Double, Double, LEAP & Trouble: Scare on the Square

By Christina Perez

Ring after ring flew from their hands, aimed at the point of a witch’s hat. Three at the floor, one hitting the mark, and one hitting a human hotdog. But alas, at least one hat had been hooped around by the ring and was merit for a prize of chalk or bubbles. Why so much scary, carnival fun at the square? Why, it was the annual Huntsville Scare on the Square.

Scare on the Square, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Huntsville Main Street

Last Saturday the LEAP Center hosted a booth at Scare on the Square. Scare on the Square is an annual Halloween event sponsored by The Huntsville Main Street Program. About 40 different businesses, schools, and local organizations host games and activities for community children. Scare on the Square is sponsored by local businesses and it is a safe atmosphere for families to enjoy themselves.

Scare on the Square, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Huntsville Main Street

If you are creative and wear a costume it will spare you from having to pay the entrance fee of one dollar. Embracing this costume-wearing practice, the LEAP students arrived in a variety of costumes themselves from Minnie Mouse to Charlie Chaplin.

Scare on the Square, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Huntsville Main Street

With weeks of anticipation prior to Scare on the Square, the LEAP center engineering team (aka a few of the LEAPsters) designed a game built to increase levels of happiness to the maximum. In the end, we created the “Witch’s Hat Ring Toss.” Similar to a bean bag toss, it required the competitor to loop hat dressed cones with a pool ring. Let’s just say that hand-eye coordination was important in order to successfully master this enchanted game.

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With smiling faces, all the children (and even some LEAPsters) patiently waited in line to play, ready to ring one or two witch hats.

Scare on the Square, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Huntsville Main Street

We had a few future athletes who knew at exactly what angle to throw the rings. Yet even more children measured wind speed, warmed up their best throwing arm, made their marks, and walked right up to the cones to place the ring into the hat.

Scare on the Square, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Huntsville Main Street

In between handing out rings and giving out candy, we amused ourselves by noticing the creative Spidermen, Pikachus, Elsas, Super Girls (we even had our own superwoman!), as well as some actually frightening costumes.

Scare on the Square, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Huntsville Main Street

But even more rewarding was the look on their faces when they looped a hat (without cheating).

With the LEAP center’s 1800 pieces of candy gone, we packed our tent and witchy game satisfied with the 400 plus jolly children that had visited us. We are grateful for the sponsors and coordinators of these events that allow us to interact with the community!

Scare on the Square, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Huntsville Main Street

Citizenship and Engagement: Being an Informed Voter

As a public service to the community, the Walker County Republican Women hosted a “candidates’ forum” on Monday night, inviting candidates at all levels and of all stripes to meet the public. With five minutes to discuss their intentions and platform and an almost unlimited time to mingle, the forum provided a key service to the voting public.

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The Walker County Hospital District candidates were the first to speak. With three positions up for election and six candidates running for the position, the meet and greet was important to decide on who to elect this November. Two of the candidates currently serve on the board while the other four are seeking election for the first time. This was an informative meeting; we learned about the important distinction between the Walker County Hospital District Board and the Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board. The Hospital Board is a board of directors composed of community leaders who oversee the broad direction of the Hospital. The Hospital District Board, on the other hand, is made up of elected officials responsible for overseeing the District, its finances, its physical structures, and its health care.  Although this latter district has the ability to tax, such revenues only make up a small portion of the hospital’s overall revenues.

The Huntsville City Council candidates also participated with their own five-minute overviews.  They also engaged in a Q&A by the audience, and addressed the bond election.  The voters of Huntsville will decide on three bond propositions:

  • Proposition One: Improve Public Safety Facilities (not to exceed 31,000,000)
  • Proposition Two: Improve City Service Facilities (not to exceed 24,000,000)
  • Proposition Three: Improve City Waterworks and Sewer Facilitiies (not to exceed 73,000,000)

With these weighty matters on our minds, we thanked the Republican Women for organizing the event, and we exited pondering upcoming decisions.

