Middle Georgia State University Award Student Leaders

Warner Robins, Ga. – Middle Georgia State University hosted a ceremony honoring thirty-eight students for their noteworthy commitment, dedication, and overall achievements contributed to their student body organizations during the 2016-2017 school year. The ceremony was held April 12,2017, in the Student Success Center on the Warner Robins campus. The décor of the ceremony was artfully designed; it resonated a theme of global significance; a passport to success. A constructed portal which led to a 6-foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower added a stunning touch to the ceremony, as well as the other visual aids.

Photo by Donja M. Harper.

Michael Stewart, Ph.D. in Education and Assistant Vice-President of Student Affair’s, said the Student Leadership Awards recognize outstanding leadership and service exhibited by students involved in student engagement programs. “Student Engagement focuses on learning outside the classroom through involvement in student organizations, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, intramural, club sports and campus/ community service projects,” Dr. Stewart explained.

The ceremony began with a welcoming speech from Corey Guyton, Ph.D. in Philosophy. Guyton’s momentous prelude included thunderous applause for all those that helped make the ceremony a success. He talked about the significance of honoring students who exemplify the inspiring attributes of leaders.

Photo by Donja M. Harper.

Dr. Guyton’s speech was followed up by MGSU’s President, Dr. Christopher Blake. Blake proceeded with acknowledging the importance of celebrating success and finding greatness. He discussed that students should view the ceremony as a way of passing the torch for fellow peers to aspire to.

The highlight of the ceremony was the “Presentation of Awards” to the student leaders. The awards were presented by Dr. Jennifer Brannon. It consisted of distinctive leadership awards for recognition within the various student organizations and concluded with three overall awards for outstanding recognition.

Photo by Donja M. Harper.

The 38 students honored included:
Christopher Price, Brothers of Leadership & Distinction
Ciyanni Hunter, Campus Activity Board – Cochran
Brandi M. Harrison, Canterbury Club
Grace Terry, Georgia Academy
Kieston Standfield, Men’s Varsity Basketball
Julie J. Davis, Mock Mediation Team
Thomas Smith, Peer Career Advisor Club
Jasmine Miller, Queens of Knights
Samantha Morgan, Sigma Kappa Delta
Jamia Orange, Sisters Attaining Self Success
Alan Kalinda, Southeast Model African Union
Kristina R. Troili, Student Art League
TyAsia Grayer, Women’s Varsity Basketball
Hannah Gullickson, Women’s Varsity Soccer
Tiana Bell, Multi-Cultural Association
Victoria Monetta, Campus Activity Board – Eastman
Emily Lambert, Women in Aviation
Clayton Vedder, Accounting Association
Quaid Stone, Association of Healthcare Executives
Shaniqua Smith, Black Student Unification
MiTyrra Montgomery, Campus Activity Board – Macon
Erin R. Lucas, Central GA Information Systems Security Association
Jennifer Martin, Chamber Singers
Sarah L. Kirk, Cyber Knights
Patrick Layson, English Studies Organization
DeMarcus Beckham, Gay-Straight Alliance
John R. Legg, History Student Organization
Rachel Hastings, Honors Student Association
Alexandra Cooper, Internal Audit Association
Hunter Holland, Kappa Sigma Fraternity
Chris Ely, Middle Georgia Respiratory Education Action Team
Shekennia Grover, Model African Union
Amanda Johnson, President’s Torch Society
TeAndre Dennis, Student Government Association
Stephanie Breitenbach, Student Media
Jonathan Almendras, Student Veteran Association
Tina Scott, Campus Activity Board – Warner Robins
Carmeshia Primus, Student Employee of the Year

Following the ceremony, there was fellowship, with guests joining faculty, staff, and honorees for a reception which included a full buffet of refreshments.

Macon’s Stubby’s Heroes reaching out to dog owners for September 25th walk

Stubby’s Heroes is a dedicated group of volunteers and advocates who are working to change the negative stigma attached to pit bulls through education and outreach.

Stubby's Heroes encourages participants in the Bully Breed Family Pack Walk to dress up their dogs. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.
Stubby’s Heroes encourages participants in the Bully Breed Family Pack Walk to dress up their dogs. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.

Jones County resident Elizabeth Worthy was one of the earliest members of Stubby’s Heroes, joining in metro Atlanta in 2012, and she has brought her passion for pit bull activism with her to Middle Georgia. Stubby’s Heroes was started by founder Johanna Falber.

“We educate through spay and neuter clinics,” explains Worthy, “and we hold monthly outreach outings for the homeless, Stubby’s Day of Compassion.”

When she joined Stubby’s Heroes, Worthy’s specialty was handling insurance breed discrimination: “We offer to review leases and [insurance] policies for people to be sure that they are allowed to have the dogs, as well as that they have coverage for the dogs. We also refer people to insurance agents and companies that sell pit bull-friendly policies,” Worthy explains.

