Recognizing Volstate Staff Member Voorhies

Michaela Marcellino


Marguerite Voorhies has worked at Volunteer State Community College since the day it started, July 1, 1971 as Cataloging Librarian.

Vol State, called the historic Cordell Hull Hotel home in 1971.

Voorhies could recall when the current campus opened in Feb. 1972. The Library staff was responsible for moving the collection of books belonging to the School into the Ramer Administration Building using the “Book Truck.”

Of course, as Voorhies said, “Then, we had less books.” The Vol State Library again moved when Thigpen Library opened in 1994.

“Everybody in the beginning that I was so close to, because we were over there in the administration building, retired. I just refuse to retire, as long as I have my health and half a brain!” said Voorhies.

When she was just out of college, Voorhies started at the Blue Grass Regional Library in Columbia, TN. They had a book mobile, and “we would take the book mobile to post offices, really anywhere that would take us, banks, or whatever, and leave books for people,” said Voorhies. She spent two years working at Columbia State Community College before coming to Vol State.

Voorhies’ favorite thing about working at Vol State is “working with the students, and the Vol State family.”

“[The biggest change] is the growth of the student body and college personnel. We only had a few students then,” said Voorhies.

Donna Warden, who has worked in purchasing and acquisitions at the Vol State Library for 40 years, said her favorite memory of Voorhies was filming a skit for a Media Information Resources course.

The MIR course was a required course for all incoming freshman. In this particular video, Voorhies was dressed like a biker chick, and kept saying “Honda” instead of “Harley.”

“We kept telling her, no, Harley people don’t like Honda!”

“She is such a sweet and caring lady…she has a good heart,” said Warden.

Julie Brown, who is the Technical Services Librarian at Vol State, has been Voorhies’ supervisor since Jan. 2010.

“[Voorhies] continues to be a dedicated professional. I can only hope to be as active and sharp as her when I’m her age. She comes in to work every day…she really enjoys what she does,” said Brown.

Voorhies lives in Gallatin during the week, and commutes to and from Columbia on the weekends. She has a sister and three grand-nephews there that she “loves dearly.”

“What has stayed the same [in 44 years at Vol State] is the idea that the student comes first,” said Voorhies.

Editorial on Staying Grounded in Situations

By Sara Keen//Editer-in-Chief

Society today seems to focus more on the bad in the world than the good.  It has become increasingly difficult to turn on the news without hearing of tragedy, war, violence, or crime.

Even social media is covered with upsetting news stories.  So often do you see posts of people “giving up on humanity” or not wanting “to live on this planet anymore.”

So how is it possible to stay vibrant or optimistic when it seems like everything is gloomy?

One has to remember that the world is complicated.  There is no split difference between good and bad.  The good often has some bad in it just as the bad often has some good.

Tragedies are capable of bringing people together, as well as making individuals stronger.  For example, following Hurricane Katrina, the devastation and destruction brought people together to rebuild the effected areas.

On a smaller scale, families can be brought closer by death or illness.  Individuals can even become stronger mentally, and grow as a person.

There is also bad found in what we conceive as good stories.  For example, society always thinks about how glamorous and great it would be to become famous.  In reality, a lot of people were not able to handle their newfound fame.  Some would succumb to drug abuse; others would unintentionally break away from their families.  

Even outside of the “limelight,” things we often wish would happen, like winning the lottery, have had very negative results on people.  Lottery winners have been known to be murdered for their money while everyone else dreams to be them.

Too much of a good thing can be bad, and some things that seem good actually aren’t that great.  

When an individual is faced with both good or bad news, the best thing to do initially is to stay calm, if at all possible.  This can help the individual to think over and take in what has happened, or even allow the capability of rational thinking.

Sometimes it could help to turn to a friend.  A good friend will welcome anything you have to share, and may help in any way they are capable.  Some individuals require this in order to remain rational.

Overall, do what you must to cope with, understand, or enjoy the news you have received.  Once you have overcome the initial news, it’s best to focus on how this impacts you.

If the news is devastating, it could have a “bright side,” that is not initially seen.  There could be something good that could come from it, so it is best not to focus entirely on the negative aspect of an event.