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Tailgating with CHSS for Homecoming

Nonstop chanting filled the backstreets of SHSU as the community gathered for the 2016 Homecoming tailgate. As the first college tailgating experience for most of the LEAP students, we took on the crowds of students, parents, fans, pets, and Huntsville community members. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (also known on campus as CHSS) kindly allowed the LEAP Ambassadors to join their tailgate celebration.

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As volunteers, our duties were simple; set up and help pass out food.

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We passed out over 1,200 chicken wings and they went fast! Many lined up to win a prize from the CHSS booth and get a sample of the savory wings. Although hot and crowded, the tailgate was a fun experience. Dean Abbey Zink and Associate Deans Rhonda Callaway along with Jerry Bruce also joined our pre-game celebration. It was great to see the community and faculty come together for our homecoming game against Abilene Christian University.

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After our shift with CHSS ended, many of the LEAP students explored the other booths to scout out their prizes and food. We ate pizza, turkey legs, sausage wraps, popcorn, and topped it off with some sweet tea. Various booths blared music and gave free SHSU merchandise. These school spirited trinkets and momentos where used to represent our school at the game which had begun right after the festivities. The chants continued all the way to victory against ACU (48-21). The LEAP Ambassadors are always happy to try new things, especially when it involves delicious food, fun football, and volunteerism!

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Exploring Northwest Arkansas: Razorback Country

July 15, 2016

Rejuvenated from sleep, we woke ready for our day, which would consist of touring the University of Arkansas Law School, hiking and catching a movie to wind down.


University of Arkansas School of Law

When we arrived at the University of Arkansas School of Law, we met with Ms. Kalesha McGraw, the Assistant Director of Admissions, and she welcomed us to the school before taking us to the student lounge for a quick overview of the law school. We learned about the admissions process, the class schedules and sizes, and the student life in Fayetteville. We also learned about notable (former) faculty such as Bill and Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton becomes elected, University of Arkansas -Fayetteville will be the first law school to have more than one faculty member become President of the United States. The rest of the Q&A section with Ms. McGraw consisted of questions that ranged from the cost and the admissions process to the actual courses and the structure of the classes.

After our informative Q&A session, we walked upstairs to observe Professor Day’s Professional Responsibility class. This is a required course and helps students prepare for the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). This exam is a prerequisite for taking the Bar Exam and tests law students’ knowledge on ethics. During the summer fewer students are on campus, but classes are still in session. The topic of discussion for class today was on conflicts an attorney may face during their practice. Throughout the class, the Professor explained conflicts using cases where ethical issues arose. To explain a complicated scenario, the Professor and students even role played a scene which presented the situation in an interesting and clear way. We enjoyed the class and our Professor’s informative teaching methods!

Following class, we took a quick tour around the building visiting places like the courtroom and the library. The law school was even nice enough to provide lunch for us! Satisfied, we stopped to admire the Jesus Moroles sculptures in the courtyard…

University of Arkansas School of Law, Jesus Moroles, Fayetteville, LEAP Ambassadors
LEAP Ambassadors at University of Arkansas School of Law, Jesus Moroles’ Sculptures

…and the front of the school on our way out.

Front of U of A Law, With Additional Moroles Sculptures
Front of U of A Law, With Additional Moroles Sculptures

Many thanks to Ms. McGraw and the University of Arkansas- Fayetteville Law School for their hospitality!

After a morning filled with learning and a long trip, some of us decided to take a mental and physical break.  Others, however, soldiered on, readying ourselves for a brief bit of shopping and a hike in Devil’s Den State Park.

Before driving down highway 170 into Devil’s Den State Park, we stopped to peak into some shops in town. Once everyone was satisfied with what they had purchased, we began our journey to Devil’s Den. As our second hike of the trip, the first being the climb up Pinnacle Mt. near Little Rock, we felt prepared and pumped up for the rugged expedition that we were about to take part of. With the sun falling on the horizon, the weather was a prime condition to explore inside the woods.


