Clad in gray jerseys, N. C. Central University football’s defense and special teams squad used seven sacks and two interceptions to beat the opposing offense 42–39 during Saturday’s spring scrimmage in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
This is the second consecutive year that the defense and special teams squad has beat the offense in the spring game. However, head coach Jerry Mack isn’t concerned.
“I didn’t want to see any lopsided victories,” Mack said. “I love seeing both [sides] make plays. It means our coaches are coaching hard, our players understand what’s going on and nobody is lying down and quitting.”
For the scrimmage, the scoring system was adjusted with the offense earning six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal and one point for each first down. The defense had the opportunity to collect four points for each possession stop, plus one point for a turnover or a three-and-out. Neither side could score no more than seven points per drive.
Both sides performed well, with the offense making big plays to rack up 414 passing yards and four touchdowns—two of them belonging to junior wide receiver Jacen Murphy—while defense was responsible for seven sacks, two interceptions and breaking up six other passes.
“We take pride in, both sides of the ball, attacking,” Mack said of his team’s efforts on Saturday. “You saw guys flying around faster, being more creative and trying to make plays.”
There was one casualty to the success of the offense: junior offensive lineman Marley Conley, playing as #56, suffered a high ankle sprain during the last few minutes of the first half. There were no further details about the injury following the scrimmage.
The Black Ice Affair, a gala celebrating the football program’s 2016–17 achievements that doubled as this year’s MEAC Football Championship ring ceremony, was held in McDougald-McLendon Arena at 6 p.m. that evening.
The first game of the 2017–18 season, the annual Bull City Classic, is scheduled for Sept. 2 against Duke University.
Here we are, the last semester of my last year in undergrad. First of all, I would like to thank the man upstairs. Thank you God for bringing me this far. Without you, none of this is possible.
It feels like just yesterday I was a curious and anxious freshman unpacking in McLean Residence Hall. It’s still so surreal that my journey is coming to an end in less than a month.
Coming in freshman year, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I started off as a Biology major, then psychology, and finally, mass communication.
I’ve always thought it was odd that people expected kids, straight out of high school, to know exactly what we want to do with the rest of our lives at the age of 18.
One of the hardest parts of my college journey was deciding on a career path. I came to NCCU with the mindset that I have to go into medicine because that’s where the money is, failing to realize that if you lack the passion it’ll show in your work.
To those still undecided, know that it’s okay to still have your options open.
Ask yourself this: Are you doing it because you love it or is it for the money? I like to believe that if you chase the dream, the money will soon follow.
I think we can all agree freshman year is the year of the struggle. Without having a car on campus and no job, you’re forced to adjust and make do.
I remember nights eating noodles and chips for dinner and that one Friday night in Richmond Hall we were so hungry we waited up ‘til morning for the café to open! Good times.
Only a few understand how an “Are you okay? Do you need groceries?” or “check your bank account” text message can turn your whole week around as a struggling student.
One thing college has taught me throughout the years is how to hustle.
I’m still not completely sure how I did it this year, but I made it! I managed to work 2 jobs, be the A&E editor for the Campus Echo, a reporter for the Durham Voice, a social media intern, and keep my grades up.
This journey is about finding yourself and your true passion. Don’t feel pressured, work hard, but most importantly enjoy the process.
I have to give all the credit to my mom for influencing my decision to study mass communications and making me fall in love with books at a very young age.
My mom was the president of her book club when I was a child and as most little girls, I admired everything about my mom. I carried a book everywhere I went and naturally picked up the habit to write, whether it was just a journal entry, a song, or a short story.
I can’t show enough appreciation to my support system: my sister, cousins, aunts, uncles. Thank you for reading and sharing every article.
Also shout out to my dad, who texted me encouraging words every morning of my freshman year, reminding me that I was loved and to stay focused. Thank you Aunt Tajuana and Uncle Haywood, I appreciate you.
A special shout out to the Mass Communication department!
Thank you to my advisor, Dr. McKissick-Melton, for not only keeping me informed about internships and community service, but always being there to give advice and encouragement.
