Vol State to host Story Slam

 

By Story slam poster 2018Katie Doll

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting its first Story Slam March 20, from 11:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m., in the Nichols Dining Room in the Wood Campus Center.

The event will be hosted by Jon Goode, according to the Vol State website.

Story Slam is a competition in which performers can tell two to four minute stories about topics that can range from hilarious to heartbreaking. There will be scheduled performers and an opportunity to perform at an open mic. First and second prize winners will win cash prizes, and snacks will be served.

All students, faculty and staff are invited to participate.

Sheri Waltz and Shellie Michael, professors in the communication department, worked together to make the Story Slam project a reality. They wrote a proposal for a Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) grant, and the project was selected for funding. Michael stated the project gave students an opportunity in two speech classes to learn storytelling and increase student engagement.

“In addition to developing a storytelling curriculum in SPCH 1010 and SPCH 103, the project aims to build a culture of storytelling through the Story Slam event,” said Michael.

After this event, the next Story Slams are planned to be held annually every fall semester, as the Hal Ramer Oratorical Contest for public speakers is held each spring.

The event will be recorded and posted on eLearn for students who could not make the event. Online students can also participate, as videotaped stories will be shown.

Michael hopes for students to be entertained and connect over universal experiences.

“Through stories, students can share similarities while celebrating diversity,” said Michael.

Students participating should focus on one specific event with a lesson that was learned from their experience.

Book review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

 

By Tayla Courage

Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” is a contemporary, gay love story that examines the perils of coming out and emphasizes the importance of being authentic to oneself.

This book follows 16-year-old Simon Spier, a mostly-closeted Atlanta teen who would rather save the drama for his part as “Fagin’s boy” in his school’s production of “Oliver.”

In fear of not fitting the mold his friends and family have created for him, Simon chooses to keep his sexuality to himself; that is, until he comes across a poem on his high school’s gossip Tumblr blog revealing that he is not, in fact, the school’s resident gay kid.
Simon, or Jacques as he is better known online, messages the poet parading under the username “Blue,” and the pair sparks an anonymous email-based relationship, which quickly goes awry when the emails fall into untrustworthy hands.

To keep his secret safe, Simon is blackmailed into playing the role of wingman for fellow theater kid, Martin, who inevitably outs Simon to the entire school.

Following one audaciously mean-spirited Tumblr post, Simon goes from coasting through junior year as a well-liked Harry Potter nerd to being the absolute center of attention.

While he is generally well-accepted by his peers which is surprising considering the fact that he lives in Bible Belt, U.S.A. people treat him as though he’s made this life-altering proclamation.

In actuality, Simon is the same person he’s always been, but this new-found attention makes him question why he, of all people, is constantly forced to “reintroduce himself to the universe.”

While there could have been a stronger dynamic between the people Simon calls his best friends, and the identity of his secret lover is blatantly obvious in retrospect, this book gives a realistic depiction of adolescent woes.

The book’s film adaptation “Love, Simon,” starring “Kings of Summer” actor Nick Robinson was released to theaters March 16.

 

Vol State needs mental health counselors

 

By Blake Bouza

Editor-in-Chief

The last two weeks we discussed part of the gun problem our country is faced with: the guns themselves. I would like to devote a final week to this problem before moving on. I feel we do that a little too easily in the state of desensitization we find ourselves in with shootings such as Parkland.

This week, let’s talk about the mental health problem our country faces.

The Parkland shooter suffered from mental health.

“There is a clear relationship between mental illness and mass public shootings,” according to the LA Times.

But this does not, of course, mean everyone suffering from a mental illness are potential mass shooters, I want to make it clear that we all understand that point going forward.

The article continued, “At the broadest level, peer-reviewed research has shown that individuals with major mental disorders (those that substantially interfere with life activities) are more likely to commit violent acts, especially if they abuse drugs. When we focus more narrowly on mass public shootings — an extreme and, fortunately, rare form of violence — we see a relatively high rate of mental illness.”

The book “Mass Murder in the United States: A History” makes the observation that at least 59 percent of the 185 public mass shootings that took place in the United States from 1900 – 2017.

These were carried out by people who had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack.

MotherJones.com found a similarly high rate of potential mental health problems among perpetrators of mass shootings, 61 percent, when the magazine examined 62 cases in 2012, according to the LA times.

As has come to light since the Parkland shooting, we now know the shooter had been treated for mental illness in the past.

I have seen a case made that teachers should be allowed to bring firearms into the classroom. Teachers, though, are just as human as the rest of us and just as susceptible to dealing with mental illness.

As we saw when a teacher in Dalton, Georgia fired a handgun out a window after he barricaded himself in his classroom.

