Volume 132, Issue 11: May 2, 2024

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The heart of Ouachita news

VOLUME 132, ISSUE 11 MAY 2, 2024 the







Madison Basco COPY EDITOR

Dr. Jeff Root Adviser Dr. Deborah Root Adviser




Meghann Bledsoe PHOTO EDITOR

Dr. Jackson Carter Online Adviser

CONTENTS COVER STORY.............................3 NEWS......................................4-5 ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT...............6 OPINIONS...................................7 SPORTS......................................8 PAGE 2 | WWW.OBUSIGNAL.COM Ouachita Baptist University Office: Evans Student Center Email: signal@obu.edu Phone: (870) 245-5210
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Palmer to release album, create music

The music industry field is electrifying in many ways. One reason being that every household name artist, famous producer or legendary singer started off as a member of a children’s choir, a character in their school play or a kid staying up past their bedtime producing beats on their computer. We see the rise to fame and end results of these musical icons, but not usually their humble beginnings. That is what is so electrifying about the world of music— one never knows when they might hit it big.

For freshman music industry major Elijah Palmer, what seemed like a creative outlet or small hobby shows the potential to turn into a lifelong career in the field of music production. Palmer shares how his musical journey has taken shape and led him to where he is now.

“My background in music started as a young kid,” Palmer said. “I was in musicals at church, and then in middle school, I became really interested in the drums, and eventually, I started playing in a punk rock band in high school called Option Two. We needed somebody to produce our music, and I already had a bunch of computer equipment and some experience producing beforehand, so I ended up becoming the producer for our band. From then on, I had decided that I wanted to pursue the recording aspect of music full time and release my own album.”

Palmer did not make this decision on a whim. It was a cumulation of many musical aspects in his life, from his time spent with his bandmates to time spent listening to his favorite artists.

“When I first started producing music, I just did instrumental,” Palmer explained. “I got inspired to write an album when my friends and I wrote music for Option Two,

and I realized how easily I could do it for myself, too. I also gain inspiration from my favorite artists that I listen to, like Twenty One Pilots, Kenny Beats and Sublime.”

Palmer finds inspiration in current artists and their journeys.

“The Twenty One Pilots self-titled album was my biggest motivation because he wrote it when he was 19 and produced it from a computer in his basement. Knowing this about one of my favorite artists made me feel like producing my own album was an achievable project, and that is why this album connects with me the most because it’s where I am right now.”

Palmer’s album, “For All My Friends and Family,” is set to come out on May 17. It will include 10 songs, and it will be available on all streaming platforms for fans to listen to. The album revolves around the idea of finding purpose in life, overcoming past mistakes and relying on loved ones through life’s hardships.

Each song will have a different sound, especially “The People Live in Envy,” which is Palmer’s personal favorite on the album.

Originally, Palmer had decided to have a listening party to commemorate the album’s release, but upon realization that he had performed several concerts with Option Two and felt comfortable in front of a live audience, he decided that it would be much more fun to perform some of the music live with a crowd. Palmer then got together some of his musician friends from OBU and high school and performed at the Tiger Den on April 19.

However, these friends are not the only ones who have helped in this musical endeavor. Palmer shares how his father has supported his dreams and how their shared record label has bonded them in more ways than one.

“My dad has helped me run my record label, New Start Design Records, and he helps with the sound,

lighting, smoke and other features of my concerts or recordings,”

Palmer said. “We have really bonded over this label because it gives us something to do together, and he has always encouraged me to keep pushing and pursue my dreams.

The two of us have formed a business partner relationship through this label, and he has always supported me financially and done whatever it has taken to make this label possible.”

After such a big accomplishment, one might think that a time of rest is wanted or even needed.

Currently, however, Palmer has not penciled in a time of rest in his calendar for the upcoming months. He already has plans that he is ready to get started after this album has hit the airwaves.

