Tag: Grace Cockrell

Lauren Reaves named Miss JSU 2018


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Miss JSU 2018, Lauren Reaves (center left), and Miss JSU 2017, Camden Swatts (center right), stand with the other participants in the 2018 Miss JSU pageant (photo by Matt Reynolds/JSU).


Grace CockrellStaff Writer

On January 12, ten beautiful, intelligent and classy women stepped onto the stage in Leone Cole Auditorium and gave it their all in the hopes of being crowned Miss Jacksonville State University 2018.

One contestant, Lauren Reaves, impressed the judges the most, not just in one category, but overall. Reaves won the talent portion of the pageant and was ultimately named Miss JSU 2018, following her predecessor, Camden Swatts.

The psychology major is very excited about her upcoming journey, but the road to her title required hard work.

Reaves’ philanthropy platform is Autism Speaks, a national advocacy organization that sponsors research and outreach for those affected by autism and education opportunities for communities, families and government entities.

“I plan to get my Master’s degree in Behavioral Analysis, so I can forever work with children that are on the Autism Spectrum,” Reaves told JSU. “My heart absolutely melts for people with Autism, which is why I love volunteering my time with my platform.”

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Lauren Reaves gave a flute performance with arrangements of Michael Jackson’s music for the talent competition. In addition to the title of Miss JSU, Reaves also won the talent portion (photo by Matt Reynolds/JSU).

Reaves’s winning talent performance was a Micheal Jackson rendition on flute. She describes winning the talent category as “so exciting and rewarding.” As a flute player since seventh grade, her work from the past years amounted to something magnificent.

“Winning the whole competition,” Reaves said, “was such a shocking moment. I had no idea I was capable of winning it all.”

Reaves also says how proud she is for being so prepared. For her stage question, she stayed informed with current events while developing her own opinions and articulate thoughts on political matters in order to fully and confidently answer the question that would be given to her.

Her biggest preparation was for the fitness category. She started working with trainer and she put herself on a nutrition plan. She said she continuously disciplined herself by making herself hit the gym even on the days where she did not want to go.

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Lauren Reaves is crowned Miss JSU 2018 by Camden Swatts (photo by Matt Reynolds/JSU).

“The overall experience was overwhelming—but in a good way!” Reaves said.

Reaves’ advice to future contestants is to “go for the title. It can be intimidating at first, because of all of preparation required, but you learn so much about yourself, and the whole experience of just competing is so worth it.”

At JSU, Reaves is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and a JSU Ambassador.

Taylor Anne Beckham was named first runner-up; Kelsey Lenard was named second runner-up; Breanna Lucas was named third runner-up, and Courtney Williams was named fourth runner-up at the pageant.




Cocky for LGBTQ+: Cocky Pride Parade brings campus and community together

JSU students and community members gather on the TMB lawn for the first annual Cocky Pride Parade on Wednesday, November 1. (photo by Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

Cassidy SmithStaff Writer

The rain couldn’t stop the proud from celebrating the first annual Cocky Pride Parade on Wednesday, November 1. A crowd of over 70 attendees convened in the Theron Montgomery Building’s lawn to celebrate their sexualities or to be an ally to those they love.

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community, whether they were students at JSU or Jacksonville community members, gathered for the event, which came to a head in the town square with a parade at 6 p.m. Many of the attendees held or wore flags, umbrellas, clothing, hats and posters portraying the rainbow, the symbol for gay rights and pride. Other attendees, at the request of the event planner, brought their dogs to march with them.

A student holds a poster that reads, “Too much blood has flown from the wrist of the children shamed for those they choose to kiss.” (photo by Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

The event was hosted by JSU Students for Equality, a student organization on campus. Through promotional advertisement, like Facebook ads and flyers taped up in dorms and academic buildings, the organization was able to reach much of the student body to invite them to celebrate themselves.

“The Students for Equality are here for any historical minorities,” said Adrienne Swindle, the president of Students for Equality. “Women, African-American, anybody who has been historically oppressed is totally welcome. We are active for Women’s History Month, Black History Month, LGBT History month; that’s actually what this parade was organized to celebrate.”

She cited the comedy show and the women’s discussion panel, both held earlier this semester, as two events that successfully showcased a minority group.

Swindle invites any and all students of any minority group, whether it be LGBT, racial or gender minority, to come to the Students for Equality meetings that occur every other Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Brewer Hall room 100.

According to their JSU organization page: “JSU Students for Equality is committed to diversity and inclusion through providing resources and advocacy for students from historically marginalized populations. Our goal is to help retain and recruit these students while enhancing their experiences through programming, workshops, support groups, education and social events.”

Some participants in the Cocky Pride Parade brought rainbow flags like the one pictured above. (photo by Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

The organization will next be hosting “Pet the Stress Away” during finals week, providing a way for students to de-stress with dogs from the League for Animal Welfare.

The Students for Equality organization can be contacted through Facebook or by emailing jsustudentsforequality@gmail.com.