Though it is not explicitly stated the Dalton teacher had a history of mental illness, and the police state he claims to have had no intention of harming anyone, it seems clear the teacher was under some strain to have acted out in such a way.

So what is our solution? Can we solve this problem of isolation, depression and fear with policy?

I do not think I’m saying anything radical when I put forth this idea: we should solve it with conversation. At the ground level. At schools – which also, I think, will help the issue of adult mass shooters.

By that I mean, with school counselors. People who will take the time and make themselves available to students who perhaps feel isolated in their struggles. Counselor(s) to get to know students and be able to watch out for warning signs.

This counselor should not only be limited to students; faculty could very much benefit from a person like this as well.

A counselor would be invaluable here on our campus in the aftermath of a shooting like Parkland, when people feel vulnerable, perhaps a little fearful of going to campus, when 17 very fragile lives were so swiftly taken in a matter of minutes. Tell me what you think: bbouza@volstate.edu.

Vol State sophomore has musical career outside school

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By Lauren Whitaker

Dillon Kruppa, a sophomore at Volunteer State Community College, is a multifaceted person whose identity exceeds the realms of a normal college student.

Kruppa’s long, blonde hair cascaded past his shoulders in waves as he spoke about his life outside Vol State.

“I write music. I work a photo booth gig. I drink coffee. I read books sometimes, and I talk to chicks,” Kruppa said.

Kruppa’s vibrant clothing, down to his four-leaf-clover belt buckle, and silent confidence emphasizes the creative character he is.

“I have been playing music since 2007. I have done a number of gigs at night around here. I have performed at Café Coco, Family Wash, I have played some stuff out in Chattanooga and plenty of stuff at Vol State like the Christmas concerts and the spring concerts,” Kruppa said.

Kruppa’s talents go beyond simply strumming a guitar or mastering the keys on a piano. His musical skills are dexterous.

“Mainly, I play guitar, piano and voice. Beyond that, I play alto, tenor, bari sax, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, ukulele and whatever I can get my hands on,” said Kruppa.

Kruppa is drawn indie folk music. He is a solo artist, and he markets his music by means of social media.

“My stuff is on Instagram under Dillon Kruppa. There is a video out on YouTube of a live session done out on top of a parking garage in downtown Nashville,” said Kruppa. “There’s a beautiful cotton candy sky backdrop in the video.”

Kruppa spent a period of his life driving a pedicab in downtown Nashville. His stories driving pedicab are adventurous.

“I was chased by a homeless man, presumably on drugs, because a drunk passenger kept yelling obscenities at him. He bolted after us down dark streets, and I ended up kicking the intoxicated passenger out of the cab,” Kruppa said.

Kruppa drove pedicab from July to September. During this time, his biggest event was taking passengers from Justin Timberlake’s Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin.

“I made a bunch of money. Somebody even paid me in very important person tickets,” said Kruppa. “By the last day, I was like forget pedaling. I’m just going to enjoy the festival.”

Kruppa commutes to Vol State from south Nashville. His major is entertainment media production with a concentration in music business.

“In my major, we divide up into teams and try to balance out the concentration the best we can. Then, we select an artist. It could be anything from a painter to a musician. It’s usually a musician, so right now we are recording an extended play for the website,” said Kruppa. “We are recording a music video, developing a business plan, coordinating the social media stuff and pretty much the whole package.”

After all of this project is completed, the students involved, including Kruppa, will venture out into Nashville and present their project to record labels.

After Kruppa finishes at Vol State, he plans to optimally be recognized by the projects Vol State has allowed him to do and use them to get a job.

In the meantime, Kruppa plans to pursue his endeavors in music.

 

Man on the Quad 3/13/18 – Luckiest Thing To Happen To You

 

We here at The Settler have one goal: to let the student’s voice be heard. So we’re beginning a new segment called Man on the Quad to get students’ opinions, thoughts, and ideas. You can send your question ideas for this segment to aperham1@volstate.edu.

What is the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to you at Vol State?

There was a rainbow, and I found a four-leaf clover, and a leprechaun kicked me in the shin, and then I aced my exam. – A

Editor’s note: The Settler is unable to verify this information. However, we would be interested in your reports on any other sightings of the wee people.

My original song got used and might be on the album in jazz ensemble. – R

I found $5 in my lab on the floor once. – K

I finished last semester. – D

I met the love of my life three months in. – J

Going here. – A

I guess I got stopped and questioned by campus police for taking pictures around campus once. I guess that’s the unluckiest thing that happened to me at Vol State. – M

I guess like kindness like if you probably do something good for somebody then it’s probably gonna be good for you. If you’re nice to your teachers, they’re probably gonna be nice to you. – E

Vol State theater department to perform “California Suites”

 

By Riley Holcraft

The theater department at Volunteer State Community College will be performing “California Suites” by Neil Simon, March 16-17, at 7:30 p. m.; March 18, at 2:30 p. m.; and March 23-24, at 7:30 p. m., in Caudill Hall.

