Person of Interest: Star student Seth Walker

unnamed (1)(Pictured: Seth Walker with his assistant Ken Brassell.  Photo by Barbara Harmon.)  

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

You may have seen Seth Walker, a sophomore at Volunteer State Community College, around campus, but how much do you know about him? He is confined to a wheelchair because he was born with cerebral palsy.

“Cerebral palsy is one of the most common congenital (existing at or before birth) disorders of childhood.

“About 500,000 children in the United States have the condition,” according to kidshealth.org.

There is no cure for this condition, which affects the ability to control one’s muscles.

“I cannot do anything without assistance from others.

“I also have a speech impediment,” he added. “The only thing I can do on my own is think and use my brain.”

In order for Walker to attend Vol State he needed someone to assist him on campus.

Ken Brassell, Walker’s assistant, said he read about Walker needing help with this through their church.

“God kind of spoke to me and said hey you need to do this,” said Brassell.

He said he had reservations about it, because he was not familiar with cerebral palsy or Walker and his family.

Brassell recalled meeting Walker at a birthday party and trying to speak with him, when Walker did not respond he assumed he was mentally challenged.

“Which that happens to him a lot,” said Brassell. “People don’t realize how smart he is or how funny he is.”

Despite his condition Walker has maintained a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) and has been accepted into Lipscomb University with a full scholarship.

Walker said the most challenging thing for him at Vol State has been the workload, because it takes him longer to complete assignments—especially essays.

This is due to him having to control his computer with a metal dot that is on his forehead.

Walker said he has appreciated how the professors at Vol State have treated him.

“They are always willing to assist me with whatever I need to be successful,” he said.

Some of Walker’s favorite things are Alabama (Crimson Tide) football, basketball (he was Station Camp’s basketball manager for three years), traveling, and searching on the internet.

He said Disney in Orlando, Florida was his favorite of all the trips he had taken.

“But most importantly I’m a follower of Jesus Christ.

“He is everything to me,” said Walker. “I would be nothing without Him.”

After graduating from Vol State, Walker plans to achieve his bachelor degree in strategic communications from Lipscomb and then obtain his master’s through seminary, so he can pursue a career in social media ministry.

“I will go wherever God leads me,” said Walker.

He also had some advice he wanted to share.

“No matter what your challenges are—you can persevere and reach your goals,” said Walker.

 

Interest Piece: The wrestler among us

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

 

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Brian Ferrell, a student at Volunteer State Community College, is also referred to by another name.

While Brian Ferrell is what his fellow classmates hear in class, “Brian Valor” is his name in the ring.

Ferrell is 26-years-old and pursuing his dream as a professional wrestler.

“I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was 5-years-old,” said Ferrell.

“The earliest match that I can remember watching was Macho Man Randy Savage vs The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 7.

“Ever since then, I’ve been hooked,” he said.

Ferrell said he grew up with three brothers and they spent a lot of time wrestling around the house.

As a child, he said he collected wrestling video tapes, wrestling action figures, and wrestling magazines.

“From an early age, I always knew I wanted to be a wrestler and had an aspiration to become one,” said Ferrell.

“There were times I tried to shy away from it, because I knew about the risk and injuries.

“Seeing all the old timers who are old and broken down and can barely walk, plus the traveling and never being at home,” he said.

Ferrell said he used those reasons as excuses to pursue other things, but remained a loyal wrestling fan.

“But after a pep talk with my dad, about growing up with no regrets, it got me to thinking again about pursuing this career,” said Ferrell.

“That’s when I started looking for schools to go train at, and the rest is history,” he said.

Ferrell started training early last year in Lewisburg, Tennessee with Mikey Dunn.

After about five months with him, he went on the road with Shaun Hoodrich.

Ferrell continued to train with Hoodrich and became his tag team partner.

“I wrestle for USA Championship Wrestling, and they run shows in Gladeville, Tennessee; Lebanon, Tennessee; Dickson, Tennessee; Covington, Tennessee; and Jackson, Tennessee,” said Ferrell.

He wrestles for the Southern Wrestling Federation (SWF) in Tullahoma, Tennessee and Next Generation Wrestling (NGW) in Newport, Tennessee, as well.

