Friday, November 30, 2012

Sounds of the Season

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas here at Vol State as the music department prepares for their annual holiday performance.
The Showstoppers directed by James Story, The Music Ensemble directed by Lynn Peterson, and Bluegrass Ablaze, directed by Mark Barnett, present the "Sounds of the Season" this weekend in the Wemyss Theater.
"I think it's a great collection of music favorites and new songs," said Showstopper, Kelsey Wilsher.
With classic songs like "Let it Snow" and new songs like "Big Band Santa," also with appearances from Santa Claus, the Grinch, and a few surprises, this show is bound to amaze you.

"Mr Story does a great job allowing us to be ourselves and work as an ensemble," said John Martin, a baritone, who said that he loves to entertain others.
"You will not get entertainment this good for the price of $5," said Andrew Kufman, who plays the Grinch.

These performers will not only sing their way into your souls, but they will dance their way into your heart. The performance has been choreographed by a former Vol State student, Natalie Klein, who now resides in California as a professional choreographer.
The cost is a suggested donation of $5 which will aid the Music Scholarship Fund. With a donation of $10 you will get a copy of the music CD that has Vol State students singing some of your favorite holiday tunes and admission to the show.
Show times are Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

December and January Calendar

Nov. 15-
Dec. 16

Miranda Herrick Art Exhibit, Ramer Great Hall 7am-9pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday


Christmas at Vol State -seasonal music concert, Caudill Hall Wemyss Auditorium, 7:30pm, Suggested $5 donation for music scholarships

December 1

Christmas at Vol State -seasonal music concert, Caudill Hall Wemyss Auditorium, 7:30pm
Suggested $5 donation for music scholarships


Christmas for the Kids Cafeteria 2pm


Honors Student Presentations
Pickel 118 12:30pm


Festival of Lights Cafeteria 11am

December 24- Jan. 1

Campus closed for holidays

January 17

Spring classes begin

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pledge to Not Text and Drive

Robin Blackmon takes off the DUI goggles to get a
better view of the damage she has done to the cones.
For the first time, James Brown, criminal justice faculty, has required his students to take part of a service learning activity. Brown's fast-track certificate class chose to do a service learning project about the dangers of texting while driving.
The students of the criminal justice class are informing high school and college students about the dangers and asking everyone to take a pledge not to text while driving.
Anna Scruggs sends a text message to her friend while she
tries to maneuver through the course on a golf cart.
As a part of the service learning project, the class has collaborated with the Gallatin Police Department to operate an obstacle course to navigate while texting and driving.
Individuals can also wear the DUI goggles to see what it is like to drive under the influence.
“One cone is one person dead or you dead,” said Kevin Cook, Director of the Criminal Justice Program. 
While driving the golf cart through the obstacle course, Anna Scruggs, sent a message to her friend stating, “What are you doing?”
Student Donavan Thomas takes the pledge
while criminal justice student Jessica Perrigo assists.
Scruggs said that she does not normally text and drive but the course has persuaded her not to do it at all.  
“I haven’t tried texting and driving,” said student, Paul Campbell. “But this will keep me from doing it.”
The obstacle course will be set-up in the Commons/Quad and a table will be set-up in the Wood Campus Center for individuals to pledge. This all takes place Thursday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m until 1 p.m.

“I challenge the whole campus to take the pledge and to take on the [obstacle] course,” said James Brown.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving International Style

Endri Pipper from Indonesia, Fernanda Laron from Brazil,
Asuka Ito from Japan
Vol State students from around the world were able to experience Thanksgiving (some for the first time) with new friends, today.
Faculty members who teach English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teamed up with the Collegiate Ministry Club and VISA (Vol State International Student Association) to host a thanksgiving luncheon.
“I see potential for America,” said Karen Rockwell, who has helped with the event for about 40 years.
Student Nhi Le from Vietnam is celebrating Thanksgiving for the second year here in the U.S. Last year she said that she stayed home and went to sleep.
“This year is much better.” Le said. “It’s good for everyone to come home and have a meal with the family. It’s good to have a meal with everyone in my class,” said Le.
Le plans to have Thanksgiving dinner with her brother when she returns to Vietnam.
Fernanda Laron, from Brazil, said this was her first thanksgiving and she really enjoyed it. In her culture, the turkey is more a Christmas tradition.
Rock Zhao from China has been in the U.S. for 6 months, he said the lunch was a great chance for him to learn a new culture and talk with friends. It also gave him a understanding of the American culture and was a great way for him to improve his English.
Although, Thanksgiving may not be a way for our families to improve our language barrier, we need to be grateful that we have a holiday that we get to spend time with our loved ones. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wanting To Be an EMT? Read on...