“I definitely have more albums on the way,” Palmer said. “I plan on releasing new music this summer, as well as more remixes and features for songs on the album. There are several more directions

that I want to go, and I want each album that I create to have a different style and feel. The most important thing for me is just expanding myself as an artist, refining my taste and skills and growing as a producer. New Start Design Records started with Option Two, and it has expanded as I have added other artists and friends that are releasing music. I have a passion for helping people who don’t normally release music.”

Music has the unique power of bringing people together, but this

“I definitely have more albums on the way. I plan on releasing new music this summer... I want each album that I create to have a different style and feel.”
— Elijah Palmer

sense of fellowship created by music must first be bred by vulnerability from the artist and their willingness to put their work out into the world for anyone to hear. Palmer tells others to put the fear aside and shares his advice for anyone who feels a calling toward music.

“I would say just go for it,” Palmer said. “It could end up being something that you can do as a hobby or something that you turn into your career; either way, you are making a difference, whether that be in your own life or someone else’s. To me, music means putting your thoughts out into the world in a way that inspires other people, which is something that is so important to me.”

Elijah Palmer performs at his album release party. Palmer played his new album, “For All My Friends and Family,” which will release on May 17 on all streaming platforms, for an audience in the Tiger Den on April 19. (photo provided by Elijah Palmer)

OBU hosts Casting Crowns film screening

Ouachita hosted a screening of the Casting Crowns documentary film, “Home by Sunday” on April 28. The event was in honor of alumnus Chris Burgess, who served as screenwriter for the film, and was put on by Dr. Rebecca Jones, her event planning class and Chris Babb.

The event began with a screening of the documentary and concluded with a time for students to ask questions to Burgess.

“The filmmaker is the reason for the event,” Jones said. “Chris is a Ouachita graduate who served as the writer for this documentary. Since the film released, several of us who know him and remember him have been excited about the work he is getting to do.”

Burgess’s life and history played a role in the creation of the documentary, and the title of the film aptly describes a commitment to local churches.

“[Burgess’s] dad was pastor at Park Hill Baptist, and a lot of

us know him and his family very well,” Jones said. “The title of the film is ‘Home by Sunday’ because the band is very committed to their home church. Even when touring, they’re home to do worship in their home context. So that’s the name of the film, but also, we invited Chris Burgess to come home on Sunday, so we’re kind of playing with the wording there.”

Jones was extremely proud of all of everyone who was involved in helping this event come to life.

“I’m thankful to be a part of it, and I love working with the students, as well as my colleague Chris Babb,” Jones said. “I’m grateful to Chris for coming all the way from Idaho, going out of his way to come back to Ouachita.”

Burgess’s story is unique and served as an inspiration for students who attended the event.

“Our goal was to create a significant gathering on campus that helps share Chris’s and Casting Crowns’ story,” Jones said. “It is inspirational for students because he discovered his love of writing through randomly signing up for

the feature writing course. That has been a critical turning point in his vocation and calling. We wanted to give him a space to tell that story to encourage our students while they’re deciding their own calling and where they’re headed.”

Students in the event-planning class have grown from planning this event. The event-planning class splits into groups to plan different events throughout the semester. The group in charge of this event included Addie Woods, Alex Watson, Coleman Callan, Charlotte Wood and Chandler Yung.

“I have learned a lot about how much planning goes into events,” Wood said. “You have to think about all the small details and what will help the event to run smoothly. I’ve learned to think about things from every perspective and every potential outcome. I’ve been planning decorations, thinking about questions for the Q&A and helping execute promotion.”

Watson has learned how teamwork makes a difference in event-planning through this project and the class as a whole.

“It can be overwhelming to do things on our own, but having a group with different strengths and perspectives helps create authentic events,” Watson said. “We’ve been better able to understand purpose and vision casting, how we go into the planning of design, research and work together. Those elements have helped for future events that we might do in future jobs.”

Jones teaches her class about the importance of the “why” of events.

“One of our textbooks, ‘The Art of Gathering’ by Priya Parker, talks a lot about the importance of purpose and having a sense of gathering,” Watson said. “With this event, we wanted to gather fellow Ouachitonians, both alumni and current students. Our goals were to remind students that their paths don’t have to be linear and to honor and celebrate Burgess’s incredible work on the documentary, while also highlighting Casting Crowns.”

