Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vol State's Modern Version of Servant of Two Masters

A love story mixed with energizing comedy best describes the play "Servant of Two Masters". Originally written in 1753, Vol State's Theatre Program has given the classic play a modern-day look.

"The play is going to be all over the place. It has something for everyone to enjoy.A love story, some comedy, and a little bit of mayhem," said Logan Kemp,a student who is a understudy to the character Silvio Lombardi.

I was able to get a sneak peek during a dress rehearsal and I was laughing often throughout the show.  I would say that mayhem would be a great description.

Each scene was filled with comedy and wise-cracks. There were different scenes where characters would break out into hissy fits, fake-slap each other, and take off on wacky physical/verbal acts.

Edmon Thomas,Associate Professor of Communication and Theatre is leading the production.

"All of the students has worked hard, whether they are on stage or behind the scenes. I want all of them to enjoy themselves while they are on stage,"said Thomas.

The crew has had about three to four weeks to prepare for this production with the usual dramatic issues such as delay on  getting costumes finished, the hard work of learning lines, and getting props ready.

"It's been more difficult for some than others as far preparing for roles, especially for me with one scene in particular" said Kemp. "All in all it has not been too stressful, for me anyways."

Make sure that you catch Servant of Two Masters this weekend  and next weekend; Fridays and Saturdays November 1,2,8,and 9 starting at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:30 pm on November 3 and 10.The show will take place in the Wemyss auditorium in Caudill Hall.

There is a $5 recommended donation to support student scholarships. It is free for students and employees with a Vol State ID.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hudson Classic Kicks-Off Basketball Season this Weekend

Vol State is preparing for the tip-off of another great year of Pioneer Basketball. The Vestle "Pops" Hudson Classic kicks-off the regular season at home on November 1 and 2. There will be a series of games between teams from all over Kentucky and Tennessee held on both days, with games beginning at 2:00pm on November 1 and 1:00pm on November 2. The Vol State teams play at 6pm and 8pm on Friday and 5 and 7pm on Saturday. Women play first and the Men second.

"This weekend gives us a chance to get on the floor, it's really a warm-up", said Men's Basketball head coach Rusty Melvin. "Because next week November 8th and 9th we go against our conference teams which are important."

The Men's Basketball squad is a young team. Coach Melvin has only three returning players from last season. Even though the team is young, each player shows a great deal of athleticism and physical strength to get the job done on the court.

The team recently played in a big jamboree consisting of 28 other teams, along with 250 college coaches in Atlanta,Georgia. Five players have already been offered scholarships from several schools to play next year.

"We have several players that are more than qualified to play Division 1 basketball, everyone will be able to see that at our games," said Melvin.

Women's Basketball acting coach, Rafael Howard, is excited to see how his style of coaching has worked with the team.

"We've got a good group. We just got to get everything in, and make sure we are where we need to be,"said Coach Howard.

Howard says they have two key play makers to watch for throughout the season: Bre Neal and Jenise Davis. Davis recently played very well during a scrimmage, collecting 23-points.

"Over the next few days we are going to go hard to prepare for not only the Hudson Classic game but the rest of the season," Howard said. "We are just trying to make sure that we have got everything that we need to get us ready."

Come out and show your support for the Vol State Men's and Women's Basketball teams. Check out the season schedule to see when and where the Pioneers are playing throughout the season. Home games are held in the Pickel Field House and they're free with your Vol State ID.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

November Events

1, 2, 8, 9

Play: "Servant of Two Masters",
Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, 7:30pm

3 and 10

Play: "Servant of Two Masters",
Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, 2:30pm


Comedian Michael Kent, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


"Dr. Who", Laura Black, Honors Lecture Series, Thigpen Library, Rochelle Center, 12:20pm


Veterans Recognition, State Rep. Harold
Love, Jr., Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm,
RSVP required:


Homecoming Video Game Day, Nichols Dining Room, 10:30am-1:30pm


Homecoming Board Game Day, Cafeteria, 10am-1:30pm

Nov. 12-
Dec. 13

Yvonne Petkus and Matt Tullis Art Exhibit,
Thigpen Library Gallery, 7am-9pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday


