Moose” Vanlerberghe is always ready to help them with their sound quality. His job is to ensure the hosts and hostesses can hear themselves sing during their performances. Moose worked with Dave Bell, front house engineer, to ensure Moody Coliseum was audio ready. They spent 16 hours Sunday, flying the PA from the roof, running cables and brining in extra consoles. “Moose is really helpful and

does what we need,” Rasco said. “He is easy to work with.” Rasco said the small confines backstage did lead to one benefit: closer relationships between the performers. “We all have gotten really close, and so that has been something really special,” she said. “I think it definitely helps us perform better because you are closer with the people you are performing with.”

E-mail Linton at:

Four students to share cardboard testimonials during performances By Sondra Rodriguez Page 2 Editor

For 53 years, Sing Song has consisted of class and club acts, solo and duet performances and engaging hosts and hostesses. But this year, Sing Song: Believe will bring something new to its audience. As a part of this year’s Sing Song, four students will present life struggles and tragedies in a cardboard testimonial, a form of testimonial in which students hold up a piece of cardboard with

a struggle written on one side and praise for the outcome on the other, to the song Anyway by Martina McBride. This segment will take place immediately after intermission. The four students are Kristen Benton, senior nursing major from Keller; Cody Veteto, junior electronic media and Bible major from Tulsa, Okla.; Keri Gray, freshman political science major from Longview, and Shannon Williamson, first year graduate student in the psychology program from New Orleans, La.

The struggles coincide with the lyrics of the song Anyway, which has lyrics that say, “God is great but sometimes life ain’t good. And when I pray, it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should, but I do it anyway, I do it anyway.” Williamson will share a personal experience she has been dealing with for years. “I lost my home in Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” Williamson said. “Mine says, ‘God shook my faith,’ on one side, and, ‘He showed me His master plan,’ on the other.”

The idea for the Anyway segment was developed by downstage co-chair Anna Peters, senior children and family ministry major from Houston, and Tom Craig, director of Student Productions. Peters said the production crew agreed it was time to make an uplifting statement that all generations will be able to appreciate. “With the things that have happened on campus and the way our economy has been, this will be a nice and refreshing thing to bring to Sing Song

this year,” Peters said. She said one of the hostesses’ voices fits the song perfectly, and the production staff immediately fell in love with the song. “Part of Sing Song is not letting the ‘Believe’ momentum die, so each song in the show will take you higher and higher,” she said. “This song is uplifting; it’s got messages that are alluded to that the crowd will really be touched by.” Williamson said the students involved were humbled by the opportunity to share

these struggles with the Sing Song audience. “It’s not about people knowing our business or feeling sorry for us,” she said. “We just want to bear witness for what God has done in our lives.” Peters said the Anyway segment will be a refreshing and touching addition to the Sing Song experience. “These four student leaders are willing to tell their story in ways that you will be unseen by,” she said. E-mail Rodriguez at:

Page 10A


Friday, February 20, 2009


Page 1B

SCOREBOARD Standings Men’s Basketball Team Angelo St. MSU TAMU-K Tarleton St. WTAMU ACU ENMU

Div. 7-2 7-2 7-2 5-5 5-5 2-7 0-10

Overall 19-5 18-6 17-7 17-8 15-10 8-15 4-21

Women’s Basketball Team WTAMU ACU Angelo St. Tarleton St. TAMU-K MSU ENMU

Div. 10-0 6-3 5-4 5-5 4-5 3-6 0-10

Overall 22-3 15-9 14-10 14-11 14-10 8-15 9-19

Baseball Team

Div. 4-0 3-1 3-1 3-1 3-1 WTAMU 2-2 Central Okla. 2-2 SE Okla. 1-3 NE State. 1-3 Tarleton St. 1-3 East Central 1-3 SW Okla. 0-4 ACU Cameron ENMU Angelo St. TAMU-K

Overall 7-2 9-2 7-3 7-4 4-3 6-3 4-4 4-3 5-6 4-7 2-6 4-6

Women’s basketball team loses second-straight By Jeff Craig


Sports Writer

Audrey Maxwell-Lively recorded her 12th double-double of the season, but it was not enough, as the Tarleton State TexAnns beat the Wildcats 73-59 Wednesday in front of a raucous crowd in Stephenville. Lively scored 21 points and collected 12 rebounds but was matched step-forstep by Tarleton center JoAnne Jones, who scored 20 points while collecting a game-high 14 rebounds. The forward and sister tandem of Jody and Jamie Meyer combined for 26 points as well.

The loss ended a fourgame winning streak for ACU against TSU and was the TexAnns first victory against the Wildcats since Feb. 3, 2007. The Wildcats actually outrebounded the TexAnns, and out shot them from the field as well. The difference in the game seemed to come from beyond the arc and with ball control. ACU made only three 3-point shots, while Tarleton made eight. TSU also took better care of the ball, committing only 11 turnovers, while forcing 19 by the Wildcats.

The game was vital for the TexAnns, who desperately needed the victory to stay alive in the Lone Star Conference South Post-Season Tournament. With the victory, Tarleton improved its record to 14-11 on the season and raised its conference record to 5-5. ACU, on the other hand, fell to 15-9 overall, while its conference record dropped to 6-3. The West Texas A&M Lady Buffs clinched the LSC South crown on Wednesday night by marching into San Angelo and whipping Angelo See

Angelo St. WTAMU TAMU-K Tarleton St. TX Woman’s ACU ENMU

Div. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0

World record bondsman

Former Olympic pole vaulter becomes bail bond expert


n an ordinary October afternoon, Billy Olson received a call at his house. On the phone, one of his co-workers at Billy Olson Bail Bond told him he just saw the man they had been looking for, a customer who had not showed up in court. Olson jumped in his car, drove to the convenience store where the fugitive was seen and started to run after him. “We were running in alleys and jumping over fences,” Olson said. “I finally stopped him and talked to him for about 30 minutes.” For a fugitive, being chased by Olson must be the worst scenario ever. Indeed, before he started to work as a bondsman, Olson was a world-class athlete who used to jump over bars instead of fences. An Abilene native, Olson is a former Abilene High and ACU pole vaulter who set 11 indoor world records between 1982 and 1986. In 1983, he became the first man in the world to ever clear 19 feet indoors. Olson peaked Feb. 2, 1986, in East Rutherford, N.J., with a jump over 19 feet 5 1/2 inches, which still stands as the 11th best indoor jump in the world. Olson has represented the United States at least once in every major international competition, including a 12th place at the 1988 Olympics. He brought a lot of publicity to Abilene Christian and attracted many great athletes

By Camille Vandendriessche

Overall 13-0 8-1 10-2 8-3 8-6 5-4 5-5

Scores Wednesday Women’s Basketball Tarleton State 73, ACU 59

Men’s Basketball Tarleton State 80, ACU 64

Former Wildcat Billy Olson set 11 indoor world records between 1982 and 1986 and helped attract many great athletes to ACU’s track and field program.

Upcoming Friday Track & Field ACU at Nebraska Tune-Up, 1 p.m.

Softball ACU vs. Washburn, 2 p.m. ACU vs. Central Missouri, 4 p.m.


Dick Schissler :: staff photographer Guard Kat Kundmueller drives the lane against Eastern New Mexico on Jan. 13.