To DP, the Campus Echo adviser, thanks for seeing potential in me and pushing me to become a better writer, editor and photographer. Joining the Campus Echo was by far the best decision I’ve made in the past 4 years.
To those coming in, good luck to you! Enjoy every moment and remain focused. Whatever you’re thinking about doing, just do it. Shoot your shot.
To those leaving with me, good luck! Don’t let anyone downplay your HBCU and bachelor’s degree. We worked hard for this and this achievement is worth recognition and praise.
Conrad Kovalcik has a baseball spirit that is contagious. The starting catcher for the North Carolina Central University men’s baseball team, Kovalcik is also the older brother of his teammate Carter Kovalcik.
Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Kovalcik had a passion for baseball that granted him ambition to succeed.
During his days at Detroit Jesuit High School, Kovalcik played with his younger brother Carter.
Throughout the seasons, Kovalcik gave his best efforts to the Cubs in hits, doubles and RBIs.
In his senior year of high school, he earned all-league and all-district honors.
It was also at DJHS that Kovalcik and Carter first became comfortable as teammates.
“It’s great. When I was a senior in high school I cried after my last game because I thought it was our last time playing together,” said Kovalcik. “Having him here as teammate and experiencing college baseball has been the greatest part of playing at NCCU.”
During his time at NCCU, Kovalcik has improved every year. In his rookie season, he played only 19 games and batted .324.
While during his junior year, he started 52 games as catcher and led the team with 10 home runs in his junior year.
Kovalcik also had has the second highest slugging percentage during his junior year at .486, an on-base percentage of .387, and a team-high 32 walks drawn.
His improvements on the field become more impressive when you look at his academic responsibilities.
Kovalcik is a University Honors Program member majoring in chemistry.
He recently received an award for the highest academic performance among the seniors in his department at the NCCU Honors Convocation, April 6. Kovalcik was also awarded the American Chemical Society Physical Chemistry Award.
Now in his final season, Kovalcik has grown to be a leader on the team.
“As it’s my last year, I try to take the leadership role, leading by example and working hard in practice,” he said.
This season has been a year of rebuilding for the team. When six players graduated last year, they took a chunk of the Eagles’ talent with them.
As one of the key returners, Kovalcik has had to take on more responsibility for the team’s success this year.
Kovalcik sees the team’s younger players as his little brothers, which plays a key role in his ultimate objective for the season.
“Dealing with this new season, we have several new upcoming players that are stepping up to the plate to fill in for our injured players,” he said. “Our main goal is winning the MEAC tournament, and I believe we have the talent and the heart to do it.”
Even with the transitioning roster, Head Baseball Coach Jim Koerner is confident that the team can adjust and make this season a positive one.
“We have a lot of new players and a lot of new faces. We had exactly 18 new players,” said Koerner. “But these guys are hungry, and this is a great test for our guys to excel this season. I feel that it’s a great test to the team and the returning players to lead by example.”
After graduation, Kovalcik said he hopes to fulfill his dream of being drafted into Major League Baseball. But medical school isn’t too bad of a back-up plan.
On April 7, SGA Student Body President-elect Michael Hopkins stopped by the Campus Echo to discuss what he wants to see from NCCU. He spoke about about the Screaming Eagles, student initiative, and balancing his new position with schoolwork.
So it’s almost time for graduation! My four years at N.C. Central University has been quite an adventure. From being introduced to a new career path to meeting wonderful people, my time working with Campus Echo and its staff has been a blessing.
I remember the first time I stepped in the Echo office, I was a sophomore who just switched my major to mass communication. At the time, I was taking Mr. Chambers’ Intro to Mass Communication class. One day after class, he told the students to go find an internship they could apply to for an assignment.
Not completely understanding what an internship was in mass communication or exactly what Campus Echo was, I went the Echo office and asked they offered any internships. Jamar Negron, who was the editor-in-chief at the time, just looked at me and said “Well…we don’t offer internships but we can give you volunteer hours and experience.” With an awkward smile, I said that was fine and from that point, I slowly started to get involved.
