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SVCC

Panther Prep Day Returns April 3, 2018

 
Panther Prep Advising Day is coming to all locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  This is a great time to meet advisors, learn about SVCC programs register for Summer and Fall Classes and just have some fun and food and fellowship.  The event will be held at the Alberta and Keysville Campuses from 10 until 6 p.m.  Other locations include Southern Virginia Higher Ed. Center in South Boston, the Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City, and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Also, plan to attend this event at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park in Blackstone from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Don't miss this chance to get the scoop on all you need to know about Southside Virginia Community College.  More information about the college can be seen at www.southside.edu

Keeping Your Cool

By Dr. Al Roberts

As temperatures outside rise, indoor thermostats often respond by calling for cooler air. This ability to control the indoor environment helps people be more comfortable. It protects infants, children, medically vulnerable individuals, and the elderly from heat-related illnesses. It enables workers to be more productive.

In our current age, air conditioning is something many folks take for granted. To address this blasé attitude, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry observes Air Conditioning Appreciation Days every year from July 3 to August 15.

But how does one show appreciation to an air conditioner? One way is to learn how it works and how it all began.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) offers a simplified explanation: A chemical (called the refrigerant) circulates through a closed system that includes three main components where the refrigerant is compressed, condensed, and evaporated. During the process, the refrigerant undergoes changes in pressure and temperature. This enables indoor heat to be absorbed and transferred to the outdoor environment.

The process of cooling the air also accomplishes other tasks. Filters can reduce allergens and other airborne particulates, helping people with allergies or other respiratory problems breathe more comfortably. Also, in addition to removing heat, the process reduces humidity. In fact, air conditioning was invented in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier originally as a means to reduce humidity in a printing plant. Cooling was a by-product.

Another way to appreciate your air conditioner is to keep it well maintained. Industry experts offer these tips: replace air filters on a regular schedule; use fans to help circulate air; cover windows with curtains or blinds; and run appliances that generate heat, such as ovens, washers and dryers, and dishwashers, during the evening.

When things go awry, you can call on qualified HVAC technicians, the superheroes of sweltering summer days. HVAC technicians are trained to restore your cool and help AC equipment to operate at peak efficiency.

The demand for HVAC technicians is high across our state and nation, and qualified job candidates can earn above-average wages. Southside Virginia Community College offers two fast-track career studies programs for students wishing to embark on careers in the HVAC industry, a Basic program and an Advanced program. Both are housed at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill. The HVAC curriculum offers students the opportunity to learn how to install and repair residential and commercial HVAC systems. A solar component teaches students how a heat pump powered by solar panels can cool a house and reduce homeowners’ cooling bills.

For more information about entry into HVAC or other technical career pathways, call Chad Patton, SVCC’s Dean of Career and Occupational Technology, at 434-949-1038.

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.

SVCC Granted Reaccreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has reaffirmed accreditation for Southside Virginia Community College.  The SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees.

SVCC was notified recently that the SACSCOC Board of Trustees reaffirmed accreditation on June 14, 2018.   The notification stated, “No additional report was requested. Your institution's next reaffirmation will take place in 2028 unless otherwise notified.”

Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, said, “We are elated to receive the reaffirmation of accreditation for our college.  The reaccreditation process is a huge undertaking and we have been successful only due to the diligence and committed effort of the entire college community working towards one goal, one mission.”

Accreditation means that the institution has (1) a mission appropriate to higher education, (2) resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain its mission, (3) clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that it is (4) successful in assessing its achievement of these objectives and demonstrating improvements.  Accreditation by SACSCOC is a statement of the institution’s continuing commitment to integrity and its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards.  Accreditation is necessary for SVCC to participate in Federal Financial Aid programs and for transfer credit acceptance by other universities and colleges. 

SACSCOC has six core values which are integrity, continuous quality improvement, peer review/self-regulation, student learning, accountability and transparency.  The mission is to assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions.

