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.