News Archives: Student Life

HPU students embark on summer mission trips

BROWNWOOD – May 30, 2014 – In preparation for summer mission trips through the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions, Howard Payne University students Ashley Chapman, Daniel Harris and Paula Johnson spent time reflecting on Isaiah 6:8.

The verse reads, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”

“The last words in that verse really stuck out to me,” said Chapman, a junior from Ennis. “I already had a plan for my summer, but the one God had for me is so much better. I now have a chance to serve in two areas that desperately need the Word of God and His unconditional love.”

Chapman will serve in Mission, Texas, and Mexico City, helping with backyard Bible clubs, Vacation Bible School, food distribution, personal evangelism, prayer walking, medical missions and more as she connects with the people living in those cities.

“I just hope with all my heart that I will be able to find those who are lost or have strayed from their faith and show them that God’s love will never leave us,” she said.

Daniel Harris, a sophomore from Boerne, will work with families, students, senior adults and children in a vastly underserved area of inner-city Houston. Harris will work at the Mission Centers of Houston, helping with English as a Second Language (ESL), sports camps, prayer walks, food and clothing drives and much more.

“My goal is to build bonds with my teammates and the people we are serving,” he said. “I really hope I can show people how they can have a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Paula Johnson, a junior from Spring, is already in Orlando serving with Give Kids The World, an organization through which children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free vacations.

“My hope is that I can make an impact on these children,” she said. “I want them to know that, though they are hurting now, God loves them and they are here for a reason.”

Keith Platte, director of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, encourages the university family and surrounding communities to be in prayer for the missionaries and the work they are doing this summer.

“I’m very thankful HPU has students each summer who are willing and excited to forego typical vacations in order to serve others,” he said. “I pray that God’s hand will be upon them and that His will is accomplished through them.”

Kelsan Wolverton of Lampasas receives HPU Yellow Rose Scholarship

2014 Yellow Rose Scholarship for webBROWNWOOD – May 22, 2014 – Howard Payne University sophomore Kelsan Wolverton of Lampasas was named the recipient of the Yellow Rose Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. The award was presented at the tenth annual HPU Woman’s Club Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon held on campus last month.

Wolverton is a cross-cultural studies and Bible major and minors in theatre. She is involved in a wide range of campus activities and is a member of the Student Planning Committee, the Student Activities Council and the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team. She has also been selected as an officer of the Ministerial Alliance and president of the HPU chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, a national theatre honor society. She is a student worker in HPU’s special events department.

Wolverton is the daughter of Kelly ’96 and Susan Wolverton. Her sister, Sharon, is a freshman at HPU.

The HPU Yellow Rose Scholarship is presented annually to a female HPU student who will begin her junior year in the upcoming fall semester and who has maintained a 3.0 GPA since beginning her freshman year at HPU. The recipient participates in campus extracurricular activities and exhibits leadership qualities representative of the Christian values and beliefs foundational to the university.

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Photo cutline: Kelsan Wolverton, second from left, received the HPU Yellow Rose Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. She is pictured with (from left) Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; Sharon Wolverton, her sister and HPU freshman; and Susan Wolverton, her mother.

HPU dean of students to serve on NASPA Region III board

Dr Brent Marsh NASPA for webBROWNWOOD – May 20, 2014 – Dr. Brent Marsh, vice president for student life and dean of students at Howard Payne University, was recently appointed to a two-year term as the Student-Athlete Knowledge Community Representative for NASPA Region III, an organization for student affairs administrators in higher education.

Dr. Marsh just completed his tenth year at HPU, a career through which he has had the opportunity to collaborate with and supervise a team of student affairs professionals and athletics personnel.

“I am thankful for this leadership and service opportunity within NASPA,” said Dr. Marsh. “The position will provide a platform to advocate for the needs and interests of student-athletes at large, but my experience at HPU should be especially helpful in providing a voice for NCAA Division III participants.”

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Photo cutline: Dr. Brent Marsh, vice president for student life and dean of students at Howard Payne University, was recently named the Student-Athlete Knowledge Community Representative for NASPA Region III.

HPU Cheer Team places second at American Cheer Power Competition

HPU Cheer Team Spring 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – May 15, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Cheer Team traveled to San Antonio recently to participate in the American Cheer Power Competition. The team was awarded second place in the College Division and received the New School Award.

The team is coached by Alyson Price and coordinated by Gretchen Campbell, executive assistant to the vice president for student life and dean of students.