“California Suites” is a full-length play divided into four one-act segments. The production follows the separate stories of families from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and London. All of the action takes place in the same room, but characters change for each act. This comedy dives into a quick preview of the characters’ lives during their short time in California.  

The play is set in the 1970s, and Noah Geerholt, cast member, stated that the time period is one of his favorite aspects of the production.

“This is a period I don’t see a lot of onstage. Typically, I see settings in modern times, or in the much farther past,” said Geerholt.

Edmon Thomas, director, commented that he is most excited about the play because it has been in the back of his mind for years, and the time has finally come to perform it.

“If you haven’t seen a good live play, you have to see one,” stated Thomas, “It inspires you and allows you to escape for hours as you see it come alive right before you.”

All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to experience this live performance.

Most of the cast are performing arts majors or theatre veterans.

Cooper Atkins, who plays Marvin Michaels and Stu Franklyn, is well versed in the world of theatre.

“This is my second college production. I’ve done a lot of high school shows and a handful of professional and local shows, but this is the first time I’ve done a straight comedy, and it’s nice to be able to put myself in a new position as an actor,” stated Atkins.

He went on to explain that the cast is full of interesting and talented individuals. The chemistry of the pairings makes for a good laugh, and this production is something everyone can enjoy.

Librarian has worked at Vol State since the start

 

By Presley Green

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Picture by Presley Green

Marguerite Voorhies has worked in the library at Volunteer State Community College since the day it opened, July 1, 1971.

She started as a reference librarian, but has worked many different positions in the library from her favorite, catalog librarian, to her current position, library associate.

She has had a diverse career at Vol State. She worked under Virginia Thigpen, the lady that the current library is named after. She oversees the law library section, although she said books about law are not her favorite reading material.  

She spoke fondly of the coworkers and students she has worked with throughout the years.

“The people and students make me enjoy my job so much. Now, there is not much connection in the back, but I do try to smile at students who aren’t too busy,” she said, speaking of her workspace in the back of the library.

She has been an associate at Vol State through many changes and moves. She laughed while remembering the first library move from the administration building.

“Moving was an ordeal. We moved the books on book trucks with lots of volunteers. The whole campus was just mud. It was a rainy February,“ she said.

Voorhies shared one of her favorite books, “Black Stallion” by Walter Farley. When she was in fourth or fifth grade, she stayed up all night to finish the book, she said.

She recalled walking past the public library everyday on her walk home from school and stopping every few days when she ran out of reading material. Her summers as a child were spent reading.

Now, she does not read as much, but on her commute to her home in Colombia every weekend she listens to audiobooks.

Voorhies has rented a room from a former Vol State employee for 20 years. On the weekends, she goes to her home in Columbia where her grandnephews live. She drives home every Friday and back to Gallatin every Monday.

 

St. Patrick’s Day has a rich tradition in the US

 

By Katie Doll

St. Patrick’s Day is a global celebration of Irish culture on March 17. Parades and celebrations for this holiday are popular in American culture, but the history and traditions are important to note.

The Irish holiday originated as a Roman Catholic feast day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, Patrick. St. Patrick died March 17, 461, and was credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

While originally an Irish holiday, Irish immigrants moved to the United States and brought their traditions with them. Irish soldiers in the Revolutionary War held the first of the now famous St. Patrick’s Day parades.

Mike Cronin, a Dublin-based historian and Boston College professor, explained the holiday has changed over time to appeal to American celebrators.

“The tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day grew across the U.S. and became a day that was also celebrated by people with no Irish heritage,” wrote Cronin, in his article in Time magazine.

The historian also explained the modern marketing strategies behind the holiday.

“By the 20th century, it was so ubiquitous that St. Patrick’s Day became a marketing bonanza,” wrote Cronin. “Greeting cards filled drugstores, imported Irish shamrocks (indeed anything green) showed up on T-shirts, and the food and drink that became associated with the day became bar promotions.”

Many original traditions of St. Patrick’s Day have stuck around, but few are purely American inventions, according to History.com.

The shamrock was a sacred plant that symbolized the rebirth of spring in ancient Ireland. Soon it became a symbol for Irish pride after the English banned the Irish language and Catholicism.

A traditional dish for Irish Americans to eat on St. Patrick’s Day is corned beef and cabbage. Cabbage has been an Irish food for a long time, but corned beef was an American alternative for Irish bacon that was too expensive for Irish immigrants.

