Little Shop of Horrors the Musical

Little Shop of Horrors the Musical
Photo courtesy of Kenna Dieffenwierth

A strange plant had an attitude, teeth and a lust for blood in this year’s musical by OPUS FIDES Drama Ministry. They presented an adapted version of the dark botanical comedy, “Little Shop of Horrors,” in Selby Auditorium.

According to the play bill, the mission statement of OPUS FIDES is to share Christ’s love and touch people’s senses in different ways through theater. The musical this year did not have and overtly Christian message, but the characters were related to the seven deadly sins. Lust was represented by Seymour, gluttony by Audrey II, envy by Audrey, greed by Mr. Mushnik, wrath by Dr. Orin, pride by the Doo Wops and sloth by the Bums.

“Although not intended for religious purposes, this show definitely shows how much we can jeopardize our lives by giving into temptations and allowing greed, lust, envy and all the others to take over,” said Senior Dominique Spano in her director’s note.

The cast and crew had been working since Oct. for this musical to come together. There were five showings from Feb. 27 through March 2. So many people showed up that some had to sit on the stairs.

The story took place at a run down plant shop on Skid Row owned by Mr. Mushnik (Sophomore Lindsey Thilmony). The shop was about to close down when one of the two shop workers, Seymour (Sophomore Connor Schaefer) got an idea. He tried to convince his boss that he could use a strange plant to attract customers. This plan worked in giving the shop hope. The only problem was that the plant, affectionately named Audrey II after his coworker, required human blood as sustenance. Seymour and the flower shop experienced success and fame, until Audrey II was no longer satisfied with just Seymour’s blood. Audrey II begged Seymour for more. Seymour didn’t want to kill anyone, but his desire for his coworker Audrey (Senior Anna McEntee) drove him to do whatever it would take to maintain his success. Seymour chose Audrey’s abusive boyfriend, Orin Scrivello (Junior Bob Botelho), as the first victim. After watching the dentist asphyxiate on his own laughing gas, Seymour fed him to Audrey II. Mr. Mushnik started to get suspicious and became the second victim to the carnivorous plant.

As offers to make money off of Audrey II continued to come in, Seymour began to feel that enough was enough and contemplated killing the plant after an upcoming photo shoot for a popular magazine. Audrey came back to the shop one night looking for Seymour. Seymour had already left, so Audrey II tricked its namesake into coming close.

The plant began to eat Audrey, but was stopped by the returning Seymour. Audrey’s last request before she died was for Seymour to feed her to Audrey II so that he could continue to find success. Seymour received another offer soon after to sell clippings of Audrey II so that every home in America could have one. The devastated Seymour realized the evil plant’s plans for world domination and tried to kill Audrey II once and for all.

Seymour was unsuccessful and eaten instead. Audrey II succeeded in taking over the world. The musical ended with the faces of the devoured sprouting from Audrey II as flowers.

Bob Botelho, quoted one of his lines when asked how he felt about being a part of the musical.

“It was a challenge. It was a pleasure. I’m going to need more gas for this one.”

His friend, Sophomore Michael Molloy, went to see every showing of the musical.

“He [Botelho] did a great job playing a woman. It was great. The improv was great every night,” said Molloy.

The response from the audience was positive.

“It was awesome. I loved when the plant ate Audrey. When it ate people, I thought it was sad but funny. When they sang, I could hear them very clearly. I think they did a beautiful job. You could tell that the cast worked very hard on it,” said Freshman Grace Quarles.

There was no shortage of praise for the cast and crew.

“I really enjoyed it. It was a high quality performance, and the performers all really suited their roles,” said Senior Lauren Horne.

The show was dedicated to the director, Dominique Spano, and one of the two stage managers, Alexis Paul. This was the last musical production for these seniors with OPUS FIDES.

Unaware and Unprepared: The Danger of Donald Trump’s Ignorance

In wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Pakistan, now more than ever Americans are looking to their political leadership for reassurance that our country has plans for strong national security. American voters are keenly watching the remaining presidential candidates running, as the person elected will immediately take on the responsibility of not only keeping our country safe, but also serving as an ally to countries continuously threatened by terror.

