Seniors deal with end-of-year stress

As the semester comes to a close, the work load is piling up – along with the stress – for seniors preparing to graduate.

Combining senior papers with all of the other assignments we like to call “busy work,” it doesn’t take much more to get overwhelmed.

Music majors are finishing up senior recitals, other departments had to overcome senior orals, and almost everyone has spent hours upon end working on a senior paper.  Needless to say, they are all ready for the work load to come to a halt.

According to biology major Katie Greer, the professors in her department more than prepared her for what was in store for this semester.  “In comparison to what we have had to do and what a lot of us will have to do in Med-school, they aren’t over the top assignments,” she said.

Not everyone has the same opinion, however.  Many people need planners and post-its with them wherever they go just to remember day-to-day activities.  India Ward, a music major, explained how in order to get everything done she has to take it all one thing at a time.  “I try to deal with my stress by just remembering that there will be a day I look back on all of this and it will be completely over,” she added.

As a teacher education major, Sarah Jones has spent the last semester off campus student teaching.  Also working to put her portfolio together, and looking for a future job, Jones claimed that things have been pretty busy the last couple months.  “But I know when it’s finally time for graduation I’m going to be sad that it’s all over,” she added.

All  projects and presentations aside, graduation is right around the corner. Seniors will be walking across the stage before they know it, where diplomas await their grasp and a new chapter of life begins.

20 Years and Still Tasteful

Last Thursday, Taste of Toccoa celebrated its 20th year on Main St. in downtown Toccoa. Combining food, entertainment and activities for the entire family, the event was a great success.

Some 20 restaurants lined the street serving sample-sized portions of their most popular dishes.  A few vendors included Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Cornerstone, BBQ Shack, Gate Cottage and many others.

For entertainment, the TFC Jazz Band performed a few numbers that were sure to get toes tapping.  Then, YMCA Gymnastics, BG Steppers, Rhythm Academy and The Wild Herd showed real talent, as they hurdled, cart wheeled, tumbled and danced for the community.

Activities included the Jurassic Adventure, sand art, a climbing wall, a swing ride, a moon bounce, face painting, Euro-bungee, train rides, chuggy choo-choo, a Ferris Wheel and pony rides.

After 20 years, Taste of Toccoa 2010 was just as enjoyable as it has been in the past.

Students respond to chapel changes

This week, the administration put together a chapel-trial suggested by the Chapel Task Force.

Monday’s chapel included all praise and worship music.  For Tuesday’s chapel, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Barbara Bellefeuille, spoke.  On Wednesday, TFC Trustee Dr. Jeff Norris spoke, and on Thursday, students could either attend their Barnabas groups, or go to chapel and listen to Sarah Shell, missionary in residence, give her testimony.

The chapel-trial could possibly be the new structure for next year’s chapels, so it is important to know students’ thoughts of the system.

Lora Lei Mantooth, a freshman at TFC and chapel attendee, was enthusiastic about the change:

“I love it!  I am most excited about having more praise and worship time.  I think it is a good time to seek the heart of the Lord and a great way to start the week.  As for the chapel speakers, I like having a biblical perspective from professors other than those in the Bible and Theology department.”

Josh Spangler, sophomore chapel attendee, had a few insightful ideas:

“I like the change.  In the old chapel system, we didn’t give enough time to the Lord.  Rather than having speaker after speaker, I think it is good that we are taking special time to praise the Lord.  This new chapel system brings a sense of community, but it needs more structure.  I also think they should ask the students what they think about the change, since most professors do not attend chapel.”

Katie Boss, a junior at TFC and a member of one of the worship teams, gave some advice and insight to the behind-the-scene work of worship teams:

“I like the system now, but I also like the idea of change.  It is a good change, but it is not a change that will throw people off.  Overall, it is more of an organized system.  For Monday’s praise and worship, though, there will definitely be a need for more preparation.  It is a good idea to have a plan, but being flexible is good also.  As for the speakers, I like the fact that it will give more perspectives.  Last week, we had a few of the Bible and Theology professors speak on wisdom, and then this week we had Dr. Bellefueille speak.”

If anyone else has suggestions, concerns, or comments, feel free to post them.