Vol State has a popular Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Program.  Our graduates are working for first responders and hospitals across Tennessee.  If you are interested in taking classes in the program, you will need to attend a mandatory advising session.  Advising sessions for the spring Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificate courses will be conducted at Vol State's main campus in Gallatin on the following dates:
Monday, November 26, 2012, at 1:00 p.m.  
Monday, November 26, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. 
Both sessions will be in the Carpeted Dining Room in the Wood Campus Center. Students interested in enrolling in the EMT classes at the Highland Crest Campus in Springfield or at off-campus sites should plan on attending one of the sessions. Please visit for more information.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bliss Signs with Lipscomb

Lady Pioneers Basketball Team
When Sara Bliss, Lady Pioneer number 12, started playing basketball at the age of five, she never imagined that she would be here today signing a NCAA National Letter of Intent to Lipscomb University.
Sara Bliss
Sara, who is an All-Conference player, as well as a NJCAA Academic All-America, is a perfect example of how with the right support from friends and family, one can make it to places they never imagined.
When Sara and her twin sister Katie, Lady Pioneer number 10, came to play basketball at Vol State together, Sara had no intention of playing longer than two years.
Her team mates, coach and family pushed her to keep playing.
“I’m happy that I came here to Vol State to play ball and gain the experience in college playing ball. [With] all the friends that I have made here, it’s been a pleasure.
With the extra push and support from loved ones, Sara is headed to Lipscomb University to play basketball for a NCAA team.
“I’m super excited because I think she is going to great school [Lipscomb],” said Chris Harris, coach of the Lady Pioneers basketball team.” “I believe it is a perfect fit. I know that Sara will fit in academically and social wise.”
Coach Chris Harris, Sara Bliss with her mom and dad
“We are very proud of her hard work in school and basketball,” said LeAnne Bliss, Sarah’s mother. “I think she will have a lot of opportunity through Lipscomb.”
Even though everyone else in her life is ecstatic about Sara’s success, she is playing it cool.
“I’m trying not to make it a big deal because I still have this season to get through," said Sara. “Once I’m done with that, I can focus on Lipscomb.”
Although she is staying calm, Sara said that she is looking forward to the atmosphere of a four-year school.
“I love playing in front of a crowd.” Playing in their [Lipscomb] arena will be fun and get me pumped up for the game with a big crowd.”
To see Sara, Katie and the other Lady Pioneers play, check out the 2012-2013 basketball schedule here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vol State Student Wins Election

The hard work of knocking on over 1,500 doors and calling several hundred people has paid off for student Zach Young who won a seat as a Goodlettsville City Commissioner, Tuesday Nov. 6.
“I’m just beside myself,” said Young.
Young said that it really mean a lot to him that over 3,000 people came out and voted for him. He said he received 21% of the votes and was 2nd place of the five individuals running. Three commissioners were elected and they were all sworn in Thursday night at the Goodlettsville City Council meeting.
“I don’t think life will be too much different,” said Young. “I expect it to be busy and harder, but I welcome the challenge.”
It could very well be a challenge for a 20 year-old college student. Young is the youngest Commissioner in the city of Goodlettsville.
“Age is just a number,” said Young. “It takes hard work, determination and passion. To set yourself up for success, you have to have passion about it.”
Young said that he would love to see more people his age running for government office. According to him, “It’s about meeting the right people and having the right support group.”  
He welcomes anyone with questions or interest in running for government office to contact him for help and/or support.

