Wale,  Bryson Tiller do not disappoint

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Photo credit to Andres Waters.

Claflin University appeared to have new life on Saturday as current students, alumni and even students from schools in the surrounding area filed into Tullis Arena for what some consider the biggest event Claflin has had for Homecoming.

The university’s Homecoming kicked off with a concert, hosted by Miss Homecoming LaQueena Williams and Mister Claflin Ar’Darius Stewart, featuring rising star Bryson Tiller and hit-maker Wale. The opening act for the two was Dougie Hendrix, an artist out of Florence.

Following Dougie Hendrix’s opening act, the crowd started to get restless in anticipation of Bryson Tiller. 

After taking the stage, the crowd erupted as Bryson Tiller opened with the song “Break Bread,” a track that was made famous through his account on SoundCloud. He followed  his opener with a selection of songs from his debut album “T R A P S O U L.” The selection included "502 Come Up" and “Rambo,” two of the more upbeat tracks from his album, before he started to slow it down with some of his more popular songs such as “Exchange” and his hit single “Don’t.”

He also performed “Just Another Interlude,” a song which he dedicated to all his real fans.

Following Bryson Tiller’s performance, the crowd seemed to be even more anxious as they waited for Wale, the headliner of the concert.

Wale made his way to the stage and opened his set with the high energy song “Clappers.” 

The artist then continued his set by performing a selection of the his hit songs throughout his career including:  hit songs “Pretty Girls,” “Bad,” “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “The Breakup Song,” “Ambition” and “Slight Work” from his album titled “Ambition” and “The Matrimony” off of his latest album titled “The Album About Nothing.”


Be prepared, Claflin alum and Founders' Day speaker advises


“My topic is simply this: Be prepared,” said Founders Day guest speaker S.C. Rep. Joseph H. Jefferson Jr., a member the Claflin class of 1970.

“Be prepared,” said Jefferson again as he continued by quoting Ephesians 6:11. He stressed being mindful of the world  in reference to Ephesians 6:11 and that people need to cloth themselves with the armor of God in order to go through life.

Jefferson said he is proud to be an alumnus and praised Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University, for how beautiful the campus surroundings look and for leading the university to greater heights. He praised the teachers as well and hailed them as the core of the educational institution.

Prior preparation is essential,” Jefferson said at the Nov. 22 event. “We don’t all grasp at the same level of information, so it’s imperative that each of us to determine the speed at which we’re able to explore, comprehend and gather information.”

He also said that once one gathers information, confidence is required to explain such information.

“We all fall down, but getting up is the key,” said Jefferson, who was quoting a coach of a high school football team in South Carolina.  He also talks about how lucky the present generation is, because during his time at Claflin in the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement was at its peak.

He said that he was going to push for a two-year nursing program to be established at Claflin University.

Also at the convocation:

·         Tisdale welcomed new members to the trustee board in his opening address and noted  the day marks the founding of the first HBCU in South Carolina.

·         Tisdale honored the families of the nine victims who were slain on June 17 at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. A tribute in the form of a memorial citation was received by Jennifer Pinckney, the widow of one of the victims, the Rev. and Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney. Two scholarships have also been set up in the memory of the Rev. Pinckney.

·         This year’s presidential citation was awarded to Barbara Johnson-Williams, president of the Orangeburg chapter of NAACP.


Claflin basketball scores Homecoming victories


The crowd roared as 6-8 Austin Lawton of the Claflin Panthers made a windmill dunk late in the second half to put an exclamation mark on a 78-57 win.

The Panthers remained undefeated at 3-0 on the new season by dominating the Homecoming game against the College of the Bahamas on Nov. 21 at Jonas T. Kennedy Center.

Claflin did a lot of things well:

·         Forcing turnovers

·         Rebounding

·         Defense

·         Scoring inside

·         Scoring on fast breaks

A flashy pass from guard Triston Thompson got fans on their feet just before the end of a first half in which Adolph Caldwell and Trevor Dantzler led a solid shooting performance. Overall the team shot 54 percent from the field in the opening half.

The Panther defense was just as good late in the first half as Bahamas was still stuck with just seven field goals. The halftime score was 39-22.

Rebounding was a key as the Panthers allowed the visitors very few second-chance shots.

Claflin finished the game, shooting 49 percent from the field. The Panthers defense held the College of the Bahamas in check with just seven field goals in the opening period and 35 percent for the game.

Caldwell led the team with 16 points. Dantzler followed with 11, all coming in the first half. He also had three three-pointers. De’shon Nail came off the bench to score nine points and Karee Watson added eight.


Lady Panthers down Allen

Guard Dominique Williams made a three-point shot and drew the foul to get the Lady Panthers keyed up in an 87-75 Homecoming victory over Allen.

Another play that excited the crowd was forward Carnique Marks’ block, sending the ball to the first row in the crowd. Claflin alumni and current Claflin students got out their seats and cheered together on the play.

The Lady Panthers won for the third straight game, improving to 3-1 on the season.

Senior Jaquanna Davis led Claflin with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Shaniece Brown had 14 points.

Williams and NaBresha Hughes contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively. Junior Jhontay Giles came off the bench to score nine points.


Greek Stroll-Off still a popular event


Though Claflin University did not close this year’s homecoming with its annual Greek Step Show, the university still found a way to keep Greek life a part of the week with a Greek Stroll-off.

The participating organizations for the event were the members of Kappa Alpha Psi, Sigma Gamma Rho, Phi Beta Sigma, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Zeta Phi Beta.

Each of the groups came on stage performing three separate stroll for the fast, slow and old school round.

The male winners were the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi, while the female winners were the sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Both groups were awarded a $500 cash prize.

Alexis Joyner, a Claflin junior, said, “I love the Greeks on campus. My favorite has to be between the Kappas and the Omegas, I love their strolls.”

Nasia Singletary said, “My favorite Greeks on campus would have to be the men of Omega Psi Phi.”

Danielle Abraham said, “I won’t be attending the Greek stroll-off because I have to work, but if I was to go, it would be to see the Kappas.”


Andre 3000, Beyoncé: Students become professional performers



Claflin University presented a Homecoming talent show during which students imitated the personas and performances from popular music artists.

Host La‘Quentin Jenkins hyped up the crowd throughout the event.

Jenkins told students to be courteous to the performers. The audience complied by clapping and dancing along to the music. 

Jenkins introduced the first act, which imitated the hip-hop artist Andre 3000. 

The crowd laughed when they saw Michael handling the microphone the same way Andre 3000 does in his music video “Hey Ya.” 

He moved across the stage in the same fashion as Andre 3000 and mimicked the facial expressions perfectly. 

Most of the crowd was ecstatic about the next performance, two females performing to Salt and Peppa song “Push it.” They moved around enthusiastically on stage and danced like the 90's style.  

Jenkins came out and humored the crowd after the performance. 

"Ain't nothing like a big girl that can dance oooooowwe!"  Jenkins said.

After a girl performed a gospel song made by Tamela Mann, “Take Me to the King,” Jenkins came out and complimented her performance, saying he enjoyed hearing a nice gospel song.

Another performance in the program was an all-girl group called TKO. They glided across the stage and breathlessly took in the crowd with their choreography. 

Then they moved off the stage, dancing up the aisle until they moved out the entrance. The crowd cheered. 

The next two performances were a girl performing a song by Brandy and another girl performing a song by Beyoncé called “Single Ladies.” 

Between each performance there was music played so the students could enjoy the songs and dance to the music.

The girls who performed the Salt and Peppa song, Beyoncé and Brandy’s song were chosen as winners.

The Beyoncé performer received a $100 first prize, with second getting $50 and third receiving $25.


Students of 2015 take lunchtime trip to '90s music, fashion

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Photos credit to Jessica Hunter.

Rain pushed the '90s day party on Nov. 19 from outside into the cafeteria during lunch. It didn't dampen enthusiasm for the event.
Students enjoyed the music atmosphere and throwbacks while they ate their lunch.
Jenise Middleton, freshman, liked the music and loved the mix of the '80s and '90s fashion. Her favorite song was from the '90s by Aaliyah, "At Your Best You Are Love."
Makenzie Johnson, also a freshman, said the music from TLC was her favorite.
"All of their music had meaningful messages," she said of the group.  "The '90s was a great time period where great legends were born."
Junior Harold Smith said he enjoyed the Atlanta Braves baseball team, Jordan's footwear, the box top haircuts and the gold chain fashion. He also admired watching Ed, Edd and Eddy Television show on Cartoon Network from the '90s, plus Looney Tunes and Martin.
Derrek Long, senior, said he enjoyed the Adidas footwear, FUBU, Sean John and FILAS fashion. "The '90s lifestyle was great and they knew how to party and have fun," he said.
Junior Trey Law said he enjoyed the hip hop music of the '90s such as Biggie Smalls and Tupac.
"The two of them were both legendary," he said. "You can't mention hip hop without mentioning them."
Sophomore Austin Lawton said he loved the style and swag of the '90s.
"Hey, Arnold was my show, and I loved how Aaliyah promoted Tommy Hilfiger. She was bae," he said.
Allegra Porte, freshman, said she liked Destiny Child's music of the '90s.
Freshman ZiZi Porter said she loved Missy Elliot's songs.
Juleanna Thorpe, senior, said the '90s was the period that gave birth to the generation of today.
"It helped shape our era now," she said. "'90s is where the chocker came from, and how the fashion continues to repeat itself and come back."
It's what we were raised with, from watching Rugrats, Power Puff Girls, All That, Fresh Prince of Bell Air etc. to the AIM Instant messages in email."

Highrise steps up as a winner

panther 2014 claflin senior enjoys spring

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Claflin University held its fifth annual dorm step show.
Four teams competed for the title with Highrise dormitory coming in first place.
The hosts for the show were Ms. Homecoming LaQueena Williams and Mr. 1913 Nicholas Ballard.
The show was opened by high school step teams Les Charms Clue (LLC) and High Light Society (HLN). Both teams are from Orangburg-Wilkinson High School.
The first team to go was freshman dorm Corson Hall. They stepped as robots called the Corson Roses.
Asbury Hall was the second all-freshman team to go. They opened up with an inspirational monologue and were dressed as activist group the Black Panthers.
Next was mixed dorm of all classes Kleist Hall. Their theme was "Queens in Training.” They wore all black with gold-sparked boots.
The winners of the step show were an all-male dorm, Highrise. They claimed the title with a ninja theme. They were clearly a crowd favorite, receiving a standing ovation throughout the performance.
The Highrise step team won a cash prize of $300.

Claflin crowns Miss Homecoming



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LaQueena T. Williams was crowned as Claflin’s Miss Homecoming 2015-16 at Minister's Hall on Sunday.
Friends and family gathered to support Williams as she took her first walk after officially being crowned.
Williams described the moment as an unforgettable experience.
“I think that being Miss Homecoming is more than just a title, it’s an honor to serve as the face of Homecoming and to represent Claflin University,” she said.
Shaketa Maiden, senior, and Zayauna Smith, sophomore, recited a poem titled “Queen” that moved not only Williams but the audience also. 
I loved that my friends and family were here to celebrate this momentous occasion with me,” Williams said. “All of the love I felt was just an amazing feeling and I am forever grateful.” 
President Henry N. Tisdale described Williams as a young lady with all of the qualities that Miss Homecoming should possess.
“LaQueena definitely has the Claflin confidence and the student body couldn’t have chosen a better Miss Homecoming.” Tisdale said. “I can’t wait to see all of the accomplishments LaQueena will encounter in the future.”
Williams, native of Hemingway, is a senior Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College member as well as joining many astound organizations such as American Chemical Society, Public Health Alliance, Pre-Alumni Council and Honor Council. She has also held the title of Miss University Honors 2013-14 and Miss Junior 2014 and 2015. 
“This university not only produces intelligent young women, but queens,” SGA President Andy Michel said in his proclamation.
Following her graduation in May, Williams plans to earn a certification of graduate studies in public health at the University of South Carolina. Her goal is to become a physician assistant. 
illiams' motto in life is “HOLD the vision … TRUST the process .. but most of all, KEEP FAITH in God, and watch your blessing MANIFEST.”

