Vol State to screen “The Women”


(Pictured: Poster for The Women.  Photo courtesy of Shannon Feaganes.)

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting a screening of the movie “The Women” March 29, in celebration of Women’s History Month.  

“The Women” will be screened in the Rochelle Center of the Thigpen Library.

The movie stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, and Jada Pinkett Smith, and tells a story about a woman named Mary Haines (Ryan), a wealthy clothing designer in New York who chooses to leave her husband after discovering that he has cheated on her with a perfume salesgirl named Crystal Allen (Mendes).  

In the beginning of the movie, Mary confronts Crystal and then her husband about the affair before breaking off her marriage to him, and receives emotional support from her friends.

Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, the Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives and Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, select movies to screen during each month, such as “Selma” during Black History Month and “Milk” scheduled to screen in April.  

“I wanted this movie to be more light-hearted and fun,” said Yarbrough.  “It’s comical but these women demonstrate the complexities of the lives of some women, and I felt people, both male and female, could relate.  

“You have demonstrations of very successful women in their respective careers which denotes how far women’s suffrage has come, but yet have further to go,” Yarbrough said.

Sherrell hopes that the movie will attract students.

“I would love to have 30 people at least sign in between all three [screenings],” said Sherrell.  

Sherrell explained that the screenings are at different times, 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m., in order to allow students to work a viewing into their schedules.  

“I would like to watch it,” said Abigael Pence, a Vol State student, “it seems really interesting.”  

“It sounds really cool because it sounds like women drama in general,” said Lexi Long, a Vol State student.  


Vol State hosts annual Family Day

family day and easter egg hunt

(Pictured: Marla Shelton Kissack with daughters Ella and Natalie after the egg hunt.  Photo by Shannon Feaganes.)

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

Volunteer State Community College hosted a Family Day and Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 19 on the Quad.  

The event was open to the public free of charge and ran from 12-1:30pm, with two Easter egg hunts as well as activities such as Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, a coloring station, and a prize drawing.  

The Easter Bunny also made an appearance and was available to take photos with.    

During registration for the event, each attendee was given a raffle ticket that would be entered in a drawing to win a themed Easter basket at the end of the event.  

The Easter Egg Hunt had two rounds with Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, commenting.

The first round was for children aged 6 years and under and the second round was for older children as well as any remaining children who had not yet participated.  

Children ran across the Quad full of Easter eggs, and each egg contained a piece of candy.

Between rounds, attendees were directed to the grass across from the Wallace building to play a game of Simon Says.  Winners received a candy prize from the Easter Bunny’s basket.  

Attendees also participated in Red Light Green Light, with winners also receiving candy.

After Red Light Green Light, the second round began and attendees were encouraged to partake in the refreshments available, which were hot dogs, chips, cookies, and Hawaiian punch.  

During this time the coloring station was also open, which had board games such as Candyland and Connect4.  

The event came to a close when Yarbrough and volunteers from the crowd drew winning raffle tickets for themed Easter baskets.  Among the announced winners were Layla Loftis, Rosalia Becerra, and Aleya Bacheldey.  

Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, estimated an attendance of at least 65 people.  “I was nervous because of the weather, but we had a nice turnout,” said Sherrell.  

“Given that it was supposed to rain and it didn’t, I was very pleased,” said Yarbrough.   

“The last two years I’ve been going to the Easter Egg Hunt at the Streets of Indian Lake, but this is better,” said Marla Shelton Kissack, a Vol State graduate from 1998.  “The kids here are more polite, and this is my favorite school.  It [Family Day and Easter Egg Hunt] has a good setup, with the hunts broken up into age groups.”     

Humanities discusses ancient culture


(Pictured: Professor Jaime Sanchez giving the lecture.  Photo by Preston Neal.)

By: Preston Neal, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College hosted a presentation from the Humanities Matter Lecture series in the Rochelle Center on March 15.  

Presented by Dr. Jaime Sanchez, the “Nahuatl Literature and Culture” presentation served to inform students about the Nahuatls a culture of Mexico.