At the beginning of my journey to be a good journalist, I was definitely not the best writer. Looking at some early drafts I sent to Campus Echo for review, there were all kinds of things wrong with my stories. My information was disorganized, my sentences were too wordy, and I didn’t understand the importance of grammar at all. I just knew I liked to write. It took A LOT of editing and time with DP and the other editors that year for me to get an idea of how to write a news story.
I ended up writing mostly album reviews my sophomore year, but it paid off. Allie Glenn, who was a great writer and the Arts and Entertainment Editor, chose me to take her place my junior year.
I was really surprised because at the time, I didn’t think I had what it took to be an editor.
Throughout my junior year, I still had a lot of doubts that she made the right decision giving me her position.
I kept thinking to myself, “My writing still isn’t the best,” “my editing skills suck,” and other self-defeating thoughts that drove me to not be confident in myself at all.
At the end of that year when DP told me I was going to be the co-editor-in-chief with Evan for our senior year, my mind went blank. I was thinking, “why me, out of all people?” I didn’t think I deserved it.
Seeing how this year went, however, I was able to see what they saw in me and reevaluate how I viewed myself. Despite the stress and tiring nights, this was probably the best year ever and part of that is thanks to everyone at Campus Echo.
If you told me six years ago, I was going to be a journalist for my college newspaper, I would’ve laughed and called you crazy! My dream, at first, was to work in obstetrics and gynecology as a nurse.
I wouldn’t have guessed I would finish out my time here as the co-editor-in-chief of Campus Echo or as a journalist.
So in closing, I want to thank my parents and siblings for all of their love and support! They’ve been sharing my Campus Echo stories since the beginning.
Thank you Mr. Joe Alexander for being the best friend I could ever have! You’ve kept me sane throughout my time here and have helped through some of my most troubling moments since we became friends.
To Kiara, Courtney, and Quentin, words can’t express how thankful I am for our friendship. I’ve been through a lot with each of you and next to Joe, you guys have always been there for me and I appreciate that so much.
Thanks Dr. Lundy for everything. You’ve helped me so much these past two years! To Elizabeth, LaVerne, Mary, Cathy, Anton and my other co-workers in the Medicine Chair’s office, I love working with you!
Thanks to you guys and my internship at Duke Department of Medicine, I discovered what my next steps are after I graduate from NCCU and how much I still love learning about medicine! You all have been great mentors and so encouraging. Since last May, I’ve learned so much from everyone and as a result, my writing has improved tremendously.
I also want to thank DP for being a great mentor in journalism and photography! You drive me crazy sometimes but it’s alright because you pushed me to become better. You’ve helped me grow so much since my time at Campus Echo and because of that, I was able to be successful in what I wanted to do.
Thanks Evan for being an awesome co-editor-in-chief! I don’t know what I would have done without you this year! Continue to grow and strive as a journalist. I know you’re going to go out there and do great things.
Daniel and Kaylee, you guys will do great as the next co-editors! I believe you two will push the Campus Echo far! You guys are funny, smart, and overall innovative. Just don’t make DP’s hair fall out next year.
We often find ourselves recognizing today’s women for their achievements. N.C. Central University music professor Candace Bailey is doing something different.
Bailey is studying the women, particularly women of color, who lived before most of our grandparents were born. She’s learning about their lives through their music collections and reshaping preconceived notions along the way.
“I never know what I’m gonna find,” Bailey said.
Her love for the subject was set in motion when her father encouraged her to learn to play the piano, “so I could play in his weekend jazz band,” she said.
Bailey would go on to study music performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, though her father assured her there was no way she’d make a living as a performer.
After earning a bachelor’s in music performance, Bailey got her master’s and PhD in musicology (the study of music) from Duke University.
Bailey is also a member of the Society for American Music. Last year, she received the Judith Tick Award from the society, which provided her with funding to research women in American music.
She chose to study historical music because, she says, “history is my thing.”
She specializes in studying the music of women in the antebellum South, designated by historians to be the time following the War of 1812 and prior to the start of the Civil War. As you can imagine, music storage was done very differently during a time before streaming, CDs, or even record players.
Now, these historical pieces of sheet music are preserved in libraries across the country. In 2015, Bailey received the National Endowment for the Humanities HBCU Faculty award, which came with a full year of financial support to do research. In that year, she went every month to a different archive around the South.