J Moss, D.R.E.A.M. headline Claflin Gospel Concert

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Photo credit to Keegan Franklin and Darryl Bynem.

Claflin University continued Homecoming activities on Sunday, Nov. 15, with a concert featuring big names in gospel music.
Claflin's D.R.E.A.M. Gospel Choir and J Moss were the featured recording artists for the night's activities.
Professional artist J Moss (James Moss) was the headliner of the show and performed a number of his hit songs ranging back to 2005, with a creative mixing of tracks and instrumentation. He entered in style as he glided in on a sky walker.
James Moss took the stage with authority he got the audience engaged as soon as he touched the stage. He performed five of his songs and posed for pictures with students after the event.
"J Moss was very energetic I really enjoyed watching him perform," Claflin student Antwan Greene said.
Claflin presented its newly documented recording artists, D.R.E.A.M., before the headliner came to the stage. The choir performed hit songs from their project "The Live Experience." The crowd seemed to be very enthusiastic as "New Me," the first song on the CD, rang throughout the gymnasium.
Mr. Claflin was present and active in the festivities with a spirited praise dance to open the show. He and his partner sent waves of hand claps and applause through the audience.
The night also featured an up-and-coming gospel group, which opened the musical portion of the concert. Justin Rufus and Peculiar People performed not only a few praise and worship songs but also an original song of their own.
"I really enjoyed the concert this year," said Korey Williams, junior human performance and recreation major.
"The concert was pretty good the sound quality could have been better, but I really did enjoy J Moss," Erica Sanders said.

High-level visitor: Claflin welcomes Hillary Clinton

Clinton addresses student loans in Minister's Hall


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a town hall meeting at Claflin University in Orangeburg on Saturday to answer questions and talk about the policies she intends to put in place if she is elected.
The town hall meeting was hosted by the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and moderated by Roland Martin, the host and managing editor of TV One’s “News One Now.” Claflin SGA President Andy Mitchell got the ball rolling by introducing Martin.
Martin then threw the first question at Clinton. The subject was employment, with Martin acknowledging that unemployment rates have dropped by 5 percent with a 9.2 percent decrease for African-Americans. But African-Americans and Latinos still need jobs.
Clinton praised the Obama administration for increasing employment. But she said there is room for progress, particularly with stagnant incomes and an inadequate supply of good jobs.
“We do need a targeted effort at people and communities that have not had the benefits of recovery,” Clinton said.
She intends to have an infrastructure program to put millions of people to work on tunnels, roads, airports and bridges.
More jobs can be generated through combating climate change by building wind turbines and solar panels in order to move away from fossil fuels, Clinton said.
Emphasis also will be placed on fostering small businesses, especially those run by women and minorities, Clinton said.
Martin asked how Clinton plans to create jobs and stop trade unions from freezing out blacks and minorities from employment.
“There must be a program for recruiting and hiring and, where necessary, training people from less-advantaged communities and that’s going to be be my law,” Clinton said. Companies must target and train younger people as well as those in middle age who have lost their jobs because of unfortunate events.
“Reach out to people to apply for federal contracts which give special preference to small businesses,” Clinton said about how small businesses controlled by blacks and minorities cannot now raise enough capital because of factors such as housing.
“There’s a preference in the law for small businesses that are minority and women-owned. I want to make sure that preferences are translated into benefits,” Clinton said as she stressed being passionate on the issue of growing small business.
And people must keep their homes despite failing incomes and impending bankruptcy, she said. “I want to do what I can to help everyone recover.”
Martin pointed out that when Clinton was in Atlanta the week her Claflin visit, young people interrupted her speech with chants of “black lives matter.” Martin asked about her stance on the movement they represent.
Clinton said she is in full support of “Black Lives Matter” and her policies will address criminal justice reforms and incarceration reform. She would reduce sentencing minimums for non-violent crimes.
Clinton plans to deal with discrepancies in the legal treatment of  crack and powder cocaine. She would invest more in treatments, reforms, jobs and training programs for those with drug or cocaine-related issues -- rather than having these people locked up.
When the audience began questioning the former first lady and ex-secretary of state, the issue was again jobs.
“This is not just a woman’s issue, this is a family issue and an economic issue,” Clinton said about disparities between pay for men and women.
She promises to enforce the laws on the books and tackle the issue once and for all. Women should receive the same pay as men for the same work.
Addressing a question about gun control, Clinton said, “I understand how politically challenging it is. Ninety people a day die in our country from guns: homicide, suicide and avoidable accidents.
“It’s imperative that people make this a voting issue,” she said.
Clinton priorities would be enforcing laws on universal background checks, closing legal loopholes connected to gun violence and removing immunity enjoyed by gun-manufacturing industries.
On the issue of college costs and in particular reversing the Obama administration’s Parent Plus Loan change that prevented 15,000 students from returning to HBCUs, Clinton said,  “I have what’s called ‘my new college compact’ and it does two things. It would affect both State and Claflin in this way: If you are going to a public college/university, you would not have to borrow money for tuition and you would be able to use your Pell Grant if you get one for living expenses.”
Young people must be able to attend college and leave without debts, Clinton said. Allocating $25 billion for HBCUs would reduce the impact of loans.
Raising the minimum wage and pushing for companies to engage in profit sharing will help new graduates get good jobs and pay student debts, she said.  “I want to be able to refinance everybody’s student debt.”
Clinton said public schools below the collegiate level also need assistance. They are inadequately funded and lack resources. She would change that.
“I do want … us to support research into medical marijuana because a lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana,” Clinton said in response to an audience question about the controversial issue. The drug must be moved from Schedule 1 to 2 in order for more research to be done so that one may know the average dosage and which medications do not go along with marijuana.
Regarding medical issues, she also addressed sickle cell anemia and how she is was going to push a bill that would implement federal funding for research for a cure.
“Poverty is debilitating, no matter where it happens or who it affects,” Clinton said in response to Martin stressing that poverty is always being associated with the black community rather than being identified as a universal problem.
Clinton said she would push for empowerment in rural areas for both whites and blacks. She said her policies would make banks move to invest in communities.
On the issues of voting and voter ID laws, Clinton said she supports people being automatically registered when they reach age 18. One of her highest priorities is to get people to register and get a huge turnout at the polls.
Claflin students were interested in the Clinton visit.
“I have always looked forward to meeting Secretary Clinton and the town hall meetings made me continue to view her in a positive light,” said Helen Gabrielle Bryant, a senior majoring in biochemistry.
“Secretary Clinton is an inspiration for women everywhere; she reminded me that no matter what, if you believe in yourself and do your best, then no one can stop you,” Bryant said.
Saturday was Clinton’s second visit to Claflin. She was first here as the 2007 commencement speaker.

Photo credit to Angel Anderson.

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Concert and costs: Claflin students speak out about Homecoming

bryson tiller

It’s about that time – Homecoming.
Claflin University students are ready – and they have opinions on key ingredients of the festivities from the entertainers to the cost of events for them and neighboring students.
The 2015 Homecoming officially kicks off Nov. 14 and will end on the 22nd. The theme is #NWTS, which stands for Nothing Was The Same.
 This year’s festivities include the concert, the annual crowning ceremony, the gospel explosion, the dorm step show, the hypnosis show, poetry night, the ‘90s day party, casino night, a cookout on the yard, the annual parade, a worship service and the Founders’ Day convocation.
Students are looking most forward to the concert, which will take place in JTK gymnasium at 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14. The artists are Wale and Bryson Tiller.
Claflin senior Rayne Ocasio said, "To have a talented, established artist such as Wale and a talented up-and-coming artist such as Bryson Tiller come to the university is a big step, and I look forward to the performances."
Junior Teron Staton, “This will have to be the best one (Homecoming), mainly because of the concert. No one really expected Claflin to get artists like Wale and Bryson Tiller. They are like two of the hottest artists in the game right now.”
Past Homecoming concerts have been disappointing to some students.
Junior Malik Harvey said, “I didn’t really enjoy the other two Homecomings because I didn’t really vibe with the artists they got.”
The entertainers dictate the mood about whether to participate in Homecoming events, Harvey said.
“I feel like the Homecoming concerts should have artists that everyone has heard of. The last couple of years, I haven’t heard of the artists that were selected.
“So that means I couldn’t vibe to their music and (that) made me not want to go, but I feel like this year they got an artist that everyone heard of and everyone can vibe to,” Harvey said.
For seniors, this Homecoming offers more events than their previous three.
"My freshman year was the best Homecoming … but this year I see a lot more events for the undergrad students," senior Danielle Coburn said.
This Homecoming is also a big realization for the class of 2016 before seniors’ college careers end.
"This is my last Homecoming before I enter into the real world. After this, I'll be a ‘real adult,’ so I want to have all of the fun that I can,” Coburn said.
A key change for students is the way Homecoming is financed. No longer do students have to pay out of pocket for tickets, which were handed out Nov 4-6 and are being distributed again Nov. 9-11.
Claflin incorporated fees for homecoming into tuition.
“Yeah, I guess it is a good thing. They take money out for everything else, so why not?” Harvey said. “I mean why wouldn’t it be free? You’re paying for it at the end of the day anyway.”
“I think it is a good idea, it’s smart. To be honest I’m thankful for it because you don’t have to take money out of your physical pocket,” Harvey said.
With artists the likes of Wale and Bryson Tiller performing, the Claflin Homecoming is sure to get a buzz from other students locally.
But if they want to attend the concert, the general admission price will be $30. That compares to a $10 general admission for South Carolina State University’s recent concert.
“I don’t think it’s wrong. I would do the same thing too. They got to get their profit somehow, and they (S.C. State) charge us to go to their events,” Harvey said. “Yeah, $30 can be a little too much, but if not $30, probably $15 or $20. But $30 is not bad for the performers that we have this year.”
Staton agrees. “Nah, I don’t think it’s too much because we got Wale and Bryson Tiller.”
But a lot depends on how the show is set up with the entertainers having freedom to perform their songs, Staton said. If Claflin “does not try to make them ‘Claflin Friendly,’ it should be worth it.”
Junior Nick Stewart is optimistic.
“I feel like this year's Homecoming is going to set the bar for the rest of the Homecomings because nothing will be same, and I mean that,” Stewart said. “I am looking forward to the concert because Bryson Tiller and Wale are my favorite artists.”
Freshman and sophomore students are equally looking forward to the events.
“I am excited because this is my first Homecoming at Claflin and the way people are hyping it up is making me even more anxious,” freshman Brandon Gallman said.
“I am looking forward to the car smash and bonfire the most because I love it when our school fellowships together with clean fun,” sophomore Jade Crosby said.

Claflin University basketball Panther Madness


Claflin University held a "Panther Madness" event to introduce the men's and women's basketball teams to the students for the 2015-16 season on Wednesday night, Nov. 4. During the event the teams had contests involving the players and students to give away free gifts. Contests included: dunk contest, skills challenge, and a three-point shooting contest. Giveaways included the following: a pair of Nike shoes, Jordan shoes and Claflin logo items.

Photo credit to Andres Waters.