Homecoming Evening Board Games, Cafeteria, 5pm-6pm


Ben Job "Common Threads" book-signing,
Vol State Book Store, 1:30-3:30pm


"Advertising and Popular Culture" Clay Scott, Honors Lecture Series, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm


Homecoming Minute to Win It game,
Cafeteria, 12:30pm


The War on Drugs", Michael Lenz, Honors
Lecture Series, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm


Homecoming Day- Tailgate at Noon, Women’s basketball game 2pm and Men’s basketball game 4pm, Pickel Field House


"Pass Time with Good Company" Renaissance and Baroque period music, Vol State Singers, Good Shepherd United Methodist, 4pm


International Education Week Kick-off event,
Ramer Great Hall, 12:30pm


International Education- Around the World in a Day, Nichols Dining Room, Noon-2pm


Commercial Music, songwriting students and the Bluegrass Ensemble perform, Whippoorwill in Gallatin, 6pm


"Killing Kennedy", Peter Johnson, Honors
Lecture Series, Nichols Dining Room, 12:45pm

28, 29, 30

Campus closed for Thanksgiving holiday

Vol State Students Present Italian Comedy this Weekend

 Love, death and comedy come together with a cast of Italian characters as Vol State students present the Italian renaissance theater classic “Servant of Two Masters.” The playwright Carlo Goldoni first wrote the play in the 1700’s. It has been updated through the ages, and has become popular in adaptations across the United States in recent years. The Vol State version will be set in 1920’s New York. “Servant of Two Masters” is set to be performed over two weekends in November: Fridays and Saturdays, November 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:30pm on November 3 and 10. The show will take place in the Wemyss auditorium at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. There is a $5 suggested donation to support student scholarships. For more information call 615-230-3201.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Students Debate the New Smoking Restrictions

Don't call it a smoking ban, call it a more restrictive policy. As of January 1, 2014 Volunteer State Community College will be a tobacco-free campus with a few exceptions.The new policy will prohibit the use of tobacco products on a majority of the campus.

Products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, and even smokeless electronic devices will not be allowed on campus, but may be used in designated parking lot areas. The rule is that you must be fifty feet from the building and use a proper receptacle for disposing of tobacco products.

As expected, there are a lot of opinions on campus regarding the ban, so I decided to get both sides of the issue.

Michelle Buckles, a sophomore at Vol State, likes the idea.

"I'm happy about the smoking ban on campus. I don't want to be unfair to smokers, but it is hard to avoid the smoke. Especially at entrances of buildings. Maybe it will be motivation for smokers to quit", said Michelle.

When asked if she thought that the new restrictions were a violation of rights, she replied: "If there are designated areas then I do not think that it is a violation. Non-smokers can have smoke- free paths to enter buildings, and smokers can still smoke in areas allowed."

There are plenty of people who disagree with the new restrictions.

Vol State student, Joseph Robinson, smokes and dips, and disagrees with the new bans that are being put in place.

"I feel like the system they have set-up now is effective. I do not think they should change it if it is working. I do not see cigarette butts on the ground, or people at the door smoking."

"I also do not think that dip should be included in the ban", he added.

I asked Joseph is he believes his "rights" are being denied.

"To a degree. It could be worse, I am glad that they are not banning it completely. You only have ten minutes to between class, how can you enjoy dipping in ten minutes?", said Robinson.

Many of those I talked to think that because smokeless tobacco or even the e-cigarette does not produce harmful fumes that the products should not be included in the ban. The college says e-cigarettes were included due to the current FDA debate on their safety.

I am personally not a big fan of the current smoking policy. There are some people who do not follow the rules and throw their cigarette away as they are entering a building. I think having designated areas away from entry ways to buildings will be a positive change and hopefully will promote a healthier campus.

And remember, this is not a complete ban. Smoking will be permitted only in parking lot areas 50 feet away from all buildings.