Senate arranges inaugural campus yard sale

Student Senate is gearing up to host its first ever campus yard sale, offering students a platform to buy, sell and donate items as the academic year draws to a close. Scheduled for May 2, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., the event aims to provide a solution to the abundance of belongings that students accumulate throughout the academic year and hopefully reduce waste on campus as well. The event will take place in front of the Student Center, with plans to move indoors in the event of

rain. Brock Bivens, Student Senate president, explains what the event will look like.

“Students will reserve a booth or table to sell their items,” Bivens said. “Student Senate isn’t taking any of the money made, just giving students a space to sell their belongings as they see fit.”

Participants have the freedom to sell any sort of item, including furniture, room decor, clothes and even random items. Jillian Covington emphasizes the importance of the yard sale.

“Our goal is ultimately to reduce the huge amount of waste the campus ends up with every year. This

event solves the problem of everyone dumping their hand me downs in their dorm lobbies,” said Covington, Student Senate external vice president.

Students can participate as either a seller or a buyer. Those wishing to sell items are encouraged to contact Malea Borland via email to reserve a booth. For larger items like couches or furniture, a “Senate Yard Sale” GroupMe has been created for effective communication regarding the event.

Borland, Student Senate internal vice president, highlighted the broader significance of the event. In addition to reducing waste, the

yard sale aims to serve as a platform to donate to several charities around Arkadelphia: fostering community involvement.

“This event is a way to not only make our campus more waste-free but to bond us together with the town we reside in,” Borland said. Student Senate has arranged for a donation table where students have the liberty to pick up any of the unwanted items. Any unsold items and donations will be collected at the end of the event and donated to Lighthouse Ministries. With the main target audience being seniors moving out who have a surplus of items they don’t wish

to keep, Student Senate has implemented an innovative marketing tactic in collaboration with Student Development. By combining the reduction of waste and the reusing of old items, Student Senate shows students that one man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure.

As Student Senate prepares to host its first ever campus yard sale, anticipation is high for an event that not only promotes sustainability but also a new campus tradition. By providing students with a platform to repurpose their belongings and donate to local charities, the yard sale embodies the spirit of the community that Ouachita provides.

Dr. Rebecca Jones interviews alumnus Chris Burgess about his life after Ouachita and his work on the documentary “Home by Sunday.” (photo by Meghann Bledsoe)

RecLife continues moonlit canoe tradition

RecLife’s Moonlight Canoe, a beloved tradition since 2016, took place on April 22, giving students the opportunity to bask in the beauty of Lower Degray Lake and explore it by the light of the moon.

Shane Seaton, the director of RecLife, weighs in on what typically happens on this night.

“We load up our canoes, paddles and life jackets and meet students at the lake,” Seaton said. “Once everyone arrives, we do a quick lesson on paddling a canoe, and then we put on our life jackets and get our paddles and canoes.”

Seaton explains the significance of the event, highlighting the spiritual as well as the natural aspects of the canoe rides.

“We spend some time just paddling around in the main part of the lake, and then we paddle into some

of the coves that extend from the main lake. We often will stop and spend some quiet time to listen to God and His Creation then we will paddle back to our vehicles. We do that with two groups in order to allow more people to attend.”

Senior Kamy Treat attended the Moonlight Canoe event with no prior experience. Treat spoke highly of the experience, citing the relaxation and sense of calm felt by all attendees.

“Going on the Moonlight Canoe tradition with RecLife was such an exciting and sweet adventure. The experience altogether was full of laughter and peaceful reflection on the water,” Treat said.

Lake Degray, a significant Arkadelphia landmark, provides ample space for the participants to paddle and float. Seaton chose this setting specifically for its ambience.

“[Lake Degray] is the perfect location because it is big enough to

be floating in the middle and be surrounded by the night sky above and the reflection of the night sky on the water,” Seaton said. “The first RecLife Moonlight Canoe trip was fall of 2016. I had personally done some night paddling, and I knew how surreal it could be. I wanted the Moonlight Canoe to be impactful for all the students that later became involved as well.”