“Most people in [America] have heard of the Aztecs, because that’s the culture that clashed with the Spaniards, but actually the Aztecs were a subgroup of a much larger [culture],” said Sanchez.

As a result, the Aztecs and Nahuatls spoke the same language, which is still spoken by 1.5 million people in Mexico today. The Nahuatl were widespread, inhabiting most of northwest and central Mexico.

While building the subway system of Mexico City, a coincidental discovery of Nahuatl ruins was made. This led to a large scale excavation, with several old buildings being demolished in order to excavate further.

Sanchez, so many artifacts were found that an entire new museum was built to accommodate them. After studying Nahuatl architecture and artifacts, experts came to the conclusion that their culture was relatively advanced.

This was evidenced by mathematical precision, medicinal practices, and complex art.

“They also practiced some procedures like fillings for teeth, and even had treatment for diabetes,” said Sanchez.

Evidence of these medicinal practices is given by the “Little Book of the Medicinal Herbs of the Indians,” a text which was taken to the Vatican during the Spanish Conquest.

Sanchez said the Pope, during the 1970’s, returned it to Mexico as a cultural gift.

Sanchez then proceeded to discuss some of the sculptures, paintings, and other artifacts of the Nahuatl culture, drawing attention to the complexity and intellectual depth of Nahuatl art.

Sanchez expressed his desire to provide clarification in regards to Nahuatl culture and human sacrifice, an aspect of their culture that was not as central to Nahuatl and Aztec society as pop culture has articulated.

Sanchez then concluded his presentation by reading excerpts from Nahuatl literary works. The students appeared to be interested in the content.

“Ever since middle school I’ve enjoyed studying ancient civilizations,” said Casey Adams, a Vol State student.

Another student, Grace Johnson, commented that although she enjoyed the subject matter, she found the presentation to be less than desirable.

Those who are interested in further presentations from the Humanities Matter Lecture series are advised to stay tuned for further announcements.


Vol State studies local wildlife with trail cams



Maryam at Yellowstone(Pictured: Maryam Flagg poses in front of a herd of bison at Yellowstone National Park.  Photo courtesy of Maryam Flagg.)

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

Maryam Flagg, Instructor of Biology, has been shooting animals all over campus for the last two years.

That is, shooting pictures of animals using undercover infrared cameras.

An organization called Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) tries to get more scientific research opportunities into community colleges to provide funding and train teachers.

Flagg was sent to a field methods workshop in August of 2014 to Canandaigua, New York, where she learned how to use the cameras used to take pictures of and identify the animals.

Vol State, in addition to CCURI, purchased some of these cameras for the research.

The cameras have been set up on the outskirts of campus for the past two years near the stream and the softball field.

Coyotes, deer and raccoons are only a few of the animals seen on camera, which

use an infrared flash and motion sensors in order to capture the images.

Flagg and some of her students go out and secure the cameras to the trees with chains and padlocks.

“The cameras can be set out for a month and survive any sort of weather. They’re kind of like the ones the hunters use,” Flagg said.

Flagg asked some students from her class if they would help her set them up.

“We can get a thousand pictures of deer over the weekend. There’s a raccoon party at 3 a.m.,” Flagg said with a laugh.

Three of Flagg’s students have done full research projects. One of them analyzed every animal in the data and the times the animals showed up.

“We found the peak time was at 3 a.m.,” Flagg said, and that they were surprised by the amount of diversity found in the results.

They found in one study that deer typically stuck to the edges of campus, especially by the stream.

Flagg used cat food as bait in order to lure a coyote near the stream.

Groundhogs were also the subject of one study, a student having crawled into the bushes in order to find the groundhogs.

“Anyone who is interested can do it,” said Flagg.

Deer selfie

(Pictured: One of the deer roaming Vol State gets curious about the wildlife camera.  Photo courtesy of Maryam Flagg.)

She now gets her classes involved with using the cameras.

“We have three cameras set up in Springfield campus and some in Highland Crest campus,” said Flagg.

Students are going to compare the results between all Vol State campuses to see the diversity of wildlife.

CCURI has created a network of 20-30 community colleges, which collaborate with one another in the research process.  

