Peel of the day

Music major Addelyn Ratcliff, a UIndy senior, recently won a national scholarship contest. Using orange peels. How did that happen?

“I started out at DePaul University in Chicago, where my plan was to major in Graphic Design,” Addie says. “ After that first year, though, I realized that was not the major for me. I chose to do music instead. I transferred to UIndy because I knew they had a great music program here, and it had the small class sizes and personal attention that I wanted in an academic setting.”

“I’ve always been the creative kid who loved to doodle, paint, and turn anything I could get my hands on into art,” she says. “I would’ve never imagined that my habit of messing with random things like orange peels would have turned into something bigger.”

“It all started with a bet. I was taking a Music Tech class, and my professor, Peter Nichols, always teased me about bringing an orange into class every morning. He said apples were better and easier to peel. One day he bet me I couldn’t peel my orange into a single spiral. Two minutes later, I held up the orange and peel spiral victoriously. He then went on with the class—but I kept playing with the peel.”

Orange Peel 46_fmt

“By the end of class, I had made a sun with birds, and a phrase that read, “Love Life.” All the students in the room thought it was really cool. They even took pictures of it. I set the piece on top of a trash can, figuring it could be something others could enjoy. Soon, the same students from my class were asking me to create more peels. The pieces were never planned out. Really, I would just carve out figures based on what the peel looked like, something that had happened that day, or something someone had said. I also try to be as original as possible with the phrases that go with each peel.”

“For a while no one knew that it was me, except for the students in my music tech class. I enjoyed the anonymity and the thrill of trying to leave the peels in a new place each time, without being seen.”

“With so many great responses, I decided to create a Facebook page for the peels, which I named the ‘Peel of the Day.’ It felt good to know that people looked forward to seeing these orange peels on campus, and that they could actually brighten someone’s day.”

The scholarship contest


“My friends heard about the Cengage Learning scholarship contest and begged me to enter, saying, ‘It’s like this scholarship was made for you!’

“The contest asked for students to create a video in which they peeled an orange to illustrate how they learned. I thought it would be a fun experience, and I would get to make a video for ‘Peel of the Day.’ I didn’t think I would win, and I kept thinking up excuses for why my entry would never be chosen.”

“I was in Cuba on a Spring Term trip with other students from UIndy when I found out I had won. The Internet there was so slow because of their bandwidth capabilities, so it took about a half hour just to log on. When I finally got access to the site, I freaked out and screamed, and probably scared the woman sitting at the computer next to me. I know UIndy definitely had a lot to do with why I won the contest. If I didn’t go here, I don’t think I would have entered or won, especially because it was mostly vote-based. Since this is such a small, close-knit community, nearly everyone on campus knew about it and was rooting for me the entire time, which I don’t think would have happened if it was a larger campus. The professors in the Music Department were also very supportive and kept encouraging other people to vote for me.”

“I still make an effort to create a new peel every day. Especially now, since I know so many people look forward to them!”

Check out the video that won Addie a scholarship: