iPhone 7 Story (Update)


This Christmas, many people will be checking their stocking stuffers for iPhone 7’s. In September, Apple hosted their annual Keynote event where they released the specs for this holiday’s most sought after present.

Following the Keynote, many users seemed skeptical over the iPhone’s update. The new iPhone ditched the traditional headphone jack, but added an additional camera. Apple also added two new finishes to the iPhone 7’s design.

Though the big unveiling of the 2 camera system doesn’t fill the void of the missing headphone jack for many of it’s users, it’s not stopping the phone from appearing on Christmas wishlists.

According to Fortune magazine, Apple Tech analyst Gene Munster revealed that the iPhone continues to grow in popularity, despite cutbacks to the phone’s traditional specifications.

A survey of 1,000 users conducted by Munster’s sales team revealed that the iPhone 7 is more popular than the iPhone 6.

Though many predictions saw the sales demand declining for the IPhone, it’s safe to say that many Apple lovers will still be lining up to Apple stores this holiday season.

Drew Bouffard is a senior at the University of Mississippi. Bouffard says he was ecstatic when he received his iPhone 7 as an early Christmas gift over the Thanksgiving holiday.

While Bouffard enjoys the new additions on his iPhone, he misses the iPhone’s traditional headphone jack. His biggest complaint is the fact that he can’t charge his iPhone while listening to music.

“I actually had an iPhone 5, but the iPhone 7 is a lot different,” Bouffard said. “The thumb identification was not on my iPhone 5, and there’s a missing auxiliary cord, so I just have to use the lightning headphone that they give you with the phone.”

Many technicians believe that Apple’s decision to leave the headphone jack behind was an inevitable move.

Craig Byrd is a former computer technician at the University of Mississippi. Byrd is also a former Apple technician, who knows all about their products.

Byrd says that leaving the headphone jack behind is a smart decision, because newer technology is better than dated technology.

He says the real reason Apple is ridding the iPhone of the headphone jack is because of space.

“We look at these phones and we expect them to be lighter,” Byrd said. “So, in order to make it thinner, that port has to go away.”

When the new iPhone’s are unveiled, users always expect something new and refreshing. Though many Apple lovers always seem skeptical at first, they seem to buy in around the holiday season.


Ole Miss athletics hosts 14th annual Kids Day

Ole Miss athletics hosted their 14th annual Kids Day this morning for the women’s basketball game against Kent State University. As the women’s basketball team prepared to impress the younger audience, the kids were warming up to them as well.

The university hosted roughly 7,000 students from different schools around the state, making it the most successful Kids Day to date. Many schools traveled over an hour to attend the event.

Jason list is the Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing. He says it’s important to engage younger students in a college environment.

“Anytime you get young kids on a college campus I think it is a good thing,” List said. “Couple that with a new, beautiful basketball arena, a fun team to watch and an in-game event staff that really knows hot to put on a good show, it’s an all-around success.”

List hopes the experience gives the kids a positive memory of the Ole Miss campus. He also hopes it inspires them to come back when they’re making a college decision in the future.

Though many of the kids from the surrounding area were Ole Miss fans, many of them were visiting the campus for the first time.

Alicia Wilson is a teacher from Aberdeen High School in Monroe County. She brought 20 of her students to give them their first opportunity to visit Ole Miss.

“They’re quite excited to be here,” Wilson said. “Some of them have never even had the opportunity to visit a college campus, less known attend a college game.”

Many Ole Miss students were also in attendance for the women’s basketball game. Having Kids Day also gives Ole Miss students the ability to interact and share their college experiences with younger, impressionable students.

Aaron Wilson is a senior student at Ole Miss and he attended Aberdeen High School. He’s also the son of Alicia Wilson. He says that he would have loved the opportunity to visit Ole Miss as a high school student. He says the learning experience gives the kids something to look forward to as they further their education beyond high school.

“It’s a great experience for the young kids,” Wilson said. “A lot of kids just haven’t been exposed to leaving their city, or really just being on a college campus.”

Ole Miss athletics hopes that Kids Day is the first campus visit or many for the students who were able to attend.

Oxford High school’s approach to bridging the achievement gap

Mr. Sabatier Helps students with calculations in his physics class.

Teachers of Oxford High School are taking a hands on approach in closing the achievement gap between high performance and low performing students.

The hands on approach in Oxford High School’s physics classes are helping bridge the learning gap for Oxford High School students.

Funding from the Oxford School District Foundation, which pays for innovative teaching ideas, made the new approach a reality.

Duncan Gray is the Assistant Principal at Oxford High School. He says it’s critical that schools begin think differently about how they approach education.