Seaton enjoys being able to provide a space for students to connect with one another and God.

“There truly is something awe inspiring being out on the water and the moon is bright enough to light your path and even recognize one another,” Seaton said. “It is a great chance to have an amazing experience. Especially when it falls at this time during the semester it is a great way to take a healthy break from studying.”

Seaton shares an interesting fact about Creation, explaining that the

day the Moonlight Canoe is scheduled for is intentional.

“On the day of the full moon the moonrise and sunset are at the same time,” Seaton explained. “The days before the full moon it rises about an hour earlier each day. I always try to do my Moonlight Canoe a couple days before the full moon. This way the moon is still bright, but it has already been up for two hours so it is higher in the sky when the sun sets. That way we don’t have to wait until later in the night for it to be bright.”

Seaton explains that the event has become very popular over the last three years. This year in particular was popular and even had some interesting encounters.

“I had to have two time slots to get everyone in,” Seaton explained. “We take one group out, then turn around and do it again. It has worked really well, and it is great to have so much interest.

This semester we had 54 participants, and even a couple of faculty and staff joined us. Both sessions this year had an encounter with a beaver. We heard the telltale slap of the tail both sessions and in one of them we actually got to watch the beaver swim around before it dove under.”

Seaton emphasizes the impact this event has on him and the impact he hopes it has on students.

“I have done this event many times, but I always love it,” Seaton explained. “It never fails that I will be paddling, looking around by the light of the moon and I will be hit with this overwhelming feeling of joy and awe for our Creator. I try to give students a chance to feel that as well so we usually paddle for a bit into a cove then we all float in silence and listen to the calls of the night birds and give God time to speak to us and rest in His presence.”

Students present at 2024 Scholars Day

Ouachita Honors students met Wednesday, April 24 for the annual Scholars Day. The Carl Goodson Honors Program’s student organization, Alpha Tau, sponsors the event every year to highlight academic achievements and research by Ouachita students from various fields of study.

Poster presentations were first on the agenda with 34 posters total. Students conducted research in different areas of study and presented their findings in Walker Conference Center. Honors students, professors and other attendees were invited to ask questions about scholars’ research, presentations and what they learned from their studies overall.

Professors were encouraged to cancel afternoon classes to allow for students, regardless of their affiliation with the Honors Program, to attend Scholars Day and see what their peers have been working on this semester.

Some of the poster topics included “Finding a Date Based on Attraction,” “Predicting Watermelon Sweetness from Induced Vibrational Frequencies” and “Assessing Caffeine Consumption Changes from High School to College among College Freshmen.”

“My favorite thing about Scholars Day is the opportunity to hear research from students in so many different fields,” Dr. Barbara Pemberton, director of the Carl Goodson Honors Program said.

Scholars in all disciplines were invited to share their work on

Scholars Day, with music students performing a recital in McBeth Recital Hall. Students showcased their musical skills by playing instruments like the clarinet, the piano, timpani and sang as well. There were also several senior art exhibitions in Moses-Provine Hall. “Kitsch,” “Beautiful Chaos” and “Neil’s Senior Exhibit” were featured during Scholars Day and will remain in Rosemary Gossett Adams Galleries until May 3. Scholars Day came to an end with the presentation of Honors Theses and other research. These presentations often encompassed years worth of work for members of the Honors Program, merging pure curiosity with study to answer research questions. Some of the titles presented to the conference included: “A Retrospective Analy-

sis of Police and Legal Procedure in the West Memphis Three Murders,” “Rex & Root: An Original Documentary” and “Sleeping in the Paws of the Wolf: Variations of the Female Gothic.”

“I love hearing everyone’s research and seeing the joy and enthusiasm in different areas of academic study,” thesis research

presenter and Honors Program academic chair Sydney Motl said. “It’s such a privilege to have the freedom to study what you choose and be able to share your research with a larger crowd.”

For more information about this year’s Scholars Day or to find access to these presentations, visit scholarlycommons.obu.edu.

