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

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

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

According to, “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

“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.

Vol State to perform classic play

By: Gayla Collier, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College’s theater department will be presenting a spring play called Midsummer Night’s Dream on March 18-20. The showings will continue March 25-26 in the Auditorium in the Noble Caudill hall building.

The running time for each show will be about two hours.

Professor Edmon Thomas is the Director of Midsummer Night’s Dream and put the show together along with Assistant Director Professor John Yaskell.

Audience members will need to purchase tickets at the door for $5, while all Vol State students can attend free with a present student ID.

A company called Stage Craft Class is building the set for the play.  Nashville Repertory Theater is helping with the costumes for the cast members.

The cast rehearsed through Spring Break.

“The cast is great,” said Thomas.

Midsummer Night’s Dream is a Shakespeare play about four royal people that are involved in a love triangle.

The main characters are Egeus, Demetrius, Hermia, Lysander, Helen.

In a summary of the play, Egeus wants his daughter, Hermia, to marry Demetrius, but she is not in love with Demetrius.

Hermia wants to marry Lysander. Egeus tells Hermia to either marry Demetrius or become a nun.

Meanwhile, Helen is in love with Demetrius, but Demetrius wants to marry Hermia. However, Hermia is in love with Lysander.

For the play actors have to remember many lines, but there are techniques that the actors uses to help them remember.

“I go over my lines every morning with my grandmother and I will read them over and over many times at home or at rehearsals,” said Brazil, who is playing Lysander.

“When you make mistakes, you have to just keep going and try to summarize the lines as best as you can. You have to act like nothing is wrong,” said Brazil.

“I do get stage fright, but I think when you stop getting stage fright is when you should be worried. If there is not that nervousness or anticipation to do well, then it’s like maybe I’m not as passionate anymore,” Brazil said.

Spring Fling draws close at Vol State

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting Spring Fling on March 30 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Carpeted and Tiled Dining Rooms.

Students will be able to interact with 10 activity tables set up by different clubs on campus, each of which will have activities that will benefit the community in some way.

“Originally, Spring Fling was kind of like Welcome Days, where clubs would just set up their own tables with their club information, and that was it,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, “so we decided we wanted to have some community service opportunities.”  

Sherrell explained that Spring Fling is set up this way so that clubs can fulfill a requirement by Vol State, which states that all active clubs must participate in community service in order to be considered in good standing with Vol State.  

The College Republicans Club and Phi Theta Kappa will have a table where students can make dog toys out of old donated T-shirts that will be donated to the Sumner County Humane Society.

The Student Government Association Cabinet and Spectrum Club will be holding an informational table to which active clubs at Vol State can submit flyers for promotion during Spring Fling to interested students.

The Campus Ministry (AXIS) will have a table to make care packages for The Bridge Ministry, bagging items such as thermal gloves, snacks, and travel-size hygiene products.

Team Change will have a Kid Activity Bags table, at which students will be able to fill bags with items such as coloring pages, crayons, stickers, and pencils.  All activity bags will be donated to the Gallatin Day Care Center.

There will also be activities such as ping-pong and board games.   

“[I’m] getting pretty excited about it,” said Josie Ross, a psychology major.

“Anything that benefits the community and brings people together is something I would be interested in,” said Alexis Freeman, a nursing major.

In similarity with last semester’s Fall Festival, each attendee will be given a card with 10 check boxes, and for each activity table that they visit, they will receive a corresponding check.  Once a student has at least 6 of those 10 boxes checked, signifying that they have participated in at least 6 activities, they will be able to redeem the card for a free lunch.

There will also be an opportunity for students to receive a free lunch if they can find one of the six Vol State Poker chips hidden in the area.  


Spending a week without Facebook

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

Anyone who has graduated since 2010, at least, can probably say they at least know what Facebook is.  The social giant is used to “connect with friends” or as a distraction from literally everything.

On Sunday, February 21, I made the decision to quit Facebook indefinitely.  My reasons were simple, it was stressing me out and distracting me from everything I did.

The first day was pretty normal. I was a busy so it was not terribly difficult.  However, I did frequently find myself hovering over the empty space where the app once was on my phone.  I started to notice it more and more as the day progressed and thought to myself, “have I really been checking my Facebook this much?”