“I was at the Library of Congress a couple of weeks ago,” she said. “I finally got around to one of their research librarians who knew what I was looking for and managed to make it to where I could just take 20 at a time. They’d bring them out, and I’d look.”
Every time she finds a new collection, she photographs lots of documents, takes lots of notes and comes home ready to go through what she’s found. Throughout the years, she’s noticed a pattern.
“Women’s music, women’s stuff has been kind of pushed aside and put into boxes and put away. And men’s music in libraries gets put on display,” she explained.
To Bailey, these pieces of music can tell us a lot about the culture of women in the antebellum South. One of her most recent projects was studying the collection of the Johnson family. William Johnson was a highly successful African American farmer who had two daughters: Anna and Catherine.
The Johnson family archive was held at Louisiana State University’s Hill Memorial Library and contained both of the daughters’ collections, up to four bound binders’ worth of sheet music that had been put together by these free women of color.
“I found pieces that coordinated with the diaries, some of the friends’ names. So I was able to coordinate musical activities with the music in the volume,” Bailey said. “I was able to discern that they were guitarists, pianists, singers, that they continued music practice the rest of their lives. They never got married—they used music throughout life.”
Bailey said that discovering the musical activities of families like the Johnson’s challenges traditional beliefs about those who participated in musical activities.
“It’s not just middle class, which is what the history books tell you. And it’s not just the rich women, which is what we probably would have assumed,” she said. “But it’s women from a wide spectrum.”
Ultimately, she said, it’s not just about discovering the music of women in the South, it’s about the new questions raised by these findings.
“Who cares if we have 150 copies of this little podunk song? What’s more important, I think, and a lot of other people think, is how is music working in women’s cultural production? What it says about women and class.”
The Alpha Lambda chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. made its triumphant return to N.C. Central University at the final Spring 2017 New Members’ Presentation session Thursday evening in McDougald-McLendon Arena.
The Department of Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL) reported that 1911 attendees were present, including more than 250 alumnae sorority members eager to see the new line cross.
The date of the presentation—April 13—is important to the sorority because Delta Sigma Theta was founded on January 13, 1913. The Alpha Lambda chapter of Delta Sigma Theta itself was chartered in 1931.
The 40 female undergraduates that made up the maximum capacity Spring 2017 line were narrowed down from more than 150 that attended the membership interest meeting in the H.M. Michaux Jr. School of Education Auditorium in late January.
At the meeting, those gathered were told that one must be “committed, dedicated and enthusiastic” to become a member of Delta Sigma Theta.
A proven history of public service was also said to be a major factor in the membership acceptance process.
The chapter itself is also known for its charitable works, celebrating their 85th chapter anniversary by establishing the Alpha Lambda Chapter Endowment scholarship fund. As of Nov. 16, 2016, Alpha Lambda members have contributed about $38,000 toward the education of NCCU students. The fund had been officially established on Jan. 8, 2014.
The Alpha Lambda chapter was previously suspended for three years in 2013 due to hazing allegations, according to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Story by Kaylee Sciacca with contributions by Imani Taylor.
On December 21, 2016, N.C. Central University’s Miron Billingsley left his position as vice chancellor of Student Affairs. As word about his resignation spread, rumors began to circulate about why Billingsley left the university.
The Campus Echo attempted to investigate his departure and find truth in the growing rumors – but not without experiencing trouble along the way.
One of the most frustrating issues this reporter faced during the investigation was obtaining information from a number of University sources. This difficulty stunted this reporter’s ability to verify anonymous tips given to the Echo about Billingsley’s departure.
The Echo received anonymous emails claiming that Billingsley had used an apartment in graduate student housing for what one could only describe as “very private” purposes. One tip, provided by a former Residential Housing Association president, even claimed that former Residential Life Director Ronnie Davis, an individual brought to NCCU by Billingsley from his former university, may have provided Billingsley with access to the apartment.
