The Decree

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Kids Often Lead Their Parents Back to School, Degree

Ariana Atwell

When she was younger, Ariana Atwell was not so committed to school. As a result, her grades were mediocre and she began her collegiate career at a two-year school, Wake Tech in Raleigh.

The 24-year-old, a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, took four years to earn an associate’s degree. Even then she was still uncertain of her career path. Then her son, Noah, was born.

“After having my son,” she said. “I made more of an effort to pick a career.”

Influenced in part by her mother, a bookkeeper and tax preparer, as well as her own desire to leave her job at the U.S. Postal Service, Atwell chose accounting and enrolled at Wesleyan’s ASPIRE program. The evening and on-line classes would allow her to continue working full-time as a letter carrier.

Atwell in graduation gown with son holding cap that reads Dedication

Like many ASPIRE students, Atwell balanced a full-time job, family obligations, her social life and school. “It was hard to be in school full-time and work my 50-60-hour week at the post office,” she related. “Most evenings I came home exhausted and didn’t get to spend much time with my son. I sacrificed a majority of my social life because I simply didn’t have the time.”

At Wake Tech and Wesleyan, Atwell began to apply herself. Guided by her professors, she honed both her study skills and her writing style. “I had always been pretty good in math, but my writing skills weren’t the best,” she said. “I would write the way I talked and sometimes my teachers couldn’t understand what I was trying to say.”

Atwell credited the assistance she received from her family for enabling her to finish her Wesleyan degree. “My family was my biggest support system and helped me with my son,” she said. “No matter how stressful it got to balance school with other parts of my life, they always encouraged me to keep going. You have to be really organized, determined, and disciplined to work full time and go to school full time and still make good grades.”

Atwell recalled that she came close to stopping her education. A stressful period almost derailed her progress when she was still at Wake Tech. “I had a breakdown in 2015, right before graduation, because I was so stressed with taking seven classes a semester and working long hours on top of my regular life,” she said. “I cried and let out all my frustrations and then I buckled down and kept pushing. My goal was to graduate and that’s what I focused on. It wasn’t easy and there were many nights I wanted to give up, but my son was a big part of my inspiration and he helped me to stay grounded.”

Atwell’s already taken the next step in her career. Last January…Read More

Bishop Profile: Tara Greco

By:  Sarah Grossman, Decree Staff Writer

Tara Greco Smiling in White Shirt

“Are you ready?” asked Tara Greco, the new athletic trainer on Wesleyan’s campus.

We started our run from the fieldhouse toward the nearest campus exit on a cool March morning. She wore grey and pink Asics shoes, dark grey capris running leggings, and a black and white long-sleeve Arkansas State University shirt that she wrapped around her hands to stay warm. We turned right out of campus and then left onto two-mile road as she told me about her history.

Greco started gymnastics when she was just 18 months old

and continued to participate through high school. In middle school, she started running track, but didn’t take it seriously until she attended King’s Park High School in New York state. “Looking back now, I realize I still didn’t try that hard in track,” she said. “Track came easy from being in gymnastics my whole life.”

As a track athlete, Greco competed in sprints, long jump, triple jump, and pole vault. “They gave me a paper test in high school and, if I passed, then I could pole vault,” she recalled. “They handed me a pole and said ‘Go jump.’”

Once in college at Salisbury University on the eastern shore of Maryland, Greco became burnt out on gymnastics. She continued track for two more years, but then stopped running to focus more on her schooling. She majored in athletic training because, she said, “I was constantly injured as a gymnast, and I always was interested in my injuries, my rehabilitation process, and sports.”

About half way down two-mile road we turned right into the neighborhood. Greco had taken her hands out of her shirt by now and we continued at a ten-minute-mile pace. She relaxed into her form and kept a consistent stride.

After college, Greco earned a master’s degree and served as a graduate assistant trainer at Arkansas State. There she worked with the cross country and track and field teams. “Athletic training gives me a chance to stay around sports, help athletes to better themselves, and create a safer environment to allow them to do what they love as well,” she said.

Once she graduated, she job searched and applied around the country until she discovered Wesleyan. She was hired here to support the football and lacrosse teams. She worked with the lacrosse team at Salisbury, and her brother played the game––“Growing up, I watched all his games”––so she’s familiar with Wesleyan’s newest sport. She’s enjoyed her first job so far.  “It’s great to be a part of the sports medicine staff as well as the entire athletic staff at Wesleyan,” she said.  Read More

NCWC Golf Team & Coach holding USA south towels and USA South Trophy

Golf Team Upsets Methodist To Win Conference Title

(Update: NC Wesleyan placed 24th in the NCAA Division III golf tournament in Greensboro May 15-18.
            After capturing the conference title, the Bishops had advanced to the national tournament, but failed to make the top 18 that continued to play on days three and four at Grandover’s East Course.
            Grady Anderson led the Bishops with a two-round total of 148 (73-75), four over par. Mariano Silvestri was second among NCWC’s golfers with a 156.
            Perennial powerhouse Methodist––the team the Bishops upset to win the USA Conference tournament in April––won its 12th national title with a four-round team score of 7 over par, 11 strokes ahead of Washington and Lee.)

Propelled by a strong final round, the Bishops golf team vanquished reigning champ Methodist to win the USA South golf tournament April 12-14 in LaGrange, Georgia.

It’s the first golf championship at Wesleyan in 45 years.

Trailing both Methodist and Huntingdon after two rounds, the Bishops rallied in round three, paced by medalist Grady Anderson (2 under par for the tournament) and freshman Juan de Giacomi, who shot a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for second place.

The win was foreshadowed 10 days earlier as the Bishops clipped the Monarchs by eight strokes at the Lynchburg Invitational in Virginia. Wesleyan’s Dustin Wood (2 over par) was the medalist in that tourney.

After the USA South tournament, the Decree interviewed Coach Gregg Ripke about the USA South championship and the season overall.

Q.  What did you tell your guys prior to the third and final round?
A.  I told them that we can do it. Our motto has been “We can do it if we finish the job,” so if we stayed patient and kept grinding, we could finish the job and win the tournament. All the players had had positives the first two rounds as well as earlier in the year; we talked about drawing from those positives and executing them in the final round and, at the end, hope our best is better than the field’s best. It was––by two shots!

All year long I knew that I had a special group of guys; their team chemistry has been amazing to watch and experience. We also talked just before leaving for the conference tournament about how our team could be part of history because it’s been 45 years since the school’s last title. I believe they embraced the challenge and the Lord blessed us in this endeavor. We’re not finished yet; our goal is to get through the first two rounds of the NCAAs and then see how well we can play the last two rounds.

Q.  Methodist has been a dominant team in the conference (and the nation) for some time. How did you get your guys believing they could be beat? Haven’t previous teams been just a little intimidated by Methodist?
A.  One thing that has helped us is having played with them in the past. That experience showed us that they’re human and do make mistakes out there on the course. Having played with them in the second round at LaGrange, watching them make bogeys or worse, we saw they had holes in their armor and we were ready to capitalize on their mistakes. Yes, in the past… Read More