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Wilton C. Jackson, II Multimedia Journalist (MMJ)

Graduate Student | Louisiana State University| Twitter: @WiltonReports | Instagram: @WiltonReports__ | Website: wiltonjackson.com

Circle of Excellence set to announce its second scholarship recipient

The Circle of Excellence “Emerging Scholar” Award Committee prepares to announce its second scholarship recipient at the Jim Hill High School Class Night event.

Stellar students from the Jim Hill 2011 International Baccalaureate (IB) Class created the award to promote high scholastic achievement and encourage leadership and exceptional community service to the school and the community.

Related information: International Baccalaureate Program

To receive the award, students must be graduating seniors from Jim Hill an apart of the IB program. Students must have maintained at least 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale, maintained good standing with the school and demonstrated academic achievement, community involvement and school involvement.

Students must also be enrolled in a four-year institution to receive the scholarship.

Scholarships are awarded to students upon evidence of enrollment at a four-year institution of higher learning.

Last year, the committee awarded its first scholarship to Trenton Robinson. After graduating from Jim Hill High School, Robinson chose to attend Mississippi State University to pursue a degree in computer engineering and mathematics.

Currently, Robinson is finishing up his freshman year at MSU. During his first semester, he finished with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Robinson is actively involved in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Increasing Minority Access to Graduate Education (IMAGE) organizations.

Robinson said beyond the scholarship helping him with his college expenses, it has boosted his confidence to continue to work toward his goals in life.

“Receiving this scholarship showed me that I can achieve anything that I put my mind to and work hard at,” Robinson said. “It gave me confidence to apply for other scholarships, in hope that I may receive others as well

At Jim Hill, Robinson graduated in the top 10 of his senior class, finishing No. 4 with a cumulative of 3.51 GPA. He served as the president of Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, president of the National Honor Society, the baritone section leader of the Jim Hill Choir and earned the highest average in IB Spanish and IB Math Studies.

Robinson is also one of two IB students who received the IB Diploma in December at the IB Diploma Graduate Program, granting him college-level credits for specific academic courses in a general college curriculum.

Class night for Jim Hill High school will take place on Tuesday, May 10th at 6 p.m. in the JHS Auditorium. For more information about the COE Award, email jhhsescholar@gmail.com.

 

 

Fraternity brothers create scholarship for Miss. high school students

The 2012 Initiates of the Kappa Iota of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity created the Diamonds of Distinct Dedication (DODD) Scholarship to promote and encourage high academic achievement, leadership and service among high school students in the state of Mississippi.

Scholarship recipients must possess academic achievement, community involvement and school involvement.

The 2012 initiates completed their undergraduate studies at the University of Southern Mississippi while joining their fraternity. The initiates are Morris Bevily, Lyeneal Griffin, Wilton Jackson, Broddrick Ruffin, Joshua Dishmon and Trent Johnson.

To receive the award, students must be graduating seniors from a high school in the state of Mississippi. The students also must have maintained a 3.4 GPA on a 4.0 scale, enrolled in a two-year of four-year institution of higher learning in the year of the award and remained in good standing with the school.

In a state where education is often looked at in a negative light, Johnson said it is important that people know that Mississippi has the potential to produce great leaders in the world.

“Education in Mississippi is often labeled as mediocre by those who have no knowledge of the remarkable individuals who come from this state,” Johnson said. “This scholarship allows six USM graduates to create a spotlight and it provides a much needed push for up-and-coming students to one day create a platform of their own to prove that the state of Mississippi can produce future leaders in the world.”

Although he is a native of Concord, North Carolina, Johnson received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a concentration in health and human performance in May 2015.

Like Johnson, Ruffin not only feels that the scholarship shines a positive light on education in Mississippi, it helps students financially in a time where the price to attend college continues to rise.

“This scholarship gives people an opportunity to minimize the burden of trying to pay for college alone,” Ruffin said. “Grants and financial aid are getting harder to receive. This scholarship serves as a way to help others and to show that hard work does pay off.”

Ruffin received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in aerospace studies in May 2013.

Together, the six of them hope to make a lasting impact on students in the state of Mississippi.

“If we do not take the time to give back to our own, then how will we make a difference for the future,” Bevily said. “It is our goal to motivate and encourage students in Mississippi to be the future leaders of tomorrow.”

The scholarship committee will award four students with scholarships. The scholarship recipients will be announced by May 31st. For more information about the DODD Scholarship, email doddscholar6@gmail.com.

Storify: Combining digital elements to tell a story

What if you could combine numerous multimedia elements into one platform to tell a creative, fun story.

Let me tell you how.

The app, Storify, allows users to turn what people post on social media into compelling stories.

Storify collects photos, tweets, videos and more to publish in an interactive story format.

Before I tell how to use Storify, let me provide you with friendly acronym:

(S)tore

(T)rack

(O)rganize

(R)each

(I)ntegrate

(F)ilter

(Y)ourself

These tag words describe how Storify is used to tell stories.