Wildcats page 4B

Softball Team

February 20, 2009


Photo Courtesy of Creative Services

to the track program, said Garner Roberts, ACU sports information director from 1973 to 1998. Roberts said he received lots of calls for interviews, mails and requests for information and photographs. The national television, newspapers and magazines, like Sports Illustrated and Track and Field News, came to Abilene to report about the pole vaulter, he said. “Billy created worldwide attention,” Roberts said. “He was a PR major; he was very cooperative, and he was good at interviews. He was a good representative for the city of Abilene.” Almost 20 years after the end of his athletic career, he is still admired by the new generation of Wildcat pole vaulters. “He was amazing,” said Stephen Toler, junior exercise science from Cisco and ACU pole vaulter. “We still watch videos of him. As crazy as it was, he could have been even better with a better [takeoff].” Olson already was a successful vaulter in high school. During his junior and senior years, he trained regularly with Don W. Hood, ACU head track and field coach from 1977 to 1988 and coach of nine Wildcat Olympians. During his senior year at Abilene High, Olson set the state record with a jump of 1510 and decided to go to Baylor University on a full scholarship. However, he transferred to ACU during the first semester at midterm because Baylor’s

Olson page 3B


Wildcats ride six-game winning streak to Okla.

Track & Field

Sports Editor

ACU at Central Oklahoma, 2 p.m.

ACU at Sooner Indoor Open, 9 a.m.

Baseball ACU at Central Oklahoma, noon

Softball ACU vs. Nebraska-Omaha, noon ACU vs. Fort Hays State, 4 p.m.

Women’s Basketball ACU at Midwestern State, 2 p.m.

Men’s Basketball ACU at Midwestern State, 4 p.m.

Sunday Softball ACU vs. Pittsburg State, 10 a.m. ACU vs. Newman, 4 p.m.


By Grant Abston The Wildcat baseball team travels to Edmond, Okla., this weekend, looking to extend its six-game winning streak and remain atop the Lone Star Conference standings. After sweeping Southwestern Oklahoma State in their first LSC matchup of the season, the No. 15 Wildcats (7-2, 4-0) are the only undefeated team in LSC play and will travel to play Central Oklahoma in a four-game series beginning Friday.

Baseball “I always know them as having good arms and throwing real well, and they play with a lot of emotion,” head coach Britt Bonneau said. “We have to play our game, and I feel like we’ve been successful up in EdBonneau mund and been able to split with them the last two times. We’ve got

Straka and Murphy lead the team with 11 strikeouts. Offensively, the Bronchos are averaging 6.5 runs a game, led by outfielder Andrew Foshee. Foshee has a team-high .387 batting average and leads the team in hits (12), doubles (7), runs (13) and triples (1). Infielder Nate Mitani is second on the team with a .357 batting average, and infielder Casey Bruns leads the team in home runs (2) and RBI (10). “UCO is usually one of our biggest rivals,” pitcher Matt Sullivan said. “[UCO]

and Angelo State are teams that contend for a conference championship every year. Their stadium is a pretty hostile environment, and the fans give us a hard time. In the past, they have been a really good hitting team and have an all-American pitcher returning, so it’s always a good test.” The Wildcats enter the series after getting strong pitching performances against Southwestern Oklahoma State. Sullivan is coming off his best See

Baseball page 4B

ACU’s postseason hopes eliminated after loss By Austin Gwin

ACU at Central Oklahoma, 1 p.m.

Sports Writer

:: Home games listed in italics

Briefs n The University of Southern California’s women’s soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin will be on ACU’s campus this summer to help run the ACU Soccer Camp with head coach Casey Wilson and assistant coach Thomas Pertuit. The camp is for players grade 8-12 and will take place June 24-27. Khosroshahin led USC to a national championship in 2007 and was named the National Coach of the Year.

to go up there and try to not make any mistakes; hopefully, we’ll find it swinging the bat this weekend.” Central Oklahoma enters the series with a 4-4 record and 2-2 LSC record after splitting a four-game series with West Texas A&M. The Bronchos are led by pitcher Clint Straka, the LSC Preseason Pitcher of the Year, who is currently 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA. Joining Straka on the mound will be Kyle Head (1-0, 3.12 ERA), Brian Murphy (0-0, 3.86 ERA) and Kale Murphree (1-0, 3.27 ERA).

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Guard Ean Wagner goes up for a layup against Tarleton State on Jan. 28.

After ACU’s 80-64 loss to the Tarleton State Texans on Wednesday, the Wildcats were eliminated from postseason contention and will miss the postseason tournament for the ninth time in the last 10 years. “We dug ourselves into a hole early,” head coach Jason Copeland said. “We didn’t shoot well at all. You are not going to win a conference game on the road by shooting 35 percent.” The loss drops ACU’s conference record to 2-7 and

Basketball overall record to 8-15. The Wildcats are sixth in the Lone Star Conference South Division, one place above lastplace Eastern New Mexico. The Wildcats, following a trend that has been set all season long, fell behind early. Tarleton State built a lead of 25-9 in the first 12 minutes of play behind great early 3-point shooting. In the first half, the Texans shot 6-11 behind the arc. After falling behind by 16, the Wildcats went on a 13-0 run to close the gap to three, thanks to seven points

from guard Dante Adams and six from forward Dejan Sencanski. But the Texans went into the locker room with a 36-28 lead. ACU opened the second half shooting well, cutting the Texan lead to five at 4035, but the Texans responded with a 16-6 run. The closest ACU would get again was eight points at 69-61. Tarleton State finished off the Wildcats with an 11-3 spurt to make it 80-64. Adams finished with a game-high 19 points, while Sencanski had 13 points and See

Basketball page 4B


Friday, February 20, 2009

Page 2B

Campbell, golf team prepare for St. Edward’s Invitational in Austin By Chandler Harris Assistant Sports Editor

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer

Charles Levitte hits his drive during a qualifying round. The Wildcats will compete in the St. Edward’s Invitational on Monday.

The golf team travels to Austin on Sunday for the St. Edward’s Spring Invitational tournament. St. Edward’s University will be sponsoring the tournament at Grey Rock Golf Club. The team completed qualifying for the tournament Wednesday afternoon. “I have four people who are going for sure,” head coach Mike Campbell said. “We had a tie for the fifth spot on the team, so those two players will play a tiebreaker round.” The four players who already have qualified are seniors Patrick Hanauer and Hilton Funk, sophomore Cyril Bouniol and freshman Morgan Johnson. Fourteen schools will send teams to compete, including St. Edward’s, University of California-San Diego,

St. Mary’s, Southwestern Oklahoma and Newman. The University of Texas also will be sending a junior varsity team to play. “St. Edward’s is a really good school, and they have a really strong team,” Campbell said. He said the players on the Wildcat team have been working on different parts of their game over the past two weeks. “When you have different players, they have different strengths and weaknesses,” Campbell said. “The different players emphasize different areas that they need to work on, but overall, we work on everything.” The Wildcats are coming off an impressive performance at the Dustdevil Open on Feb. 10, where the team finished in first place, including the top three individual performances.

“Morgan, Hilton and Cyril played really well in that first tournament, and Patrick was one of our best players in the fall,” Campbell said. “Patrick is coming off of a back injury that prevented him from playing in the first tournament, but he is feeling better and should be good to play in Austin.” The Wildcats have four tournaments before the Lone Star Conference Tournament, but the St. Edward’s Spring Invitational is as important as any of them, Campbell said. Each tournament the team plays factors into whether they make the regional tournament or not. “We have a great team this year with two seniors leading us in Patrick Hanuer and Hilton Funk,” said Charles Levitte, member of the golf team. “Because we have to qualify to make the team each tournament, we

push each other to get better every time.” Levitte said this tournament is important because these are the schools they will be competing against all season. Each team in the region has a head-to-head record against any other team it competes in a tournament with in the spring. The top 10 teams from each region advance to the regional tournament. Currently, the Wildcats are ranked No. 3 in their region. “Our goal is to win the tournament, but at the least we want to win as many matchups as possible against the teams in our region,” Campbell said.