Skylar Schaffer presents a research poster on Scholars Day. (photo by Sarah Dean)


Ouachita Dance Company presents showcase

The Ouachita Dance Company presented its biannual Student Choreography Showcase on April 26 in Verser Theater. The showcase featured student-created dance numbers in various styles, including tap, ballet and jazz.

This semester’s showcase was directed by juniors Mac Ricks and Amaya Hardin, with help from sophomore Chloe Jamorra as assistant director. The theme was “Magic and Mystery,” and 21 student dancers came together to create different routines that tied into this idea in many unique ways.

“The thought behind it is to explore different styles of choreography that all have a message about mystery or magic, whether that be in a darker, more avant-garde piece

or a fun twist on a nostalgic mystery,” Ricks said.

Months of preparation were required to bring the showcase together. According to Hardin, the directors selected a theme, held auditions and coordinated the rehearsal process, all while choreographing routines of their own.

“As directors, Mac and I also choreographed while running the show itself,” Hardin explained. “Each choreographer makes their rehearsal schedules, and we make sure the studio is available for them.”

Choreographers who participated in the showcase got the opportunity to be creative as they watched the vision behind their pieces come to life. Freshman choreographer Lillian Felton enjoyed the creative and supportive rehearsal environment.

“This showcase has been a great opportunity to create, teach, design, perform and prepare for pro-

fessional goals,” Felton said. “My favorite part of the process by far has been the people I’ve gotten to work with.”

Audience members who attended the showcase enjoyed a wide variety of dance numbers, including whimsically fun routines and slower, more reflective pieces.

“From a whimsical Scooby Doo tap number on one side of the spectrum to a ballet number about the forces of good and evil, there is something for everyone to enjoy and experience as artists themselves,” Ricks said.

After a successful showcase this semester, the Ouachita Dance Company is looking forward to presenting more student-led dance showcases in the future. Their goal is to continue to provide a space for student creativity that will attract large crowds and appeal to all types of audiences.

“Audiences can expect wonderful performance art created for and by students of all different majors and interests,” Hardin explained.

“Even if you are not a person who normally likes dance, I guarantee you’ll find something that interests you at these showcases.”

Worship studies set to receive new lab this fall

Ouachita is on the cusp of a significant leap forward in its worship studies program with the construction of a cutting-edge Worship Studies Lab that is currently underway, set to revolutionize the training of future worship leaders for the church.

Scheduled for completion by early August, the Worship Studies Lab is set to become a pioneering facility dedicated to the cultivation of talent and expertise in the field of worship leadership. Spearheaded by Larry Grayson, chair of the Department of worship studies, and supported by generous donors and university leadership, this ambitious project underscores Ouachita’s unwavering commitment to ministry and education.

“I could not be more excited that donors and the University see the need for the total development of worship leaders for the church,” Grayson said. “This will give them a jump-start in their craft and technical skills to serve their communities in the local church.”

Through this renovation, the Worship Studies Department will gain a large classroom, taking in the outer office of the dean, as well as two additional rooms. Four classroom and office spaces will be combined into one large common area that will be the home of the new lab.

The innovative design of the Worship Studies Lab is set to utilize state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment with versatile rehearsal and performance spaces. Equipped with new technology including in-ear monitoring and professional-grade instruments, the lab will provide students with a comprehensive

understanding of the technical aspects of contemporary worship.

Trevor Greene, sophomore worship studies major, expressed his enthusiasm for the new facility, emphasizing its potential to foster a strong community of worship studies students.

“This new space will allow worship students to take the knowledge they have gained in the classroom and put it to use in a hands-on environment that is right here on campus,” Greene remarked. “It will also just give us our own space to worship together, hang out and be creative musically.”

Not only will the lab create a hub for community among worship studies majors, but it will also help these students ease into their future vocations. Sophomore worship studies major Deanne Puryear shares how this lab will prepare students for life after graduation.

“I am really excited for the new Worship Studies lab because it will be a space for the Worship Studies students to not only grow in their musical abilities, but also have a home and place to hang out in,” Puryear said. “I am expecting this to better equip us students in the behind the scenes aspects of worship ministry before we enter into a church.”

