Local Musician and MC Student Naomi Taylor Releases Debut E.P. / Caroline Hunt

Naomi Taylor sits across the table in a vintage denim jacket bedecked with cloth patches that tell a story as rich as her music. She details her start in music, her spontaneous, flowing writing process, and how she balances the life of a creative with her full-time job and student responsibilities at Mississippi College. 

The Lucedale, Miss. native laughingly jokes how the denim jacket was a friend’s grandfather’s that she borrowed for a gig. While describing the origin story of the article of clothing, she begins the story of how she became an artist. 

Every musician has their “this is it” moment. Taylor remembered learning a Lynyrd Skynyrd song from her guitar-playing dad and how her hands strummed the chords for the first time. This was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life, in any capacity. 

The indie/pop-rock Jackson musician described her style as if the Band Camino and LANY were a folk band. In fact, her ideal setlist included tunes like “Dream On” by Aerosmith, “Love Me Like A Man” by Bonnie Raitt, “Life By the Drop” by Stevie Ray Vaughan, and “Shelter Me” by Tab Benoit.

“I honestly play a little bit of everything and I also write a little bit of everything. I’ve done country, rap, pop, rock, pretty much all of it,” Taylor said. “Although my favorite thing to play is blues-rock, like true classics. And I would say my favorite writing style is probably more indie-folk stuff.”

A friend–and sometimes co-writer–Hayden Rowell described Taylor’s writing style as completely her own, with a unique aesthetic in her verbiage. 

“Naomi tells stories. She is intentional with every line she writes and word she chooses, but somehow never just forces the words together. They all just flow,” said Rowell, who is also an MC student. “The really wonderful part of her writing style is that it’s so charismatic. Her lyrics tend to be poetic and altogether simple.”

Taylor is fresh off of releasing her first E.P. titled “We’ll Find Our Way.” It features four melodic tracks detailing the stirring excitement of new love, the unfamiliar happenings that come along with it, and the pain when it ends. 

The first track on the record, akin to The Lumineers’s “Cleopatra,” tells the story of a couple finding their way to each other after life has thrown them off course. “Lost at Sea” by Taylor is the happy ending of what didn’t happen in The Lumineers’s upbeat juxtaposition and slice-of-life song: a lover finding their partner through hardship, contrary to a relationship crumbling because of it. Taylor’s clear, silvery tone invites, “Back on solid ground / Your hand touches my face / So take my hand and / Won’t you dance with me / Around this dark and unrelenting sea?” 

Another stand-out on Taylor’s debut E.P. is a sanguine track about the process of falling into a relationship and being taken aback by the feelings bubbling up. The last track on the quartet is “Under Pressure.” It frames the beginning of a relationship–something that is usually thrilling–as a time of unfamiliarity and enduring a certain “pressure.” The bridge of the song states over and over, “I’m not good under pressure / Testing me, testing me / I’m not good under pressure.” 

In addition to trying to balance school and her creative passion, Taylor works full-time at a Jackson accounting firm as an intern. As an accounting major, her academic and professional worlds collide with her art. She remedies her time in the office and classroom during the week with time on stage under lights, performing every weekend. 

“Trying to balance everything looks like what my desk at work looks like. I have two computer monitors in front of me and a million tabs open. That’s what my brain looks like,” Taylor said, when detailing her busy schedule. “I go to work because it pays the bills. I’m going to classes to just finish my degree and in between my drive from school and work, I’m listening to music, writing verses down in my head, imagining what different sounds I want with what words.”

Another friend of Taylor’s, Bethany Miller, noted that what Taylor does is for one special purpose: a passion that feeds the soul. 

“One of the sayings Naomi lives by is ‘For the soul.’ She knows that if it makes her soul happy or knows it’s good for her, she thrives. She’s also crazy driven about the emotions we all feel and making those into something beautiful that others can dance around to and sing to,” Miller said. “Naomi really cares too. She really values the relationships she builds between those she shares her music with.”

Miller recalled a particular relationship-building instance with strangers through Taylor’s music. When playing a big gig, she noticed a blonde-haired little girl sitting enraptured by the stage. After the night was over, Taylor introduced herself to the little girl, invited her on stage, and they sang together. Two single voices sang in an empty venue as the little girl’s mother pulled out her camera and captured the moment. 