Within the last three years CCURI has sent Flagg and her students to New York, South Carolina and Wyoming for further training and poster sessions.

Poster sessions are opportunities for students to show the results of various projects they have been working on all over the country.

Vol State will be hosting a national poster session for CCURI in April, Flagg said, and that CCURI will be providing travel scholarships to students who are participating.

Flagg said it looks great for students transferring to universities, and looks great on a resume in general.

“It’s fun and a lot more hands-on. They get to learn about the animal communities in their environment,” Flagg said.

Flagg wanted to add that she thanks Vol State for supporting the research and the students who had participated in the project thus far.


(Pictured: A groundhog roams around Vol State campus.  Photo courtesy of Maryam Flagg.)


Making sure to do your own thing

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

We have all been in a situation that leaves us questioning what to do.  On one side, we have people telling us what we should do, and on the other is our own thoughts and experiences arguing to do something else.  

One of these situations that many of us are facing right now is what we will do with the rest of our lives, or what we will major in.  According to borderzine.com, 80% of students will change their majors at least once, and on average three times, before graduating.

It affects you and your future more than anything else. I could not count the number of times that someone has said, “I want to major in this so I can be this, but my parents/friends/family think it is stupid.”

When our entire lives centered on listening to these people as our elders, we can forget that we are adults and these decisions are ours to make.  In a community college setting like at Volunteer State, many of the students still live with parents and just as many still do not know what they want to major in.

This can make college exceedingly difficult when the people you respect disagree with what you wish to do.  It can cause additional stress, which no student needs, as you are not able to explore the field you want to be in.

That decision is ultimately yours and no one else’s.  If you find a major and a career path that you love, then do not let someone else steer you away from it because they do not believe in it.  

The phrase “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” has substance to it for good reason.  Certainly, you may not be able to do your favorite thing in life, but you can still find something you love.  

You can look into your interests, take career quizzes or tests, and look at what you are good at.  There is an entire array of career possibilities that you can look into, from photographing kittens to being paid for traveling.  

I urge my peers to really think about the future that they want, and make their decisions based on that.  You will be discouraged, ridiculed, and judged no matter what you do in life, so do what makes you feel fulfilled at the end of the day.  You cannot aim to please everyone, and sometimes not even yourself, but you can certainly live life the way that you want to because it is yours to live.


Cycling Classic begins early registration

By: Preston Neal, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College is hosting its third annual Vol State Cycling Classic at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, and will consist of three tours, each beginning on Vol State campus and going through Sumner County.

The purpose of the Cycling Classic is to raise money for student scholarships.

The event will begin with the Metric Century Tour, which will cover 63 miles.

At 8:15a.m, the Half Metric Tour, 33 miles in length, will depart at 8:15a.m.

The Fitness Tour, which is 15 miles, departs at 8:30a.m.

Returning cyclists can expect some variations to the usual routes due to road closings.

According to Debra M. Daugherty, Director of Development, full maps of the routes will be made available in the near future. In order to participate, registration is required. This can be done by going to www.active.com or via www.volstate.edu/cycling.

Registration requires a fee of either $40 in advance or $45 by May 13 or 14. Vol State students, faculty, and staff will receive a $10 discount.

Each cyclist will need to bring their own personal bicycle.

Those who register in advance are guaranteed a free tour t-shirt.

The tours will feature rest stops with complimentary water and snacks, provided by various organizations. Helpers will be riding in trucks closely behind the cyclists, in case of any accidents.

“We have to think about the safety of the riders at all times,” said Daugherty.

Each year has had more cyclists than the last, with 2015 reporting 175 participants, according to Daugherty.

There will also be a post-tour party featuring barbeque, beverages and live music performed by Vol State students. First-aid and restrooms will also be available.

For those who may be interested in participating, but are not already a cyclist, or just want to get in shape for the tours, are advised to join Vol State’s Pedaling Pioneers.

The Pioneers go on group rides twice every week, leaving from the main campus.

Rides accommodate cyclist of every level, from beginner to advanced.

No experience is necessary to join.