Early in our investigation, The Echo also discovered that numerous former employees at Prairie View A&M had accused Billingsley of being a “bully,” “power-hungry,” and “sexist.” The Echo also discovered an incident report filed by the Durham Police Department. According to the report, Billingsley was involved in an aggravated assault on Nov. 8, 2016. The incident happened on the 600 block of Martha Street, the location of NCCU’s graduate student apartments.
The victim was reported to have sustained minor injuries from the aggravated assault. Durham police filed the case’s disposition as “unfounded,” which means that the police found little to no evidence to support the victim’s reported claims. According to the incident report, the case has been closed.
An NCCU police officer said a university detective was investigating Billingsley, but when the reporter reached out to the NCCU Chief of Police to confirm this, she declined to comment, saying, “The only time it is appropriate for our police department to comment on cases is for safety tips or assistance in identifying people suspected of criminal activity or persons of interest related to a crime for identification purposes.”
One would think that when evidence is discovered, and claims are being made, the parties involved would want to immediately dispel them, explain what really happened, and move on. Instead, the reporter encountered information gridlock.
University Relations declined to comment on Billingsley’s resignation, stating, “North Carolina Central University’s practice is to not comment on personnel matters.” Personnel matters can be a broad umbrella, but Billingsley was not just any NCCU employee – he was vice chancellor of student affairs!
The Echo contacted Ronnie Davis, former director of residential life, for comments about the allegations against Billingsley. Davis’ last day at NCCU, according to University Relations, was Jan. 31, just weeks after Billingsley’s departure.
In a three-minute phone call to Albany State University, his new employer, Davis declined to answer questions about Billingsley, and threatened to call his lawyers for legal action against the reporter and the Campus Echo.
When the Echo emailed Davis at his Albany State University address for comments on the allegations, he replied from his personal email. Davis’ email purported to be a “cease and desist order,” something typically written by a judge. In the email, Davis claimed he had been “harassed by the Campus Echo since my second day of employment at North Carolina Central University.” He mentioned “continued personal attacks” on him by the Echo.
In fact, the Echo had featured Davis in just three stories, none of which were critical of him or of Residential Life. Davis was quoted in the Echo for basic information about Residential Life and campus events.
One has to wonder why Davis responded to simple questions by threatening legal action against the Echo.
The responses we got from the University, NCCU police, and Davis left us with more questions than answers.
For now, we don’t know the true story. What we have found is that it can be close to impossible to get information about NCCU business through official campus channels, especially in situations that could make the University look bad.
Regardless, the Campus Echo will continue to search for the truth in every story.
Interim Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye has appointed Gary Brown interim vice chancellor for the Division of Student Affairs. The University is conducting a national search for Billingsley’s replacement.
Those with further information regarding this incident are invited to contact the Campus Echo at email@example.com or (919) 530-7116.
Newly-elected SGA President Michael Hopkins isn’t just a leader planning to implement his five-point plan, which includes dining, housing, security, academic affairs and campus morale, he’s also a budding scientist, one with a 3.8 GPA that’s pretty darn close to perfect.
“I personally have known Michael Hopkins since freshman year,” said criminal justice junior Karen Villanueva-Sierra.
“We were both in the freshman class council. He was always eager to help and serve the institution. He has always put in a lot of work for what he wants and his qualities of being a leader never go unnoticed.”
Hopkins, 20, is a N.C. Central University junior majoring in pharmaceutical science and minoring in biology and chemistry. He grew up in the north Raleigh suburbs, which he describes as “heavily Caucasian-populated.”
At Leesville Road High School, Hopkins played football and basketball and ran track. He said he has good memoriesof his childhood, growing up the youngest of four, watching his brothers and sisters and learning from them.
His older brother Eric graduated from NCCU in 2012 with the same major.
His sister Mariah went to Tuskegee University and his sister Schayla went to Winston-Salem State University.
Towering at 6’5,” he began his Student Government Association career as assistant public relations director for the freshman class council.
During his sophomore year, he became the late night and weekend programming chair for the Student Activities Board.
This fall he became SAB president.
When he isn’t out with friends, Hopkins is immersed in the world of science.
His top intiative is to keep the James E. Shepard library open 24 hours. Reading makes the top of his list in hobbies, his favorite book is “1984,” George Orwell’s utopian novel about totalitarianism and thought control.