“If it’s hand on, if it’s innovative, and if they can see the relevance of what they’re doing to the world outside, they are going to become engaged,” Gray said. “It requires teachers to change their model, to change their approach.”


Students test their calculations in Mr. Sabatier’s physics class.

According to Gray, the new physical engagement with the learning environment also strengthens the relationship between teachers and students.

Charley Sabatier is a Physics teacher at Oxford High School. He makes opportunities for students not to just learn physics, but to do it as well.

“The grant has supported us and allowed us to do physical quantitative measurements with new equipment,” Sabatier said. “The kids really like learning how to use the technology and how to use it to help their understanding of the topics we’re studying.”

Though teachers have altered lesson plans to new teach styles, many students have altered their traditional comprehension skills.

Evelyn Smith is a student at Oxford High School, and she says it’s a positive change from just pencil and paper.

“I’m traditionally a note taker and color coded type of person, but I’ve  actually really enjoyed how much hands on time we get and how involved we are,” Smith said. “It’s not just us reading about it, we’re the ones who are actually doing the work.”

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Tupelo native chooses music over homeland security career

Music is one thing dear to Jesse Leech’s heart.

Music is universally understood. Some play instruments. Others sing, and some write lyrics.

Tupelo native Jesse Leech, 23, recently graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in homeland security. Although it may seem like his career path would lead to a criminal justice job, his first love is music.

“When I first started college, my plan was to major in music entertainment or music business,” Leech said. “I’d always wanted to go to Belmont in Nashville where I could learn about the industry and have a music career at the same time, but I decided it might be smart to have a degree in something else, so I chose criminal justice.”

Sitting on his couch with a Taylor guitar in hand, Leech’s eyes lighted up as he described his passion for music. “It’s where my heart is,” he said. “I wouldn’t be unsatisfied with a government career, but there’s definitely more money in the music industry, which we all like just a little bit.”

Leech has been playing since the age of 6. His dad, Eddie Leech, continuously exposed him to music. “When I was 6, I decided I wanted to learn to play guitar to be more like my dad. When you grow up while your dad’s playing every day, it’s kind of easy to want to pick that up, so he taught me everything he could. I got my first guitar for Christmas. It was a red acoustic guitar. We still have it.”

Eddie Leech said his son is a determined musician. “He sticks with something until he gets it right,” he said. “When he was little, Jesse thought he was Keith Urban. He was a little hard headed and drifted from playing. I was proud to see him come back to it.”

Keith Urban also inspired Leech’s musical interests when he was younger. “When I was 9, I went to one of his concerts,” Leech said. “He signed the pick guard on my electric guitar and wrote, ‘To Jesse: Playing guitar is one of God’s greatest gifts! Rock on my man. Keith’.”

Leech’s mom, Pam Leech, said that Urban’s influence is evident in he son’s music. “The songs he writes are always from his heart,” she said. “He writes of the experiences he has gone through, soulful music.”

Leech began writing music in high school. “I took an instrumental music class where my teacher gave us an assignment to write a song,” Leech said. “It was actually easier than I thought it would be, which is probably why I never wrote before, because I figured it’d be too difficult. Now I have a collection of songs, as well as fragments, so if I ever need fillers, those are there.”

When writing, he focuses on his own personal experiences, as well as other experiences that people can generally relate to. “If I want to access a certain type of song, I can put myself in a past situation or base it off other people’s stories,” he said. “I play a lot of country music, but some of my work could be classified as singer/songwriter too.”

Leech has around 20 guitars. “I don’t really have a favorite,” he said. “It just depends on what I’m doing, because they all sound different when I’m playing.”

Paige Henderson
The Oxford EAGLE



Column: UM student fondly recalls her experiences at summer camp

Camp Waldemar’s dining hall.

Nestled in the rolling hill country of Texas on the banks of the Guadalupe River is camp Waldemar, an all-girls camp founded in 1926. This camp welcomes around 300 girls each summer and has a long tradition of creating lifetime friendships and memories throughout the summer.

DSC_2938k 2 copyI was lucky enough to attend this summer camp for nine years, and I consider it my second home. Some of the friends I made at this camp are still my best friends today, and every time we see each other, we can’t help but talk about the great memories we made, whether it was pranking our counselor or trying to remember the traditional camp songs.

Campers dress up for the carnival, an event held once during the term.

Waldemar was more than just a place my parents sent me for a month each summer; it is a place where I grew up and was able to prepare for life without even knowing it. I was taught teamwork by learning to work with my cabin mates to create a skit for skit night. I learned responsibility by have to make my bunk bed every morning or sweeping the cabin. I was also allowed to grow up in a way I wanted to, moving out of my comfort zone to experience camp in my own way.