SVCC is a two-year institution of higher education established as part of the statewide system of community colleges created by the 1966 Virginia General Assembly.  The college serves the largest area of any of the community colleges in Virginia, a total of 4,200 square miles. The Christanna Campus in Alberta was opened in 1970 and the John H. Daneil Campus in Keysville was added a year later. The college operates off-campus sites also.

Focusing On The Positive Generates Positive Results for SVCC Graduate

Hilton Bennett, 12.5 K up on Mount Royal.  Avid climber, SVCC alum keeps climbing for the top.

 

According to John W. Gardner, Educator and Secretary of Health Education and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson, “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

There were times in life when Hilton Bennett could have used an eraser.  But since he could not erase some bad choices in his life, he made the best of a bad situation and turned his future around.

Incarcerated in Lunenburg Correctional Center in Victoria, Virginia, Bennett said that the trials he had in life made him rethink his next steps. 

“I could do nothing for the next seven years or I could do something positive,” he said.

Always a good student, he began teaching fellow inmates math, reading and other lessons mainly for something to do.   He enjoyed this positive activity and how it helped to pass the time.   Soon, he caught the attention of Ann Cavan, Regional Principal of the Department of Corrections School, who found him a job in the prison library and allowed him to tutor other inmates.

Southside Virginia Community College partners with the Virginia Department of Corrections to offer the Campus Within Walls program at the Lunenburg facility. The philosophy of the program is “We believe in the transformative power of education because we see it every day! With a college degree, men leaving prison are more likely to get good jobs and earn more money. Men who earn a degree while in prison are almost 50% less likely to return.”

“Within six months, I was enrolled in classes through SVCC,” Bennett said speaking of the program.   

It took about five years to complete his Associate’s degree from SVCC due to the scheduling of needed classes and funding availability.  Two years after his release, Bennett was invited to be the speaker at an SVCC Commencement ceremony at the prison.

Before he was incarcerated, he had a job, a house, a family and was prospering in life.    He said he realizes now that everything has worked out for the best and that he needed to have the experience of prison to arrive where he is today.

He currently holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Product Innovation from VCU’s da Vinci center.  He interns for a Biomedical Engineering firm designing Orthopedic Implants. He plans to start a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Medicine soon. 

In this semester alone, VCU has filed four patents for which he has been the primary engineer on.  These include a device that make the epidural space visible to anesthesiologists and a device that effectually treats the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the Military which is Pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

In another collaboration, Bennett and others are working on a device to prevent the loss of guide-wires during surgery.

“If a wire is left behind, he said, “It’s a risky situation for the patient.  The patient must undergo an additional procedure to have it removed,” he noted.

Bennett said that the team’s current design, a clip with lights and a buzzer, attaches to the wire to serve as a constant reminder to the physician or clinician that the wire is inside the patient’s body. Over the summer, Bennett is working on designing the mold for the device and developing prototypes out of different materials,” according to Invention Seeks to Prevent Wires from Being Left Inside Patients, which appeared on the VCU College of Engineering’s website on August 9, 2017.

In the article, W. Paul Murphy, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology in the VCU School of Medicine, said working with engineers and others outside his field to solve real-world problems has been an exciting experience.

“To have folks like Hilton and Ben Ward say, ‘If you do it this way, the problem could be avoided,’” he said, “that’s been a blast.”

An avid rock climber, Bennett also started his own company in 2016 designing Traditional Climbing Gear for indoor use.

Recently, Bennett was a guest speaker at Vera Institute of Justice Conference held in Detroit, Michigan. The mission of Vera is “to drive change. To urgently build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.”

Surprisingly, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, and Lisa L. Hudson, SVCC Campus Within Walls Coordinator, were both in the audience.  And, duly proud of one of the college’s own.

Dr. Anne Hayes, formerly Coordinator of Campus Within Walls at SVCC, said, “completing an associate degree served as a ‘reset button’ for Mr. Bennett.  He graduated SVCC with a 4.0.(Grade Point Average)”

Bennett believes education behind bars is key to making it possible for inmates to thrive on the outside.  He knows many who went through the SVCC program with him and have made the successful transition since being released. 