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Softball team gears up for six games in three days By Chandler Harris Assistant Sports Editor

The softball team travels to Durant, Okla., on Friday to compete in the South Central Shootout. The team will play six games in three days in the largest NCAA Division II tournament in the nation. “What we took away from the tournament last week is that the two losses were to nationally ranked opponents, and we were in both of those games,” head coach Chantiel Wilson said. “We took away that we are a good team, and we can win if we stay focused.” The Wildcats will face additional nationally ranked opponents this week, as seven of the 15 teams were ranked in the 2009 NFCA

Preseason Poll. The tournament also boasts three of the last eight NCAA Division II national champions. “All of our opponents this weekend will be tough,” Wilson said. The Wildcats play two games a day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The team begins Friday by facing Washburn at 2 p.m., which ACU defeated 5-2 just two weeks ago at the St. Mary’s Tournament. ACU will then face Central Missouri at 4 p.m.; Central Missouri is currently No. 19 in the NFCA poll. The Wildcats’ first game on Saturday will be against Nebraska-Omaha at noon. Nebraska was selected to win the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Conference, according to the

preseason coaches’ poll. At 4 p.m., the Wildcats will play Fort Hayes State. Fort Hayes State is a good team that has played other Lone Star Conference teams well, Wilson said. On Sunday, the team will play Pittsburg State at 10 a.m. and Newman at 4 p.m. Wilson said she is glad to have the opportunity to take the team on the road for a big tournament. “This is where a lot of the growth of a team happens,” Wilson said. “I told them that when you’re a female athlete playing a female sport, it’s not always the team with the most talent that wins, but rather the team that gets along with each other.” Wilson said this weekend will allow the players to learn

more about each other and how to get along with each other. “You really get to know your teammates better during these long weekends,” Wilson said. “It also allows the coaches the opportunity to try different people at different positions throughout the weekend.” Wilson said she expects catcher Jessica Shiery to continue to do well at the plate. Lately, opponents have been pitching around her, but those walks have often turned into runs. Wilson said she also expects pitcher Jacque Gregoire to continue the momentum she has built with her 4-1 record thus far.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Page 3B

Olson: Former ACU pole vaulting Olympian finds happiness in bail bond career Continued from page 1B pole vault program was not competitive. “I should have guessed that it was not very good, since my record in high school was better than the school record there,” Olson said. The duo of Hood and Olson rapidly propelled Olson into the nation’s elite. Over his four years of eligibility, Olson won every single NAIA indoor and outdoor title and every Lone Star Conference championship. The tall, slender Olson was popular for his vaulting prowess and for his looks too; his funny goggles masked a pair of endless, blue eyes, and when he ran, his long, blond, wavy hair looked like a wild yellow mane. “His hair was everywhere,” said Jeff Withrow, who attended ACU with Olson. “[Olson] was different from other students; he was wild and crazy.” Dr. Charlie Marler, professor emeritus and senior faculty member of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department, was Olson’s teacher in the Communication Law class. “Billy was the local guy; all of us watched him emerge in high school,” Marler said. “He was this tall, skinny, lanky kid with blond hair, who did not have the muscular size of an adult but had already broken all high school records.” Marler said Hood’s pioneering knowledge of pole vault helped Olson exploit his talent, and the rivalry with Brad Pursley pushed him to excel. “Billy was a star; he was the star of our team,” said David Hess, ACU strength and conditioning coach, who threw the javelin in 1978 and played baseball in 1979 for ACU. “He could have played football; he was the receiver type of guy. We would just sit back and watch him compete. People loved to watch him vault.” Olson thrilled the crowd, and his success attracted talented vaulters to ACU, such as Brad Pursley, former U.S. record holder; Tim Bright, a three-time Olympian; Dale Jenkins, Division II National Championship record holder; Steve Thaxton, Division II national champion in 1986 and Cam Miller, an

1988 Olympic trials qualifier. All jumped more than 18 feet. Pursley, who still holds the school and conference outdoor record with 18-10.25, came to ACU two years after Olson. The Merkel’s native said Olson took him under his wing, and he quickly improved at Olson’s contact, winning three individual national titles. After their collegiate career, Olson and Pursley continued to train in Abilene under Hood’s direction, competing together on the professional circuit as well as at both 1984 and 1988 Olympic Trials. Pursley retired in 1988 to coach track at Texas Tech for 10 years and in 1999 he began his own construction company. Olson retired one year after Pursley and began a shoe business with a couple of former Olympians. They visited manufactures in Taiwan and South Korea, but it did not work out. “We did not have the means,” Olson said. “I came back to Abilene and started to work here.” In 1991, Olson took over the bail bond business that his father, a former police officer, had founded 13 years before in Abilene. The next year, Olson also began his own bail bond company, Billy Olson Bail Bond, which he still owns today. In 2005, Pursley joined Olson at Billy Olson Bail Bond. “We stayed friends throughout the years,” Pursley said. During the first six months, Pursley and Olson worked 12 hours a day every day because they wanted the agency to get as many contracts as possible, Pursley said. When Pursley worked from 6 a.m.–6 p.m., Olson worked from 6 p.m.–a.m, and vice versa. “It was pretty hard,” Pursley said. “But we were never in debt.” Abilene Bail Bond now has five employees and works 24/7, including holidays. The agency is located on Treadaway and South 27th and is marked by a large sign with a pole vaulter on it. Bail bond companies sign bonds for people who are arrested, so they can get out of jail until the day of their trial. Companies are reimbursed

when the defendants go to court and in return ask them to pay a percentage of the bond. Abilene Bail Bond takes a 15 percent fee on each bail bond, Olson said. Pursley said at work he and Olson balance each other, and it is one of the reasons for their success. “Billy and I are sort of opposite,” Pursley said. “He is very detail-oriented and fairly organized, and I am kind of an old country boy. He is pretty intense, and I’m pretty laid back.” Olson said he is a worrywart and Pursley does not really worry. “He takes the office wherever he goes,” Pursley said. “Sometimes he gets obsessed with work, which was also true in our athletic days. Billy was consumed by being the best in the world. When I was an athlete, I did not take it as seriously as he did, and it’s the same in business. But we both work very hard.” In college, Olson and Pursley would finish first and second most of the time. The competition between the two was ferocious not only at track meets but also at practice. “Every day was a fight,” Hood said. “That’s what made [Olson] so good.” In the fall, all the vaulters trained like decathletes, practicing up to three events each day, Hood said. Besides pole vault, they practiced long jump, high jump, shot put and hurdles. Hood said they lifted weights five days a week, did a lot of running with poles and did gymnastics, trampoline, underwater vaulting and hill runs every week. Some weeks, they would not even take a day off, Hood said. “Sometimes, they would call me on Sunday afternoon to vault,” Hood said. “Even in the summer, they called me to go out to the track and vault.” Olson’s technique was not flawless, but his tremendous speed made him jump so high, Hood said. “[Billy] was the most competitive person … in the world,” Hood said. “He would compete for everything, even for who would spit the farthest!” Olson competed profession-