“Naomi wanted that to be something that little girl would never forget. She wanted to inspire her to maybe pick up a guitar or sing a little more because she used to be that same little girl,” Miller said. “That is what sets her apart in my mind from other artists. She loves the people she plays for and just wants to share her love for music with anyone she can.”

Taylor can be found on all social media platforms and her new E.P. can be listened to wherever music is streamed.

Brick Streets Hosts Santa Crawl in Spirit of Christmas Season / Gracie Lee

The holiday season has arrived, and nostalgic traditions and events are just beginning. Residents of Olde Towne Clinton can usher in the holiday season with a “Santa Crawl” hosted by the Main Street on Thursday, December 2. The event will take place from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Early admission is $25 and $30 the day of the event. Guests also get to keep of a fun mug, which they can use to drink cider throughout the night. Participants can also register for a doorprizes at $50 values from the surrounding businesses. The festive tradition, planned by Tara Lytal, Program Director of Main Street events, began in 2012 when several retailers of Clinton wanted to put on a holiday social for downtown locals. “[Then] the Santa Claus Crawl was born,” Lytal said. 

         Although it derived its name from a pub crawl, the only drinks served at the party are cider, in order to keep the gathering family friendly for all ages. Each Old Towne business contributes their personal recipe and competes for the title of best cider. The rest of the activities include a scavenger hunt through the downtown streets, with food and drinks.  

The social’s purpose is to promote shopping local and supporting one’s community and neighbors. Santa will be the celebrity of the event and holds the honor of handing out the door prizes to lucky winners. The businesses to be featured include Wyatt Water’s Gallery, The Clinton Courier, Jillian’s Salon and Boutique, Melanie Bryant Interiors, Olde Towne Barre, Meme’s Bakery, and many more. Hetrick Real Estate and Life Time Ventures LLC are sponsoring the gathering. “This is a signature event for us. At this time, no other community holds a similar event,” Lytal said. 

Service Toward Others Over Social Media / Kienna Van Dellen

Finals week is approaching and many of us are turning in projects and doing final edits of term papers. Higher stress levels lead students to want a break from the ever-growing pile of homework and assignments. In the midst of the noise of life, social media brings even more clutter into our minds. In the recent case of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, the data scientist spoke out for the safety of Facebook’s users. Through her research, she found that Facebook in particular knew that the social platform had a negative impact on the mental health of youth and teens yet still they continued to push the product out to the public. The use of technology has become integrated within the very routine and nature of our lives, and it’s dangerous how connected we have become; for example, if you use your phone as an alarm clock, it’s the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night. 

In a world where time equals money, our attention spans have decreased, and our time is a rare commodity that we give other people. We give our attention to what distracts us and what is most appealing in our eyes at the moment. We want to be new and continuously updated, trying to recreate ourselves just like the latest iPhone. Although we often don’t like to admit it, a glance at a phone to answer a text or email can lead to endless amounts of mindless scrolling as we lose ourselves in the feeling of connection. When we have free time, all too often we throw away solitude and quiet for distraction and business to fill our minds. Yet with all of these “connections,” we still find ourselves in loneliness. 

Throughout this December issue, you will see all the different ways that we as Christians can serve our communities and build relationships away from the screens and shiny pixels. I would encourage you to step away from the world of social media and see the beauty in the minute details of life as we return to our families and spend time with loved ones. Serve others even in the smallest of ways by giving them your full attention and quality time. Service is not always going to a foreign country to do ministry, but rather it often looks like each of us using our unique gifts and abilities to serve those around us. 

1 Peter 4:10 

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

MC SAPA Communicates for Change / Kienna Van Dellen

Mississippi College Sexual Assault Prevention Ambassadors (MC SAPA) started their organization on campus in fall 2020. Since then they have had an incredible amount of support flooding in from both staff and students. Within the past year, the organization has worked on expanding its reach across campus and getting more students involved, being able to spread information and resources.

Their main goal this past year has been forming relationships on campus in order to lay a strong foundation for their much-needed place on campus.“We had a very good response from faculty and students. We were the Student Organization of Excellence last year, so that was really exciting for us,” said Caroline McGuffee, President of MC SAPA. “This is a very foundational year for SAPA. We’re still building who we are and I believe the core part of that is we’ve got to get our name out there and establish good relationships. Collaboration also is able to give you different viewpoints of things you might not have seen before.”