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Advocate against teen pregnancy: His story is his example

Panther photo by Darryl A. Bynem

Author and teen-pregnancy-prevention advocate Shane Salter visited Claflin University on Oct. 22, stressing the importance of adults having conversations with young people about love, sex and relationships.
In an event sponsored by the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the Charlotte, N.C., native shared his testimony in the Arthur Rose Museum in front of about 40 people. The group included social workers, guidance counselors, educators, community members and students.
Salter told his personal story. “I was a professional foster child,” he said.
With a mother age 15 and his father 16, Salter and his brother were constantly in foster homes in New York. He admits that at 16 he turned himself back into the foster system after witnessing the lifestyle of his parents.
“That was the change in my life … I realized I only had two years to benefit from the government as my parents.”
He recited an original poem, saying it captured a journey for him of wanting to be a part of a family.
One of his fondest memories is staying with a family called the Jenkinses. “For seven years in that home, I had the best clothes and resources,” Salter said.
But separation from his brother was difficult.
After being moved to separate group homes for a short period, they were reunited at a new adoption home. He had to leave but convinced the agency to let his brother stay because it would benefit him more.
Salter found out at 15 that his mother had died -- and that his father was a drug dealer as he lived with him for six months.
After watching his father exchange gunfire, he left.
“By this time I’m a professional foster child,” Salter said as he explained how difficult it was for him to find somewhere to live. He told his social worker that he was still a ward of the state and that the state had to help him.
The social worker was able to find him a group home in Queens. “And that was the change in my life,” Salter said.
Salter went on to become the valedictorian of his high school and head off to college. But he withdrew after his teenage girlfriend got pregnant.
Salter decided to secretly marry his daughter’s mother and join the Navy. He ended up getting a divorce, remarrying and having more children, two of his own and four adopted.
He and his wife thought it was important to adopt kids in the foster system.
And there was the matter of the promise to his first daughter: “You will never know the pain I knew.”
He said after his daughter’s graduation from high school, he was able to say, “I did it. I broke the cycle. I kept my promise.”
Salter said children and social workers must understand that every life is important.
“This is what the S.C. campaign is about,” Salter said.
Salter told the audience to take time to focus on what individuals and the community can do to ensure that children do not throw away their lives.
He offered quotes to inspire the youth such as “not now …  it can wait,” as well as “your past does not predict your future.” Salter stressed the importance of relationships and answered questions about guiding youth.
“If you decide to give up on a client, you need to quit,” Salter said when asked a question by a social worker about working with rebellious teenagers/children. “If that kid could come back and critique what you did, would you be comfortable with that grade?”
The South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s mission is to improve the health and economic wellbeing of individuals, communities and the state of South Carolina.
October’s Let’s Talk month is an initiative led by Advocates for Youth. It began in Charlotte in 1980 and is now celebrated in all 50 states.  The purpose of this event is to promote effective communication between young people and adults.
The S.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy will be having a greater presence in Orangeburg with the help of a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the Office of Adolescent Health, which is allowing the campaign to target not just Orangeburg County, but Aiken and Anderson counties.
The agency will be working alongside community partners that have already laid most of the groundwork, including the Orangeburg Coalition for Youth Empowerment and the Orangeburg-Calhoun-Allendale-Bamberg Community Action Agency Inc., he said. The goal is to increase teen-pregnancy-prevention programs and services in the local area.
For more information, contact the S.C. campaign toll-free at 1-866-849-0455. For more information on parent/child communication and tips for talking about your child about love, sex and relationships, visit www.notrightnowsc.org

Lady Panthers get ready to tip-off


With the new season on the horizon, Coach Deont’a McChester and the Lady Panthers basketball team on are a mission to prove that they are one of the top teams in the conference.
After having a good showing in the conference tournament last season, the team looks to capitalize on some of the bright spots from last year.
“First of all, I think we had to bring back some core pieces who fit what we were trying to do at both ends of the floor,” McChester said, “I definitely think we had to build off our confidence; understanding that we can compete with the good teams in the conference.”
“The biggest bright spot for me is that now we have a full and complete team,” he said.
McChester is very confident in the new talent that has joined the team and feels very optimistic about their development going forward.
“I am very confident that once this team clicks together on all cylinders with their team chemistry we will be one of the top teams in the conference,” McChester said. “We added some depth in our post-play and in our perimeter play to give us a chance to be successful.
As expected, the team aims high and hopes to reach new heights this season. 
“Our number one goal is to make sure we’re getting better every game,” McChester said. “We want to improve from game to game to make sure we are able to accomplish our big goal which is to win the division title and the conference tournament title.”
Finally, Coach McChester talked about his own development as head coach of the women’s basketball team. 
“The people around made me become a better coach,” he said. “My staff has been nothing but supportive, the young ladies that we recruited fit the build on how we want to carry ourselves on and off the court, and I had to make sure I balance my patience.”
The women’s basketball team opens the season against Florida Tech at home on, Saturday, November 14 at 3:30 p.m. 

Lady Panthers softball getting jump on reload


Claflin University’s Lady Panthers softball team is ready to reload for a new season.
The Lady Panthers were scheduled to play in a tournament the weekend of Oct. 3, but flooding in Columbia forced cancellation of the University of South Carolina event. Although their official season does not start until spring 2016, the players are training hard.
“Our motto this year is reloaded, because we lost eight players but brought in 14 new players, Coach Matisse Lee said. “This is a new start.”
“We don’t want to rebuild, but want to reload since that means you already have what you need right there,” Matisse said.
“ We have been doing conditioning and bodyweight training with Anthony Shuler Jr. from Life 4D Living. I want returners to continue to work hard and show what we’re all about,” Lee said.
“I’m looking for our senior Courtney Burns to be more vocal,” Lee said. “She really has a lot to bring to the team.
“And other seniors will show freshmen how it’s done. This is about to be a great season.”
“As a senior on the softball team, I’m praying for an injury-free team this year,” said RayShannon Maxwell, senior second baseman. “I’m expecting for us to work hard with our tough schedule and win not only the Eastern Division but the SIAC championship.”
The Lady Panthers will play South Carolina State University at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Claflin home field.

Head Softball Coach Matisse Lee (Panther Photo from claflin.edu)

Claflin students have eye on fall fashion


It’s hard not to love the autumn with its awesome fashion trends.
The best clothing surfaces in the fall — from flannel tops and sweaters to burgundy tights to leather or fringed jackets. So naturally, the best fall college fashion trends surface too.
This fall, there are some new (or old, depending on how you look at these things) trends that will undoubtedly be hitting Claflin University.
Leather jackets and bomber jackets, for instance, are super ‘80s and ‘90s, but they are making a fierce comeback in revamped style. Whether they are into the whole retro thing or haven’t taken off a favorite romper since June, students have opinions about a few fashion items that are going to be trending this fall.
Senior Tatiana Canselo says, “Sweaters, of course, are a must for fall. Whether you wear them with leggings and combat boots, they always come in handy when the weather starts to get cooler.”
“It wouldn’t be fall without flannel. Period. Whether its red flannel or black and white plaid, you need a couple of solid options in your closet,” says Danielle Coburn, senior. “Loose-fitting sweaters are amazing with black leggings for a super easy outfit to head to class.”
And let’s not forget the perfect pair of boots to go with your outfit will depend a lot on the style you are going for. Combat boots will complete a casual or edgy style, while riding boots will give you a more preppy and polished style. Booties with a small heel are perfect when you want to dress up slightly.

‘Straight Up!’ Talk show will feature free-speaking Claflin students


Students are putting classroom theory into real-life practice.
Mass communication students from Claflin University have started their very own college talk show titled “Straight Up!”
Straight Up! features 13 students from Claflin discussing common college and cultural topics and some touchy subjects from the students’ perspective.
“The Claflin Mass Comm Department wasn’t really known for anything specific,” Executive Producer Courtney “C.J.” Riley said. “I want this to be a recruiting tool for the Mass Comm Department to use to draw more students in.”
Straight Up! will be the first of its kind at Claflin. And not going through the Mass Communications Department for sanctioning allows the show to be more authentic and the cast members to speak freely.
“I want this show to go viral and put people on,” said Riley as he explains his goals and expectations for the show.
Riley wants the show to be something that each team member can use for a resume of work.
So far three episodes have been produced, but there is no set release dates or times for when they will begin showing on YouTube, Riley said. The idea is to premiere one episode per week.
Riley’s co-producers are Andres Waters and Denzel Hodges.

Claflin fosters awareness of breast cancer


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Claflin University is bringing awareness to the campus.
The university’s efforts include sending out daily quotes of inspiration related to breast cancer and a signature event, the “Breast Power Walk.”
University counselor Sadie Jarvis is chair for Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Claflin.
“I know so many young and older women affected by this illness, so bringing awareness is personal for me,” she said.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide. Each year it is estimated that more than 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.
For more information on Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Claflin, see your Claflin email or www.claflin.edu

Inktober expresses Claflin's hidden talents


It is now "Inktober," according to artists Larry Wells and Justin James.
Inktober is a challenge for artists. The task is to complete an ink drawing for every day of October.
The trend was started a few years ago by former Claflin students.
Wells, a senior majoring in art, wants to expose the campus to the talent in the art department.
"Claflin's art department decided to use this month and this occasion to showcase our talents amongst our peers," Wells said.
All of the artwork done for Inktober has to be in pen.
"Inktober gives us a period to show the world what we can do with a pen and whatever mistakes we incorporate into our work," said James, a sophomore majoring in art.
Both students have taken their art to social media to spread the word about Inktober.
 "I'm more concerned about building my fan base. I plan to have art available for purchase as low as 10 to 20 dollars," Wells said.
Art from Inktober can be viewed in the art department as well as on Instagram.

Free Style Funny puts students in comedy mix


Claflin University hosted the Free Style Funny Comedy Show on Sept. 24, with students taking part in the comedians' games.
Free Style Funny is a group of cast members from MTV's "WildNOut" show. The comedians came to Claflin to do an entertaining mix of stand-up, sharp improv and interactive games.
The freestyle comedians included "ChicoBean," "Osama Bin Drankin" and "Big Baby Brown." They have performed at Claflin for three years straight.
They pulled from the audience based on social media interaction with students using the hashtag #FFCS. The selected students then participated in games such as $2.00 Pyramid, Dance Battle, Sound Affects and Last Man Standing.
Claflin senior JoeAnn Smith said she "liked the entertainers and the games they played and was glad to see them again for another year."
Junior Tyra Bracey said, "The show was very funny, with great jokes, and after every comedian, they left the audience with helpful advice on life."
Miss Claflin Aria Dillard. (Panther photo by Krystal George)

Miss Claflin's coronation goes back in time


Miss Claflin took the audience to the 1920s with her Great Gatsby-themed coronation.
The 2015 Miss Claflin Coronation of Aria Dillard was a "Timeless" celebration showcasing the Great Gatsby era. Aria was presented in a finale to Pulse Dance Company's 1920s dance tribute to "Sing, Sing, Sing" by Benny Goodman.
"That was the best coronation I've attended since being at Claflin," junior Curtis Patterson said.
Class and campus queens were active parts of the program. They were presented individually and performed a group dance in 1920s-themed party dresses, headpieces and jewelry. Campus kings served as escorts.
After being crowned by President Henry Tisdale, Miss Claflin's monologue recording was played as she presented gifts to her parents as well as thanks and acknowledgements to her friends and family.
"It was nice and elegant. I felt like I was in the 1920s," Brandon Gallman said of the coronation.
Miss Claflin's coronation included friends from her hometown, Detroit, participating as bearers.
Also, her brother, 2015 Claflin graduate Dorian Dillard, paid tribute to her with a solo, "What A Wonderful World."
"The coronation was well-scripted. She was presented beautifully ... Her dress was spectacular," Student Government Association Vice President Vincent Sanders said.
Miss Claflin stunned the crowd in an all-white, strapless lace dress with a sheer bottom.

Million Man March interest meeting


Claflin students are moving forward in the Black Lives Matter Movement, planning a trip to participate in the 2015 Million Man March in Washington.
The Student Government Association held an interest meeting on Sept. 15 to inform students of the planned overnight trip to Washington to celebrate the anniversary of the Million Man March.
SGA President Andy Michel began the meeting with a brief history of the Million Man March and later went into details of the trip:

  • Students will leave Saturday, Oct.  10 between midnight and 2 a.m.
  • The bus will arrive at approximately 10:30-11 a.m. at the site
  • Lodging will be at the Courtyard Marriott in Rockville, Maryland  (30 minutes from the site)
  • There are only 44 seats.
  • The cost is $100 per seat (includes bus and hotel)
  • Checkout and departure will be the next day, 11 a.m.

About 55 students were in attendance at the meeting.

If you are interested in going to Washington, Michel will take questions at his email, amichel@claflin.edu.