Photo Courtesy of Creative Services

Olson poses with his pole, wearing a USA warm-up suit. ally until 1989, when the last of many injuries, a stress fracture on his left leg, convinced him to hang up his spikes. “It was time; I was pretty beat up,” Olson said about his pole vault retirement at age 31. Olson said he did not miss the frenzy of his pole vault career and especially not the travels; carrying poles on every trip was very difficult. Olson said after his track career it felt natural to come back to Abilene, his hometown, where his parents live. Olson said time has flown by fast since he began to work as a bondsman 17 years ago. He usually works at night from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., as his father did. “Billy has worked at night for a long time,” Pursley said. “I think he doesn’t mind this solitary lifestyle; nobody bothers him.” Olson said he gets lots of work at night because that is when many people get arrested and bail bonds are signed. “I get a call from the jail by a relative, a friend or somebody in jail,” Olson said. “I get them out of jail and take them home or wherever they want. I am

not afraid of hot topics. I try to talk to people; that’s what my father did. When they get in trouble, some people don’t know anything at all. I explain the situation; we find out what they are in jail for and work out an agreement.” Olson said Abilene Bail Bond currently has about 900 people on bond. The risk that several defendants do not show up in court and therefore that their bail is not reimbursed to the company makes the job stressful, Pursley said. “You can lose a lot of money,” Olson said. “I’ve got people on $30, $40 and $50,000 [bonds].” Olson said only a small number does not show up in court. “I end up chasing them,” he said. “I’ve had a number of bad experiences, but I have never gotten into a fight.” Olson said he likes the interaction with the customers. “I like my job, but I don’t like the hours,” Olson said. “It’s not like pole vaulting; I loved it.” On a pole vault runway, Olson feared nothing but is afraid of heights in real life, he said. “I liked every bit of [vault-

ing],” Olson said. “I loved the speed, going up so fast. Brad [Pursley] used to say that it’s like a ride at the fair. I was never afraid of it, but I know a lot of guys were. I had a good awareness of where I was in the air.” In The Road to Los Angeles, a television show about the 1984 Olympics, Olson told the reporter about his reputation of a “wild and crazy guy”. “A lot of my buddies looked at me that way, ‘Give it to Billy, he will do anything,’” Olson said. Olson said during his career he traveled to mainly countries of Europe and Asia, where he spent most summers. While still in college, Olson was often competing far away from Texas, which caused him to miss class a lot during the spring. During his senior year in 1982, Olson had a conflict with a professor about his absences and did not complete his last semester of college. Olson was ranked No. 1 in the world, but he never obtained his bachelor’s degree. “I was making good grades and I did the work, but I just could not attend class,” Olson said. Marler said he tried to help Olson graduate, but things did not work out. “Billy was a very confident student,” Marler said. “He was very articulate and outgoing.” Olson and his wife Stephanie have a six-year-old daughter, Maddi; he said not many people know about his pole vaulting career any more. “Only older people,” he said. “It goes away.” However, he still gets people’s attention when he goes to the mall, he said. When he was a jumper, he could overhear people talk about his exploits as a worldclass pole vaulter. He said now they still talk about him, but as the bail bondsman. E-mail Vandendriessche at:


Friday, February 20, 2009

Page 4B

Basketball: Wildcats Baseball: Uechi leading Cats offensively fall to 8-15 overall Continued from page 1B

Dick Schissler :: staff photographer

Forward Cam Holson drives to the basket against ENMU on Jan. 14. Continued from page 1B seven rebounds. However, Adams shot only one of ten from the three-point line, and Sencanski shot only four of 13 from the field. Guard Ean Wagner was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 10 points. The Wildcats shot just 35.5 percent for the game to the Texans 51.6 percent, making just 6-27 from beyond the three-point line. “We shot entirely too many threes,” Copeland said. Tarleton State had four players score in double figures, a product of their balanced attack: guard Wale Ogunoye had 14, guard Cortney Hill finished with 12, guard Jeremiah Wilson

had 11, and preseason allAmerican forward Eric Williams scored 10 points and finished with a game-high 14 rebounds. ACU will play Midwestern State on Saturday at 4 p.m. at McMurry University because of Sing Song. The Wildcats will look to play the role of spoiler these last three games, as their season will end after the regular season. “I can only hope we play like we have something to play for,” Copeland said. “There are six seniors on this team, and I hope they play hard these last few games.”

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collegiate start after pitching eight innings and allowing one run on four hits, while striking out 11 to earn his first win of the season. Sullivan (1-0, 2.92 ERA) will get the first start of the series, followed by Cameron Aspaas (2-0, 1.23 ERA), Preston Vancil (1-0, 1.40 ERA) and Cooper Page (0-1, 9.00 ERA). Vancil is coming off his best start as a Wildcat after pitching an eightinning complete game, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out 13 to earn his first win of the season. Offensively, shortstop Willie Uechi leads the team with a .500 batting average and has team-high 18 hits. Third baseman Cameron Watten is second on the team with a .423 batting average, followed by center fielder Thomas Bumpass, who is batting .375. Catcher Jordan

Schmitt leads the team with 10 RBI and one homerun. “He’s just consistent,” Bonneau said of Uechi. “He has good rhythm and balance at the plate, and he’s doing everything he can control and doesn’t try to do to much and plays hard everyday. We need to find our swing and pick up these pitchers a little earlier than later in the games.” The Wildcats’ four-game series will begin Friday at 2 p.m. The two teams will play a doubleheader at noon and 2:30 p.m. Saturday before finishing the series Sunday at 1 p.m. “[UCO] has always been a high intense series, and I look at it as a test for us to get used to playing on the road in a hostile environment where the opponent really plays well at their place,” Bonneau said.

Dick Schissler :: staff photographer E-mail Abston at:

Catcher Jordan Schmitt makes a catch in the outfield during practice. The Wildcats have won six-straight games.

Wildcats: Win will clinch playoff spot Continued from page 1B State 61-49. ACU currently sits second in the LSC South, and can clinch a playoff spot with one more victory. The top four teams in the LSC North and the top four teams in the LSC South will play for the Lone Star Conference Championship on March 4-8 in Bartlesville, Okla. The Wildcats next chance to clinch a playoff spot will be this Saturday against the

Midwestern State Mustangs. The game will be a home game, but will be played at McMurry University’s Kimbrell Arena because Moody Coliseum will play host to Sing Song on Saturday. Head Coach Shawna Lavender said to have success against the Mustangs, her team must regain its focus. “The big thing is that we need to make sure we are focused on the things we need to accomplish. We need to ensure that (MSU)

have to work for everything that they get, especially by keeping them off the offensive board,” Lavender said. Midwestern State has compiled a record of 8-15 on the season, while winning only three of nine conference games. The Mustangs are anchored by Regiane

Arauju, who leads them in scoring and rebounding. The Mustangs, like all LSC opponents, will present a worthy test for a Wildcat team on the verge of a playoff berth.

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Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Center Audrey Maxwell-Lively goes up for a shot against Tarleton State on Jan. 28. The Wildcats need one win to clinch a playoff spot.