Step 1: Log into Twitter of Facebook

Step 2: Click on Create New Story which will open a blank platform for you to create a story.

Step 3: On the top right hand corner, you will find media sources to curate the elements of your story. You can search Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Google for elements to include

Step 4: Add a headline for you story and a brief description so people will know what your story is about.

Step 5: You can search for elements to add to your story from your chosen media sources. Once you find something you want to add, drag it over to you story. The drag-and-drop method is what makes Storify such as great platform to work with as it keeps all of the original links and functionality of the original source and embeds them into your story.

Step 6: Add commentary. This step is optional but it is a great way to personalize a story.

Step 7:  It is easy to make changes to your story. To delete an element, hit the X in the right corner. To reorder elements in a story, simply drag and drop.

Step 8: Publish the story

Step 9: Notify people who you have quoted in the story.

Step 10:  Share your story on your social network or embed it on your personal blog or website.

Now that you know how to use Storify, let’s take a look at some examples.

 

Nick Mullens: ‘Quitting is not an option’

Before he played under the bright lights at ‘The Rock’ or shattered records at Spain Park High School, Nick Mullens was just like any other child with an early childhood dream. For Mullens, one simple principle gave him the ultimate blueprint for his success in life: persistence.

NCAA Football: Austin Peay at Southern Mississippi
Sep 12, 2015; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; Southern Miss Golden Eagles quarterback Nick Mullens (9) scores a touchdown on a 2-yard run against the Austin Peay Governors in the first quarter at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook

Children have big dreams of what they aspire to be in life. Many dream of being a doctor, a lawyer, a firefighter, a police officer, the president of the United States of America or a professional athlete. As kids, dreams come and go just as the days start and end. Luckily for the University of Southern Mississippi, Nick Mullens did not give up on his childhood dream of being a football player.

Mullens grew up in Hoover, Alabama, roughly eight miles outside of Birmingham, Alabama. He began playing football in the first grade. His parents, Suzanne and Mark Mullens, and his grandfather, Ernie Tabor, threw the ball with him as a child and took him to practice daily.

After finishing the first grade and his first year of playing football, however, Mullens decided to quit all of a sudden. Mullens’ father, who was very instrumental in his dream to play football, gave Nick an ultimatum that he would never forget.

“He told me if I ever decided to go back and play football again, I could not quit,” Mullens said.

From that moment on, Mullens never quit. He would go on to make only minor adjustments to his ultimate dream in the years to come.

Before he knew his football destiny, Mullens grew up playing the fullback, linebacker, tight end and wide receiver positions. It was at Berry Middle School where he began to hone in on his skills as a quarterback.

While chasing his dream on the gridiron under the bright lights, it was not uncommon to also find Mullens at the pitcher’s mound on the diamond of a baseball field.

“I played baseball all growing up,” Mullens said. “Not only was I a good pitcher but baseball helped me with my hand-eye coordination. More importantly, playing multiple sports is a good thing for young athletes.”

Throughout middle school and up until his sophomore year in high school, Mullens was a two-sport athlete. During his sophomore year, he suffered an arm injury that ultimately made him to choose football over baseball as his main sport.

Young, full of energy and the desire to win at the core of his persona, Mullens dedicated himself to perfecting his craft in football at Spain Park High School, a dominant Class 7A football program in the state of Alabama, under head coach Chip Lindsey.

NCAA Football: Austin Peay at Southern Mississippi
Sep 12, 2015; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; Southern Miss Golden Eagles quarterback Nick Mullens (9) looks to throw in the second quarter against the Austin Peay Governors at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook

“Spain Park gave me all the opportunities for success. They helped me develop my work ethic and I made some great relationships,” Mullens said. “Chip made me the quarterback I am today. He taught me everything I needed to know.”

 But unlike other athletes with grand dreams, Mullens did not start off imagining himself playing football or being in the position he is in today.

“I always thought it would be cool to play football, but I never really thought I could do it [at a high level],” Mullens said. “I am proving myself wrong each day.”

Nick mullens | High School Career

 Mullens went on to write his name in the history books of Alabama high school football, recording over 8,000-plus career yards. He then decided to attend Southern Miss.

Despite the fact that the Golden Eagles finished 0-12 prior to Mullens’ arrival in 2013, he knew the team would provide him with a place to be successful.

“I knew that USM had a good tradition, so winning was going to come back,” Mullens said. “They had a good program and a good business school.”

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This is a picture of the new business building on the Hattiesburg campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. | Courtesy of WHLT.com

However, with new coach Todd Monken and players wracked with injuries, the Golden Eagles struggled to win games.

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This is a picture of the record of wins and losses for the Southern Miss football team in 2013. | Courtesy of ESPN.com 

Mullens, who played in nine of 12 games, started the final six games of his freshman campaign. As the losses continued to pile up, Mullens and the Golden Eagles grew weary of losing. But they continued their fight to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

A bright spot was indeed on the horizon for Mullens.

