Library hosting finals events

 

By Presley Green

As students near the end of the semester, finals are looming like a storm cloud. Volunteer State Community College offers some small solutions to really take the edge off finals.

Pet Therapy will be in the Thigpen Library lobby April 30 and May 1, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Tashi, the dog on flyers all over campus, will be there with her owner Debbie.

Vol State will also be hosting Feasting Toward Finals in the Thigpen Library, Tuesday, April 24 from 4-6 p.m. This event is being offered so students can take a quick break from studying for finals to enjoy free pizza, cookies and coffee, provided by Thigpen Library.

Retiring professor built college music program

 

By Ashley Perham

James Story, Volunteer State Community College music professor, is retiring after spending 40 years as a music educator on the kindergarten through college levels.

Story was born and raised in Tennessee and grew up in Greeneville, Tennessee.

He started playing piano when he was around 13. By age 15, he was playing for church.

Story also used his music skills in another way as a teenager.

“I had a little rock band when I was 16. It was a bunch of us neighborhood boys got together and we just jammed,” he said.

The band would play at sock hops at the Negro Women’s Civic Club.

“We played a lot of Motown songs and tried to do dance tunes,” he said.

“My most influential teacher would have to be Mr. Gene Proffitt. He really sparked an interest in me in the sixth grade of learning music formally,“ said Story.

Story, who went to an all-black school through his seventh grade year, remembered Proffitt coming to teach band and telling the parents that participating in band could “bridge those gaps of racial divide” students might experience once they were integrated into a white school.

“And he was definitely right,” said Story.

Proffitt made Story the first black drum major of his high school in Greeneville. The experience gave Story confidence he could use in all areas of his life.

“To put me out front, as a young black kid in a predominantly white situation, that inspired me that I could do anything as far as leadership abilities or musical abilities because he trusted that I was good enough to be the leader of a band post-integration,” said Story.

Story attended Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee, and received his bachelor’s degree in music education in 1977.

Story was again selected to be the drum major for the marching band at Tennessee Tech, the first African-American drum major in the university’s history.

“There were only 14 black kids on the entire campus when I went there so to have that honor of leading the Tennessee Tech marching band was a huge honor,” he said.

After graduating, Story’s first job was teaching the high school, jr. high and middle school band and choral programs in White House, Tennessee.

“I had the entire music program from the sixth grade to the high school, both band and choir,” said Story.

Story also worked at Gallatin High School with the jr. high and high school bands and choirs.

In 1986, Story received a fellowship to Austin Peay State University. He took a year off teaching to get his master’s degree in music education.

In 1997, Dr. Hal Ramer, the first president of Vol State, and Dr. Charles Lee recruited Story to come to Vol State and establish the music program.

At the time, the school had one teacher, one adjunct member, and two music majors. Story built the entire curriculum and program from where it was in 1997 to where it is today.

“I think it was my brain child because I had the opportunity to develop this program as it is today,” he said.

“I had the support of the administration to allow me to be creative in creating curriculum for the Vol State music department,” he said.

When Story started working at Vol State, there was no recording studio, so any recording projects had to be done outside the school. Eventually, the school renovated Pickel Field House for more music space and built a recording studio in the Ramer Administration Building.

“We were promised a new humanities building in 1999, and we waited this long just to get a new humanities building with a lot of space and practice rooms,” he said.

“I couldn’t retire until I saw the new building.”

Story worked in the public schools for 19 years and at Vol State for 21 years.

Story is also involved in music outside Vol State. He has conducted several community theater productions, several band and choral association events and the choir and orchestra at his church.

He also has a jazz ensemble called 2nd Story Rhythm that gets together to have fun and play for local parties.

Story mentioned Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong as some of his musical inspirations.

“They made an indelible impression on music history and they were successful before black artists were popular to be successful in the business because they had to go through racism and they had to go through their struggles going to the back door and things of that sort, prejudicial things. In spite of all the socio-economic things they had to go through, they rose to the top, and they were successful in their field,” he said.

Story said he still has a lot of hopes and dreams. His church choir has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in December. He said the honor of getting to conduct or perform on that stage would be a huge bucket list item.

He also looks forward to taking the things he’s learned about producing Vol State projects and producing some individual recording projects in the coming years.

“Retirement is pretty much a misnomer to me. A retirement from education is just me taking what I’ve learned over the last 40 years and redirecting those energies and reinventing music on a different level than K through higher ed,” he said.

“I don’t look at it as resting. I look at it as reinventing,” Story said.

Story said that seeing how students perform in live venues and the studio is what he will miss most about teaching at Vol State.

“I’ll miss that part to see students develop their natural abilities behind a microphone or to see how they perform on the stage of the shows that we’ve done. There’s just nothing better than live performances or seeing that recording process from the beginning to the end,” he said.

Appreciation for Story’s service has also come from outside Vol State. In 2015, he was nominated by the Grammy Foundation for the Music Educator Award. Out of 7,000 applicants, he ended up in the top 25.

“That was a cool recognition,” he said.

Story mentioned several student successes he has had. He had a student place in American Idol, one who sings background vocals for The Voice, students who are orchestra leaders around the world, students who are on the road as professional musicians, and students who are church musicians.

