Summer’s Campus Connect welcomes new students to campus and college

This summer, Volunteer State Community College is hosting a number of orientations for upcoming first-time Vol State students.

Among those students, are the ones who qualified for the Tennessee Promise program. 

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said as a result of the increase in students, more orientations have been added. 

“All the students that are coming to Vol State who are on the TN Promise will be embedded just like the other students but because this is the first big push out for TN Promise, and a lot of students have applied, the Governor [Bill Haslam] has asked that we actually have some specific days [for them],” said Pimentel. 

According to Student Services, all first-time students will receive a letter in the mail with their orientation date and any additional information they need. 

Pimentel said orientation is a must in order for a student to be comfortable and successful in their first year. 

“One of the most consistent messages we’ve been telling everyone, as well as all the other schools, is that when we go to the mentor meeting to talk to the students that are going to be TN Promise students, [we tell them to] come to orientation, fill out your schedule, speak to your advisor because that’s all things that will help make them successful. There are just a variety of things like that, that will be going on all summer as a part of our normal orientation,” said Pimentel.  

Vol State considering two commencements to aid students

May 9, Volunteer State Community College hosted its 43rd annual graduation ceremony. According to the Vol State website, the event had the largest amount of participants in the college’s history, with more than 470 students walking.

With the increase in numbers, the Commencement Committee is deciding whether or not to add another graduation into the school year.

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs and a member of the committee, said that it all depends on how many people walk.

“If we continue to grow like we have been over the next few years, we feel like it’s going to be necessary to have a Fall and probably a Christmas graduation.

“Right now, nothing’s official, but we’re going to be talking about it next year after this graduation to see if we need to go ahead and just expand to two of them. We’ll try to keep the same one for as long as we can,” said Pimentel.

Pimentel said besides the additional cost, there are a couple things they are working on.

“Number one, we have about 470 students who traditionally walk, but if that number grows to 550, then obviously you add all of them, plus everyone who brings five guests, and its really full. So we are right there at about the maximum number we can accommodate.

“We’ll have to meet this summer to talk about [if] we just want to split it and have the students that graduate in December, just have a ceremony for them at Christmas time and the ones who graduate [in the] Spring and Summer, we’ll do like we normally do in may. That decision will be made by the [Vol State] president sometime this year,” said Pimentel.

Women’s Tea recognizes and celebrates women of Vol State

Volunteer State Community College hosted its annual Women’s Tea last Wednesday, to celebrate Women’s History Month.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Sybril Bennett, an Emmy Award winning journalist.

After a welcome by Davis Carr, Psychology club president, Dr. Carole Bucy, professor of History, introduced Bennett.

“She has a book out about the underground railroad that is really about networking. Its about how people can take the example about this folks who worked the Underground Railroad to get you from point A, to point B, to point C, safely and freely and how you can apply those principles today. . . . She has worked for CBS news, she has worked for Channel 5 News here in town, and she is a journalism professor at Belmont,” said Bucy.

Bennett spoke about networking in the world today and how it relates to the Underground Railroad.

“If you think about innovation and the Underground Railroad, my premise is, the Underground Railroad is among the most innovative, effective and disruptive networks in U.S. History. The Internet will be too,” said Bennett.

“I use seven ideas as a framework, the seven elements of innovation; problem, principle, purpose, pioneering, perspective, passion and play. Problems, if you think about then and you think about now, the problems are the same. Freedom, boundaries, ownership, privacy, access, “ said Bennett.

Bennett talked about enslaved Africans of the past and what they fought for.

“The enslaved Africans, and I use that term deliberately because they were enslaved, they were forced into slavery. Some now choose to be slaves in denial, doubt, [and] disbelief. There’s choices that are made, but in this case, these were enslaved Africans. These were people who were forced into slavery. These were people who fought for their privacy. They wanted the right to eat alone, bathe alone, have intimate relationships alone. . . . Enslaved Africans valued their personhood, they valued their freedom. So much so, they partnered with an amazing network to get to that freedom,” said Bennett.

“I heard [Bennett] speak two years ago and met her for the first time, at the Nashville Davidson County African-American history conference, which is sponsored every year by the Metro Historical commission and she was such a dynamic speaker that I knew she would do well here at Vol State because her motivational message of ‘you can be anything you want to be’ I think really needs to be heard by our community college students,” said Bucy.

After Bennett spoke, lunch was served and awards were presented to four women who were nominated as outstanding women on campus. These four women were Kathy Sowell, director of the office of disability services and ADA coordinator; Melva Black, instructor of communication; Shellie Michael, associate professor of
Communication and English; and Brenda Buffington, director of adult learners and evening services.

Connie Martin, instructor in psychology and education, attended the event and said she enjoyed it.