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This is a picture of the headline that was used in The Student Printz newspaper, the official student newspaper publication at the University of Southern Mississippi. | Courtesy of The Student Printz

In the final game of his freshman year, the 6’ 1”, 196-pound quarterback torched the University of Alabama Birmingham for 370 passing yards, recording a season-high five touchdowns and a rushing touchdown as the Golden Eagles routed the Blazers 62-27, giving Southern Miss its first win since defeating the University of Nevada in the 2011 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

Mullens said his freshman season was a struggle but the team stuck together and it paid off in the end.

“It was relieving to win a game,” Mullens said. “We were tired of losing and tired of hearing about the losing streak.”

With his first victory under his belt, Mullens survived his first test of remaining persistent through difficult times and gained confidence heading into his sophomore year.

Johntre Goudy, a former teammate of Mullens, said Mullens served as a true testament of someone who stood tall in the face of adversity.

“He is inspiring. He doesn’t just talk the talk,” Goudy said. “He is a great, hardworking guy who lives what he preaches.”

Following spring training and summer camp prior to the 2014 season, USM fans were rejuvenated with school spirit. Students were excited about coming to ‘The Rock’, as the stadium was dubbed, to watch games again, and the city of Hattiesburg was eager to see its Golden Eagles take the field in 2014.

However, Mullens and the Golden Eagles still faced some growing pains and inexperience issues that kept them from having a winning season.

Despite winning more games — finishing the season 3-9 — injuries and youth limited Southern Miss on the field. Mullens, who would otherwise have played in all 12 games during his sophomore season, missed games against Marshall and the University of Texas El Paso due to injury.

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This is a picture of the record of wins and losses for the Southern Miss football team in 2014. | Courtesy of ESPN.com

Mullens said his sophomore season served as a major learning curve for him and his teammates.

“Success isn’t easy. We realized that we had to work harder,” Mullens said. “When you lose a lot, you lose confidence. But being a smart player, I realized that I had to work hard and remain consistent.”

Number of sacks allowed by the defense (2014)

Cameron Tom, an offensive lineman who came in with Mullens, said he can still remember what it felt like to block for Mullens during the 2014 season.

“You felt like you had to fight every snap for him. I knew every time he got hit he was going to get back up, so that made me want to block even harder,” Tom said. “This was inspiring and it gave me hope for the future.”

Frustrated with back-to-back losing seasons for a program that held a streak of 18-straight winning seasons prior to 2012, Mullens geared up for his junior season. History was about to change, because this season would be a breakout year for him.

“As a team, we worked harder, we believed in ourselves and we made plays that we needed to make,” Mullens said in recapping his junior season.

Michael Smith, an outgoing senior defensive lineman, credited Golden Eagles’ Strength and Conditioning Coach Zac Woodfin for re-establishing a sense of will and positive morale for him and his teammates.

“It started with Woodfin and the training staff. They brought in a good program and helped us believe that we were the best again,” Smith said. “As players, we had not worked that hard in nearly three years and it all paid off in a big way.”

Despite losing to Mississippi State in the 2015 season opener, 34-16, losing to another high quality opponent in Nebraska but going 3-3 through the first six games of the season, Mullens knew the Golden Eagles were now onto something great.

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“[I knew] it was important that I start the season good and that I make it clear I would be the starting quarterback,” Mullens said. “As a team, we knew that we were good.”

And Mullens was right.

After the Golden Eagles earned their fourth victory of the season, the largest record of wins for them since the 2011 season, Mullens and the USM football team kept to their winning ways.

The Golden Eagles went on a five-game winning streak that included a route over rival Louisiana Tech, 58-24, to earn a spot in the Conference USA Championship game.

Tom said the winning was a ‘great feeling’ for him and his teammates.

“All the tough times we experienced the first couple of years and how much we worked, it felt really good to see it all materialize into wins,” Tom said.

The C-USA Championship game was not just a game that showcased the two best teams in the conference. For Southern Miss, a win in the championship game would mean a greater chance at securing a higher postseason bowl game appearance.

Playing for a conference championship had been one of Mullens’ major goals. After two rough seasons at the beginning of his collegiate career, he continued his journey of persistence and earned a shot to play on one of the biggest stages of his life.

However, Mullens did not get the perfect ending to a stellar midseason run by the Golden Eagles. USM lost to Western Kentucky, 45-28, in the C-USA Championship game.

“That game hurts. We were so close to the championship,” Mullens said. “I think about that game every day. It motivates me on a daily basis.”

Refusing to give up and end the season with a loss, Mullens got one more chance at a victory in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl against the University of Washington to wrap up his junior season.

Southern Miss lost the bowl game, but Mullens learned a lot, made some memories and allowed this game to serve as a blueprint for his senior season.

“The bowl game was awesome,” Mullens said. “This is why I came to Southern Miss, to compete for championships and win bowl games.”

Mullens also credited the offensive line for allowing him to be successful last season.