Echoing those sentiments, senior Michael Pasman highlighted the transformative impact of the Worship Studies Lab on student development and experiential learning.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity for practical, hands-on experience that the new Worship Studies Lab is going to provide for the major,” Pasman affirmed. “For a long time, we have been limited in the development of our skill sets because of the finite technological resources available to us, as well as the lack of our own rehearsal space.

This lab will be a game changer and will allow every student to graduate with a broadened knowledge in preparation for working in ministry.”

With its dedication to facilitating excellence in worship leadership, Ouachita is on its way to set a new standard in higher education within the field of professional ministry and worship. The creation of the new Worship Studies Lab stands as a testament to the university’s commitment to equipping students with the tools and experiences necessary to thrive in service to the church.

As the completion of the lab draws near, anticipation is building among students, faculty and supporters alike for the transformative impact it will have on current Ouachita students and the future of worship leadership in the church.

Members of The Ouachita Dance Company perform during the showcase. The show started at 7:30 p.m. and ran for an hour on April 26. (photo by Sarah Dean)

Emilee Webb’s journey as editor-in-chief

My journey with the Signal started during the fall semester of my sophomore year when Dr. Deborah Root emailed me to see if I’d be interested in joining staff as a writer. I’m not a communications major; my background is in English and political science, but my love of words and stories led me to join the staff and enter the brand new world of news writing. My first semester, I was taken aback by just how different the Signal’s style of writing was than what I was used to. AP style made absolutely no sense to me, and I quite literally almost quit when the editor at the time told me that I couldn’t use the Oxford comma.

There’s nothing that could have prepared sophomore Emilee for what the Signal would come to

mean to her by her senior year. This year, Dr. Root and Dr. Carter trusted me enough to take on the role as print editor-in-chief of the Signal. This role has been challenging and exhausting at times, but it has taught me so much in such a short time. Here are three lessons I’ve learned during my year:

1. Monitoring and adjusting is key. Not everything is going to go according to plan one-hundred percent of the time. There were days when certain stories did not make it to print that I was excited about. And, there were days when ideas were scrapped entirely. However, the show must go on. So, yes, there were days when everything did not go to plan, but being able to push through and submit a finished product taught me quick-thinking skills and perseverance.

2. The people are what matter. Interacting with people is an

important part of the Signal. As editor, I communicated with every member of the staff each week to ensure that the very best product was submitted to the printer.

I found some great friendships through this role and cherished every meeting with the wonderful Signal staff alongside my talented co-editor, Kaelin. In addition, I found that the people of Ouachita truly matter and their stories deserve to be told. Interviewing the people featured in the Signal is not just a way to get quotes; it is a way to learn people’s stories and what makes them unique. Even though we are a small campus, there are many amazing people who have not had their stories told. I am honored to have played a small part in telling them.

3. Not everything has to be perfect. At the beginning of the year, I would stress about every

single word and every space on every page, and I would over-analyze every edition after it went to the printer even though there was nothing I could do to change any mistakes I might have found.

Doing great work is important, but it is almost impossible to ensure perfection. The hardest lesson I had to learn this year was that it is okay to make a mistake. Mistakes are how we grow. Each and every one of us is human, and there is no way to completely erase human error in a creative work.

Overall, this experience has taught me so much, more than I could even put into words. I am incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity and to have been trusted to put Ouachita’s stories on the page. This campus will always be my home, and I’m grateful to have played a small part in recording its history.

Online editor-in-chief, Kaelin Clay, reflects

He’s really taking a chance on me, I thought. Dr. Carter walked up to me in the hallway and asked to talk about interviewing for the position of editor-in-chief of the online Signal. It was a normal, tired walk back to my dorm after a full day of class, and it took me a little bit to process what I just expressed interest in. He took a chance on me, and when I was notified that I would be the editor, I felt not only a burst of excitement but also a peace that stemmed from God’s clear hand over the shaping of the senior year I was about to have. I only worked with the staff one semester before becoming editor, and I didn’t feel worthy or equipped at first, but I always felt dedicated

and passionate. I had known that journalism was my calling for a while, and I knew I had a knack for storytelling. The idea of running a site dedicated to telling the stories of Ouachita, the very place that has shaped my young adult years, was a comforting responsibility. It was a big one, but it helped me find a deepened value in the work that I have done.