‘Keep hope alive!’ Jackson brings voting message to Claflin


The Rev. Jessie Jackson on Wednesday encouraged Claflin University to take advantage of voting rights and “keep hope alive.”
The International Students Association hosted this week’s Power Hour in the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel. With a full sanctuary, Jackson shared his views on politics and what students can do now to become involved in making world changes. 
Jackson led the audience into a chant, directing the audience to repeat after him: “I am somebody … keep hope alive!”
Junior Kareem Heslop presided over the program. The prayer, by Jellisa Ewan, was followed by a selection by senior Jacqueline Pleasant. Senior Vivian Kalu introduced Jackson, the longtime national civil rights leader.
Jackson began his message by introducing and recognizing South Carolina’s own James Felder.
“We brought the flag down, but not the agenda,” he said, citing racist tactics by some S.C. leaders. He said the first phase of African-American struggle was to fight to abolish slavery, and the next was segregation. 
Jackson elaborated on the history of the civil rights movement and then got into his views on African-American voting.
“1,200,000 eligible blacks to vote, without fear of lynching.” He referenced Emitt Till and others who were lynched or denied voting rights.  By not voting, African-Americans are disgracing those who fought for the right.
Jackson made many call-and-response statements. Voter participation being his main concern, he said, “Everyone on this campus should be registered to vote.”
Going even further, he said, “No one should be able to pledge if they are not registered to vote.” 
According to Jackson, 300,000 blacks in South Carolina are not registered to vote. He called all present unregistered voters up front and provided registration forms for them. 
"We have the power to make America better,” Jackson said. He told students that God helps minorities so minorities can help all people.
Jackson said he continues to fight for forgiveness of student loan debt because education is a necessity. Once people are educated, they can contribute.
He encouraged students and others to learn more than one language. “There are no more foreigners, we are all neighbors,” he said.        
In addition to pushing for more voter participation and affordable education, Jackson said affordable health care and an end to slave labor are vital. “A million people in poverty, a million people eligible for Medicaid.”
"We want affordable health care but don’t want Obamacare; that’s like wanting the omelet without the eggs,” Jackson said. The audience thunderously applauded. 
Jackson concluded his message with more chants, “Forward by hope, not backwards by fear!” He instructed everyone to yell, “Keep hope alive!”

Block party kicks off HBCU Week


Monday, Sept. 21, officially started Claflin University’s HBCU Week.
The first event was a local block party on High Rise Court hosted by the Student Activities Board. The party was open to all students and locals.
The purpose of HBCU Week and the block party is to bring students together -- and the events help as stress relievers from classes.
“It’s always great to have a big venue where all the students can gather and just relax and have fun,” senior Terryn Parker said.
The rest of the week’s festivities included events such as Movie Night and an ice cream social, Power Hour, Free Style Comedy Show and social forums.

Claflin singer rocks the opera in Bulgaria


Claflin University Concert Choir member Corinthia Sims said participating in Varna International Opera Academy in Varna, Bulgaria, this past summer was her greatest experience as a performer.
In her fifth year participating with the concert choir, the senior from Detroit was the lone African-American in the four-week program that allowed her to perform at the State Opera House in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. That gave her the opportunity to stand out as a representative of Claflin, she said.
"We had a lot rehearsals and the academy was very pleased with my attributes and performance," Sims said. "I came prepared to know my role, music, and the audience received me very well."
During her performance, people were standing, applauding, crying, screaming and throwing flowers on the stage, Sims said. "The audience was so shocked at the performance I gave."
She sang an aria from the opera "Gianni Schicchi" in titled O mio babbino caro. The aria is known all across the world.
"I worked with cast members from the United States and from Bulgaria," she said. "I stayed off of the Black Sea in a resort and it was nice to relax in my room after rehearsal and practices."
Sims said Varna's International Opera Academy reinforced that her teacher in the United States is doing a good job coaching her.
Sims' dream is to become a prominent opera singer.
"I want to bring my culture closer to classical music. Not many African-Americans are into this genre of music and I want to influence them," Sims said.
A quote she lives by is written by her favorite opera singer Leontyne Price. It is: "The ultimate of being successful is the luxury of giving yourself the time to do what you want to do."
Sims said she asks herself daily, "What does it take for you to pursue your dreams and how much time are you willing to put into that dream?" Another famous quote she lives by is: "Accomplishments have no color." No matter what race you are, you can accomplish anything in life, she said.

Claflin17 looks to be campus trendsetters

The junior class identifies itself as “Claflin17.”
With more than 350 students, the class is filled with honor students, athletes, internship/scholarship recipients, community servers and campus leaders.
“We are changing the game,” said junior class Vice President Taylor Reynolds. The 2015 Valentine Gala hosted by Claflin17 is an example. The class plans to make it an annual event.
“I am serving the campus as well as my class,” Student Activities Board President Shakeal Paul said. “I love my class. We’re pretty tight. I want us to be more of a family.”
Two of Claflin’s leading men, SGA President Andy Michel and Mr. Claflin Ar’Darius Stewart, are part of the Claflin17 family. Michel said the class is made up of campus trendsetters.
In a recent junior class meeting, the two officials made announcements about the upcoming semester:
-          The class fundraising goal is again $1,000.
-          The senior trip will be to Miami (further details coming).
-          Fourth Sundays are junior chapel days.
-          A Greek switch-off event is scheduled for October, organized by Mr. Junior RaShodd A. Howze.
-          Miss Junior Kimberley Elliot has events forthcoming.
Claflin17 is being recognized for hard work and contributions on and off Claflin’s campus. Examples include:
-          Bria Bronston, volleyball player, earned First Team All-Conference two years in a row. She was named the team’s Offense Player of the Year last year and is now the conference’s Preseason Player of the Year.
-          Lashawnda Warren is a part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
-          Marshae Smith is the Student Government Association corresponding secretary and the CEO of “We Are Queens,” a mentoring and community service program. She also completed a summer internship at the MetLife headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.
-          Xavier Black, junior class president, completed a summer internship at USA School of Medicine in Greenville through the MedEx Academy.
-          Kierra Carter, cheerleader and mentor, is the current Miss Florence.
-          Malahah Waller is the SGA chief of staff.
-          Vincent Sanders is the SGA vice president.
-          Joyce Brown, Indiya Simpson and Amari Battiste completed summer research internships with the STEM Department at Claflin.
Students from other classes have taken notice of the Claflin17.
“Greatly unified,” sophomore class President Dominique W. Riggins said of the juniors.
“They are so cool!” sophomore Youshi Kirkland said.
“Very ambitious,” senior and Miss Homecoming LaQueena Williams said.
“Good class, full of potential, full of ambition,” said LaQuentin Jenkins, senior C/O 2015.
“Even though they are not my class, they’re really motivational and inspirational. I was their orientation leader at one point and now I am so proud!” senior and Miss UNCF Rachel Johnson said.
“Claflin17 students are very passionate about their majors,” said Brandon Gallman, C/O ’18.

7 new cheerleaders join Claflin squad


Seven new cheerleaders were selected for the Claflin University squad during tryouts in August.
Coach Leslie Simpson selected the new girls to join the 21-member squad. Tryouts were held in the Jonas T. Kennedy Center.
“I am totally impressed with the amount of talent that came out this year,” Simpson said. “I have an awesome new squad, and I am excited about what my current talent will accomplish.”
Martisha Wright is one of the seven new cheerleaders.
“The week of tryouts was pretty challenging, but interesting,” she said. “When coach called my name, I immediately started to cry, and I was very much ecstatic.”
The tryouts consisted of the girls performing a cheer, two chants, a jump sequence and a dance routine that was taught throughout the week. There also was a question-and-answer portion.
The cheerleaders make their first appearance during HBCU Week.

Mr. Claflin has Egyptian theme for October coronation


Mr. Claflin Ar’Darius Stewart plans an Egyptian-themed coronation on Oct. 9.
The show is titled “The Legacy as Pharaoh.” Stewart has put a lot of work into making sure the coronation is a success.
Over the summer, he took a trip to Uganda. The experience was the inspiration behind the concept of his coronation.
“Just being over there in the motherland, seeing the people and seeing how rich our history is in Africa definitely inspired me to have an African-themed coronation,” Stewart said.
Mr. Claflin has three Claflin students lined up to perform in the coronation.
Vincent Sanders will do a monologue titled, “I chose Egypt.” Esther Jones will be singing “When You Believe” by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, and PULSE Dance Company will be dancing to an Egyptian musical selection.
Stewart’s family will be in attendance.
“It’s going to feel good seeing my family there seeing me being crowned as Mr. Claflin,” Stewart said. “They are my biggest supporters.”
As the date of the coronation approaches, Mr. Claflin is working harder to make sure the outcome of the coronation will be outstanding.
“Being Mr. Claflin is a blessing because not a lot of people can say they’ve had the privilege. It’s a privilege to be considered an HBCU King,” Stewart said.
The coronation will begin at 7 p.m.in the William Vernon Middleton building.

SGA president plans to build strong student union


As a new year starts for Claflin University's student population, one student has a master plan to bring a new experience to the campus.
Student Government Association President Andy L. Michel wants to make the campus a more enjoyable, organized and safer environment.
"My plan is to increase the SGA budget by opening a student-run 'snack shack,’ and I also plan to get the café to a point where students can look forward to eating there," Michel said.
But food isn't the only thing on his task list. Michel plans on making things more organized and more productive around the school.
"I also plan on supporting and holding accountable the organizations on campus by using our newly implemented Presidential Union."
Michel also wants to make the student population feel safer.
"I plan to support public safety by creating a more effective SNAP program," Michel said.
Michel does have a concern about being SGA president.
"My only fear is failing, but with the team I have, that's impossible," he says.
"I want everyone to know that our motto is 'Building A Strong Student Union,’ and the only way we can be effective is if we all participate and support each other," he said.

Matriculation highlights Claflin’s global reach

Claflin was host to the president of its new sister school, Methodist University, at the 146th Matriculation Day Convocation on Sept. 10.
The Jonas T. Kennedy’s Tullis Arena was filled with students and faculty as Dr. Marcio de Moraes introduced himself as president of the United Methodist-affiliated university in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Moraes and Claflin President Henry Tisdale spoke about Claflin’s new vision of global civilization.
“Thank you for bringing our universities closer,” Moraes said.
The convocation began with the posting of the colors. The new flags representing Claflin’s diverse population were on display. Greetings from Miss Claflin, Aria Dillard, were followed by the installation of the 2015-2016 Student Government Association officers.
Moraes used his segment to inform the audience of a brief history of Methodista University, the largest Methodist University in Brazil. Claflin students will be able to participate in an exchange program, attending classes at the Methodista Unversity, and the university’s Brazilian students will matriculate at Claflin.
Claflin will also offer Portuguese as a language. 
SGA President Andy Michele introduced Tisdale, comparing his tenure as president to an Olympic race.
“Because he never stopped running, Claflin University is financially sound,” Michele said, receiving thunderous applause. Michele then presented Tisdale with an Olympic gold medal for “running the great race.”
Tisdale began his address with a joke in reference to Michele’s introduction; “I suppose after running so long, maybe a little drink of water might be needed.” He then sipped from his water.
Tisdale talked about the direction Claflin is going in effort to become a global leader. “We want students to have mobility … we want to be affordable and productive,” Tisdale said.
He acknowledged the freshmen class, making note that they are one of the largest incoming classes, “450 strong.” Tisdale also confirmed the university’s capital campaign Phase ll goal of $100,000,000.    Tisdale redirected his focus to Methodista University.
Future leaders will need to hold global citizenship, he said.  He left students with an acronym: Claflin LEADS, Leadership development, Experimental Learning, Academic excellence, Diversity and inclusion.
Tisdale defined leadership and again encouraged students that, “we, too, can lead.”

Student Government Association President Andy Michel speaks at the 146th Matriculation Day Convocation
Student Government Association President Andy Michel speaks at the 146th Matriculation Day Convocation; photo courtesy of The Times and Democrat

Concert is reward for winning recycling challenge

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Panther photos by CJ Riley
Claflin Unviersity held an outdoor concert Friday night celebrating the school's recent win in the PepsiCo 2014 Campus Recycling Challenge. Claflin was awarded a $25,000 grand prize which funded the event.
Held in the Claflin Commons courtyard,  the concert was hosted by Claflin alumnus comedian Jay Dukes and featured performances by Grammy Award-winning R&B and soul singer/songwriter Chrisette Michele, contemporary R&B artist JoiStaRR and the Claflin University Jazz Ensemble.
The concert was sponsored by PepsiCo Recycling, which announced earlier this month that Claflin won after achieving the highest percentage increase in recycling in the brand’s 2014 Campus Recycling Challenge.
The university collected some 652 percent more aluminum cans and plastic bottles between Oct. 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015, than it did during the same time period the previous year.
Since partnering with PepsiCo Recycling’s Dream Machine in spring 2013, Claflin has recycled more than 36,500 aluminum cans and plastic bottles on campus. That’s kept more than a ton of recyclable material out of landfills.
This article was first published in The Times and Democrat.



