Building community at heart of Azalea Storytelling Festival

Building community at heart of Azalea Storytelling Festival

Posted on Friday, February 24, 2023

Storytelling Festival Presenter

Inside all of us, there is a story waiting to come out. This year’s eclectic group of Azalea Storytelling Festival speakers illustrate how we can find commonality through our life experiences.

“All stories — whether they're funny or touching, silly or serious — have the power to remind us that we're all human,” said Dolores Hydock, who is returning to the festival stage.

The three-day event will occur March 3-5 at Callaway Auditorium. Carol Cain ’82 will serve as the emcee.

Hydock said she will stray away from historical, literary and medieval stories that she has presented at other festivals.

“At this year's festival, all my stories will be based on personal experiences from everyday life — stories about family quirks, high technology, stray cats, and a solar eclipse,” she said. “I hope my stories are affectionate portraits of real people and real situations, with a big dose of heart, humor and hope.”

Hydock said the attendees are a key part of the storytelling experience.

“The teller can feel the presence and attention of the audience members,” she said. “It’s not like going to a movie or watching something on YouTube, where the show is the same, no matter who’s watching or whether anyone is watching at all. With a live performance, the physical presence and attention of other people helps shape the story.”

Hydock won’t be the only familiar face at the festival. Donald Davis, a retired United Methodist minister known nationally as the Dean of Storytelling, will also come back to LaGrange to tell stories about his Southern Appalachian Mountain roots.

Storytellers Adam Booth and the Rev. Robert Jones Sr. will be making their debut at this year’s festival.

Like Davis, Booth will also share moments from his Appalachian upbringing.

“I am from West Virginia, so I will tell a lot of traditional stories from Central Appalachia,” he said. “My style of storytelling is cinematic, but also contemporary. I invest a lot of time in my stories to create vivid images and experiences for people.”

The annual event, which draws over 2,000 visitors, is the brainchild of the late Pat Gay, former Public Relations/Children’s Librarian and storyteller at LaGrange Memorial Library; the late Dr. Evelyn Jordan, former Chair of LaGrange College Education Department; and Joyce Morgan Young, former Assistant Superintendent with the Troup County School System. Davis helped the dream of the co-founders come to fruition in 1997.

In its 27th year, the festival has been recognized as one of the oldest storytelling festivals in the state of Georgia. It was honored with the Leadership Award by the National Storytelling Festival Association in 1999.

Young said she is grateful for the festival’s partnership with the college.

“The enduring support of LaGrange College presidents, faculty and staff has been key to Azalea’s success,” she said.

Tickets for individual days or the full three-day weekend can be purchased on the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts website, over the phone through its box office, or in person the day of the festival.

“The Azalea Storytelling Festival will be a weekend filled with laughter, tears and stories that serve the audience as catalysts of moments in their past,” Young said.


Campus NotesFood plan for athletes

  • Retired Art Professor John Lawrence will give the second presentation in the 2023 3D Journeys Lecture and Travel series on Monday, February 27, at 10 a.m. in Callaway Auditorium. He will speak about the Italian Renaissance in Tuscany. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. For more information, call 706-880-8244 or email
  • LC Athletics and Aramark recently announced the launch of Panther Performance, a new dining program also known as Eat to Excel. It is designed to support the dietary needs of athletes and active students. In Pitts Dining Hall, there are easily identifiable Eat to Excel icons located next to the various food options. For more information about the program, visit the LaGrange Dining website.
  • The Panther Activities Committee will host a karaoke event on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. in the Boopie.


Collegiate Enrichment Events

Check LC Connect for Virtual CE events and instructions

Monday, Feb. 27

MyLC: An Overview of the New and Improved Student Portal


  • Throughout the semester, students can learn about the college’s new student portal. This virtual event will provide an overview of MyLC and cover important information about advising, registration, academic records and the Parent Portal.

Tuesday, Feb. 28

Mental Health and Mass Shootings

11:15 a.m., Bailey Room, Smith Hall

  • Join Dr. Kelly Veal and the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program for an engaging conversation about the impact mass shootings have on mental health.

Tuesday, Feb. 28

Study Away Information Session

11:15 a.m., Multimedia Classroom, Lewis Library

  • This event will provide a general overview of preparing to study away. Included will be a discussion on program types, locations and topics, the application process and timeline credit transfer funding options.

Tuesday, Feb. 28

SGA Town Hall Meeting

6:30 p.m., Dickson Assembly Room, Turner Hall

  • Join SGA and special guests to discuss the latest updates from campus and address student concerns.

