Student Life BBQ to take place at Vol State

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting a student life barbeque Wednesday, April 27 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the Quad.

The event is a joint effort by Student Government Association, the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, and Campus Police.

“This is an attempt to bring awareness to the themes of Black Lives Matters and All Lives Matters. There is historical distrust between communities of color and law enforcement,” said Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Director of SLDI, and organizer of the event.

He said that he is hoping this event can demonstrate camaraderie and solidarity.

“I’m hoping that a conversation can be held for all to understand that it’s not a support this cause or that cause,” said Yarbrough, “It’s not to say that all lives aren’t important, but rather how all this violence affects the community as a whole…not certain segments or demographics.”

Yarbrough said he had the idea when he was at the Black Brown College Bound conference in Tampa, FL in Feb., 2016. Listening to the success other campuses have had sparked him to want to host something, he said.
Outdoor games will be available while law enforcement officers barbecue food and get to know students. Campus constituents will also be making addresses about the state of affairs. Some of the activities will include running with a 22 lb. police belt, driving a golf cart with drunk goggles and other games.

Clubs will set up tables with information on how students can get involved for the next year.
“There are those who are tired of lines of division and want to be an all-inclusive campus body,” said Sandra “Domino” Hunt, president-elect for SGA, “We are hoping everyone will come be a part of making a change and a difference.”

Hunt said that everyone who is involved in putting on the event will be available to answer questions, concerns and provide information on how to be someone who can make a difference.

Hunt said the SGA’s role in the event is to show support to all students and be informed as well about issues that students face every day.  We are excited about this happening on campus.  We hope it will open lines of communication and engage conversations of issues we face.

“Students have a voice and they need to use it.  Not just for casual conversation or complaints, but to suggest changes and get involved is keeping other students safe,” Hunt said.

Hunt made it clear that a main point of the event would be “See Something, Say Something.”

“Where do you report incidents? Who is a safe person and where are safe places on campus? How to report possible dangerous situations that could endanger lives on campus. If you think the threat is real or a remote possibility, report it,” said Hunt.

“One part of society affects another. Everyone should be aware of what’s happening and be compassionate,” said Yarbrough.

Milk Shown for LGBT Awareness Month


(Pictured: Sean Penn as politician Harvey Milk during a protest against the Briggs Initiative.  Photo courtesy of IMDB.)

By: Gayla Collier, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College had a screening for the movie “Milk” on April 12. It was shown at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives showed the movie for LGBT Awareness month.

“Using flashbacks from a statement recorded late in life and archival footage for atmosphere, this film traces Harvey Milk’s Career from his 40th birthday to his death,” according to IMDB’s website.

In the film, Milk organizes gays’ purchasing power to build political alliances.

“I thought it was interesting that they dramatized some of the things that happened to appeal to a broader audience,” said Braxton Dawson, a Vol State student.

“Dramatization is a good way to get the message out, especially with a movie that has history in it,” said Devon Suarez, a Vol State student.

“This was my first time seeing this film. It was interesting to see a need for civil rights outside of an ethnic standpoint,” said Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.

LGBT Awareness month is not until June, but the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives wanted to screen the movie in advance because school is not in session in June.

Vol State songwriters perform at local eatery

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

The Advanced Songwriting Class and Commercial Music Ensemble from Volunteer State Community College performed at Swaney Swifts in the Gallatin, Tennessee square on March 23.

Liz Hengber, Instructor for Advanced Songwriting, opened for her class. She introduced herself and said that six of her students would be performing.

She said the first student that would be performing was Jackson Steele and said his biggest inspiration was his dad. He started the show off with an original song.

After he finished his song and everyone had applauded, Hengber said Justin Walters, another student from her class, would be joining Steele for them to sing a song they had cowritten.

Hengber said when she walked into the cafeteria at Vol State one day, they were sitting around with their guitars.

“I thought, this is like the 60s—I love Vol State,” said Hengber.

Walters joined Steele and they performed their song, “Instead I’ll be Gone.”

Hengber then introduced the next student, Cecily Wingsong, who was born in Chicago and had been singing since she was 4-years-old.

Hengber and Wingsong had been waitresses together, after Wingsong had moved to Nashville.

“I’ve loved her for a long time,” said Hengber.

Wingsong’s first song was “For You,” a song she had co-written with Barbara Harmon, another student in the songwriting class.

Her next song was a song she wrote about her father. He had been a cowboy singer on the National Barn Dance.

When she would be staying at her grandmother’s house, they would gather around the radio so they could her him sing.

The song was about him singing “Sing of Great River Valley,” and her wanting to hear him sing to her.

The audience complimented her on her performance as she walked back to her seat.

“A petite beauty with a huge voice,” said Hengber into the microphone.

Hengber then reintroduced Walters and said he found his love for music at 13-years-old. He performed his song “While You’re at It” with his fiance Kelly.