Anyone interested in joining The Pioneers may contact Coach Chrysa Malosh at chrysa.malosh@volstate.edu.

Vol State to host Women’s History Tea

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting the annual Women’s History Tea Wednesday, March 23, in the Mary Nichols Carpeted Dining Room.

The event will include food, a guest speaker from the Tennessee Board of Regents and an award recognition.

Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, has been coordinating this event every year since the Spring 2013 semester.

“I created the Women’s History Tea to bring awareness and recognition and to celebrate the accomplishments of women to the Volunteer State Community College Community and to society as a whole,” said Yarbrough.

Yarbrough said he wants women to feel empowered to accomplish whatever they choose and for all, male and female, to respect the strides that women have made.

“I hope our students will become more open and respectful that each gender brings something to the table and the accomplishments and contributions of women are equal to that of men,” said Yarbrough.

Yarbrough has invited Dr. Heidi Leming, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the Tennessee Board of Regents, to be the guest speaker for the event.

“Because of her [Dr. Leming] position, she has insight on what is happening in our state with respect to Higher Education. I’m confident that she will be able to motivate and inspire the attendees at the Tea,” said Yarbrough.

With diverse events like these, Yarbrough said he hopes to move the campus toward a direction of inclusion and not merely tolerance.

“Our celebrations of various cultures and gender aren’t meant or intended to cause division but rather to celebrate our differences.

“Our differences make us appreciate the subtle nuances. That’s what I want the community to understand,” said Yarbrough.

Dr. Heidi Leming’s speech is titled “What Do You Believe?” and it will focus on how beliefs shape action and the role that women have played in education to advance those beliefs.

“I hope to challenge students to think about the importance of identifying your core beliefs, taking action, and honoring the legacy of those who have gone before us to make our personal journeys possible,” said Leming.

Leming said she has close working relationships with several Vol State staff including Dr. Kenny Yarbrough.

This will be Leming’s first Women’s History Month presentation.

“I love being able to connect with students and inspire them to take their college experiences to improve not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them,” said Leming.

Leming said she believes activism is one way to shape a more positive campus environment that transcends to a greater local community.

“If a student has never thought about why we have ‘history months,’ take a moment to reflect on how a better understand of the past can shape our future actions,” added Leming.

The Student Life and Diversity Initiatives are having the event set up with a Parisian theme this year.

Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said she enjoys this event because it is a nice change of pace.

“We try to get new decorations to add to the event each year.

“We also always ask the French class if there are any volunteers that want to serve hot water at the tea and speak French phrases to the guests so they can join in on the fun,” said Sherrell.

With the past success the Women’s History Tea has had, Dr. Kenny Yarbrough said he is very elated about the event this year and is proud that the Vol State community recognizes the accomplishments of women.

“I’ve had so many people share that they enjoy our events because it raises awareness.

“There are some who wonder why we take time to celebrate different groups, but I feel that it’s our differences that strengthen our similarities,” added Yarbrough.

The Office of Student Life and Diversity and the Diversity and Cultural Awareness Committee are accepting nominations for the Women’s History Month Tea.

Any woman who has made outstanding strides or contributions at Volunteer State Community College is eligible. This includes students, faculty and staff. Submissions must include the reasons why you are nominating your candidate for this recognition.

The Diversity and Cultural Awareness Committee will be selecting the winners who will be awarded at the Women History Tea.

Submissions must be sent to Vicki Dretchen, Diversity and Cultural Awareness Committee Chair, by email to vicki.dretchen@volstate.edu by March 17.  

Understanding Sexuality: Being LGB

By Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief & Mackenizie Border, Layout Manager

The three most commonly known letters in the acronym LGBTQIA, LGB, stand for lesbian, gay and bisexual.  

Essentially, they cover the two genders for homosexuality, lesbian and gay, as well as bisexuality.

Homosexuality means that a person is attracted to those of the same gender as themselves.  

A man would be attracted to a man – gay – or a woman would be attracted to a woman – lesbian.  

On the other hand, bisexuality is when a person can be attracted to both genders, male or female.

