Roommates for Life | NGU Freshmen Continue Legacy
Posted on: August 24, 2023
Tigerville, SC (Aug. 24, 2023) Twenty-six years after moving into their Horton-Tingle dorm on North Greenville University’s (NGU) Tigerville campus, Sallie Kinard (’01) and Jennifer Padgett (’00) were back in the same room where they’d spent four years together.
Only this time, they were there to drop off their daughters, Riley Belle and Mattie.
“Walking through the dorm with the girls was really cool,” Sallie said. “It just takes you back. You’re re-living those moments, which were some of the best moments of my life.”
Friends since high school, Jennifer and Sallie decided to attend college together in 1997.
“I didn’t really have plans to go to college,” Jennifer said. “But somewhere along the way, Sallie said, ‘I’m going to North Greenville. You should come.’ So, I put in my application. I’d never been here. I was not walking with the Lord regularly then. But God used North Greenville and Sallie to teach me how to do that.”
“There were a lot of fun memories in room 24,” Jennifer said with a laugh.
The fun memories included a particularly important tradition.
“The night before exams every year, we would make our own videos,” Jennifer said.
“This was before TikTok,” Sallie noted.
“We would lip sync, perform our own beauty pageants, and use our curling irons as our microphones,” Jennifer recalled.
With Riley Belle and Mattie’s laughter interrupting the trip down memory lane, Mattie made sure to note that the videos were indeed entertaining.
“It’s not that embarrassing,” she said. “The videos are hilarious.”
Performing Mariah Carey’s Christmas album with regularity and selections from Shania Twain, Wilson Phillips, and Point of Grace, the roommates began to hone their skills.
“Point of Grace was a particularly good one because there were four of them, and we could each have a part,” Sallie said, referencing her suitemates Jennifer Mabry Eleazer, and Ansley Welchel, who now serves as a communication instructor at NGU.
“We might not have finished our classes successfully if social media had been around,” Welchel joked.
The tradition picked up steam and started to draw a crowd.
“Before long, we’d have an audience. The (others in the dorm) were trying to make guest appearances,” Sallie said. “We still have those videos.”
The friendships developed in Horton-Tingle 24 continued through the years.
“God changed the course of my life the moment I walked into that suite and met those amazing friends,” Welchel said. “It is absolutely mind-blowing to see God’s incredible favor.”
The connection eventually led to new friendships.
“We grew up together,” Riley Belle said of her new roommate, Mattie. “We’ve always been friends. Even when we haven’t seen each other in a while, we’re able to pick up right where we left off. It’s just a really sweet friendship.”
Mattie, who is attending NGU on a golf scholarship, said the decision to come to North Greenville was easy.
“When I got an offer from NGU, I knew that was where I was going to go. When Riley Belle said she was coming too, I don’t even think we had a conversation about rooming together. We just knew.”
Sallie said she and Jennifer were excited the two chose NGU, and hope their time in Tigerville will provide great memories and spiritual growth.
“When you walk on this campus, there’s a presence,” Sallie said. “You don’t have to walk to the prayer chapel to feel that. It’s just there.”
Riley Belle and Mattie are already off to a quick start after participating in Welcome Week activities and going through a week of classes.
“We’ve already made a lot of new friendships,” Riley Belle said. “North Greenville has given us a lot of ways to get plugged in, so that’s been great.”
Welchel now serves as Riley Belle’s advisor and is sponsoring the golf team as a faculty mentor for Mattie.
“Having Riley Belle and Mattie here now and seeing God continue to bless North Greenville through the precious families I helped pray into existence is absolutely overwhelming and beautiful,” she said. “I feel beyond blessed to be a part of what he is doing in and through this special place. I could have never written a chapter this good back when our own freshman year began.”
When asked how often they’ll be performing musical numbers in their dorm, Mattie didn’t hesitate to respond.
“Before every exam, I guess.”