On day two, Monday, I had my classes.  During class it was not much of an issue, but I did notice how many other people stared intently at their own mobile devices.  It makes you feel like the odd man out of the group when everyone else seems to be on Facebook or some other social media network.

I found that it made doing my homework at least a thousand times easier.   I was not scrolling through Facebook every few minutes when I would get bored, and basically powered my way through.  I had everything finished in no time at all.

I also noticed that my headaches were not as frequent, and my attention span improved a little bit.  I could focus at least a little better on conversation, work, books, video games, and everything in general.  

The best part about not being on Facebook, though, was that I was far happier with my own life.  I was not constantly looking into the fun everyone else seemed to be having, but focusing on the fun I was having.  After noticing all of this, I did a little bit of research into how social media affects the mind.

I only did a quick search, but the best short article I found was from  It explains that social media can be addictive.  

It has all that someone needs: a distraction and positive reinforcement (likes, for example) for using it.  There is even a scale to the measure the addiction known as The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.  

The website also points out that it can cause us to be unhappy by comparing ourselves to others.  If you are scrolling through the newsfeed and seeing nothing but vacation photos, engagement announcements or parties you weren’t invited to after a long and difficult day, then you will think your life is awful.  

The same could even be said for physical appearance.  How many of us see an attractive person online and think, “damn, why can’t I look like that?”  It has probably happened at least once to any social media user.

It can even cause restlessness.  This can be anything from a constant distraction to not being able to sleep because you are too busy scrolling.  Maybe something happened and you just cannot stop following it, but you really need to.

That being said, Facebook really is not entirely bad.  I did not completely delete my Facebook, although I know several people who have.  I still use messenger app to talk to some friends, and I will probably give it the occasional check or update.

It is a great way to stay in touch with the people you do not see regularly.  It simply needs to be used in moderation.  I suggest everyone try at least deleting their app, you could have different results.

Vol State to host Thinkfast Game Show

By: Gayla Collier, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College is hosting the Thinkfast Game Show.  It will be held in the Mary Nichols Dining Room A on Wednesday, March 2 at 12:45 p.m.

The Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiative contracted the show through TjohnE production.

“Thinkfast is the standard, and by far the most awarded interactive program ever with various college voting entities since it’s inception in 1995,” according to TjohnE website.

TjohnE tours five productions of Thinkfast year round.

Anyone who wants to participate needs to be in the tiled dining room, Wood Campus building, by 12:45 p.m.

The game show will provide 100 wireless controllers so students can participate.

A host will keep the show moving with trivia questions and implement interactive activities.

There are chances to win wildcard spots, which will allow you to win and move further along in the game.

“I have not heard of this event, but if there will be prizes you can win, I will be willing to participate in the activities,” said Leandrew Hayes, a Vol State student.

Trivia questions about women’s history will be asked for the Women’s History series in March. There will be interactive activities.

“Our trivia development staff works hard to provide a diverse array of shows, with various degrees of difficulty.

“Our clients can select from shows in our inventory, or they can request a custom program to fit a specific event,” according to the TjohnE website.

“People can expect high energy and a fun atmosphere,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities.

The event will be free.  For more information regarding the Thinkfast game show, visit or go by the office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.

Honor students host diabetes lecture

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief


(Pictured from left to right: William Price, Derek Powell, Whitney Dickerson, Audrey Young, and Mackenzie Border.  Picture by: Sara Keen.)

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, a group of five students gave a Diabetes Talk open for anyone interested in coming in the Carpeted Dining Room at 1 p.m.  The students received an audience of approximately 20 people, students and faculty alike.

Mackenzie Border handed out diabetic-friendly cookies to the attendees, and everyone was given informative sheets that would be referenced during the presentation.

Derek Powell directed everyone from the cookie table to their seats and helped the presentation come under way.   In addition, he took record of the number of people and the presentation itself for their Leadership Development class.

The presentation began with a few words from William Price, one of the students involved in the presentation.  He explained that they were doing the presentation for the Honors Leadership Development class.  

