Luncheon held for campus veterans

Melissa Farmer

A luncheon was held for the veterans of Volunteer State Community College on Nov. 11 [Veteran’s Day] in the Carpeted Dining Room.  The event included students, faculty, staff, and guest speakers.

Joe Shakeenab, who was a Special Forces Green Beret when he served, spoke of days when he was younger and how he always wanted to be the best he could be. He was always hungry for knowledge.

He encouraged the veterans at the luncheon to continue to “be hungry,” or to always have a goal and a mission. The Veterans enjoyed a meal that included chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and other delicious sides.

Before the event started our attention was drawn to the “POW/MIA table” which stands for “prisoner of war” and “missing in action,” for any soldiers who have not yet/did not come home.

The table was set in a specific way. The cloth was white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.

“The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers. The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them.”

“A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families – who long for answers after decades of uncertainty. The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead.”

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast. The chairs are empty – they are missing.”

This is what is read aloud to explain the setting to anyone in the group who was unaware of what the MIA table stands for.

Later on, Ken Hanson explained that the veterans on campus could now use the downstairs room that used to be used for club meetings.  The room will have computers available. It will be an area to do homework or “just hang out” if you have some free time on campus.

Hanson expressed that he wants to help make the transition from active duty to civilian life as smooth as possible and he hopes that the Veteran area downstairs will help that happen.


TRIO provides support for students in need

Michaela Marcellino

TRIO Student Support Services, a helpful resource for students, is here on the campus of Volunteer State Community College.

“Our program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, designed to serve 167 Vol State students in the areas of academic support, graduation planning, 4-year college transfer planning, technology access, cultural enrichment, etc…we also have three TRIO Retention Scholarships available for eligible TRIO students who may apply after 1 year of participation. Our goal is to help students reach their goals while here at Vol State.” said Andrea Boddie, the Director of TRIO.

The TRIO brochure offers information on who is eligible, as well as a full list of services offered. These services include assisting students with setting and achieving long-term and short-term goals, Academic Advising, Tutoring/Academic Planning, individual or group Supplemental Instruction, Financial Literacy, Transfer Planning, Peer mentoring, and more.

“One of my favorite things about TRIO is when students come in here, utilize the services that we offer, and seeing what it does for them.”

“And when they’re successful at something, especially if they’ve been struggling, and taken advantage of the tutoring we offer, and come back and tell us they got a B on that test, it’s just so gratifying to hear that.”

“And it’s nice when they come in and use our computer lab, because it’s such a nice, quiet place to come and study. It’s really nice [to see them] be successful while they’re going to Vol State, and know we’re a part of that.”

“And [we] continue to help them grow and mature, and watch them succeed,” said Lacey Goodrum, TRIO’s Secretary.

TRIO’s purpose is to help students earn their Associates Degree and assist them to transfer on to a four-year school.

To apply for TRIO’s assistance, according to their brochure, first complete a TRIO SSS application from the TRIO Office [Wood Campus Center, Room 210] or complete it online at the Vol State website,

Then, provide a copy of previous year’s tax return and schedule initial interview. After the interview, a letter of enrollment status and the next steps will be sent.

“[We at TRIO] are here to help students be successful…we are here to provide what they need to reach their goals. I feel blessed to work with the best group of students on campus,” said Jean Colello, TRIO’s Program Coordinator.

For more information call 615-230-3732


International education week comes to Vol State


Blake Bouza

Volunteer State Community College is hosting its annual International Education Week this week.

According to Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, there will be several different events promoting the benefits of international education.

On Monday, Nov. 16, the Student Government Association will be giving out free international coffee at their meeting in the carpeted dining room at 12:45pm. It is open for anyone to attend.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Around the World in a Day begins at 12:45pm in the carpeted dining room.

“This event is an opportunity for all students, faculty, and staff who have traveled overseas to show off their pictures and items as table displays,” Sherrell said.

The event is open to everyone to come and talk to those who have traveled and hear their travel experiences.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Asia Project will be performing spoken word in the carpeted dining room at 12:45pm.

