Tennis Senior Day

The closing of an era happened April 3rd as five students on the Piedmont college women’s and men’s tennis teams had their senior day. Coaches, teammates, friends and family members gathered around for a sweet ceremony before playing a match against Brevard College.

During the ceremony, Shane Wood, who is in his 15th season as head coach of the Lions, gave a heartfelt speech about each player and their commitment for the past four years along with a framed photo to help the seniors remember the good memories they had as a team.

Bryan Barnett, a senior business major, and member of the men’s Piedmont tennis team, was overcome with joy at seeing all the people that supported him through his college career cheering him on. “ It was the best day, I loved playing my match and being able to look around and see the signs my fellow teammates made for me, it just meant a lot to me to have them all there cheering me on knowing it was going to be one of my last matches ever as a Piedmont Lion.”

Throughout the day they cheered each other on, whether they were down in the set or up. They laughed and cut up about memories they shared over the past four years together, wishing they had more time to play the sport they love for the team they love. “It was bittersweet knowing I’ll soon be done, but it was nice to remember the good four years we as seniors have had, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the rest of the Lions”, said Tatiana Burkett, a senior biology major and member of the Piedmont women’s tennis team.

Coach Martin, who was a member of the Piedmont men’s tennis team in 2015, has seen most of these players grow up, on and off the court. Martin said it was a bittersweet moment being able to see his friends and players celebrate their college tennis careers and realizing they will soon be graduating. “All of our seniors that were able to be there got to play singles and doubles, which helped contribute to both, women’s and men’s team, getting a conference win. That was great to see because this senior class has meant so much to both programs,” said Martin. “I am sad to see them go, but I know they have great things ahead of them.”

They finished their senior day with a victory for both the women and men’s teams leading them one step closer to that conference title. The Piedmont Lions are hoping to win conference and leave the seniors with a memory of a lifetime.



Tatiana Burkett-

Bryan Barnett-

Trey Martin-

Diane Roberts

Students had the privilege of exploring the mind of award-winning author and journalist Diane Roberts on March 29th. Roberts is currently a professor at Florida State University and has four books under her belt along with many other accomplishments including, writing an article about Lillian E. Smith titled “Stay and Resist” in the fall 2016 issue of Oxford American.

Roberts talked about her life before all of her success, beginning at her high school career when she thought she was an excellent writer because all of her teachers would give her praise. However, once she got to college it was a completely different story.

Roberts turned in her first paper feeling accomplished, that she sure had definitely made an A worthy report, but sadly when it was returned it had red marks all over it. Her professor at the time sat her down to look over every single sentence with her. She began to realize she didn’t like how most of it sounded and then she realized she had a long way to go before writing her first book.

“It was nice to know that someone so successful as her has failed multiple times but never gave up. It shows that it happened to everyone, it is just the matter of what you learn from that failure.” Said Leslie Pritchett, a senior mass communications major.

One of her biggest jobs she talked about was being a part of a radio talk show for the B.B.C., and to most that comes a shock. A southern woman to be the voice of their British radio show isn’t usually heard of, but she enjoyed every minute of it. “It just shows that when we are looking for jobs in the future to not limit ourselves, we could end up going across the world doing something we never thought we would end up doing,” said Nate Roys, a sophomore mass communications major.

Roberts is known for her spoken truth on what it is like to be a southern woman in the 21st century without the stereotypes people have given her. One of her known stories she talked about during the event was her experience in interviewing the head of the white supremacist group in Tallahassee, Florida. Roberts said he was very polite to her to begin with, but once she wrote her article about her opinions of the organization and their actions he called her a “bad dog”.

Roberts isn’t new to people having there personal opinions about her writings. She has plenty of hate mail and is not phased by. She says it means people are reading her work and “The worst thing is being ignored”.

Sports Feature

After a record-setting career as a four-year starter and setter for the Gainesville (Ga.) High School volleyball team, Savannah Roys is ready for the next chapter in her volleyball and educational career at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Ala.