The United States is facing a crucial time in history. The world has never been as threatened by one specific terror organization as it is by ISIS. The Islamic State is such a new and unfamiliar threat, and not simply because it’s such an immensely powerful terrorism network. It also has the ability and resources to use the Internet to attack, leaving its victims dumbfounded and vulnerable. Not to mention how it additionally continues to thrive and prosper by inspiring others to prey on and eventually attack the innocent. The San Bernardino shooting is the best-demonstrated example of an ISIS-inspired attack.

The next President of the United States has to be exceedingly prepared with policy and plans of defense to keep us safe. They must be willing to work tirelessly to do absolutely everything in their power to defend our country and to strategize plans of the eventual destruction of ISIS, because they’ve terrorized our country and others enough at this point. They’ve got to be prepared to step up as the global ally that we are to work in unity with other countries to defeat this ruthless group.

Donald J. Trump is none of these things.

Donald Trump’s tactics of comedic antics, bullying, offensive rhetoric, hatred, and even incitation of violence may prove to be working for him out on the campaign trail, but they won’t be even remotely effective once he steps into the oval office as Commander in Chief and Chief Diplomat of the United States. These tactics would never be adequate against any threat to our national security, but they especially won’t when faced by an organization as powerful and dangerous as ISIS.

It’s common knowledge that it’s unnecessary for a presidential candidate to spend a lot of time discussing their policy plans in depth while campaigning. Simply focusing primarily on talking points is sufficient, as a majority of voters don’t care enough about concrete policy to want to constantly hear about it as they follow the coverage of the candidates. But, Donald Trump has unwaveringly avoided discussing actual plans of policy during his speeches and has completely dodged the press’ questions about his knowledge of foreign policy and plans of national security since his announcement of his presidential bid back in June.

Avoiding the discussion of plans to take on pressing issues that face the country and dodging questions regarding said issues do not exactly inspire confidence in voters when

referring to someone who is competing to be their next leader. This fact alone is a primary reason why Trump’s hefty lead over the remaining candidates is dumbfounding to those of us on the outside looking in at his campaign; however, his massive support speaks volumes about the demographic of his followers. It’s evident at this point that his supporters aren’t aware of the severity of the issues that face our country because if they truly were, they’d be intelligent and reasonable enough to realize that a “President Trump” would be incapable of tackling the issues and keeping us safe.

There are numerous hot-button issues that have come up throughout this election that each candidate has spoken out about [and fought each other on], but the subjects of ISIS, foreign policy, and national security plans are undoubtedly the most important and frequently discussed issues of the 2016 race. So, how can a candidate that frequently avoids all three of these subjects possibly be the obvious frontrunner? That’s the million-dollar question that remains posed among the levelheaded people that are left in this country.

Although we’ve seen interview after interview of Trump avoiding these subjects and dancing around questions with his responses for months now, nothing has served as a stronger display of his true ignorance like his recent Washington Post interview has.

On March 21, the prestigious editorial board of the Washington Post conducted an interview with Trump. The interview focused largely on foreign affairs, social issues, and the controversy surrounding his campaign. Unsurprisingly, Trump deflected to a myriad of unrelated topics such as the media’s bias and unfair treatment of him, the petty fight over hand size [and the insinuation of other appendages] between him and Marco Rubio, and even how attractive his interviewers were to him.

At one point, Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan asked Trump if he would ever consider using a tactical nuclear strike against ISIS as president. “Remember, one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counter-puncher,” responded Trump. “Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. He spent, by the way, he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting…” Ryan interrupted at this point to steer him back on track and said, “This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?” To which Trump replied, “I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?”

You can’t make this stuff up. The full, hour-long, unedited interview is available online for anyone to watch.

“The point for us lies in these points: what happens to the entire environment? Can Trump convince the population? What happens to terrorism? And can he focus on terrorism as much as he does on domestic politics? He can discuss terrorism but he does not know enough and he does not have a team that he has hired to show a strong following, so he just talks about other things,” said professor of Political Science and International Studies Dr. Marco Rimanelli.