Painting With Panther Pride


Claflin alumna, Jasmine Wall and Public Relations professor, Ms. Bianca Crawford paired to bring “Paint Night Out” to Claflin University to kick off the 2015 CALA- Bash festival. On April 6th ,over 50 students and faculty gathered to enjoy music art and food in the Claflin Art Department. The event was just one of Monday’s highlights as the university officially started the 2015 CALA – Bash.
    “I felt very relaxed and like I could express my artistic ability in front of my peers,” said senior, Daniel Simmons.
Claflin Arts & Letters Annual Bash is a yearly festival held at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. 
Originally envisioned as a single day to celebrate the artistic culture of the university, Calabash has grown into a weeklong celebration. 
Overnight, the campus transforms, giving way to street vendors, live performances, and a cornucopia of artistic expression and school pride! 
To the students, it feels like another spring break filled with fun, laughter, good food, and good music. "This annual festival is a great way to break up the tedium and monotony of campus life, providing a relaxed atmosphere for everyone to let loose and have fun before finals," said Clafin alum,Toney Gaines.

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Mass Communications professor, Ms. Bianca Crawford showcases her artistic ability as she paints at CALA Bash's Paint Night.

Vanessa Williams: 'Feet on the Ceiling'


Award-winning actress Vanessa A.Williams took Claflin students on the ride of their lives,  Feet on the Ceiling, performing a monologue during the annual CALA-Bash.
In this hilarious and moving coming-of-age story, Vanessa recounted tales of personal discovery and enlightenment. 
"How do you know when you become a woman, when you have to make woman decisions?" Williams said. 
Beginning her journey from a stoop in Bedford Stuyvesant, Williams said it took just one boy by the name of Julio for her to question the meaning of love. He was the charming Puerto Rican who all the girls wanted. To Williams' surprise, he wanted her.
Williams was the girl who guys didn't notice. Just the feeling of having Julio approach her made her feel accepted. They hung out and like most guys, he got simply what he wanted: her virginity.
From there Williams began to think that's all she was worthy of. To make matters worse, she had no one she could talk to as her mother died when she was young. Living with her grandmother who was two generations above her didn't help.
So Williams did what she thought was right by continuously having just sex with other guys. Williams began looking for sex to complete her, as a way of hiding her pain.
"I didn't know what love felt like. I thought love was sex," Williams said. It took Williams having to make a grown-woman decision to realize how much her actions were affecting her. 
After making the decision to have an abortion, William said she felt transformed to be a better woman -- learning that promises are not guarantee, that being truthful takes courage.
Sex made her feel passionate and after that faded, she didn't know who she was. So Williams had to find who she was and what she wanted out of herself.
By traveling to Israel and Europe on a six-month tour of the musical HAIR, she found her uniqueness appreciated in ways she never knew possible.
This tale was about Williams as it relates to young women's quest to finding love, meaning and identity on their own terms. 
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Seniors pose for a picture on the red carpet before viewing their short films and documentaries at the annual CALA Bash Film Festival. (Left to right) Ashley White, JR Bryant, Imani Davis, Jayla McCaw, and Kyree Simon

Mass Comm. Shows Out!


On Wednesday, April 7th the Department of Mass Communications at Claflin University brought the red carpet to the Grace Thomas Kennedy auditorium with the 3rd annual CALA- Bash Film Festival. The night was full of emotion as students of Claflin University competed for awards in two categories; short film and documentary.
“I’m just glad my work was able to be displayed” said second place documentary finalist and senior, Ashley White.
The Awards were as follows:
Short Film

1st Place: Clayton “J.R.” Bryant for Forgiven

2nd Place : Kyree Simon for MOMMA


1st Place: Imani Davis for Junk Food Targets

2nd Place Ashley White for Colorism

3rd Place Jayla McCaw for Road to Rebellion
All contestants were required to submit a 15 minute film to their choice of category. They were also required to have audio and be able to upload to YouTube.
    Claflin Arts & Letters Annual Bash is a yearly festival held at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  Originally envisioned as a single day to celebrate the artistic culture of the university, Calabash has grown into a weeklong celebration.  Overnight the campus transforms, giving way to street vendors, live performances, and a cornucopia of artistic expression and school pride!  To the students, it feels like another spring break filled with fun, laughter, good food, and good music.

“This annual festival is a great way to break up the tedium and monotony of campus life, providing a relaxed atmosphere for everyone to let loose and have fun before finals,” Claflin Alum, Toney Gaines said.



Poetry Workshop


    On Thursday, April 9th, Jessica Care Moore, a poet from Detroit visited Claflin University during CALA-Bash week.
Jessica Care Moore began writing around the age of 15 to 16 years old.
She moved to New York City to pursue her passion and attended Def Poetry Jam in 1995. Moore         is also the author of a series of books, “God is Not an American” and “Sunlight through Bullet Holes” are two from her collection.
Along with her writings, Moore owns her own publishing company.
Moore left students with the advice, “90s poets are old enough to learn through reading.” Moore stressed how important it is for poets to read other poets and how poetry is art, and art is powerful.
Poetry to Jessica Care Moore is more than simple spoken word. She prefer for her poetry to be called readings because of her artistic view on the art. She even received threats when pursing her love for poetry in Detroit.
“What you’re writing now will not sound the same in the future,” Moore closed.

​Jessica Care Moore (middle) poses with students after sharing advice and her experiences about pursuing her passion for poetry.

Performances on the Yard


Uniquepo, a Claflin student, rocked the mic as she performed a Japanese selection. The crowd loved it and embraced her with a hearty round of applause. She has introduced a new genre of music to the University.

Performance on the Yard
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Claflin University Theatre Ensemble’s Production of Dream Girls

By Brandi Threatt

On April 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm, in Orangeburg’s Stevenson Auditorium; Claflin University Theatre Ensemble showcased the stage play Dream Girls to bring a close to the celebration of CALA- BASH.  (Claflin’s Arts and Letters Annual Bash)
Director/ Professor Cedric Rembert directed his first musical with the Claflin University Theatre Ensemble. This play starred students of the University.
“This was a pretty tough production to pull off.  As a stage manager you don’t get the same rush that you do when you’re an actor, but overall I am proud of the work we’ve done,” said Assistant Stage Manager, Nakia Avila.
“I had fun,” Actor Ar’Daris Stewart said.
The 3pm star cast consisted of three seniors, Lia Holman (Lorrell), Rebeca Daniel (Effie), and Darien Woods (Curtis). Four juniors, Shanquel Young (Denna), Richard Ortiz (Marty), Eric Washington (C.C), Aria Dillard (Michelle), and one sophomore Ar’Daris Stewart (Jimmy).
Dream Girls is written by Tom Eyen. It is the story of characters, Deena, Effie, and Lorrell who originated from a music trio called the Dreamettes. 
Their new manager Curtis Taylor takes creative control of the group and pushes the singers into the spotlight.
The group encounters many differences that came with the high cost of fame; leading to a public breakup between the trio. 

Claflin student editor wins award
as top S.C. collegiate journalist

Courtesy The Times and Democrat

Claflin University senior Princess Williams says she learned early on that her life’s goal of becoming a singer was not going to work out, so she decided to focus on talents with writing and speaking.
On Friday, she used one skill to focus on the other as she delivered an address accepting the award as the South Carolina Collegiate Journalist of the Year for colleges and universities with under 5,000 enrollment. Williams was chosen for the honor presented annually by the South Carolina Press Association through its Collegiate Division, which promotes journalism excellence among student publications at South Carolina institutions of higher learning.
Williams told the crowd — which included her mother and other family members, gathered at Bob Jones University in Greenville for the annual Collegiate Division conference — that she considers her role as editor of The Panther, Claflin’s student newspaper, one of the most important of her life.
She detailed the opportunities the position has afforded her, including personal interviews with the likes of celebrities and newsmakers such as Bill Cosby and Nikki Giovanni, and journalistic experience she believes will be invaluable as a professional.
In honoring Williams, the SCPA judges cited her commitment to the student press, taking the lead in recruiting other volunteer staffers, and taking on the reporting, photography and editing function alone as is often needed.
Williams played the lead role in moving The Panther to its online format by handling administrative functions for the website (claflin.edu/the-panther) and recruiting unique content.
Williams also has gained experience and exposure for her work and The Panther by contributing coverage to The Times and Democrat and TheTandD.com.
The Ridgeland native and mass communications major is also a campus leader. She has balanced the editor’s job and academic responsibilities as an Honors College student with other positions, including being campus leader for the United Negro College Fund. And she has taken public service beyond working to inform, serving as a mentor with Project Life: Positeen Inc. in Orangeburg and a volunteer with Claflin’s AmeriCorp’s Saturday Academy.

The Panther Editor Princess Williams with SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers

The Panther Editor Princess Williams and South Carolina Press Association Executive Director Bill Rogers pose after Williams receives her S.C. Collegiate Journalist of the Year award for colleges and universities with under 5,000 enrollment during a ceremony on Saturday, April 11, 2015, at Bob Jones University in Greenville.

Claflin students cite unease
after dorm break-ins

From reports by Keegan Franklin, Jabari Kafele, Brandi Threatt and Gibson Najee

Claflin University students say there may be reason for concern after dorm break-ins following their return from spring break.
Several female students told a magistrate the Claflin University campus has been terrorized by a man who broke into their rooms.
Identified as a South Carolina State University student, Kabaris Daniels, 19, of Columbia, was taken into custody on March 19 on Claflin's campus and a day later charged with two counts of first-degree assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of second-degree burglary.
After hearing from two female Claflin students and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Leroy Durant, Orangeburg County Magistrate Sam Daily determined Daniels is a threat to the community and ordered him held without bond.
Durant told the court the campus had been on edge for several weeks, though some Claflin students say they were unaware of any potential danger from an intruder.
 "After finding out what actually happened, I was speechless. I didn't believe it," junior Michael Jenkins said. "I couldn't imagine if that was my sister or my girlfriend. I would go crazy. He must've been on something, ain't no way . I just don't understand."
Jenkins, who resides off campus, said he heard about the situation and wasn't clear on what actually happened. He thought it was a brawl or fight that took place, referencing the word "attack."
Freshman Dasia Dukes, who does not live in either of the dorms that were entered, believes the university needs to understand the difference between the personal freedom of students and their safety.
"This is really sad. I am new in this area and found it to [be] pretty safe and somewhere I needed to be to continue my education," she said. "I have grown to love Claflin, however they don't need to confuse our personal freedom and space with our safety."
Sharitta McMichael, a sophomore residing in the Student Residential Center North where the breakins/attacks occurred, said,  "It saddens to know that such activity goes on in a residential hall that I stay in . I'm from out of state so it's not like I can just up and go stay with a relative until things cease."
Imani Davis, a senior, said she did not particularly feel terrorized by the break-ins. Rather she felt "uneasy" in believing the university was withholding information from residents.
"I feel Claflin in general tries to put on a façade that everything is okay and not share what's going on with its students until it's too late," she said. "If we were made aware earlier of [the] suspect or something possibly going on, we could of prevented multiple incidents from happening and recurring. But when you're unaware you don't know to take precaution."
Davis also said the university isn't doing much to beef up security after the incidents.
"I definitely think we should have more officers on campus, even at night, because the RAs get off at 12. So maybe from 1 to 4 there should be someone in there or at least an officer patrolling around campus to feel protected," she said.
Another senior, Brandy Mack, said she, too, was uncomfortable with the university's flow of information.
"After the first incident, they should of been having meetings [and] sending emails letting everybody know," she said. "I didn't know anything about it until the day he got arrested."
"I feel like the situation could have been handled way better," Mack said. "From what I heard, the guy had broken into three dorms in one night."
Mack said the university should have taken action after the first dorm was broken into.
"My thing is, after the first incident or after he broke into the second dorm, why were there no police officers on campus? Things could have been handled completely different."
Doward Hunter, a junior, said he does not feel threatened because he lives off campus, but his friends who live on campus did worry about danger.
"I think victims learned how to prevent themselves from being victimized through this experience," Hunter said.
"With the addition of more campus security guards, I feel confident in the ability of Claflin's security task force," he said. "This incident was definitely a learning experience. Of course security did not get everything right the first time, but I think they learned how to handle these situations better now."
Students and staff are encouraged to remain vigilant and report all suspicious people to the public safety department by calling extension 5444.