Roys set the school record for assists in a career while at Gainesville High, and led the team to two area championships during her time playing for the Red Elephants. She also was named Area Player of the Year her senior season, and was named to the All-Area team all four years she played for Gainesville, three of those four being on the first team. Roys is also one of the first athletes from GHS to earn a full athletic scholarship for volleyball.

Going into her sophomore season, Roys had a unique situation with one of the coaches on staff. Her father, Randy Roys, was hired as a high school math teacher and an assistant volleyball coach by the Gainesville City School System. Though they faced their fair share of challenges, they managed to work through their differences to win two area championships during that time.

“It was difficult at times, but I think it helped a lot,” Savannah Roys said. “We knew each other well enough to know what the other one was thinking. Because we’re very like-minded, we understood each other very well.”

Coach Roys and Savannah butted heads at time when they shared the same court, but Coach Roys thinks they ultimately were able to set aside their differences to earn two sweet 16 appearances in the GHSA playoffs.

“We had to make a conscious and concerted effort to not let the two interfere with each other. We weren’t always successful, but for the most part we made it work,” Coach Roys said. “As the coach/dad, I felt I had the bigger responsibility, as the adult, to make sure that our on-court relationship did not interfere with our relationship as father and daughter.”

While Savannah believes that her career at Gainesville was a big step for her as a leader, club ball was where she really learned how to take her game to the next level. Roys has played for the GA5 Volleyball Club, based out of Suwanee, Ga., since she was 13 years old.

“Club ball is very demanding and requires a lot of leadership. You have to be very attentive and precise when you play on that level,” Roys said. “So when it came time for school ball, I could transfer those attributes I had learned during club season to help our school team on and off the court.”

Roys plays with several other college commits on her club team, including players committed to Flagler College, Tennessee Tech University and Georgia State University. The team that Roys plays for, GA5 18-1s, is headed to the national tournament in Anaheim, Ca. later this month, after winning two national qualifiers earlier this year.

After the national tournament, Roys’ high school and club career will be over, but she is excited to play for Katie O’Brien, the head volleyball coach at Montevallo, who also used to be the head volleyball coach at Piedmont College.

“Montevallo felt like home. The team environment and energy just suited me. The girls there are very similar to me, and it just felt like the right fit.”



Event Story

DEMOREST – Floridian and Professor at Florida State University, Diane Roberts spoke to Piedmont mass communications students in one of her three lectures recently about being a journalist, author and what it took to get to where she is today. She was introduced by Director of the Lillian E. Smith Center, Craig Amason.

Her wit and dry humor captured the audience’s attention almost immediately. Her stories about her career were very personable and were things that the audience could relate to.

“It was an amazing experience to listen to a woman and her success in the same career as me,” said senior mass communications major Durden Smith.

As she was asked about her journey to success, she began to laugh, giving the audience the vibe that her career was not always successful.

“How I got started was by being a bad writer,” she said. “I just thought you could write because you could write. It’s a craft, and it had never dawned on me.”

As Roberts talked about her journey, she mentioned that she was assigned to write about the opening day of the Florida legislative session. She noticed she was different than other reporters almost immediately.

“Every other journalist there writes about what the speeches are, what the bills are, and we need that, but I thought why does everybody have 10 boxes of Girl Scout cookies,” she said.

Instead of writing basic news stories, she was more interested in writing about the details, the things that nobody cared to talk about in their articles.

“I wrote about the things around the margins,” she said.

“Hearing her speak made me realize that even successful people like her have had trials that have gotten them to where they are today,” said sophomore mass communications major, Nate Roys.

She was also asked about the impact that social media has on journalists today. Her answer made sense to everyone. “In the world of social media, anything can have an audience.”

Not only did she talk about her experience in journalism, but she also gave a little detail about her family, how she grew up and how she doesn’t live as the stereotypical southerner.

As young journalists, each student hung on to every word she said as she gave pieces of advice during her session, like “no matter what you accomplish, there’s always a what next,” “a good reporter will behave as if he or she doesn’t know everything” and “get it right, even if you don’t get it first.”

To end her lecture, she said journalism “could be visual, audio, words on a page or a screen. It’s all about telling the story.”