“He believes in himself so much that he acts through instinct and that is extremely dangerous because if he gets elected, he will be the most uncontrollable president and make major revolutionary change. He does not feel or act ideologically, politically, or show a commitment to acting historically through an official position that the United States has taken. Everything is based on his view of what is right and wrong, and that cuts across all lines by insulting Republicans, Democrats, and all people in general that are upset with their party. They see him as a populist voice which reflects the populist rebellion that exists in America,” continued Rimanelli.

It’s inarguable that Trump’s use of hateful and discriminatory rhetoric is dangerous because of how contrary to American values it is. But, there is nothing more dangerous in regard to Trump than his sheer ignorance when it comes to actual knowledge of policy, specifically of foreign affairs and national security. The United States cannot afford to elect someone as gravely unaware and completely unprepared as Donald Trump is.

The most baffling aspect of Trump’s candidacy and overall mindset is his constant discussion of how divided the country currently is. The maddening hypocrisy is that he himself has become the pioneering force of the division within our country. The hope is that the division will get better and less severe over time, but the movement of extreme divisiveness that Trump has incited will never completely heal. You can’t un-ring a bell.

A Kentucky Fried Helping of Rock and Roll

Black Stone Cherry’s most recently released album “Kentucky” opens with a strong Southern Rock vibe, and then sadly deteriorates into an intolerable mess.

Black Stone Cherry is a Southern Hard Rock band that was formed in 2001, in the city of Edmonton, KY.  The band, with its original members; Chris Robertson, Ben Wells, Jon Lawhon, and John Fred Young, were signed to Road Runner Records in 2015 as their first major record label deal. “Kentucky,” the band’s fifth installment to their studio album collection, was produced in association with Mascot Music Productions and was released on April 1, 2016.

The Way of the Future is an incredibly guitar heavy song that is driven by heavy handed bass lines and a supportive drum line. Black Stone Cherry’s first song on their newest album hits the mark for a solid Southern Rock song.

In Our Dreams is a similarly paced song as The Way of the Future. However, the song’s composition is left with the listener wanting more. While the song retains the same guitar styling as the prior song, there are numerous portions of the song where it sounds as though there was a motorcycle in the recording studio at the time of the song being recorded. As the song progresses, it features a lackluster set of lyrics that create pauses and unnecessary breaks in the song’s tolerable background track.

“Kentucky” follows these two acceptable openers with three almost unlistenable tracks; Shakin’ My Cage, Soul Machine, and Long Ride.

Black Stone Cherry’s fifth song on the album, Long Ride, is a well composed and mixed song. However, the fact that there is a ballad in the first half of a thirteen track Hard Rock album makes it incredibly hard to listen to so early in the album.

With the first third of the album completed thus far, Black Stone Cherry introduces their cover of War, originally composed by The Temptations and then re-released by Edwin Starr in 1970.  Black Stone Cherry takes a notoriously mellow track that was meant to be an anti-war song, and adds a painfully harsh vibe that sadly makes the song overly aggressive and the opposite of what it was originally meant to be.  While other bands have had success with covering songs from previous eras of music; for example Carry on my Wayward Son covered by the Hard Rock band The Showdown; this rendition falls flat. Black Stone Cherry’s vocalist, Chris Robertson, gives War a tolerable set of vocals, but the supporting ensemble is overly distorted and poorly mixed.

“Kentucky” opens the second third of its album with Hangman, which arguably the best song on the album. With heavy riffs, strong vocals, and a spectacular backtrack, Hangman embodies what this entire album should have sounded like.  Many bands often try to experiment with new stylistic choices on their albums so as to find out how far they can take their music before their fans start to question them.  In all truthfulness however, often times it is the proven formulas of past successes that lead to more success for a band, while it is often experimentation that causes them to fail. One such example of an experimentation based failure is the band Dirty Heads, when they tried to switch their music from a surf music vibe to that of a more electronic sound.

