A Student Acclimates From Across the Globe

by Katherine Lown

If you pass Slavik in the hallway at school, you might not guess him to be much different from every other guy you see on the way to class. If you sit down and talk with him, however, his smile widens and his story unravels in a kind, Russian accent.

Some people might simply label him a refugee, while others may just call him a student. But 29-year-old Slavik Malenchii has proved himself to be a man of determination, as he journeys toward a bright future.

Having spent the majority of his life in Eastern Europe, Slavik comes from the small country of Moldova. At age 17, he learned his family was going to move halfway across the world to begin life again in the United States. The move would mean leaving behind all his familiar surroundings, his friends, even his girlfriend, and starting over in America without speaking a word of English.

But with Communism growing in his home country and religious persecution increasing, the Malenchii family, all 11 of them, decided to make the transition in 2004. Originally, Slavik had not planned on spending more than a year stateside, but plans changed and he spent the next seven years in Washington. There he lived in a Russian community and worked as many construction jobs as he could pick up with his very limited English.

“In the movies, money grows on trees in America,” Slavik laughed, explaining that, in reality, he found himself making only $7 an hour.

By 2011 Slavik had begun to realize the opportunities a college education could offer. Following the example of some of his family members, he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee to begin school at Pellissippi State.

The first obstacle he had to tackle was mastering English. Slavik began with some adult education courses, and it wasn’t too long before he mastered the language. Four semesters later, Slavik prepares to graduate Pellissippi and transfer to King University in the fall, where he will complete a degree.

In faultless English, he explained that he is studying business management and dreams of starting his own business one day with his brothers. Considering the goals he has already reached and connections he has made, it probably won’t be too long until the brothers’ business is underway.

In the meantime, Slavik works as a project manager for a construction company. He combines his social abilities and hands-on skills by working with customers, as well as doing whatever odd jobs are needed around the workplace.

Looking toward the future, Slavik sees himself settling down with a family, but presently he continues to work hard. “Right now, this company…it’s perfect,” he said gratefully of his present job.

Though the United States has provided many challenges, Slavik has learned much through his experiences and has come to appreciate much more than his schooling. A professional musician, Slavik enjoys playing the accordion in his spare time; he also excels in martial arts. After a stressful day, you will probably find Slavik doing one of his favorite activities: riding his motorcycle through the Smoky Mountains.

Perhaps one day the Moldovan will return to his country and visit friends, but for now, Slavik is content with his future goals and is satisfied with where his journey has led him so far.

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Festival of Cultures at Hardin Valley Pellissippi Campus

by Timothy Daly

The Festival of Cultures will be held at the Hardin Valley Pellissippi campus on April 15 from 4-9:30 p.m.

Gayle Wood, the director of Access and Diversity, stated that Pellissippi has 300 students from 100 different countries.  More than 20 countries are going to be represented in the festival.  “It is a great way to celebrate the diversity and cultures of our students,” said Wood.  The college center inside the Goins building will have booths set up that display information about the represented nations.

Several different cultural performances will be held in the auditorium starting at 5 p.m.  Performances include Japanese fan dancing, traditional Hungarian dance, African drummers, Carib Sounds Steel Band, and the Pellissippi State Bluegrass Band.

Food will be available at 8 p.m. in the cafeteria.  “We will have over 20 different entrees and eight different desserts available that represent the recipes of various cultures,” said Wood.  A few of the available dishes will be German bratwurst, Caribbean jerked chicken, ravioli, Middle Eastern baklava, gumbo and collard greens.

“We had 400 people attend last year and we expect the same for this year,” stated Wood.  The festival is a free event and open to the public.  Any donations will go to the Multicultural Awareness Club.

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Confucius Classroom Comes to Pellissippi

by James Williams

Chinese language and culture classes will be offered at Pellissippi starting next semester.

Dr. Allen Edwards, president of Pellissippi State, said that the college will be offering classes on Chinese language and culture as part of the Confucius Classroom project. The Chinese government will be providing books and funding to start the program.

A press release from Pellissippi’s Marketing and Communications Department said that Qiao Gui-qiang, also known as “Freeman,” will teach “Beginning Chinese I” and “Peoples and Culture of China” in the Spring 2011 semester, with “Beginning Chinese II” becoming available in the fall. Freeman will live in Knoxville and be available to speak to local groups about Chinese culture and history.

Dr. Edwards said that he hopes for more cultural exchanges with China in the future and that professors will benefit from “an ancient and robust culture like the Chinese culture,” and in turn benefit the students.

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Lend a Helping Hand

by Jamie Maples

Help out people in Pakistan!

The Multicultural Awareness Club has combined efforts with the Pakistan Agency in New York to create a relief effort for the flood devastated country. The club has agreed to collect and send basic supplies needed for the well-being of the country.

President Shayne Hinkle encourages students to send the following materials: twin sheet sets, one-liter bottles of water, boxes of saltine crackers, multipacks of potato chips, shelf-stable milk (Parmalat), juice box packs, bar soap, disposable cups in packs of 12, and dried fruit (preferably dried dates).

Supplies should be brought to rooms 162 and 163 of the Goins Building. Pellissippi will accept donations through December 10 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Friday, November 19th, 2010