Sports Feature

Throughout high school, Chris Pritchett was involved in sports. He was talented and could have received many offers to play College baseball, but in 10th grade, any opportunity he had to play at the next level was gone due to a car accident.

“It’s something that I am thankful for now because it got me to where I am today, but then, I felt as if I had lost everything,” said Pritchett.

Because of that injury and knowing that sports were not in his future, he started thinking of ways to be involved without actually playing the sport.

In 1991, Pritchett was young and wanted to make a difference in the lives of athletes. He knew that there were probably multiple ways to do that, so he decided to start a high school ministry known today as 12th Man.

This ministry included leading Bible studies on Friday afternoon before the big game. Pritchett and his team would prepare equipment, fix Gatorade and water and even stay late and wash jerseys that smell like they haven’t been washed in three weeks.

As life changed, his locations for 12th Man would change. He started in Carollton, Georgia. He then moved to Dalton, Georgia in 1994 and now in Hartwell, where he has served for almost 21 years.

“I’m not really sure what I would have done without him during my years at Hart County,” said former head football coach, William Devane. “His heart for the athletes and passion to serve is like no other.”

When Pritchett moved to Hart County, he realized that he could use this ministry in baseball as well. After all, this was his favorite sport. He made connections with coaches and began 12th Man on the baseball field in small ways.

“He’s a mentor for me personally and for each of the boys that step food on the baseball field,” said current Hart County head baseball coach, Josh Osborne.

“I never thought that it would get this far,” said Pritchett. “It was just something small that I thought of doing, and I’m glad that it has given me the opportunity to serve outside of the four walls of the church.”

As the ministry has grown, Pritchett has taught multiple individuals how to drag and line a baseball field, tape ankles for football games and fill up coolers of water and Gatorade, among other things.

Like any ministry, it has its ups and down, but he looks forward to many more years of 12th Man as he watches it grow and trains more people to do the job that he has done for so many years.

Since 1991, he has incorporated 12th Man in multiple school systems, including Hart, Franklin, Madison and Elbert Counties.

“I am thankful that this ministry has come this far, and I am excited about what is going to happen in the near future,” said Pritchett.



Event Story: Diane Roberts

Award-winning author and journalist Diane Roberts talked to Piedmont mass communications students on Thursday, March 29, about football, hate mail and her motivation.

Roberts has written four books, including “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America,” and has also written for several newspapers across the United States. Her writing experience, coupled with the work she has done for BBC radio, puts together a unique résumé. Even though Roberts has already accomplished so much she is always looking for another task to complete.

“No matter what you accomplish, there is a ‘what next?’,” Roberts said. “When I first published a book, I would lie on the sofa and think ‘I’ve done it!’, and that feeling lasted for a little bit, but you’re always thinking ‘what next?’”

Fellow students at the lecture were impressed by the internal drive and motivation that Diane Roberts has.

“I loved what Diane Roberts said about accomplishing something then thinking, ‘what next?’,” Senior mass communications major Leslie Pritchett said. “For someone that is so accomplished to still have that kind of motivation, that’s special.”

As any journalist knows, the more stories you write, the more naysayers and critics you will have. Everything you write will not be well-received by the entire audience. Roberts has covered several stories over the years, some of the most interesting being about white supremacist movements and rallies, but has not always received the best feedback from readers.

“I like hate mail. It makes me feel like I’m doing my job,” Roberts said. “Not the hate mail that says, ‘it was 10 not 20, her name is Laura not Margaret,’ that’s not the hate mail you like. I like the hate mail that says, ‘you’re a bad person, and you hate America.’ That doesn’t speak well to my character, but I like it.”

Despite the disdain that Roberts has received over the years, she remains a very dedicated journalist.

“I could never quit journalism. I could try to not do as much, but I can’t stop,” Roberts said. “That’s the thing about journalism. Once you get a story in your head, you just have to do it.”

It was clear that Roberts is very passionate about her work. Whether it is writing a 500-page book, or writing a short column for the St. Petersburg Times, Roberts fully devotes herself to what she is doing.

