Break the silence

By: Riley Holcraft 

Suicide is no new phenomenon and the public has become virtually desensitized to its effects with a surge of TV shows, celebrity attempts and news reports.

Stories like this come and go but rarely do people stop to think about those affected. Volunteer State Community College partnered with The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network by hosting its first annual Break the Silence event dedicated to lives touched by suicide.

On Sept. 20, at the Humanities Plaza, a small group gathered to discuss suicide within the community. The ceremony opened with a song performed by Vol State Students, Kendahl Oakley, and Cole Harper.

Quilts with pictures of suicide victims in Tennessee and pinwheels with names of suicide victims connected to Vol State students were on display. Many of the pinwheels had repeating names.

Oliver Graves, Vol State Student and Spectrum club leader explained the meaning behind the repetition, “When someone commits suicide, not just one person is affected,” said Graves.

Graves had personal experience with a suicide attempt six months after coming out as gay.

“forty percent of LGBT youth have either attempted or contemplated suicide. It is not a joke,” said Graves.

Oftentimes, suicide is overlooked as “selfish” or “overrated.”

However, TSPN Volunteer, Teresa Culbreath explained, “No one is immune.”

The effects of suicide spread to a wide community of individuals, and suicide attempters often have no refuge.

Culbreath lost a brother and husband to suicide, so her personal experience has inspired her to bring awareness to others.

“Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network has three main goals when it comes to dealing with suicide: intervention, prevention, and postvention,” said Culbreath.

The best way to implement these goals is by making others aware of available assistance and educating the public of warning signs.

“I have had personal, lasting effects from suicide after my sister attempted. If I could let the student body know one think about suicide, it would be: learn the signs,” said Vol State student, Crystal Hutchins.

Warning signs include: talking about death, withdrawal from social activities, behavior changes, giving away prized possessions, and drug abuse.

The most important thing to do when encountering these warning signs is to approach the affected person with compassion and notify someone of greater authority. It is important to never belittle the feelings of someone who feels hopeless.

Samantha Nadler, a devoted wife, and mother, also shared her personal experience with suicide. She had made several attempts throughout her lifetime and is now an advocate dedicated to helping those that struggle with suicide.

Nadler explained that along with knowing warning signs the most important aspect of suicide prevention is a community. “Community matters. Connections with other people matter,” she said.

Most suicide attempts are related to ending a lifelong pain, emotional or physical. A community typically serves as a buffer between the pain and the thoughts of death. Nadler explained how her community of suicide preventionists “ended up saving my life.”

The event closed with a reflection time. All attendees were offered a small container of bubbles that read “Break the Silence.” Each person thought of a person who is currently affected by or struggling with suicide and blew the bubbles in their honor.

September is Suicide Awareness Month. Students, you are urged to take notice of what is happening around you. Be aware, be compassionate.

In 2016, Tennessee lost 1,110 people to suicide and the number continues to rise. It is happening in your state. It is happening in your community. It is happening in your school.

Help is offered on the school website; students can also be connected with an experienced counselor on campus. If you are in immediate need of help, call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

 

Vol State summer classes have new sessions

 

By Presley Green

Volunteer State Community College is offering more options for summer classes by introducing new summer sessions in three-week, six-week and 12-week portions.

For these changes to happen and to allow students more college credit opportunities, the summer semester is beginning a little earlier than usual. The semester begins May 1 and ends August 10.

“The reason is to have less overlapping of class terms, which allows students to take more classes, and earn more college credits over the summer,” Eric Melcher, coordinator of public relations and marketing, wrote on the Vol State website.

There will be four three-week sessions starting May 21, June 11, July 2, and July 23. The six-week sessions will begin May 21, and July 2. These shorter sessions are described as more intensive. They are held for more hours a day than the twelve-week classes.

The twelve-week session begins May 21 and ends August 10. The twelve-week session is similar to a normal semester. You can visit the academic calendar on Vol State’s website for a more complete list of dates.

Volunteer State Community College is also offering a wider variety of subjects. They are even offering both of the classes need to take the Real Estate Exam, Intro to Real Estate (RES215) and The Course for New Affiliates (RES220).

Vol State is also offering Education Psychology (EDUC2110) in the summer, which is a required class for all education majors.  

This is an opportunity for students to finish those final classes to graduate or further their education.