These kind of experiences are only learned at summer camp, a place where parents aren’t in control and technology is not allowed. Campers look up to counselors, sometimes only a few years older than they are, to lead the way. Activities are  completed for fun, not for a grade. Every child should attend summer camp in their life, not only for the fun it provides, but also for the invaluable experiences

Waldemar is situated on the Guadalupe River.

Camp Waldemar is the perfect place for a child to have these experience. Its family-like atmosphere and picturesque grounds make for the ideal location to spend a summer. Waldemar is a camp deep in tradition, and that tradition is evident throughout every minute spent there. Campers are awoken early to the sound of a bugle playing through the speakers. Then they must make their beds, clean the cabin and get ready for the day all before another speaker sounds calling campers to breakfast.

After breakfast, girls participate in activity after activity, only stopping for a mid-morning snack or nourishment as Waldemar likes to call it. Activities pick up again until lunch, followed by rest hour.

The day doesn’t stop after this rest hour, however, as afternoon nourishment is served and more activities are completed. Activities at Waldemar range from athletic to creative and everything in between. Girls get to choose what they want to participate in with over 30 options to pick from.

While typical sports like soccer or basketball are offered, campers have the opportunity to partake in sports they may only be exposed to at camp, such as fencing, rifle, archery or polocrosse. Campers can also participle in non-sporting activities like ceramics, metal and jewelry and drama.

Fencing is one of the unique sports offered at Waldemar.

While campers partake in these activities for fun, there is also something else at stake: points for their tribe. During a camper’s first night at camp, girls draw a piece of paper from a box that has a one of three letters on it: A, C or T. These letters corresponded to a certain tribe the campers will be a part of for the rest of their time at Waldemar.

Girls will either be part of the Aztec, Comanche or Tejas tribe. Being welcomed in a tribe is like having 100 sisters at once where everyone is friendly and working for the same goal: to win the most points by the end of the term to claim the plaque. Points are awarded in many ways, all coming back to Waldemar’s deep tradition.

Girls are awarded points for having good table manners, for having good attitudes in classes, for having clean and tidy cabins, and the most important, for winning field day which is held twice a term.

Officers of the Tejas Tribe, one of three tribes at Waldemar.

Field day is an exciting time for girls as they get to compete in activities to win points for their tribe. Girls can play tennis matches, compete in gymnastics and swim in races to earn points. At the end of field day, everyone comes down to the river, waiting to cheer on tribes in the highly awaited canoe races.

Only the most advanced and skilled campers participate in these races, making it exciting and thrilling for everyone to watch. At the end of the day, a winner is announced, and campers are either elated or disappointed, ready for the next field day to do it all over again.

Attending Waldemar is one of the best experiences in my life, and I am so grateful that I was able to spend nine summers there, and even a few more as a counselor. Waldemar is a place of encouragement, a place where campers can thrive and learn to experience new things. It really is a special, one-of-a-kind place, matched by no other.

Sydney Nutt

UM student dedicated to accounting studies and her horse

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Accounting is known around campus as one of the hardest majors a student can choose. Students must be motivated, dedicated and committed to this area of study. They must have a love for accounting to become successful in this field, and Julie Roher is one of those people.

Roher, a senior accounting and finance minor, has dedicated countless hours to studying for tests and assignments to make sure she succeeds. She is currently in the last semester of her undergraduate career at Ole Miss and spent the beginning weeks of her semester interning in Dallas, Texas as an audit intern for Deloitte.

To obtain this highly sought-after position in a “Big Four” firm, she had to go through recruitment, where she attended countless meet-and-greets, socials and firm-sponsored events. Essentially, she had to sell herself to the firms, and they would choose who they wanted to invite for interviews and eventually hire.

Roher’s position at Deloitte was an audit intern, and in the audit department, employees usually work in the client’s office space. She worked with other interns in what is called the “audit room.”

“It’s a small space that can fit about six people, four people comfortably,” Roher said. “I would say it’s a little more traditional. Probably, (it’s) what you would expect an accountant’s workspace to look like.”

Roher’s time as an audit intern was challenging. She worked many hours, especially during the busy season, but she was paid time-and-a-half for overtime.

“During the busy season, I was working from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night,” Roher said. “I can’t say it was terrible, but it was not exactly ideal.”

Roher is no stranger to hard work as she has spent countless all-nighters and many hours studying for her accounting classes throughout her time at Ole Miss. One person that can attest to Roher’s dedication to her studies is Kelsey Sanders, Roher’s roommate for the past three years.

