You are here

Mountain Lines February 2012

Students Selected for Georgia All College Band and All College Chorus

Fifteen Young Harris College students were selected to perform in the Georgia All College Band and Georgia All College Chorus, comprised of student musicians representing colleges and universities throughout the state. The students performed during the Georgia Music Educators Association’s (GMEA) Annual In Service Conference held in Savannah, Jan. 25-28.
Students selected for the All College Band include music education majors Rachel Bettis, flute, a freshman from Dawsonville, Natasha Harkins, clarinet, a freshman from Dawsonville, Adham Hamilton, bassoon, a freshman from Powder Springs, Chris Simms, alto saxophone, a senior from Cumming, Sally Petty, horn, a sophomore from Cumming, Jeff Stewart, trombone, a sophomore from Young Harris, and Patrick Young, tuba, a freshman from Dawsonville.

Students selected for the All College Chorus include sophomore music education major Megan Davis, of Blairsville, freshman musical theatre and English major Caroline Dern, of Ellijay, freshman music major Dakota Kellerman, of Cartersville, freshman music major Judith Lyle, of Clarksville, freshman religious studies major Ali McCollough, of Augusta, freshman musical theatre major Ben Sims, of Hiram, sophomore music major Brian Walker, of Powder Springs, and senior music education major Jake Wentzek, of Blairsville.

All College Band students were selected based on a recorded audition piece ranked by instrument-specific professors from Georgia colleges and universities. Students were selected to participate in the All College Chorus through director recommendation based on vocal ability, musical experience and intended field of study. 

“College band directors used to nominate students to be members of the All College Band, but this year every student’s admission to the group was based solely on an audition,” Senior Instructor of Music and Director of Bands Mary Land said. “I am thrilled that seven YHC students earned membership into this elite ensemble. Our students worked hard to prepare for this amazing opportunity to perform with accomplished student musicians from every college and university in the state.”

“I was elated when I found out I made the All College Band and was selected as second chair for flute, and I was so excited about our program this year,” Bettis said. “We played Ecstatic Waters, one of my favorite pieces that I had made it a goal to perform one day. We also played Lux Aurumque by my favorite modern composer, Eric Whitacre, which was an extremely memorable experience.”

(From left to right) Rachel Bettis, flute, a freshman from Dawsonville, Senior Instructor of Music and Director of Bands Mary Land, Sally Petty, horn, a sophomore from Cumming, Adham Hamilton, bassoon, a freshman from Powder Springs, Georgia All College Band Conductor Gary Green, Chris Simms, alto saxophone, a senior from Cumming, Natasha Harkins, clarinet, a freshman from Dawsonville, Jeff Stewart, trombone, a sophomore from Young Harris, and Patrick Young, tuba, a freshman from Dawsonville.


Young Harris College to Host Ethics Awareness Week

Young Harris College will host Ethics Awareness Week, Monday-Friday, Feb. 13-17, sponsored by the Ethics Across the Curriculum program. The conference will feature lectures and presentations by YHC faculty and guest speakers and special displays in Duckworth Library.

“This year we have an exciting opportunity to hear how professionals in different fields understand and respond to moral concerns,” Associate Professor of Philosophy and Ethics Across the Curriculum Coordinator Jamie Watson, Ph.D., said. “We have designed the program to engage both faculty and students, and we hope it will encourage more discussion about these difficult questions among everyone in the community.”

The weeklong event will highlight five topics related to ethics in professions, including “Applied Ethics,” “Ethics in Education,” “Ethics in Sports,” “Ethics in Business” and “Ethics in Healthcare.”

The conference will begin on Monday, Feb. 13, with a lecture on moral relativism and professionalism by Dr. Watson titled “Real vs. Relative Morality in the Office.” On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Assistant Professor of Education Mark Brunner, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of Education Sharon Jackson, Ed.D., will speak aboutmoral concerns in education programs.

Associate Professor of Physical Education Jim Thomas will present on morality in sports on Wednesday, Feb. 15, while Assistant Professor of Business and Public Policy Nathan Gray, Ph.D., will present a lecture on business ethics titled “Whistleblowing” on Thursday, Feb. 16. 