Good news can have a dark side to it.  Perhaps one’s high hopes are let down shortly after receiving the news, or what seemed like excellent news did not turn out as well as anyone had hoped.

It is perfectly okay to enjoy and celebrate when you hear good news.  It is simply helpful to remember that not all good things end as well as they started.

Everyone should remember to keep their heads on their shoulders, feet on the ground, and hopes held high.  It is not helpful to focus entirely on the bad or the good, but to understand that they intermingle, and exist together in the world.

Giving our veterans a chance to reconnect

By Melissa Farmer// Staff Writer 

Volunteer State Community College has quite a few veterans around campus.  One thing that will soon be available for veterans is a Veterans Center on campus.

Starting college after you have been in the military is quite an adjustment. Often times coming to college can be overwhelming for any students, and when it comes to veterans it can be more overwhelming than average. Being used to a strict schedule while serving in the military, then switching to college life where you get to schedule your classes whenever you choose, and just the over all freedom is a rough time.

“Veterans are kind of a different group, they’re used to being very structured, they’re used to working with adults. Once they get to college it’s usually a totally different environment for them. They can usually handle it, but it’s that transition period,” said Ken Hanson, who is a veteran himself and knows first-hand how this transition goes.

Working with the state, Vol State has plans to open a Veterans Center on campus “Veterans can go there to spend some time studying, work on computers, things they need for school. Or as a one stop shop for veterans so that way they don’t have to go all over campus as much.”

Hopefully with veterans connecting with each other, and other veterans who have gone through what they are experiencing it can be a more smooth transition and their college experience will be enjoyable.

The location of the veterans center is undetermined, so far, but there are plans to get this center up and running by Oct or Nov. Veterans connecting with other veterans is a very unique bond, “They know that each other have, as we’ve always said it, ‘stomped the same dirt’.”

Connecting with a group that has the same experiences and can know where you have come from can be an extremely beneficial bond when someone is in a new environment and trying to settle into a new life.

The ultimate goal is to get veterans to achieve their goal “We want to get them from the time they start here, till we can get them to the point where they can finish their program, graduate and hopefully move on to a much better world,” said Hanson.

The Veterans of Vol State definitely have something to look forward to in the upcoming months. When the Veterans Center is prepared and ready to be the base for these brave men and women, ads will be put out and more information will be available.

In the mean time, should you have any questions, contact Ken Hanson ( for details, questions or concerns.    


Letter on creating a cleaner campus

By Beth Cooksey// Vice President of Business and Finance

I would like to officially welcome all of our returning and new students to the fall semester at Volunteer State Community College.  I have had the privilege of serving as the Vice President for Business and Finance for over eleven years now.  Volunteer State is a great place and I am very proud of it.

As a new or returning student, I hope you are also proud of this College and the Gallatin campus.  In the time I have been here, I have seen plenty of changes to the physical campus.  We have had two major construction efforts, the completed Allied Health South construction and the Humanities Building that is currently underway.  We also had a significant construction project back in 2006 when a tornado did over $9 million in damages to our campus.  Following the tornado, we all pulled together and sacrificed some creature comforts while the campus was rebuilt.  For a while, it just wasn’t too pretty around Vol State, but eventually, the campus started to look nice again.

There are a lot of us on this campus who take a great deal of pride in how this campus looks and how it is evolving.  My point in writing this article is to ask for your help.  Please help us keep our campus beautiful.  When I see little things like gum on a campus sidewalk, I am distressed.  I am distressed because I personally know the hard working custodial team at Vol State will have to clean up something  that just shouldn’t have happened.  Our entire Plant Operations team is dedicated to creating a culture and atmosphere that are conducive to learning.  We want you to be comfortable in your classrooms and in the recreational space.  We want a clean and inviting campus.  Please help us keep Vol State beautiful.  

Thank you in advance for doing your part.  Together we can all have a great fall semester!

Movie night to feature Marvel film

Contributing Writer Anthony Davidson


The first logical question that a student asks when they hear about Movie Night: “What is it?”