“While getting to know Julie over the past few years, I can tell that she is a naturally driven person who gives 110 percent effort in everything she does,” Sanders said. “Her GPA and academic honors prove her dedication to school, which is far above the average college student.”

The work of an audit intern is varied throughout the day and depends on whatever the boss has assigned. Roher’s work included anything from “busy work to testing of very simple balance sheet/income statement accounts.”

There are many reasons Roher wants to be an accountant, but one of the main reasons is because this industry has job stability. There will always be a need for accountants, and few people actually have the necessary training for the job. Auditors also know everything there is about a company by looking at the financial statements.

“For example, if I were to work in an industry, I may only deal with cash or accounts receivable, but as an auditor, I am looking at all of the financial statement accounts,” Roher said. “I will know as much about that company as their CFO does, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

As for the long-term future, Roher is taking things day by day to see where she ends up. She has enjoyed working at Deloitte and can see herself working for them again in the future.

Short-term, Roher is set to attend grad school at Ole Miss in the fall and will work for her master’s of accountancy for the next year. “I enjoyed my internship, so I can see myself pursuing audit or public accounting in general,” she said. “As for the three-to-five-year projection that I typically get asked, that’s just something I’ll worry about when that time comes.”

Now that Roher is back at Ole Miss, when she is not busy studying for the accounting classes she is currently enrolled in, she can be found at Autumn Chase Farm in Memphis, Tennessee riding and training her horse, Sassy.

Roher’s passion for horses is recognized by everyone who knows her. It began at age 4 when her mom bought her a pony, and she has been hooked on horses ever since.

“Growing up, my best friend’s entire family were big horse people, owning six or seven horses, so I’d ride with her on the weekends,” Roher said. “When I was about 7 years old, my mom suggested I start taking lessons of my own, and ever since then, I’ve been riding.”

Roher kept up with her riding throughout childhood and into high school, training and competing in horse shows as often as she could. Her barn was located 50 minutes from her home in Celina, Texas, which required devotion to travel there and back, while also balancing her school work and social life.

“Julie and I have been friends for a long time, and I know that she loves her horse and loves riding,” said Ashton Hose, one of Roher’s childhood friends. “She travels so far to the barn, and that just shows her dedication to the sport.”

While Roher decided to leave her beloved horse at home for the first three years of college to get acclimated to her new environment, her mom suggested that she bring her horse to Memphis for her senior year, and Roher was thrilled at the idea.

“A girl was leasing her from me, which means she was riding my horse and paying all the bills, so we didn’t have to pay anything,” Roher said. “But she stopped leasing my horse sometime around junior year, and we were just trying to figure out what to do with her. So my mom suggested I bring her. I found a barn, and now she’s here.”

Like in high school, trying to find a balance between school work and riding is tough, but Roher manages to make it work. Her horse needs a certain amount of training, so Roher must make sure she goes to the barn a few times a week.

“I just do whatever it takes to make it work,” Roher said. “Sometimes, I’ll stay up extra late one night if it means I get to go to the barn in the afternoon. Or if I’m too busy one day, I may skip the barn that day so I can get some schoolwork done. It’s about finding a good balance between the two.”

Like in her school work, Sanders can account for Julie’s dedication to her horse riding. It takes about an hour and a half for Roher to travel to her barn in Memphis, so taking the time in her day to travel that far shows how important horses are in her life.

“To Julie, riding horses is part of her identity,” Sanders said. “The activity gives her a genuine joy and allows her to forget about the stress of everything else going on in her life.”

Now that her internship with Deloitte is over, and she is back in Oxford, Roher is looking forward to graduation and knowing that she will have another year with her horse in Memphis, as she is attending grad school at Ole Miss in the fall. She will work to earn her master’s of accountancy and then move back to Texas, with her horse in tow.

Sydney Nutt

Column: Being a camp counselor is a life-changing experience

Photo by Shelby Warner

Working at a summer camp is one of the most rewarding experiences I believe every college student should have during their four years. Being a camp counselor can be even more vital and helpful than any sort of internship you can have. Anyone can work with adults, but it takes true skill, patience, and problem solving to learn how to manage and entertain various groups of kids all day, every day for three months during the summer.

The summer after my freshman year at Ole Miss, I had the opportunity to live on Catalina Island in California and teach kids how to snorkel, paddleboard, and kayak all while living in a cabin and watching over 15 middle school girls every night. While this was, by far, the most exhausting and humbling experience I have ever had, there is no better way to learn about yourself than when you have been stretched to the limits and are both physically and mentally exhausted. That’s when you learn the most; feeling like you can’t go on, but knowing you have no choice because people are counting on you to do a job.