See more pictures from Grace Cockrell below:

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Zeta Tau Alpha has Jacksonville thinking pink

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Zeta Tau Alpha’s national philanthropy is breast cancer awareness. (Photo via Zeta Tau Alpha

Grace Cockrell, Staff Writer

When someone thinks about the month of October, typically Halloween comes to mind. But for families of those who have lost their lives to the battle of breast cancer, it’s usually something a lot scarier than ghosts and ghouls. On average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes, and one woman will die of breast cancer every thirteen minutes.

The sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority believe in the importance of breast cancer education, awareness and aiding in the fight. Not only have they taken this issue on as their national philanthropy, but the sisters of the Zeta Psi chapter work to make a lasting impact on campus and all over Jacksonville by raising funds for a cure.

“My great-grandmother passed away from breast cancer when I was younger so the philanthropy was always very important to me,” said Ashlee Jones, a ZTA and JSU alumna who currently works as the Foundation Marketing manager for Regional Medical Center in Anniston, “and not just because it was so personal, but because this was something that has affected so many other families, too. It’s a very harrowing connection to share with someone, but it’s important to bring light to this disease and for people to know that they have a support system to rely on, because positivity and hope during treatment is one of the most important things you can have.”

Each year, Zeta Tau Alpha at JSU hosts a few events that will literally have people “thinking pink.”

The chapter hosts the “Think Pink” football game here at JSU and asks all JSU students, faculty, and community to wear pink to the as a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Zeta sisters will also be selling pink shakers, handing out pink ribbons and will walk out onto the field with breast cancer survivors during pre-game.

This year’s Think Pink game will take place Saturday, October 14 at 3 p.m. as the Gamecocks take on Eastern Kentucky.

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From left, Madi Schwartz, Morgan Majors and Cassidy Bishop take a break from hanging bows in 2016. (photo via Zeta Tau Alpha at JSU)

Another big fundraiser that is taking place around campus right now is “Paint the Town Pink”. Each October, the Zetas hang pink bows all over Jacksonville. The chapter sells bows to friends and families to be hung in homes and offices which raises money for Breast Cancer Education and Awareness beyond Jacksonville.

“Breast Cancer Awareness is something that I find extremely important,” said DeLena Harris, a senior broadcast communications major and the secretary of the Zeta Psi chapter. “Three years ago, I didn’t know nearly as much as I do know about the effects of breast cancer, how to self-check and how to educate others. I also didn’t realize how many people breast cancer affected and that men can be diagnosed with breast cancer as well.”

Students can help by sponsoring a bow for ten dollars that will be on display in Jacksonville or by making a donation of any amount to the cause. The bows are on sale through October 14 and separate donations can be made during the entire month of October.

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From left, Ashlee Jones, Susan Stack Hurst, Suzanne Hawkins Stephens and Missy Almaroad Wagoner of the ZTA Northeast Alabama Alumnae chapter at the 5th annual Venecia’s Foundation CRAP 5k in Piedmont, Ala. on October 7. (photo via Susan Stack Hurst/Facebook)

“I think the heart of Greek life is serving others,” Jones said, “just as a line of the ZTA Creed says, ‘to learn the nobility of serving, thereby earning the right to be served.’ The best leaders have servant’s hearts, and working together to help those around you is the building block of a strong leader. No matter what your philanthropy or organization is, it’s important to give back and to help better your community and those around you. That’s what being a true leader is.”

For more information on purchasing a bow and donating visit Zeta Tau Alpha’s website.

Don’t miss the chance to give back and aid in the fight against breast cancer and in helping Zetas put their crown on a cure!

And go here for more information on Venecia’s Foundation.




Campus celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with ISO

Brannon CahelaStaff Writer

On Tuesday, September 19, the SGA and the International Student Organization (ISO) partnered to put on the Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Originally scheduled to take place on the TMB lawn, the celebration was moved inside to the auditorium.

Despite the change of venue, the celebration of Hispanic culture still managed to attract a crowd of students interested in supporting JSU’s ISO.

Planned by SGA Vice President of Student Affairs Kasey Gamble and ISO representative Maria Aguilar, the two organizations collaborated to celebrate Hispanic culture, food, music and dance.

Aguilar, who is from El Salvador, said, “It  me really happy that the school is planning these events where I can share my culture with other people, because many people aren’t familiar with Latin American countries.”

“SGA really wanted to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrate it in a special way,” said Gamble.

Students from the International Students Organization pose with a piñata at SGA and ISO’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. (photo by Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

“The International Student Organization is very supportive. When I mentioned that there would be a celebration of Hispanic cultures, all the international students said, ‘let’s go!’ The International Student Organization is very supportive of one another,” said Aguilar.

The celebration of Hispanic cultures consisted of food from local Mexican restaurant Baja California Grill. While the food may have come from a Mexican restaurant, Aguilar said that rice and beans are a staple in the cuisine of all Latin American countries.

