Oral Roberts University students share plans for Christmas break

By Ally Powell ('13)

ORU senior Puja Ghelani is spending her Christmas break mentoring a third grade girl at McClure Elementary School in Tulsa. Ghelani, who is the president of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at ORU, will also have the opportunity to tutor the student in literacy.

"She needed me, and I was going to be in Tulsa over break. I couldn't think of anything better to put my time into," Ghelani says.

Soon, Ghelani will go through a training program in which she will shadow another mentor and student. Once Christmas break begins, Ghelani will begin to visit the girl multiple times each week. This program will continue throughout spring semester.

"It is Christmas, and I get to help a girl learn to read," Ghelani says. "She gets to learn a skill that she will use forever, and it only takes a couple of weeks during Christmas break to begin this process."

Ghelani first heard about the mentoring opportunity when McClure contacted the ORU SIFE team asking for mentors. Living in Tulsa, Ghelani saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community.

"I get to invest in this little girl's life," Ghelani says. "I love working with kids. To help her with something will be really exciting."

Oral Roberts University graduate student returns home after two long years

After not seeing her family in two years, graduate student Rachael Amarlapudi will travel home to Hyderabad, India, for Christmas break. Amarlapudi is studying for a master's degree in divinity.

"I am able to leave as soon as exams are over," Amarlapudi says. "The three things I am looking forward to the most are no school work, no cooking and no cleaning."

Amarlapudi also said that she missed Indian street food known as "Pani Poori" and looks forward to going to see an Indian movie in the theater.

"Each Christmas, we decorate our house with wreaths, a Christmas tree, bells, holly and pine cones," Amaralapudi says.

Christmas morning, Amaralapudi and her family will attend a church service then they will eat lunch with family members. The rest of the day they will travel to visit extended family members and taking desserts to them.

"Carolers from church usually visit after midnight," Amaralapudi says. "They come with huge drum set and wake up all of the neighbors."

After Christmas, Amarlapudi will look forward to a large New Year's Day celebration.

"For New Year's, my church has a really big event with food, games, a bond fire, dramas and skit competitions," Amarlapudi says. "I used to conduct several skits; now I get to sit back and see them."

Amarlapudi is thankful to be able to leave the U.S. for the first time since becoming a graduate student.

"I definitely won't miss the snow or cold weather," Amarlapudi says.