Spotlight Series: Morgan Weaver

For this installment of the Spotlight Series, we will meet new high school football coach Morgan Weaver. Morgan has loved football since the early age of 5. Football has allowed him numerous opportunities and opened many doors throughout his life, and now he is giving back.

Weaver was raised in south suburban Country Club Hills Ill. A graduate of Hillcrest High School, he then went on to attend Winona State University. He played football for WSU on scholarship. He graduated with a degree is Excercise Science: Cardiopulmonary Rehab. After graduating he signed a contract to play indoor football with the Cedar Rapids Titans. And now, he has accepted the position as Head Football Coach at Hillcrest High School.

Weaver has a strong support system and many great influencers. They include his older brother Tremaine Weaver, cousin Kyran Weaver, uncle Alvin Weaver, Marquice Cole and college coaches David Bruan and Brett Holinka. All of these men have been vital to him in helping him become a better player and coach.

At just 25 years old, Weaver has accomplished so much. He has been fortunate enough to take something he loves and make it his career. He is now invested in making a difference in the students’ lives. “I spend a lot of time with my guys and it’s rewarding when you start to see positive change…My ultimate goal is to turn Hillcrest into a factory…meaning I want Hillcrest football to be known for getting guys into college and helping them earn scholarships. I love winning games but there’s not a better feeling than seeing our players sign letter of intents to go get their education and play some football along the way, for free or cheaper than normal tuition.”

Some people take a lifetime to figure out what they want to do with their lives, but not Weaver. “I got into my love for football at a very young age. At age 5, I knew playing football was something I wanted to do for as long as God would allow me to. As I got older, I started to understand how life and football go hand and hand…I always knew I would be coaching at some point in my life, it just happened earlier then I expected. Following my player career I wanted to come back and pass on what I’ve learned at the collegiate and professional level (IFL). Marquice Cole came back to Hillcrest in 2015, right around the time I was finishing up, and he had an opening and gave me as shot, I haven’t looked back since.”

Weaver is excited and looking forward to making this school year memorable. “I am looking forward to seeing the guys develop on and off the field…becoming respectable young men and making their high school career a memorable experience.” He is dedicated to his students lifelong success and not just the fleeting success of winning games. He has become a positive role model for the students, an example of what they can strive to be with hard work. He is proof that you should never give up on your dreams.

Weaver and the Hawks football team are gearing up to kick off their season on 8/26/17 at 3pm. They will be playing at and against Morgan Park High School Mustangs. You can catch Weaver on the field in action at any Hillcrest Hawks football game. Here’s to a great season and school year!

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Morgan Weaver

5 Things for College Students to Remember

August is here. Summer is fading out and fall is pushing in. Gone are the days of beach and swimsuit commercials, they have been replaced with back to school commercials. For those getting ready to start a new semester of college, or even those going away for the very first time, it can be very overwhelming. College brings about a lot of freedom, joined with alot of responsibility. So, here are the most important things I leaned while tacking my undergraduate career.

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Call your parents! I can not stress this one enough. Your parents want to hear from you, and not just when you want money or a care package. My mom and I had awesome conversations while I was a way in school. There was a shift in dynamic, I was no longer just her child, but a responsible adult. I’m not saying call and check-in every day but, at least once a week. Set aside about 20 minutes once a week to call and check-in, let them be involved in your week, and get involved in theirs. That phone call may mean the world to them, because believe me they miss you more than you know. giphy2

Make nice with your professors! Remember in grade school when you made fun of “teacher’s pets?” Well I’m here to tell you, you shouldn’t have. In college it’s not abnormal to have a professor that has no clue who you are. Going to class is not enough! You need to be proactive, get to know your professors. Go to their office hours, discuss assignments, or just pick their brains. Now most would confuse this with sucking up but in all actuality, this is to your advantage. Every professor likes to know that their students are engaged and actually gaining knowledge from their class. Every professor grades differently and looks for different things. Once you get to know their style, I guarantee you will have a much easier time scoring high. You pay tuition for them to help you through the semester, there is absolutely no need for you to struggle. But, you will have some late nights and early mornings, but you can do it! I had one professor that truly gave me a run for my money. In the beginning I could earn no greater than a C on her papers. I had never gotten a C on a paper in my life. I started going to her office hours discussing my papers, learning her layouts and expectations and by the end of the semester earned an A in the class! giphy3