HPU cheerleaders perform at all home football and basketball games throughout the academic year. The team raised money to cover travel expenses for the trip through fundraisers such as bake sales, child care and cheer judging at area middle and high schools.

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Photo cutline: The HPU Cheer Team recently placed second at the American Cheer Power Competition. Back row, left to right: Dalton Sembritzky, freshman from Fredericksburg; Kris Lowrey, sophomore from Brownwood; Zach Eller, junior from Temple; Luis Solis, senior from Prosper; and Cameron Garcia, senior from Rosenberg. Front row, left to right: Sierra Damron, sophomore from Baird; Krista Cook, freshman from Brownwood; Cassi Parsons, freshman from Gordon; Kathryn Riddle, freshman from Midland; Raven Gilreath, sophomore from Stinnett; Shelby Creed, senior from Brownwood; and Kelci Feist, junior from De Leon.

HPU “beach reachers” minister at South Padre Island

Beach Reach Group Photo for webBy Rachel Ellington, Howard Payne University junior

BROWNWOOD – April 28, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry facilitates many events and trips that send students to spread the gospel. One of those annual trips is Beach Reach. For 34 years, college students from across the United States have traveled to South Padre Island during Spring Break to reach other students for Christ.

The founder of Beach Reach, Buddy Young, stated on the website that the main objective is to ensure a safe Spring Break while starting meaningful conversations about Jesus. While on the island, HPU students focused on servant hood and conversation while offering van rides, pancakes, bottled water and prayer, all free of charge.

This year’s Beach Reach kicked off on March 15, 2014, at Island Baptist Church, the base of operations. More than 800 students prayed for the week and shared a meal together.

Activities Sunday through Thursday consisted of van rides every day from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. The Beach Reach volunteers gave rides and took every opportunity to have conversations with each person. They also served pancakes in the church parking lot at the same times.

Giant sand sculptures in the middle of the beach – each depicting a different biblical theme or scene – also served as conversation starters. Beach Reach teamed up with Randy Hofman, a professional sand sculptor who created a different sculpture every day. Then students would stand around the sculpture and ask people what they thought about it. Hofman has created these sculptures at Beach Reach for 25 years in a row.

This year, according to Keith Platte, HPU’S BSM director, HPU partnered with Hardin-Simmons University and took 28 students. Seven of those students participated last year as well.

“We hope that every year the number of students we take on this trip increases because they keep coming back and they are bringing more students with them to be a part of this ministry,” said Platte.

HPU students had numerous favorite parts of the Beach Reach experience.

“My favorite part of Beach Reach was connecting with people on van rides, serving people and starting conversations about the sand sculptures,” said Courtney Tatum, a sophomore from Stephenville.

Beach Reach Sand Sculpture for webZac Sterling, a transfer student from Farmington, N.M., recalled, “Making connections and having real conversations with real people on the vans was awesome.”

“Being able to reach people and show them the love of Jesus when they think they don’t deserve it was incredible,” said Dalton Clark, a freshman from Abilene.

Sophomore Ruby Johnson from Alvarado, who was a returnee to Beach Reach, recalled the prayer room the students arranged.

“We had different stations around the room with a prayer request table, a praise table and even a Twitter feed on a big screen,” she said. “The more people who were in there praying, the more cool stuff you could see happening. You could really see God moving!”

In addition to Tatum, Sterling, Clark and Johnson, other HPU students participating in the trip were: Shaefer Church, freshman, Bloomfield, N.M.; Kaiti Cochrum, sophomore, Burnet;
Lacy Culpepper II, junior, Zephyr; Ruth Davis, freshman, San Antonio; Cristalyn Fitzgerald, senior, Burleson; Allyson Gainey, junior, Kermit; Trent Gainey, junior, Kermit; Samantha Hill, freshman, Irving; TaShana Hooker, freshman, Carrollton; Dillon Hughes, freshman, Richardson; Kim Lilley, senior, Brownwood; Xavier McFalls, sophomore, Amarillo; Andi Peaster, sophomore, Edinburg; Emily Selman, freshman, Red Oak; Rebekah Steadman, senior, Fort Worth; Katie Vernon, junior, Bangs; Colette Wilcoxen, junior, Austin; Ashley Willis, sophomore, Mansfield; Joshua Woods, sophomore, Annapolis, Md.; and Brandon Yost, senior, Roseville, Calif.

