Panama City receives some of NKU’s generosity

Kerry Skiff, Staff Writer

Think of Florida, California, the Bahamas. Think of warm sand, cool drinks and a dark tan.

Now think of Cincinnati, which is lucky to get 60 degrees of warmth, drinks that can be cooled by leaving them on the back porch at night, and no promises of tanning weather. This is the Spring Break that many NKU students are experiencing, which is far less glamorous than spending their days near the Equator.

For two NKU students, their Spring Break tradition involves a lot of work and life experience. Junior Meredith Ellis and Senior Clint Ross share what their Spring Break has been like throughout their college experience.

For middle grades education major Meredith Ellis, Spring Break means a week in Panama City Beach, Florida. However, she’s not there to soak up the sun. Instead Ellis spends her time reaching out to students through an outreach called BeachReach, which is sponsored by LifeWay, a national Christian bookstore chain.

BeachReach is a program that gathers college students from all over the country and gets them involve in outreaches, such as serving free pancake breakfasts and offering free van rides.

“Students call a number and all the different people will be in vans and we pick them up and take them where they want to go so they don’t drive drunk,” she said.

Ellis said that a group of about 30 students from NKU are participating in BeachReach this week, but that there are probably over 100 participants from churches and colleges all over the U.S.

“It’s basically a big party twenty-four seven,” she said. “It’s just interesting to be in a place where my peers are partying and having fun and for me to be there and having fun but like in a different capacity and just being there to serve others and just really kind of take the opposite route than a lot of my peers take, not that it’s a bad thing but it’s different.”

Ellis said that this year is her third year participating in BeachReach.

“The thing that makes me want to go back is just the fact that it’s this really unique thing,” she said. “You are just thrown into situations where you’re meeting people and it’s really not that weird to talk to them in person; that’s the whole culture down there….been used by God and it’s a really great atmosphere for that.”

While Ellis is serving others in Florida, Athletic Training major Clint Ross is spending his time in Northern Kentucky. According to Ross, his Spring Break is filled with work and clinicals, which are “kind of like an internship, you don’t get paid.”

“It’s part of the school curriculum. My program requires that I have a certain number of hours of experience,” said Ross, who is working at Wellington Orthopedics in Anderson, Ohio. “My curriculum requires that I get 12 hours [in] a week and Spring Break is not an exception.”

Ross said that on average he spends about 42 hours a week between clinicals and his job at the County Market grocery store in Alexandria.

“And that’s not including school and homework,” he said.

“My attitude right now is, at least I don’t have to drive to school, but as far as really having a break…I wasn’t jumping up and down and I didn’t have plans to go anywhere because of my work schedule and Clinicals,” Ross said.

“It was more of a sigh of relief that I get a few days off school.”

Ross said that when he gets a day off he plans to stay at home and take it easy.

“I’m really just looking to relax, take it easy on those days. I plan to just wake up and see what I feel like doing or what I have to do,” he said.