According to Tabitha Sherrell of the Student Life and Diversity Office: “It is a community event.  You do not have to be a student to come and view the movie.  It roughly starts at dusk, approximately 7:30 or whenever the sun goes down that day. You can bring your blankets and your lawn chairs, and there will be concessions available. I know one of our student clubs will be providing popcorn.”

That said, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend and enjoy the movie.  The movie is free because the college’s Student Government Association (SGA) has its own “blow-up screen.”

Movie Night allows students to bring their friends and families out to enjoy a free movie and have some fun, and non-students get the chance to watch a movie and enjoy an autumn night.  “If you are a student with your own children, this would be a perfect opportunity to bring your kids on campus and enjoy some time with them,” said Sherrell.

The next logical question: “How many students know about Movie Night?”

On a survey of students, the Settler found that 4 in 5 students asked did not know about the event. Advertisement of the event is strongly encouraged by Faculty and Staff.

This free showing takes place on the Volunteer State Community College quad, in the middle of Warf Sciences, Thigpen Library, Wood Campus Center, and the Pickle Fieldhouse.

This year’s showing will be Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron on Sept. 18, 2015.

For students who haven’t kept up with the series and related films, the movie stars Scarlet Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Spader as the voice of the AI, Ultron.  The movie follows the storyline of the Marvel comic book series. The film is rated PG-13, due to language and thematic violence.

The  viewing is scheduled to be played on the quad, however, if the weather should not permit, it will be shown in the  carpeted dining room of Wood Campus Center.

Concessions will be sold and the proceeds from concessions will benefit the school’s clubs and programs.  The Settler does not currently have a list of specific concessions, but concessions will be available at the event.

Brenda Buffington’s Farewell

By: Barbara Harmon

Students and staff of Volunteer State Community College got their final hugs from Brenda Buffington, Director of Adult Learners and Evening Services, on Aug. 31st.  This was her last day at Vol State and even though there were cake and balloons around the department, there were that many more teary eyes.

Buffington was employed by Vol State over three years ago and feels she has made the most of that time.  She has enjoyed working with the student organizations, such as The National Society of Leadership and Success, overseeing many other student events and truly listening to what the students had to say.

When asked by students why she was doing all that she did, her response was, “because of you,” said Buffington.

Her work with the adult students led to her contribution to the Launch and Learn project for the upcoming year, which will offer workshops and free career assessments to the students who participate in this program said Buffington.

While reminiscing about her time at Vol State, Buffington recalled how she strove to turn the student gatherings into special events.  “We did not do it every day, but when we did—it was an event,” said Buffington.

There is one last event that Buffington planned for the students at Vol State.  “I will not be here, but my final event will be here.  I planned, on Nov. 19th, which is during the week of homecoming, a Clearly You event,” said Buffington.  “It will be in the carpeted dining room from 1-7pm, and then starting at 5:30pm there will be a dinner.”

You are welcome to bring your family to this event and have your image scanned into a three dimensional cube said Buffington, and she hopes that you will attend her event.

Judy Schuelke, Coordinator for Adult Learners and Evening Services, said Buffington will be missed incredibly.

Schuelke worked with Buffington slightly more than a year.  “Hugs were her trademark.  Regardless of the kind of day you were having, students and staff would come into her office just to get a hug, because they knew it was “ok,” said Schuelke.

Having worked under the guidance of Buffington, Schuelke said Buffington was centered on helping students.  “Brenda was a very giving person, genuine and sincere,” said Schuelke.

Tracey Toy had only worked with Buffington since January, but said it was common for students to come to the office just to see Buffington, even students that had already graduated.  “She is a rarity, not just to students, but with everybody that she works with,” Toy said.

Toy said that there is going to be so many people that are disappointed that Buffington is gone.  “I am happy for her though, because wherever she goes she will be a star,” said Toy.

Celebrate Hispanic heritage with quiz bowl

By Blake Bouza// Contributing Writer


Volunteer State will be holding its annual Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl on Sept. 16 in the Cafeteria room at 12:45 in the afternoon.

The quiz bowl will be played Jeopardy-style and will feature three rounds.  “I would hope that it would attract, really, everybody. Spanish students and other students who speak languages other than English as a first language. Anybody that would want to know more about other cultures.” Said Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence, Vol State’s own Spanish professor and moderator of the bowl.