Thursday, March 2

FILM 3003 Movie Screening: “The Banshees of Inisherin” (2022)

7 p.m., Beason Recital Hall, West Side

  • The second of three film exhibitions associated with the FILM 3003: Scriptwriting course, “The Banshees of Inisherin” has been nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Friday, March 3 – Sunday, March 5

Azalea Storytelling Festival

Callaway Auditorium

  • The annual festival will feature several nationally acclaimed storytellers. Students receive free admission. For details on times, visit the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts website.


March Faculty and Staff Birthdays

1-Maranah Sauter, Nursing, Executive Leadership (Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs)

1-Lee Davis, Communications & Marketing

8-Adam Roberts, Enrollment Management & Student Experience (Chaplain)

9-Mel Rushing, Athletics (Softball), Associate Athletic Director

11-Lindy Oller, Communications & Marketing

13-John Head, Executive Leadership (Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Experience)

13-William Paschal, Biology

15-Lissett Gonzalez, Business Office

16-Harry Rubio, Information Technology

28-Jack Slay, English

28-Belinda Holliday, Academic Affairs

28-Jasen Jonus, Athletics (Women’s Basketball and Cross Country)

30-Jerry Forster, Executive Leadership (Vice President for Finance & Operations)           


Alumni Spotlight: Katelyn Little '19

Alumni donor profile

As a nursing student at LaGrange, Katelyn Little discovered firsthand that the program's reputation for combining compassion and caring was well-earned. Today she serves as a registered nurse in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit at Northside Hospital Gwinnett and is secretary of the Georgia Nurses Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Georgia Nurses Association. Katelyn stays involved with her alma mater by serving on the Alumni Executive Committee and by keeping up with the lifelong friends she made as a Phi Mu and a member of the Panther softball team.

Join Katelyn in supporting the LaGrange College Fund.


Video of the Week

3D Journeys lecture with John Lawrence

Retired Professor of Art and Design John Lawrence brings his expertise to the Callaway Auditorium stage on February 27 as he offers a free lecture on "Tuscany: The Birth of the Italian Renaissance." Doors open at 9:30 a.m.; lecture begins at 10 a.m.



Men’s Basketball

Tournament quarterfinal competition

The Panthers punched their ticket to the Collegiate Conference of the South semifinals after a 62-54 victory in the quarterfinal game against Covenant on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Junior Camerin Lyons delivered a clutch performance with 19 points while sophomore Kyle Smith contributed 13 points.

Student Defensive Player of YearSenior First Team Selection

Senior Bershard Edwards was recently named the Defensive Player of the Year by the Collegiate Conference of the South. In addition, Edwards was selected for the CCS All-Conference First Team. He joins senior Zac Hill.

Junior Second Team selectionSophomore Second Team selection

Junior Camerin Lyons and sophomore Kyle Smith were named to the CCS All-Conference Second Team.

Junior All Sportsmanship Selection

Junior Gabe Cofield was selected for the All-Sportsmanship Team.

Women’s Basketball

Tournament quarterfinal competition

LaGrange ended its regular season with a 77-51 win against Agnes Scott on Saturday, Feb. 18. Sophomore Britney Chavez led the Panthers in double-figures as she finished with 14 points and freshman Laila Battle added eight points. On Wednesday, LaGrange earned a 74-59 win against Covenant in the quarterfinal game of the Collegiate Conference of the South tournament. With the victory, this year’s team has equaled the mark set by the 2010-11 squad that went 20-5 for the most wins in a season since moving to DIII in 1999-2000.

Athletes honored at ceremony

Prior to Saturday’s game against Agnes Scott, LaGrange recognized junior Maria Riera Soriano and seniors Gracie Brunel, Breonna Glover, Jada Strickland and Jada Brown during a Senior Day ceremony.

Post season recognition

This week, the Collegiate Conference of the South recognized Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jasen Jonus as its Coach of the Year and freshman Laila Battle as its Sixth Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Battle was also named to the All-Conference First Team, along with sophomore Zyhia Johnson.

Second Team Conference SelectionSenior All Sportsmanship Team

Freshman Amanda McClendon was selected to the All-Conference Second Team. Senior Jada Strickland was named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.

Senior post season recognition

Senior Gracie Brunel, who was also named to the All-Conference Second Team, recently made history as the first LC student-athlete to be selected for the College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA) Academic All-District team.

Men’s Lacrosse

Competition on the road

LaGrange delivered a 15-5 win against Oglethorpe on Saturday, Feb. 18. Sophomore Andrew Brown led the Panthers with four goals. He was followed by senior Klein Woods and freshman Luke Young with three goals. On Wednesday, the Panthers took a 19-7 loss against Birmingham-Southern.

Freshman conference honor

Freshman Luke Young was recently named Men’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Week by the USA South conference. On the year, he has 10 goals and four assists for 14 points in four games.