Since 2014, she has been a director of the organization in Macon-Bibb County. Worthy organizes monthly walks for pit bull owners, foster families, and rescuers; she oversees the walks state-wide as well. Walks are held in public, dog-friendly spaces, with the goal of socializing dogs with each other, bully breed lovers, and the general public.

During the walks, safe spaces are kept between dogs for the safety of all. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.
During the walks, safe spaces are kept between dogs for the safety of all. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.
After walking in Tattnall Square Park, the dogs walk over to Washington Park to play in the water. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.
After walking in Tattnall Square Park, the dogs walk over to Washington Park to play in the water. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.

Macon’s bully pride walks begin at Tattnall Square Park, where the dogs and their humans have the chance to walk, run, and mingle with others. On their website, Stubby’s Heroes set out several rules for the safety of dogs and humans during the walks. For example, owners of “reactive” dogs are requested to dress them in red or yellow bandanas so that other participants know these animals need extra space.

“After the walks, we take the dogs over to Washington Park in the summer months so that they can enjoy some water play,” says Worthy, “and in Macon-Bibb, we have gone to Just Tap’d, they are dog-friendly.”

The next Stubby’s Heroes walk for Macon-Bibb will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2016, at Tattnall Square Park, beginning at 1 p.m. Interested members of the community, including owners of all breeds of dogs, should check the details on the Macon-Bibb Stubby’s Heroes Facebook page for important information about the walks: https://www.facebook.com/events/1672792133004359/

For more general information about Stubby’s Heroes Macon-Bibb County, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Stubbys-Heroes-Macon-Bibb-County-Bully-Breed-Family-Pack-Walk-865226526833689/

To learn more about the history of Stubby’s Heroes, and to find chapters in other areas in Georgia, go to their website at http://www.stubbysheroes.org/.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Elizabeth Worthy was a founding member of Stubby’s Heroes; this was incorrect, as Johanna Falber started the organization and Elizabeth joined in 2012.

10 Questions with Macon’s own Curtis Worthy, 2016 Georgia Music Award nominee

On June 11, 2016, singers, musicians, and performers from all over Georgia gathered at the Grand Opera House in Macon for the 5th annual Georgia Music Awards. Macon native Curtis Worthy was nominated for Best Male Hip-hop Artist 2016, and Macon Community News was fortunate to ask him 10 questions about his music.

Curtis Worthy, who performs as 9th Gutta, is a hip-hop artist, singer, and song writer from Macon. Photo courtesy Curtis Worthy.
Curtis Worthy, who performs as 9th Gutta, is a hip-hop artist, singer, and song writer from Macon. Photo courtesy Curtis Worthy.

Q: What is your performing name?
A: My stage name is 9th Gutta.

Q: How would you describe your music?
A: I’d describe my music as worldly. I try to make music that people from different walks of life cdivan identify with. I incorporate as much of my real life experiences in my music as I can. However, I also like to do concept songs where I can use my imagination and provide some level of escapism for my listeners.

Q: When did you begin making music?
A: I began performing when I was 17 or 18 with a band my cousin was in called Soul Disiac. He used to let me be his hype man. It was my first taste of what it was like to be on stage. Over the years I was able to meet and work with a lot of talented people, and that really helped my growth as an artist. As I gained experience in writing and performing I started to get better at both. Eventually I developed my own style.

Q: Where do you perform?
A: I perform everywhere from night clubs to charity events. My shows are usually on weekends locally and out of state. My shows are booked through my management, LJM Entertainment.

Q: How did it feel to be nominated for a Georgia Music Award as the Best

Curtis Worthy at the 5th Annual Georgia Music Awards, where he was nominated for Best Male Hip-hop Artist 2016. Photo courtesy Curtis Worthy.

Male Hip-hop Artist?
A: The nomination for the Georgia Music Awards was really big for me because there are only a handful of acts chosen throughout the entire state. Some of the [other nominees were] signed to major record labels, or are represented by celebrities that were big names in years past, so I was honored to be in the company of those guys. I work really hard to put my music in front of the right people and it felt great to be recognized for what I do.

Q: Who are your musical influences?
A: My influences are all over the place…I love all types of music, but my favorite artists are Stevie Wonder, Prince, Tupac Shakur, Andre 3000, Eminem, T.I.P., 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Aerosmith, and Big Punisher.

Q: What would you like younger performers or fans to know?
A: I’d like to influence the people that feel as if they don’t matter…The people that feel like no one understands the things they go through on a daily basis. My message to them is “You do a matter, you are important, and there are people that can empathize with what you are going through because they face those same obstacles as well”. We have to lean on each other and help one another instead of tearing each other down. Understanding and encouragement can go a long way.

Q: What else do you do besides perform hip-hop?
A: In addition to making hip-hop music, I also write different genre’s of music spanning from Country to Gospel. In my day job I work at a warehouse as an Equipment Operator.