Get Active! Try to become an active part of your college community. I don’t just mean being the life of the campus parties, or being known for the person that can take the most shots, but actually get to know key people on campus. Take time finding the student centers, counseling center, and especially tutoring centers. Utilize all of your resources! Whether it be with a campus job, internship, or joining clubs, get involved. When you graduate you will be looking for jobs. You will also need references and reference letters. Since up to that point you may not have had much work experience, your campus activity will give your future employer an idea of who you are. Sitting in your dorm room listening to music is cool, but you have to get out of your comfort zone sometimes to set yourself a part from the many others who will be graduating with you. In my last semester of college I was working for the university newspaper, held an internship in the Alumni office, and knew all of my professors. They were all good people who in turn did not hesitate to write me reference letters, or anything else I needed when it was time for me to graduate.

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Use your meal plan wisely! In beginning of the semester you generally get a hefty amount of meal plan money. Although, this may differ from university to university, the one thing that’s the same is no one wants to be starving by the end of the semester! So, use your swipes wisely and try not to get in the habit of swiping your friends meals!

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College Will Eventually End! I heard it so many times and I let it go in one ear and out the other, “These are  the best years of your life.” College allows you to be selfish, make decisions, and mistakes. You get the opportunity to learn who you really are outside of your parents. Although this time will come to an end, make the best of it while you have it. Party, hang out, meet new people, take this time to live your authentic life. Once you cross that tassel, it’s nothing but bills and adulthood waiting for you. 

Also, take this time to think about the person you want to be once you graduate. Start considering if you want to go straight to gradute school or to the work force. Don’t wait until the last minute to start your job search. Be proactive! Make time during your last year to mentally prepare for the transition that is up ahead.

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Overall, have fun! Although exams, midterms, and finals seem like corporal punishment, that’s a cakewalk compared to what you will face in the real world. Take this time to learn and grow in your purpose! 

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What is something you wish you knew in college you know now? Or college students, what would you like to know? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 

Spotlight Series: D’Laun Montgomery

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D’Laun Montgomery has always had an eye for fashion. He grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago.  He is the co-owner of fashion boutique Lost and Found.

“I developed a passion for entrepreneurship because of the freedom it would give me… we are our own bosses.” There is a great deal of respect that comes with being a business owner, and a young business owner at that. Montgomery and his partners are definitely earning that respect.

Montgomery met one of his business partners in 2012, they were college roommates. He took interest in his style. “Marc was always at least 2 years ahead of fashion trends, and I admired his fashion sense.” Montgomery went from just admiring, to searching and really diving into the fashion scene.

The boutique has been in operation since November 15, 2015. He has no plans of stopping his train to success. He feels that fashion allows people to express their individualism, and rightly so. He has his future on his mind as he has been strategically moving forward with his business partners. Ultimately, he wants his store to become the standard for all retail. Working for other people did not give him the same satisfction as working for himself, and towards his own goals.

Montgomery has more than present satisfaction in mind, he is aiming toward generational wealth. “I want to start building generational wealth…I don’t have any kids now but I’m putting in 18-19 hours into my business regularly now so I can spend time with my kids later on in life.”

Montgomery’s major influences include Ralph Lauren, Greg Selkoe, Curtis Jackson, and Dame Dash. At just 24 years old he has accomplished so much and is looking to conquer so much more!

You can support him and keep up with all of his exciting upcoming endeavors and information by following him at…

Facebook:
D’Laun Montgomery

Instagram:
@Poppadopolis_

Twitter:
@Poppadopolis_

 

 

Spotlight Series: Ebony Ellis

Getting my nails and or feet done is one of my personal favorite ways to engage in self-care. It is a time to relax and unwind and feel pampered away from the real world. Many women have standing nail appointments, and many will only let certain nail technicians handle their nail maintenance. I happen to be one of those people. For this installment of my Spotlight Series, I would like to introduce you all to my one and only favorite nail technician, Ms.Ebony Ellis.