Questions will range anywhere from within Hispanic culture, from geography to music. Vandiver-Lawrence hopes it will be a learning opportunity for students wanting to know more about Hispanic culture in general. “It [the questions] can cover pretty much anything relating to the culture,” she said.

Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. Vol State will be offering other events that celebrate the diversity of Hispanic culture all month. Hispanic Heritage Celebration is on Oct. 7 where students will be presenting projects and art.

The Hispanic Fall Fiesta on Oct. 17. “It’s really for the Hispanic community so you don’t even have to go to Vol State,” said Vandiver-Lawrence.

Vandiver-Lawrence urges as many students to attend as possible because the need to understand other cultures is so great. “We have to live with each other. There are subcultures we live with on a daily basis.”

“If you can only deal with the people in your subculture, how will you ever survive outside of your own community? Not even just races but also religions and all kinds of stuff that make us different from each other. If I can’t communicate with people that are different from me I won’t be able to function in society,” said Vandiver-Lawrence.  

The bowl typically lasts no more than a half hour so Michelle advises timeliness in getting to the event. “It’s amazing,” she said of the opportunities Vol State offers both to its students and the community at large. “We have so many people that are so committed.”

Upcoming Book Adaptations to Check Out

By Blake Bouza// Contributing Writer 


This year (and the last five) has seemed completely saturated with book-to-screen adaptations. They’ve either fallen short of the original source material (HELLO ENDER’S GAME) or fully taken on a life of their own. (The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones stand out – maybe the secret is having the word “game” in the title).

So to save yourself further disappointment, let’s start with some upcoming adaptations that’ll totally be worth your time both on the page and in the broken theater chair. You can trust me on this because, well, this is in the paper. (And I read all these.)


#1: The Martian by Andy Weir

If you’re a two semester remedial math student like me, you may be put off by the amount of math in the first chapter. Don’t let that stop you. This book is tremendous in its scope and its pacing, dealing with an astronaut stranded on Mars and Earth’s efforts to rescue him. The entire time reading I felt like I was sitting at home glued to my TV, waiting to see if Mark Watney could be brought back alive. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about this one flopping. With a cast consisting of Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain and the picture being directed/produced by Ridley Scott, we have a lot to look forward to on October 2nd.


#2: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Blake, you say, how ridiculous. Why ever would you put a Hunger Games book on this list? Who hasn’t read these books or seen these movies? Well, you’re out there. The good thing about the Hunger Games movie franchise is that they adapt the books shockingly well – no need to pick up the first two books if you’ve seen the movies. If you can’t wait until November to find out what happens with Katniss and Peeta – you’ll blow through this in a day.


#3 In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

So this book is based on the true story that inspired Moby Dick. You never knew you could be so interested in whaling, but this book invests you in the hole craft of hunting whales. This is nonfiction that reads like a fast-paced novel, and that’s just how I like it. Trigger warning: CANNIBALISM. It’s a graphic book, both emotionally and physically, but amazing in its telling the story of these men and their battle for survival. Absolutely remarkable. The movie stars Chris Hemsworth and comes out December 11th!

So there you go – give these ones a try, and if you like them, maybe we’ll talk more books sometime soon.

Homcoming Themes

By Barbara Harmon

Volunteer State Community College has started the process of planning homecoming week, which will take place during the week of November 16 – 21.

Chastity Crabtree, president of the Association of Campus Events (ACE), said she did her research and narrowed the theme choices down to decades, nautical, or superheroes.

Students can put their vote in the box located in the front of “The Settler” newsroom, beside the cafeteria.

“The idea behind all three of these, is they all seem to be very broad, so with any one of these three options, there is a lot to choose from,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities.

Crabtree said she has plans for the homecoming game and that she is contemplating having a free throw challenge, photo booth, and other theme centered activities.

Crabtree also said a great deal of thought and energy is being put into this year’s events and encourages students to get involved.

“The student leader’s have made their voices known, so now is your chance, as the student body, to vote on your choice for homecoming,” said Crabtree.