Here is a link to the new policy

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remembering Ginny Thigpen

There have been many people who have contributed to the success of Volunteer State Community College over the years. But some of those supporters go above and beyond. That was the case with Virginia “Ginny” Thigpen. She and her family have given so much to Vol State and in so many different ways. She passed away earlier this week. People here on campus, and across the community, paused to remember her life.

“She was just amazing,” said Karen Mitchell. “She loved education and everything about education. She was one of those rare human beings who you always loved to be around.”

“I remember when I came to work at the College, Ginny was so nice to me,” said Betty Gibson. “She made everyone around her feel special.  I got to know her and her husband Walter much better through the years.  They loved Vol State and made many contributions to the College through their talents and expertise.  Even after Ginny’s retirement, she has continued to support the College through her work with the Foundation.  Walter has been missed greatly and now we will miss Ginny so much. A lovely lady.”

Where does one start? Ginny was hired by Dr. Hal R. Ramer in 1972 as an instructor of English. She was a long-time faculty member, giving 36 years of service to Vol State, as an associate professor of English and Communication Department chair. She also started the Honors Program at the College. That dedication didn’t end when she retired from full-time work in 2000. She worked as a part-time adjunct instructor for another eight years. She continued to be active in the College Foundation, both as a generous donor, a board trustee and a tireless volunteer.

The people that knew her and loved her understood that she was involved in the community. But it seems that whenever you thought you knew her activities, you would find another stack of accomplishments. Ginny was involved in organizations and efforts across Sumner County. A few years ago former colleague and state Representative Mike McDonald honored her birthday with a resolution in the Tennessee Legislature. This covers just some of her involvement:

“WHEREAS, a dedicated civic leader, Ginny Thigpen has compiled an impressive record of community service, including being elected in 1978 as Sumner County’s first female County Commissioner, serving on the Sumner County Election Commission, and standing as President of the Tennessee Women’s Political Caucus; and WHEREAS, she also served as the President of the Gallatin Arts Council; the President of the Board of the Cumberland Mental Health Association; a charter member of the Junior Service League of Gallatin; a member of the Sumner County Ad Hoc Economic Strategy Committee; a member of the Health, Education, and Housing Facilities Board, a member of the Community Chorus, PEO, and Delta Kappa Gamma; a member of the Board of Trustees of the Volunteer State Community College Foundation; and a member of the board of Sumner Academy; and WHEREAS, no stranger to awards and accolades, Ginny Thigpen was named as the 2000 Tennessee Educator of the Year and was honored, along with her late husband, at the unveiling of the Thigpen Library at Volunteer State Community College.”

Ginny was married to long-time librarian Walter Thigpen. He died in 1997. The Thigpen Library, named in his honor, will always be a testament to their love of the institution. Their portrait hangs in the main entrance to the first floor. The Thigpens will be watching over students for many years to come.

“During her many years of service as a member of the English faculty, Mrs. Thigpen dedicated herself to the college and to the success of her students,” said Dr. Faulkner. “Even after her retirement from the college she continued to be an ardent Vol State supporter and benefactor.  She was very active with the Volunteer State Foundation serving as a trustee and on committees supporting many of the foundation events.  It was my great pleasure to get to know her since arriving at Vol State and I know she will be greatly missed by us all.”

Ginny was a global traveler. She enjoyed exploring other cultures and meeting new people. She began that love as a student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and traveled to countries across the globe with her husband and then with friends and family. While her heart and home were in Sumner County, she was a true citizen of the world.
Do you have a story about Ginny you would like to share? Consider adding it to the comments section here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vol State Singer Crosses Genres with Edgy, Blues Sound

Carly Koehn is a 19-year-old Vol State student who has already accomplished what many only dream about. She has released an album, which you may like if you enjoy music from Adele or Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. She has also made an appearance as an extra on an episode of ABC's "Nashville."

Her self-titled debut EP was released last summer. The sound ranges from blues/rock, pop/soul to edgy roots. Her smoky voice can move easily to fit any mood. I went to Vol State's book store and I purchased her album. I wanted to know who I was interviewing. I found something different on each track. One of my favorites is "Midnight Carnival". It gives a sexy tone, that could make a woman feel as if the world is her personal catwalk.

