Be thankful for the things you have

by Hope McKinney
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and many of the students and faculty at Volunteer State Community College are preparing for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Around this time every year people start to stress Christmas shopping, grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner and having their family come into town to stay with them.
More often than not we do not realize how lucky we are to share the holiday season with our loved ones. We are all too worried about Black
Friday shopping and getting the newest toys for our children and the best clothes and jewelry for our spouses that we forget to sit down and think about what we really are thankful for.
When we think about what we are thankful for this holiday season we do not need to think about material things.
We need to think about the people that surround us and the great memories that we share. There are so many great ways to gather your thoughts on what you are thankful for.
When my family sets the table for Thanksgiving dinner we lay down a giant table cloth that we can write on and when we start to eat we each write down one thing we are thankful for going into the holiday season.
After we are done eating everyone reads what they are thankful for out loud and we all share stories about things we overcame or goals we reached so far in the year.
This time with my entire family means more to me than anything, however not everyone gets to have that amazing traditions and love this time of the year.
I encourage everyone to make a difference in someone’s life this holiday season. Whether it be going to donate to your local shelter or doing some volunteer work you never know how far your kindness can go.
I admire my Grandmother so much in the fact that she makes it a point to us every year to invite someone new to our Thanksgiving.
She did not come from a wealthy family and she knows exactly how it feels not to have much.
She listens to people when they say they have nowhere to go for the holidays and she opens the doors of her home to complete strangers.
While I do not recommend inviting strangers into your home I could not be more proud of my family for their huge heart for people.
If you wanted to do this for someone look to some of your friends. I can almost promise you there is someone in your friend group, or someone you know from school that does not have anywhere to go for the holidays.
I encourage you to share your love with people this year in some way, shape or form. There are so many ways you can do so, and absolutely make someone’s day.
I also encourage everyone to remember those serving our country and who cannot be home with their families. Those women and men put their lives on the line every day for us every day and they deserve our appreciation always.
Coming from a military family, I can promise you that they appreciate every letter, care package and call they get. Even if you just send your friend a text or call saying that you appreciate their service that small gesture will definitely go a long way.
Everyone comes from a different background and celebrates different ways, but each and every one of us has at least one thing to be thankful for.
I hope everyone has an excellent and safe Thanksgiving. Remember all that you have to be thankful for.

Humorist Tom Lehrer Tribute Concert a Success

By: Michaela Marcellino
The Music Department of Volunteer State Community College had their concert, “Too Many Songs by Tom Lehrer (as if that was even possible…)” on Monday, Nov. 7.
This event was a tribute to political humorist and musician Tom Lehrer. It included both faculty and staff from several Vol State music appreciation classes.
The music was upbeat, funny and lively, and seemed to keep the audience laughing the entire time.
The concert included 13 Tom Lehrer songs performed live, as well as videos with Tom Lehrer himself singing—New Math and The Elements—to begin and end the event.
The songs performed live included The Masochism Tango, So Long Mom (a song for World War III), She’s My Girl, and Poisoning Pigeons in the Park. Some of the songs were cynical, yet hilarious takes on political themes, and some were just humorous takes on life in general.
“I thought the show was fabulous, everybody did what they were supposed to do…I think the audience] liked it, they seemed to have a really great time.
“You know, I wanted to give them permission to be as ridiculous and rowdy and crazy as possible, because it is that kind of show. The performers were great.
“Half of them were Mark Granlunds students, and I thought they [all] did great. Ben Troxler [who performed in the show] was a student of mine in 1999, when I first was here [at Vol State].
“[My favorite part of the show] was mine! The song I Hold Your Hand in Mine is extremely funny,” said Nancy Slaughter, associate professor of music, who helped coordinate as well as performed in the show.
All the performers seemed to really enjoy themselves. Even Vol State’s President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner, attended.
“[The show] was great fun. It was very entertaining, and the students did a great job. I do not know if I had a singular favorite part, it was all so good. I do not think I could choose one over the other,” said Faulkner.
“The show went really good, I think everyone did really well. I hope [the audience] was entertained. I think everyone did better than they thought they would do,” said Josie Doyka, a Vol State student who performed in the show.
“[My favorite part of the show] was hitting myself with a tambourine!” said Noah Perkins, another student who performed in the show.
Another faculty member who performed in the show as well as helped coordinate it was Mark Granlund, who teaches voice at Vol State.
“I was so pleased with the students, and their abilities to do what they do. I could not be more proud of them.
“The audience was into it, every bit it of it. They enjoyed it, and laughed at times. I hope they learned to laugh at themselves and laugh with other people. [The concert] gives [students] an opportunity to learn and grow [as] a person. They learn to be their own people,” said Granlund.
The concert was a fun time for everyone involved, and gave the audience the rare and welcome chance to just relax and have fun for a little while.