The LGBTQIA community was formed for a similar reason to any other community.  It provides a safe place for those involved.  

Homosexuals and bisexuals are able to be around similar people.

“It’s usually possible to be less guarded and more relaxed because there’s a greater level of acceptance and less risk of hostility,” said Nancy Blomgren, Associate Professor of English.

“Members of the LGBT community are more likely to live in unstable and abusive dwellings, have long-term unemployment, commit suicide, become homeless, and are victims of hate crimes,” said Amanda Steele, a Vol State student.

As with many minorities fighting for their rights, the LGB community still faces outside discrimination.

It is still legal in most states to fire, evict, and refuse service to LGBT people.  

With the discrimination faced, there is also a considerable amount of hate speech and discriminatory actions coming from political campaign and legislature.  

“[It] is doing tremendous harm to a lot of young people who hear this barrage of hate every day,” said Blomgren.

There is also an unfortunate amount of discrimination within the community.  

“In the gay and lesbian movements there have been multiple times where bisexuals and other multisexual orientations have been pushed to the backburner even while the movement was pushing for inclusiveness,” said Jamie Fuston, Instructor of Sociology.

We say we don’t want to label ourselves, but I’ve seen where we label each other, and it’s actually discrimination more toward bisexuals where someone says ‘You just don’t know what you want.’  I’ve seen even LGBT say this, and it’s quite upsetting,” said Blake Coker, SGA Activities Chair.

The same argument tends to come from outside the community, whether it is, “you don’t know what you want,” or “you just want to sleep with everyone.”  

The dominant reason for this is because it is a multisexual orientation and is not categorized as easily for many.

“For both L and G identities, they are what are called monosexual orientation, meaning there is an enduring pattern of romantic, emotional, and/or sexual attraction to those of one particular sex,” said Fuston.

“With bisexuals, pansexuals, polysexuals, gynesexuals, androsexuals, skoliosexuals, etc., you get into multisexual orientations instead.

“In our society, we often like our mutually exclusive boxes and categories.  We like you to be this or that and gray areas become uncomfortable for us,” said Fuston.  


The LGB part of the community has simultaneously advanced and barely changed at all in education over the years.

The advancements made include the development of clubs such as Vol State’s own Spectrum, which would not have been considered okay 50 years ago.  

There is also safe space training in education to help LGB students, and some assumptions, such as everyone in the community having HIV/AIDS, are no more.

On the other hand, “sexual orientation is the second highest reason cited for bullying in schools, second only to physical appearance,” said Fuston.  

This means that there is still work to be done on the attitudes toward sexuality and how people react to those in the community.


Many people in the community express a fear of “coming out.”  

Whether this fear stems from the lack of societal acceptance or familial reactions, it is typically warranted.  

“Many people [in the community] lose part or all of their family members by being a different sexual orientation or gender than expected,” said Fuston.  


Even before coming out, some will struggle with their own sexuality, whether it is because they want to fit in, feel normal, or have trouble accepting themselves.

“I wanted myself to believe there was a chance I would end up being with a girl, and in the back of my head I knew I was lying to myself.  

“I knew I was never going to end up being with a woman,” said Coker.

There are places and people that can be reached for help.  

There are usually safe spaces on campuses, for example, and sometimes guidance counselors that are capable of helping.  

Something that has been used to help those struggling is the Kinsey scale and test.  

The test analyzes the answers submitted and gives the participant a place on a numerical scale, from zero to six.  

Zero means that the participant is exclusively heterosexual, while six is exclusively the other extreme.  

Bisexuals typically fall around three, though not typically perfectly, and asexuals, which will be discussed in later article, will be given the score of “X.”

Blomgren offered final advice for those struggling with their sexuality.

“Don’t hang out with people who want you to be just like they are.  Those people can’t help you, and they’re not interesting, either.

“Instead, surround yourself with those who want you to be happy and healthy, and will let you figure out your own life on your own timeline.

“Listen to your heart.  Trust yourself,” said Blomgren.


Helpful advice for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

St. Patrick’s Day is on Thursday, March 17, and you will be certain to spot green-colored clothing around the campus of Volunteer State Community College.