I believe traveling to places you’ve never been to take on jobs you’ve never done is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Working within a summer camp environment teaches you how to deal with kids and allows you to work within a small group of people similar to yourself.

My co-counselors and I came from all over the country, as well as Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland and South Africa. To work alongside people close to my age with similar interests, but completely different cultures and backgrounds is what also makes working at a summer camp so rewarding. Being a camp counselor or instructor is one of the most selfless ways to volunteer your time and energy to serve others around you. Ultimately, the kids impacted my life more than I impacted theirs during my time as a camp counselor.

When working with various groups of kids for a span of three months, every day presents a new challenge. Being in charge of water activities all day for nine hours meant I was going to encounter kids who loved the water, as well as kids who were scared of the ocean, or kids who were not strong swimmers.

I vividly remember one girl who was terrified to go snorkeling, but loved fish and marine biology more than anything. Having to think on your feet when working with kids, I grabbed a surfboard and had her lay flat on it, while putting her mask and snorkel in the water.

I pushed her alongside me as I continued to lead the group of 15 kids into the ocean that day. She was thankful that she was able to see everything the other kids were, but never had to be submerged in the ocean. Through this experience, I found that I loved to be resourceful and problem solve, and my ability to think quickly and creatively allowed me to be successful at that.

The biggest reason I believe working at a summer camp is something all young people should do is because there is truly no off time. At the end of my nine-hour shift on the dive deck being active and leading kids all day, I then returned to my cabin of girls, who I was in charge of leading that night, and watching over. This is truly when you learn how to step up and be a positive role model, even when you are exhausted and would love nothing more than to curl up in your bed alone at home.

Summer camp is both a positive experience for the counselors and the kids because it allows us to unplug and actually enjoy what is around us. With no cars, paved roads, buildings, air conditioning, TVs or cell phone service on the island that summer, I learned more about myself during those three months than I have the past four years of college.

I developed skills I never knew I had. Any summer camp counselor experience is beneficial because it forces you to step outside of your comfort zone and live with a group of strangers for the summer. I can truly say me and my co-counselors became like family that summer, and I still keep up with them all over the world almost three years later.

I urge everyone who has ever considered being a camp counselor to apply anywhere and truly be pushed to your limits. There is nothing more satisfying than growing as a person, developing a new set of skills, while impacting the lives of kids around you for a summer.

Photo by: Shelby Warner


Photo by: Shelby Warner
Photo by: Shelby Warner
Photo by Shelby Warner

Shelby Warner

Chicken on a Stick is an Oxford tradition

Freshly fried chicken, crispitos, pizza sticks, and potato logs at Chevron’s Chicken on a Stick                                      Photo by Shelby Warner

Around 1 a.m. on a Friday night in Oxford, you’ll find some students at a Chevron gas station famously named “Chicken on a Stick.”

Located on the four corners where North and South Lamar and University Avenue intersect, this gas station is a town favorite for food and beer purchases before heading to a late night after bars close.

Chicken on a Stick is no ordinary Chevron gas station. After hours, they offer delicious late night food ranging from hot crispitos, pizza sticks, potato logs, and of course the chicken on a stick.

“A chicken on a stick is basically a giant floured, battered, and deep fried chicken tender put on a skewer, which makes it easy to eat while walking,” Ole Miss Junior Libby Woodbury said. “It’s something you would probably find at a fair, but luckily, we have it available to us every night.”

Ole Miss Senior Waverly Reeves said the crispitos are his weakness. “After I went out Monday night, I found myself eating five of them,” he said.

With several friendly workers there to serve you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there is never a bad time to stop by and grab a drink or snack.

Rebecca Cole began working there in October of 2015. She said her favorite part of her job is that the location is so close to the Square and campus, she can walk anywhere she needs to. “I love the location of working here,” she said. “It’s hard work though, like today, I work a 12-hour shift for minimum wage.”

Cole behind the counter as a Cashier Photo by: Shelby Warner

Fresh chicken, crispitos, and pizza sticks are made every day in their kitchen, and the cook doubles the amount on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday in preparation for the students who will make their nightly visit on their way home from the bars.

“I am a cook and a cashier,” Cole said. “I was trained to do both. I get here early in the mornings and cook the famous snacks we offer, and then I cashier the rest of the day.”

The famous oversized chicken tender haven’t always been that way, Cole said. Several years ago, it wasn’t solely a chicken tender, but had vegetables and potatoes on the stick as well. After numerous complaints, Cole said they eventually took away the vegetables and potatoes, and thus, chicken on a stick was born.