Cheaper to Drink Alone is a sort of Pop-Country-Rock mix that simply doesn’t fit into this album, with its overly repetitive vocals and a stereotypical backtrack for a Southern Rock song from the twenty-first century.  Combining both of these aspects, Black Stone Cherry’s eighth track comes off with more of a Nickleback appeal, which no one really wants.

Rescue Me is a fantastic song that brings some life back in to this rollercoaster of an album. Rescue Me opens with an operatic rendition of the chorus and quickly transitions into a powerful—- Hard Rock song that leads into what would be a strong close for the album.

Unfortunately, that strong close doesn’t carry through to the next two songs on the album are much weaker follow ups to a solidly written song. Feelin’ Fuzzy and Darkest Secret are poorly composed and mixed; vocals and back up tracks are occasionally hard to hear in both songs, and the lyrical tracks are hard to hear over the much louder musical overtones.  Both of the songs choruses are questionable at best, with weak lyrical choices that simply seem to provide weak breaks in what are otherwise solidly written lyrics.  Of course, both of these songs couldn’t seem to escape the revving background motorcycle track favored on this album.

In a sort of redemption, the last two songs on “Kentucky” are strong finishers for Black Stone Cherry.

Born to Die is a fantastically written and composed Southern Rock song, reminiscent of what is one of the band’s most popular songs, White Trash Millionaire, from their 2011 album “Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea.” Born to Die opens with slow broken chords and a strong, driving set of lyrics that flow and harmonize well with the wonderfully mixed backing instrumentals. Black Stone Cherry’s twelfth song is one that certainly doesn’t disappoint and makes the listener wonder why the whole album didn’t follow the pattern of what works for their music.

The Rambler is a slow ballad to wrap up a definite roller coaster of an album.  Black Stone Cherry’s final song is what sounds almost like a tribute song for their hometown in Kentucky with lyrics such as “A million miles from Kentucky, but I will always be around.” Definitely one of the better songs on the album, The Rambler”was a strong choice to end Black Stone Cherry’s fifth album.

While there are several questionable songs on “Kentucky,” it is obvious that Black Stone Cherry is experimenting with their music in what seems like an attempt to mature from the image of their band from past albums.  Should the band stick with strong songs such as Hangman, Rescue Me, and Born to Die, they will go far in their career.  However, it would be a nice change of pace to hear more songs from the band similar to The Rambler on future albums.  All in all, Black Stone Cherry is a great band that seems to be trying to figure out where they want to take their music in the future. This album may have had its shaky moments, but altogether this was a very solid album.  This album receives a rating of 4/5.

The Queen of the Pearl

Mar. 30 marked a new era for a New Queen for the Caribbean Students Association (CSA) as they crowned their pageant winner, Thalia Muñoz, the winner of their pageant entitled, “ Pearls of the Caribbean.” She represented her country Cuba, which ironically is nicknamed the “Pearl of the Antilles.” Monet Lewis was last year’s Ms. SLU CSA Queen.

CSA, this year, had their first competition for their pageant in order for the students to have their say in who would represent them in the Miss Florida CSA competition. This year there was three contestant, Lyzandra Serrano, Miss Puerto Rico, Thalia Muñoz, Miss Cuba and Shantanna Higgs, Miss Bahamas. For the competition they had to go through vigorous training for their big day in order to come out on top. They had to have the perfect walk, a culture piece, a talent piece, and just the right answer to the question, which would be the deciding factor of their faith.

“Initially [I] wasn’t trying to join it but then Melissa, the events coordinator, had problems finding girls to participate so I decided to help out a friend,” Muñoz, the new reigning SLU CSA Queen explained.

She help out a friend out of the goodness of her heart and was able to steal the hearts of the judges and the audience. However, with her reason for entering, what made her remain and do her best in the competition?

“Since I wanted to help her [Melissa] because she has helped me before so I just wanted to be there for her so anything that she needed I would pull through it, give it my all and help her out,” said Muñoz.