Reports by The Times and Democrat contributed to this story.

President Tisdale's letter
outlines security upgrades 

The following letter was sent by President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale to Claflin email accounts on March 31, 2015. It is titled "Safety and Security Enhancements." 

I write to inform you that we have installed several new surveillance cameras, bringing to 20 the number of surveillance cameras in operation.  By April 15, 2015, the University also will have a total of 14 call boxes in another demonstration of our commitment to enhance the safety and security of the campus.  These additional safety devices, along with the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol or SNAP, also strengthen our resolve to ensure Claflin University is a safe environment for high quality living and learning and are consistent with a new focus on campus safety and security that was articulated during my Matriculation Day address on September 4, 2014.

Please note the following:

Surveillance Cameras
Surveillance of public areas is intended to deter crime and assist in protecting the safety and property of the University. You can be assured that the University will adhere to guidelines that address safety and security needs while at the same time respecting individual privacy of those attending, working or visiting Claflin University.

Emergency Call Boxes
The University is increasing the number of emergency call boxes around campus so that students, faculty, staff and visitors can more conveniently contact public safety in case of an emergency.

Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP) Program
This program is designed to enhance safety relative to movement from parking lots to residence halls or offices.  Any member of the Claflin University family may use the service by calling extension 5444. The service will be provided from 7 p.m. to midnight on Monday through Friday. 

All questions regarding safety and security measures should be addressed to Mr. Steve Pearson, director of Public Safety at extension 5434 or Dr. Leroy A. Durant, vice president for Student Development and Services at extension 5341 during normal hours of operation.  During evening hours and weekends, contact the Office of Public Safety at (803) 535-5444.
As you are aware, the security and safety of our campus will be sustained and enhanced by remaining alert and watchful and reporting suspicious or unusual behavior. Your cooperation and support are greatly appreciated.

Students, parents help Claflin exceed Phase One campaign goal 

Capital Campaign


Claflin University has made history by raising the largest amount in the history of the university.
President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale announced at the Phase One Celebration on Thursday in the Jonas T. Kennedy Center that almost $90 million has been raised in the university’s capital campaign.
“When we launched the campaign, we were focused on making a strong university even stronger. We wanted to bolster Claflin’s capacity to serve as a resource for the state of South Carolina,” Tisdale said.
    The funds have been used to strengthen academic programs, enhance facilities and build the endowment.
The overall goal for this campaign is $96.4 million. The goal for the first phase was $80 million.
The university exceeded the goal and is at $89.6 million.
“I think we were successful because we had 10 or more seven-figured gifts,” Tisdale said.
“This campaign was about hopes and dreams,” Capital Campaign Chair James A. Bennett said.
Claflin parents played a major role in the campaign by surpassing their original goal of $50,000.
The student body also had an original goal of $100,000 but skyrocketed to raise $162,438. It has a new goal of giving $200,000 to the capital campaign.
Student Government Association President Dillon Isaac highlighted the impact of the campaign from a student’s perspective.
“When I was a freshman in 2011, the Wi-Fi connection was very limited,” he said. “Now 100 percent of the campus is Wi-Fi-accessible.”
More than 98 percent of faculty and staff donated to the campaign.
“This campaign has indeed enhanced Claflin’s learning and teaching environment,” Board of Trustees Faculty Representative Dr. Caroletta Ivey said.
Some of the university’s biggest supporters were:

  • Sodexo Nutrition - $4.3 million
  • Westbrook Family Foundation - $2.5 million
  • The late Jonas T. Kennedy - $1.3 million

“This evening, we envision moving Claflin to new levels of excellence. Yes, we’ve set the bar high, but we know we can. We must reach even higher. We believe the world needs visionaries,” Tisdale said. “There no stopping us now.”
The campaign has also provided the university with:

  • 100% SMART classrooms
  • A Molecular Science Research Center
  • The Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel



The future is Orange, Maroon -- and green: Students lead Claflin  in sustainability projects


Friends of the Earth is the face of student-organized sustainability at Claflin University.
The organization led by President Timothy Alston has been active on campus for around 10 years and is currently involved in multiple recycling efforts across campus.
“FOE's goal is to raise awareness about the living environment so it can be better,” Alston said. The organization is currently comprised of three teams that collect recyclables around campus and bring them to the new recycling center located behind the cafeteria and to the Pepsi Dream Machine located outside of the cafeteria.
“We have an internal competition as well as the nationwide one to motivate our efforts,” said Alston when asked how FOE is involved with the Pepsi Challenge. The goal is increase U.S. beverage container recycling to 50 percent by having universities compete in recycling bottles.
The campaign by Pepsi has touched more than 65 colleges and collected more than 15 million bottles. It's one of the many efforts Claflin is currently a part of to move to a sustainable campus.
The kickoff of the university’s sustainability projects was Sept 23,2014.
Rodney Hudson, director of auxiliary services, headed new green campaigns around campus.
Efforts include instillation of solar panels on dormitory roofs, the opening of a new recycling center, recycling cooking oil and using a biodigester machine for food waste in the cafeteria.
Since the kickoff, Claflin university has become one of the nation's top 10 green HBCUs. The university is still pushing toward its own goals of increasing recycling, saving energy and recording local climate changes.



Does Mr. Right Exist? 


Often we hear “ college is going to be some of your best days, it’s the place where you will meet your future husband”. Well, its senior year and graduation is rapidly approaching, still no Mr. Right.
So I begin to wonder if Mr. Right truly exists or is he an idea created to give us hopeless romantics,something to believe in.
I had the chance to speak with Claflin Senior, Cherrelle Martin, who is getting married this summer to her Mr. Right.
Cherrelle, like most college women believed that she would meet her future husband during her collegiate years.
“I thought I would meet somebody at Claflin, that’s what suppose to happen in college. I now realize that is a rare thing. I would say however, during the college years as you learn and grow to build your future you begin to think about life after college and marriage, and the feeling that you haven't met Mr. Right, now what’s going to happen kicks in.”
Cherrelle met her Mr. Right in the 8th grade, what begin as years of friendship, recently turned into the joining of soulmates.
 Cherrelle may not have met her Mr. Right on campus but her advice to other collegiate women is,” wait on the right person, it might not be your time right now, but your moment is coming.” 
So now my original question shifts from does Mr. Right exist to are college years meant to be the years we get ready to meet Mr. Right.
Is this the time for me to prepare myself for what happens when Mr. Right eventually comes into my life ? I believe so, college is the time where we are supposed to find ourselves and grow into the person we want to be when we walk across the stage in May. For much of my college years I viewed my future in terms of having a great career and the day I buy my first pair of Christian Louboutin heels. Now when I visualize my future I see myself as a career woman, wife and mother. I had to get a place where I am now ready for Mr. Right.  I asked Claflin Senior Keneisha Corbett ,how do you know when you're ready? “ You have to be comfortable with yourself, you need know what you want in life, college is the time for you to do that, when you get to that point you will know you're ready.”  So you're ready for Mr. Right and he is ready for you, now what? Cherrelle Martin, 22 felt marriage was the next step with her Mr. Right. “ At first everyone was concerned, even I felt like we might be too young, but I realized I am ready, he's ready, we’re ready, it felt right. She goes on to say, “I was comfortable with him, we’ve watched each other grow. Our history played a big role in the decision.”  Cherrelle knows that being young, fresh out of college and married isn’t going to be easy but she and her fiancé are ready for the challenge. The couple will wed in August. To answer the age old question does Mr. Right exist, I say yes he does, you have to be ready for him when he does arrive. Until then enjoy your college years and continue to evolve into the visionary women Claflin molds us into becoming. 

Durant cites Claflin improvements, says tuition increase likely in 2015-16


Dr. Leroy Durant held a news conference on March 3 to discuss the status of the university and tell students about what they can expect in the future.
Durant, the university’s vice president of student development and services, said changes on campus have improved the student experience.
“Claflin’s top priority will always be the students that come to the university [and] making sure they succeed,” he said.
Durant noted the addition and opening of Claflin’s new co-ed dorm, the Commons, the addition of 22 security cameras throughout the campus and parking lots, as well as the addition of emergency phones.
The locations of the cameras include: GTK, Asbury (2), Goff parking lot, Chapel, East Hall, JST, Gym, South Hall, Kleist, High Rise (2).
Cameras were not added to monitor students, Durant said. They are to increase security, with university public safety personnel doing the monitoring.
“More eyes may make the students feel more secure,” he said.
Regarding future improvements, Durant said the next project for the university will be paving the parking lots along Goff Avenue during the summer.
Beyond that, he informed students the university has plans to expand the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Education Center by adding another common-use area for students as well as a pool.
Meanwhile, he said there could be an increase in tuition in the coming year due to budget cuts.
“These are tough times for high[er] education,” he said. “In public education today, throughout the United States there are a tremendous amount of cuts being made … the thing you have to do is manage what you have and I think Claflin has managed effectively.”
He said the university has the fourth lowest tuition rate of private institutions in the state and there has not been an increase since the 2011-12 school year. Current tuition is $7,600 per semester.
Despite the possible increase, Durant said the university’s main goal is to keep students in college. “But they (students) have to do their part as well.”


Claflin Vice President Dr. Leroy Durant talks with mass communications students during a news conference on March 3. (Panther photo by CJ Riley)

Protect what belongs to YOU!

Panther Editor

Did you know that books are the most common items stolen here on Claflin’s campus?
Books are the most common because, they are expensive.
“A student may put a textbook down in the cafeteria or library, and someone will just come along and pick it up,” Police Chief of Claflin University, Steve Pearson said.
The most common crime on Claflin’s campus is petty larceny.
“Larceny is a crime of opportunity. It’s not like sometimes people just wake up and want to go commit a larceny, but you sit something down, and the opportunity presents itself. Someone will just walk up and pick the item up,” Pearson said.
The rate of larcenies remained the same through 2013 and 2014, averaging approximately 20 larcenies on the campus per year.
Campus security must follow specific procedures when students report stolen items.
“The first thing we do is have the victim fill out an incident report. On an incident report, we basically get their basic information, such as their name, age, location of the incident, and the date. We try to document the specifics of the item that was stolen,” Pearson explained.
Keeping your personal items safe is your personal responsibility. Here are a few of Chief Pearson’s prevention tips:
• Never just place your cellphones and books anywhere.
• Take your personal items with you.
• Lock your room door when you’re not in your residence hall.
• Document the serial numbers of your electronic items. (Some electronic devices have tracking devices on them).
• Make sure that your tracking devices are activated, and you have registered your electronics with the company that you purchased it from.
“When certain items such as Mac Books and laptop computers are stolen here at the university, we can track some of those items, if we can receive the serial number of the electronic,” Pearson advised.
Students must protect all of their personal items to the best of their ability.

Theft Stats

  • In 2010, 92,695 crimes were reported to college and university campus police. Of these reported crimes, 97% were property crimes, and 3% were violent crimes.
  • In most cases, campus thefts are crimes of convenience.
  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners suggests that off campus students get renters insurance. This cost between $15 and $30 a month and covers electronics, computers, clothes, and bicycles and other items that can be stolen.
  • In the 2013, Claflin University had 14 auto break-ins.