“We decided to have this discussion about diabetes because it isn’t talked about,” said Audrey Young as she opened her presentation, Type None: Diabetes Myths.

They covered the most common myths about diabetes, such as “people with diabetes can’t have sugar.”  In reality, sugar can and should be eaten in moderation.  Those with type-one Diabetes can control the intake of too much sugar with an insulin shot. Type-two often take supplements to keep their blood sugar down.

Whitney Dickerson then took the stand to share her personal experiences with diabetes.  She shared about her family’s discovery of her brother’s diabetes.

Dickerson told the audience that she received a call while out for her birthday that her brother was taken to the hospital.  After several tests, they discovered that he had type-one diabetes.

Dickerson expressed that the worst part was explaining it to her little brother that it was not a “one and done” treatment, but a lifetime of care.

“He was so excited when he finished his first set of shots, saying ‘I’m cured!’ But he really wasn’t.  When my mom explained to him that there was no cure, and he had to deal with it for the rest of his life, he just started crying,” said Dickerson.

The students then transitioned to William Price’s mother, Angela Price, a nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, to give a demonstration.

Angela Price had an orange and a syringe with her.  She demonstrated to the audience how to give an insulin shot using the orange to represent the skin.  

“Most people,” she explained, “give their insulin shots in the stomach because there is a lot of fatty tissue.”

After their presentation, the students took questions from the audience.  They offered more cookies and provided additional information to anyone who wanted it.


Vol State hosts Black History Luncheon

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer


(Pictured: Guest speaker Dr. Lorianne Mitchell.  Photo by: Jessica Peña.)

Volunteer State Community College hosted the Black History Recognition Luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the Mary Nichols Carpeted Dining Room.

The luncheon recognized historical African American figures as well as students and faculty representing their culture.

The event was coordinated by the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.

African American people like Carter G. Woodson and Barack Obama were among the topics of discussion.

“Historian Carter G. Woodson created Black History Month, but why February?

“He chose this month to honor the birth months of abolitionists Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln,” said Dr. Melva Black, Communications Director, Instructor of Communication.

The guest speaker for the event was Dr. Lorianne Mitchell, Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business and Technology at East Tennessee State University.

Dr. Kenny E. Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, introduced Mitchell, who spoke on topics including diversity and inclusion, leadership and conflict and student success.

“Don’t be afraid to be the lone voice that speaks up. Be the one that has the courage to step up and tell someone ‘Hey, that comment was a little rude,’” said Mitchell.

“We, as faculty and administrators, teach you guys by example, and you guys teach the younger ones around you by example as well,” added Mitchell.

Mitchell is Secretary of the Management Faculty of Color Association at ETSU. According to the MFCA website, the organization aims to promote and support the professional development of African American, Hispanic American and Native American business management faculty.

“I challenge my students to put themselves in an environment different from their own.

“I tell them ‘Go to a church whose religion is different than yours, go sit at a table with people you don’t normally sit with,’” added Mitchell.

Mitchell said that it can be hard for people to reach outside of what they already know and that change can be difficult and frightening when it comes to challenging culture bias and correcting disrespectful comments.

“You may be sitting at a table where everyone looks like you, yet you are the only one with a different opinion about what’s occurring and what’s being said,” said Mitchell.

Toward the end of the speech, Mitchell answered questions and concerns from the audience regarding society’s view on African American culture, as well as singer Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance.

“There are some forms of art, especially art that comes from African Americans, where it is scrutinized with an extra level of scrutiny. It’s read into so deeply,” said Mitchell.

The event concluded with a few words from Patty Powell, Vice President of Student Services.

The Black History Recognition Luncheon attracted approximately 50 people, almost doubling the Soul Food Luncheon attendance earlier this month.


What it means to be a role model

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief


The term “role model” is frequently used in the media lately.  Between the superhero movies, sport players, rock stars, and astounding doctors on television, the options are far from few for children.

That being said, you do not have to be a superhero, rock star or anything huge to be a good role model.  You only need to be a positive influence for others.

Someone can look up to you for small things that you do not even realize you do.  For example, someone who is responsible could be a role model for someone who has trouble maintaining his or her own responsibilities.  