“It was really awesome to hear someone like Diane Roberts talk about all the places she has been and things she has done,” Senior mass communications major Durden Smith said. “She has so much passion for her work, and that really shows when you look at all of her accomplishments.”

While Roberts touched on several topics, but had a very interesting take on diversifying oneself. She noted that a person should have several different personas, not just one.

“I think one of the best things to do is confuse people. Everybody is looking for authenticity, and I’m not sure authenticity is quite real because everyone has various selves, nobody is just one thing,” Roberts said. “Writers really have different selves. You try to express one of your selves, but you don’t have to be one thing all the time. You will bore yourself and everybody else if you stick to one thing.”

Prompt #8

Each of these articles deals with a subject that can sometimes be difficult to discuss. I believe these articles are similar to those in the New York Times in that they deal with such topics. I believe the New York Times would write stories like this, but on a much broader spectrum. These seem to be mostly local and relating it to a larger topic.

I believe the story that required the most reporting was the “In the Dark” article. There were multiple people involved in this story, and it also provided a lot of statistics. It seemed to me that there was a numerous amount of research that went into this story. I also think The Clarke Case and Academic Success For Sale required a great amount of reporting. With the topics covered, you can’t just wing it. It takes time and lot of research, time and reporting.

I think my favorite was the one about the feminine products because I remember being that girl who was scared just like the girl in the article was. It’s just the way we are, and I like the quote at the end. It’s something that everyone tries to keep private, but something all women can relate to on some level.

I think you could easily turn any of these stories in to something relevant to Piedmont. You could do something with the In The Dark story. This is a big topic right now and one that I feel people are interested in. Since Durden just did a capstone on something similar, I could interview her. The Academic Success For Sale would definitely be something that Piedmont could cover. If the president would be willing, he would be a good interview and even any of the professors.

I think these stories covered good topics, and it’s always interesting to read things that are about people our age or were written by people our age.

Prompt #8

I think these stories are different from the ones that would be in the New York Times because some of them are very dark serious topics and sometimes people don’t like to put that into there newspaper because they are nervous about what the response to them might be. Also sometimes people reading the newspaper do not want to read such difficult stories so there readership might go down if they were to put this kind of stuff in there. I do think they are similar because like big newspapers they often times tackle such difficult topics. I do think that people from the NewYork times would have wrote it a bit cleaner but other than that they were all decently good.

I think the last three stories listed required the most reporting because they are over a specific incident. They had to do some serious fact searching in order to get the correct story, but I do think all of them require a significant amount of reporting to make the story, a story. I do think that with more reporting the more likely your story is going to be better.

My favorite story was “In the Dark records shine light on sexual misconduct” because it has to do with my capstone. It must have took a lot of guts to write this story and dig on information that is so serious.

You could use any of these for Piedmont. Say I wanted to do the one about people taking there classes online for money, I could interview anyone on this campus because I am sure people have done this plenty of times. Any of these stories could be turned into something for the Piedmont Roar newspaper.

Prompt 8: News Writing

Prompt 8: News Writing


  • All these stories are from college or high schools. How are these news stories different from stories you may see in professional publications (like The New York Times)? How are they similar?
  • Which of these stories required the most reporting? Which required the least? Does more reporting necessarily equal a better story?
  • Which story was your favorite? Why?
  • Although these stories focus on their specific institution, similar stories can be written about Piedmont. Take one of these stories and explain how you could write it for and about Piedmont. Include the people you would potentially interview.

Prompt 7

I feel like event stories go into detail about a newsworthy story rather than covering the main points within the event. When taking minutes at a meeting, you will jot down the important topics that were discussed, but they do not go into much detail about what was said. Event coverage however, focuses on a specific section from the event and gives as much information to the reader as possible.

In most of these stories, getting quotes from other people was as much outside reporting that needed to be done. Really, all that needed to be done was to attend the event and talk to others who were there also and get their opinions on the event.

These stories came across as news stories to me, probably because they all covered newsworthy events. They focus heavily on certain information throughout the story which makes me think of feature stories, but the topics are what bring them back to being news stories.