“It was very active and very interesting. I liked how [Bennett] took the Underground Railroad and made it applicable to everyone in the audience . . . everyone from the youngest person in the audience to the oldest person in the audience. I got ways out of it that I could look and change maybe some of the ways that I’m doing, for example she said ‘stop looking at the problem to find the solutions,’ I’m going to share that with my students,” said Martin.

By Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor


Nunsense mega musical performed by Theater Department

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer

The Theater Program at Volunteer State Community College had a play this past weekend called “Nunsense.”

The theme of the play was a group of nuns trying to raise money to bury their sisters who all died from food poisoning.

The play had an all female cast and starred Janice Winfrey-Thomas as Sister Mary Regina, a model mother superior who knew how to get a laugh,

Sonya Mckinley Sharp as Sister Mary Hubert, who taught the novices the ground rules, Aubrey Iwan as Sister Robert Anne, a tough streetwise nun who had a heart of gold.
Stephanie Goodrum played Sister Mary Amnesia, who could not remember her past and Kat Lambert played Sister Mary Leo, who was a professional dancer before entering the convent.
Sister Mary Brendan, played by Hannah Meece, joined the convent after a failed career as a ventriloquist and Sister Julia Child of God, played by Ren Creasy, is the nun who poisons and kills 52 of her sisters.

This play also featured a live band. Jane Kelley as the conductor and piano player,
Rex Howell on the percussions, Katie Blomarz on the bass, and Sheldon A. Thomas on the saxophone.

This play set in present time was being held at Mt. Saint Helen’s School Auditorium. The nuns decided to throw on a variety of shows so that they can raise money to bury their sisters.

“It was fun playing a Nun, the only challenging part about it was learning the dance steps and singing,” said Creasy.

This performance featured a number of songs, such as “The biggest ain’t the best,” “So you want to be a Nun,” “I just want to be a star,” and their finale song, “Holier than thou”.
“It’s a play that everyone can come and enjoy,” said Edmon Thomas.

There was tap dancing, choreography and even a ballet performance by Lambert. During intermission, the nuns interacted with the audience, asking for donation for the church and Sister Julia Child of God wandering around asking the audience if anyone would like to try her soup, the same soup that killed 52 of her nun sisters.

“I think everyone is going to laugh and enjoy this play,” said Iwan.

First annual History Bowl at Vol State a success

by Jesse Versage// Staff Writer

On Wednesday, March 25, the Supplemental Instruction (SI) sponsored History Bowl took place. The event occurred in the Rochelle Center at Volunteer State Community College.
There were two teams competing, the Honorifics lead by Dr. Merritt McKinney, director of the Honors Program; and Professor Peter Johnson, associate professor of history and the leader for the History Pickers.
“Jennifer from Supplemental Instruction just contacted me and asked if I wanted to partake in this event and I said sure,” said Johnson.
McKinney’s student team was from the Honors Program and Johnson’s team was made up of some of his best students to compete in this competition.
The event was setup where each team had four teammates, and every so often would switch out with substitutes.
Professor David Fuqua, assistant professor of Economics, hosted the History Bowl and read out the questions to the competitors. The questions mainly ranged from mid 1800s – 1920s era for United States history.
The way the competition worked was that with every question a team gets correct, that team who answered it correctly received ten points.
If the team answered incorrectly, the other team would have a chance to answer.
They could try to answer the question mid description without any penalty if they had the question incorrect.
There was also a buzzer system where one team was blue and the other red, and each individual on each team got a buzzer to use if they wanted to try to answer the question asked. If no one on either team answered the question, the question would go to the audience to answer.
At the end of the event, Johnson’s History Pickers won with the final score being 210 – 150.
The attendance ranged from 65 – 75 in the audience alone.
Also in attendance was Dr. George Pimentel, the vice president of Academic Affairs, he was there to settle disputes if there were any to occur.
“There were a lot more people who showed up the History Bowl than I anticipated, if we could have more events like this on campus that would be awesome,” said Sara Jarka a Vol State student.

Color and Rhythm lecture connects the arts and music

by Jim Busha// Staff Writer

‘To hear the color and see the sound’ was the idea behind Color and Rhythm, a lecture series given in the Volunteer State Community Rochelle Center, by Sue Mulcahy, professor of Art, and Nancy Slaughter, professor of music.

The lecture was open to anyone interested in art and music or the relationship between the two.