Friday, November 9, 2012

An "F" for School Spirit

Intramural Football Team C-Dub showing school spirit
Walking around Vol State campus this week, one would never guess it is the week of homecoming. Why does Vol State, a school with so much to offer its students, fail in the school spirit department?
If you read the letter to the editor in the Nov. 6 issue of The Settler, you would see that Jennifer Erickson, PTK president, feels that there is no school spirit from the students, faculty and staff.
Maybe there is school spirit, maybe students are just more reserved when it comes to showing it, and so, I went out and asked students, “How do you show your school spirit?”
“I show school spirit by being involved with clubs and trying to help other club members, said Erickson. “I try to get others involved without ruining their lives.”
“I have a shirt and a pair of sweatpants that I wear frequently,” said Tayler Louden. “On most campuses, you see people going to games and wearing their shirts. I’ve been to one baseball game and there was not enough people there.”
Not everyone I spoke to had school spirit or any intentions of showing it. To some, just getting through the day is all they can do here at Vol State.
“I don’t like school,” said Emily Kemp, a student majoring as a dental assistant. “I used all my school spirit in high school. I’m just ready to be done.”

Team Cat Daddy's Winners of Vol State
Flag Football Championship game.
Kemp said that she does not participate in anything on campus; she spends most of her time at church. But she would maybe have more school spirit if she chose a different school.
“If I had chosen a four year school, I would be more dedicated because I would be more dedicated to my degree,” said Kemp.
“I live too far away to be school spirited,” said Michael Broadway, a student majoring in physical therapy.
Broadway, like many of Vol State students also has a job off campus. He said that he works 35 hours a week, and he doesn’t make time to go out of his way for a campus event.
“If we had a football team, it would raise my interest,” said Broadway. “I like football!”
Vol State does not have a football team that plays against other colleges, but we do have intramural flag football teams, who take the game very serious. And some students show their school spirit by playing in intramural sports. 

Show your Vol State spirit at the homecoming game this Saturday Nov. 10 from 2-4 in the Pickel Field House gymnasium.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Homecoming Saturday!

This is Homecoming Weekend! The big event is our Saturday basketball games. We have men's and women's games at 2pm and 4pm. In between the games, and during half-times of each game, we'll have performances by the Vol State Cheerleaders and fun and prizes for folks. It's free for all students, alumni, faculty and staff. Come join us and show off your Pioneer Spirit!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Challenges of Being a Student and Mom of Children with Disabilities

Being a nontraditional student with children is difficult and sometimes stressful. Imagine having children with special needs?

Leshia Scheetz, a physical therapy major, has been an on again, off again student at Vol State since 1996. She took a break from school when she got married, and later had children.
When Scheetz was 20 weeks pregnant with her daughter, three doctors told her the baby would be born a vegetable and suggested she terminate the pregnancy. Terminating the pregnancy would have been against her family's beliefs, so instead, she followed through.  
Mikayla was born with an open spine (Spina Bifida), the result is that everything below the middle part of her back is paralyzed. She has had about eight surgeries, according to her mom; the first was the day after she was born.
“Doctors didn’t give her a chance to survive,” Scheetz said. 
Turns out the doctors were wrong.
“She knows that she is different. It [Being in a wheelchair] is all that she knows,” said Scheetz. “God gives everyone a purpose and his plan for her is to be in a wheel chair.”
But the wheelchair is not slowing Mikayla down; she is now a five year-old kindergartener and cheerleader, who is full of energy and spirit.  
“I really think sometimes that she is a 15 year-old trapped inside a 5 year-old body,” said Scheetz.
“After I had her, I didn’t think that I would have another.”
But three years after having her first born, Scheetz was pregnant with her son. She was told by doctors that her son would have a condition called Trisomy 18 and the babies normally do not make it past the first year of their life.
At the time Scheetz said she thought, “How much more can I handle?”
Once again the doctors were wrong. Her son, Luke, was born deaf and now at the age of two has cochlear implants (electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is deaf).
“We want him to be able to communicate… If I can give him opportunity to live a life to the fullest, why not do that? We wanted to give him every opportunity he could get,” said Scheetz.
With a five year-old and a two year-old, her hands are full, so what would make a mom with that big a challenge come back to school?
“Since I’m older, I guess I finally need to get my life on track,” said Scheetz. She wants to be able to go back to work when her son goes to school.
“I don’t know if it would be harder if I didn’t have two kids that have disabilities, I think it is hard in general being a mom and coming back to school,” said Scheetz. “Homework is after the kids go to bed.”
Scheetz said that she studies every single night for about an hour and is in bed by 10 p.m.
“Before I had my kids, I would think, why is she acting like that?" said Scheetz. "You never know what people are going through in life. You never know what’s going on with them on a regular basis.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sustainable Tennessee at Vol State