MC SAPA is under the faculty sponsorship of Associate Professor of English at MC,  

Dr. Kristi Melancon. Dr. Kristena Gaylor, an Associate Professor of Management and Economics in the School of Business, serves as Title IX coordinator for the school and offers support to the group alongside Brent Perkins, the Assistant Director for the Office of Public Safety on campus. 

 After the success of events held last year, such as a self-defense training class as well as spreading information about Title IX and hosting fundraisers, SAPA have been expanding their training. Over the summer the board was able to attend training sessions with the Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assult (MCASA), where they were able to learn about specific details within the law enforcement sector for sexual violence on campus and how they can support survivors and provide proper programming. Through training with MCASA and working with them over the past year, MC SAPA received a generous donation from the coalition to use toward their outreach efforts. 

Something SAPA is working hard to make students aware of is the red zone. The red zone is the first six to nine weeks of college, typically between move-in and Thanksgiving, and is when the vast majority of sexual assaults occur. This is because this timeline is usually when a large number of college parties happen in most schools, and it tends to be a busier point in the year with more events being held. 

MC SAPA recently had an event in partnership with the Student Government Association called Rock Out the Red Zone. Through the generous donation from MCASA, they were able to fund the event for students and staff. This event featured live music performances, rock painting, and information about the red zone and Title IX to raise awareness for the various issues found on college campuses across the country. The goal of Rock Out the Red Zone was to turn the red zone into the green zone. 

The lighting initiative is another campus improvement topic that has recently been brought to SAPA’s attention. Students have mentioned concerns about poorly lit places on campus where there could be more lighting in order to create a safer environment. SAPA took the issue to SGA and they have since started to create a plan of action on how to move forward. “A lot of students have said they felt unsafe and that’s something SAPA cares about. We wanna make campus a safer place and make our students feel safe,” said McGuffee.

Across all different campuses across the country, there are various specific types of sexual assault issues that arise, varying from campus to campus. Stalking has gone up since the pandemic started and dating violence became more prevalent as the pandemic goes on. One of SAPA’s goals is to see what issues they can address on campus and how they can meet those needs and prevent those situations from happening again. 

 MC Alum Wyatt Waters’s Artwork Inspires Locals / Gracie Lee

Wyatt Waters is a name well-known among MC students, art fanatics, and residents of Clinton. The Mississippian and MC alumnus has made a career for himself painting landscapes, buildings, and sites around the world. His art has been featured in magazines like Art and Antiques and American Artist. MC students recognize his painting of “The Teacher” sculpture in Alumni Hall’s prayer garden. His art gallery at 307 Jefferson Street is home to some of his first paintings as a child and young adult. They include childhood drawings of a denim jacket, and his first apartment, which cost a mere $32.50 a month. 

Waters was born in Brookhaven in 1955 and moved to Amory after his father gained a coaching position there. When he was two-and-half years old, the Waters family moved yet again, this time to Florence. “They gave us a house to live in. It was not a great house. There were holes in the floor,” Waters remembered. “She [my mother] patched the floor with orange juice cans when she dried her tears. But you could see the patches, so she had me help her spatter paint the floor to disguise the texture. I remember thinking, ‘This is good. This is fun.’”

After this first encounter with the joys of art, Waters began taking lessons from an elderly woman named Rose Taylor before elementary school. “Mrs. Rose would read stories and have me paint the stories. She taught me to read that way,” he said. 

Waters’s passion for art blossomed even more when he enrolled in Mississippi College, but not before a serious wake up call. His academic advisor came to him one day and said, “You need to change your major.” 

“He was right because I didn’t put the effort into it. It must have been a difficult thing for him to do. Scared me pretty bad,” Waters said. Despite this advice, he chose to keep studying art with renewed vigor and was especially intrigued by watercolor. He loved this medium so much that he took extra, non-required classes for it. This eventually forced Dr. Samuel Gore–Founding Father of MC’s Art program–to add more watercolor classes to the curriculum. “I took them without my prerequisites too. [Maybe] they looked the other way. I’ll never know,” Waters confessed.  

Besides watercolor, he enrolled in a film class, became co-art editor of the Arrowhead, played music, and won creative writing awards. “I liked the arts. Particularly the creative part of it,” he said. He and his friends majoring in Music, English, and Religion would often meet to talk about the principles of arts together. “Because we were talking over big parts of art, we had to talk in general terms. It was like an aesthetics class.”