Spoken Word Artist NAV comes to Volunteer State Community College

By Kailyn Fournier
As a part of International Education week, Volunteer State Community College has invited spoken word artist Navpreet Sachdev, otherwise known as NAV, to perform on Wednesday, Nov. 16. His performance will take place in the carpeted dining room from 12:45 – 1:45p.m.
Like most of the artists who perform at Vol State for various events, NAV was invited here after he performed at the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) in March. “NAV’s performances are raw and authentic, driven by his passion to inspire the best of humanity,” according to their website, www.apca.com.
The APCA conference in March was NAV’s debut as a performer; however, he had attended the conference as a student, prior to that. The performances he saw inspired him and were a large influence in, “His decision to follow his dreams of being a poet came from,” according to the website.
“APCA was able to let him perform live,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities. She was one of the Vol State members to attend the APCA concert in March and was also one of the decision makers in NAV performing at Vol State.
The handful of students that attended the conference with her were SGA members. At the conference, they all had a booklet on the events, which they used to grade the performers on their act.
This score was on a letter scale, with A being the best and f being the worst. After the APCA, the SGA members would watch the best performer’s videos and make a group judgment call on whether or not they want to invite the performer to attend any events at Vol State.
NAV must have been impressive because in his 10-minute time to perform, he managed to get that A rank from Sherrell and some of the SGA members to perform here for International Education week.
According to Sherrell, his poems addressed issues such as discrimination and the need to improve society. This was a contributing factor in his invitation to perform during international education week as well.
“His performance at the conference was awesome,” said Brittany Davis SGA’s CAB chair and attended the APCA conference alongside Sherrell.
She says her favorite poem of his is “Thank You and Come Again” which is about his father’s immigration and the discrimination he experienced at the various businesses he worked at.
“It’s really powerful,” said Davis.
His other poems include “I Apologize,” about not being able to flirt and being attracted to someone on more than just appearances; “Politics of Facebook,” about the superficiality and ignorance displayed on social media despite it’s potential to change the world; and “Scars” about the damage that is done by the negative words of other people, but also about accepting the scars and moving on.
Sherrell has invited faculty members to bring their students to his performance. Those who are interested can find his YouTube channel NAVNAVNAV, or on his SoundCloud, NAV the Poet.