Sherrell said the division held their voting at the retreats this summer and have already gathered thirty-eight votes. They would like the students to be involved and also cast their votes.

The winning theme will then become the inspiration for decorations of the doors, for the different divisions. Sherrell said there will also be a contest for the best decorated door, during homecoming week.

“The hope behind this is that we can get people to rally behind homecoming, and maybe they will actually want to dress up, or they will want to participate in the contest, and most importantly–that they will want to come to the game. That’s the goal,” said Sherrell.

Kat Lambert, a Vol State student, said she is already thinking about which theme she will vote for. Lambert said she missed the homecoming festivities last year because she never saw any advertisements for them.

“I’m hoping to participate more this year since I will know, ahead of time, what is going on,” Lambert said.

Lambert said she is planning to attend the homecoming game to participate in the activities there and thinks voting for themes, in advance, will stimulate interest.

“Participation will be good, and it should excite the freshmen,” said Lambert.

An Editorial on Self-Acceptance

By Sara Keen// Editor-in-Chief

Self-acceptance has become a hot topic across social media in the past year. Men and women alike post photos that make them feel confident, or reveal their insecurities to the world.

If one cannot understand who he or she is, it can be like a sickness. It lingers, incurable when no one understands it. It can affect your health, mentally and physically.

Some may find themselves unable to function at times without reason, or they may not like the actions that once made them happy. Sometimes it can lead to a depression in the individual.

Even further, it can halt one’s ability to succeed. Focus may divert from work or school because one cannot understand what is wrong with him or her, even when nothing is technically wrong. One could begin to slack in class or at work simply because it just doesn’t seem as important as it once was.

It can cause one to focus on negative character or physical traits, rather than realizing the positive. Some may focus more on an “annoying” laugh than their impeccable sense of humor. Others may focus more on a physical “defect” rather than realizing their great personalities as well as physical beauty.

Self-acceptance leads to confidence. It allows people to embrace themselves and ultimately experience a better quality of life, no matter the situation.

Every person struggles to discover and understand who he or she is. Everyone is battling a different situation with a different background. Some may wonder how they could possibly worry about their own self-acceptance when so much is in the way, distracting them.

Accepting one’s self doesn’t require constant attention or work. It’s the little things that can help in the path of self-acceptance. For example, perhaps a person notices they have a great ability in art, or that they enjoy reading a good book when they’ve had a long day.

It’s the little things that lead to self-discovery. Some may find that they have a tendency to feel their best when they’re alone, in the silence. This not only helps that person understand their habits but they can also learn what to love about themselves.

In a different aspect, character traits also play a huge role in self-acceptance. Whether one is caring, honest, straightforward, or even funny, traits can be embraced. People often love a caring person. Honest and straightforward people are often needed in life, as they can warn or help you when there is a problem. Even the funniest of people are often welcomed with their ability to make light of most situations.

Character traits are something everyone loves to notice in books, movies, and television shows. In that case, take a moment to realize those traits one loves so well in oneself. Perhaps some are brave, like Hercules, or a little different, like Lilo or Stitch.

Once someone notices how alike he or she is with a character, or relate to that character, it allows a person to understand his or herself. It is always a good habit to notice the traits shared with one’s favorite characters in order to accept, and eventually love, one’s self.

The most common issue with self-acceptance is physical appearance. In this society, it seems dire that every person has a particular body composition. In reality, what should matter is how the person views their body. Some may say they are “concerned about health,” which may be true, but the individual knows his or her own health.

Women often find themselves competing with more ”prettier” girls. The truth is, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I am sure a great majority of the students at Volunteer State Community College watched Shrek as a child. One of the greatest lessons to take from Fiona is that everyone is beautiful to someone else.

On the other hand, men often struggle with feeling “manly.” Men have the same struggles as women do, it simply isn’t as vocalized. Going back to the previous reference, the same can be said for Shrek. He was not the most “handsome” or polite man in the kingdom, but Fiona still loved him.

All in all, once one can understand his or her flaws, it can open a new world for that person. Confidence can get an individual through most situations. In understanding who one is, that person can realize who he or she can become.