But it wasn’t until Gore offered Waters a work study that he had an opportunity to see real, classic artwork for the first time. “I helped him move a show to Washington, D.C. I was so in awe that I touched a Rembrandt. This guy came up and said, ‘Don’t do that.’” Waters did not heed this warning. “I went right to another room and touched a Van Gogh. They have alarms now and you can’t get away with that at all,” he reminisced.

Post-grad, Waters began writing his thesis on the physics of light and perception, a process he found much more difficult than painting. “I just didn’t want to write about art. I’ve always made art, but it had a drastic effect on my painting.” Even though his artwork was gaining popularity, he hadn’t sold a piece in six months. During this brief period, he worked for the art commission in Port Gibson to make ends meet. 

He spent his free time during these six months painting on the street. One afternoon, a lady stopped in front of him and said, “Can you give me a show in two weeks? We’ve had an artist cancel.” In the space of a few minutes, Waters had his first exhibit space. “If I had given up, I wouldn’t have had a show. If I had [already] sold those paintings, I wouldn’t have had a show,” he realized. 

In fact, many unfortunate events in Waters’ life have led to his success. One day, while working in his attic, he slipped and pierced his painting hand on a nail. After a three month stay at St. Dominic’s, he managed a full recovery, despite his doctor’s fears that he would have to amputate the hand. This hiatus from painting led to the publishing of his first book. “My roommate’s father was editor of Sunday paper. He always told me to put my paintings in a book. But I was always painting and that was a full-time job. Then, I couldn’t paint for a few months,” Waters said. 

Quail Ridge Press published Another Coat of Paint: an Artist’s View of Jackson, Mississippi in 1995 with a foreword written by Mississippi author Willie Morris. In it, Morris states: “I envy the surname Waters for a watercolorist. I likewise envy the talent of the man who bears it.” 

This was not his only literary achievement. “I like books because I’d already been doing theme shows. It’s like a portfolio,” Waters said. Waters and chef Robert St. John have since worked together on a five-part television series about Mississippi and Italian cuisine, called Palate to Palette. He and his wife, Kristi, are also traveling through the southeast and documenting their trip for a new book to be released in fall of 2022. 

Waters’s painting brings him more benefits than just the joy of a completed piece of work. “I can’t remember everything, but I can remember my paintings. It’s too bad I didn’t paint the capital of Ohio in school,” he joked. “I do my best work on location. The phone is more immediate, but it takes away from the real experience. That’s what I like about painting. It puts you in front of life. It’s very important to see things as a human. There’s nothing between the world and my eyeballs.” The gallery helps him to sell to friends, families, and locals of Clinton. “It [the paintings] is like puppies. I like knowing where they go. This is all I ever wanted to do.”

His manager, Cristan Dulaney, began her job at the gallery as a part-time employee. “I’ve known him my whole life. I was hired on three days a week and now I’m the manager,” she laughed. Waters prefers to be outside working on location unless he is signing and selling his illustrated calendars. “People always ask, ‘Where is he?’ He’s out painting,” Dulaney said. 

Waters was not clueless to people’s first opinions of his artistic career. “If you do it for a living, you’ll hate it,” critics told him. He even lost a high school girlfriend after her family discovered his dreams of becoming a “starving artist.” His advice to young artists is to do what they love, instead of worrying too much about finances. “At some point you’ve got to say, ‘No, this is what I need to do.’ I’ve heard the unforgivable sin is the thing you didn’t do but knew you should have. Because the Lord forgives, but we don’t forgive ourselves,” Waters said. “In your heart, you say, ‘This must be the right thing.’”

All of Waters’s work is available through the Wyatt Waters Art Gallery in Clinton.

The Fun of Follies: The Return of a Classic Tradition / Alana Magliolo

On the surface, Mississippi College seems to rob its students of fun because it does not have Greek life. However, MC has social clubs and tribes as alternatives to fraternities and sororities and one of their most anticipated events of the year is the production of follies, which is making its return this fall. 

Follies, which will take place on October 28 and 29 during homecoming weekend, are compilations of singing, acting, and dancing. Each club and tribe has its own theme and works on its individual performance throughout the new member process. Last year, follies in its entirety were canceled due to the risks of large groups of people in close contact with each other. 

This year, however, follies are back and hopefully permanently. Now open to actives and new members alike, follies provide opportunities to help behind-the-scenes with props or to participate in the performance itself. With homecoming weekend quickly approaching, the excitement for follies around MC’s campus continues to grow. 