Friday, February 20, 2009

SA Congress allows recorder, grants funds By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

One week after the Students’ Association Congress closed its meeting to students and student media based on a concern that private conversations were being recorded, the SA Congress encouraged Optimist reporters to set up a voice recorder on a table at the front of Hart Auditorium for Wednesday’s meeting. Sophomore Sen. Tony Godfrey, sophomore political science and English major from Burleson, proposed a resolution that stated Congress’ encouragement of students to listen to recorded meetings and participate in those meetings. The resolution passed 31-0-2. “Transparency and accountability are and have, since inception, been core values of

the Students’ Association,” Godfrey said. The recording of Wednesday’s meeting is not available because of technical difficulties with the recorder. “For the people who can’t come or don’t come to the meetings, I think it is a good way for them to find out what exactly happened,” said SA Congress treasurer Spencer Hemphill, senior accounting major from Longview. Also on Wednesday’s agenda was the hearing of financial requests from Alpha Psi Omega, a theatre student group, and Swing Cats, a student swing dance group. Congress approved an allocation of $2,480 to Alpha Psi Omega to help 13 student actors and four student technicians attend the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Birmingham, Ala., from March 4-8.

Seth Bazacas, senior theatre major from Helena, Mont., and Shae Candelaria, senior theatre major from Mesquite, originally presented a proposal of $4,180 to cover the group’s hotel costs and registration fees. After debate and a vote of 303-0, Congress granted only the funds to cover the hotel costs. Congress also granted $2,280 to Swing Cats, so members can attend LindyFest, a dance class workshop in Houston, from March 12-15. Baron Davis, senior information systems major from Irving, and Zach Wheat, senior political science major from Farmington, N.M., originally asked for $3,627.28 to pay for their group’s registration fees, hotel fees and gasoline costs. The amendment to grant $2,280 passed 17-9-4, and the vote to allocate the funds to Swing Cats passed by the count of 32-1-2.

Junior Sen. Steve Cardona, junior political science major from Abilene, and Senior Sen. Kyle Pickens, senior biology major from Garland, proposed the amendments to reduce the amount of funds given to Swing Cats in order to save money in the Student Request Fund, which has a little more than $5,500 left after Wednesday. Three more groups — Jack Pope Fellows, National Student Speech Language Hearing Association and the Broadcast Education Association — are planning to request money from Congress in the next two meetings. “This was one of the most efficient meetings we’ve had,” Hemphill said. “I thought Congress members did a good job of being frugal with the money that we have.” E-mail Freeman at:

Page 5B

Rising to the Occasion

Dick Schissler :: staff photographer The men of Galaxy hoist fellow Moonie, Ryan Hadley, junior biochemistry major from Burleson, onto their shoulders before Sing Song practice Tuesday night in Moody Coliseum.

Google’s new program tracks IHOP offers free pancakes people through cell phones By Earl Karr Online Editor

By Colter Hettich Features Editor

Parents can monitor their children, friends can keep up with friends and suspicious lovers can put their mind to rest with Google’s latest development: Latitude. Latitude, “a feature in Google Maps for mobile and iGoogle,” allows other Latitude users to track your location. “You know that Harry Potter map that shows their footprints wherever they go? Well, this is it,” said George Saltsman, director of the Adams Center for Learning and Teaching. The thought of their every step being tracked and watched sends shivers down some spines, but Google provided each user with the power to approve or deny followers and turn the capability off completely, if desired.

“The main thing I think people need to remember is [Latitude] is an opt-in software,” Saltsman said. “I do know that we’ve been working on applications that allow you to keep some anonymity.” Latitude does not maintain recorded histories of users’ travels. Google assured the public the new addition “features intuitive privacy controls that make it simple for you to manage who sees information about you…there are also universal privacy settings that allow you to enable automatic location detection, set your location manually, hide your location or sign out of Latitude entirely.” The software uses all available connections, including Wi-Fi, cell phone towers and GPS satellites to triangulate a device’s location.

Latitude is nothing new. Less than two weeks after Apple released the iPhone for sale June 29, Loopt announced the availability of its free tracking application in the Apple App Store. Latitude and Loopt share enough similarities that it is unclear which will ultimately win the favor of the people. Both allow users to turn off the location-sharing function and approve only those they want to follow the location. The one significant difference is Latitude’s use of Google Maps and its compatibility with Google Data and Google Contacts. Latitude is not currently available for the iPhone or iPod touch, but promises it is “coming soon!”

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FilmFest directors find talent By Erin Mangold Student Reporter

FilmFest, an annual film competition among students at ACU, will be March 20 at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Abilene at 7 p.m. During the event, only the six films that are up for Best Picture will be shown. The chairs of Filmfest are Christina Johnson, sophomore English major from Dallas, and Jonathan Davis, junior marketing major from Hoffman Estates, Ill. Davis said they were pleased with the turnout for the recently held entertainment try-outs. More than 30 people auditioned, and out of those, nine were chosen. The entertainment people will be performing between films and awards, just like a real awards show. Prizes also will be presented at the

end of the formal event. The host and hostess will be Byron Martin and Jamie Lynn Spires. The entertainment will be Clayton Stewart, Daniel Hixon, Lucas Wright and Sara Potter and Fair Forms, which consists of Paul Knettel, Jacob Knettel and Claire Hardin. Johnson said FilmFest is a great excuse for girls to get a little more use out of their prom dresses. “It will be a full-out Oscar event with an ACU twist,” she said. More than 15 teams will submit films into the competition. During the fall semester, students attended FilmFest workshops for acting, screenwriting and directing. During the spring semester, interest meetings, casting calls and mandatory production days took place. Supplies such as cameras and lighting equipment are of-

fered to all of the teams to use for the making of the films. Tom Craig, director of Student Productions, serves as the faculty adviser for FilmFest. “He’s been great, and we’ve been very blessed having him help us, especially with Sing Song going on,” Johnson said. Films are due March 16 by 9 a.m. in Craig’s office, Room 133 in McKinzie Hall. All the films will be shown at the Paramount Theatre beginning at 3 p.m., preceding the awards ceremony. Tickets will be sold to the general public beginning Friday. For ACU students, faculty and staff, tickets will be sold at the discounted price of $5.

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Hungry students craving breakfast any time of day can eat to their heart’s delight until March 4 at IHOP. IHOP, 3750 S. Clack St., is offering “All You Can Eat Pancakes” for the most ravenous of patrons. The deal entails breakfast meals starting at $4.99 that include two hash browns, two eggs, two meats of choice and, of course, two pancakes. After students finish eating the two pancakes, they simply can request more until full. Abilenians recently found a similar breakfast deal at Denny’s, 120 E. Overland Trail, with the free Grand Slam meal. This meal was

almost identical to the IHOP promotion but was limited to one per customer and allowed no take-outs. The breakfast, that included pancakes, bacon, eggs and sausage, was free to every customer who requested it Feb. 3 from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Cody DeAngelo, assistant manager at IHOP, said the restaurant’s unlimited pancake deal was not offered in response to Denny’s Grand Slam. “It is something we do every year, and our promotions just happen to fall around the same time,” he said. Jeremy Recek, assistant manager at Denny’s, said the Grand Slam deal went very well. “Everyone really enjoyed it,” he said.

If students missed the deal from Denny’s or did not make it to IHOP on time, they still can enjoy other breakfast promotions. Recek said Denny’s may offer the Grand Slam again, and DeAngelo said IHOP definitely will run the “All You Cant Eat Pancakes” offer in the future. Tuesday is national Pancake Day, and if customers donate to the Miracle Children’s Network, IHOP will give them a free stack of pancakes. If students are longing for some flapjacks this week, they can loosen their belts and head on to Denny’s or IHOP for a sweet dish to satisfy their cravings.

