Archive for April, 2014

Sing in the Spring

by Anthony Ward

Pellissippi State’s Spring Choral Concert will be the last hoorah for the 2013-2014 season of the Arts at Pellissippi State.

The annual Spring Choral Concert is at 7 p.m. this Thursday, May 1 in the Clayton Performing Arts Center at Pellissippi’s Hardin Valley campus.

“A highlight of this year’s final concert will be a performance by the alumni choir,” said Bill Brewer, program coordinator of music and associate professor of liberal arts.

Brewer explained that this concert began as a celebration of the end of the year and the accomplishments of the choral ensembles over the course of the year. He is hopeful that the students will connect well with the wide variety of musical styles such as traditional, spiritual, and even Broadway show tunes.

This event is free to the community, but donations will be accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship Fund.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Because We’re Happy

by Ariel Hughes

The 2014 Faculty Awards proved that Pellissippi State is indeed a “Happy” place to be.

Pellissippi State’s annual Employee Awards Ceremony took place April 17 at the Clayton Performing Arts Center. This year, the Pellissippi State Foundation partnered with the Employee Recognition Committee to recognize 11 staff members for their contributions to the college.

“It’s a big collaborative effort,” said Rob Lloyd, chair of the Employee Recognition Committee. Before coming to Pellissippi, Lloyd spent 30 years working in Hollywood, experience which he enthusiastically applied to the ceremony. This year, the show featured a video of employees singing along with hit Pharrell Williams song “Happy.”

The 2014 honorees included:

  • Outstanding Contract Worker: Michael Hurst
  • Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker: Tracy Smith
  • Outstanding Support Professional: Karen Ghezawi
  • Outstanding Administrator: Holly Burkett
  • Outstanding Adjunct Faculty: Saralee Peccolo-Taylor
  • Outstanding Full-time Faculty: Mary Monroe-Ellis
  • Gene Joyce Visionary: Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak
  • Innovations: Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat
  • Excellence in Teaching: Annie Gray

Host Audrey Williams also provided comic relief to attendees by incorporating humor into the production. When Williams introduced certain staff members, the lighting would shift to one stage entrance while the individual would actually enter from the opposite side. “The idea is to honor the employees but we try to entertain them a little,” Lloyd added. “If we just gave out awards, no one would want to show up.”

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Happy Returns

by David Ball

Last Thursday night was the 5th annual Jazz and Bluegrass Concert at Pellissippi State. Fourteen alumni returned to take part in the event, a joint concert between The Hardin Valley Thunder and the Pellissippi State Jazz Band.

One alum, Rondo Johnson, was excited to return and play with current students. “This is the first time they have let alumni come back for the concert, so I really wanted to jump on it,” said Johnson.

Johnson graduated from Pellissippi in 2011 and is now actively pursuing a music career. He is the lead guitarist for a local band called Inward of Eden. “We are an original rock project and we just released our first album on iTunes.”

Johnson also teaches guitar lessons on the side and credits his Pellissippi teacher Larry Vincent for playing a big part in his musical knowledge. “Larry was my teacher for a lot of classes. He taught me a lot, and it’s really cool that he put all this together tonight.”

Inward of Eden can be seen at various venues throughout Knoxville. On the weekends, the band frequents Spicy’s in Powell, Paul’s Oasis and Doc’s All American Grill.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Hope and Faith

by David Ball

Most college students this time of year are focused on finals, jobs or where their summer vacation may be. One Pellissippi student, however, is focused on more than just the norms of college life.

Charlie Graham, 20, a social work major at Pellissippi State, is focused on friendship. Moreover, she is focusing it towards someone who truly needs it.

“It’s when I see her on the front porch, smiling, and the way she runs down to my car and gives me a hug. You know, it’s definitely worth it,” said Graham.

Over the past year, Graham has been a friend or “big sister” to 10-year-old Daniya from East Knoxville. Daniya is one of many young children involved in a program called Hope Central, which serves as a safe house for children in a 50-block area near Magnolia Ave., Winona and Cherry streets.

Children like Daniya come from low-income areas and homes that endure frequent relationship problems and emotional instability.  Hope Central’s goal is to step in and help create a family environment through educational activities and a big brother/sister program.

A combination of Graham’s faith and career interest prompted her to get involved. With 20-30 kids participating, there was no shortage of need. “I was looking for an opportunity, to see what kind of things are out there for social work, volunteering or internship.”

Now, every other Friday, Graham picks up Daniya at her house and they spend a few hours together. “She gets that kind of secure stable relationship with me, because things are so unstable in her house and life.”