“The offensive linemen do not get enough credit,” Mullens said. “Cameron Tom, Brandon Farmer, Oliver Bates, Jacob Fleming and Devin Farrior were why we were a good team last year.”

In return, Tom said Mullens makes his job as an offensive lineman worthwhile.

“Going through practices and training with Nick is great because you know he is going to bring energy everyday,” Tom said. “He is always there to lift someone up and always plays with a sense of urgency.”

Nearly two months after the loss against Washington, then head coach Todd Monken decided to leave USM to take a job as the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NCAA Football: Austin Peay at Southern Mississippi
Sep 12, 2015; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; Southern Miss Golden Eagles head coach Todd Monken on the sidelines in the second half of their game against the Austin Peay Governors at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Southern Miss won, 52-6. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook

Mullens, who had spent three years under Monken, would now have to adapt to a new head coach. After all, this was the very same advice Mullens would use from Coach Monken to adapt to the new Southern Miss head coach, Jay Hopson.

“The best athletes adapt,” Mullens said in referring to his advice from Monken. “He always told me that everybody is different and that it was important for me to be consistent as a player and as a teammate.”

In what started as a childhood dream of persistence, Mullens now prepares to start his senior season, taking the lessons that he has learned along the way to guide and prepare him for the last chapter in his Southern Miss football career.

With spring training coming to an end and the annual “Black-and-Gold Game” on Saturday, Mullens said learning from and adjusting to Coach Hopson and the new coaching staff have been great.

“The new coaches are great communicators, so that has been good,” Mullens said. “We have great new leadership. Practices have been intense and up-tempo.”

Mullens also said that his perspective on the game has changed for the betterment of the team.

“Coach Hopson expects me to lead, motivate and make plays for our team. I am more confident in my abilities,” Mullens said. “I have gained more respect from my teammates because I have practiced what I preach: hard work and consistency.”

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Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens hands over a pass as the Golden Eagles play against Mississippi State on Aug. 30, 2014 in Starkville. | Susan Broadbridge

Beyond his goals of winning a C-USA Championship, winning a bowl game and leaving a legacy, Mullens has already begun to prepare himself for the possibility of playing in the NFL.

“I plan to continue to watch film and gain weight so that my size does not hinder me,” Mullens said.

First grade Mullens may have wanted to quit football, but 21-year-old Mullens cannot quit now because football is no longer a game for him. It’s a way of life.

“Football has given me so many opportunities I never would have had,” Mullens said. “It has allowed me to build relationships and develop my work ethic of keeping a consistent attitude, never quitting and striving for success.”

While Mullens prepares for a highly-anticipated senior year, Tom often thinks about some of the funny moments last season that defines the close relationship Mullens has with the offensive linemen on the team.

“Throughout the whole football game against Old Dominion University, Nick kept telling the O-line to “pipe up”. The O-line as well as myself thought it was pretty corny because we thought he was playing off the popular Migos song ‘Pipe It Up’,” Tom said. “It is times like this where we can appreciate his personality beyond just being his teammates in the trenches.”

Mullens, like many others, fears the uncertainty of the future. But with his desire to win, his unselfish personality and his greed for success, fear will become a nonfactor for the Alabama native who once thought he would not play football on the collegiate level.

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Source: ESPN.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reclaiming Conversation: Part II

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In today’s society, the use of technology has changed how we communicate with others on a daily basis. In the final three sections of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, Sherry Turkle explained how technology changed the way students learned, how businesses handled daily operations, how apps took the place of face-to-face communication and how people miss important details when using apps or machines instead of old-fashioned communication.

While growing up, I did not think about how important technology was to my generation. I knew that I liked using the Internet, getting information quickly and communicating with my friends on different platforms after school. Looking back, as a child, I used websites like Bebo, Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger to communicate with my friends outside of school On Bebo, I talked with my friends, updated my profile and made new friends, all of the things Turkle mentions that we spend too much time doing. Thus, as I have gotten older and realized how important technology serves my generation and many others, it scares me to think about a life without the use of apps and innovative technology. On the other hand, however, it scares me to think about a society or world where technology controls every aspect in how we communicate with others.

From an education perspective, Turkle talked about the importance of live lectures. She mentions that “you share a bit of road with those around you and you come to understand how a group thinks” when coming to class in “real time” (141). Thinking about this example, I talked with a professor about the use of technology in helping kids learn in the classroom today. I asked the professor for her take on technology when teaching kids and did she think technology alone could teach kids how to add, subtract, multiply or divide for  example.

She said, “no”. She went on to say using additional techniques (technology or web-based software or platforms) should be used to enhance those skills for students. The web-based programs could not be the sole basis for students to understand important concepts.

Listening to her response, I remembered how my elementary school offered computer classes as additional training for us to engage and enhance the skills we learned in the classroom. I did not take computer classes at my school but I wanted to. I thought it was simply a cool thing to do between the ages of five and 10. At the time, I was not thinking about how the classes would have enhanced my knowledge of certain skills. More importantly, I did not fathom the idea that innovative technology would dominate society over the next 10-plus years.