As he sang his next song, “Wake Up My Yesterdays,” the floor vibrated while his and several other people’s feet were tapping to the beat of his song.

Caleb Baker, another student from Hengber’s class, then joined Walters for them to perform “Talking in Emoji,” a song they had cowritten together.

Walters played the guitar while Baker sang lead. They both smiled as they performed their song that everyone in the songwriting class had said was catchy.

Hengber then introduced Rickie Pickering, an advanced songwriting student, who had lived in Gallatin for 30 years.

“He is one of my favorite hippies in the world,” said Hengber.

Pickering then sang a song he had co-written with Braden Baugh, a former songwriting class student. The song was titled “Poison,” and Pickering said that Baugh had it available on iTunes.

Next he sang, “Luckiest Man Alive,” a song he co-wrote with Bobby West, who was also in the audience that night.

After Pickering, Baker came back up to perform two of his original songs.

The first song he sang he said was about staying together, and the next “Story of a Broken Man,” he said was the story of a homeless man.

Hengber then introduced Victoria Lee Watson, another songwriting student, and said she had singing since before she could talk and writing songs since she was 3-years-old.

“I heard her song on iTunes, and I went crazy for her,” said Hengber.

Watson’s first song was “Just a Little More,” a song she said she wrote when she was 17-years-old.

She said it was about her grandmother and about her own personal experiences.

Her next song, “Hands to the Sky,” was a song she wrote for songwriting class. “It’s about guys cheating on girls at bars,” said Watson.

Watson shrugged her shoulders as she sang the words “and quite frankly neither did I.”

“You nailed it,” said Hengber to Watson, as she ended the songwriting class’s part of the show.

“Thanks, so much, for coming tonight to see the advanced songwriting class.

“I’ve never been so proud of eight students in my life…in many ways, they are teaching me,” said Hengber.

Lynn Peterson, Instructor of the Commercial Music Ensemble, then introduced the ensemble.

Watson was also a member in this group. They opened with “Dust in the Wind.”

After the song had ended, Hengber said “they’re good.”

They performed several songs including “Jolene,” “The House of the Rising Sun” and “Wish You Were Here.”

For the last two songs the Commercial Music Ensemble performed, Kyle Cothron, a Commercial Music Ensemble student who had also been the sound person through all the performances for both classes, joined them.

One of the songs he sang was “Seven Bridges Road.” Steve Young, the original singer/songwriter of this song, had recently died on March 18.

Peterson ended the show with a few words.

“The reason why they’re smiling is because they work hard at this and are enjoying there time,” said Peterson.

He said there will be a big show with these students at the end of April.


Vol State’s ThinkFast Game Show a success

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

Volunteer State Community College hosted a ThinkFast Game Show celebrating Women’s History Month in the cafeteria March 2, at 12:45 p.m.

ThinkFast is an interactive game show created for colleges by TjohnE Booking & Production.  

ThinkFast allows college staff to customize the game show to fit certain themes and test student knowledge. ThinkFast provided game show buzzers, studio equipment, and interactive technology.    

TjohnE’s ThinkFast host, Paul Giambalvo, asked 12 students from the audience to volunteer to participate in the game who were given wireless keypads, and would allow them to answer questions displayed on the screen by pressing buttons on the keypad.

Each participating student was given a team name, and for each question answered correctly, they would gain points.

The questions were multiple choice and included both pop culture references as well as women’s history.

There were four talent portions in which contestants volunteered to compete against one another for placement in the final round by singing, dancing, or debating.  

Between a series of questions, a set of facts regarding women’s history appeared on the screen and polls were taken.  One of the polls asked the question, “Do you consider yourself a feminist?” to which half of the contestants answered, “Yes.”  

During the final round, the four remaining contestants had their speed tested when they were asked to answer a set of pop culture questions.

Those that hit their buzzer first would receive one hundred points if they answered the question correctly.  

The winner of ThinkFast and the grand prize of $200, with a total of 5000 points, was Aaron Smith, a Vol State student, who shared his prize with his friend.  

“I’m happy with my win, and I split it with my friend so we could get some lunch,” said Smith.  

The game show attracted the attention of the students in the dining room.  

“I’m happy that we had enough people to have a good time, but of course the more the merrier, and we had 100 at most,” said Giambalvo, “it would’ve been great to have more people, but we made the best of it, I think.”

Students expressed excitement about the ThinkFast Game Show after it was over, expressing hope that it would return next semester.  

“I think it was really, really fun,” said Penny Arwood, a Vol State student, “I would really like to participate next time.”        


Vol State to screen “The Women”


(Pictured: Poster for The Women.  Photo courtesy of Shannon Feaganes.)

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting a screening of the movie “The Women” March 29, in celebration of Women’s History Month.  

“The Women” will be screened in the Rochelle Center of the Thigpen Library.

The movie stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, and Jada Pinkett Smith, and tells a story about a woman named Mary Haines (Ryan), a wealthy clothing designer in New York who chooses to leave her husband after discovering that he has cheated on her with a perfume salesgirl named Crystal Allen (Mendes).  