“I’ve had a lot of successes with former students being successful in the musical field,” he said.

“You know it just makes me happy,” he said.

 

LESSONS FROM STORY

Be prepared. Be prepared to inspire a generation of young people that may not know the discipline of what it takes to be a musician.

Be prepared to exert a lot of physical energy in sharing your passion.

Be prepared for endless and selfless time of selflessness on your part because it takes a lot of work to inspire and be successful in music. It takes a lot of energy.

Be prepared for failures.

Be prepared to experience the highest level of creativity when your group does the best job they can.

A lot of the teachers go into music education with all these grandiose ideals of what music teaching is and you gotta stay with it because music education is not an overnight success.It’s not an “everybody wins” type of game for music teachers.You win by hard work and stick-to-it-iveness and sharing your passion and encouraging and inspiring and sometimes those things may take 40 years.

Vol State to open arboretum

 

By Presley Green

The grand opening of Volunteer State Community College’s Parris Power Memorial Arboretum will be Arbor Day, Friday, April 27, 2018 at the Duffer Plaza.

The Duffer Plaza is the area with a fountain between the Ramer Administration Building, Wood Campus Center and Warf Building.

An arboretum is a group of trees identified and listed for nature exploration and scientific study. The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council has certified Vol State as a Level II Arboretum.  

“A certified arboretum must be open to the public with trees that are labeled, properly protected, and well maintained.” according to The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

The certification was pursued by Cynthia Hernandez, former student, with the help of the science and math faculty members, specifically Parris Powers and Le-Ellen Dayhuff.

“Parris Powers was a former chemistry professor at Vol State who has since passed away. He was much loved. He truly loved environmental science. He worked with Cynthia Hernandez to begin the process of identifying trees for the arboretum and she continued, eventually naming it in his honor.” said Eric Melcher, coordinator of public relations and marketing at Vol State.

Around the campus, 62 trees have been identified and marked with silver plaques, indicating their place in the arboretum. Vol State will be producing a map for students and visitors to locate and view the trees included in the arboretum.

There is mention of better signage for the trees, possibly one that includes an internet link to easily help onlookers find out more information, according to the Vol State website.

The arboretum is already opened.

There will be many speakers  at the grand opening including Hernandez and Dayhuff. Powers’s children Summer and Christian will also be speaking, along with Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of Vol State, and a representative of The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

Vol State baseball tries to make playoffs

 

By Nick Kieser

The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team is winding down its season. The Pioneers lost this past weekend series to the Motlow State Community College Bucks.

“We are trying to get out of the play-in game and trying to get a postseason berth,” said Chase Haley, redshirt freshman.

The past weekend series loss is a blow to clinching a early playoff position. The next series is this weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The series will make or break this postseason opportunity for the Pioneers.

“It’s crucial. We really gotta have these series so that way we are out of a play-in game,” said Collin Hopkins, starting catcher.

Hopkins has missed “about 20 games” games from having issues with his throwing shoulder and his ankle.

“We are pretty much out of winning the conference. We still have something to play for as far as seeding goes. If you do not win the play-in game series your season is over,” said Ryan Hunt, head coach.

The Pioneers are currently sitting in seventh place in the TCCAA standings with a record of 23-15 and in conference play with a record of 9-11.

“We still have three weekends to go do some things that can put us in a decent seed rather than play in a play-in game. As of now, the way the standings are, we would play Jackson State, and Southwest would play Roane State. Those two teams would go on to play the number one seeds,” said Hunt.

The last series of the season will be at home against Roane State Community College the last weekend of this month.

With seven games left and the postseason on the line, the Pioneers will have to win all the rest of their games to get to 30 wins on the season, a feat which has yet to be done under Hunt’s career at Vol-State. Last season the team fell short one win.

“It’s a matter of executing the pitches called. I’m not worried. I think we could take the conference tournament if we wanted to,” said Hopkins, optimistically about his team.

“It’s doing the little things. Little things equal doing the big things. Keep doing what we

ask to compete and play hard and just see what happens. We play our game and play like we can we can compete with anybody,” said Hunt.

The series in Chattanooga this weekend will start Friday at 1 p.m. and end with a double-header Saturday at 11 a.m.

For game updates and analysis follow the Pioneers on Twitter, @VSCCPioneersBSB.

 

Learn by leaving your comfort zone

 

By Ashley Perham

This week’s editorial was written by Ashley Perham, the Settler’s copy editor.

Have you ever considered your learning style? I know that I personally learn best by reading. I would much rather speed-read a textbook chapter than attend a lecture.

Along with being a visual learner, I’m a little bit (ok maybe a lot bit) of a Type A. I like to know all the details about a task before I start doing it. If you’ve ever taken a class with me, I’m *that* student that has to know all the details at the beginning of a project.

It is ironic then that some of the best experiences I’ve had in my life have come from times when I couldn’t read information and learn all the details ahead of time. Instead, I had to dive out of my comfort learn by experience on the job.