Claflin student encourages others to PUT THEIR HEALTH FIRST

PANTHER Kay the Body

Obesity has become such a problem for college students. Between studying, stressing out and the pressure of college, college students turn to eating unhealthy foods to cope. College students overindulge at the cafe, pizza hut, chinese food, the pit and local restaurants. Unhealthy ingredients can develop health problems in the future. It starts right here and now! Get off of this train of an unhealthy lifestyle and start a new healthy lifestyle. It starts with you, a bottle of water, determination, consistency and making smarter and healthy food choices on and off campus. Having a positive team that can encourage you along the way will be a great help! I have just the right woman that can help you get closer to your goal.

Khadijah Percell, a Claflin University student began her journey to helping others achieve their fitness goals about 2 years ago.
“Before then, I was always into fitness but it was just for myself mainly, as an outlet to get rid of my frustrations in a healthy way. It is not easy raising two boys and caring for a grandmother who's battling with cancer, while trying to get an education at the same time, however fitness has made this possible for me,” Percell said.

Watching her grandmother fight cancer is what motivated Percell to help others. Her grandmother always said, “I wish I would have taken better care of myself when I was younger". Percell took that message and ran with it, trying to influence as many young adults as she could. She started training just one girl, then, five. Now, Percell assists 20 ladies and gentlemen with living a healthier lifestyle. Percell teaches the students about nutrition as well. She simply enjoys doing what she does free of charge. “I just want every young person I encounter to have a chance my grandmother always wished for,” Percell said.

She has a myriad of success stories from students at Claflin University. Percell’s workout consists of working on the abs, legs, arms and buttocks.  She assists you one-on-one. Before and after every work out, Percell likes for everyone to join hands and pray. She takes before and after pictures so students can see their progress. It’s more than a workout. It is more than movement. The students are developing a family. They talk to each other, encourage each other and lose the weight together. Students of all shapes and sizes come out to be a part of this movement. Not only does she give students a good workout, she teaches students how to eat healthy and make better choices. She gives them examples of food charts and workouts that they can do at home if they are unable to make it to the gym. Percell also gives tips and advice. She gives students the encouragement to continue. At the beginning of their process, she informs students that the task before them is not easy, but to never give up no matter what obstacles they are faced with.  If you want something, you will work for it and she is here to help. Percell is building self-esteem and confidence in these students. Every Monday-Friday, she is located at State’s track at 8am-8:50am. If weather conditions are inclement, she moves the workout to Claflin University’s gym, JTK.
“Kay theBody Movement is open to all. She has her own website: kaythebody.com. You can also follow the movement on Instagram @kaytheboday. Khadijah Percell wants everyone to remember to always put your health first. 

PANTHER Kay the Body 2


 Daniel ‘DSims’ Simmons: Go-to-guy for sound



When he wakes up, Daniel starts his day with the production of one of his daily beats and instrumentals.
He always leaves his heard on every time through his organic and futuristically orchestrated melodies. After completing one beat, Daniel saves it and commences another.
There are a plethora of producers in the music industry, but even peers can attest to the fact that Daniel is slowly moving into an echelon of his own.
Daniel is the go-to guy on Claflin’s campus for all sound production and audio engineering needs.
Born in Harleyville but raised in San Diego, California, Daniel, “DSims” to his peers, has come back to his state of birth to leave his stamp on the Southern music scene.
When he is not in the studio, the 21-year-old Claflin University senior loves everything from traveling and attending concerts to networking and shopping for the newest footwear.
Artists on campus respect “DSims” and don’t hesitate when given a chance to work with him — unless the price is not right.
“My time is money, so if you don’t have money to work, don’t waste my time,” Daniel says. To avoid any confusion during the creative process, Daniel leaves this disclaimer every time.
Stetson Hagood, South Carolina State University senior ,says, “DSims is a legend in the making to have made as many moves and met as many people as he has. His future is beyond bright.”
As far as Daniel’s plans, he will be working on a self-produced EP in the upcoming winter and spring season.
All the while, “DSims” is living in the present.
“Stay tuned,”  he says. “There is plenty more to come.”
As he says this, he descends his head back into his laptop to create yet another masterpiece worth tuning into. One can only imagine what great melodies he will concoct this time around.

PANTEHR profile daniel simmons
PANTHER emmanuel pressley


Truman Scholar Emmanuel Pressley: Action and accomplishment

Each morning he wakes up around 6:45 to go to breakfast. Then he heads to the gym with his best friend from 7:30 to 8:30.
Upon their arrival back, he normally turns on some smooth jazz or gospel while showering and preparing for classes. Before leaving his residence hall, he checks his email and reviews his planner to see if he has any meetings or special engagements.
Each night he prepares an “action list.” The list consists of every assignment or extracurricular responsibility in conjunction with his personal agenda. He meticulously plans what he must do and the things he would like to do.
After completing each assignment, he ends the day studying his Bible and praying.
Claflin University’s Truman scholar, Emmanuel Pressley does not follow the schedule of a typical college student.
Does the name ring a bell? It’s the name of that smiling face you see on the billboard when driving down the interstate or passing Claflin University.
Emmanuel Pressley is the only person in the state of South Carolina to obtain the 2014 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship is the second highest scholarship in the nation.
It is a National Merit Scholarship founded in 1972. It is named after our 33rd president, Harry S. Truman.
Essentially, it is a public service scholarship that looks for individuals in their junior year who have demonstrated high academic achievement, leadership potential and a commitment to public service.
“Within obtaining it, you have to write nine essays. You have to prepare a policy presentation, research it, as well as a slew of interviews that are state, regional and national. You have to articulate your community and public service commitments, but also defend your policy presentation to a panel of six Truman scholars, as well as other invited guests,” Emmanuel said.
“I had to tailor my community service outreach. I had to tailor my classes, in which they were diverse. I had to take a balance of psychology, philosophy, English, math, history each and every semester, as well as they were rigorous.
“I was taking 19, sometimes 20 credit hours per semester, as well as my internships and leadership experiences on campus. I had to tailor that, all geared toward obtaining the scholarship.”
Pressley is a member of the Student Activities Board, the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society.
Hailing from a small town did not deter Emmanuel from the path of pursuing his huge dreams. Pressley is a 21-year-old senior from Hemingway who is majoring in politics and justice studies.
“Hemingway is a small town in Williamsburg County. It literally has like three stoplights. We have no McDonald’s. Everyone knows each other. It’s a close-knit community,” Emmanuel said.
One of Pressley’s biggest obstacles on his academic journey was growing up in a single-parent household.
“Quite frankly, it never dawned on me until I got to college. It never dawned on me that I wasn’t living in the normal nuclear family until I observed the relationship between my best friend and his father. They’re like best friends. They talk all the time, so that’s when it really dawned on me.”
“It really affected me in trying to find what is masculinity and what is manhood for myself. I remember wrestling with the decision of whether or not I wanted to have children, and whether or not I wanted to do certain things. When asked if I wanted to be a father, I was like, ‘Well I don’t know. I grew up in a single-parent household. How can you expect me to do something that I’ve never even seen before?
“I think at that moment, it really pushed me to come to the understanding about manhood, and what is manhood, and how will I define it for myself. It pushed me toward taking a Men and Masculinity class. I’ve read different novels, and I’ve always been informed when it comes to the public, when it comes to popular culture, as well as how our society sometimes stigmatizes, stereotypes and demonizes men, as well as their masculinity, as well as the patriotic view of our society today.

“I think through being educated, and through taking classes, but also going through a struggle, and an attempt to find myself, my manhood and my masculinity, I’ve come to the understanding of how I define masculinity, which is honor and character.”
Becoming a Truman scholar was by far one of the best single moments of Emmanuel’s undergraduate career.
“To stand there and have a gymnasium full of people applauding you and cheering you on was amazing.”
Emmanuel’s mouth dropped when someone sent him a picture via text message of himself on a billboad.
“I was actually prepping for the LSAT, taking a Kaplan course at St. John’s School of Law in Queens, New York. I had no idea they were going to put me on the billboards. My best friend, Deontez Wimbley, texted me and he said, ‘Pressley, they got you on a billboard!’ I said, ‘Deontez, stop playing. What do you mean? Claflin put me up on the marquee outside or something?’ I did not believe him at that time, because I did not believe that Claflin would put me on a billboard. I really did not.”
Upon graduating in May 2015, Emmanuel will be pursuing his master’s degree at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He hopes to obtain a law degree from Harvard University as well.
Emmanuel is an aspiring civil rights attorney and legal scholar. Pressley would like to run for office and create a nonprofit organization geared toward combating felon disenfranchisement laws and help rehabilitating ex-offenders back into society.
Like the scholar he is, Emmanuel already has his action list completed with the steps listed to achieve these goals. People from all over have seen his face and name on billboards. Look out. The next stop may be on our television screens.

Drey's Diaries


This my first piece of the year and I wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year. We are in the month of love which has gotten a lot of couples really excited. However for those who are single, do not be discouraged. This is also a time to celebrate self-love. This month is also Black History Month. I would not say much but leave you guys with a poem I wrote in high school:
“We are who we are.
We were what we were.
We are what we were.
We are the dreams woven in the stars shining across the starry skies.
We are the fuel burning with desire buried within the soul.
We are who we are
We become what we become
We are what we became
We become the wind whispering in the woods, twirling and dancing with the leaves.
We become one with the yellow smiling sun, warming the four corners of the earth.
But what are we if we were to be in the shadows
Who are we becoming if we let our voices become voiceless?
What were we becoming if we did not stand tall discovering all covers
Dreaming with imagination; imagination coupled with creativity, upright with innovation
They said we are becoming the unbecoming
Because we stood with one voice in perfect symphony
With roots from the dusty footfalls of Africa,
We are what we were
We are who we became.”

Claflin vs Benedict Basketball   FASHION

Fashion Journalist

Orangeburg, It is that time of year again, the big game against our rival Benedict College. This game is like no other, the stands are packed with everybody from students to parents to local residents. The atmosphere is also like no other, the team is on fire, the cheerleaders are battling back and forth and most importantly the fashion game is on point. It has become a tradition to go through your closet and find your best outfit because you never know who you will see at the game. The JTK area runway features club looks, casual attire and of course orange and maroon gear. This year I am naming class of 2018’s very own Shirrel Jackson best dressed at the game. Her outfit screams urban chic with a high class twist.  The all-white ensemble paired with a faux fur vest and flats without a doubt slayed the panther runway.

Think you’re the best dressed on campus? Tweet me @kyanaatkins your best look for the chance to be featured in the Panther on Fashionista Fridays.

Shirrel Jackson
Photo by: Instagram



Parade marches Claflin in Saturday homecoming events


The Claflin University homecoming parade started at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, kicking off a full day of events.
The parade route was along Russell Street to the Claflin University’s gym parking lot.
Russell Street as well as Magnolia Street were blocked off from traffic to allow the parade to go on without any interruption.
High school marching bands and female dancers joined the parade and played their instruments as they walked.
There were a couple of floats for Miss Claflin University, the Homecoming Queen and others.
President Henry N. Tisdale and the first lady participated in the parade, waving and enjoying the celebration.
Fraternities, sororities, cheerleaders and alumni all merged together and walked in the parade to represent and spread the Claflin University pride.

PANTHER Adrian Marcel
Adrian Marcel (top) and Luke James (bottom) took the crowd through a range of low and high notes at the concert on Thursday. (Photos by Clayton JR Bryant)
PANTHER Luke James
R&B artists tear up the stage at Homecoming concert


R&B artists, Adrian Marcel and Luke James wooed the audience with their soulful voices Thursday night. Adrian began his performance with a brief roll call to get a feel of where his audience members were from. Adrian revealed that he is from Oakland, California. Shortly, after a little more crowd interaction, he began to sing a number of selections from his latest album that is currently on iTunes.
When Adrian finished performing, Luke James and his band took over the stage and began giving the crowd what they've been anticipating. Luke didn't hold back on any notes, taking the audience from extremely high notes to extremely low. He opened the floor up to the audience's request singing whatever selections they wanted to hear. He saved his hit single, "I Want You" until the end of the show.
"This is not a time for thinking. You can think when you're in class tomorrow. Right now, I just want you to feel...feel the music," Luke said.
If you didn't know who these artists were before you attended the concert, you certainly know now. If you weren't in attendance, you missed out on a soulful treat.
Have you been "hypbrotized?"