Vol State was the site of the Sustainable Tennessee Summit last week. It's an annual gathering of activists, business people and concerned citizens who discuss environmental issues facing the state. The Tennessee Environmental Council organizes the summit. The Vol State campus received a nice reminder of the importance of the environment courtesy of the Summit, with the planting of an Eastern Redbud tree planting.
Vol State Math and Science Dean, who helped to host the event, said that a large number of mature trees on the Vol State campus were destroyed in the tornado of 2006.
John McFadden with the Tennessee Environmental Council explained that they chose to plant a redbud tree, not just because of its aesthetic value, but because it is drought tolerant. You can also put the purple buds on your salad. 
“The benefits of trees are tree-mendous,” McFadden said. 
The Environmental Council promotes Tennessee tree propagation. McFadden demonstrated how to plant a tree. Dig a hole at least twice the width of the root ball. The top of the root ball should be almost even with the ground surrounding it. They no longer put fertilized soil in the hole with the new tree because of the shock the tree gets when its roots hit the Tennessee soil. Water the tree. When you add mulch, make sure not to cover the root flare and to leave some space around the tree trunk before the mulch starts. McFadden said that the mulch should look like a donut and not a volcano because “donuts are good and volcanoes are bad.”
Pictured left to right: John McFadden, executive director of the Tennessee Environmental Council,
Cynthia Hernandez, Vol State student and president of Team Change Agent, Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of Vol State, and Dr. Olin Ivey, board member of the Chattanooga Urban Century Institute.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vol State Editors Visit Chicago

The day in the life of a Volunteer Community College editor in chief is never easy; especially, when we find ourselves attending a national convention with over 2,000 other college media students from around the nation.

As editor in chief of the Vol State magazine, “The Pioneer,” I have embarked on an adventure to Chicago, IL to attend the 91st annual Associated Collegiate Press (ACP)/College Media Convention (CMA) along with Adam Proctor, editor in chief of the Vol State newspaper, “The Settler,” and our advisor, Clay Scott.
The convention is made of over 100 seminars that cover different areas of media, from broadcasting, to design, to media law, and more. With so many sessions going on at one time, it’s difficult to decide on just one.
But it is not all work, there is time to play, relax, and give into temptation. One of the sessions was an Improv session on journalism; the comedians were very entertaining as they gave students ideas on how to improve relationships with staff in the newsroom.
This morning there was a first amendment breakfast that included free food. With free, there is always a catch. Those partaking in the meal had to give up their first amendment rights, which meant, no speaking, no peaceful assembly with friends and no right to petition for redress of grievance. If you broke the rules, then you were sent to jail. In jail a small protest broke out. This meal was actually too expensive for me to join in on, so I enjoyed my 99 cent donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts.
Navy Pier on Lake Michigan
The convention is also an opportunity to meet and mingle with others in the media field. Being a journalist is a lot about gathering sources. While at the convention I have been able to speak with many other students from different publications and hearing what works for them and the directions that their publication is going.
I was able to meet and chat with Donald Dean of Indiana University. Dean covered the Poor People Campaign in 1968, where he met Martin Luther King Jr. The conversation was eye opening and pretty cool to meet someone who has had the opportunity to work an event that has changed the lives of many.
Hopefully, this convention will help shed light toward a new direction that the publications should be headed toward.