Student Leadership Luncheon a success


(Pictured: Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett along with Jenny Hernandez.  Photo by: Jessica Peña.)

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College hosted the annual Student Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday, April 13, in the Mary Nichols Carpeted Dining Room.

The event was coordinated by the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives and was decorated with a red carpet theme.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett was the keynote speaker at the luncheon.

“I really liked that the honorable Tre Hargett touched on the importance of a servant leader.

“In my opinion about servant leadership, you can easily judge the character of an individual by how they treat others, especially those who cannot do anything for or to them,” said Lori Miller, Secretary of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.

Miller said that student leaders give her a new perspective on things and allow her to see many topics and issues from a new point of view.

“I think it is vital to recognize our student leaders because they need to know that we appreciate and support the hard work and dedication that they give to the student body,” said Miller.

Miller said as student leaders are engaged with the campus, everyone can learn what the student body as a whole is needing.

“It is like a bridge between two islands. The student leader is that bridge between the islands of student body and administration of the campus,” added Miller.

Many student leaders and faculty attended the Student Leadership Luncheon.

“I thought honorable Tre Hargett’s speech was very motivating to not only the leaders of Vol State, but to anyone that wants to make a difference,” said Jenny Hernandez, Officer of Leadership for Phi Theta Kappa.

Hernandez said part of her belief is that true leaders have the desire to take the initiative in making a difference.

“One thing he said that stood out to me was ‘Be the difference you want to see in your community,’ sometimes we have no idea of the extremity of the influence we have on someone.

“As a leader, this is important to me because even a handshake or opening a door can have a lasting effect on someone,” said Hernandez.

The student leaders on campus who spoke at the podium were Sandra “Domino” Hunt, Allison Meyers and Taylor Matson.

The Student Leadership Luncheon featured an awards ceremony that honored the individuals in different categories who showed talent and leadership in what they do for Vol State within their affiliated groups.

The recipients were Jesse Versage, Judy Schuelke, Torrey Zimmerman, and Sandra “Domino” Hunt.

The menu at the luncheon included mashed potatoes, fried zucchini, croissants, pulled pork, ice cream, and apple cobbler.

In the absence of the Vice President of Student Services, Patty Powell, Assistant Vice President Emily Short ended the luncheon with a few closing remarks.

New Dean of Humanities chosen

NEW DEAN(Pictured: New Dean of Humanities, Jennifer Brezina.  Photo by: Barbara Harmon.)

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

Volunteer State Community College has hired Jennifer Brezina as the new dean of the humanities department.

Mickey Hall, Professor of English, was the interim dean until Brezina was hired. Hall was also on the search committee that chose to hire her.

There were about 50 candidates and only five were brought to campus, said Hall.

“Primarily her experience as a humanities dean and an English Department chair,” were the reasons why Brezina was chosen, he said.

“Her attitude about how to deal with people and how to work in a division like this,” were also a deciding factor, added Hall.

Having been the interim until Brezina was hired, Hall knows exactly what responsibilities she will be taking on.

“She’s the main administrator for the division, which is a large division: 55 fulltime faculty, probably 75 part-time faculty, three departments, and eight or nine disciplines,” said Hall.

“We have the new building coming online, there is a lot of budgeting, there are a lot of personnel issues, hiring and evaluating faculty, training, planning, and assessment.

“It’s a massive job,” included Hall.

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President for Academic Affairs, was also on the search committee.

“We had an extensive search and a lot of good candidates were in that search,” said Pimentel.

“But, ultimately, Dean Brezina had a wealth of experience. She was a dean already in a community college in California in the same division.

“She had come up through the ranks there and her interview was outstanding—she really nailed all the questions we asked and her wealth of experience just really shined in that,” added Pimentel. “And that was why she was chosen.”

Brezina talked about what interested her most about Vol State.

“The people—every interaction in the interview process, from the first contact with HR to getting to know some of the faculty and staff through the interview process, everyone was just so enthusiastic and welcoming.

“It is also the reputation that Vol State has in the community,” added Brezina.

The first thing she said she wants to do is become familiar with everyone.

“I’m still learning the programs and the names and getting to know the campus, so that is goal number one,” said Brezina.

She also talked about how she plans to influence Vol State.

“Just doing what I can to support all the wonderful teaching and learning that is going on here.

“I’m really excited to be here and looking forward to all the challenges and opportunities I am going to find here, I know,” said Brezina.

Even though she has only been at Vol State for about a week, Brezina seems to already be making an impression on the faculty.

“We are really happy to have her. She is turning out to be everything that we hoped.

“She seems to be a really fine person to work with and we’re extremely happy in the choice that we made,” included Hall.


Editorial: Always remember to try your best

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

Many of us have had a class that has caused more stress than every other class combined. The class could be a subject we are not good at, a subject that is totally new or even one that sounded considerably easier than it really is.

It has happened or will happen at least once, and there may come a time when you study for 12 hours and still do not manage to do well in it.

Everyone becomes discouraged in one way or another. We start to lose hope and it begins to reflect in our efforts and determination. It does happen.

It leaves one to wonder exactly what can be done to improve and where to start.

First and foremost, ask for help. Most of the faculty is willing to help you, especially if you are putting forth the effort to pass.

It cannot do harm to simply ask for help, whether it is extra credit, studying or even a simple “can you condense this for me?” The faculty is willing to help you learn.

The school also offers a variety of helpful resources. There is the Language Center, Learning Commons, Library, as well as online sources. If all else fails, YouTube and Ted Talks have videos that explain some topics very well.

Unless you have totally ignored a class for the entire semester, which is a big no-no, you should be able to find a way to pass. If you do not pass and you tried your best, then do not beat yourself up.