"SLEEP," Leroy "HypnoBro" Williams shouted!
Suddenly about 20 volunteers were on stage in the WVM Fine Arts Center in a deep trance.
As the students volunteered to come on stage, HypnoBro informed them that the hypnosis process requires three things: concentration, imagination, and relaxation.
"If you have a working mind and the ability to create, you can be hypnotized or even learn hypnosis," HypnoBro informed the crowd.
At the sound of applause students went deeper into a trance.
HypnoBro took the volunteers on the journeys of their hottest and coldest day, smelling beautiful aromas to foul stenches, and even reverted the voluteers back to the stage of being an 18-month old babies that haven't been fed all day.
"Put a thought in your conscious mind, it begins to germinate."
"When you go to sleep tonight, you will sleep better than you have in days, weeks, months, or even years,"HynoBro closed.
Needless to say, none of the volunteers have any recollection of what happened while being on stage Wednesday night.
They have officially been HypBrotized!

Pep rally on plaza gets students ready for games


The crowed was live and full of spirit Friday evening on Panther Plaza at Claflin University.
There was a black commercial van that brought all of the music equipment and to add, there was a MC that controlled the crowed.
The pep rally started with music that got students in the spirit of homecoming. Dancing, socializing, hanging out and having fun was highly encouraged.
The Pep rally was used to get students and alumni pumped for the remaining days of homecoming and for the basketball games on Saturday.
In the middle of pep rally, the MC introduced the male and female basketball players. After the introduction, the cheerleaders did a cheer that would get the crowed going.
There were dance competitions being held, with the winner at the end of each competition getting a small prize.
There were giveaways being thrown all throughout pep rally including:

· Hats

· Shirts

· Balls, which had a special code for an even greater prize.

R&B artist Sammie is surprise
guest for Greek Step Show


The annual Greek step show was held Nov. 22 during a fun-filled weekend of homecoming events.
Members of historically black Greek-lettered organizations at Claflin University and neighboring institutions were invited to present competitive performances for alumni and the Orangeburg community to enjoy.
Each year, the NPHC Step Show is a highly anticipated event for which chapters practice for months. This year's event did not disappoint, with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. taking home first place in the sorority and fraternity categories.
There was also a surprise special guest at the step show, R&B artist Sammie from Atlanta came to perform some of his greatest hits. The crowd enjoyed his performance and was more than excited when announced he would be meeting fans back stage after the step show.

PANTHER Kierra Sheard
KiKi Sheard didn't hesitate to bring the house down as she sang with all her might. (Photo by: Krystal George)
Sister not celebrity: Gospel Explosion opens Homecoming

Claflin University kicked off homecoming with Sunday night’s Gospel Explosion.
About 350 people filled Jonas T. Kennedy Center in excitement to see gospel artist Kierra “Kiki” Sheard. Along with Sheard, artist Kebra Moore and college choirs contributed selections.
“I’m not here as a celebrity, I’m here as your sister in Christ,” Sheard said before performing.
Sheard sang songs from her new album, Graceland, which is in stores now and also a few selections from previous albums. Between selections, “Kiki” inspired and encouraged students to pray and have great faith.
“Money is the currency here on earth but faith is the currency in heaven,” Sheard said.
Dressed in a hip-hip themed outfit and performing very upbeat songs, “Kiki” was able to minister to the youth on an age-appropriate level. They appeared very interested and entertained, often times yelling “NO” when she suggested she was talking too much.
The gospel concert was opened and closed with prayer led by SGA Chaplain Dorian Dillard. 2012 Claflin graduate Justin Rufus hosted the event, offering musical selections during intermissions.
The Claflin University gospel choir D.R.E.A.M was also featured. D.R.E.A.M premiered a new song titled, “I’m Free,” that they will be singing during their live recording on Nov. 22. The crowd enjoyed the call and response with the choir in attempt to learn the new song.
Guest choirs included South Carolina State University’s “United Voices of Christ,” which sang three selections, and Coastal Carolina University’s gospel choir. They sang one song that thrilled the crowd.
Graduate of Claflin College, Kebra Moore, representative for the group “Singing Behind the Wheels,” performed three songs: “I Am Beautiful,” “Testimony” and “Never Let Him Go.” Moore, seated in a wheelchair, revealed that she was paralyzed in a car accident and now performs to inspire others. Moore’s presentation included familiar hip hop beats and upbeat backup dancers, which seemed to be a trend for the night’s performances.
PANTHER Comedy Show
(Photo by: Clayton JR Bryant)
Freestyle Funny Comedy Show

Homecoming is kicking off with a bang this year. On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, Claflin held the Freestyle Funny Comedy Show in W.V.M. Auditorium.
The host of the show was none other than the comedian Dukk. He had the crowed rolling as soon as he walked on stage. Dukk performed at Claflin’s Homecoming last year.
Dukk then introduced four other comedians to the stage: Bdaht, Chico Bean, Osama Bin Drankin, and Darren. Chico Bean is an actual cast member from Wild n’ Out with Nick Cannon.
They talked about topics that us college students could relate to like:
  • The food in the Café
  • Being sent to the office when you were little
  • How it feels when you get your paycheck
  • Roommate problems
  • Natural hair and weave isn’t for everyone
  • The importance of using protection

The comedians also asked students who wanted to participate in games with the guys on stage to go on social media and tweet #FFCSpickme.
One of the students that were brought on stage was our Student Activities Board Vice President, Dahlia Mallett and Mister HBCU 2014-2015, Anthony Hyland. One of the games they played was called 2 pictures, one word.
The Freestyle Funny crew kept the audience in stitches all night long. If you weren’t there, you missed out on a whole lot of funny!

Ashleigh's Addition

​The Panther

The Claflin Commons' opening was anticipated by everyone at the university. Upon its opening, students could not wait to move into this new building. Everyone was more than happy to be done with the temporary living arrangements that we all had been stuck with. Soon after moving on, the problems started to arise. Is this a building that generations of Claflin students can live in comfortably? The construction workers and maintenance men in and out of your room all day is a bit of an inconvenience. Hopefully, this will all stop sooner than later. Three washing machines and dryers for 100 people is a bit of a hassle. Having a rack for a closet isn't that pleasant. The random noises, the waiting 15 minutes for somewhat hot water is a bother. Are all of these issues worth the high quality finishes that the Commons has to offer? The Claflin Commons is a very good use of space as far as how many people they were able to fit in the residence hall, but was this space used wisely? I believe that the biggest problem that the Commons faces is the closet space or the lack there of. As a resident of the Commons, I literally had to utilize every single inch and corner of my room. This is what we signed up for, so we're stuck with it for now. On the other hand, improvements will definitely have to be made in the future for the Commons to live up to its full potential. It's a beautiful building, but a little small for students' accommodations. 
PANTHER Ms. Claflin Coronation

Crowns, Gowns and Queen Things: Lia Holman’s Coronation


Ms. Annette Grevious began the coronation by informing students, faculty, staff and family of Lia Holman of the purpose of this event. The royal court and other queens of campus clubs and organizations were introduced, along with gentlemen who accompanied them to the stage. The girls, decked in their sparkling black or red dresses, danced and welcomed the audience to peek into Lia’s unique and queenly version of Broadway, and the audience accepted that invitation.
Lia was revealed, being the pinnacle of beauty in her jewel-studded white gown, standing center stage in front of a seat fit for a queen. After being presented with her crown, Miss Claflin University sash and scepter by our very own President Dr. Henry Tisdale, Holman took her throne and the program continued with performances dedicated especially to her.
The audience was serenaded with songs and exhilarating dances by C.U’s very own new Motown, Supremes, Temptations and Michael Jackson reincarnated. Miss Claflin herself took the microphone and sang. Receiving a standing ovation, Holman humbly thanked the audience for their support.
Dillion Isaac, the president of SGA, briefly took the stage, speaking highly of Lia and describing her as a “woman of distinction defined by her elegance and contribution to her University.” Isaac continues by saying “She epitomizes the ideals of Claflin University and embodies the stature, fortitude, pride and capability of Claflin. Congratulations Lia!”



Drey's Diaries

​The Panther





Yes we’ve begun a new month with expectations for something new and exciting. Well there is the issue of money. While some of us would be smiling all the way to the bank as its pay day, some of us are also doing extensive room cleaning just to find a few quarters.
Money is a word frequently popping up in every one’s mind, but is money really important? Well they say money is the root of evils however, in today’s world, almost everything centers on money. You can’t go anywhere or do anything without money.
I sometimes think back to how first money started, when people way back in the days just exchanged goods. Some parts of the world actually used big stones as money. Weird huh? I am still trying to figure out how a simple printed piece or a piece of metal became so valuable.
So if money was not important or needed, would you be in college or would you still chase your dreams? Well for me all I would need is a few lessons in geography and cultures of the world then I am good to go. I would just jump onto a plane free and go to where ever I want to go, buy whatever I want(mmm not actually buy just pick anything from a shop ) and do whatever. However come to think of it, people are motivated by the prospect of making money, so if money wasn’t important, would the world be how it is now? Well we would never really know, would we?
For me all I want is enough money to live comfortably and still pursue my dreams. To those lucky ones who have received their pay checks and are regular visitors to Pizza Hut, Zaxbys, McDonalds and the like, this month wouldn’t even come to end and you would be running back to the cafeteria. But that’s none of my business though, this tea taste great, must be from Japan, lol.

Surprise me November……..



English major, Ta’Shae Sterling publishes her first book

PANTHER Tashae Sterling

Panther Editor

Senior, English major, Ta’Shae Sterling has published her first book, entitled A Walking Contradiction.
Sterling wrote the book within a four year time span. The novel is self-help book with information on bettering ourselves.
“Basically, it’s about everybody having the potential to better themselves, instead  of living day to day, being rude to people, and setting goals and dreams, but not doing any actions to move forth and accomplish them, I’m saying stop procrastinating, and start being a better version of yourself now today. So I give step-by-step guiding help, and I hope that it’s very helpful for everybody,” Sterling said.
Sterling recalls having a niche for writing since the third grade.
“I guess I’ve always had a natural passion for writing,” Sterling recalls.
Sterling received the inspiration for writing this book simply from watching the world news.
“For example, baby formula was being contaminated, and I’m like, ‘This is crazy. What kind of world are we living in?’ However, I cannot say we’re living in a bad world, because at the same time, people are having fundraisers every other day trying to raise some awareness for something positive, so therefore, I was trying to realize that life as we know it is really a walking contradiction, so that was my inspiration,” Sterling explained.
Sterling has plans of publishing more novels in the future, and is currently working on two.
Sterling’s advice for other young aspiring writers is:
“I remember reading somewhere, ‘If you want to write a book, then just do it.’ I partially agree with that statement, because I feel that you can do whatever you want to do as long as you put your mind to it, and do it, but also own your talents and skills. If that’s what you truly want to do, then go take some classes. Go write something, and give your work out to other people with opinions that you value, so you can better your craft. So I wouldn’t say, ‘If you want to write a book, then just do it.’ I would say, ‘Write it. Let the people with valued opinions read it, critique it, and that’s how you write a book.’”

It's a Go for EnVeaux!


Claflin University's En Veux Modeling Company had the first show of the year on Monday Nov. 2.
The show featured the models sporting their most fashionable clothing along with contests and music by a live DJ.
The scenes for the show were Fall, Vintage, Freestyle Runway and Babafrik (a clothing line by Nigerian student Babatunde Sansui). The show also featured performances by the Men of En Veux, the Women of En Veux and South Carolina State's Verve' Fashion Movement.
​Photo by J.R. Bryant
Panthers in the News

Panthers Caught 
on Camera

panther 2014 claflin senior enjoys spring

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Letters from Boston

Imani Davis

Imani S. Davis, a member
of the Claflin University
Class of 2015,
is spending the fall semester
studying at Boston University.
Here, she shares her experiences
with her Claflin family.

Claflin University's
interactive view book

"Panthers Caught on Camera"
photos by
The Panther staff