The night first started out with prayer, which was used to calm the contestants’ hearts before strutting their legs with exuberant confidence. Throughout the night, there were PowerPoints on the screen for the photoshoot of each contestant to set the mood. This reminded the audience of each competitor. There was also entertainment.  The Slam Poetry club performed two pieces, which made each person embraced who they and what they represented as their tones were reassuring along with their poetic rhymes. The CSA Dancers also performed two items corresponding to their Caribbean Team. For a group that was formed in this academic school year, their movement was on beat and sharp.

For the rest of the night, each competitor made their mark from their intelligent response to their questions to their talent pieces, which were all dances from their respective cultures. As the judges tallied up the score, Dancehall was playing within the Selby Auditorium to lighten the mood. The audience began to dance the popular island dances creating a scene, which drew out the tension of everyone including the contestants as people went on stage to advertise their best dance moves.

The sectional prizes were first announced before the winner. Serrano, Miss Puerto Rico and 2nd runner-up, received Ms. Congeniality. Higgs, Miss Bahamas and first runner-up, received the Miss Photogenic sectional prize while the reigning Queen, Muñoz, Miss Cuba, received Campus Choice, Best Talent, and Best Gown as her sectional prize.

Muñoz will now represent Saint Leo in the Florida CSA pageant on Apr. 8.

“I am about to go over there and represent Saint Leo and the Lioness Dance Team who is helping me with my talent piece. We have to go in strong and take home the trophy,” Muñoz said.

Muñoz’s family and friends were her biggest inspiration as they voted and got votes for the “Campus Choice” award.

“At the end of the pageant, because I am Hispanic, we have the Nuestra Belleza Latina (Our Latin beauty) contest, which includes all the countries of Latin America and Spanish countries. It’s something we usually watch on TV. This pageant was like that of my grandmother, my dad, and all my family because when I told them they started crying.”

Even though she entered the pageant to help a friend, she ended but being victorious in just that and will be representing the University in a statewide competition.

Center For Online Learning Shares Joy Of Reading

Special to the Lions’ Pride: Mary Beth Erskine

Hold up a shiny new copy of the beloved book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” in front of St. Peter Claver’s kindergarten class, and students’ exuberance is spontaneous.

The 5 and 6-year olds squeal with delight.

Third-graders at the school, on the other hand, simply beam over new books about favorite characters such as Junie B. Jones and Flat Stanley – and are eager to demonstrate their reading skills.

Thanks to the generosity of Saint Leo employees in the Center for Online Learning (COL), elementary students at the historic downtown Tampa school have 278 books to add to their classroom libraries, 227 of them brand new and 51 gently read – every book on their recent wish list – and then some.

“I have never seen a donation of books this large,” says Jennifer Smiley St. Peter Claver reading coach.

“Resources are always a challenge for us. And the timing is perfect. By this time of the school year, the children have read through most of the books in their classrooms. So to receive a fresh supply of books keeps them excited about reading.”

Established to serve the children of low-income African American families in 1896, just a few years following Saint Leo’s founding, St. Peter Claver accepts all children regardless of academic ability or behavior – and, similar to Saint Leo, believes in providing a solid moral foundation. The school relies on private donations and tuition, and many students who come from challenging home lives receive state scholarships targeted for low-income families.

“We have a lot of high-needs students here. And the reading abilities of our elementary students have a huge range,” says Jennifer.

An Idea With Impact

The idea to conduct a book drive for St. Peter Claver students began with Enrollment Counselor Daniel Stutzman. Aware of the school’s needs, he presented the opportunity to the COL Library Committee. Committee members Cindy Crist and Jessica Graves – joined by Carly Luke, Debby Rumsey and Tricia Van Der Vaart from the Community Service Committee – promoted the drive and collected money, while Dan reached out to the school and Jennifer for a list of books.

Once all the books had been delivered to the school, which is just three miles from Saint Leo’s building in Tampa, committee members visited to spend a morning reading with students.

“Everyone in COL is so generous,” says Dan. “We were able to purchase every single book on the school’s wish list. And then watching the children’s excitement and reaction on their faces took it to another level. The teachers so appreciated the book drive and the children were excited about having new books to read.”

