The students at Oklahoma Wesleyan University finished the 2014 fall semester (some stronger than others), exhausted, but ready for the adventures that would await over a much needed Winter break. The month off from school often provides students ample opportunities for rest, home cooked meals, and time with friends and family. Many OKWU Eagles decided to take their break time to the next level. Here are just a few of the many ways your fellow students spent the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Kimberlee Gigliotti: London
OKWU sophomore Kimberlee Gigliotti went to the United Kingdom to see the sights (and the homeland of her bae, Brandon Willis).
She named her experience in Twickenham, London as the greatest part of her trip: “Well, it was all really fun but I would have to say my favorite part was every time we went up to London and did different things each time. Experiencing a rugby game for the first time is definitely at the top of the list!”
While in London, Kim was also able to capture this majestic photo of the world’s favorite timepiece, Big Ben.
Dr. Jarmola: Europe
OKWU professor Dr. Darek Jarmola took a group of students to Florence, Rome, and London.
This incredible skyline shot was taken at Piazza del Duomo in the heart of historic Florence, Italy.
Senior Global Studies major, Chelsie Childerston, listed some of the most impactful events of the trip: “My favorite part was Rome! We were able to see a lot of the significant biblical places, such as what is said to be the jail cell of Paul and also Peter in Rome. The old architecture was amazing and the amount of history in that city is crazy! We saw the Colosseum, which was super cool, and we got to see the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, and we got to meet the Pope!”
Sarah Sapp: Thailand
Sarah Sapp, a senior Communication Arts major, traveled to Thailand for an internship. She worked with a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping women out of the sex industry by providing them with training and opportunities to secure other sources of income, such as making jewelry.
Sarah was extremely busy during her Thai adventure: “For the month I was there, I taught a creative writing class, made amazing friendships, traveled to red light districts for outreach, learned the sentence, ‘Mai mai mai mai mai,’ means ‘the wood doesn’t burn on this end, does it?’ and I climbed a mountain!”
Although many parts of the trip were difficult, Sarah was able to see God move in some incredible ways, and, as pictured above, she was rewarded with some incredible views.
Aaron Terrill and Ethan May: America
Junior Aaron Terrill and fifth-year-senior (PE Major) Ethan May were determined to make a trek of their own to usher in 2015.
This excursion, fondly coined #BROadTrip2k15, took the two lads through Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
The men spent their time driving, hiking, rock climbing, swimming in Hot Springs, exploring Hollywood and Vegas, and staying with friends along the way. BROadTrip2k15 co-founder Ethan May had allegedly never seen a mountain prior to the man date, and is noted for frequently declaring, “I’ve never seen a mountain.”
OKWUventures: Winter Park, Colorado
OKWUventures took 9 students and 2 staff members on a ski trip to Winter Park, CO in December.
The students were Shane Grate, Nicole Merchen, Emily Kirchner, Billy Lopez, Dallas Horsley, Derek Ford, Caleb Wilson, Kaylie Mueller, and Janessa Blain. Sheresa Grate and Chris Breiland led the ski posse.
Men’s Resident Director Chris Breiland fondly recalled his latest OKWUventures experience: “We stayed at a beautiful home in the mountains and skied three full days. The highlight of the trip was going back to the house after a full day of skiing to eat a hot meal and talk about which ski runs were our favorite.”
Prof. Weaver: New York City
Professor Weaver of the OKWU School of Business took a group over break to New York City to sample what the Big Apple has to offer.
Lauren Nash, a returner to NYC, listed some of the interesting experiences they had: “We visited the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, walked on the New York Stock Exchange floor, and biked around Central Park. I tried exotic foods such as Peruvian squid, Columbian Yuca, and whatever the street vendors served us.”
Professor Weaver and his group of 25 students explored city life for one week. OKWU senior Laura McKnight came back from New York with a smile on her face and a rock on her left hand. OKWU alumni Josh Young took the opportunity of a lifetime and flew to NYC to surprise Laura and pop the question. (She said yes, otherwise this would be a terrible story.)
Ava Yeabower: Walt Disney World
OKWU sophomore Ava Yeabower spent New Years Eve in what some consider to be the Happiest Place on Earth. Ava went to Disney World in Florida with her fiance, alumni Bruno Cairo, and his family.
The firework show at midnight was a favorite for Ava: “Even though there were tons of people, it was incredible to spend that time with Bruno and his family in the most magical place on earth to bring in the New Year. It was a fantastic experience that I will never forget!”
Article by Ashleigh Johnson and Arionna Harms