“Can I interview you for The Signal?” quickly became one of my favorite questions to ask, and I constantly had the next story in mind. It was my duty, but my vision for the site was still blooming. When I started the role in August, I knew that I wouldn’t take this role lightly. The legacy of this newspaper is deep and outstanding, and I wanted to only add to that. I brainstormed on how to continue the value of the work that was

done before me. It was all I could think about sometimes when I hit the pillow at night. The verdict was that it was time for a redesign.

I have taken the course Online Media (one of my favorites), and my slightly nerdy side that’s always been a little too interested in technology projects went for a head-first dive into this large project. I lost a lot of sleep over Wordpress themes and the ideal footer design, but I didn’t lose sleep for me; I lost sleep for Ouachita, and it was an honor to do so. In December, the site was launched, and I left my own mark on the history of the Signal.

It was tempting to take a pause after such a large project, and Christmas break certainly stepped in a bit to help with that, but the work truly never stopped. The mission to do good through tell-

ing stories is a journalist’s thought process in everyday life. There’s never time off from any mission as strong as that because we never stop thinking about it. I kept going.

It wasn’t my own ambition that always kept me going; it was the support of my staff, the advisors and my co-editor. My staff was my inspiration. Without them, the stories would have been left untold.

Nothing about this year was perfect, but everything about it was worthwhile. Journalism has some hiccups, but the benefits are never hidden. Honestly, that’s just life. There will always be mess-ups and hiccups, but there’s always good to be found in every experience. In this particular experience, I found that I just might’ve made my very favorite memories in the newsroom. There was never a moment that I doubted that.

There was so much good to be found in the Signal, and I can’t express enough gratitude for the outlet that brought me patience, joy and assurance in my purpose: telling stories.

Webb poses for a senior photo at Cone-Bottoms Hall. She will graduate this semester. (photo by Kasey Dumas) Clay poses for a senior photo in Hot Springs, awaiting graduation in May. (photo by Mandy Ballard Photography)


Gay, Hartsell to wrap up time with student media

In the Rogers Department of Communications, every year has its slew of seniors that must move onto bigger things following their time at OBU. This year, the Signal says goodbye to the beautifully comprehensive features of editor-in-chief Emilee Webb and the inspired innovations of online editor Kaelin Clay, but on the other side of the department, OSDN talents Chase Hartsell and Chris Gay have carved out a legacy for themselves in Ouachita history in the sports world that will not soon be forgotten.

Starting as commentators, the two voices grew together, making the other better to the point where they would become a vetted and experienced broadcasting duo in their final two years at the school. Gay, a North Little Rock native, and Hartsell, a Hot Springs native, would carve out their individual roles through the vast amount of opportunities offered to them by the department. Hartsell could be found in the press box at Arkadelphia High School on fall Friday nights, commentating alongside Dean of Humanities, Dr. Jeff Root, while Gay would be found in the podcasting room each week, hosting the Roar Rundown.

“We tell students in our department that the best way to improve your skills is to practice,” Professor Chris Babb said. “They’ve been involved in anywhere from 400-500 OSDN broadcasts, recorded shows, podcasts and other projects during their time here. Seeing how much time they dedicated to getting better at their craft really made me feel good about what they’re doing in our program. Practical experi-

ence is the goal, and they have built quite the reel that will help them in the job search process.”

Hartsell alone has racked up numerous awards in his time in Arkadelphia, most recently winning his second and third student Emmy awards for his recent short film “Gold Rush” and for overall student broadcasting, while also taking home a plethora of awards at the recent Arkansas College Media Association Awards banquet. Gay’s podcasting brought him two first place awards in that category as he waits on his candidacy for the Jim Nantz award.