Although he and his brother majored in the same field, Hopkins credits a college tour in his senior year at Leesville High School that led him to his interest in science.
“I just heard that there was nationwide need for STEM majors, and like African Americans in STEM specifically,” Hopkins said. ” There were a lot of opportunities and so I really looked into it, and it was really interesting.”
His interest in science landed him an internship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, Berkeley in summer 2016.
From there he researched how post-translational modifications affect stem cellular replication, a process in which the proteins created by DNA and RNA interactions are modified after they’ve been created.
His presentation, titled “Determining How Ubiquitin Signaling Regulates Cell Fate Determination During Human Stem-Cell Differentiation,” earned him first place for oral and poster presentation at the 2017 Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM in Washington, D.C.
This summer Hopkins has been selected as Harvard Medical School Intern and will be studying neuronal mechanisms that affect motivation.
His achievements and love for science led to the creation of “Black Scientists Matter,” Hopkins’ apparel business. “Michael Hopkins is an inspiration because he got into Harvard, and just to know people can come from NCCU and become something,” said biology freshman Jasmine Woodle.
In the world of fashion, America’s favorite TV shows and movies can serve as designers’ biggest inspirations for creating innovative clothing lines that are unique in both trend and style.
The student designers of N.C. Central University’s department of human sciences used their love for TV shows and movies such as “In Living Color,” “Tarzan” and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” to sew garments that brought back memories at the “Reels of Fashion” competition on March 28.
Throughout the spring semester, students were challenged to create garments to impress the judges and fashion professionals, Howard Eagon, Kevin Harrell, Jesus Manuel Munoz, and Cartland Gallaway, on the runway.
The students were split into two categories. The first group, the “fashion novistas,” are underclassmen who are considered novice designers.
The 25 “Fashion Novistas” were required to make two to three pieces of clothing, to include vests, blouses, pants, dresses, skirts, jackets and shirts. Each designer walked down the runway wearing his or her designs.
Their garments displayed a variety of styles, from regal to dark and edgy. The second group of student designers, 17 upperclassmen designers, had an even bigger challenge: to create a full fashion line of three to four outfits.
This was the first time a few of the designers had participated in the fashion show.
Cara Leathers, a mass communication senior whose theme was the BET TV Show “Being Mary Jane,” said participating in “Reels of Fashion” helped her grow.
“I wanted to quit so many times,” she said. “I was so close to quitting, I cried. My stuff wasn’t turning out how I wanted it to, but that’s because I didn’t have enough patience with myself. Once I gained the patience for the process, everything kind of got easier.”
Leathers added that her technical skills improved as a result of the competition.
“Last year I did not know how to sew, thread a machine, or anything,” said Leathers. “I just to be where I am now — it’s amazing. It’s a great experience.”
As the night continued, the audience witnessed iconic and innovative garment recreations from such classic films and TV shows as “Clueless,” “101 Dalmatians,” “Pretty Woman,” “Mahogany,” “Girlfriends” and “Mean Girls.”
Some collections were inspired by reality TV shows such as “The Real Housewives of Altanta” and “Keeping up with Kardashians.”
After the runway show, human sciences lecturer Wadeeah Beyah and human sciences associate professor Darlene Eberhardt presented the Fashion Inc. awards.
Award categories included best use of color, most wearable garments, best construction, and overall “Reels of Fashion” winners.
BaySean Washington, Monique Sanders and Zhynyrah Eure, won first, second and third place respectively.
Washington’s collection was inspired by the ’90s film “3 Ninjas.”
He said he wanted to present a fashion line that had “traditional martial arts attire with a youthful urban kick, giving the streets more FUNK-Shui.”
Washington said “3 Ninjas” had taught him three life lessons that he never forgets: staying humble, practicing what you preach, and believing you can become a master at anything you do.
Washington said that before the show he ran into problems ranging from time management to creating a whole outfit from scratch before the show.
He said he was confident going in the competition, but he didn’t underestimate the talents of his peers.
“There were other great designers as well,” said Washington. “But it felt good knowing all [my] hard work paid off and [I] came up on top.”