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Page 6B

Page 7B

Friday, February 20, 2009

sing song 2009

hosts & hostesses

Jessica Patterson Senior, nursing major Hometown: Winchester, VA

Believe it

No Sing Song would be complete without larger-than-life hosts and hostesses. This year’s leading cast will make believers of their audience. Photos by: Dick Schissler, Staff Photographer

Donavan Plummer Senior, communication major Hometown: Mesquite, TX

Jennifer Rasco Senior, elem. education major Hometown: Abilene, TX

Coy Greathouse Senior, youth and familiy ministry major Hometown: Alvin, TX

Adrienne Linge Senior, vocal major Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Sam Souder Junior, worship ministry major Hometown: Arlington, TX

(CLOCKWISE) Left: Donavan Plummer, senior communication major from Mesquite, and Jennifer Rasco, senior elementary education major from Abilene, dance together as they sing Something to Talk About. Above: Coy Greathouse, senior youth and family ministry major from Alvin, performs Do You Believe In Magic alongside the other hosts. Right: Rasco belts out the ’80s hit We Are Family. Below: Sam Souder, junior worship ministry major from Arlington, and Greathouse let the Fischer brothers know You Got a Friend in Me. Below Left: Rasco, Adrienne Linge, senior vocal major from San Antonio, and Jessica Patterson, senior nursing major from Winchester, Va., remind each other that We Are Family. Far Left: Mallorie Frank (’08), backstage manager, makes certain Patterson is ready to hit the stage.


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Friday, February 20, 2009

Honors students experience fun, suspense at mystery dinner By Laura Acuff Opinion Page Editor

Spring brings blossoming flowers, warmer weather and hordes of presidential scholarship hopefuls traipsing across campus in high heels and blazers. In an effort to attract promising students, the Honors College now includes a mystery murder dinner as part of the high school students’ preview weekend. “We were thinking about the Presidential Scholars coming to campus and trying to think of something that represented who we were and the type of stuff we do,” said Bethany Scroggins, Honors College freshman advisor and events programmer. The mystery dinner, which begins at 4:30 p.m. after scholars have attended an informational session about the Honors College and a demonstrational honors class, features a meal periodically interrupted with

scenes of the murder investigation of a rich businessman. The audience follows the developments as a detective interviews suspects including the businessman’s daughter, business partner and young wife. Towards the end of the meal, audience members may fill out cards, guessing which character is the murderer. After the final scene reveals the killer, viewers who guessed correctly each receive a bottle of Dublin Dr. Pepper as a reward. Although she guessed incorrectly, presidential scholarship applicant and high school senior Kelli Ingram, from Los Alamos, N.M., said she enjoyed the dinner Monday and would recommend it to other visiting prospective students. “I liked that they were willing to step out of doing the normal courses through theater and welcome us,” Ingram said. “You got to see some of the students in action.” Featuring only honors students as the production’s ac-

tors and actresses, Dr. Chris Willerton, Dean of Honors College and professor of English, said the mystery dinner showcases the diversity of students in the Honors College. “The stereotype we’re fighting against is that honors students are study nerds, and this is evidence to the contrary,” Willerton said. “They are fun people. They are versatile. They take risks. They do anything anyone else does.” Honors students were invited to audition for parts before Christmas break. Out of the 17 who auditioned, only five were chosen, Scroggins said. Those five began learning lines over Christmas and started rehearsals after returning for the spring semester. Ben Miller, freshman physics major from the Woodlands, played one of the suspects in the production. He said after participating in musical theater in high school, acting in the mystery dinner sounded enjoyable. Miller also said he believed

the production positively represented the Honors College. “I think it makes us look like fun, you know, makes it look like something cool, something you can have fun in and something that opens up new opportunities,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do this had I not been in the Honors College.” Murder mystery dinner director Amy Simpson, administrative coordinator for the Department of Theatre and ACU alumnus, also said she appreciated the perspective the performance awards prospective students of the Honors College. By utilizing the skills of student actors, actresses and honors student playwright Sara Morris, sophomore art major from Abilene, Simpson believes it highlights especially well the creativity of the college. “They think outside the box a lot,” Simpson said. “The professors, the dean, even the administrative coordinator, they look for interesting ways to do

things. They’re excited about finding solutions and ways to learn and explore the world that are different than might normally be thought of, and so the murder mystery is obviously sort of an artistic presentation, but it also is fun.” As part of the panel evaluating acting auditions, Simpson said she was surprised by the acting skills of the auditioning students. “We were all really impressed and, frankly, a little surprised at the amount of talent that we saw at the auditions,” Simpson said. “This was a really excited group of students who were ready to do what they needed to do.” Although the Honors College has presented mystery dinners in the past, Scroggins said this is the first year for such a production to be presented multiple times a semester to prospective students. With a performance lined up for each presidential scholar preview day, the student actors and ac-

tresses will perform a total of five shows this semester. “They’re very energetic, vivacious people, so they like doing this sort of thing,” Scroggins said. “We are happy to let them exhibit that side of their personality that they might not otherwise get to use.” While Willerton said the actors and actresses receive a modest salary, money is not their motivation. “They’re not in it for the money,” Willerton said. “They’re in it for the gusto. They’re gusto people.” The murder mystery dinners are designed specifically with presidential scholarship applicants in mind, but anyone is welcome to attend. Tickets maybe purchased in the Honors College office in Room 217 of the Administration Building anytime or in the Campus Center after Chapel.

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Comedian George Lopez Traffic problems arise during lunch rush to perform at Civic Center By Tanner Anderson Page Designer

By Linda Bailey Student Reporter

Comedian George Lopez will perform Sunday in the Abilene Civic Center at 8 p.m. Tickets cost between $48 and $56.50. Scott Strong, senior marketing manager for AEG Live Southwest, said the show in Abilene is one stop on the tour Lopez started at the beginning of the year. Strong said Lopez suggested the idea of putting Abilene on the tour’s list of Texas towns. “George Lopez likes to play many of the Texas towns,” Strong said. Lopez is the star of the family sitcom, George Lopez, a TV show about a father dealing with his complicated family while keeping his sense of humor intact. Strong said Lopez’s performance Sunday will be a stand-up comedy routine featuring jokes and other material from the show. “It takes some elements from the TV show that is still running in syndication,”

Strong said. “It looks at life situations; it is a successful stand-up act.” Strong said all adults in Abilene can identify with Lopez’s comedy. “I really think it relates to anybody, from college kids, high school students, graduate students and senior citizens,” Strong said. “The really great thing about his comedy is that it relates to anyone.” Jessica Williams, sophomore English major from Atlanta, said she was excited when she heard Lopez would perform in Abilene. “Me and my brothers used to watch the George Lopez show all the time,” Williams said. “It is so awesome that he is coming to Abilene.” Ticket sales have been high throughout Lopez’s tour so far with many shows selling out. Strong predicted the Abilene show would also sell out.