Around 1 a.m. on a Thursday or Friday night is when you’ll see a line that has formed out the door of the gas station filled with students craving something hot and deep-fried. With Chicken on a Stick’s target audience stopping by after several hours on the Square at the bars, there is always a funny story following this after-hour’s food joint.

“During football season, someone walked right into the window and broke through it,” Cole said. “I swear that the later it gets at night, the more crazy it can be. Sometimes people can have an attitude, but most of the time, everyone is friendly and funny.”

Students have been known to create their own specials and have a “usual” order every time they arrive. One of the favorites is called the Schoerke Special that includes a chicken on a stick, a pizza stick, and a crispito all served with a side of ranch dressing.

“I created the Schoerke special because it’s the perfect cure for when that late night hunger strikes,” UM senior Chan Schoerke said. “I swear, it also prevents a hangover the next day.”

While famous for its late night food, many people don’t know that this locally-run gas station also offers plate lunches and catering for your Grove tent during football season.

Chicken on a stick has even been mentioned in a BuzzFeed article naming the best late night food in college towns nationwide. They have also been featured in Bon Appétit Magazine twice, as well as featured on the Travel Channel. Leave it to the small town of Oxford to be known for its delicious gas station food.

For the past 30 years, Chevron’s Chicken on a Stick has become a well-known part of Oxford and the college experience. Everyone knows a trip to Oxford is never complete without a visit there. Oxford cab drivers have even been known to take out-of-town visitors to Chevron for a quick snack after the bars close.

“Being from California, a lot of my friends have come out to visit me to get that true Southern college experience,” Woodbury said. “You should see the looks on their faces when I tell them we are about to go get delicious fried chicken, and the cab pulls up to a gas station.”

As the town of Oxford continues to expand and change to accommodate the growing student body, some things in this town will live on for years to come. Oxford offers it all, from the small town Southern charm, beautiful UM campus and delicious food.

Chicken on a Stick is living proof that amidst the famous restaurants this town has to offer, small locally-run places, such as a Chevron gas station, can compete in producing some of the most delicious food in town.

Leave it to Oxford to make a gas station famous for their oversized chicken tenders and deep fried pizza sticks. You truly can’t compete with a college experience that offers 24-hour deep fried goodness served hot at a gas station.

Chicken on a Stick has been a trademark of Oxford for 30 years and doesn’t plan to change anything about themselves anytime soon.

The menu at Chicken on a Stick            Photo by: Shelby Warner
Sign displayed outside Chevron
Kappa Delta Sorority celebrating bid day with a chicken on a stick

Shelby Warner

Column: UM student reflects on her years at Ole Miss

For some, Ole Miss has been the college they grew up loving, wearing red and blue daily or attending football games with their parents.  For others, it was a campus full of Southern charm with beautiful landscaping and more traditional, family environment. For me, the university is a treasure full of memories, mistakes heartbreaks and learning.

When I was a senior in high school, I remember taking the dreaded SAT and ACT and writing numerous, what seemed like long, college application essays, as well as researching multiple financial aid avenues.  Being from the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas, I didn’t grow up supporting one school and never really fell in love with any of the Texas universities.

My best friend of four years, Emma McPhail.

At 18, I had no idea where I wanted to attend college, but I knew I wanted it to be far enough away from home that I was able to gain independence and learn some lessons for myself.

In October of 2011, my mom suggested visiting Ole Miss. “You know, that school from the Blindside,” she said.  I figured why not, so the two of us visited campus for the Ole Miss vs. Alabama football game where we, through connections, sat on the 50 yard line, Row 3.

Talk about an overwhelming experience.  The Grove was lined with so many red and blue tents, thousands of people drinking, talking and laughing.  The stadium was packed, body to body, even after half-time when the Rebels were getting destroyed by the Crimson Tide.

I wore a red dress and tan wedges, fitting in with the dressed-up culture.  By the third quarter, my feet were blistered, my stomach was growling, and I was exhausted.  I looked at my mom and said, “Let’s go eat, go to bed and go home.  Ole Miss is not the school for me.”

Flash forward to February of 2012.  My brother, Marshall Henderson, who had just finished up his sophomore basketball season at South Plains Junior College and been named the National Junior College Player of the Year, signed to play his final two seasons of college ball with Ole Miss.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

At this point in my senior year, I had decided on attending Oklahoma State University where I would major in journalism.  With one phone call from Marshall, my whole world turned around.  “Come to Ole Miss with me, Paige. It won’t seem too far from home any more since you’ll have me there,” Marshall said.