25 Years and still making a difference

This year marks the 25th year that the Toccoa Life Center has been ministering to women faced with unplanned pregnancies. Barbara Mattison, one of the founders of Toccoa Life, said that more than 2,500 babies whose mothers came to Toccoa Life have been saved from abortions.

Stemming from the prayers of Mattison and three of her friends against abortion, God laid it upon their hearts to open a center for women who had to make a decision about unplanned pregnancies. Mattison and her husband John first opened Toccoa Life in a small building off Big A Road, but they now run it from their home on Doyle Street.

The center tries “to be there for them[the women who come] during and after their pregnancy,” Mattison said. Even more specifically, Toccoa Life wants to encourage women that abortion is not the only answer to an unwanted pregnancy.  Vannessa O’Steen, a volunteer at Toccoa Life, said that one of the most rewarding things about working there is getting to “reassure the girls that there are other options and they’re not alone.”  Mattison expressed how most girls will change their minds about having an abortion if just one person tells them not to.  “They just want someone to be there for them,” she said.

Confidentiality and care are the two things Toccoa Life stresses in their ministry.  The counselors encourage adoption and offer support if the mother decides to keep the child.  Although much of the support they give is emotional, they also meet physical needs the mothers may have.  Things such as diapers, baby food and clothes are constantly being given out to the women that come in.  In order to continue their ministry, the center is always in need of volunteers, monetary donations, and baby supplies.

When it is determined at the center that a woman is pregnant, they offer the option of receiving a free ultrasound.  Once a month, an ultrasound technician from “Life Images” in Blairsville, Georgia, comes to Toccoa Life to perform the ultrasounds on women who are interested.  After seeing their baby, those considering abortion almost always change their mind, Mattison said.

Toccoa Life’s ministry also goes beyond saving babies.  “You can’t save them unless you save the girl,” Mattison added.  In addition to helping women who are considering their options, Toccoa Life is also there to help those who have already had an abortion in the past.  Girls often find it hard to forgive themselves after having an abortion, and Mattison said that getting the women that come in to make that step is crucial to the healing process.

Toccoa Life also ministers by continuing to care for the women even after they have their child.  The pregnant mothers are encouraged to stay in touch after their baby is born, and Toccoa Life will put together a layette filled with baby needs to assist them after they give birth.  In addition to that, the Mattisons host a Christmas party each year at their home for the families of children born through Toccoa Life.  As long as they are able, they will provide each child that attends with a toy and an article of clothing.  They have come a long way since the first party with only 4 children; they counted 400 kids at last year’s Christmas party.

At this point, the Mattisons are eager to find people with their same vision, to continue Toccoa Life after they are gone.  “We need people willing to sacrifice”, Mattison said.  After 25 years, “the Lord continues to remind us that it’s worth it.”

Writing, art, and music with the Epicentre

The Epicentre is a publication of student works, designed and published by students.

These works can include pretty much anything…but there is a specific list: poetry, short stories/short fiction works such as character sketches, song lyrics and/or sheet music, creative nonfiction articles, short excerpts from novels, excerpts of scripts (plays), and artwork (includes photography/pictures of works not on paper, like sculptures; sketches/drawings in mediums such as pencil, pen, oils, etc…and paintings/pictures of paintings).

Here is a little historical background on the Epicentre:

The magazine started out rather well with a full staff, annual (and sometimes bi-annual) publications, plans for the future, and odd traditions like always putting *a goondiwindi production* on the back of magazines. Previous editions of the Epicentre are displayed in the library. For the most part, things have remained the same, including the goodiwindi tradition that Chief Editor Lynanne Rueda, has decided to keep despite not knowing what goondiwindi is supposed to imply.

Sadly, the once over-flowing abundance of staff members is no longer existent with the Epicentre. While the Epicentre has not fared so well during the past few years due to a general lack of participation, the magazine is still running and looking forward to publishing this year’s edition during the first week or two of next semester (fall). Students can submit work(s) they would like published in the magazine, then the material submitted will be reviewed by the entire staff and accepted based on the Epicentre Forum.

Get involved soon because there isn’t much time left. Submissions need to be in by April 15th. Keep in mind that staff members are always welcome.

On a final note, if anyone is interested in purchasing last year’s magazine there are still copies available. Contact Lynanne at if you’re interested.