Pitcher on the mound

LaGrange suffered a 4-3 loss and a 12-3 loss in a doubleheader at Emory on Saturday, Feb. 18. During the first game, the teams battled to the 11th inning. Senior first baseman Abbey Gardner led the Panthers with two RBIs. In the second game, junior infielder Lindsey Swearngin contributed two RBIs. On Wednesday, the Panthers took a pair of losses in a doubleheader at Berry. During the second game, freshman Kelsea Moody had the lone RBI for LaGrange with junior Marley Smith scoring that run. On Thursday, the Panthers earned a pair of wins in a doubleheader at Chattahoochee Valley. Four home runs from sophomore Kenzie Hornsby and freshmen Kelsea Moody, Izzy Herren and Katelyn Minnihan helped fuel the team’s first sweep of the season.

Freshman Conference Honor

This week, freshman pitcher Claire Chamberlain was recognized as the Softball Rookie of the Week by the Collegiate Conference of the South. She delivered an epic performance in her one outing on the week as she registered her fourth straight complete game to start the season.


Baseball tournament

The Panthers kicked their season off with a 5-0 win over East Texas Baptist on Friday, Feb. 17. Senior pitcher Baley Coleman scattered three hits to notch six scoreless innings and freshman pitcher Eduardo Peralta tossed two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, to collect the win. Unfortunately, the team’s fight for a second win ended in a 9-5 loss against Birmingham-Southern on Saturday, Feb. 18. The loss propelled LaGrange to deliver a 7-3 victory over Millsaps on Sunday, Feb. 19. The Panthers home opener against Emory resulted in a 15-4 win on Wednesday. Junior first baseman Tray Owens accounted for five of the runs.

Baseball Conference Awards

Senior Rhett Mixon and junior Ethan Fry were recently named the Collegiate Conference of the South Baseball Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. Mixon delivered a tremendous opening week as he had a double, homerun, four RBIs, a walk and stolen base over three games. Fry produced a dominant performance in his first outing of the season as he went six innings, striking out 10 in that time and allowing just one hit.

Men’s Tennis

Tennis season opener game

LaGrange’s spring opener against Huntingdon resulted in a 6-3 loss on Friday, Feb. 17. Senior Al Robertson pushed HC player Lane Young at No. 1 as he took the first set 6-4 before falling 7-6 and 10-5. On Saturday, the team suffered a 9-0 loss at Oglethorpe.

Women’s Tennis

Tennis spring opener competition

The Panthers opened the spring portion of their season with a 7-2 loss against Huntingdon on Friday, Feb. 17. Senior Hannah Miller challenged HC player Meredith Head at the top spot, taking the opening set 6-3 before falling by a narrow 7-5 margin and 10-5 in the tiebreaker, while junior Olivia Dusterdieck fell 6-3 in the opener and posted a 7-6 decision in the second set. On Saturday, the team suffered a 9-0 loss at Oglethorpe.


Panther Calendar

(Please note that schedules may change due to circumstances beyond our control. Please check to confirm.)

Friday, Feb. 24 – Women’s Beach Volleyball (Home) vs. Huntingdon, 10 a.m., Strack Beach Volleyball Courts

Friday, Feb. 24 – Women’s Beach Volleyball (Home) vs. Lynchburg, 2 p.m., Strack Beach Volleyball Courts

Friday, Feb. 24 – Men’s Basketball vs. Belhaven, 5 p.m., Maryville, Tennessee

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Men’s Basketball vs. TBA, 3 p.m., Maryville, Tennessee

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Women’s Basketball vs. Piedmont, 4 p.m., Berea, Kentucky

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Women’s Beach Volleyball (Home) vs. Lynchburg, 10 a.m., Strack Beach Volleyball Courts

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Women’s Tennis at Mississippi University for Women, noon, Columbus, Mississippi

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Men’s Tennis at Mississippi University for Women, noon, Columbus, Mississippi

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Baseball (Home) vs. Rose-Hulman, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Women’s Beach Volleyball (Home) vs. Huntingdon, 2 p.m., Strack Beach Volleyball Courts

Sunday, Feb. 26 – Men’s Lacrosse (Home) vs. Centenary (La.), 1 p.m., Callaway Stadium

Sunday, Feb. 26 – Women’s Basketball vs. TBA, 2 p.m., Berea, Kentucky

Sunday, Feb. 26 – Baseball (Home) vs. Rose-Hulman, 2 p.m., Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium

Tuesday, Feb. 28 – Baseball (Home) vs. Adrian, 6 p.m., Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium

Wednesday, March 1 – Softball (Home) vs. Rose-Hulman, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., LC Softball Complex


In the headlines

Category: Arts and Culture, Community, Events

Keywords: Art, History

Press Contact

Lindy Oller

Last updated: 02/24/2023