Not only is Bennett making his life better, his diligence and interest in finding solutions to problems that affect others is a great way for him to continue his pursuit of the positive.  

Great Opportunity To Learn Welding Skills

The Welding Skills Certification program begins July 16, 2018 at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia.  Offered by Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development, the classes will meet Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. through October 3, 2018.

Class will utilize the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).  Fast Forward Credentials for a Career that Matters may help pay tuition and costs for qualifying Virginians.

Call today, 434 634 9358 and speak to Erica Andrews or email Erica.andrews@southside.edu.

Microsoft Offers Scholarships in Southside Virginia

 

Microsoft Scholarship recipients recognized recently are (Front Row, Left to Right) Kashawn Hilliard, Jermaine Jackson, Sandra Sanders, Neal Brown, Hailey Walker, Salvador Hernandez-Gonzalez, and (Back Row L to R) Susan O’Shea, Hassan Davis, Brenda Cross, Shanell Toone, Christian Jackson and Abdulah Bell.  Not pictured Darrick Hearns and Kansas Morrison.

With a mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, Microsoft has reached out to Southside Virginia in a big way.  There are 14 current recipients of the Microsoft Datacenter Scholarship making it possible for the students to take classes in Information Technology. 

The recipients of these awards were recognized with a ceremony and dinner held at the Estes Community Center on June 11, 2018.   The students take classes through Southside Virginia Community College’s Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill and the IT Academy (ITA) of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston.

In his remarks, SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts said, “Program development in higher education is often a very slow process; but our experience at Southside is that the development process can be accelerated when there is strong industry support.”

He added, “When recruiting students into a new program, there are usually two questions:  One – How am I going to pay for the training? And two – Does it lead to a good job with family-sustaining wages?  Microsoft has responded to both concerns, first through its Datacenter Academy Scholarship and, secondly, through the possibility of employment in a world-class IT organization.  What Microsoft has done is to remove the barriers that often hinder student success and allow students to focus on learning and networking – both IT and social – so that they can succeed.”

Anthony Putorek, Microsoft Global Datacenter Field and Community Program Manager, said, “The effort of these students to go to class, the desire to learn, the hunger to do more fuels us.  That is why Microsoft puts in the effort to provide these programs.”

In 2010, Microsoft announced their investment in bringing a data center to Mecklenburg County’s Boydton Industrial Park.  Now, the company is investing in training Southside people for jobs where IT skills are needed. 

“In addition to bringing well-paying jobs to Southern Virginia, Microsoft is empowering individuals through the scholarships to gain the skills required to qualify for these jobs. How wonderful is that!” said Dr. Betty H. Adams, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

Scholarships are awarded to individuals from underrepresented populations in the IT field and covers tuition, books, and supplies.

Opportunities abound for students willing to work hard with the cutting-edge technology available locally, according to SVCC Dean of Career and Occupational Technology, Chad Patton.

The CITE and ITA labs are an example of how a partnership can make things happen for a community. The ongoing involvement of Microsoft is crucial for Southside Virginia. One amazing thing is that Microsoft wants every student to succeed whether they eventually come to the data center or attain employment elsewhere. 

SVHEC IT Academy Program Coordinator and Trainer Kelly Shotwell echoed his sentiment stating, “The partnership with Microsoft has been invaluable for the IT Academy. Microsoft donates equipment that enhances the hands-on experience of our training labs, a Microsoft team visits each class to talk with trainees about careers, and the Datacenter Academy Scholarships remove financial barriers to make training more accessible. But Microsoft is not just encouraging a pipeline to employment at the Boydton data center.  Instead, they believe that their partnership with the IT Academy benefits every trainee and every employer who hires an IT Academy trainee, thereby benefiting the Southside Virginia community.”

            Microsoft is dedicated to helping the community surrounding its data centers.  The Datacenter Academy Scholarship helps to increase diversity in the IT field by removing traditional barriers to education. In the fall, Microsoft will grant two diligent students the opportunity to experience a three-month paid internship at the Boydton facility.