“The success of this drive was due to the continued generosity and compassion of Saint Leo employees,” says Tricia Van Der Vaart, assistant director of financial aid support and co-chair of the Community Service Committee. “Helping members of our community is always rewarding. And this service activity was especially fun because many people have a favorite book from childhood and they were able to share that book with another child.”

Putting Saint Leo Core Values Into Action

Serving the local community is nothing new for members of Saint Leo’s Student Support Staff. Throughout the year, employee-run committees spearhead numerous outreach activities that reflect their commitment to the university’s core values: Excellence, Community, Respect, Personal Development, Responsible Stewardship and Integrity.

Adopting families through Catholic Charities’ Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center at Christmas. Collecting barrels of food for Metropolitan Ministries at Thanksgiving. Donating school supplies to inner-city youth or personal care items to military servicemembers. Rallying to support local families when their homes are destroyed by fire.

Student Support Center staff members give from the heart year round.

“The Community Service committee is always mindful of Saint Leo’s core values,” says Tricia. “Obviously, the core value of Community is right in our name. Throughout the year, we try to support local charitable organizations that we feel Saint Leo employees can make a real difference in their day to day operations.”

“The drive was worth it and more,” says Dan. “I hope we can do more in the future. Some of those kids could be future Saint Leo students and alumni.”

One potential Saint Leo Lion is third-grader is Najaeh, who says he loves to read.

“When I started third grade I was reading at a kindergarten level. Now my teacher says I’m almost at a fourth-grade level,” he says proudly.

“I read to get better.”

Honoring Father Marion Bowman with a Statue

Father Marion Bowman Pic 1

The statue dedication of Father Marion Bowman, O.S.B, took place on Apr. 2, during Alumni Weekend. The dedication was quite fitting during the weekend dedicated to alumni because many former students of this university returned to campus to celebrate in a weekend of festivities, including the dedication to the Father Marion’s statue, and many of these alumni knew Father Marion personally.

The ceremony was attended by alumni, current staff, and students. Although, on the day of the ceremony, it was raining heavily, the ceremony still took place at 12:30 pm in the gym. The master of the ceremony was Denny Moller, vice president of university advancement. After Moller, explained the importance of Father Marion and his statue, there was a prayer blessing of the statue.

The prayer was done by Father Robert V. Fucheck, a former student of Father Marion who also graduated in 1957 from Saint Leo College preparatory school, and a former teacher of history and theology of the prep school. In fact, after Fucheck joined the monastery, Father Marion insisted that Fucheck coached soccer even though he never played this sport, having played football in prep school.

Throughout the ceremony, Moller recognized the current Benedictine brothers and brothers-in-training, the benefactors, Hjalma Johnson and Laura Johnson, and the artist Stephen Dickey. The brothers, the benefactors, and the artist were recognized separately throughout the ceremony by standing and having the audience applaud for their great works.

Also, the audience applauded the current president, William J. Lennox, Jr., who presented a speech during the event. He offered appreciation to the benefactors and his predecessor, Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., who initially arranged for this statue to be installed. Lennox also claimed that the statue is more than simply a representation of Father Marion and his contribution to Saint Leo but also every monk that has contributed to the greatness of Saint Leo.

Although Lennox did not know Father Marion personally, he explained attributes and the mentality of Father Marion.

“Father Marion was never satisfied with the status quo, and never satisfied with good when greatness was possible,” said Lennox during his speech. “He is a great inspiration. He wouldn’t accept ordinary, he would only accept greatness.”

Father Marion, born Richard Bowman, came to Saint Leo when it was simply a preparatory school in 1920.

“He was [a] bright student and an outstanding athlete,” said Francis Crociata, senior development officer, about the time Father Marion attended the prep school.

Hailing from Kentucky, Father Marion gravitated toward the religious life and as soon as he graduated from Saint Leo College Preparatory School in 1924, he became a young monk-in-training. In fact, to begin on his path in being a monk, he entered the Abbey as a novice. According to University Communications, after his profession of his vows as a Benedictine monk, Father Marion was granted the religious name Father Marion.

“An interesting thing is one of his first assignments was to take care of the grounds. So, a lot of the oldest trees on the campus were planted by the then brother Marion,” Crociata said.