Veterans honored with Recognition Luncheon by Vol State Community

By Miguel Detillier
Volunteer State Community College celebrated Veterans Day by hosting the Veterans Recognition Luncheon at the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center on Nov. 10.
This event took place in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B and lasted from 12:30 – 2 p.m.
The Veterans Recognition Luncheon started with Belinda Fowler, President of Vol State Veterans of America (VSVA), reciting The Pledge of Allegiance with the audience. Fowler also talked about what a veteran is and what it means to be one and why people choose to be veterans.
Next, Ken Hanson, Veterans Affairs Coordinator, asked the audience if any faculty, staff or students were veterans of the military by having them raise their hands, and asked the audience to raise their hands if any dependents have supported their veterans today.
Hanson talked about the history of Veterans Day by claiming that this holiday started originally as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1918 during the end of World War I.
Hanson also said that Armistice Day was declared as an official U.S. holiday a year later for many people to celebrate the veterans who fought in World War I, and even said that Armistice Day was renamed as Veterans Day from a bill passed by Congress in 1954 since the United States started having more veterans after World War II.
“Recently, I had the honor of a gentleman from the Netherlands who came to visit me, and he was telling me he couldn’t believe how much we honor our veterans in the United States,” said Hanson.
Hanson then shared the gentleman’s sentiment by thanking each of the military veterans in the audience and to those that are in the military for their service.
“We are all brothers and sisters in arms and we need to keep it that way,” said Hanson.
“I had someone telling me years ago, ‘you got your brothers and your sisters that you grew up with, but those that you grew up with in the military and that bond that you have what goes that are in the military is even stronger than the blood bond that you have,’” added Hanson.
Hanson said that Vol State is proud to support their veterans and military students who work hard towards their educational goals.
Hanson also said that the Veterans Center and the Office of Veterans Affairs are all there to help military students have a better education.
Finally, Barry Rice, President of the Tennessee State Council Vietnam Veterans of America closed the Veterans Recognition Luncheon by saying that this country is coming together to remember, honor and pay tribute to those who have served for the United States bravely.
“The veterans we honor today came from all walks of life, but they share the qualities of courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication and integrity,” said Rice.
Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said that this event was a great way to support the veterans who came to this event.

Facebook is taking over the 2016 election

With the election results upon us today it is very important that we take something away from this election.
One of the biggest issues with this election is people taking false information away from social media.
Especially millennials know that every time you log on to Facebook you see your friends and family posting from uncredited sources, just helping add to the fire.
Every time we share a story about a candidate that we have not done our own research on and triple checked the sources we are doing ourselves and our community a disservice.
Facebook especially has done a great job of getting those fake news sources right to our newsfeed.
While every person has come in contact with false news in their life, not everyone knows how to identify it.
I have come up with a few ways of knowing whether or not it is okay to share these stories on your personal social media accounts.
Make sure you triple check the sources every single time. You can do this by simply googling the topic in the story.
If you see the topic in multiple sources odds are it is credible, but that is not enough evidence for posting.
You have to fact check the topic. There are many websites people can use to ensure they are getting the right information including FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com.
These are great sites to ensure you are getting the right information from nonbiased sources. I encourage everyone to check their topic on multiple fact check sites.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with learning something new and gaining factual information. Another way to check your topic faster is to simply look at the address bar.
If you are looking at websites that do not have a .edu, .org or a .gov you can never be 100% sure. While there are very many credible .com websites you can get the least biased information from the websites that I have listed above.
If you read the whole article or story you can usually make good judgement based on the language and punctuation used.
Credible news sources are always going to be checking their grammar and punctuation to make sure it is perfect, where as less credible news sources wont care as much about how the appear to the public.
Fake news sources only care about getting that information across your screen and into your brain, they do not care about how good they sound most of the time.
As I said earlier, there are always going to be exceptions. It is always important to be on top of your personal research.
Knowing your facts and being well educated can not hurt anyone. You can always spread that knowledge to other people which helps the general population become a more educated whole.
It is never good to spread false information. Whether it be on social media or by word of mouth it is never good.
Dr. Lynette Long, very smart speech professor at the Volunteer State Community College Gallatin campus, always tells her students, “You always have a right to your own opinions, but you never have a right to your own facts.”
It is extremely important as a college student to be a light for those around you. Let others in on the knowledge you have and be an active listener to those you can learn from.
In my opinion the worst part about this election is the spread of false information about the candidates, and about the election itself.
No one wants to listen to each other and everyone thinks they know everything about every topic when in reality no one does real research on the topics presented to us, we just rely on the media to tell us everything we need to know and as a result we spew false information causing a horrible chain reaction resulting in a misinformed population.
While our time is over on this election I believe the American people can learn a lot about this election from how poorly it has gone.
We have to learn to listen to people’s opinions to gain information for ourselves, not just listen to reply. Ask critical questions and learn from the mistakes we have all made.
I encourage everyone to educate yourselves outside the classroom and off social media.
Help educate those around you and never stop gaining valuable information.