Here is what is missing when one talks about the use of technology alone: meaningful conversation.

Again, from an education perspective, technology and web-based applications aid and help students to learn better. Teachers or professors, however, must provide meaningful conversation as to why things exist in the way that they do. For example, if a student does not understand why five plus five equals 10, he or she might not understand the concept of why five multiplied twice will equal 10. While software and technology give you fun and easy ways to understand concepts, it is still the role of teachers to provide the explanation and detail with things work in the scope that they do.

Turkle describes this idea in the book very well. “These days, teaching by conversation is talked as crucial (after all, the stated goal of putting content online in the flipped classroom is to have more dynamic in-class conversations)” (242). While this refers more to having classes in real time, the overall argument is that the teacher-to-student and student-to-student conversations are very important. These “actual” conversations allow us to make sense of how we know and understand things. “Real people have real concerns and interests” (243).

Overall, not just from an education standpoint, it is important that we take the extra step to have meaningful conversations in the classroom and in the workplace with our bosses and colleagues. From these conversations, we will truly gain a sense for how technology should be used to help us learn new things and build a world that allows us to better understand each other.

Raeford Worsham: Getting a chance at a ‘second chance’

NBA legend Michael Jordan locked himself in his room and cried when he did not make the Emsley A. Laney High School basketball team in his sophomore year. Jordan, however, did not give up. He worked hard, remained consistent and earned a second chance. Not only did he make the team his junior year, he finished his high school career as a McDonald’s All-American.

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A picture of Michael Jordan dunking at Emsley A. Laney High School | Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Imagine if Jordan would have given up. He would not have hit the historic, game-winning basket for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill men’s basketball team during the 1981 NCAA Basketball National Championship, won six NBA Championships or changed the culture of basketball forever.

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A picture of Michael Jordan preparing to dunk the basketball | Courtesy of Flickr Images

These moments, filled with humble beginnings, are what sports fans live for. They remind us why sports are so special.

Behind those shining moments are stellar athletes who put in countless hours of practice and training to perform to the best of their ability. Even with practice and training, however, no athlete is perfect. Every athlete has high and low points. What separates a “good athlete” from a “great athlete” is how one deals with adversity through difficult situations.

For Jackson State guard Raeford Worsham, his athletic career has seen a few bumps along the way. Instead of giving up when he was down, he looked to God and continued to push himself toward success.

“People try to bury me but God made me a seed,” Worsham said as personal words of motivation. “If you can look up, you can get up.”

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A picture of Raeford Worsham | Courtesy of JSU Athletics

Worsham, 22, finished his senior season for the Jackson State University men’s basketball team on March 18 as the Tigers lost to Grand Canyon, 64-54, in the second round of the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament (CIT). Despite the second round lost, Worsham’s basketball career is far from over.

Related Stories: Grand Canyon ends Jackson State’s season in the CIT

If you asked Worsham four years ago where he might be at this point in his life, he would not have said playing for Jackson State and making an impact on the Tigers team like he did.

Before Worsham served as a major piece and leader on a Tiger team that won 20 games for the first time since 2007, he was a young boy growing in rural southeast Mississippi playing baseball and basketball.

Worsham began to show his competitive nature and passion for basketball at the age of five. He looked up to his older sisters for guidance in learning the game.

“My sisters motivated me to be the best player that I could be,” Worsham said. “I watched them develop as players and I wanted to be better than them.”

Worsham’s sister, Rakesia Gray, 32, played at Wayne County High School and later at Belhaven University. His other sister, Ratassia Worsham, 29, also played at Wayne County High School before playing at Ole Miss.

“As I got older, watching my sisters made my interest for basketball grow even more,” Worsham said. “Ratassia was my favorite player all the way up until my college years.”

Rayford Worsham, Worsham’s father, also motivated him to go after his dream to play basketball and anything that he wanted to do in his life.

Believe it or not, Worsham did not always think that he would play basketball.

“I always had a dream to play basketball but I thought I would be playing baseball,” Worsham said. “In fact, I love baseball more than I love basketball.”

As Worsham got older — around the seventh grade — he began to realize that basketball was a good fit for him and started to put more emphasis on basketball than baseball.

“I was tall. I had big hands and big feet,” Worsham said. “I felt like basketball was the best fit for me.”

Often referred to as “Gator,” a nickname his grandfather gave him when he was two years old, Worsham recalled one of his biggest moments as a child that solidified his dream to play basketball.

“While playing basketball at Waynesboro Middle School, Quitman Middle School was a big rivalry for us,” he said. “Quitman had a really good team but we beat them twice. I had two good games against them and beating that team was a very special moment for me.”

For Worsham, it was early moments like this that prepared him for some of the biggest moments of his life in high school and in college.

At Wayne County High School, beyond simply making a name for himself as an athlete, Worsham did something that none of his siblings were able to do. As a junior, he led the Wayne County to a 31-1 record and a 5A State Championship under head coach Ron Norman.