“The arts all have common ground. We talk about the similarities between the languages of art and languages of music. The series started as collaboration between the art and music departments here on campus. We wanted to see how they influenced each other,” said Mulcahy.
To begin, everyone was told to close their eyes and relax before a sound was played.
Everyone was then told to open their eyes and say what image they saw in their head when they heard the sound.
Throughout the lecture, the audience was  asked to share which sounds were associated with the images in front of them.
“It inspires critical thinking and gets people to understand that there are real connections between art and music.  Different music can change someone’s perception.
“If you look at two different pictures side by side and listen to one song or sound, it could change your opinion on which image you relate to more. It may help you broaden your personal relationship with art and music. A painting you never liked or didn’t understand could become understood or interesting to you,” said Slaughter.
Slaughter and Mulcahy said the next lecture hasn’t been scheduled but there will be another one coming soon and that they encourage anyone interested in music, art, or both, to attend.
“It generates conversation, and helps me view art and music through broader eyes,” said Cindy Wyatt, professor of English
“Nancy and Sue force me to think about art and music in different ways.   Anyone who didn’t attend missed out,” said Ben Graves, instructor of Music.

Charles Lindbergh Lecture Discusses American Nazi Rumors

By Mackenzie Border// Staff Writer

Peter Johnson, instructor of History, gave a lecture at Volunteer State Community College on Monday, March 23, in the Carpeted Dining Room. Johnson spoke of the rumors of Charles Lindbergh being an American Nazi during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR).
When asked how he decided to do a lecture on the subject, Johnson said, “My specialty is World War II, and I was reading a book on Lindbergh vs. FDR, and in it were references to Lindbergh having an association with high ranking Nazi officials. This started me thinking and doing some other reading on the subject which eventually led to the lecture.”
Johnson began his lecture by describing the state of the country after the events of World War I, continuing into the growing popularity of aviation.
“After the war, people began to realize aviation as the next step, and Charles Lindbergh is there promoting aviation at the same time there is a $25,000 prize for the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean,” said Johnson.
Johnson then discussed how Lindbergh began to criticize FDR’s administration upon his return to the United States after living in Europe for a few years, and how Lindbergh’s acceptance of Germany’s highest civilian award from a high-ranking Nazi official created suspicion in the FDR administration.
“So, was Charles Lindbergh a Nazi?” Johnson asked the audience before he began to elaborate on the events that led to the rumors of Lindbergh’s associations with the Nazis.
Johnson discussed how during Lindbergh’s time in Europe, he was invited to Germany to examine the ME-109, Germany’s top fighter plane, and how Lindbergh sent his findings to American Ambassador Robert Kennedy.
During his trip to Germany, Johnson said Lindbergh was invited to dinner with high-ranking Nazi officials, where he was given the Service Cross of the German Eagle, the highest civilian award.
“Lindbergh believed that it would have caused more trouble if he had turned down the award instead of accepting it, so he accepted the award from the Nazis,” said Johnson.
“After his return to the United States, Lindbergh testified before Congress that the policies of the FDR administration were leading America into a war that the country was not prepared for.
“President Franklin Delano Roosevelt became convinced that Lindbergh was a Nazi, and soon he requested for Lindbergh’s phone to be wiretapped and have surveillance placed on him,” said Johnson.
“So was Charles Lindbergh an American hero or American Nazi?” Johnson asked the audience once again before reviewing the suspicious events that led to the accusations.
Johnson concluded the lecture by detailing how the FBI file regarding the rumors had no evidence that Lindbergh was an American Nazi, but he still left the topic open for debate.

“History is filled with stories of men and women who have accomplished great things.
Some of these people have characters that are not admirable, but Charles Lindberg is someone who took on the challenge of flying across the Atlantic and accomplished that incredible feat.  When he came back to America, he was an instant celebrity and used his popularity to promote commercial aviation.
“He fell into odds with FDR over the President’s push for intervention into the war in Europe.  Lindberg stuck to his convictions which is something I feel people should get from this lecture,” said Johnson.
“It was beneficial.  Both sides were presented well, and I like the idea of an interpretation,” said Kendall Bell, a Vol State student.
“It was extremely informative on a topic that I was not previously aware of, and I think it opened my eyes.  I understood what was discussed, and I enjoyed the time spent here at the lecture,” said Luke Rhodes, a Vol State student.

SGA Debate and Presidential Forum introduces next years cabinet

by Adam Parks// Online Editor

On Monday, March 23, the Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored the annual SGA Forum in the Mary Cole Nichols Tiled Dining Room at Volunteer State Community College.
The event involved two parts. The first of which was to introduce the candidates for next year’s Student Government Cabinet.
The candidates introduced at the event were Jessie Versage, the current SGA attorney general who is currently running for the position of Student Government President, and Sam Hunt, current secretary of state and who is running for secretary of state.

Each of the said candidates were asked a series of questions about what direction they see the college going in and their plans for what they want to accomplish for their run as part of the SGA.