“Beach Reach is about showing people Jesus through actions rather than just words,” said Keith Platte. “Our students met physical needs as well as a need for Christ.”

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Photo cutline #1: HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry took a group to South Padre Island to minister during Spring Break. Pictured are (back row, left to right): Shaefer Church, Lacy Culpepper, Dalton Clark, Brandon Yost, Trent Gainey, Joshua Woods, Dillon Hughes, Ruby Johnson.

Middle row, left to right: Keith Platte, Andi Peaster, Rebekah Steadman, Allyson Gainey, Kaiti Cochrum, Ashley Willis, TaShana Hooker, Colette Wilcoxen, Courtney Tatum, Zac Sterling, Xavier McFalls

Front row, left to right: Cristalyn Fitzgerald, Emily Selman, Kim Lilley, Katie Vernon, Ruth Davis, Samantha Hill

HPU’s Resurrection Week to begin April 14

Dave EdwardsBROWNWOOD – April 9, 2014 – Howard Payne University will host Resurrection Week, the university’s annual spring revival, April 14-16. The featured speaker for the week is Dave Edwards of Dave Edwards Ministries in Oklahoma City. Worship will be led by recording artist Jami Smith.

Edwards, who describes himself as an “itinerant postmodern pastor,” has shared his unique brand of ministry with young people for more than a decade. He speaks more than 500 times each year and has authored 14 books. More information can be found at www.davetown.com.

Smith, one of the premier worship leaders in the country, travels around the world using music as a tool to help believers connect with the Lord. According to her website, www.jamismith.com, “Salt and Light” from her 2002 release Wash Over Me hovered at the top of the charts, while her 2008 release Faith In You was named one of the top worship albums of 2008 by Christianity Today.

Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday at the university’s Mims Auditorium. All services are open to the public.

Jami Smith“We are very excited about our upcoming services related to the greatest event in human history, man’s redemption through the death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ,” said Corey Ash, chapel coordinator and director of bands. “I know that Dave and Jami will challenge us to be more like the Savior we serve. I’m really looking forward to what God is going to do in our lives on campus, throughout our community and beyond!”

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Photo cutline: Dave Edwards and Jami Smith will headline Resurrection Week at Howard Payne University next week.

HPU to present Spring Sing 2014

spring sing for webBROWNWOOD – February 21, 2014 – Howard Payne University students will perform in the annual Spring Sing event on Friday and Saturday, February 28 and March 1, at 7:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, in Mims Auditorium.

This year’s theme is “Remember When” and each participating group will perform a 12-minute original musical/theatrical sketch that will be filled with action, hilarity and inspiration. Student organizations participating in this year’s event include the Archery Club, Chi Alpha Omega, Delta Chi Rho, Iota Chi Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi, Sigma Theta Phi and Tau Beta Sigma.

Spring Sing is a popular event on the HPU campus, drawing audiences of students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the community. General admission tickets are $5 for all audiences and are available for purchase beginning Monday, February 24. Tickets may be purchased at the Cashier’s Office (room 203 of HPU’s Packer Administration Building) or during lunch in the Mabee University Center. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door on the evenings of the event. Reserved seating tickets are available for $10 at the HPU Cashier’s Office but must be purchased by Thursday, February 27.

A Spring Sing student committee, co-chaired by Kaitlin Vernon, a junior from Bangs, and Brandon Yost, a senior from Fresno, Calif., is coordinating this year’s production. Staff advisers include Francie Harvey, director of student activities; Nancy Pryor, resident director; Jake Sneath, resident director; and Dr. Brent Marsh, vice president for student life and dean of students.

“As a treasured tradition on campus, Spring Sing is the perfect opportunity for alumni and community members to visit campus,” Harvey explains. “We have more groups than ever, and audiences are going to experience each organization’s qualities and humor.”

Photo cutline: HPU will present its annual Spring Sing event February 28 and March 1 at the university’s Mims Auditorium.

HPU to celebrate Black History Month

black_history_month_chapel_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – January 29, 2014 – Howard Payne University will celebrate Black History Month in February with a special chapel service at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the university’s Mims Auditorium. The public is invited to attend as students and alumni of the university commemorate the “Golden Jubilee” celebration of the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“This program is designed to be educational as well as entertaining,” said Wilbert Rogers, a 1975 HPU graduate and coordinator of the service each year.