“Chase has the innate ability to see the potential for a story and find a way to execute that story, whether it be visually or through writing,” Babb said. “It’s a tremendous gift and he uses it well. His love for storytelling is so obvious when you see or read his work.”

Hartsell will be headed to the University of Alabama to pursue a master’s degree following his time at Ouachita.

“He’s been doing this for so long,” Gay said. “Chase has been doing broadcasting much longer than I have, and he’s just a guy that I immediately look to if I’m trying to improve myself. He has no idea that I do this, but he’s the guy that I look to and say, ‘Okay, this is

Track to conclude rewarding season

Ouachita’s track team is headed to conference this upcoming week. The GAC meet will be held at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Ark.

Belle Lindsay will be competing in the Conference Heptathlon, which is an event that consists of seven events over two days.

something that he does, so if I want to be good at this I need to just do exactly what he does.’”

As for Gay, his journey to the top can be credited to the excitement behind his commentary. His work behind the microphone has been extensive as well, with ample time in the podcast room.

“Chris dedicated himself to making sure that he took advantage of any opportunity available through OSDN,” Babb said. “Everything Chris has done from the hundreds of broadcasts through the nearly 30 episodes of Roar Rundown has been on a volunteer basis, purely to make himself better. It’s a great example for other students.”

Gay also has combined alongside Hartsell to form what has been an excellent partnership that will be hard to replace.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with Chris on a variety of projects for the last few years,” Hartsell said. “These projects include volleyball and basketball broadcasts, football radio shows and live pregame shows. Beyond that booth, I’ve had a lot of great conversations with Chris about sports and life in general. He is not just a good broadcasting partner–he is a good friend. I look forward to keeping up with him and seeing what he does next.”

“We have a diverse team with people competing from the 100 meters to the 10k, as well as the field events such as the jumps and throws,” Lindsay said.

The track team has experienced a lot of growth and success this year.

“This year, we have been blessed to be able to expand our track team to cover more events and have more depth across almost all the events,” track team member Sara Holman said. “We have had some really impressive performances this year with several athletes hitting a national provisional time or being incredibly close. We also have broken countless school records this season. Our track team has been able to set so many personal bests in their races.”

Even without a track, the team continues to flourish, continually growing and setting records.

“Nobody complains; we get stuff done with or without a track,” Kate Nachtigal said. “I believe the team would agree that this season has been a success. We are all continually setting new PRs and school records. The timeframes to hit from last year are being completely blown out of the water. Our team is considerably faster and stronger than it has ever been.”

The track team has also been very successful in creating a supportive and encouraging environment.

“The team chemistry is great,” Holman said. “If you were to go to a track meet that Ouachita was at, you would notice that they stand out from most of the other teams. They are always supporting and cheering on their teammates in all of the events. There is almost always a large group of athletes cheering on a fellow athlete race after race.

“Our team is the most supportive team at any meet and that really helps lead our team to success. It really makes a big difference. It’s so exciting to see the camaraderie among the sprinters, distance runners and field athletes when we get to travel together to all the meets.”

It is undeniable that the track team has been performing so well, and one reason for their success is the great teamwork they have established throughout the year.

“I have never been closer to a group of guys and I wouldn't trade them for anything,” track member Dylan Drew said. “We are all one big family on this team.”

There is a huge chance Ouachita track members will be racing at nationals this year.

“Right now, I'm the only one who has hit an NCAA Provisional,” said Nachtigal. “But that doesn't ensure you'll make it to Nationals; you must also be in the top times in all Division 2 to get to go compete. Also, Macie Cash, Belle Lindsey and Anna Woolesy are very close to meeting their provisional time in their events, which they will definitely hit during conference. If we end up making it to Nationals, it will be held in Emporia, Kan. on May 23-35.”

Conference takes place between May 1-3, and the team is hoping to represent Ouachita well and finish the 2024 track season strong.

Chase Hartsell (left) and Chris Gay (right) use their communications skills to work for OSDN. The pair dedicated time to tell Ouachita’s stories. (photo by Chris Babb)

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