Building credit for the first time

By Sara Keen
Recently, I found myself in desperate need of a new car, and unfortunately I needed a loan to purchase anything for transportation.
Loans require a credit history, which is based on previous transactions, such as credit cards, car loans or even apartment rentals.
One recurring thing that I heard and read when I was working on starting my credit was the one thing that tends to scare us: the credit card.
As Judy Woodard of Macon Bank and Trust explained, credit cards are basically a recurring credit. Each month, it reports that you owe and have paid on (hopefully) your credit limit.
For example, each month someone may have $600 reported and “paid for” to build your credit history based on their $600 credit limit.
There are many different credit cards available, featuring cash back rewards, travel miles, and even some breaks for certain people.
If you are a student, for example, you can most likely apply for a student credit card. Many of these offer cash back rewards for buying gasoline, going out to eat and using popular shopping websites or stores.
Student credit cards also typically offer cash back or miles for good grades. For example, Discover It Student Cards offer $20 for a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and Capital One has a student Journey card for those who like to or need to travel to receive help from their GPA.
Students can also try what are called secured credit cards.
“A secured card is backed by a cash deposit you make up-front; the deposit amount is usually the same as your credit limit,” according to nerdwallet.com.
Secured credit cards are meant specifically for those wanting to build credit, and the down payment is used as a collateral if a payment is missed.
For those who have trouble saving up with a typical savings account, you may also look into a credit-builder loan.
The loan, in this case, is held by the lender until you pay it back, making it a good way to “save” some money by investing it into a larger sum for later on.
“It’s a forced savings program of sorts, and your payments are reported to credit bureaus,” added nerdwallet.com.
For bigger loans, you can also look for a co-signer. A co-signer is a person who signs with you on a loan to help pay it off if you find yourself unable to do so.
However, not every person wants to risk their credit to help someone else build credit. It is important that you establish yourself as dependable and keep up with your payments if you have a co-signer. They “put their credit on the line” to help you.
Co-signers tend to be the family of younger people. As I mentioned before, I needed a car and had little-to-no credit whatsoever, so my mom co-signed my loan.
This means that if I fail to make my car payment each month, then it falls on her to take care of it.
Building your credit is a very lengthy process, and there are some hurdles to jump before you get there. However, it does pay off long term when you need a car, are looking for an apartment or even looking to purchase your own home.
It is good to begin young and build a strong credit history, so that you are not stuck needing credit in the future.

Free musical performance from Danny James

By: Taylor Matson
Makerspace President
Do you love rock, country or Nashville music?
Then you need to check out Danny James live at the Mary Nichols Dining Room A on Wednesday November 9, 2016 sponsored by the VSCC Makerspace.
Danny is a Nashville Recording Artist at Hard Tonk Records who has a catalog of over 230 songs.
Danny was born and raised in Seattle, WA but moved to Nashville three years ago to start the latest chapter of his musical career.
Since Danny moved to Nashville, he has written, recorded music and played the Nashville rounds with many famous bands and artists.
It just so happened though that after the Spring semester of 2016, Taylor Matson, an Audio Engineer Major and VSCC Makerspace President met Danny and recorded his entire catalog over the summer.
Taylor Matson will be there and be signing Danny’s albums and will be selling 3D Printed Phone cases, printed in front of you directly on your phone for $5.
Since Danny has moved to Nashville, he has had 10 albums distributed on iTunes, Spotify and all other digital markets and physically on CD.
With most of his albums priced at $5 for 12 songs, his entire catalog is very affordable for anyone looking to spice up their music library.
Danny will also be selling his music in CD form at the event and encourages everyone to find him online.
His music spans multiple genres including country, rock, honky tonk, gospel, sleep therapy and his own created genre, hard tonk.

You can find him online at

https://www.facebook.com/dannyjameslive/

or you can visit his website at

http://www.dannyjameslive.com.