With that one phone call, I instantly applied for Ole Miss, and within a couple of weeks, I had been accepted, set up my orientation dates and applied for housing.

My first two years at Ole Miss really revolved around basketball and Marshall. Not that it was a bad thing at all – I love basketball, and love my family more than anything.  In fact, my family attended a majority of his games, and the whole experience became a family affair.

My freshman year, I chose not to rush a sorority and, believe it or not, was really shy and reserved.  I didn’t even become friends with my roommate Emma, who is now my best friend, until after living with her for almost three months.

I spent most of my time going to class or hanging around at the basketball practice facility where I would volunteer and help Kara, the men’s basketball secretary, with whatever there was to be done – answering the phone if she was out of the office, sorting through papers, or just sitting on the couch in silence because I enjoyed the environment and her company.

Once the season rolled around, I was engulfed.  I attended all of the home games, including the game vs. Kentucky when I had been in bed for three days with the flu, where I sat front row with Emma and a couple of other girls we befriended.

Most of the people I met my freshman year were from attending basketball games or social media.  Once people found out I was Marshall’s sister, my followers increased, because let’s be real, I don’t post much of anything worth reading or sharing.

In fact, Missouri’s student section, the Antlers, felt it necessary to share my phone number with the world. Needless to say, I changed my number that same day and deleted all of my social media for a few months, but that’s a whole other story in itself.

The 2012-2013 basketball season ended with a loss against La Salle University in the second round of the NCAA March Madness Tournament. But the highlights were winning the SEC Championship, where Marshall was named tournament MVP, getting a bid to the NCAA Tourney for the first time since 2002, and beating Wisconsin in the Round of 64 with a score of 57 to 46.

My sophomore year, the Rebels had a roller-coaster season, full of ups and downs.  Marshall’s senior game against Vanderbilt was one of the most joyous occasions I’ve ever been a part of.  If you know who my brother is, then you know the struggles he’s faced and the adversity he’s overcome.

Watching people line up for pictures with him after his last game in the Tad Pad was incredible. I’ve grown up watching him play ball for as long as I can remember. He inspired so many kids, made the game fun for fans, and let his passion for the game run through his veins.

He taught me how to have faith in God and in yourself, that you truly can accomplish anything regardless of what everyone else says.  There are so many moments I vividly remember from his time at Ole Miss, but that last home game is one that the emotions will stick with forever.

His final game for the university was in the SEC Tournament against Georgia. It was a heartbreaking loss that left my family full of tears, heads down in the stands.  Regardless of what everyone else believed, I knew that wouldn’t be Marshall’s last game to play, but I knew that was the last memory I’d get to share with him during our time together at Ole Miss.

Marshall hugged me after every win, but this was our final hug in the Tad Pad after his senior night.

My junior year, I was 21 years old, still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and now trying to establish my own reputation with Marshall gone. I spent most of this year attending sporting events and enjoying life with my closest friends.

Some people hate social media and think it does more harm than help, but it helped me build my own circle and develop as an individual. Twitter is where I met numerous people who have become a huge part of my life, from families for whom I babysit, to photographers and other journalists, to friends and even ex-boyfriends.

It’s where I was able to, in a sense, network and get some published, written work under my belt.  Evie Van Pelt, a.k.a. @OleMissEvie, allowed me to write articles for The Rebel Walk, as well as work in the press box at L.P. Field for the Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt football game, where I ran The Rebel Walk Twitter account.

She let me come up with my own topics, giving me direction throughout the process, and allowed me to develop as a writer.  I’m extremely thankful for her and the amount of faith she put into me and my work.

Now, four years later from 2012, here I am writing about my experience in Oxford and as an Ole Miss student. I’d go into detail about my senior year, but the easy way to sum it up is to say that I’ve seen so many things come full circle.

If you remember before, my first Ole Miss football game ever was an absolute annihilation by Alabama, but I’ve now witnessed the Rebels take down the Crimson Tide two years in a row.  I rushed the field the first time and sat on the sixth row at Bryant-Denny Stadium this past fall.

Also if you remember, I said I originally wanted to go to Oklahoma State.  Well this past January, Marshall surprised me with front row tickets to the Sugar Bowl where we watched the Rebels take down the OK State Cowboys in a 48 to 20 victory.

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, had many stressed-out meltdowns because I procrastinated or just decided not to try on an assignment, made a couple of bad grades and had some heartbreaks from relationships that just weren’t meant to be.

I’ve lost some friends and hurt some people along the way, but I’ve learned some valuable lessons and found that you have to be happy with yourself before you can try to be happy with someone else.