Josi Hill is a senior active in Kissimmee Social Tribe. She is serving as one of Kissimmee’s follies chairs this year. 

“For me personally, it has been even more exciting to be able to be part of follies this year due to it being gone for over a year,” said Hill. “Half of our students on campus have never seen a Follies so this year is so important for everyone to see the excitement and fun the Follies tradition brings!” 

As the Director of Student Engagement, Chip Wilson oversees the Council and works year-round to ensure that recruitment remains a smooth process and experience for everyone. 

“This year we were able to have in-person recruitment, rather than a hybrid schedule like last year. The in-person schedule allowed for more face-to-face connections between students and gave recruitment more of a “normal” feel,” said Wilson. “Because we hosted most events outside, students were able to attend the parties without a mask. This is a huge step from where we were last year. We are very excited to bring follies back to campus and allow all students within clubs and tribes to have the opportunity to participate.” 

Follies display the culmination of the clubs and tribes coming together to produce a diverse and exciting production every fall. As decided by the follies chairs in each club and tribe, each individual show has a unique theme each year. The audience participation at follies is a major part of the experience. The students look forward to clapping and cheering loudly in support for their club and tribe. The faculty enjoys coming to support their students, and friends and family who live in the general vicinity love coming to see their students perform. 

Swor Auditorium, located on MC’s campus, will host the two identical performances. The student performance, free to all students and faculty, will be on Thursday, October 28 at 9 p.m. Tickets are available for sale to the public for the general performance, which will take place the following evening at 7 pm. 

Jarred Couch is a senior in Rotaract Men’s Club, as well as one of the Council Presidents. He expressed his personal excitement for follies this year. 

“Last year we all really had to miss out on the incredible production and entertainment that is Follies. Luckily this year we will get to have that excitement back! It is different this year due to it being an option for PNMs to participate in,” said Couch. “I think this will be an adjustment and will be different. With that being said I think it will be better than ever! With members of the clubs and tribes being able to participate in follies as a whole it will be one of the best follies we have ever had! I cannot wait to see it!”

MC’s Music Department Stages New Production in Fall 2021 / Gracie Lee

After almost a year without musical productions, the music department at Mississippi College is producing an afternoon of opera scenes. Auditions took place on Friday, Sep. 3, with Nicholas Perna, associate professor of voice and voice pedagogy, planning to direct. 2021 marks his seventh year on staff with MC. He has directed previous musicals for MC, including She Loves Me in 2020.

The opera scenes will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 3:00 p.m. during voice students’ usual solo hour. Perna expects it to last no more than 50 minutes and has reserved Jean W. Pittman Hall on the second floor of Aven Hall. Should COVID-19 numbers surge on campus, the performance will transition outdoors. “I’d love the singers to sing unmasked,” he said. He has not announced scores for the performance but anticipates that they will span from the Baroque era to present day compositions. 

In addition to the opera scenes, the music department announced a spring musical for 2022. Auditions are tentatively set for late November. “We’ve historically done an opera scenes performance opposite the musical, and that is what we’re going to continue doing moving forward,” Perna said. “We may do a full opera, but our normal procedure moving forward will be opera scenes in the fall and a musical in the spring.” The spring production is still to be determined, but Perna plans to announce it, along with its cast, before Christmas break. “Before we announce the musical, we have to reserve licensing rights, and put a down payment in and sign contracts,” he explained.

When it comes to producing and performing in shows, Perna is excited for students to experience it with him. “There’s a wonderful interaction that goes on between performer and audience. That doesn’t happen when you go to a movie or watch a TV show. One of the best things, as a performer, is taking joy and reveling in the fact that at any moment something could go really wrong, but the show will go on,” he said. “It’s a shared experience, when you get to tell a story and laugh or cry or be moved, or be excited, or fall asleep. I think that’s what always really thrills me about it.”

Men’s Soccer Pick Up First Win At Home / Jace Aymond

In their home opener at Robert P. Longabaugh Field, the men’s soccer team blanked the West Ouachita Tigers 5-0 in an impressive win for Mississippi College. The Choctaws set the pace and never looked back early on with a goal by Filippo Bellu in the 13th minute from a corner kick. From there, the Choctaws never looked back as they added two more goals in the next 15 minutes from strikes by Noah Wagner and Zach Diallo. The second half saw two more goals by Wagner and Bellu, in the 58th and 86th minutes respectively. 