In addition to being a science and mathematics teacher, campus landscape architect, and arborist at the prep school, he was appointed to be the athletic director, according to University Communications. From 1932 to 1954, he coached football, track, basketball, and baseball as athletic director of Saint Leo. Father Marion led Saint Leo from being a losing school to one of the dominating schools in the athletic arena. For two decades, 1930’s and 1940’s, Saint Leo won an abundance of sports championships. In fact, Saint Leo was not only the most successful school in Florida for athletics but also arguably the most successful school in the Southeast.

“He was kind of coach that demanded the best out of every one work hard to do your best, [and] he insisted as a coach to look after his students’ studies,” said Crociata.

During Lennox’s speech at the statue dedication, he stated some of Father Marion’s quotes while coaching: “Thou shall not quit. Thou shall not be poor losers. Thou shall not gloat. Thou shall not underestimate thy opponent. Thou shall not over estimate thy self.”

In 1954, Father Marion was elected by his fellow monks to be the abbot, and he held this position for 15 years until 1969, becoming the third abbot in Saint Leo’s history. During this time, Saint Leo was transforming from a prep school to a college. Also, for most of the 1960’s, the then Abbot Marion was chancellor, which is chairman of the board.

As the chairman, he was able to raise money to build numerous buildings to aid in the transformation of Saint Leo to four-year Baccalaureate College. These buildings include the library, residents’ halls, classrooms, and science labs, according to University Communications. Father Marion was hands on in the engineering of some of these buildings since he loved construction and was a self-trained architect and project engineer. The Marion Bowman Center was built the same year that the then Abbot Marion served as acting president for the academic year of 1970-1971, and thus this athletic center was named after him.

“He lived for a long time as he stepped down as abbot. Retired, he worked around the college, being useful. He was the vice president of the democratic party of Florida,” explained Crociata.

Jumping ahead to 1997, Kirk’s first year as Saint Leo president, Kirk and Father Marion happened to gravitate towards each other. Actually, Kirk had something in common with Father Marion: a passion for athletics. Father Marion and Kirk were cut from the same cloth, both becoming friends during the beginning of Kirk’s presidency, according to Crociata.

Kirk had the idea that students should encounter works of art. So, whenever the university could afford it, statues should made. Since, in 1999, Father Marion died at age 94, Kirk came up with the idea to have the statue of Father Marion installed because he realized that many students did not know much about Father Marion, Crociata mentioned.

The statue of Father Marion was actually funded by generous benefactors, Hjalma Johnson and Laura Johnson. They allowed for the dedication of this statue to happen, both being were close friends of Father Marion and Saint Leo advocates. In the 1980’s, Hjalma Johnson was once a chairman of the Saint Leo college board and served as a trustee for over 15 years. Having served for such a long time, Saint Leo elected him as a trustee of emeritus, this honor means he can attend board meetings and voice his opinion, although he holds no voting power. They also donated funds for the statue, titled For Those Who Serve, which honor those who served in the US armed forces.

The statue was made by Steven Dickey, the same sculptor of the bronze statue in the courtyard of Apartments 5 and 6 honoring the acceptance of the first African American by the monks, titled A Spirit of Belonging. Dickey is famous for many sculptors, including the Special Operation Forces Memorial at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. In fact, the bronze statue of Father Marion was originally designed from a clay model. The cast of the clay was made and the bronze filled this cast, and the after numerous steps, the bronze statue was the product.

The statue is very detailed; upon closer look of the statue, the impression of glasses and Father Marion’s crow’s feet can be seen. The statue has the abbot’s gold pectoral cross chain over the heart, representing how close his faith was to Father Marion’s heart. His left fist is shooting upwards toward the sky, representing how Father Marion coached; the statue also has a coach’s whistle in his right hand. This statue encompasses the physical features as well as the essence of Father Marion, representing his two passions: athletics and religious life.

Tampa Bay Rays 2016 Preview

Winning isn’t everything, but it sure would be great.

