08/21/06 — Back to school begins

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Back to school begins

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 21, 2006 1:52 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College's freshmen came to their dorms Sunday with their parents and siblings and bearing necessities like televisions, clothing, snack foods and DVDs.

The weather was clear, but hot, so area churches helped out the college's newest students with bottled water and plastic college cups. But despite the lively breeze, nobody but the church volunteers stayed away from the air conditioners for long.

Louis Massey came into Grantham Hall loaded down with bottles tea for his son, Jackson, and cleaning supplies for his wife, Lu, to spiff up the freshman's upstairs dorm room.

"I'm fortunate," Mrs. Massey said. "I can stay in here while they're hauling it up."

The family lives in Eureka. Jackson is a Charles B. Aycock High School graduate. He's undecided about a major, but he's sure about Mount Olive College.

"I feel like this is the best fit for me," Jackson said. "I'm here to play baseball."

He said he had plenty of choices for a college, like Barton, Wesleyan and Pitt, but he said he felt more comfortable at Mount Olive than he did at the others.

Michael Holloman from Virginia Beach, Va., was unpacking his belongings in one of Grantham's upstairs rooms. He said he's here for basketball, and he has chosen sports management for his major.

"This is a good environment, a small school. I like the size of the classes. It's just a good environment," he said.

Brandon Savoca from Leland near Wilmington has not chosen a major, but he said he is at Mount Olive for baseball. He, too, had moving-day help from his family, his dad, Billy, his mom, Betty, and his little sister, Blair.

His mother likes Mount Olive College because it's not far from home. Brandon is their oldest child.

"This is our first time doing the college thing," she said. "(Blair) is going into high school, and (Brandon) has just left."

Michael Ratley said he knows exactly what he wants to do. He comes to Mount Olive from Graves Creek near Hope Mills and Fayetteville about 60 miles away. He is an agribusiness major with dreams of a career in alternative fuel sources.

"I want to try to get an internship in bio fuels," he said. "Ethanol. Bio diesel. It's always interested me, always. I thought, 'There's got to be a better way than gasoline.' Gasoline only uses 30 percent of its potential energy, and I learned they're building a bio diesel plant in Mount Olive. ... There's just something about being able to say, 'Oh yes, I have a car that runs on bio diesel.'"

But he is not just thinking about books and biodiesel's possibilities for the future.

Michael has already met a girl at Mount Olive College and plans to attend a family reunion with her. His parents will have to wait two weekends to see him.

His roommate, Joseph Crowley, came into the room with his family loaded down with belongings. They live in Plymouth.

Crowley is majoring in computer animation and graphic art design. He will minor in piano performance. He has been playing for seven years.

He, too, had many choices of colleges to attend, like Appalachian State University, Liberty, Elizabeth City and Wake Forest.

"Mount Olive offered a lot more and was willing to waive an extra math I needed," he said. "And they provide more financial support here. And I feel it will be easier here to adjust to college life."

Next door is a complex of women's dorms joined by glass atriums.

Heather Pope and Alicia Mote moved into King Hall two weeks ago because of the volleyball season.

Alicia's roommate, Racey Bartley, also plays volleyball. Racey's major is health science. She wants to be a pediatrician.

Heather, who is from Pensacola, Fla., is undecided about a major.

Alicia is from Miami. She and Heather did not know each other before they moved into King. Alicia is majoring in biology. She wants to be a marine biologist.

"I wanted to get away from Miami," Alicia said. "It's really crowded there."

Roommates Tammy Morris from Lucama and Alyssa Cummings from Sims near Wilson were making their beds in one of the rooms in Hart. They went to high school together.

Tammy's major is secondary English. She wants to teach high school English.

"This is close to home, and I wanted to join the cheerleading squad," she said about her choice of Mount Olive College.

Alyssa is undecided about a major, but she, too, is sure about Mount Olive College.

"I like it being a small college," she said.

She said she went to East Carolina University to check out that school, and it was too big for her.

Outside on the lawn under an old tree, First Baptist members were still handing out bottled water to the loaded-down movers.

Erma Jones from the church said she was having fun "watching the kids move in and reminiscing about the old days, the pre-computer days.

"We've had a lot of fun today. I love the way they have the security guys on golf carts helping the kids move in. This is so much fun."