I asked Carly if she could compare her sound to any other musicians' style.

"I like to think that my music does not sound specifically like anyone, I think that it is unique," she said. "Some of it sounds almost Appalachian, while the rest of it has a vintage vibe making it more timeless than a lot of other things that are put out right now."

Carly performed in Nashville at the popular bar Third and Lindsley 

Carly's music definitely appeals to listeners that vary from her own age to even her parents.She say she "digs" the fact that her parents and grandparents listen to her music and come to her shows.

When asked what inspires her to write songs, she simply replied "growing up". Her themes range from that first heart break to finding one's way through life.

 "It is focused around that part of life that you are trying to figure out," said Carly.

I asked her if there was a particular musical style she was going for.

"As far as artists inspiring my music, I think what has inspired me is not any particular band but being southern without being country. I think it sounds like Nashville. It embodies this sound of Nashville that is kind of like Creedence Clearwater Revival. They are southern but not country".

"I love 80's rock anthems, I have been known to belt out the "Promise" by When in Rome".

Carly proved her words to be true because just as she finished her statement, she belted out a verse from the

Carly is an amazing talent, but don't take my word for it. You can see for yourself here.

To find out about performances and future song releases visit:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A New Advising Tool for Students is Now Available

DegreeWorks is now available for all students and advisors!  It is a new web-based Vol State advising tool designed to support your student success.
It’s simple to find DegreeWorks. It’s already on your MyVol State page. For students, just click on the “Academics” tab and you’ll find DegreeWorks listed under “Quick Links.”

There is nothing you are required to do with DegreeWorks as a student. However, you probably want to take a look. You can now keep better track of what classes you need to take and where you stand on your path to a college degree. It’s a starting point for a conversation with your academic advisor, which you should be having each semester. They will use DegreeWorks during your advising sessions. It can help keep you on track and that can save you time and money.

How Can “DegreeWorks” Help Me?

DegreeWorks allows you to see your degree program and how coursework is currently being applied toward your progress for graduation. DegreeWorks also allows you to run "What if" scenarios to see how changing your current academic program to another “major” will affect degree progress.  With DegreeWorks, students and advisors can easily see the progress that has been made toward a degree and determine what course requirements are remaining for graduation.

Benefits for Students

With DegreeWorks, you’ll always know how far you’ve come and how far you need to go to reach your graduation goal.  DegreeWorks, along with your advisor, will help ensure you are on the right track to graduate.

Through DegreeWorks, you can:

-See how all your completed and in-progress courses (in real-time!) apply to your graduation requirements;

-View course descriptions, prerequisites, and schedule information for the specific courses you need to take; 

-Do a “What-if” scenario and see what courses you would need to take if you changed plans and chose a different major or concentration; 

-Email your assigned advisor by simply clicking on the advisor’s name;

-Easily click on hyperlinks to obtain detailed course information including the course description, prerequisites, and course sections offered with number of seats available and location;

-Clearly see how transfer courses are counting toward your degree program.

If you have log-in problems with DegreeWorks you can contact the IT Help Desk at 230-3302. If you see something that you don’t understand, be sure to ask your advisor when you have your regular semester advising session. If something doesn’t appear to be working correctly with the system you can also contact the Advising Center in Ramer room 174 or at 230-3702.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hispanic Fiesta Saturday, October 19 - La Fiesta Hispana, sabado 19 de octubre Gratis y Todos Estan Invitados

Hispanic achievements are recognized each October during Hispanic Heritage Month. Volunteer State Community College takes part by celebrating Hispanic culture with the Vol State Fiesta. Hispanic music, food and art are centerpieces of the free community event. This is the seventh year for the Fiesta.

“We have fun for the whole family, including a soccer tournament. Even if you don’t play, it’s fun to watch. We also have a food cook-off contest that features dishes from many different nations,” said Eric Melcher, Vol State coordinator of communications. “After the judging, the public can sample the food. For the kids, we have an arts and crafts tent.”

In addition to the food cook-off contest at 11 a.m., there will be a free lunch and drinks starting at noon. The San Rafael Band from Nashville will perform Tejano and other Latin music. A dance group will show off folk dances and costumes.