It is important to remember that we are all human, and that as humans we are imperfect. In being imperfect, we cannot do everything well.

However, we can always do our best and give everything we do our best shot. As long as you put your all into something and refuse to give up, then you have not entirely failed. Failure only occurs when we stop trying.

We all have potential to be great in different ways and we should strive to do so. Every person can do something to change the world for at least one other person, even if that person is his or herself.

So, the next time you are stressing over a class when you are trying your best, take a deep breath and remember that you have not failed entirely until you give up. Then, talk to your instructor, seek help and do everything you can to pass.

National Library Week kicks off at Vol State

By: Jessica Peña

The Thigpen Library at Volunteer State Community College will be recognizing National Library Week April 10 – 16.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Libraries Transform.”

“During this week, we encourage students to think about how the library has helped them succeed in their academic endeavors and what we can do to make their experience even better.

“We have an amazing group of people who work at Thigpen Library,” said Laura Sheets, Library Instruction Coordinator.

Sheets hopes students will take this opportunity to say thank you to a librarian or library staff member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help them.

“When I went to graduate school to get my Master’s in Library and Information Science, most people reacted in one of two ways: ‘I didn’t know you needed a master’s degree to be a librarian!’ or ‘What do you study: the Dewey Decimal System?’

“What we as librarians and library staff members do goes way beyond checking out books,” said Sheets.

Last year was the first year Vol State organized campus-wide activities for National Library Week.

“It’s great that they are recognizing the library staff, because I honestly wouldn’t be able to survive without the library and its resources.

“I spend more time there than I should admit, so I have to give credit to the librarians on duty,” said Michael Burnard, a student at Vol State.

This year, National Library Week on campus will include an open mic event April 11, in the Rochelle Center from 1 – 2 p.m.

On April 14, there will be a game day in the Rochelle Center from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., with ping pong, board games, card games, and more.

The Office of Student Life & Diversity Initiatives will be providing refreshments during the open mic and game day.

All week long, the Thigpen Library will be doing a “Secret Cinema” where students can check out DVDs that have been wrapped to conceal their title.

According to the American Library Association’s webpage, April 12 is National Library Workers Day.

Sheets said she hopes that students will realize how impactful a library and its workers can be to the community.

“To me, National Library Week helps students and the community understand the importance of libraries in our society and remind them that we are more than just books, although we do love books,” added Sheets.

Sheets said she looks forward to giving students the same opportunities this year.

Vol State remembers tornado event



(Pictured, top: One of the buildings after the destruction of the tornado.  Pictured, second: The trees torn apart by the tornado as Caudill Hall rests in the background.  Photos courtesy of Jennifer Easton and Holly Brown.)

By: The Editorial Staff

“I was finishing up a physics test when the storm hit.

“I printed the thing out and I was listening to the radio and they issued the tornado warning…there were a couple of guys weed eating in the courtyard and I went into the courtyard and told them about the warning and that they needed to find a building.

“A student of mine was walking down the library towards Warf so I told him he needed to get in the building.”

“There were only a dozen or so people in the building.”

“We looked out at one point and it was dead calm… so we opened the doors up one more time and the wind was just starting to pick up and within 45 seconds it was over.

“When it started hitting it sounded like a cross between a rush of wind and a train.”

“We were trying to hold the fire doors shut and it was like riding a bronco bull… we were pulling with all of our weight and it was still jerking us around.”

“Then we heard the metal latch break—it was a big pop—and we got under some tables and as soon as the door blew open the ceiling panels came crashing down.

“Then it was over, maybe 30 seconds or so.”

“When it stopped, I went outside, I’m not really sure why I went outside, maybe I was thinking about the two guys who were weed eating or whatever, and I saw what happened to Caudill and Ramer and I turned and saw the tornado heading down toward Gallatin.”

– Dr. Timothy Farris, Associate Professor of Physics


“First off, I was in my office watching the weather on the television and saw the weather reports that the tornado had just touched down in the Rivergate area.”

“Mr. Danny Gibbs was in my office watching all of this. We got on the phone with our building monitors and our vice presidents and told them to be prepared.”

“We watched a couple more minutes and as soon as they came across the television and said Sumner County is under a tornado warning we told all of our building monitors and went over the PA system.

“Everyone got to shelter.  Personally, Miss Gibson and I went to the vault in the business office.

“Dr. Charles Lea, Beth Cooksey- all of us were huddled in that vault. We were probably not in there more than a couple of minutes when we heard the wind and everything start picking up.

“The vault door actually broke up, so we manhandled the vault door back closed and it wasn’t but a minute later that I guess it hit.

“Other than ear popping and things like that I really didn’t feel or hear that much.

“It probably was louder than what I remember because when we opened the vault door there was just utter destruction in the business office.

“Miss Cooksey’s wall had disappeared, debris everywhere, rubble and all of that. We looked out and one of the plate glass windows was completely shattered.

“So I told everyone else to stay in the vault because I did not know where we were with other storms or whatever.

“So I headed out that shattered window towards the campus center and saw all of the devastation and saw the Caudill building.

“My first thoughts were for people’s safety. We talked to building monitors and found out everyone was safe. So then I started making the rounds.

“I did not [feel the building rumble]. I was sitting on the floor of the vault and the vault must be so well protected.

“Power had immediately gone off, so power to our little television that we had in the vault had gone off, so we had no way of knowing [what was happening].

“That’s one of the things we’re going to have to—when we do a critique of this later, and we will—we have to look at how procedures could be bettered. We had no weather radio.

– Dr. Warren Nichols, Former President at Volunteer State