Asia Project is a multi-talented, award winning spoken word artist who has toured almost 300 colleges/universities in the last two years.

“He is a cancer survivor who has won audiences throughout the country with a spoken word show that has nothing less than an honest and genuine testimony of his life,” Sherrell said.

According to the APCA National Campus Events Planning Conference book, “the show is always inspiring, sometimes gut wrenching, and most often times comical buffoonery.”

Alexis Deere, student at Vol State, did not know about International Education Week, but wishes she would have.

“I think students should know the opportunities that they can get it while being in college and study abroad is a very good opportunity to see new things and learn in different ways,” said Deere.

Deere said that she has always dreamed of leaving the country and learning about another culture.

“I’m a very hands-on learner and I believe if I was to travel and learn, it would be so much easier for me to learn by actually being there and experiencing country,” said Deere.

“Studying abroad isn’t just about learning from the class that you’re taking, it’s also learning how to communicate and interact with other people, while learning and experiencing how they live,” Deere said.

According to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website, “this [International Education Week] is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.”

International Education Week is to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

Charitable Organizations Around Your Community

Barbara A. Harmon


Volunteer State Community College’s annual Christmas for the Kids and other local charities give everyone the opportunity to help those in need.

Lori Miller, Secretary of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, said that Vol State has sponsored this event for at least 10 years.

The response has varied every year, but in 2011 they had the most applicants (116 children), she said.

“The Student Government Association (SGA) pays for the reception type dinner that they have that goes on, and they usually put $500 toward that,” said Miller.

She said that SLDI also keeps a budget for this event.

“We have Books are Fun, and right now we have the thing that’s going on (Jewelry is Fun),” said Miller.

“We have a week of each one in the fall and the spring, so that’s 10 percent of those proceeds going back to Christmas for the Kids,” said Miller.

She said those proceeds will then help fund any kid that is not adopted out and help pay for decorations and games.

“What I mean by adopted out is, we will have a little paper ornament that will have if the child is a boy or girl, their age, their sizes, and things they may need or want,” said Miller.

“Those are put on the tree, and then we have Vol State community people that come out the Monday before Thanksgiving, and they are able to pick those up to sign the kids out,” said Miller.

Occasionally, people from the surrounding community want to help, but it is mostly from within the Vol State community; they are eager to help out their own, she said.

“Sometimes we will have clubs that will say, us as a club are going to sponsor a child,” said Miller.

“My goal is by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, there will be no more ornaments on the tree.

“One year we had people fighting for the last four,” said Miller.

She said that last year the 30-something ornaments were gone by the first day.

“As of right now we only have about 25 turned in for this year,” said Miller.

The children usually open their presents at the dinner, unless their parents request otherwise, she said.

“Some of the kids, you see them, and their eyes light up over the littlest things,” said Miller.

If the parents know that their child will not have any presents on Christmas, they can let her know, so their child will be given a baggie to open that night instead, she said.

“Then, mom [or dad] can go ahead and take the other stuff out to the car,” said Miller.

When Miller was a student at Vol State, Christmas for the Kids enabled her children to have gifts, she said.

“Christmas is about giving, but it’s not about how much your kids get; but literally they would have had nothing, when I was a student,” said Miller.

“Because I was a single mom, I was not working and I was in school full-time,” said Miller.

She said she can relate to these students and that is probably why she gets so involved with this event.

“It’s like I’ve come full circle,” said Miller.

“The Employee Relations Food Drive benefits the families from the Christmas for the Kids program, run by the Vol State Student Government Association each year,” according to Kate Walker, Office Coordinator of Information Technology.

According to her, there are donation boxes around campus that Employee Relations would like people to contribute non-perishable food items (excluding glass containers) and toiletries in.

“Each family that is approved and would like the food boxes will get them [at the event],” according to Walker.

“This event has been held for the last several years and will continue as long as the Employee Relations Committee votes to keep it going.

“For the last two years, we have been able to supply two overflowing boxes of food to each family,” according to Walker.