The conference will conclude on Friday, Feb. 17, with “Evidence-Based Ethics: Professionalism and Medicine,” a presentation by guest lecturer Katharine Meacham, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at Mars Hill College. The lecture will focus on Dr. Meacham’s recent sabbatical spent studying moral ideas as they are discussed and applied at the Medical School of the University of North Carolina.

The lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 14, will take place at 6 p.m. in Room 105 of Goolsby Center on the YHC campus. All other lectures will take place at 6 p.m. in Wilson Lecture Hall of Goolsby Center.

The Ethics Across the Curriculum program at Young Harris College was established in 2008. This program encourages professors in all disciplines to incorporate the study of ethics into their courses and often includes workshops and luncheons on ethics in practice, ethical theories, moral reasoning and teaching ethics.

Students, academic professionals and community members are encouraged to attend the conference.

YHC Men’s Soccer Captain Barnard Earns Academic Honors

Ali Neese, senior
Communications and Marketing Intern

Young Harris College men’s soccer team captain and goalkeeper Wezly Barnard was recently named to the prestigious Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-America Men’s Soccer Third Team. Barnard, a junior business and public policy major from Johannesburg, South Africa, is the first Mountain Lion ever to be named to one of the Academic All-America national teams.

“Being recognized really means a lot to me, and I feel honored to be part of this elite group. I have worked hard at YHC, and getting good grades has really been a reward in itself for me,” Barnard said. “There is no doubt that studying at YHC has played a big part in my receiving this award. My professors are always willing to help me, and they also help me push myself to do well.”

Barnard credits the small class sizes and personalized attention he receives from his professors at YHC for his academic success, along with the guidance he has received from his faculty advisor and mentor John Van Vliet, Ph.D., chair of the business and public policy department and associate professor of business and public policy.

“I have a lot of professors that I have really enjoyed working with and who have helped me succeed, and Dr. Van Vliet has played a huge role in helping me move in the right direction at YHC. His teaching has truly set the example for what it takes to succeed,” Barnard said.

The NCAA describes the Division II student-athlete experience with the tagline “Life in the Balance,” emphasizing the importance of educating the whole student-athlete.  Barnard has achieved this balance by honing time-management skills and developing bonds with coaches and professors who understand the academic and athletic commitments of student-athletes.

“Coach McKeever always reminds the team that school comes first and we need to succeed in the classroom—it’s a big part of his program. However, he also expects us to work hard when we are on the field,” said Barnard. “Coach McKeever has been a huge factor in my success, as he has showed me how to be a leader on and off the field.”

Along with playing soccer, Barnard works as a police cadet for the YHC Police Department and serves as co-president for the College’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee—all while maintaining a 3.9 grade point average.

After graduation, he plans to obtain a master’s degree in sports management or marketing and pursue a career in sports marketing. He is also interested in coaching, a skill he developed last summer while playing soccer for the Knoxville Force in the National Premier Soccer League and coaching the team’s summer camps.

“Wezly is a great role model for our incoming players. He has been an integral part of everything the men's soccer program is trying to achieve: excellence on the field and in the classroom,” said McKeever. “He is walking proof of what I continually express to my players—that hard work is the first ingredient to success. Wezly’s work ethic and integrity have set a standard for others in the program to strive towards.”

The YHC men’s soccer team has received many academic accolades for the 2011 season. Barnard and his teammate Andreas Pechmann of Munich, Germany, were named to the Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-District V Men's Soccer First Team. They were also named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's College Division Men's Scholar All-South Region Honorable Mention Team, along with Ashley Walker of Birmingham, England, James Thorpe of Nuneaton, England, and Jacob Connelly of Madison. The YHC men’s and women’s soccer teams both earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Team Academic Award.

For more information about the soccer teams’ accomplishments, visit

Young Harris College men’s soccer team captain and goalkeeper Wezly Barnard was recently named to the prestigious Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-America Men’s Soccer Third Team.