The Tampa Bay Rays came in at fourth place in the American League East. They were 13 games behind first place. The Rays had a below average offense that hindered the abilities of a stellar pitching staff for the 2015 season.

They had a team slugging percentage of .406, while batting .252, not enough to win consistently during the season.

Their pitching was dominant, finishing sixth in the league for their earned run average of 3.63. The team finished fifth in the league when it came to strikeouts per game which clocked in at 8.37. They also took eighth place in the league for strikeouts per walk which was only 3.03.

“We are more pleased with the way the guys have, you know, responded with each other. We feel like we’ve got some really good team chemistry,” said Kevin Cash to RaysBaseball.com. Cash feels that this season the American League East should be a very competitive division.

The Rays have made a few changes to the team trying to add some players to enhance the overall teams’ abilities. They currently have a very good pitching rotation with Chris Archer, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly and Erasmo Ramirez.

Archer is only twenty-seven years old and has a killer slider. He had a decent ERA of 3.23 in 2015 and had an awesome K/9 at 10.7 which means he was striking out roughly 11 batters every game.

Meanwhile, finally on his way to full health, Moore, younger than Archer, finished the last season fairly strong and continues to do even better so far through spring training. With so much pressure between all the fans in Cuba and worldwide he took down the Cuban National Team, according to Tampa Bay News 9.

Odorizzi is a righty who is a very consistent pitcher. He doesn’t seem to get a lot of publicity but is still a very good pitcher.  Odorizzi obtained a solid ERA of 3.35. He had a good K/9 of 7.97 which showed that his defense didn’t have to stress out as much while he was pitching, but it had been higher in 2014 at 9.32 for the previous season. Odorizzi had improved his strike out per walk from a 2.95 in 2014 to a 3.26 in 2015.

Drew Smyly is returning from a shoulder injury in 2015. Smyly has been looking to bounce back this season coming season. Ramirez was doing extremely well last season throwing 163 1/3 innings with a very low ERA. It is assumed that Ramirez will not be used as a starter in the first month, according to Tampa Bay News 9.

The bullpen is up in the air at this point. The Tampa Bay Rays traded Jake McGee, a lefty who can throw a ball so fast it seems to be on fire, and on the other hand, Brad Boxberger is hurt. It has been noted in the past that the Rays have taken in strays and turned them into stars. It seems they might have to do the same this season.

Coming in at second to last for scoring last year in the American League East brought the team to pick up Corey Dickerson, a former Rockies outfielder. Dickerson, proving he can hit it out of the park, hit one of the longest homers this spring in Port Charlotte. Everyone is asking whether Dickerson can really be an everyday outfielder and hit left-handed pitching.

Along the way, the Rays acquired Brad Miller. They believe that Miller can help on their offensive side where they seem to be lacking. When it comes to Miller some question whether he can get over his throwing issues to really benefit the team.

In an attempt to really beef up the lineup, the Rays picked up Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce. Many wonder if Curt Casali will still be hitting as hard as he did last year now that he has a full year under his belt.

Evan Longoria seems to be an extremely good third baseman who will bring in twenty-five homers in addition to eighty runs batted in (RBIs). That’s definitely not bad in the baseball world, but the team still needs a few players who can help bring in some more runs.

Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, is the real deal. Some believe that Kiermaier may not have reached his peak just yet either. A Gold Glover with intense speed and aggression, which is much needed in this game. On the other hand some tend to think he may be a little too aggressive in his pitch selection, with only a 0.25 BB/K, showing little patience at the plate. Kiermaier is, and will continue to be, a fan favorite.

Overall, the main goal of the team is to stay healthy this season. There is a decent amount of talent and strength backing the team up and the team as a whole seems pretty confident.

Looking at the American League East, the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays are doing extremely well and will probably come into the season with higher expectations. On the other hand the Yankees are still a very competitive opponent for the Rays as well as the Baltimore Orioles.

Having that said, provided the team remains healthy and confident, the Rays will be in a three team race for third place in the division, and a spot in the playoffs. The Rays went 2-13 in games that went to extra innings. If they see an improvement from their bullpen that will go a long way to increase their chances of making the playoffs.