I’ve met people that will be a part of my life for years to come and made memories that I’ll never forget. I’ve found a home away from home here in Oxford.

Through tears, smiles and laughter, I’ve survived what seemed at times like a long four years, and I wouldn’t change any bit of it.  When I had ruled Ole Miss out, God re-opened the door, knowing this is where he wanted me, and I’m thankful that I listened when he called because this has been one for the books.


Pinebox band gaining popularity in Oxford and area

While many students are attending baseball games, grabbing a drink on the Square, or studying at the library, four Mississippi and Tennessee natives are living out their passion for music.

Pinebox is a local, student band that formed in January. Even with the recent start, the band has gained a lot of exposure. They have played five shows and currently record at Rebel Music with Travis Wilburn, a sound engineer with degrees in both business and music.

Band member Marcus Umfress, 21, said the group has been writing music since last November, but didn’t meet to play until January.

Pinebox members include Umfress, senior Jon Michael Walton, sophomore Pace Ward and junior Caleb Rushton. “We all sing, but Caleb is the lead singer,” said Umfress. “I sing a couple of songs with him.”

Anger, pain, happiness and nostalgia are all feelings conveyed through Pinebox’s loud rock, alternative sound. Original lyrics, intense guitar strumming, and passionate band members have only just tapped into their talent. Umfress said none had been in an alternative music band before, so they figured they could do it.

Umfress fell in love with music at age 7. He used to dress up as a cowboy with a toy guitar and sing George Straight songs, but his love for rock came from listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the classic rock his dad played.

Band practice

Christmas lights are strung around the walls, a single rug lays on the tile floor with a drum set on top of it, and two mattresses lean against the wall to suppress sound. This was the original practice area inside Umfress’ three-bedroom home.

“The recording of the demos with a rock band mic in the bath tub is pretty great,” said Umfress’ roommate Zack Hamm. The band started recording everything with a rock band mic nailed to the wall. After a noise complaint to the police department, Pinebox was forced to find another location to rehearse.

The studio at Rebel Music, although similar to a bedroom space, is full of gadgets and a desk full of buttons to help improve the band’s sound. Travis Wilburn is their right hand tech man who makes sure they produce professional music.

“He disciplines us,” band member Jon Michael Walton said. “Even the scratch stuff we have done has come off better than some professional bands that get paid.”

After only being a band for four months, they are about to hit their 10th song. “Travis notices and pushes us, so it really helps in our live shows,” Walton said. “When you rep, you just repeat and repeat and repeat the same parts of a song. That’s muscle memory, so it helps in a show.”

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Pinebox’s demo is available online.

Their demo can be found online at pineboxms.bandcamp.com. “Right now, our demo is online, and we’re just taking it as it goes,” said Umfress. “People have to like your music to want your stuff, so I guess it just depends on our success. Some groups take three to four years to get off the ground, but some can write for six months and become an instant success locally or regionally.”

With the uncertainty of instant success, the band started out essentially working for free, with hopes to sell their album and T-shirts. Umfress said they were “broke as (expletive),” but hoping their connections would help things take off.

The other band members have connections through Delta Psi fraternity, Bouré, Square Books and other bands throughout northern Mississippi.

Umfress said Pinebox has been making shirts to give to fans, and they have made money on past gigs. At Shelter, a venue with an ambient setting, Pinebox was paid $110 to play.

“The environment was chill, and it showed us how to play somewhere we didn’t necessarily like the setting,” Umfress said. “The money also meant we didn’t have to pay for gas to go to Birmingham for another gig.”

Gaining popularity

From starting out playing an acoustic set for 40 people on a back porch in Taylor, Mississippi, the band moved from the hipster vibe to playing for 70 to 80 people lined up, moshing and slinging beer.

“People were jumping all over the place,” Umfress said. “We got an amazing response and some of the biggest critics that we know, didn’t give us any criticism.”

The positive support has led to an influx of invites for the band. “We may actually have to turn down some shows,” Umfress said. “We’ll end up with some type of record deal off of all this, even though we don’t really know how it all works. We’re excited.”

The band looks forward to their future together, hoping to get a record label and continue playing shows.  Photo by Walter Lyle.

Pinebox is scheduled to play in two upcoming shows on May 14 and 17. These shows will charge covers due to alcohol sales. May 14 is Brofest. “A bunch of local bands around the Southeast have put together this annual show,” Walton said. “Last year, over 200 people from four different states were there, and we get to play with national touring acts.”

May 17 is a house show in Oxford with six bands, four that are touring, and Pinebox is the opener. “It’s going to be a banger,” Walton said.

Paige Henderson
The Oxford EAGLE