The Swingin’ Medallions Return to Young Harris College Big Dance
Concert to benefit Local Scholarship Campaign

The Young Harris College Board of Associates will present the second annual Young Harris College Big Dance Saturday, March 10, in the YHC Recreation and Fitness Center to benefit the Young Harris College Local Scholarship Campaign, which provides scholarships for local students. Members of the YHC community are invited to enjoy a fun evening of beach music featuring The Swingin’ Medallions live in concert. Doors open at 6 p.m., and music begins at 7:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by Piedmont Heart Institute, Piedmont Physicians, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, BB&T, Holiday Inn Express Hiawassee and The Copper Door.

“Last year’s inaugural Big Dance was a huge success and helped raise scholarship support for many of our local students,” said YHC Board of Associates Big Dance Committee Chair Donna Reece. “The YHC Board of Associates wants everyone to come out this year and enjoy the music, fun and fellowship. It’s the perfect way to have a memorable evening out with friends while also helping students receive the financial assistance they need.”

Famous for their signature beach music sound, The Swingin' Medallions have been based out of the Greenwood, S.C., area since the early 1960s. After a few years of touring colleges from the Carolinas to the Louisiana Bayou, John McElrath took the group to Charlotte, N.C., to record “Double Shot (of My Baby's Love),” which has been a party classic for college students for decades. Top 40 hits for the group include “She Drives Me Out Of My Mind” and “Hey, Hey, Baby.”

The members of the Swingin' Medallions have changed during the last 30 years, but the high energy, party-style stage performance of the first Medallions has been passed down to the band that performs today. The popularity of the current Medallions stage show has earned them the unofficial title of “The Party Band of the South.”

Tables for eight are available for $225, and individual tickets are available for $40. To register for the event online, contact the Young Harris College Office of Advancement at (706) 379-5173. Patrons may bring their own food and beverage, or pre-order from a variety of dining packages by The Copper Door.

About the Local Scholarship Campaign
More than 200 students from the counties of Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Towns and Union counties in Georgia and Cherokee and Clay counties in North Carolina are currently enrolled at Young Harris College. Reflecting a commitment by the College and the local community to these students, the Local Scholarship Campaign was established to raise funds to support the educational goals of local students at Young Harris College.

The Young Harris College Board of Associates, a group of local business and civic leaders who serve as ambassadors for the College as well as a sounding board for the community, leads this effort. Each fall the Board of Associates launches the annual Local Scholarship Campaign in an effort to assist in providing aid to the students coming to Young Harris College from these seven communities.

Songs of Water Performance Headlines “Festival Appalachia”

Festival Offers Week of Exciting Events

Ali Neese, senior
Communications and Marketing Intern

The annual Heinze Lecture at Young Harris College will feature Songs of Water World Folk Orchestra and special guest Molly Skaggs on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium of the Clegg Fine Arts Building on the YHC campus as part of “Festival Appalachia: Celebrating A People… Honoring a Place,” a special event hosted by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement at Young Harris College and the City of Young Harris. The event is free and open to the public.

Members of Songs of Water will also present an educational workshop earlier in the day at 2 p.m. in Susan B. Harris Chapel. The group will demonstrate musical instruments from around the world and discuss issues related to world music including ethnomusicology and the diverse expressions of Appalachian music. This event is also free and open to the public.

North Carolina-based band Songs of Water has been creating music together since 2002, yet their distinct sound has roots in ancient cultures. This seven-piece ensemble blends instrumentation from across the globe in a uniquely American context. The uncommon use of the hammered dulcimer leads many of the group’s instrumental pieces, accompanied by the resonance of acoustic instruments and a foundation of percussion produced by instruments from a wide variety of cultures, from Appalachia to Africa.

Band member Luke Skaggs and special guest performer Molly Skaggs are the children of renowned country and bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs. The band has released two albums, Songs of Water and The Sea Has Spoken, and is currently touring the southeastern United States while writing material for a new album scheduled to be released in fall 2012.

“I’m delighted that we are able to bring Songs of Water to our campus as part of our celebration of Appalachian heritage,” said YHC Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement Ron Roach, Ph.D., who is also the brother of Songs of Water band member Stephen Roach. “Music is a vital part of Appalachian culture, and Songs of Water provides a living example of the diverse expressions of music in this region.”