The two girls have fun outdoors, lunch at the mall, or participate in activities planned by Hope Central, such as Bible studies. Also on the itinerary for Graham is spending time with Daniya’s mom. She finds it makes a greater impact to have a familial relationship with Daniya and her relatives.

“I’ve seen a tremendous difference in Daniya. Her mom has told me even in school, Daniya’s grades are definitely improving. To hear her mom say ‘because of you, she is changing’ is rewarding,” said Graham.

As beneficial as this has been for both girls, Graham warns that this is not for everyone. “Not everyone may have the heart to be completely sold out,” she said. “Me being in the social work field, it’s natural for me to want to do this.”

She plans to continue being a big sister for Daniya and follow the path that her faith lays out for her.

If interested in being a part of a young person’s life as a big brother or sister, contact Veta Sprinkle at 865-314-8514.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Promises, Promises

by Ariel Hughes

Gov. Bill Haslam has recently announced that he is eliminating $12.9 million in proposed funds for higher education.

These funds are typically used to offset the cost of rising tuition at state colleges and universities. The cuts, he explained, are due to an unanticipated shortage in tax revenue. It is not yet clear whether Haslam’s Tennessee Promise program, which would offer two free years of community college to high school graduates, will be affected by the budget cuts.

In lieu of a state income tax, Tennessee boasts the highest sales tax in the nation. For this fiscal year, sales taxes are down an estimated $33 million, which Haslam attributed to a disappointing holiday shopping season and unusually cold weather in January and February.

Business franchise and excise tax collections are at twenty percent less than anticipated. Companies pay these taxes based on estimates and often claim refunds the following year for having paid too much. In the past, many companies have discovered and exploited loopholes in the policy.

In the meantime, Haslam has abandoned his proposed 2 percent pay raise for teachers to address the shortfall. “The goal hasn’t gone away,” Haslam told reporters. “But we have to deal with the realities we have.”

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Weapons on Campus

by Cole Petway

PSCC security officers are now armed to make campus safer.

All campus security officers have been licensed by the State of Tennessee as armed security officers after having gone through a series of psychological tests and certifications to obtain their licenses.

“We are armed to protect the campus community in case of an active shooter or other violent threat,” says Fred Breiner, director of safety and security at Pellissippi. “There is no other practical way to approach someone who is armed and threatening violence.”

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Festival Friday

by Anthony Ward

The 7th annual Festival of Cultures returns to Pellissippi State on Friday, April 11 from 4-8:30 p.m.

The Access and Diversity Office created this event to celebrate the diversity of Pellissippi students, faculty and staff. Gayle Wood, the director of the Access and Diversity Office, said it’s their largest event and a “real treat.”

The Festival of Cultures will display a variety of cultures through various forms of arts and crafts, music, dancing, food, and face painting, in addition to such activities as balloon-twisting and story time for children.

The festival, as in previous years, is free for all who wish to attend and will take place throughout the Goins Building, ranging from the rotunda and the Goins Auditorium to the cafeteria and the college center.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Tournament Time!

by Brad Matthews

March Madness has carried into April as Pellissippi playoffs are set in motion.

Intramural basketball playoffs will begin Tuesday, April 15th at 6 p.m.

“We tried to make it more of an event, but last year we had the two semi-finals the night of the championship,” says Philip Ems, commissioner of the league. “This year, the championship and a three-point contest will be held Thursday, April 17.”

The 10 teams in the league have been battling every Tuesday and Thursday since mid-March for just six spots that advance to the playoffs following a five game regular season.

Throughout the playoffs, statistics of all participants and league standings will be updated in a bulletin board case at the Student Recreation Center where all games are held.

Ems is hopeful that this year’s change to make the playoffs a two-day event will improve attendance.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

An Annual Auction

by Alexa Andrews

Monday, April 7 at 3:00 p.m., Pellissippi staff will come together to help with the school’s annual auction.

Instructional technology specialist Brandon Ballentine says, “In the last auction, donations helped raise around $2,500. Those donations really help make it successful.” Multiple donations from different businesses and PSCC staff members have already been sent in for this event.

Ballentine helped gather some of the donations that will be featured in this year’s auction. Items included in the auction range anywhere from gift cards to jewelry. Even paintings and other crafts from staff members will be up for grabs. Although the deadline for donations was March 26, donations are still being accepted until the auction starts.

The morning of the auction, a mass email will be sent out to students and staff. Within the email there will be a link that will take any participants to the auction’s website. Participants will have to make an account in order to start bidding.

All checks must be made out to the Pellissippi Foundation, and all proceeds will be sent to the Administrative Council Scholarship. The auction will end at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9.

Sunday, April 6th, 2014