Q: What are your goals?
A: Artistically and professionally, my goal is to build my brand to the point of financial independence.

Q: How has Macon influenced your style and sound?

9th Gutta performing in a live show. Photo courtesy Curtis Worthy.

A: This city made me who I am musically, the memories created here are in my music, my experiences growing up here are in my music. I feel as though Macon’s musical history has a direct effect on all of its artists. We have something to live up to, astandard that we want to surpass. I’m conscious of that and it makes me try to top whatever I do and be even better every time I write a song, film a video, or have a performance. You always want your city to acknowledge you and be proud to say you’re one of  them.

For contact and booking for 9th Gutta, contact: Leighala J Management (626)787-1301, leighalajmanagement@gmail.com

Words in action: How one man is changing the way kids communicate

me DSC_1952
Joshua Peltier with participants in his program, Designed for Greatness. Photo courtesy Shana Burton.

If things had gone according to the plan laid out by Howard University’s Master’s in Fine Arts program, Joshua Peltier would be the next Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese. Instead of a movie set, however, he spends many of his days behind prison walls and couldn’t be happier about it.

“I wanted to be a big time Hollywood movie director, but I was horrible at it,” confesses Peltier. “What I’m doing now is my true calling. It’s what God created me to do.”

What Peltier actually does is change the lives of young people through his initiative called Designed for Greatness, a program that teaches individuals how to clearly and effectively communicate. While he works with people of all ages, he specifically targets troubled youths, many of whom struggle in this area.

More than just a communications course, Designed for Greatness provides participants to necessary tools to make attitudinal, behavioral and intrapersonal readjustments through positive self-talk and interpersonal communication.

Mr. Peltier brings his program to students in Bibb County schools. Photo by Shana Burton.

“Communication is everything, and everything is communication. If you don’t learn how to effectively communicate, you are essentially placing yourself in prison; you’re stopping yourself from maneuvering around the world. I don’t want to see the kids in this area held back because they lack the communication skills needed to move forward and be successful.”

Peltier’s idea for Designed for Greatness began in the checkout aisle of a grocery store when he overheard a conversation between a mother and her teenage daughter. Both mother and daughter were clueless as to what the other was trying to communicate. Realizing that this was a common problem between parents and their children, Peltier vowed to do something about it and began laying the groundwork for Designed for Greatness.

Taking the skills learned from his undergraduate degree in communications, Peltier created a curriculum that would help people change their behavior, the way they interact with others, and their way of thinking all through deliberate communication.

What began as an idea in a grocery store four years ago has transformed into an initiative that is impacting lives all over middle Georgia. Peltier has facilitated communication workshops throughout the region for the Bibb County School System, Virginia College, Central Georgia Technical College, The Mentors Project, and several area churches and civic organizations. He is especially proud of the work he is doing with teens and young adults in the custody of youth detention centers.

“Nothing excites me more when than when I meet one of those incarcerated young men who’s been told his whole life that he’s never going to amount to anything,” says Peltier. “By the end of the course, to see that same young man with a renewed sense of pride, self-confidence, and determination to rise above their negative circumstances makes it all worthwhile.”

Peltier does not want to limit himself to small workshops. He envisions hosting communication retreats and conferences and is toying with the idea of hosting a weekly talk show geared toward helping people overcome communication barriers. For now, he wants to continue to establish himself as a resource for parents and educators and spreading the message that everyone has value and is designed for greatness.

What is Pokemon Go and why are these people on my lawn?

Pokemon Go Banner
Pokemon Go is the latest big thing in mobile games. Graphic copyright Niantic.

Tips and tricks available at the end of this article.

If you have been on social media recently, you’ve already become aware of something called Pokemon Go, based on the world of Japanese Pocket Monsters or Pokemon. If you haven’t, you may have been surprised by families, college students and others cutting through your lawn or hanging around various landmarks after-hours.

Released Wednesday July 6, 2016 by Niantic Inc, the game is an “augmented reality” game in which players attempt to catch Pokemon to compete for control of virtual spaces known as gyms. The game takes people to various locations in the real world similarly to a scavenger hunt. The difference is that the items are virtual items in an augmented reality.

Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality except that instead of being completely immersed in an artificial environment, characters and objects are projected onto your device’s screen as it displays a camera view.  In Pokemon Go, Pokemon such as Pikachu are distributed across the world using a Google Maps like interface.

As you travel in real life, your location is updated on the virtual map and hidden Pokemon become visible for you to catch using your mobile device. In order to catch your quarry, you also need to collect objects like pokeballs, candy, lures and incense. These are obtained from either an online store or by swinging by points of interest around the city called pokespots. Pokespots are generally things like monuments, churches, parks and other places that might interest a visitor. In this way, it encourages the user to see culturally significant places in their own community, generally on foot.

Continue reading “What is Pokemon Go and why are these people on my lawn?”