“I am also one half of the NGW Tag Team Champion for Next Generation Wrestling down in Newport, Tennessee,” said Ferrell.

Ferrell has met or been in the ring with famous wrestlers like Ricky Morton, Bill Dundee and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

Ferrell explained that depending on which promotion he is with, determined if he was a heel (bad guy) or a baby-face (good guy).

He said wrestling is a typical superhero story—the heel gets heat from the crowd, and the baby-face gets cheered.

“I prefer being a bad guy—I like being a heel,” said Ferrell.

“I’m better at smack talking and feel like I’m a natural heel at heart, too,” he said.

Ferrell said it does not really bother him when people call wrestling fake, because they do not fully understand what wrestlers have to put their bodies through.

Ferrell explained that you do get hurt when you hit the mat, which is metal bars covered by wood and a mat.

“So it hurts when you get slammed on the ring,” said Ferrell. “You feel it every time.”

“Literally you are getting hurt out there, and at times I’m hurting myself more than my opponent,” said Ferrell.

“You have to brace yourself when you are doing moves off the top rope, because you are receiving the brunt of the impact,” he said.

“It’s the best decision I have ever made, and I feel that when pro wrestling is done right, it’s the greatest thing on earth,” said Ferrell.

“My only regret is that I wish I had started earlier, when I was 18 or 19,” he said.

“But now my goal is to make it to the WWE,” said Ferrell.

He will have a tryout with WWE in Nashville, Tennessee at the Bridgestone Arena, Feb. 29.

“I will be an extra talent and will possibly be on TV,” said Ferrell.

“Then, Tuesday, March 1, I will be traveling to Atlanta to have a tryout in front of talent agents and some of the superstars for evaluation.

“And I will also be on the TV taping of SmackDown, as an extra talent,” he said.

Ferrell encourages everyone to check out Monday Night Raw on the USA Network and SmackDown on Thursday nights at 7 p.m.

According to usanetwork.com, “SmackDown delivers a shot of adrenaline to viewers and bring fans over-the-top action, feats of athleticism beyond the reach of mortal men, and WWE’s special brand of drama.”

Tickets can be purchased at bridgestonearena.com, if any fellow students would like to cheer for Ferrell on Feb. 29.

“See all your favorite WWE Superstars LIVE including Roman Reigns, “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Triple H and the Authority, the WWE Divas and many more,” according to bridgestonearena.com.

 

Tabitha’s Tale

By Sam Walker, Staff Writer

 

Tabitha Sherrell is the Coordinator of Student Activities at Volunteer State Community College. She manages the clubs around campus and oversees the Student Government Association (SGA).

She also helps with the distribution of both student IDs and parking decals in the Office of Student Life & Diversity Initiatives.

Originally born in Michigan, Sherrell had her first job at Blimpy Subs.

“I hated it, but it paid for my trip to New York because I was an honor student in high school,” said Sherrell.

She then went on to Siena Heights University to earn her bachelors degree in English communications. While serving as a resident assistant at Sienna Heights, she met her husband who was also an RA.

To achieve her masters degree in education, Sherrell attended the University of Toledo in Ohio. She is currently studying at East Tennessee State University for her doctorate. Sherrell stated she chose her career because, “I wanted to work at college forever.”

Her first job in higher education was as an admissions recruiter during her time at Toledo University.

In 2012, Sherrell started her job at Volunteer State Community College. This was also the year in which she married.

Together they have a daughter who was born in Nov., 2014.

She said her favorite thing about her job was working with the students on a day-to-day basis.

“Anybody that comes in here always has something different that they want to talk or ask about and so it’s always fun to help students in anyway that I can,” said Sherrell.

Sherrell’s family is a large part of her motivation and she also gives credit to her faith as a practicing Christian.

“Regardless if students are believers or not I hope that when they come in contact with me they see me as a person they can talk to,” Sherrell said.

Sherrell hopes to instill these morals and practices in her daughter.

Lori Miller, Secretary of the Student Life and Diversity Initiatives Office, said, “Mrs. Sherrell was very instrumental in my education and getting my masters degree.”

Courtney Southern, student at Vol State, stated that “[Sherrell] is a really caring person, she even kept me from dropping out of school”.

So the next time a guiding hand is needed, look no further than Tabitha Sherrell.