A role model, to a large degree, is acting like the change you want to see in the world.  It is making a difference, big or small, to push the world into a better place.

If you wish the world were a kinder place, spread kindness through the small acts mentioned above.  This could be as simple as a smile or asking how someone is.  It does not take too much to brighten another person’s day.

If you wish people talked about issues that our relevant to our time, broach the subjects with others.  This can help you understand other viewpoints for the topic and broaden your own views on the subject.

Being a role model means embracing what makes you human, including your faults. Let these things strengthen you, let friends know you are dealing with these weaknesses, but they are not to your detriment.   Show others that you are able to accept your own mistakes.  A role model should be able to take all problems in stride, as a lesson rather than a failure.

Being a role model is not about being perfect. It is about not letting your perceived shortcomings get the better of your attitude and the image you put forth to people.

It is important to remember that someone you perceive to be your role model is human, too, that they have probably cried themselves to sleep some nights the same way you have.

No human being is perfect. No human being can be all that you need him or her to be – it’s not a fair burden to put on someone else.

However, a human being can be kind, compassionate and brave in his or her own ways.  That is enough to make someone a role model to many.  


Letter to the Editor – “Critical” Success

By Jeremy Stevens


This morning, I read a review of a hit Country Music song performed by an immensely popular artist. This critic wrote that the song made him want to “barf in [his] mouth.” I know, the artistic expression is strong with this one.

But, this one line that I originally saw on the song’s Wikipedia page made me think, although not just about what the critic said, but rather about what it means to be successful and what it means to be someone who criticizes success.

I know that in the game of the Internet, I’m losing because I’m reacting to critical Internet messages. So I must be mad. Bro. But, to paraphrase Dr. Phil McGraw, words are a powerful thing, and they mean something when we use them. Furthermore, it cheapens words when we exaggerate to this degree. Eventually “barf in [his] mouth” becomes “Eh, I could take it or leave it” in the mind of the writer as well as the reader.

Shouldn’t we question the taste of a critic who goes around barfing at a product that millions of people like?

Wouldn’t this be particularly true when music is something that the critic is supposed to know quite a bit about?

Within the scope of this article, let’s talk about success within the parameters of commercial success. Let’s quantify success and say that in today’s market, if a million people like what you’re doing enough to go out and buy it, you’re a wild success by commercial standards. Of earth’s 7 billion residents, 6,999,000,000 of those can hate your guts and say terrible things about you, but if the remaining million subscribe to your YouTube Channel, you’re quitting that job at Starbucks, waking up at noon every day and making prank videos all night. If you can sell a $5 newspaper, music album, or website subscription to that tiny fraction of people, it’s the same story.

This is the secret to the Kardashians’ success, just on a different scale. Do you think it bothers them that six billion people are put off by them? No, they probably secretly revel in it. They know that the remaining billion are willing to buy every, single thing they’re selling.

Obviously this particular “review” that I referred to employs a wild exaggeration meant to express displeasure. So was he really going to barf in his mouth as his words stated? Or was he simply trying to garner attention for himself and his website?

By my estimation, there is no difference between this statement and a twelve-year old going to Twitter and insulting Adele’s appearance.

Neither is a critique, it’s just simply the new critical normal that we are becoming accustomed to in the age of the Internet. But, it’s not just the insult and the lack of decency in an alleged “critique” like the one in question, what about the lack of journalism/professionalism going on while using words such as those?

I ask myself who I would rather be, the person winning awards and selling records/books (whatever), or the guy writing that it makes him want to barf in his mouth.

The answer is pretty clear; I’d rather produce than try to eek out a professional existence trying to climb up the backs of the producers of the world.

At the time of writing this, the song in question is number 3 on the Billboard Country Music charts, and has sold hundreds of thousands of downloads. Meanwhile, a quick Google search reveals that there are “13 people talking” about the critic’s associated Facebook page and website.

So, I guess Taylor was right after all when she sang that the “Haters Gonna Hate.” But don’t think that because people are critical, you can’t achieve success.

Even if almost all of the people are critical, there’s still a whole world of people out there to sell yourself and/or your product to.

Finally, remember to choose your words carefully, because they do mean something.