The Fall Fiesta at Vol State will be held on Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is held, rain or shine, on the Volunteer State Community College campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. It is free and open to everyone. Families are encouraged to bring a blanket and chairs and spend the day. For more information in English call 615-230-3570 or Spanish at 615-230-4846.
La Fiesta de Vol State celebra la cultura hispana

Los logros de los hispanos son reconocidos cada octubre durante el Mes de la Hispanidad. Volunteer State Community College hace su parte en la celebración de la cultura hispana con La Fiesta de Otoño de Vol State. Música latina, comida y el arte son los elementos centrales del evento comunitario que es gratuito y abierto para todos. Este es el séptimo año de la Fiesta.

"Tenemos diversión para toda la familia, incluyendo un torneo de fútbol que aunque usted no quiera jugar es divertido observar. También tenemos un concurso de comida  o Cook-off Contest que ofrece platos de diferentes países ", dijo Eric Melcher, Coordinador de Comunicaciones de Vol State. "Después de la decisión del jurado, el público puede degustar  o probar la comida”. “Para los niños, tenemos un área designada para artes y manualidades.".

Además del concurso de comida “Cook-off Contest”  a las 11:00 a.m., habrá un almuerzo y refrigerios gratis a partir del mediodía. La Banda San Rafael de Nashville tocará música versión  Tejano y otras variedades de música latina. También tendremos un grupo de baile que nos demostrará sus talentos y vestuarios típicos.

La Fiesta de Otoño de Volunteer State se llevará a cabo el sábado, 19 de octubre de 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. El evento se celebrará con lluvia o sol, en el campus del Colegio Comunitario de Volunteer State , en el 1480 Nashville Pike en Gallatin. Es gratuito y abierto para todos. Se exhorta a las familias a llevar una manta y sillas y pasar el día. Para más información llame al 615-230-3570 en inglés o en español al 615-230-4846.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ministry Brings Kenyan Native to Vol State

Christopher Juma and President of Church Missions Network, Phil Johnsey

Sometimes it is easy to complain about what you do or do not have. I know that there have been many times I have thought: "Man if I only had more money" or "Life just sucks."

Christopher Juma of Kenya, grew up on the Ugandan border. From a young child he has faced adversity. His mother raised him and his father was highly ranked in the military in Africa; a father whom he only met three times. The last time he saw his father, the man was lying in a coffin.
Christopher Juma tells his story to Vol State.

"It did not pain me a lot because I did not know my father. I was saddened because it was my dad, but not devastated" said Juma.

And then his mother became gravely ill and died within months.

"Just think, I had lost the one person that was the most precious thing to me, my mother,and I was all alone," he said.

To survive he would sneak into people's homes in his village and steal food. At seven years old he had no family, no clothes, or food. Christopher had nowhere to turn. 

Throughout his journey he faced many more hurdles. He was placed in a camp and had to hustle for survival. He escaped that camp and he eventually stopped hustling.

Donations provide health care to villages that are in need.

One day, Juma decided to give his life to God. Soon after he escaped the camp, he returned to Kenya where he cared for 14 orphans including those with medical conditions like AIDS, leprosy, and epilepsy. He now has his own ministry in Africa. He often provides shelter in a 600 square foot house with no electricity or running water. 

Juma in Africa with his "Children".
Currently, Juma is traveling the United States to spread the word of God and to share his story. Vol State campus ministry organized a visit with students. His courage reminds us that when we think "life sucks" we can't even imagine what others might be going through. If they can overcome, perhaps we can as well.

You can help Christopher and his cause by visiting


Monday, October 7, 2013

Monsters University Comes to Vol State for Movie Night

Animated monsters are headed to college and you can watch the fun at Volunteer State Community College. Monsters University is the feature for Vol State Movie Night on Friday, October 25 at dusk (approximately 7:30 p.m.) The movie will be shown on a big screen outside on the Thigpen Library lawn, on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. People are encouraged to bring a blanket or chairs. In case of rain the event will be held in the gym. Movie Night at Vol State is free and open to everyone.