“All I remember [thinking] was, ‘Is this what winning a championship feels like?’ That and thanking God tremendously,” Worsham said. “It was feeling that I will never forget.”

Worsham also said Coach Norman played a huge role in allowing him to grow as a player and as a leader.

“He always told me that I was my biggest defender and I was my biggest problem,” Worsham said. “I was the only person that could stop me from being great.”

Worsham put in countless hours at the gym and at practice to be the best athlete he could be. He worked tirelessly to perfect his leadership skills on the court and to succeed in every aspect of the game.

“My biggest fear was letting my family down,” Worsham said. “Thus, no matter what, I knew I had to work hard to the best I could be.”

Worsham’s motivation paid off the next season. As a senior, Worsham served as the team captain and Most Valuable Player, averaging 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists and leading Wayne County to a 32-2 record.

Although Worsham experienced much success on the court in high school, he never became complacent. The people who were closest to him did not allow him to become complacent as well.

“Coming from Wayne County, no matter how good you were, you could always be better,” Worsham said. “People would always keep me hype but they always remind me that I could be better. In fact, people in Wayne County will not tell you that you are good until you are gone from Wayne County.”

Finishing his senior season and eager to leave Wayne County to prove himself, Worsham attended Arkansas State on a four-year scholarship to play basketball. Arkansas State, a team within the Sun Belt Conference, seemed like the perfect fit for Worsham.

“I wanted to get away from Wayne County and I did. Arkansas State had a great coaching staff and things seemed really positive for me,” Worsham said.

Despite playing in 29 games but averaging only six points and three rebounds per game in his first year at Arkansas State, Worsham realized some things about himself that he hadn’t before he was a college athlete.

“College basketball was bigger than high school basketball. I wanted to make my mark as a freshman but I had to grow up,” Worsham said. “I had to work a lot harder.”

But working harder turned in to Worsham’s desire to leave Arkansas State.

After seven games into his sophomore campaign, according to multiple reports, Worsham decided to “quit” the team all of a sudden. Red Wolves head coach John Brady released this statement about Worsham in a press release in 2013.

“The coaches, his teammates, the administration and the university as a whole gave this young man a wonderful opportunity,” Brady said. “We believe some NCAA rules may have been breached as it relates to tampering, and we will use all avenues to protect the investment we made.”

Related Stories: Raeford Worsham

Related Stories: Arkansas State’s John Brady alleges tampering after Raeford Worsham quits the team

Worsham decided to transfer to Jackson State. While JSU is a smaller school than Arkansas State, Worsham felt that playing for the Tigers provided him with better exposure to make an impact on the court.

“I felt a better vibe at Jackson State and I felt transferring to JSU was the best thing for me. I received more playing time as well,” Worsham said. “I felt like it was better for me to have the weight or pressure on my shoulders to perform on the court than sit behind others and watch them play.”

The 6-foot-4, 192-pound guard thrived in his first year. He led the team in points per game with 14 and played in and started 19 games.

During the 2015-16 campaign, the Tigers made it to the 2016 SWAC Championship game but lost to the Southern Jaguars, 54-53, in the final seconds of the game.

Related Stories: Jackson State falls short of dream in SWAC title game

A single point kept the Tigers from earning a spot in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Worsham, who averaged 13 points and seven rebounds in his final season, said the loss was hard to deal with for him and his teammates.

“It felt like someone just snatched something you always wanted. All the blood, the sweat and the tears went down the drain,” Worsham said. “We were so close but yet so far away.”

R. Worsham Infographic

While losing in the SWAC Championship game and in the second-round of CIT were not on the radar for Worsham, he truly appreciated his time and his experience of being a college athlete at Jackson State.

“Playing at JSU provided me with some great moments that I will never forget. JSU gave me another chance, another opportunity. It felt great to get that exposure on the court,” Worsham said. “Being at JSU also helped me academically and allowed me to become a better person in life in general.”

Worsham also credited Tigers head coach Wayne Brent for making him a better athlete and a better person.

“You could never be sure of how he would be each day. One thing is for sure, he pushed me. He reminded me so much of my high school coach,” Worsham said. “He motivated me to never give up and to always stay focused at all times.”

As Worsham prepares to finish his degree in recreation administration in July 2016, he will continue his preparation for two basketball combines over the summer with the dream of playing in the NBA or internationally.

Because he played the remainder of his collegiate basketball career in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), some may feel that he is not good enough to play basketball on the professional level.

Related Stories: SWAC players to play in the National Basketball Association

Related Stories:Ranking Best Active NBA Players Who Attended Smaller Colleges

For Worsham, however, it was simply another chance of exposure that he needed to show that he could play with anybody in the country. He will use that same exposure and mentality on his journey to continue playing the game that he loves at the next level.

“It is not about where you come from but it is the impact you leave behind that matters the most,” Worsham said. “I will continue to trust God because he has always been there for me. It was never me who allowed me to do the things I did, it was God.”