Devil’s Den

This 2,500 acre state park offers myriad outdoor activities, from rafting to camping to hiking.  We chose the latter, embarking on the Devil’s Den Self-Guided trail, which is 1.5 miles round-trip.

As we began on our trail we descended down masonry steps. Such modifications to the trails and other man made structures within the state park were once Civilian Conservation Corps projects from the Great Depression. The engineering talent of these laborers is clear when taking these steps and observing how strong they still are, even after almost a century of its construction! The traces of useful man made structures became fewer as we went deeper into the woods.

Ahead of us stood trails traced through the rocky cliffs with trees filtering the sun and casting a serene shadow over the whole scene. Then, the trail neared a river, waters sonorously rushing through and echoing through the woods. This sound at times kept us focused, as we knew that as long as we kept the river at our left shoulders we were going the right way. Along the trail, at times encountering uneven, slippery and rocky ground, we found caves in which the temperature inside would lower presumably by ten-twenty degrees.

Devil's Den State Park, LEAP Ambassadors, Caverns
LEAP Ambassadors in One of Devil’s Dens’ Caverns

The trail also goes by the more descriptive name of “Double Falls” Hike, so named because of two falls that appear about halfway through the trail.  For us, though, the trail could have been named “Triple Falls,” because, hearing water of the main trail, we made tracks over a hill to find a small waterfall.

To get there, we had to cross a log bridge…

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…but this only added to the excitement of our discovery.

Having safely traversed the fallen-tree bridge, we frolicked in the waterfalls…

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…okay, frolicked may be too strong of a word.  But we did have fun.

We found additional falls further along our hike.

Waterfalls, Devil's Den State Park, LEAP Ambasadors
Waterfalls in Devil’s Den State Park

Only a few feet beyond these falls was another waterfall, equally as delightful.

LEAP Ambassadors, Devil's Den State Park, Waterfalls
Waterfalls at Devil’s Den State Park

From our trek we had worked our selves into perspiration and slight exhaustion. The refreshing, cool water of these natural showers, however, were just the perfect manna we needed to continue on our journey through Devil’s Den.

From the falls, the hike wends it way downhill, which offers another striking view of the falls.

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And this perspective provided additional photo ops.

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We even found another log bridge on which to climb.

Tree Bridge, Devil's Den State Park, LEAP Ambassadors
LEAP Ambassadors Enjoy Devil’s Den State Park

As we completed the 1 1/2 mile hike, ducking our heads to evade pesky spider webs threaded from tree to tree…

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…we contemplated our accomplishments. We had finished another hike on our trip! With tiring limbs and sweaty backs, we climbed the van with a sense of victory and ready to relax and catch a movie.

But, first, we made two more stops.  We picked up food from Hammontree’s, an excellent grilled cheese specialty restaurant in Fayetteville.  We also made our way to Mt. Sequoyah, the highest spot in Fayetteville, where we watched the sunset.

LEAP Ambassadors, Mt. Sequoyah, NW Arkansas
LEAP Ambassadors at Mt. Sequoya

It was, we thought, a fitting end to a wonderful trip.


Movies and Winding Down

Once we had freshened up at the hotel, we climbed back into the van and drove to a near by movie theater to watch the remake of Ivan Reitman’s hit movie, Ghostbusters. Even though the original film is about 30 years old, most of us had previously watched it and waited in anticipation through the previews to see how similar this remake would be to our beloved original.

We found many differences between the new film and the original Ghost Busters film, an obvious one being that women instead of men were playing the lead roles. Most of us focused more attention to the fact that Paul Feig’s film also includes multiple nods to Reitman’s original and Sigourney Weaver, Dan Akroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and even Bill Murray make appearances. After an hour and forty-seven minutes filled with laughs that echoed in the theater (mostly Megan’s), we were ready to turn in for the night to prepare for our long journey home tomorrow morning.