Walker thinks Vol State has always been a very contributing campus, according to her.

“I believe that anything we can do to make this campus a more amazing place to work is worth it,” according to Walker.

“Although food donations are wonderful, please realize that goods are not the only thing you can donate.

“Your time is just as valuable,” according to Walker.

Nelson Moore, former student of Vol State and former SGA President that will be playing Santa at Christmas for the Kids, said that he enjoys participating in this event because he knows what it is like to go without.

“I never had a Christmas when I was a kid” said Moore. “My dad didn’t believe in Christmas, and we just didn’t have Christmas.”

“Other people gave us stuff, every once in a while, but we didn’t have Christmas like other people,” he said.

Moore said he has been Santa at this event before, and the children usually ask for electronics (laptops or video games), but that the presents they open that night always seem to please the children when they open them.

“It seems, no matter what they get, they are really happy about it and excited—no matter how big or small it is,” said Moore.

He said he would like to encourage students and others to participate in this event.

“They would found out that they would get more joy than the kids,” said Moore.

“Donate all they can and participate if they can; come see it and help out.

“And remember one thing,” said Moore, “HOHOHO.”

According to Allison Meyers, Vice President of SGA, “the event is beneficial for VSCC students because playing the role of full-time student and parent often comes with financial struggles, and every little bit helps.”

“Ornaments will be placed on the Christmas tree in the Mary Nichols tiled dining room, and I encourage Volunteer State students, clubs, faculty, and staff to adopt a child,” according to Meyers.

There are many organizations and charitable events that students and faculty can participate in, especially during this time of year.

Hendersonville Medical Center is a local hospital that sponsors such events.

Louise Collins, Assistant Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at HMC, said “the hospital is a sponsor for the United Way, Relay for Life (American cancer), Light the Night (Leukemia), [and the] American Heart Association.”

“At Christmas we do a Coat Drive for the United Way, Christmas for Kids, we have a choice to buy tickets to a concert (usually at Bridge Stone) and the money goes for toys,” according to Collins.

According to her, a variety of staff members from the different departments donate their time to help with these events.

“Our Christmas Angel tree will be for families from our hospital who may be in need of help at Christmas,” according to Collins.

“Each department picks a family, which has listed sizes and a list of each child’s wish list.

“You can donate to the United Way, Samaritan House, we [also] do food drives and collect can goods,” according to Collins.

Editorial on appreciating what you have

Sara Keen//Editor-in-Chief


We live in a time where it is easy to forget about the luxuries we live with.  We often take for granted our homes, clothes, electricity, and everything that we’ve received as a result of technology.

We forget that we live in a country where most can afford what other countries dream.  There are places where people cannot easily receive clothes, housing, food, or medical treatments.

In our society, we have gotten to a point where people fear the wrong things, such as vaccinations, because we have forgotten how bad the world was before.  There are children who are angry when they do not get a certain color of iPhone or iPad when kids in other places are overjoyed to receive a pair of socks.

Even worse, there are fits thrown to parents because they look out for their children.  Parents have a reason for everything they do, even if you do not quite understand it at the time.  They are your guardians until they are gone.

We never know how long we have left with someone.  It is vital that we enjoy every second that we are able to with them.  It could be as simple a task as getting ice cream with a grandparent, or going shopping with your mother.

Be thankful when someone is sick that they have the medicine to treat him or her.  If they cannot be cured, be thankful that there is medicine to lessen the pain.

We no longer suffer from a variety of diseases thanks to vaccines.  The number one fear for pregnancy is no longer death.  We live in a time where we can be comfortable in raising our families.  

We have a day to give thanks for everything we have each year, but with so much to be thankful for, it is not the only day that we can say thank you for what we have.

Any time you feel down, think about how great things are now in comparison to what they would be 100 years ago.  We have so much that we can say thank you for.

We have full families, a chance for education, a place for food and sleep.  We are able to come home in the winter without fearing the flu.    

When you sit around the table on Nov. 26, remember how lucky you are to live in a time with so many advancements.  Enjoy your time with your family.

Happy Thanksgiving.