Sigma Kappa Delta holds Dead Poets open mic

By: Miguel Detillier
Volunteer State Community College hosted Dead Poets Open Mic at the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building on Oct. 31.
This open-mic reading took place at the SRB Performing Arts Studio and lasted from 12:45-2:00 p.m., and was hosted by Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD).
Many students, faculty and staff were offered to participate in this open-mic by reading poems during the event.
The Dead Poets Open Mic started with student Ethan Gorham who read “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelly.
Next, freshman and English major Sarah Cox read through Christina Rossetti’s “Remember.” After that, Pre-Medical Profession major Camille Cole read a poem called “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.
I even got to participate in this event by reading Henry Vaughan’s “They Are All Gone into The World of Light.” I decided to read that poem because I loved the words from this poem.
After that poem, student Morgan Seay read through Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Next, Leslie LaChance, Associate Professor of English, read a couple of poems from John Keats called “This Living Hand” and “When I Have Fears.”
Laura Mcclister, Instructor of English, then read “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath.
Next, English Instructor Julia Cawthon read an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet called “To be or not to be.”
Also, Kelly Sleeper, Vice President of Sigma Kappa Delta, read Robert Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover,” and Sigma Kappa Delta President Gaynell Payne read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” After those poems, Cox read “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou.
Next, sophomore John Beutkeucius read “Matilda” by Hilaire Belloc, and Jerushah Blackburn read “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.
Mickey Hall, Professor of English, then read Billy Collins’ “The Dead,” and McClister read W.H. Hauden’s “Funeral Blues.” Afterwards, Beutkeucius read through “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll.
Also, student Kristin Meeks read a brief quote from Samuel Taylor Coolidge, “Sir, I admit your general rule, that every poet is a fool, But you yourself may serve to show it, That every fool is not a poet.”
Finally, Payne read through a brief excerpt from “Premature Burial” by Edgar Allan Poe to close out the Dead Poets Open Mic.
Overall, I thought the Dead Poets Open Mic was a great event.
I really enjoyed most of the poems in the open-mic reading, especially those LaChance read from John Keats as well as McClister, who read one from Sylvia Plath, which I thought went well and related to the spirit of Halloween.
LaChance said that the Dead Poets Open Mic was a well-attended and fun event. LaChance also said she was very impressed by the variety of poems the students chose to read.
“I was very pleased with the turn out and the participation,” said Mcclister. “Most of the literary works that were read reflected the fall season, which really added to the ambience of the room.”

Music Department holds tribute concert, open for all VSCC students

By Michaela Marcellino
Volunteer State Community Colleges’ Music Department hosted a concert at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7. It was in the new Steinhauer-Rogan-Black (SRB) Humanities Building, Room 151.
Nancy Slaughter, Associate Professor of Music, said that students have been busy with preparations for this exciting event all semester.
According to the flier, “everyone is invited to witness this tribute to political humorist Tom Lehrer.”
The flier also says that this event counts as the concert for Music 1030 classes.
“This is going to be very humorous and satirical. Tom Lehrer is a guitar player, and a political humorist. [The show is] going to be crazy. We will be able to lighten up the mood before the election.
Some of the songs are just really crazy. My song is called Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, and it basically is just a song about the springtime. It is beautiful, and then turns into this crazy, humorous thing.
We really want people to laugh, and have fun. I’m really excited [for the show]. There is going to be props and it will be very theatrical,” said a Volunteer State student, Rachel Loney, who is performing in the show.
“I hope people think [the show] is fun. [Performing is] fun, and I really love entertaining people. I really enjoy helping people enjoy the show,” said Josie Doyka, another Vol State student performing in the concert.
“I hope [students attending the event] will get to see that music can be ridiculous and silly, as well as serious. [This will be] a fun-filled concert with political satire and other humorous songs. [This event will include] singers and instrumentalists, faculty and students,” said Slaughter.
As this concert is a tribute to Tom Lehrer, students may want to know more about him. The site www.thefamouspeople.com has a bio on Tom Lehrer, which says that he is “…an American singer-songwriter and mathematician. He is known for his dark humor and satire.
As a singer he often parodied popular songs and wrote controversial lyrics dealing with the social and political issues of his times.
He began writing songs and tunes from a young age. Lehrer was a brilliant student; he earned his AB in mathematics from Harvard University at the age of 19 and his master’s degree the next year…and taught at MIT, Harvard and Wellesley.
He was a confident man who spoke his mind and never worried about political correctness. His songs often created controversy due to their dark, macabre and satirical nature, but he never bothered.
He started writing funny songs while in college to amuse himself and his friends though he had no plans to become a musician. But his friends who greatly enjoyed his parodies and comic songs encouraged him to record them.
Thus, he recorded his first album, ‘Songs by Tom Lehrer’ under his own label Lehrer Records in 1953. Lehrer was a comic paradox who successfully managed two seemingly unrelated careers—one as a mathematician, the other as a musician.”
Everyone involved hopes that the event was a fun and hilarious evening for those who attended.

