The Flor-Ala staff shares personal secrets

The Flor-Ala staff works every week to provide the UNA campus news, sports and life articles. Just like everyone else on campus, each member has a personal secret to share.

Like the others featured in the paper’s Uncovered Secrets series before, the current Flor-Ala staff has its own stories to share. Here are facts from five staff members.

1. Managing Editor Hannah Zimmer is ambidextrous.

Zimmer said she uses each hand for different tasks, including writing and throwing with her left and eating and batting with her right.

“When I was learning these skills as a child, I think I chose a random hand just to be difficult,” she said.

Zimmer said nobody in her immediate family is left-handed or ambidextrous.

“It’s definitely a conversation starter,” she said. 

2. News Editor Ciera Golliver has a passion for rescuing stray animals.

“All animals are just looking for a lovely home and a family to love,” Golliver said. “I love any opportunity to be that family.”

Golliver said her passion for rescue started at the age of 14, when she took in two one-week-old kittens she found on the side of a road. The two cats, Dobby and Val, still reside with her.

While these are the only animals she has officially adopted, Golliver said she hopes to one day have a house full of stray animals.

“Like people, sometimes, animals (that) have been through the most have the most to give,” she said. 

Golliver said some members of her family also rescue stray animals.

3. Sports Editor Jacob Cole won a $5,000 writing contest when he was 9-years-old.

Cole entered the Briggs and Stratton writing contest in 2006 to win money for his Dixie Youth baseball program.

The contest required a three-page essay. Cole said he wrote about how a tornado had damaged his field and what needed to be done.

“(The money) was used for upgrades to the field so we could play baseball without worry,” he said.

Cole said despite winning a prize pack that included sports apparel and four MLB tickets, he did not enter the contest for personal gain.

“I loved to write and wanted to help,” he said. “I was happy I was able to help my baseball program with things they desperately needed.” 

4. Graphic Designer Dylan Baker played on a school tennis team that went to the state tournament each year.

Baker played from eighth to 12th grade at Douglas High School in Marshall County.

“I started in the lowest of positions and rose through the ranks as the years went on,” he said.

While his team never won at the tournament, during his senior year, he and his doubles partner tied for third place in the two seed doubles category.

Baker said he has continued to play after high school, but not competitively.

5. Videographer Hillary Taylor was born without the ability to smell.

Taylor was born with congenital anosmia, which results in a lifelong inability to smell. It also affects her taste, making it impossible for her to differentiate between flavors.

“The closest thing I have to smelling is when I’m around strong chemicals, like Clorox, and I can feel a burning sensation in my nose, or maybe I’ll get a headache, but I don’t smell it,” she said.

She said she discovered her lack of smell while at a gas station at a young age.

“My sister pointed out the smell was strong, but I wasn’t affected,” she said. “I breathed in really hard through my nose, but nothing was changing.”

Despite this, Taylor said she compares her inability to smell to “a hidden superpower.”

“I can’t smell foul smells that everyone is complaining about all the time,” she said. “I do (also) believe my other senses are heightened. I’ve always had exceptionally good eyesight and hearing.”

Taylor said if she could smell, she would enjoy trying the scents of peppermint and some perfume she bought in France.