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Ms.Ebony Ellis

 Ebony is a Chicago native and grew up in Country Club Hills Il. She was fortunate enough to realize early on that nails were her passion. As a child, Ebony’s step-mother attended a nail class, Ebony attended with her. During the class Ebony was allowed to participate in the class as well. At that moment she realized she found not only something that she liked, but something she was good at. Fast forward to today, Ebony has been doing nails now for a total of 22 years.

Although, through those 22 years she has worked other jobs, she explains, “I never got the same satisfaction, and I would eventually quit.” It is a blessing when people are able to find their passions in life, and Ebony has definitely found hers. She makes it her mission to have her clients feel relaxed. She also takes pride in her craft through her professionalism, by being prompt and prepared for her clients. Her work is neat, and precise.

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My Coffin Nails!

Ebony is not only a nail technician but a mother. “My daughter is my biggest motivator, i push myself because I want to shoe her (daughter) that anything can be done with hard work, I know she’s watching so I have to make sure I make it.”

Ultimately, Ebony would like to own her own suite, to not only service clients but begin to teach classes for upcoming nail technicians. She has been in the business for quite a while, but that does not mean she is done learning and growing. A major key to success is to always keep moving forward and doing more to expand yourself, and she is doing just that. She explained, “I get satisfaction knowing people love what I create and especially when a client looks at her nails and says yasss!…I love the reaction!…This is a very competitive business, i try not to compare myself to others, but it makes me happy to know that people think my work is bomb!”

Let’s take a moment to celebrate and acknowledge Ms. Ebony Ellis as she leaves her traces of #BlackGirlMagic on so many clients each day! She is a great reminder that black girls do nails too! You can follow her and see more of her work at instagram.com/sanginnailtek 💅🏾

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My Stiletto Nails

 

My Road to Becoming a Published Author

As most of you could have guessed by now, writing is my sole passion, it always has been and always will be. Unfortunately, I don’t think I FULLY realized this until recently.

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Blogging isn’t something I just do for fun. While it is fun and I love it, I do it for my love of writing. It has become my way to keep learning and practicing the wonderful world of writing.

 My love of writing started at a young age. I still have scrapbooks of books, poems, and stories I made while I was in grade school. In high school, I became a reporter for the school newspaper and by my junior year, I was the editor. Then came college time, I was accepted into a very well know school for journalism, but due to financial circumstances I could not attend. Instead, I attended junior college for my first two years with a full tuition scholarship. By the time I finished those two years, I’m not sure exactly what happened. Before finally getting my bachelors 2.5 years later, I had gone through a couple different majors. I was a speech pathology major for a semester, changed to English Education, then finally changed to English and a minor of Journalism. Once I did this I was so relieved. I had finally gotten back to my roots., my classes were intriguing and I felt like I was living my purpose. I began writing again, and heavy. I was a part of the university newspaper and magazine, I held an internship in which I blogged for the university, overall I was genuinely happy.

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But, since graduating I have not quite been able to get into the field with a full-time writing gig. For me, this would be ideal, my dream job. As a kid, I always was to be a writer for VIBE Magazine.

I decided to go to grad school, once again with a major that had nothing to do with writing. While my grades were stellar, I had no connection to what I was spending so much time on. I decided to stop running from what I have always known  in my heart I wanted. I made a conscious decision to put more time and effort into my craft. I have taken it upon myself to stay active, to  ensure my skills are elevated and not deteriorating.

It has been such a joy writing for all of you. Thank you to all of those who read, share, comment, and even like my posts. I truly and deeply appreciate it.

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Now to my most recent endeavor. I decided that it was time I stop waiting for my dream job, and start putting some effort in besides applying for jobs, and coming home unfulfilled with the job I have. I decided to write a book. The crazy thing is, once I got started it just flowed. It felt so natural. While in the process of developing it, I had several ideas for forthcoming books.

On June 7, 2017, I published my very first book. “Adulting 101: A Millennials’ Guide to Becoming an Adult.” A self-help book for individuals finding their way through the adult world. You can find the book in the Kindle/ Amazon store. I am so proud of this major accomplishment, and trust me this is just the beginning.
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So, from me to you, don’t wait for anyone to give you anything. Never run from the things you want and that make you happy. Start thinking of your dreams and future. Think about the person you want to be, and become that person. It is never too late to pursue your dream, every day you have breath in your body, you have a chance to start living your passion.