E-mail Bailey at:

Students will have more culinary-consuming competition this weekend with family, friends and alumni who will attend the 2009 Sing Song shows. Every day after Chapel, masses of hunger-crazed students stampede toward the “World Famous Bean” and the Hilton Food Court. Those leading the charge are the lucky ones; they successfully stomp out their hunger pains with ease, while others have to patiently wait for sustenance. Many students take part in this lunch ritual, trying to beat the rush before fulfilling their scholastic obligations. “The big lunch rush hits after Chapel, and it’s always packed,” said Taylor Sturgis, senior finance major from Plano. “I usually wait until 12:15 p.m. and go to Chick-Fil-A, but sometimes you have to wait because they don’t have food. The only change that I would like to see is more staff.” Although the Campus Center dining areas may have some minor setbacks, these hiccups are not large enough to cause most students to eat elsewhere. “If I come in [the food court], there’s usually one person working the register,” said Brianna Bowman,

Heather Leiphart :: staff photographer

Students line up to grab a meal in the “World Famous Bean” Wednesday night. sophomore communication major from Marble Falls. “There’s a slight line, but nothing too ridiculous.” ACU is preparing to accommodate both Sing Song visitors and students by extending hours and menus at the Hilton Food Court, the Bean and The Campus Store. The Campus Store will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; for lunch, the food court will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Bean will have a wider variety of foods at a lower price for Saturday’s guests. “It has been a constant challenge to create and maintain an operation that

will meet the students’ standards,” said Anthony Williams, chief auxiliary officer. “The last class has been larger than the previous, and we’ve really noticed an increase of usage in the dining hall.” To quell the hunger storm, the Bean and food court area will see an increase of staff during the weekend. “When we have more traffic, we meet that obstacle with more staffing,” Williams said. “The exodus I call Chapel puts an unbelievable head count in the span of a 10–20 minute time period. We serve around 700 students for lunch, and half of that number enters

around 11:30 to 11:50 a.m. There’s not a restaurant in Abilene that operates with that dynamic.” Although Williams said he is pleased with the transformation of the dining facilities around campus, future plans are in the works to improve the students’ experiences. “I feel pretty good with the last two years with the creation of the food court and the Bean renovation,” Williams said. “But we still have not arrived. We are still looking for ways to modify these areas and plans to execute them.” E-mail Anderson at:


February 20, 2009

Page 9B

Oscar-Wild One critic’s take on the pomp, politics and popcorn By Blake Penfield Contributing Writer

Allow me to preface this list of summaries, predications and opinions by offering a quick commentary on the Academy’s Best Picture nominations for this year. They are, in a word, abysmal. Only two of these films deserve their place on a Best Picture list and, consequently, several more-deserving films have been snubbed. For whatever reason, films like The Wrestler, Gran Torino, In Bruges and The Dark Knight were passed over, like Jews with lamb’s blood painted on their doors. That being said, and without further ado, the Best Picture nominees for 2008 are:

tler and Gran Torino is a calamity of profound proportions. It’s like nominating the kid from The Phantom Menace as best actor or Nickelback as best artist. The film is about a man finding out an older woman he used to have familiar relations with was a Nazi. Kate Winslet delivers a great performance, but it’s not enough to save this movie from mediocrity. Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle, director of 28 Days Later, shows us love is the one thing more powerful than the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of how a young man who grew up as a homeless orphan in India came to be a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. But the game show is only used as a framing device for telling one of the most emotionally moving and inspiring love stories that cinema has given us in the last decade. Fantastic performances and expert directing combine to create something that is truly special. As much as I’m rooting for Frost/Nixon, I’m betting this is the film that’s going to win Best Picture. It’s an excellent movie, and it deserves the recognition it receives.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button By far the most mainstream and commercially successful of the five nominated films, Benjamin Button tells the story of a man who, like Cher, has the unique experience of aging backward. Since David Fincher was announced as the director of the film, Button has enjoyed a substantial amount of buzz. It’s a fine film with good performances delivered by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, but it overstays its welcome. Compound its dragging length with its uncanny similarity to Forrest Gump, and you get the recipe for a good film that gets drowned by its own Oscar-baited self-awareness. Go see the film and enjoy it, but don’t count on it winning Sunday night.

Additional Nominations- Penfield’s Picks Best Supporting Actor : There is absolutely no way Heath Ledger will not win this one. His Joker already has been crowned as one of the greatest screen villains of all time. Ledger makes Hannibal Lecter look like a girl scout and Darth Vader look like a silly pooh bear. Best Supporting Actress: This category is pretty much up in the air, and I cannot, in good conscience, predict who’s going to walk away with the award. Here’s an exercise: find a five-sided die and correlate each number with one of the actresses nominated. Roll the die and find the associated actress. She’s going to win. Best Actor: Most people see this as a battle between Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn. My money’s on Rourke. His performance in The Wrestler is devastatingly powerful. It’s a must see, and he should be recognized for that.

Milk Milk is the biopic look at the life of gay rights activist, Harvey Milk, the first open homosexual elected to public office in the United States. Sean Penn’s performance is fantastic, winning him the Screen Actors Guild award for best actor. He vibrates with onscreen bravado in a way few actors can hope to achieve. While director Gus Van Sant does a competent job in telling the tale of this civil rights leader, the story itself is not terribly engrossing. The film is good, but it’s the acting that is the real breadwinner here. It’s got some momentum behind it, but I doubt it’s enough to give it the win.

Best Actress: I would prefer Meryl Streep to win for her phenomenal performance in Doubt, but the smart money’s on Winslet. Her performances in both The Reader and Revolutionary Road have been highly lauded and, although she’s only nominated for one of those films, the Academy tends to favor actors and actresses with a couple stellar performances under their belt in the same year.

The Reader This is the biggest offender of all. This movie has no business being mentioned in the same breath as the other films nominated. The fact it was nominated over films like The Wres-

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Curtain and Statuette Design: Daniel Johnson-Kim

Frost/Nixon Adapted from the play of the same name, Frost/Nixon deals with the series of interviews that British TV personality David Frost conducted with Richard Nixon after the infamous Watergate fiasco. This is director Ron Howard’s masterpiece. It succeeds on multiple levels, from Howard’s fantastic pacing to actor Frank Langella’s career-defining role as the ex-president. Fraught with tension and sublime human drama, this is my favorite film of the nominated pictures. Unfortunately, I don’t see it having a very good chance of being recognized as Best Picture by the Academy.

Here’s a quick recap of the nominations for six of the main categories ( l Arts Editor’s picks) Best Motion Picture:

Best Actor:

Best Actress:

Best Supporting Actor:

Best Supporting Actress:

Best Director:

n “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

n Richard Jenkins “The Visitor”

n Anne Hathaway “Rachel Getting Married”

n Josh Brolin “Milk”

n Amy Adams “Doubt”

l David Fincher “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

n Penélope Cruz “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

n Ron Howard “Frost/Nixon”

n Frank Langella “Frost/Nixon” n ”Frost/Nixon”

n Angelina Jolie “Changeling”

l Sean Penn “Milk” n Melissa Leo “Frozen River”

n “Milk”

n Robert Downey Jr. “Tropic Thunder” n Philip Seymour Hoffman “Doubt”

l Viola Davis “Doubt”

n “The Reader”

n Brad Pitt “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

n Meryl Streep “Doubt”

l Heath Ledger “The Dark Knight”

n Taraji P. Henson “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

l “Slumdog Millionaire”

n Mickey Rourke “The Wrestler”

l Kate Winslet “The Reader”

n Michael Shannon “Revolutionary Road”

n Marisa Tomei “The Wrestler”

n Gus Van Sant “Milk” n Stephen Daldry “The Reader” n Danny Boyle “Slumdog Millionaire”