Many people have traditions for this holiday, but here are some things to take into consideration.

Do not waste your time watching “Leprechaun in the Hood” or any from this series, unless you like fairly corny films.

If you are going to stay in, it may be better to watch a movie like “Blown Away” or the family-friendly “Luck of the Irish.”

There are many other wonderful Irish inspired films, but it really depends on how many times you want to hear the f-bomb.

Are you going to have the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage?

“Corned beef and cabbage, as it would seem, is about as Irish as spaghetti and meatballs [are Italian].

“Evolving from the Irish bacon and cabbage, it was Irish immigrants in America who quickly swapped to corned beef as a less-expensive substitute for pork,” according to washingtontimes.com.

So go ahead and celebrate with this traditional Irish-American meal, and be thankful it is not drisheen and tripe.

You should not overindulge in beer just because it is green.  Wearing your green on the outside is plenty. Your insides do not have to match.

“The Irish don’t bother with this foolish malarkey.

“As one Irish ex-pat living in America explained it when being interrogated about real St. Patrick’s Day customs back home, ‘if you dyed beer green in Ireland, they’d punch you,” according to Brad Tuttle on time.com.

There are other choices of Irish beverages, instead of beer. A popular black tea in Ireland is Barry’s Tea.

According to IloveIrishTea.com, “Barry’s Tea [is] imported from Ireland [and it's] America’s favorite Irish tea.”

This could be your alternative to alcohol.

Have you ever heard of a lucky tattoo…really?

“A superstitious few might be under the impression that getting a four-leaf clover permanently drawn on your body is the ultimate way to score some instant luck, but don’t be fooled,” according to picosure.com.

“There’s nothing wrong with believing in a little magic, but when it comes to body art, you’re setting yourself and your artist up for failure and disappointment.

“If you happen to have the most unlucky day of your life following the tattoo session, then the tattoo serves as a constant reminder of it,” according to PicoSure.

If you want to keep the leprechauns away, do not forget to wear your greens.

If you want to keep fools from pinching you, do make sure these greens are visible.

Last but not least: Do not kiss someone just because their shirt reads “Kiss Me I’m Irish.”

More than likely…they are not.  


The meaning and origin of St. Patrick’s Day

By: Sam Walker, Staff Writer

Today I ventured around Vol State campus to ask students their thoughts on Saint Patrick’s Day, and I was very surprised by the results. Out of every person I asked not a single one could tell me about Saint Patrick’s Day, beside the fact that if you don’t wear something green people will annoy you all day.

So I took it upon myself to look into it and see what I could find.

This day is particularly sacred to the Irish people, even though Saint Patrick himself was not Irish. He was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century.

When he was sixteen years old, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates at his home in Britain. Patrick was then taken back to Ireland as a slave. He worked as a shepherd for six years before escaping his captors and returning home to his family.

Patrick came from a long line of ranking members in the Catholic Church. He went on to be ordained as a Bishop in Northern Ireland. He worked as a missionary to the Irish people.

One of the most common readings on Saint Patrick is that he used shamrock clovers in his teachings to represent the three parts of The Holy Trinity.

In many depictions he is seen wearing green while holding a cross in one hand and a three leaf shamrock in the other.

According to the tales of Saint Patrick’s time in Ireland, He banished all of the snakes from the land. This is interesting because to this day no snakes reside there.

Saints Patrick was recorded dead on March 17 and buried in Downpatrick, Ireland. This day was commemorated as a holiday in honor of Saint Patrick and his patronage to the Irish people.

This holiday is also observed by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Saint Patrick was named the foremost patron saint of Ireland.  

Although this holiday was first established as a feasting day, it has turned into a holiday also celebrating the culture of the Irish.

In turn, alcohol made quite an appearance in the festivities. In fact the restrictions of Lenten of the Catholic Church of eating and drinking alcohol are lifted on Saint Patrick’s Day.

So remember on Thursday, March 17 to wear something green because there will always that one guy who thinks it is appropriate to go up and pinch random strangers.