In the beginning of the movie, Mary confronts Crystal and then her husband about the affair before breaking off her marriage to him, and receives emotional support from her friends.

Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, the Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives and Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, select movies to screen during each month, such as “Selma” during Black History Month and “Milk” scheduled to screen in April.  

“I wanted this movie to be more light-hearted and fun,” said Yarbrough.  “It’s comical but these women demonstrate the complexities of the lives of some women, and I felt people, both male and female, could relate.  

“You have demonstrations of very successful women in their respective careers which denotes how far women’s suffrage has come, but yet have further to go,” Yarbrough said.

Sherrell hopes that the movie will attract students.

“I would love to have 30 people at least sign in between all three [screenings],” said Sherrell.  

Sherrell explained that the screenings are at different times, 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m., in order to allow students to work a viewing into their schedules.  

“I would like to watch it,” said Abigael Pence, a Vol State student, “it seems really interesting.”  

“It sounds really cool because it sounds like women drama in general,” said Lexi Long, a Vol State student.  


Vol State hosts annual Family Day

family day and easter egg hunt

(Pictured: Marla Shelton Kissack with daughters Ella and Natalie after the egg hunt.  Photo by Shannon Feaganes.)

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

Volunteer State Community College hosted a Family Day and Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 19 on the Quad.  

The event was open to the public free of charge and ran from 12-1:30pm, with two Easter egg hunts as well as activities such as Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, a coloring station, and a prize drawing.  

The Easter Bunny also made an appearance and was available to take photos with.    

During registration for the event, each attendee was given a raffle ticket that would be entered in a drawing to win a themed Easter basket at the end of the event.  

The Easter Egg Hunt had two rounds with Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, commenting.

The first round was for children aged 6 years and under and the second round was for older children as well as any remaining children who had not yet participated.  

Children ran across the Quad full of Easter eggs, and each egg contained a piece of candy.

Between rounds, attendees were directed to the grass across from the Wallace building to play a game of Simon Says.  Winners received a candy prize from the Easter Bunny’s basket.  

Attendees also participated in Red Light Green Light, with winners also receiving candy.

After Red Light Green Light, the second round began and attendees were encouraged to partake in the refreshments available, which were hot dogs, chips, cookies, and Hawaiian punch.  

During this time the coloring station was also open, which had board games such as Candyland and Connect4.  

The event came to a close when Yarbrough and volunteers from the crowd drew winning raffle tickets for themed Easter baskets.  Among the announced winners were Layla Loftis, Rosalia Becerra, and Aleya Bacheldey.  

Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, estimated an attendance of at least 65 people.  “I was nervous because of the weather, but we had a nice turnout,” said Sherrell.  

“Given that it was supposed to rain and it didn’t, I was very pleased,” said Yarbrough.   

“The last two years I’ve been going to the Easter Egg Hunt at the Streets of Indian Lake, but this is better,” said Marla Shelton Kissack, a Vol State graduate from 1998.  “The kids here are more polite, and this is my favorite school.  It [Family Day and Easter Egg Hunt] has a good setup, with the hunts broken up into age groups.”     

Cycling Classic begins early registration

By: Preston Neal, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College is hosting its third annual Vol State Cycling Classic at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, and will consist of three tours, each beginning on Vol State campus and going through Sumner County.

The purpose of the Cycling Classic is to raise money for student scholarships.

The event will begin with the Metric Century Tour, which will cover 63 miles.

At 8:15a.m, the Half Metric Tour, 33 miles in length, will depart at 8:15a.m.

The Fitness Tour, which is 15 miles, departs at 8:30a.m.

Returning cyclists can expect some variations to the usual routes due to road closings.

According to Debra M. Daugherty, Director of Development, full maps of the routes will be made available in the near future. In order to participate, registration is required. This can be done by going to or via

Registration requires a fee of either $40 in advance or $45 by May 13 or 14. Vol State students, faculty, and staff will receive a $10 discount.

Each cyclist will need to bring their own personal bicycle.

Those who register in advance are guaranteed a free tour t-shirt.

The tours will feature rest stops with complimentary water and snacks, provided by various organizations. Helpers will be riding in trucks closely behind the cyclists, in case of any accidents.

“We have to think about the safety of the riders at all times,” said Daugherty.

Each year has had more cyclists than the last, with 2015 reporting 175 participants, according to Daugherty.

There will also be a post-tour party featuring barbeque, beverages and live music performed by Vol State students. First-aid and restrooms will also be available.

For those who may be interested in participating, but are not already a cyclist, or just want to get in shape for the tours, are advised to join Vol State’s Pedaling Pioneers.

The Pioneers go on group rides twice every week, leaving from the main campus.

Rides accommodate cyclist of every level, from beginner to advanced.

No experience is necessary to join.

Anyone interested in joining The Pioneers may contact Coach Chrysa Malosh at