Rogers and other members of the African-American Chapter of the HPU Alumni Association have been hard at work writing and rehearsing the program. Rogers writes the scripts based on topics provided by the National Black History Month organization and assigns parts to have as many participants as possible.

Dr. Brent Marsh, vice president for student life and dean of students, reported that the Black History Month program has been a wonderful addition to the spring semester chapel schedule and encourages involvement by current HPU students.

“This program provides a wonderful opportunity for current students to connect with alumni as together they provide a chapel program which will educate and inspire,” he said.

Gladys Murray, a 1980 alumna of the university, organizes the program and manages the technology used during the service.

“Most of all, we hope to educate the students and other attendees on black history, opening their eyes to the issues that we had to encounter to get laws passed so that they did not have to suffer through these issues,” she said. “We also hope to instill in them that violence is not the way to get things done.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and aimed to replace the longstanding “separate but equal” doctrine which permitted racial segregation.

“It is important for each student to realize his or her potential,” Murray said. “Black History Month is not only for the black people. It was created for all people to become equal. Even today, our success is not because of the color of our skin. We must look past this and see the best in everyone.”

In addition to the HPU performance, the service will be presented the same day at Brownwood High School at 2:00 p.m. in the auditorium. The community is invited to attend either performance.

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Photo cutline: HPU junior Zacchaeus Steidel-Santiago sang “If I Can Help Somebody” during the university’s Black History Month chapel service last year.

HPU students to spend Spring Break ministering to beachgoers

HPU at Beach Reach 2013 for webBROWNWOOD – January 22, 2014 –Though the spring 2014 semester at Howard Payne University began just last week, 23 students are already finalizing their plans for Spring Break. These students will spend the week at South Padre Island, a popular destination for many college students across the country. However, they will have a much different goal than most of the other beachgoers – spreading the Word of Jesus Christ.

“The main focus for us at Beach Reach is pretty simple,” says Keith Platte, director of the HPU Baptist Student Ministry. “We will meet people’s needs, and tell them about Jesus along the way.”

Those needs, Platte explains, include offering safe rides, food and adequate water, and providing a listening ear.

“While we do that, though, we are also concerned for the whole person,” he says. “We realize that though students may be at South Padre Island for a different reason, we are all in the same boat – sinners in need of a Savior. “

This is Platte’s second year to lead an HPU Beach Reach team.

“When we got the opportunity to share freely with people at Beach Reach last year we found that many of the stigmas people have about Christians disappear, and many of the stigmas Christians have about sharing the Gospel disappear,” he says. “You never know how starting a conversation about football, college life, dating, video games, family or even someone’s name can open the doorway to the beginning of life transformation.”

Platte says the community can play two vital roles in the BSM’s trip to South Padre Island.

“The first is prayer,” he says. “We need many people praying as we go. The scene on South Padre Island is one that is not for the weak. There is a spiritual battle going on in the midst of what the world calls ‘a good time.’”

Platte asks the community to be in prayer for the HPU group and the individuals they will encounter, as well as for safety, boldness and overall strength to face the challenges they will meet.

“Mostly, we desire prayer for the Holy Spirit to precede us in everything we do, preparing the way and guiding us to people who are ready to hear the Good News of Christ,” he says.

Platte quotes Matthew 9:37, in which Jesus tells his disciples “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

“We have 23 workers who are willing to go, alongside 700 other college students from across the country, to meet the potential harvest of several thousand beachgoers,” he says. “So, please, we need prayer.”

Secondly, the community is invited to assist the HPU “beach reachers” through financial support. Donations to help offset the trip expenses are welcome. An online donation form is available at http://www.hputx.edu/springbreakmissions.

“I am so excited that we have had so many students say yes to this call to serve and share, and we know there are people out there who God uses to support the spreading of the Gospel,” Platte says. “The Apostle Paul didn’t do it on his own in the book of Acts. We know that we cannot do it on our own and we would love to share in the spreading of the Gospel by letting others partner with us.”

For more information about Beach Reach and the HPU Baptist Student Ministry’s other initiatives, visit www.hputx.edu/bsm. Platte may be contacted at (325) 649-8319 or via e-mail at kplatte@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: HPU students will return to South Padre Island to share the Gospel during Spring Break 2014. Last year’s group included (top row, from left) Rebekah Steadman, Jennifer Goff and Alex Caro. Bottom row, from left: Andi Peaster, Xavier McFalls, Allyson Gainey, Lacy Culpepper, Whitney Williams, Kim Lilley and Ruby Johnson.