Lealon M. Vassar Scholarship Established

Family and friends have established the Lealon M. Vassar Scholarship at Southside Virginia Community College in memory of and to recognize his contributions to the community, service to others, leadership skills, work ethic, and honesty. 

The fund will assist students from Charlotte County who attend SVCC.  Preference will be given to students exhibiting characteristics such as dedication to community service, hardworking, kind-hearted and willingness to help others as was Mr. Vassar’s legacy.  The scholarship will be used for tuition, fees and other related costs of the recipients. 

According to an article in the December 1, 2017 Southside Messenger, A Tribute To A Life Well Lived “The Vassars are not the first family or the last to lose a husband, a father, a grandfather, but this man was a shining light in a family and community lucky enough to have strong leaders and wonderful people who take care of each other.  Charlotte County and the surrounding areas are a different place now without Lealon Morris Vassar.”

The article continues, “ No one knows how many kids are playing baseball, softball, tennis, running cross country, participating in travel ball, shooting basketball, and more with uniforms they provided, travel expenses covered, land for fields, buildings for indoor opportunities, and on and on.  We have come to learn that there seem to be endless people he helped with extra work when they needed it, a hand up during tough times, loan of equipment, a vehicle to drive, maybe most impactfully, a listening ear, advice, and an honest course correction when necessary. A quote from someone these last few days was that he believed in people few others would; he gave second chances to people no one else would.”

Mr. Vassar, a resident of Charlotte Court House, passed away peacefully on November 22, 2017, surrounded by his family.  He loved supporting youth activities in the community, especially athletics, and enjoyed coaching his beloved Dixie Youth Charlotte Court House Red Midgets and Minors.  If he was not coaching, he was attending athletic events in the county, according to family.  He was devoted to New Hope United Methodist church serving in many capacities there.  He was a charter member and president of Knock Down Hunt Club since 1972, was known for his generous heart and was dedicated to the Truckers Parade Against Cancer and the American Cancer Society.  He was third of five generations in the logging business and was owner of R&V Mill, R&V Trucking and Pulpwood and Logging, Inc. 

Shannon Vassar Feinman, his daughter,  notes, “He was an extraordinary person in too many ways to count.  He has been quietly helping people through education and training for years and believed strongly that it changes lives.  We honor him now by formalizing that characteristic through this scholarship.”

For information about the newly established scholarship, contact the SVCC Foundation, Inc., at 434 949 1008.  Contributions in Mr. Vassar’s name may be made by in person, by mail or online at http://southside.edu/college-foundation.

An Alternative to the Traditional Four-Year Plan

By Dr. Al Roberts

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the number of bachelor degrees conferred in the U.S. has increased by 125% since the early 1970s. A large part of the reason is the encouragement high school students receive from parents and guidance counselors to pursue a college education.

Getting a bachelor’s or advanced academic or professional degree is good advice for many students, but like a lot of other things, one size does not fit all. Going to a four-year college without a clear plan is an increasingly expensive proposition, and students’ choices can dramatically impact the financial rewards associated with degree attainment. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce studied the difference in potential income based on a student’s major. Results were made available in a May 2011 publication, “What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors.” Findings demonstrated that bachelor degree holders who were employed full time earned annual salaries that ranged from $29,000 for students who had majored in Counseling Psychology to $120,000 for Petroleum Engineers.

In writing “High-Paying Jobs Go Begging while High School Grads Line Up for Bachelor’s Degrees,” for the Hechinger Report in April 2018, higher-education editor Jon Marcus reported, “The financial return from a bachelor’s degree is softening, even as the price—and the average debt into which it plunges students—keeps going up.”

At the same time, because so many young people are encouraged to pursue four-year degrees, employers now face shortages of qualified applicants for skilled jobs in professions such as nursing, welding, power line work, industrial maintenance, automotive repair, and advanced manufacturing. Compounding the situation is the fact that in many skilled trades, craft workers are older than their counterparts in other fields. Anticipated retirements are expected to exacerbate worker shortages.