The Choctaws quadrupled the Tigers’ total shots by a margin of 16-4. None of Ouachita Baptist’s shots were on target, while all of MC’s shots on target found the back of the net. With MC’s five goals and their defense keeping the Tigers to limited chances to score, neither keepers for both teams recorded any saves. For the Choctaws, Noah Wagner recorded six of the 16 total shots, with two finding its way past the keeper. Filippo Bellu’s two total shots were both on target and tacked on two extra goals for the Choctaws. 

The now 1-2 Choctaws start conference play with a two-game road trip at Auburn-Montgomery this coming Friday, September 17 and Montevallo two days later on Sunday, the 19th. 

Men’s Soccer Pick Up First Win at Home / Jace Aymond

In their home opener at Robert P. Longabaugh Field, the men’s soccer team blanked the West Ouachita Tigers 5-0 in an impressive win for Mississippi College. The Choctaws set the pace and never looked back early on with a goal by Filippo Bellu in the 13th minute from a corner kick. From there, the Choctaws never looked back as they added two more goals in the next 15 minutes from strikes by Noah Wagner and Zach Diallo. The second half saw two more goals by Wagner and Bellu, in the 58th and 86th minutes respectively. 

The Choctaws quadrupled the Tigers’ total shots by a margin of 16-4. None of Ouachita Baptist’s shots were on target, while all of MC’s shots on target found the back of the net. With MC’s five goals and their defense keeping the Tigers to limited chances to score, neither keepers for both teams recorded any saves. For the Choctaws, Noah Wagner recorded six of the 16 total shots, with two finding its way past the keeper. Filippo Bellu’s two total shots were both on target and tacked on two extra goals for the Choctaws. 

The now 1-2 Choctaws start conference play with a two-game road trip at Auburn-Montgomery this coming Friday, September 17 and Montevallo two days later on Sunday, the 19th. 

Moving Forward With Determination To End This Virus / Kienna Van Dellen

As summer draws to a close, incoming and returning students face a new school year, bringing new challenges and experiences. While the excitement rises as we come home to campus, many of us are concerned with returning to campus with a new variant spreading rapidly across the state. 

As of Aug. 12, 2021, the state of Mississippi has reached new record highs with the COVID-19 virus with 1,490 hospitalized patients, 388 intensive care patients, 264 patients on ventilators. 

Mississippi College has announced that the school will require all students, faculty, and staff to wear masks while indoors on campus. MC is following directions from the Mississippi State Department of Health that directs that “masks be worn universally indoors for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Because of the prevalence of the highly transmissible Delta Variant, masks must be worn in all indoor facilities to mitigate the risk of infection at this time.” 

MC is not the only school masking up again and preparing for another round in the pandemic ring. The University of Mississippi, Mississippi State, and the University of Southern Mississippi have all announced that they will also require masks for the new school year. 

With this delta variant spreading, it has been proven to have a higher transmission rate than the original disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the delta variant is nearly twice as contagious as the previous variants. The CDC quotes that “the greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to contract and therefore transmit the virus.” As of Aug. 11, 2021, 691 students submitted proof of vaccination through the MC vaccination reporting portal and are being vetted to ensure eligibility for the program.

When the transmission goes up, everyone’s risk also rises. Now that this is happening, it is important to share this message with each other that this virus is a threat that should be taken seriously by wearing a mask. By masking up, not only are we showing respect and love to our fellow students and teachers, but also to our local community. Despite the feeling of taking a step backwards, we must not give up now, even if this is taking longer than we initially thought it would. 

This past year, the campus saw what it was like to live, educate, and minister through a pandemic. We have done it before in drastic measures. While the campus COVID-19 task force is preparing for all outcomes as we enter the fall semester, their goal is ultimately to keep the campus safe. 

We as students of MC need to be reclaiming our college experience and enjoying the crazy ride for what it is rather than what we want it to be because often our wants and our needs vary tremendously. We need to trust the experts in their respective fields to express the truth at the most essential times. If we truly want to put an end to this pandemic, we must act — collectively and with a clear understanding of what it will take to do so. The minor inconvenience of wearing a face mask and feeling the prick of the vaccine needle is a small price to pay for everyone’s long-term health and safety.

As we bring you an innovative newspaper for the upcoming year, I hope you will embrace the recent changes alongside us as we embrace the MC family again. Mask up so we can enjoy each other’s company as we learn and continue to build our careers together.