Professor Jaime Sanchez holds lecture on the ancient Maya Civilization

By Kailyn Fournier
On Wednesday, Jaime Sanchez, professor of English and Spanish at Volunteer State Community College, held a lecture in the Thigpen Library’s Rochelle Center on the Maya civilization. The lecture drew in a small crowd, including the president of Vol State, Jerry Faulkner, who, upon recognition stated, “I’m just a student today.”
One of the points addressed in the lecture was intelligence of the society. This included the infamous Mayan calendar, in which Sanchez referred to the winter solstice of 2012, and the people who believed it would turn out to be doomsday.
“I don’t know how they thought that…they just didn’t get to that point,” Sanchez said, which received a laugh from the audience.
In regard to the intelligence of their culture, their calculations about the Sun and Moon were extremely accurate. Although this was not the same with celestial masses further away, such as Venus, their calculations were near exact when it came to the Moon and the Sun with the help of the Mayan understanding of Geometry.
“Their view of our universe is complex, and I would like to understand it better,” said Sanchez, after the lecture.
Sanchez also commented on their knowledge when talking about the Mayan game of pitz, which is a sport that is similar to what would happen if someone mixed basketball and soccer.
The game is played like soccer, however the goal is a small stone circle, much like a donut shape, that is just large enough for the ball to go through, and it is attached high on the wall, or sides of the court.
This is not the part of the game that Sanchez commented on, however, as many aspects of the game are still largely unknown. What he did comment on was the knowledge of acoustics the Mayan people demonstrated through the structure of these game courts.
If a speaker were to stand on a platform, and a person stood on another platform a football field away from the speaker, and they were to talk in a low voice, the person could easily hear the speaker.
“It would be like the person was standing two feet in front of them,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez then addressed the diet of the people in the Maya culture, which was mostly corn, and how it correlated with their beliefs. The Mayas believed that mankind existed in 3 forms: the first people being made of clay, the second people being made of wood, and the third peoples, us, being made of the corn plant, an idea that brings a whole new meaning to “you are what you eat.”
Along with that, Sanchez also addressed one of the reasons the Maya diet contained little meat, which was because the species of turkey the Mayans were exposed to were larger, meaner, and had less meat on the breast of the bird than the turkey most Americans know.
In addition to that, “it was a pretty ugly bird,” said Sanchez.
He also went over the artistic side of the culture, showing the audience pictures of the clothing style and their paintings, but he also showed photos of K’inich Janaab’ Pakal’s tomb, and the jade mask that was found inside.
Sanchez told the audience that the mask was stolen, a feat that may not be surprising to many; however, “it is like if someone stole the Liberty Bell,” said Sanchez.
The mask, he continued, was not found until the bust of someone high up in the drug business and the police searched his mansion, and found the jade mask inside.
One of the audience members there, Patricia Highers, is an English Professor who although she missed the discussion of the Maya calendar and art, said she was glad she got to see him talk about the temples and pitz.
“I just think ancient structures and architecture are really interesting,” said Highers.
“For me it’s always about the person… [and] I thought it was fantastic,” said Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence, Associate Professor of Spanish. “It shows us how they developed and how that effects today’s cultures.”