Summer classes can be taken online or in person.  There is no orientation needed for students who have not attended Vol State before. This makes it easy to apply, register, and earn the college credit needed. Applications can be filled out online or in the Ramer Administration Building.

Vol State baseball wrapping up season

 

By Nick Kieser

The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team is at the end of its regular season. This weekend the Pioneers will face off against the Roane State Community College Raiders.

“It’s game by game. Put our heads down and go after it. Worry about the game in front of us,” said Aaron England, relieving pitcher.

The three remaining games are preparation for the 2018 postseason. As of publication, the Pioneers would face Roane State in a play-in game situation.

“The pressure of it makes it fun,” said England.

The pioneers have an overall record of 23-15.

“In a disciplinary way coach has guided us in the right way. Team chemistry has been good comparing to recent years. This season has helped us bond,” said Matt Brown, second baseman.

The postseason tournament will be from May 6-11, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Depending on where the Pioneers finish, it is possible they will play on the first day of the tournament at 3:00 p.m. they would play the 10th seeded team.

“When we have our hitting, pitching, and defense all rolling together its a dangerous mix for these guys,” said Logan Maloney, assistant coach.

The road to the college world series is going through Chattanooga on the Pioneers first pitstop.

“The expectation is that every team in this conference is good. Every week we have to compete and give it our all. I look forward to competing each week, and I love facing the competition we get,” said Jacob Cole, starting pitcher.

The 44-game grind will end this weekend at home versus the Raiders, but another road will open up as the postseason will only be eight days away after the series is over.

“You have to be positive and wait for the next opportunity,” said Ryan Hunt, head coach.

“Well it’s always great to end the season off on a good note with a series win going into the conference tournament. That’d be great to not have to be in the play-in game,” said Cole.

“I think we have a good shot. I think we can kinda get it rolling again to stay out of the play-in game, which saves us an arm,” said Maloney.

To stay updated with the Pioneers baseball club for the remainder of their season follow them @VSCCPioneersBSB on Twitter for updates and analysis.

Vol State commencement ceremony will be May 5

 

By Riley Holcraft

Volunteer State Community College will host its commencement ceremony for all graduating students Saturday, May 5, from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. in Pickel Field House.

Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. for all attendees, and guests who are unable to attend are welcome to watch the ceremony through the graduation website (volstate.edu/graduation).

Amber Regan, graduation associate, provided information on the Commencement Ceremony. There are 784 students pending to graduate in the spring, and 367 students are planning to walk at the ceremony. These graduates include 11 students in middle college, a collaboration between Sumner County high schools and Vol State.  

Each graduate is given five tickets to invite guests to the ceremony. If the gymnasium is filled, the auditorium in Caudill Hall will be used as an overflow for family and friends who do not have tickets. The live video will also be streamed in that location.

This year’s speaker is David Gregory, former chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Gregory has worked for the Tennessee Board of Regents since May of 1998 and was appointed his position as Chancellor in February 2016. Gregory had plans to retire earlier; however, the abrupt resignation of John Morgan led to Governor Haslam endorsing Gregory’s election. After a unanimous vote, Gregory held this position for a year before retiring.

 

Vol State to host student film showcase

 

By Riley Holcraft

Volunteer State Community College is hosting its First Student Film Showcase April 26th, from 7-9 p.m. in the SRB Humanities Building.  Deja Brandeis, video production instructor, is organizing this event to screen student work from the 2017-2018 school year.

The video program at Vol State has been expanding over the past few years, and Brandeis explained that an event like this is important for film students to showcase their work. Her film students have worked on many projects over the year, including a promotional video for Vol State Mass Communications. This year, there are 35 video majors and more joining in the fall.

All film submissions are viewed and reviewed by Professor Brandeis before entering the contest. The content must be a strong piece and the best representation of the student’s work. Submissions can be made in a classroom setting or in the student’s free time.

Videos entered into the contest can include documentaries, narratives, promotional videos, and any creative vision a student may have. After the screening, there will be a Q&A with the participants. The audience will also engage in a vote after the videos are viewed, and an “Audience Choice” will be announced as the winner.

Students are encouraged to attend and vote for their favorite video. Since the event is brand new, it is a great opportunity for students to get involved on campus. The Film Showcase is also an introduction for non-video majors that may be interested in the program. Since video production at Vol State is recent addition, students can come learn more about the program and get a taste of video majors and classes.

Donations are encouraged, and all funds will benefit entertainment media at Vol State.