Abilene Opera Association provides rare opportunity By Lydia Melby Arts Editor

The Abilene Opera Association is bringing something new to the Abilene arts scene. With a little help from students and professors from both ACU and Hardin-Simmons University and also some adults from the Abilene community, the AOA will be presenting its rendition of Georges Bizet’s Carmen. The opera will run Feb. 24, 26 and 27 at the Paramount Theatre. I was able to catch some of the production’s rehearsal Wednesday night, and although I was unable to view the performance in its entirety, I was impressed with what I saw. I found the show in an

advanced state of production, and I imagine the cast and choir will only improve from there. From what I have experienced and can extrapolate, the performance will showcase a strong, capable choir, talented leads and, of course, an exquisite orchestra. Out of the 18-member chorus, 12 of the singers are ACU students, and ACU’s own Artist in Residence and associate professor of voice and opera director, Samuel Cook, plays the volatile Don Jose with both strong stage presence and a confident, pure voice. The other leads, most of whom have come from out of town, also are quite gifted and accomplished performers and should provide the audience with

an enjoyable and rare experience of a production of this quality and nature. Micah Bland, senior music major from Denton, said he was asked by Shelby Weatherford, the president of AOA, to take charge of auditioning, preparing and directing the chorus. Bland, who sings in the chorus, as well as directs, said he is excited and thinks the chorus is prepared for opening night Tuesday. “I gave out the music to the chorus at the end of October, then we had one rehearsal in November, and we’ve been practicing with the chorus since Jan. 27,” he said. Auditions for chorus, which is comprised of HSU and ACU

students, some adults from the community and one Abilene High School student, were open to the public. Bland said he asked those auditioning to prepare and perform one foreign language song. “I asked them to come and sing one solo, a foreign language song, and we just picked from there,” Bland said. “The auditions were pretty relaxed, and we had a great turnout… We get a little pay, but really we all do it for the fun, for performing.” Tickets for the opera can be purchased in advance or at the door. For more information, call the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council at 677-1161. E-mail Melby at:

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer

The AOA will produce Bizet’s Carmen on Feb. 24, 26 and 27.


Page 10B

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hunter Welcome Center to be dedicated Saturday By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

More than three years after university officials decided to build a welcome center on campus, the Bob and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center will finally be open to greet prospective students, the Abilene community and anyone curious to see the new building. An invitation-only ceremony to dedicate the 57,000-squarefoot, $15.7 million facility will be Saturday at 12:15 p.m. in the McCaleb Conference Center. Later, a private dedication for the outdoor elements of the facility, which include the Rich Welcome Plaza and Labyrinth, Galaxy Park and the Faubus Fountain and Lake, will take place at 2 p.m. The welcome

center will be open to the public Tuesday from 2-4 p.m. for an open house tour. “The Hunter Welcome Center completes our official front door of the campus,” said Dr. Royce Money, president of the university. “That’s our last building we’re going to build out there.” The welcome center, located on the east end of campus, will house several university departments, including Admissions, Alumni Relations, the Career Services Center, the ACU Foundation and University Events. All departments have finished moving into their new locations, but some are finalizing last-minute touches to the offices, said Beth Holland, senior prospect research officer in the Office of Development.

“There’s still a little bit of settling going on,” she said. Holland said all move-in activities should be complete by Saturday. She said more than 700 people will attend Saturday’s dedication. Money, Dr. C.E. Cornutt, director of the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Bob Hunter, senior vice president emeritus, will be some of the featured speakers at the dedication. Money said the dedication will pay tribute to the Hunters, thank the donors and applaud the facility. “I’ve always heard that first impressions are important, and certainly this is a great first impression,” Money said of the welcome center. Many of the events and departments that were in Zellner Hall and the Hilton Room

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer

Visitors can tour the Bob and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center during an open house event Tuesday. will now be in the welcome center. Holland said she expects the facility to be used for career fairs, community meetings, weddings and din-

ners, in addition to being the first place prospective students visit on campus. “This is the premier place in town now, probably even in

this whole region of the state,” Holland said.

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Technology conference to visit ACU Shorter summer courses create By Colter Hettich Features Editor

Representatives of 56 universities on five continents in nine countries will begin their journey to Abilene soon. Their final destination: the Teague Special Events Center. Their ultimate goal: get ConnectED. ACU’s ConnectED Summit 2009 on Feb. 26-27 will explore various aspects of mobile learning and technology. George Saltsman, director of the Adams Center for Learning and Teaching, said registration officially closed Tuesday after exceeding the maximum capacity of attendees. As of Tuesday afternoon, 354 participants from 62 countries — Australia being farthest — 30 states, 25 K-12 school districts and 23 companies have registered to attend. “I couldn’t be more excited about the interest we are receiving for this conference,”

Saltsman said. “To have this level of participation from this many universities and schools is overwhelming.” Conference organizers will have a little help educating guests, thanks to a few keynote speakers. Jason Ediger, director of iTunes U and Mobile Learning in Apple’s Education Division, will address attendants as one of three keynote speakers. Ediger manages the team responsible for iPhone, iPod and iTunes U in K-12 and higher education, according to Other keynote speakers include Dr. Eric Mazur, Balkanski professor of physics and applied physics at Harvard University, John Regan, vice president AT&T’s Government and Education Group, and Dr. Stephen Molyneux, Distinguished Educator for Apple. ACU administrators hope the ConnectED conference is an indicator of mobile learning leadership.

“We still have a long way to go to fully maximize the potential of these tools,” Saltsman said. “But we are showing true leadership and a spirit of innovation, and for that I couldn’t be prouder.” On Thursday, vendors will have until 6:45 p.m. to setup their displays for the opening of the hall at 7 p.m. After an hour of mingling, games and hors d’oeuvres, the evening program, featuring keynote speaker Molyneux, will commence. At 10 p.m., the program will end, and guests will begin preparing for a full day Friday. From 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., guests and administrators will have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops. ConnectED Summit offers eight tracks, or workshops, focusing on everything from Web programming to infrastructure and networking.

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longer break for students, faculty By Ryan Elam Student Reporter

Beginning this summer, students can take shorter summer courses. Courses will be offered in multiple terms and will be compacted from traditional five-week sessions to three-week sessions. “We know so many students need to work and travel in the summer,” said Dr. Jeanine Varner, dean of Arts and Sciences. “We wanted to experiment with more concentrated courses.” Administrators hope that this change will benefit ACU students and faculty. “One of the things that we heard from students was that there was a need for the courses to be more compact,” Varner said. “That the Maymester approach would be good

to have all summer long.” Some faculty also expressed interest in the proposal to shorten summer courses because it would mean more time spent with family, said Dr. Tom Winter, vice provost of ACU. General education classes and majors classes are expected to be available. The choice to shorten summer classes was aided by student interviews conducted by the Adams Center for Learning and Teaching, and a group of administrators appointed by Dr. Royce Money, president of the university made the official decision. The administrators included Dr. Jan Meyer, assistant dean of Leadership Development; Dr. Jeanine Varner, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of Eng-

lish; Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, provost; Dr. Tom Winter, professor of social work and vice provost; Jennifer Golden, director of Connections Services; and Kris Evans in the strategic marketing department. While the general pattern will include three-week courses, with a few exceptions. Classes with a lab session will increase the course length because both class and lab cannot be completed in three weeks. Also, students will only take one course at a time. “What we are developing here is a model where students would be focusing on one course in each term,” Winter said. “As a general rule, this will be for students to take one three-hour course.” E-mail Elam at:

The Optimist - Feb. 20, 2009  
The Optimist - Feb. 20, 2009  

The student newspaper produced by the JMC Network at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Tex.