The annual Heinze Lecture brings speakers and other guests to campus to discuss themes and present ideas that encourage college spirit and offer inspiration to the entire college community. Traditionally, the event focuses on Southern or Appalachian topics. Past events include lectures, concerts and community projects.

In addition to the Heinze Lecture, the weeklong “Festival Appalachia,” running Monday-Saturday, Feb. 6-11, features a variety of special events. The festival kicks off Monday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. with a film showing of Cold Mountain in Wilson Lecture Hall of Goolsby Center. This 2003 Oscar-nominated war drama is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Charles Frazier and chronicles the journey of a wounded Confederate soldier making his way home to Cold Mountain, N.C.

A special chapel service will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. in Susan B. Harris Chapel that will highlight local music and faith traditions in Appalachia.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, S.E.R.V.E. (Service, Education, Responsibility, Voice and Engagement) at YHC will host a community outreach event at the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Interpretive Center in Blairsville. Volunteers will work on landscaping and exterior maintenance at this nine-acre farm currently being developed by the Byron Herbert Reece Society to honor the noted poet and YHC 1940 alumnus and former instructor. The facility will feature historical exhibits about Reece’s life and work as well as Appalachian farm life in the early 20th century.

Young Harris College Celebrates MLK Day

Seventeen Young Harris College faculty, staff and students visited The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and The Carter Center in Atlanta on Jan. 14 to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which was nationally observed on Jan. 16. The event was sponsored by S.E.R.V.E. (Service, Empowerment, Responsibility, Voice and Engagement).

 “Since we had worked with local community partners the last three years, we thought it was time to do something different,” said Bonner Leaders Program Director and Academic Service Learning Program Coordinator Rob Campbell. “We hope the students, faculty and staff gained a better understanding for the values, philosophies and visions shared by King and Carter, along with an appreciation for the large role the city of Atlanta continues to play in their history and ongoing legacies.”

The outing began with a tour of The Carter Center, a charitable organization founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to advance peace and health worldwide. That afternoon, the group toured The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the surrounding neighborhood, including King’s childhood home and Ebenezer Baptist Church where King, his father and grandfather served as pastors.

“The trip to Atlanta was definitely invigorating,” said Brian Walker, a sophomore music major from Powder Springs. “To see what Martin Luther King, Jr. did to get us to where we are today is completely phenomenal—the sacrifices he made, the pain it caused and, ultimately, the end reward that he knew would be so great and significant.”

“I gained so much enlightenment from this trip. All I could think about after the trip was King’s famous quote, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” said junior business and public policy major Nathan Hughes of Young Harris. “It puts into perspective my thankfulness for my freedom, and it also challenges me not to be content with my freedom because there are still places in our country and around the world where equality efforts are inadequate.”

 S.E.R.V.E. sponsors one major service-oriented event each month. The organization will sponsor a service event in conjunction with “Festival Appalachia” on Saturday, Feb. 11, co-sponsor three service-based trips during spring break in March, and collaborate with the College’s Sustainability Committee, Roots & Shoots and Student Government Association to host service events to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 21.

The group toured The Carter Center, a charitable organization founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

The group toured The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the surrounding neighborhood, including King’s childhood home and Ebenezer Baptist Church where King, his father and grandfather served as pastors.

YHC Students Prepare for Italy Tour

Kyle Huneycutt, junior
Communications and Marketing Intern

Twenty Young Harris College students will have the opportunity to embark on an immersive tour of Italy, May 17-31, led by Art Department Chair and Associate Professor of Art Ted Whisenhunt, Adjunct Instructor of English Eloise Whisenhunt, Ph.D., and Adjunct Instructor of Art Scott Dean. Students will study Italian art, literature and culture while touring museums, cathedrals and historical monuments in many of Italy’s cultural and historical centers including Florence, Rome, Venice, Lucca, Pisa, Siena and Cinque Terre.

To prepare for the excursion, students are currently enrolled in a comprehensive course that will enhance their experience abroad. Through lectures, selected readings, class discussions and hands-on activities, the course provides students with an introduction to many aspects of Italian culture and history as well as helpful tips about traveling abroad.