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Distraction: Reclaiming Conversation

We live in a society driven by innovative technology and instant gratifications. Nearly 60 years ago, people in society did not have the pleasure to engage in different forms of technology, to use various social media applications and stay connected virtually over a period of time. The Internet was in its early stages and Web 2.0 was a new idea. Thus, Americans growing in the 1970s relied on face-to-face communication with their parents, friends, professors and co-workers to name a few. This generation of people up until the the early 2000s did not have “distractions” from true forms of communication. In Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, Sherry Turkle argued that “we live in a technological world in which we are always communicating and yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection” (Turkle, 1).

As society continued to change, technology began change. Technology created different alternatives to how people communicated and interacted with one another. As the Internet became popular, different media outlets incorporated the Internet to their everyday life of communication. The Internet began to alter the business models of media companies as well. Over time, with those changes, people began to see the power of the Internet and what it offered them in terms of engagement and communication.

Turkle feels that people in today’s society are distracted by innovative technology. As such, people do not communicate like they once did (e.g. face-to-face communication). Growing up in the digital age, my first true “distraction” as Turkle argues was AOL instant messenger and Yahoo messenger apps. Early in my middle school years, I would come home from school on the bus, start my homework and engage in conversation with some of my friends on these particular instant messaging sites. At the time, I did not think it was a distraction because I still communicated with these same people on a daily basis. Now, nearly 11 years later, I still do not think using alternative forms of communication are distractions from truly communicating with someone. When you look communication and how it has changed overtime, one must look the individual personality and the way in which he or she feels most comfortable in communicating with someone.

For example, I think one must look at whether or not a person is an introvert or an extrovert when looking at communication. For those who identify as introverts, they tend to be more shy in reaching out and talking with others on a daily basis. They tend to stay to themselves. Thus, in reference to Turkle’s argument, I would expect introverts to use social media or technology more the communicate with others. On the other hand, extroverts are different. These people can fully engage in face-to-face communication but also use social media and technology to communicate with others as well.

Overall, in my opinion, technology alone is not distraction for all in regards to communication. People do not talk face to face, meet in person to discuss important matters or to engage in fun like previous generations did. As we have read in books and as we have seen over period of time in society, new and improved technology changes the way we do things. For example, the Industrial Revolution brought powerful impacts to society.  With new changes in the realm of transportation and everyday necessities (e.g. clothing, electricity, patent inventions, department stores) during the Industrial Revolution changed the way Americans communicated, interacted and maneuvered in society.

Fast forward to today’s society, the use of innovative technology in place of face-to-face communication is no different. Technology has allowed people a new way to communicate with one another. Even more, new technology has also allowed one to incorporate aspects of face-to-face communication (e.g. Skype, FaceTime) while not being physically in person with someone. Thus, as Turkle argues, this is an example why kids and many people in my generation stay connected to mobile devices and tablets.

Turkle argues that face-to-face communication helps us to find out more about our personal solitude, allows us to self reflect own things in our lives and allows us to build a stronger sense of understanding with our family members, friends, co-workers, professors and etc. I believe that her argument is very compelling. Face-to-face communication will never go away. As technology continues to become more innovative, it will continue to serve as an important piece to communicating with others in society.

 

Privacy and Publicity

 

Public Space

Technology has changed the way we communicate and interact with others in society. It has infiltrated the most “fundamental aspects of our lives: social organization, the body, even our self concepts” (Banks, 1). With the continued rise of innovative technology and the Internet, big businesses and companies have found ways to use personalized, private information of consumers for business and various social interactions that take place in society. In today’s society, much of personalized information becoming available to businesses stems from the power of the Internet.

This information, or big data, has brought about the “ability to observe, to surveil and to collect interactions in large datasets” about consumers (Tufekci, 1).

With this data, businesses can adjust their models to cater to the attitudes, the behaviors and the desires of consumers. We vary in our interests as consumers (e.g. interest in media outlets, political interests, shopping interests). As a result, businesses use the personal information of consumers as research for persuasion and outreach with consumers. As Tufekci argued, computational politics “allows businesses to study people at the individual level, gathering information from things such as magazine subscriptions and voter preference for example to cater or market things to consumers. Computational politics (e.g. Facebook ad aimed at particular voter) has changed the public sphere of society. Computational politics has changed the idea or concept of personalized or “private” information. Instead, this information is public in the sense that businesses now have the ability to access what we want or desire the most.

In my opinion, businesses or organizations having the power to access our information to better suit our desires is not always a bad thing. For example, I like to shop for clothes, particularly  bow ties, blazers, dress shoes, socks and shirts. On some occasions, I will shop from Amazon.com. In addition to what you purchase, Amazon provides you a list of suggested items that you can purchase as the consumer. In most cases, based off of my search preferences or personal information, I like the suggested items. In this case, the algorithms are not being used in a negative light.