One of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in America is in Savannah, Georgia. According to the official website of Savannah, Georgia, the parade will start at 10:15 a.m., Saturday, March 17, 2018. The parade will feature up to 15,000 people and 350 marching units.

 

Transfer Fair held at Vol State

 

By Tayla Courage

Volunteer State Community College students had the opportunity to meet with college representatives at the Office of Admissions’ Transfer Fair, Feb. 28.

Representatives from 24 colleges and universities, both in-state and out-of-state, registered to attend the fair, according to Jennifer Johnson, coordinator of student recruitment.

Johnson, although only being employed at Vol State for a short period of time, admitted that last year’s fair wasn’t as successful as it could have been.

“My experience last year, we had it in the Great Hall, and because there’s no classes over here anymore, we did not have a good turnout,” said Johnson.

She said she hoped having the event tables set up in the Wood Campus Center would allow for more student engagement.

The relocation idea worked for Robert Kallush, a sophomore at Vol State, who was eating lunch when he decided to check out the Tennessee Technological University table.

“It’s engineer focused, and being an older student coming back to school, I just want to focus on the degree I’m going for, for electrical engineering, and I was lucky to meet someone instead of just tour the campus like a stalker,” said Kallush.

Connie Pimentel, assistant director of admissions, said that she believes the Transfer Fair was a time for students to ask questions and consider the steps they may want to take after leaving Vol State.

“I think it’s great that we have the opportunity to bring those people here to give our students a chance to kind of just get a feel for what their options are,” said Pimentel.

Allison Hotard, a freshman, who learned about the fair via email, said she used her free time on Wednesday to check out the two schools she is interested in: Tennessee Tech and Middle Tennessee State University.

Alexa Flatt, a sophomore considering the University of Tennessee, said she was unaware of the transfer fair until she walked by and saw it in action.

Flatt said she needed to start thinking about her potential transfer options.

Lindsay Guenther, advisor and counselor, expressed the need for students to continue to play an active role in their individual transfer processes.

 “Make good grades! Even if you have already been admitted to a university, they will still ask for your final transcript,” Guenther wrote in an email.

Guenther also urged transferring students to get an early start on their applications, especially those that concern financial aid.

“Start applying for universities and scholarships now. Scholarship deadlines for fall tend to be sooner than admissions deadlines for fall,” wrote Guenther.

Additional transfer information can also be found in the collection of college brochures in the Ramer Administrative Building’s Advising Center, Room 174.

Pioneers baseball team continues win streak

 

By Nick Kieser

The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team has won 11 games in a row, as of March 4. Most recently, the Pioneers swept a three-game series against Columbia State, March 3-4.

Collin Hopkins, catcher, commented on the streak that the Pioneers are on.

“It is preparation for conference play. We need momentum for the games that truly matter. We have that fluff,” said Hopkins.

With the 11-game win streak, the Pioneers are second in the TCCAA with a record of 11-3, behind Walters State with a record of 19-3.

“If we win the conference series we are going to be in a better position for the playoffs. A good playoff spot will help us out in the postseason,” said Raul Mercado, an outfielder and native of the Dominican Republic.

Applying Mercado’s comment, Hopkins seconded what his teammate said on how the conference games matter more than they appear.

“For a sweep, it would be better to get a conference sweep,” said Hopkins.

Despite sweeping a team that is out of state, Hopkins is seeking to win conference games and more importantly maybe sweep some in-conference teams this season.

Jason Barrett, assistant coach, spoke on the win streak and conference games that are beginning.

“It certainly gives us more confidence after starting 0-3. It doesn’t mean a whole lot going into the conference season. The conference season is what really matters the most. It was a chance to get good confidence back,” said Barrett.

The Pioneers will play Dyersburg State and Walters State in the next three weeks. All opponents are in the same conference, and nine games will be played between March 9-17. The only non-conference team played in this span is Joliet College on March 12-13.

“No matter who you are playing you still have to play the game. You still have to get outs. You still have to defend,” said Logan Maloney, assistant coach.

Ryan Hunt, head coach, called the conference teams “powerhouses” for how much depth each team has.

“You need depth, especially to battle in this conference,” said Barrett.

“We got to make the simple plays. No matter who we play, you don’t necessarily prepare differently for each team because then you are losing track of the goal that you are trying to do, and that’s just winning,” said Maloney.

Hopkins commented on whether he thinks the streak will continue.

“There’s no telling. Baseball is baseball. You could be the better team and lose any day,” said Hopkins.

The Pioneers will go to Dyersburg, Tennessee, March 9, and play a weekend series.

“We can do whatever we put our minds to. Keep the guys focused on one day at a time,” said Maloney.