The Settler is a great example of this type of experience. Before August of last year, I had never written a news article, and I had no clue what I was doing. I botched my first several articles and often freaked out because I didn’t know how to write a real news article. Why couldn’t I just learn how to write the article before I had to actually do it? However, I kept at it and improved a little every week. Clay Scott’s Writing for Media class gave me more experience, and by the end of the semester, I was confident enough in my abilities to take the copy editor position at The Settler this semester.

Outside Vol State, I work as a choir accompanist and piano teacher at a private school in Springfield. I had never really taught piano before September 2016, and I was scared. Sure, I had taken piano lessons for most of my life, but nobody had every sat me down and said, “Now Ashley, this is how you keep a third grader occupied when he can’t stop touching every key of the piano,” or, “This is how you handle any conflicts with parents about payment.” I would have LOVED to read Piano Teaching for Dummies. I just didn’t have that opportunity. Instead, I learned “through fire” as they say. There were, and still are, rough days, but I’ve learned to love teaching piano. It is an experience I wouldn’t give up now.

There are many, many other “trial by fire” experiences I could share. I know many of you have probably also had these experiences. My encouragement to you, and to myself, is to relish these “out-of-your-comfort-zone” experiences. Remember that you’ve come through these experiences unscathed before, and be confident in your ability to navigate any situation. Will I ever get over my desire to know all the details beforehand? Probably not. But I can start to embrace being uncomfortable.

Like many of you, my time at Vol State is coming to a close. I know that in the future there will be many, many experiences that I will need to face without the benefit of knowing all the details before. I don’t think anyone is going to give me a step-by-step process that says, “At this job, you’re going to have the most annoying co-worker on the earth. Here are four steps that will diffuse every interaction you have.” No. Instead, I’m going to have to just learn by trial-and-error. And someday, I think I’ll be okay with that. For now, I’m just trying to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Have you had any learning experiences that were out of your comfort zone? Or do you learn better that way? Let me know at aperham1@volstate.edu.

 

Student art will be on display during annual exhibition

 

By Katie Doll

Volunteer State Community College will host the annual free Student Art Exhibition from April 11 – 25 in the Vol State gallery in the SRB building.

An awards ceremony will be April 19 from 1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Everyone is welcomed.

The competition is open to all Vol State art students. Each art studio student is required to submit work produced by the student during the preceding year, according to the Vol State website.

Over 250 students submitted artwork to the exhibit and approximately 60 are shown in the gallery. The submissions include categories like drawing, 2D and 3D design, painting, graphic design, printmaking, photography, and ceramics.

The exhibition showcases students’ hard work and creativity. Students also have an opportunity to learn about the preparation and presentation of art that can help them in their career as artists.   

Some students chose unique routes when creating their artwork. One student, Yingjia Yan, created a sculpture made out of newspapers and napkins resembling a clown. The sculpture is titled “Mushroom Cloud”.

Many students created art made of cardboard and white paper such as Jamie Erwin, who designed a portrait of Jackie Kennedy.

Serious topics were also portrayed through students’ art. Courtney Apedaile created a piece titled “Through Her Eyes” which depicts the subject of rape. The artwork was created using graphite and marker and stands out with the consistent use of the color red.

The reception for the art exhibition will be April 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and free refreshments will be served. Visitors will be able to meet the artists and ask them questions about their art.

Awards will be judged by guest Kathleen O’Connell, assistant professor of art and design at Middle Tennessee State University. The exhibition is judged based on excellence.

Mushroom Cloud by Yingjia Yan

Let’s Review: Tomb Raider

 

via IMDB

By Katie Doll

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure movie directed by Roar Uthaug and starring Academy Award winning actress Alicia Vikander as the iconic Lara Croft.

The movie was released in 2018 and finished second in box office behind Black Panther in its opening weekend.

The film is based on the 2013 video game of the same name, with elements from the video game’s sequel.

It is a reboot of the previous Tomb Raider film series which starred Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. The two women portray Lara similarly in terms of charisma, but Vikander does not rely on sex appeal like the previous films and older video games.

In the movie, Lara Croft hopes to solve her father’s mysterious disappearance by embarking on a journey to his last-known destination – an island which withholds the tomb of Himiko, the Queen of Yamatai who controls life and death.

With her fierce spirit and sharp mind, the audience will have no doubt that Lara will conquer this mission, but the movie still keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

The most action-packed and heart-pounding moment of the film sets the stakes: a violent thunderstorm in the Devil’s Sea that leaves Lara washed ashore, only to be captured by Trinity, an organization who plans to use the tomb of Himiko as a weapon.

With a 49 percent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes scale, the film has mixed reviews by critics. John Nugent from Empireonline.com criticized the film because he felt the content did not fit the genre.

“It’s a different kind of Tomb Raider,” wrote Nugent. “But for an adventure film, it’s disconcertingly dull.”

Even if the plot may not wow the audience, the acting certainly will, according to Neil Soans, writer for “Times of India”.

“’Tomb Raider’ suffers from the tropes of an origin tale, but it gives its protagonist a timely and relevant overhaul to confidently launch Alicia Vikander as this generation’s Lara Croft,” wrote Soans.

Tomb Raider is in theaters now.