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Will Work for Bill Money.

“Thank you for applying but we have chosen not to move forward with your application at this time, but we will keep your application on file for the future.” Over the past 4 years since graduating with my B.A., I have received at least 200 or more emails like this. Or even better, “Thank you for interviewing, but we have decided to move forward with another candidate.”  

After so many of these emails, many thoughts begin to transpire. “Why did I even go to college?” “What’s wrong with me?” “How can I get experience, if people won’t hire me and give me a chance?” “Why am I trying to sell myself to these employers?” All of these thoughts and more bring on none other than, drum roll please… depression. I’ve had all of these thoughts and more. Even people around me who have gone to college and gotten degrees, have been forced into settling for minuscule positions. It is so frustrating to dedicate so much time to an education and earning a degree, only for it not to mean a thing in the real world. Even the fact that some people find jobs but are unable to work in their field, is a disappointment. Although, many millennials are facing this struggle, our parents generation have a hard time relating to it. See, there was once a time not long ago, where a high school diploma sufficed. People were able to get a job with only a high school education and keep that job until retirement. Sounds like a dream, right? Unfortunately, that is highly unlikely and it’s now more of  a dream deferred.

The societal view and expectation of millennials is also a bit unrealistic. You’re supposed to go to college, get a degree, get a job, get an apartment, get married, buy a house, have kids, and live happily ever after. While this is ideal and what most people strive for, it is a bit of a fairy tale now. Most are barely making ends meet month- to- month. It’s hard to add-in extras or even think to that point, when bills need to be paid, and student loan debt is up the wall.

But, if you’re like me you are trying to remain positive even with all of these other thoughts against you. Even though it is really hard at times to stay focused on the positive, it’s necessary to do so. So, keep this in the back of your mind, eventually the perfect job will come, and life will be perfect. But until then, don’t get sunken into misery or give into frustration. Pick up a side hustle, start doing things that can add and build up your resume and make you more marketable, and do things that increase your knowledge.  Keep applying, keep trying, and keep moving forward. 

Spotlight Series: Rudy Maybell III

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Chicago producer Rudy Maybell III has been blazing trails all year, and showing no signs of letting up any time soon. Rudy is only one part of the production duo, 7th Circuit Productions. He and his partner J-Tempo met and have been working together since 2008.

Rudy’s love for music goes back as far as the Space Jam Soundtrack on cassette! At just 9 years old, Rudy fell in love with the classic song I Believe I Can Fly. That along with Donell Jones classic, Where I Wanna Be, gave Rudy what he describes “vocal development.” He began to study artists such as Stevie Wonder, Aaron Nevell, Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway, and Sam Cooke.  But, he still holds his biggest influence as R.Kelly. “He’s the reason I write songs the way I do.”

In high school he took a music technology class which opened up his mind to the producing side of things. Rudy’s music is more than just a hobby, it’s a “spiritual experience.” This year alone he produced and released 4:20pm, Way Up 7 with A-Way, and Touch Down. He has gained attention and had interviews with Power 92.3, UrbanGrind, Windy City UnderGround, and Illinois Tech. 2016 was a great year for Rudy and 7th Circuit Productions, but there’s even more coming up for 2017.

7th Circuit Productions has a website underway, set to launch on January 1, 2017. From their website, you will be able to purchase beat packages and more. They hope in the near future to start podcasts, and even a blog!

Not only is he looking forward to the launch of the website, but he plans to release 420pm part 2, Ballad of Cottonmouth, Songs in the Key of Pain, Prelude to Pain, and Party Time Magic.  At the age of 29, Rudy knows exactly what he wants, and is putting in the hard work and sleepless nights to make it happen. “All my energy is going into this, this is my lady, this is my child, and it’s going to make me what I want to be in this life…I love what I do I’m leaving and impression a legacy, something people can remember, we’re not just sitting around playing.”

You can listen to Rudy’s amazing passion, soul filled music at https://soundcloud.com/7thcircuit, https://soundcloud.com/rudypmagic/sets/420-pm, and https://soundcloud.com/a_wayofficial/sets/wayup7. You can also follow 7th Circuit Productions on Twitter @7thcproductions and @Alright_Magic.