“Instead of feeling completely overwhelmed in Italy, students will have some foundation on which to base their travels,” Dr. Eloise Whisenhunt said. “The goal is for students to have a fuller experience because they will already possess a basic understanding and can hold up what they learned in class and compare it to what is before them.”

“Knowing the history of a work of art, statue, cathedral or city and then seeing it with your own eyes is truly enlightening,” Dean added. “Everything the students are learning during the course relates directly to cities and sites we will see, which will give them a broader outlook on everything they experience in Italy. By the time we leave for Europe, each student can be his or her own tour guide.”

As part of the course, students will learn to identify and evaluate important works of art and architecture of ancient Rome, the Italian Renaissance and the Baroque Period. During the trip, each student will make an on-site presentation regarding specific landmarks or cultural elements of the cities.

Students will also gain an appreciation of the value and influence Italian authors have had on literature by reading selections that directly relate to the cities the group will visit. Students will study works by a variety of American and Italian authors including Dante, Boccaccio, Virgil, Keats, Browning and Twain.

“While I could have filled the class with only Italian literature, I am also intrigued by the English/American tourist in Italy,” said Dr. Eloise Whisenhunt. “We have so many examples of authors who were inspired by Italy, so we are also reading some works by those who wrote about Italy from the point of view that we will have—as an outsider or tourist.”

Students will also have the opportunity to apply valuable skills and knowledge gained during the course regarding travel etiquette, photography, the philosophy of travel, language and regional foods.

“Studying and traveling abroad can broaden students’ horizons and world views. Suddenly other cultures and world events become more real for them,” Ted Whisenhunt said. “My favorite part of traveling to Italy with students is seeing the look on their faces when they experience some of the milestones—looking up at the Sistine Chapel, climbing the leaning tower of Pisa and walking around St. Peter’s Basilica.” 

A percentage of all 2011-2012 gifts to YHC’s Friends of the Arts fund will benefit the YHC Italy tour. In addition, FOTA patrons have the opportunity to sponsor a student to attend the trip, in keeping with FOTA’s goal to promote the exploration of new endeavors and learning experiences.

Friends of the Arts supports Young Harris College’s mission of enabling students to grow and learn in an environment of uncompromised artistic and academic freedom and integrity. Gifts made by FOTA members help promote awareness of arts programming.

To find out more about the course and trip, visit Young Harris College Italy Tour.

Faculty and Staff Notables

Assistant Professor of Outdoor Leadership Dr. Drew Cavin attended a research symposium hosted by the Coalition for Education in Outdoors held at Indiana University's Bradford Woods, Jan. 13-15. Dr. Cavin presided over a session about fostering environmental stewardship through outdoor education, led an informal discussion on the role of new technologies in outdoor education and participated in discussions on new research in outdoor education.   

Resident Director Crystal Crouse recently earned her master’s degree in youth development leadership from Clemson University.

Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Johnathan Davis published a paper, titled “Testing the utility of an adaptive cluster sampling method for monitoring a rare and imperiled darter,” in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. The paper addresses issues biologists encounter in reducing the error associated with population estimates of threatened and endangered fishes. 

Professor of English, Director of the Academic Success Center and Director of the Writing Center Louisa Franklin attended the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s seminar, “Teaching Sustainability Across the Curriculum,” at Emory University, Jan. 11-12.

Associate Professor of English and English Department Chair Dr. Amanda Lawrence will present a paper, titled “The Color of Memory in Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban,” at the Biannual North Georgia Arts and Letters Conference in Dahlonega, Feb. 24-26.

A poem by Associate Professor of English Janice Moore titled “Omen” is included in Sunrise from Blue Thunder, an anthology published by Pirene’s Fountain as a response to the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Proceeds from the sale of this book will go toward ongoing relief efforts in Japan.

Assistant Professor of History Natalia Starostina will co-present a six-session course titled “Russia in World War II” with University of West Georgia Professor Emeritus Ben Kennedy for YHC’s Institute for Continuing Learning this spring.