Feature Stories

Training UCF Knights

Two-time UCF alumna and former UCF volleyball player, Jana Piragic, is not traditional when reading bedtime stories to her children, as they fall asleep. Her book of choice is the book she wrote.

As she reads, she dreams her boys will mirror the story of the child who wishes to become a Knight.

“When we found out we were pregnant, I wanted to say like we're having a future Knight,” said Piragic, author of "UCF Knight in Training." “And so, I was looking for a book like this, and I couldn't find anything.”

UCF student recovers after recent shark attack

A normal summer surfing session at New Smyrna Beach turned into something right out of a nightmare just as Chris Pospisil was getting ready to leave.

While looking for a wave to ride back to shore, Pospisil locked eyes with a shark lunging out of the water, hungry for his foot. The shark latched onto Pospisil’s foot and pulled him off of his board and into the water, just before he was able to kick it in the nose, freeing his foot.

“When it happened, I was just like I knew right away. I was li

New Orlando Main Street administrator aims to empower

The new Main Street administrator, Kyle Reynolds, is working to make processes easier for the 12 Orlando Main Street districts, so they can provide more for their communities.

“Our current system takes a little bit of time for each district to submit their reports, and it’s a little labor intensive. So, I’m trying to streamline those processes so that they can have extra time to focus on the fun stuff that they have to do in their districts and less time, you know, sitting there filling out rep

Business Spotlight: Lightstyle of Orlando - The Community Paper

It’s hard to miss the brightest store on Orange Avenue.

Lightstyle of Orlando’s Lighting Showroom at 1155 N. Orange Ave. features thousands of different lighting options for customers to view in person. Lightstyle General Manager Hollie Gonzalez said they are not only a lighting showroom; everything on their floor is for sale, including the furniture pieces.

“We do have every aspect of lighting,” Gonzalez said. “But what most people don’t realize is the floor is also completely covered with se

Orlando cycling group training for Cystic Fibrosis ride

A small number of the Kyle’s Bike Shop training group gathered bright and early the Sunday before Memorial Day to train for the annual CF Cycle for Life ride.

The ride was one of many training sessions that Kyle’s Bike Shop hosts every year in preparation for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s ride in November. Kyle Markel, owner of Kyle’s Bike Shop, said his business has partnered with the foundation from the start.

“I think 2011 is when we did it the first time,” Kyle Markel said. “It was thei

Women at UCF dominate environmental studies program

Melanie Rendon said most of her classes are majority women, and she feels that it is important that women are leaders in the environmental movement.

“If we don't change anything, we're just going to die,” said Rendon, a senior environmental studies on the communications track. “The fact that it's like mostly women, I guess coming into play like taking action or trying to learn and to get into the field of that … I don't know. It's really important.”

College of Undergraduate Studies dean works to remove barriers for Knights

Dr. Theodorea Regina Berry took on the role of dean of the UCF College of Undergraduate Studies during a time when the future of the college was unknown.

“She came just as COVID was hitting; so, you know she had plans in mind. She had a focus, and then the campus shut down,” said Dr. Wayne Bowen, interim associate dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies. “She’s really risen to the challenge, and it’s great to work with her; I know she has a real heart for students most of all.”

Fighting 'period poverty': UCF Her Health starts Menstrual Donation Drive after Hurricane Ian

For days, the box for the Her Health Menstrual Donation Drive sat empty in the UCF LEAD Scholars Lounge.

As of Oct. 9, those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Ian and worrying about obtaining menstrual products can rest easy thanks to the Her Health Menstrual Donation Drive.

“People might think it's really silly to have a hygiene drive,” said Riya Maria, a representative for Her Health and senior biomedical sciences major. “Don't get me wrong, food drives and water drives are so, so important … but for a lot of women out there … they don't have the means to provide for these sanitary options.

"It's important. It's women's health. It's women's reproductive rights.”

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Is Approaching; Share The Beach

As sea turtle nesting season approaches, staff and volunteers of Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation want to make sure beach goers are fully informed on how to share the beach.

Sea turtle nesting season will officially begin April 15. SCCF Coastal Wildlife Director/Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Kelly Sloan said staff and volunteers will start to monitor the beaches at the beginning of sea turtle nesting season.

Sanibel Shell Show Marking 85 Years, Longest Running Of Its Kind

This year marks the 85th Sanibel Shell Show, the longest-running show of its kind in the world. It started as a way for hotel guests to show off their collections and has turned into an event thousands of people come to experience.

Joyce Matthys, Co-Chair of the Sanibel Shell Club, said she had a feeling it would be the oldest.

“When we were getting ready for this 85th, which is another big landmark, I did some research…(and) I had correspondence with people in England, France, Germany, and Australia. We are the longest-running shell show in the world, of any kind, and we are the most prestigious in our country,” Matthys said.

FISH Has Been Helping Anyone In Need For 40 Years

FISH of SanCap has been serving the Sanibel and Captiva Islands community for four decades. It is home to the islands only food pantry and lends a hand to anyone in need. The organization began as neighbors helping neighbors and that remains true 40 years later.

In a time of crisis, FISH has helped many individuals and families pay bills, such as rent and utilities, through its Helping Hands, the financial assistance program. FISH President and CEO Maggi Feiner said the recent natural disasters and health pandemic led to a huge need for the organization’s essential programs and services.

“We had the water quality crisis, which literally shut down this island and hurt people who were just coming out of Hurricane Irma,” said Feiner. “Then comes COVID.”

'The next kick': Matthew Wright parlays Knights success into football career

Late in the Jacksonville Jaguars' sixth regular season game, tied 20-20 against the Miami Dolphins with one second left, they called a time-out.

The Jaguars looked to Matthew Wright, their new kicker who signed onto the team's active roster Oct. 16, the day before the away game in London. With all eyes on him, Wright scored a 53-yard field goal that set the score at 23-20 and marked the end of the Jaguars' 20-game losing streak. The next day, Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer made Wright the team's starting kicker.

"Now everybody knows who Matt is," Meyer said in a postgame press conference.

'All that matters is the next kick': Matthew Wright’s journey from UCF to pro
Wright, the Jaguars' new kicker, celebrates with his teammates. John Manion, Wright's head coach when he was a student at Lampeter-Strasburg High School in Pennsylvania, said everyone can vouch for Wright's character. “Everybody loves him that knows him: his teachers, his coaches, his friends," Manion said.

Courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars

‘I will never not remember it': the effects of the guilty plea on Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumni

Junior psychology major Samantha Husar felt a lot of emotions directly following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, over three years ago.

Husar was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, when a mass shooting claimed the lives of 17 people. Since, she said she's felt like the case was at a standstill, as no new information was coming out. Husar said the victims were not getting the justice they deserved.

On Oct. 20, the MSD shooter pleaded guilty to the massacre of 14 students and three staff members at the school. The face and the name of the person who provokes terror in so many was all over media once again, stirring the emotions of survivors.

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