In addition to food, there were many activities for students to participate in. Games such as pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs and piñatas provided students with entertainment.

Aguilar called the Hispanic Heritage Celebration a “great way to promote the International Student Organization and introduce students to new ISO officers.”

Besides food, many Latin American and Hispanic countries share similar games, said Aguilar. There was even a new game created for the event in which students matched Hispanic countries to their flags.

Music also played an important part in the Hispanic heritage celebration. In addition to Latin American music, there were also dance lessons to educate students about the music of Hispanic cultures.

“Being an international student and getting to work with SGA to plan this event makes JSU a special place for international students,” said Aguilar.

For any inquiries about future SGA events, please send Kasey Gamble an e-mail at sgavpsa@stu.jsu.edu. For more information about JSU’s International Student Organization, contact advisor Chandni Khadka at ckhadka@stu.jsu.edu. Keep an eye out for upcoming SGA events and activities.

See more of Grace Cockrell’s photos from the “fiesta” here!


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A look back at the 2017 VMAs

Grace Cockrell, Staff Writer

The 36th annual MTV Video Music Awards have come and gone, but viewers were left with some memorable highlights from the show that will stay in their minds for a very long time.

Kicking off the event was eight-nominee hip-hop sensation Kendrick Lamar with his recent hits “Humble” and “DNA.” His crowd-pleasing performance included rapping surrounded by lasers, smoke and even a back-up dancer on fire.

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Katy Perry, who hosted and performed at the VMAs, made her entrance wearing a holographic astronaut suit, a nod to the figurine on top of each award. (photo from mtv.com)

Following the “pyromaniac performances” of Lamar was host and pop music sensation, Katy Perry making her grand entrance in a full holographic astronaut suit. The suit—and Perry’s reference to herself as “the moon lady”—was a big risk, but not as risky as trying to launch her standup comic with fidget spinner joke that left both live and at home audiences uncomfortable.

The funniest joke of the night, however, came from deeply poetic singer and songwriter, Lorde, who, due to flu-like effects on her vocal chords, gave an interpretative dance to her song “Homemade Dynamite.” It was surprisingly very warm, direct, and much funny.

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Ilness may have kept New Zealand pop star Lorde from singing at the VMAs, but it didn’t keep her from dancing. The singer performed an interpretive dance to her new song “Homemade Dynamite.” (photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

As brave as an interpretive dance might have been, nothing could top Fifth Harmony’s incredible performance of their song “Down.” On the stage were all four members and a stand in who represented former band member Camila Cabello. The stand in was pushed offstage in reference to Cabello’s split from the band. Fifth Harmony also received their first VMA for best pop song for “Down.”

Along with powerful musical performances, quite a few groundbreaking speeches were delivered that touched on serious issues happening in today’s society. Paris Jackson gave an inspiring speech about how America can overcome the hate with unity and love and show that “violence is intolerable.”

Tiffany Haddish spoke out about being a role model to foster kids while also completely dragging her exes into the ground. Hilarious, confident, and successful, Haddish left her mark on the night.

Rock star Pink delivered a speech after receiving the Video Vanguard award concerning her six-year-old daughter and the moving power of all “androgynous rock stars” such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Prince.

Kesha also gave a speech following Logic’s performance of “1-800-273-8255” which led to increased calls at the suicide prevention hotline: “We all have struggles and as long as you never give up on yourself, light will break through the darkness,” she added.

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Fifth Harmony members Dinah Jane, Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui and Ally Brooke perform their song “Down,” for which the group won their first VMA for “Best Pop Song.” (photo from popsugar.com)

As for awards, Kendrick Lamar took home “Video of the Year,” “Best Hip Hop,” “Best Art Direction,” “Best Cinematography,” “Best Direction” and “Best Visual Effects.”

Ed Sheeran took home the award for “Best Artist of the Year,” and DJ Khalid took home the award for “Best New Artist.”

Fifth Harmony, Twenty One Pilots, and Zedd received the award for each of their genres of pop, rock and dance, respectively.

Jack Antonoff was very eager to take the credit for most of the songs he produced such as the majority of Lorde’s own “Melodrama” and for “Best Collaboration” Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack.

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Ed Sheeran, DJ Khalid and Chance the Rapper pose backstage at the 2017 VMAs. Sheeran took home the award for “Artist of the Year” and Khalid won for “Best New Artist.” (photo by Ed Sheeran/Facebook)

During the show, Taylor Swift fans premiered the music video for her new single “Look What You Made Me Do” from her upcoming album “Reputation.” The video broke viewing records in just the span of ten minutes. As of Wednesday morning, the video has been viewed over 75 million times on YouTube. Adele’s “Hello” video previously held the record for most views in a 24-hour period.

The show’s grand finale featured Katy Perry’s performance of her basketball-themed single song “Swish Swish” with an appearance by the queen of rap, Nicki Minaj.

The 2017 VMA Awards was an evening of surprises, one that the 2018 show will undoubtedly try to top.