Alumni in the Spotlight

By Dr. Al Roberts

One of the most gratifying aspects of my position as President of Southside Virginia Community College is receiving feedback from former students and hearing their stories. SVCC’s first class, which graduated in 1973, consisted of 11 students. The numbers have grown significantly since then, exceeding one thousand in each of the past six years. So far, we’ve accrued more than twenty thousand alumni.

Every week SVCC shines the spotlight on one of these alumni by posting a story about his or her accomplishments on our website. We also mention them on message boards at both main campuses and post the information in hallways as an encouragement to current students. I’d like to tell you about some of these amazing people.

Chris, a Chesterfield native, is an alum of SVCC’s Diesel Technician Training Program. He says, “I obtained a job with Carter Machinery within two weeks of my graduating from the program and have been there for seven-plus years. My income has doubled in that time and I am loving my job.”

Melody earned an Associate of Applied Science in Data processing from SVCC. After graduating, she was hired as an Administrative Assistant by the Commonwealth Regional Council, which serves five counties. Melody now serves as the Council’s Executive Director.

Jamall, who hails from Blackstone, graduated from SVCC’s Power Line Worker program. He currently works for Southside Electric Cooperative and recently competed in the Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s and Equipment Operation Rodeo.

Tara, who graduated from Halifax County High School, pursued a nursing credential through SVCC’s Practical Nursing program. She reports, “Through my training at SVCC, I obtained a good, steady job that I have been employed at for fifteen years!”

LaWanda, a Lawrenceville native, earned an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services along with a Career Studies Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling. She currently works as a program manager for parents and teachers and serves as a mentor. “My experience at SVCC was awesome and inspiring,” LaWanda says. “I felt I could go out into the world and do great things.”

If you’d like to read more about these and other former students featured in the Alumni Spotlight, visit Southside.edu.

Then, as your family and friends gather this year to give thanks for life’s blessings, would you do me a favor? Would you ask if anyone has a story to share about the ways SVCC may have helped them pursue their academic or workforce training goals? And, if you think anyone’s story should be shared with the whole community, please let me know. Send your Alumni Spotlight suggestions to me at al.roberts@southside.edu or call 434-949-1000.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

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