In other ways, such as websites remembering credit card information, private databases,  or voter advertisements on media outlets based on my political party preference are examples that  personal information should not be shared. These two things are very personal in nature for many of us. As private information becomes more public to businesses for example, it also becomes easier to people to hack and steal your personal identity through the Internet.

With advancements in technology and the rapid growth of the Internet, it is important that consumers be more cautious and more careful about what information they allow businesses (“the watchers”) to see. Businesses will continue to surveil the personal information of consumers. Kevin Kelly offered the remedy for “over-secrecy, stating that we should consider the idea of coveillance” (Kelly, 1). Kelly argued that “we make tracking and monitoring as symmetrical — and transparent — as possible. That way the monitoring can be regulated, mistakes appealed and corrected, specific boundaries set and enforced” (Kelly, 1). I think these “boundaries” are needed for things that people feel are more personal to them.

After all, as Kelly mentioned, how would an “individual maintain the boundaries of self when their every thought, their every utterance, and their every action is captured, archived, analyzed, and eventually anticipated by others?”

The Internet has allowed for more private interaction between people. It is understood, however, that private is not necessarily private when it comes to businesses overseeing this information.

Thus, it is up to consumers to monitor and watch what information they put out for others to search and use in reference to them.

Privacy and Publicity Readings

Tufekci (2014): Big Data, Surveillance and Computational Politics

Banks (2011): Sousveillance and Justice: A Panopticon in the Crowds
Kelly (2014): Why you should embrace surveillance, not fight it?
Jurgenson N and Rey PJ (2013): The fan dance: How privacy thrives in an age of hyper-publicity.
Davis and Jurgenson (2014): Context Collapse: Theorizing Context Collusions and Collisions
boyd (2013): Eyes on the Street or Creepy Surveillance?

 

Technological Determinism

To Save

In To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, Evgeny Morozov shares his attitudes, dispositions and urges that comprise the “solutionist mind-set, to show how they manifest themselves in specific projects to ameliorate human condition and to hint at how and why some of these attitudes, dispositions and urges can and should be circumvented, resisted and unlearned. More specifically, technological perfection without “attending to the intricacies of the human condition and accounting for the complex world of practices and traditions, might not be worth the price” (xv).

In the book, Morozov discussed different components when breaking down technology and how people view the Internet in combination with continuous technological advancements. He labeled people as solutionists, or those who thought inefficiency of political and cultural life are issues that could be fixed using technology. Morozov also categorized people as Internet-centrists, or those who thought”the Internet” was a single logic and set of values rather than a variety of different networked technologies. As such, the rest of the world must be reshaped around the Internet.

After reading this book, I thought about how much I relied on the Internet and how much I relied on technology in different apps and platforms to provide me with adequate information throughout the day. Having grown up in the age of dial-up Internet — a digital innovation once upon a time — I have come to rely on the Internet and technology to carry out daily tasks such as checking emails, checking news and sports outlets to stay informed and using social media apps to provide me with the latest information taking place in the community, the state, the nation and the world around me. With fast-speed Internet and cutting edge technology, it almost hard to imagine the world without these “now” everyday necessities.

Taking this in to consideration with Morozov’s book, people and especially those in my generation have become so connected to a world that includes the Internet and all of the pros and cons that come with it. As Morozov argues, there are quite a few of us that shape our thoughts about things in life based on what see, find or how we use the Internet. Whatever problems or issues we face, many of us will look to the Internet for solutions or use technology as a “quick fix” to cover up our issues that we have for the moment.

This is a problem.

Here is why.

Growing up as a child, I think about how my older family members told me to never “put all of my eggs in one basket” when doing or deciding something. Even more, I think about how my family members and close friends always encouraged me to never take the easy way out when accomplishing various tasks. They encouraged me to go the extra mile. Make a path of my own. Build my own destiny and align it with God’s plan.

I say all of that to say this: The Internet and digital innovation alone cannot fix our problems. Hence, we cannot continue to put all of our trust and faith in technology and the outcomes or solutions that the Internet provides us. While social media apps (technology) paint the picture of being social and catering to all of our needs or problems that arise, there are things that exist within our upbringing or culture that play an important role in allowing us to understand the world around us. Technology and the Internet aid in the process of helping us to understand the world but they should not be only components that help us to adequately understand society and more important to keep us informed. By relying solely on the technology and the Internet filled with algorithms, apps and built-in software from the giants in Silicon Valley, we limit ourselves from seeking a broader view on the world that will allow us to make better decisions about the things or issues that matter the most.

Thus, it is important to look beyond the norm. Go against the grain. It is important to look beyond digital innovation and the power of the Internet. “Constructing a world preoccupied only with the most efficient outcomes — rather than with the processes through which those outcomes are achieved — is not likely to make them aware of the depth of human passion, dignity and respect” (345).

Morozov also states another powerful quote that summarizes the importance of looking beyond technology. ” Technologies actively shape our notion of the self; they even define the structure and tempo of our self-experimentation. If we have no choice but to do the right thing always, then our spiritual pasture of our self is to be cultivated shrinks considerably” (344).

 

 

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