The next part of the event was the Presidential Forum in which Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of Vol State, and his vice presidents joined a panel to answer questions submitted by each of the clubs on campus.
“The setup for the forum was different this year. In the past we had the two cabinets facing each other, but this time we wanted the Presidential Cabinet up front and the SGA cabinet creating sort of an audience. After the forum I got a few complaints that it created a disconnect, so we more than likely will go back to the old way next time,” said Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator for Student Life and Diversity Initiatives (SLDI).
The questions involved changes that the students would like to see around campus, involving things such as changes to the food in the cafeteria and changes to the smoking area’s outside.  The questions, much like for the first event, were asked by the current and new SGA cabinet members.
After the core questions were asked by the cabinet, the floor was open for any student to ask any question to the Presidents cabinet.

“From what I heard, the last forum was a lot more involved. I wish there was more student involvement with the questions instead of just the cabinet. Overall, though, I thought it was successful,” said Versage.

“I wish there would have been more of a debate. I wish the students were more involved. This affects them and I wish they were more involved,” said Hunt.

She also spoke about the new cabinet that will begin next year.
“The SGA cabinet will be one cabinet. Our vision is strong as we are starting this next year. Dr. Yarbrough has been very involved and is constantly encouraging us.”

“Years ago the campus was alive with students. The quad outside used to be so lively with people, and that would be something I would love to see happen again,” said Hunt.

Local poet Gaylord Brewer does poetry reading for students

by Lauren Cieler// Staff Writer

Gaylord Brewer, a local published poet, came to Volunteer State Community College on Wednesday, March 25, in the Ramer building.
Brewer said is a University of Louisville graduate.
At the end of college, going into graduate school, Brewer said he started studying literary arts instead of visual arts and that he has been doing poetry for 21 years.

He said he spent a whole summer writing and talking about dead metaphors.
Gaylord Brewer’s new book “Country of Ghost”, which he said is his ninth collection of poetry, talks about harrowing, haunted, and darkly humorous poems of both worlds of the living and the dead.
An excerpt from his poem “A Ghost Writes a Postcard to His Wife” he said, “…plays clear field with her sense, blank from flooded, single sparrow just inner with rock of score, black faced goals.”
“The biggest challenge in poetry has been living all over the world and dealing with my poems being published,” said Brewer.

When asked what advice he would give to someone who wanted to pursue poetry, Brewer responded, “Writing is a prime event. Read widely and don’t wait for the news.”
“I chose Gaylord Brewer because I want my students and other students to have more energy to read poetry. Students should meet and listen to writers and poets to have a feel for his or her work in poetry,” said Cindy Wyatt, associate professor of English.

“He was a good poet. He explains his poetry well and in depth,” said Kyle Whitworth, Vol State student.

Science and Math Expo Demonstrates Family-Friendly Experiments

by Lauren Cieler// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College had a Math and Science Expo on Thursday, March 26.

The Expo was open to the Gallatin community and was geared toward sparking children’s interest in the math and sciences.
Justin Williams and Bonnie Breland did an experiment called Burning Money.
The ingredients were a dollar bill; tongs; matches or lighter; salt; 50 percent isopropyl alcohol; and 50 percent water solution.
Williams and Breland put all the ingredients together in glass and soaked the dollar bill in the solution for two to three minutes. Breland took the dollar bill out with tongs and took the lighter and lit the money.
“The dollar bill does not burn because the alcohol is the only thing that is burning. Some of the water evaporates at a higher temperature when alcohol burns. The flame will extinguish after the alcohol is gone and the water is left,” said Williams.
Jennifer Johnson and Will Hinton did Ice Cream in a Bag.
The ingredients were half cup of milk; half teaspoon of vanilla extract; one tablespoon of sugar; four cups of ice; and four tablespoons of salt.
Johnson and Hinton mixed the milk, vanilla extract, sugar, and salt in a small bag.
Then put the small bag in a larger bag full of ice and shook it for five minutes.
The result turned to ice cream.
Macy Gregory, Kirsten Cacciotti, and Danella McBride showed blowing Bubbles.
They had three bowls with three different mixtures.
The experiment was to see which mixture could blow and hold the bubble the longest.
The first bowl had one cup of water and two tablespoons of soap, the second bowl had one cup of water, two tablespoons of soap, and one tablespoon of food coloring. The third bowl had one cup of water, two tablespoons of soap, and one tablespoon of syrup.
Gregory blew a bubble from the first bowl and it lasted until the bubble hit the ground and popped.
Andrew Manes and Jose Garcia did The Invisible Heavyweight.
Their supplies were a deflated basketball, a small air pump, and a scale.
Manes took the deflated basketball and put it on the scale, which resulted in the weight of 580.1 kilograms. Manes then took the air pump and put air into the basketball. When he was done, he put the basketball on the scale, which resulted in the weight of 581.5 kilograms.
Manes and Garcia picked this experiment because, “We think air is complex and it’s awesome to show small children what air can do.”
There were 15 more experiments around Wallace, which included False Snot, Magic Sound, Liquid Nitrogen, and Fantastic Foamy Fountain.