Community colleges stand poised to provide a solution. Marcus’s research revealed that, “A shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades.” He added, “It’s not that finding a job in the trades, or even manufacturing, means needing no education after high school. Most regulators and employers require certificates, certifications, or associate degrees. But those cost less and take less time than earning a bachelor’s degree.”

The potential rewards are significant. An updated report issued last year from The Center on Education and the Workforce last year, stated “There are 30 million good jobs in the United States today that pay without a BA (bachelor’s degree). These good jobs have median earnings of $55,000 annually.”

For more information about the variety of opportunities afforded by a community college education, please visit southside.edu or call SVCC at 434-949-1000. Counselors can answer your questions about career pathways and programs designed to help you reach your goals.

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.

Phi Beta Lambda Business Club of SVCC Donates Books

Pictured with some donated books are Phi Beta Lambda members from Southside Virginia Community College, Crystal Jones, instructor, Nirali Patel, Kenyada Baker, Ashley Jones, Drequan Robinson and Janet Wilson, along with VCU Health CMH’s Marah Michael, Marketing Administrative Assistant.

Green eggs and ham; one fish two fish, red fish, blue fish. These are very familiar refrains from some of Dr. Suess’s classic children’s books and thanks to the Phi Beta Lambda Business Club at Southside Virginia Community College, children who are in the new VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital or C.A.R.E. Building will be able to read them for themselves.

Crystal Jones, advisor for the group, explained, “We held a book drive from March12th -31st for new or gently used children’s books in celebration of Reading Month and Dr. Suess’s birthday.”

The club had drop-off sites at the Christanna Campus in Alberta, the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville and the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill and collected a total of 59 books that the group presented to VCU Health CMH in May.

“Anytime folks want to do something to benefit our patients and families, we get very excited,” said Ken Kurz, director of the CMH Foundation. “When Crystal called me and told me what they were doing, I just knew this was going to make a lot of kids happy.  We will place a sticker in the books letting people know they came from the Phi Beta Lambda book drive. We will place them in the C.A.R.E. Building and also in the hospital.”

He continued, “We want to express our sincere thanks to this fine group of students and everyone who helped them by donating books to this project. We are a community hospital and we have always enjoyed tremendous community support and this is another great example of that.”

Kurz added that others who might be interested in helping should contact the CMH Foundation at 434-774-2575.

New Greensville County CNAs

Greensville County High School students who completed CNA training through Southside Virginia Community College recently attended a graduation ceremony on the Christanna Campus.  The are

Front Row, Left to Right: Nialynn Lee, Kadaja Tennessee, Quaniyah Lewis, Ashlyn Sampson, Adrian Boney, Shaquella Stephens,Mrs. Harrison - principal Greensville County High School.

Back Row, L to R. Mrs. Rose CNA Instructor, Sharayquan Wood, Tiarria Thomas, Demona Stephens, Destini Banks, Chyna Harrison-Pegram

New CNAs From the Emporia Workforce Development Center

Students from Workforce Development who recently completed CNA training from Southside Virginia Community College and attended the graduation ceremony held on the Christanna  Campus are (Front Row, L to R) Melissa Laugois, Lakesha Claiborne, Crystal Gillus, Jermaras Cabbins, Sheena Kely, Dahnequa Kelly, Montia Gray,  Llinda Owen. 

FIRST LADY APPLAUDS SVCC GRADUATES

Group of Greensville County High School students attending SVCC graduation and receiving their degrees, diplomas and certificates.

Samantha Kery Dickens of Greensville County High School was among the graduates at SVCC.

Proud graduates from Southside Virginia Community College are (Left to Right) Ingrid Fogg of Kenbridge, David Evans of Lawrenceville, and Melissa Wood of Jarrett.

“You made it.  Give yourselves a round of applause,” said Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam as a greeting to the class of 2018 of Southside Virginia Community College at Commencement on May 12 at the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville.  Under blue skies and what the Mrs. Northam called ‘Texas Heat’, SVCC celebrated 946 credit graduates along with 238 students receiving workforce credentials.

“I bring congratulations from the Governor.  We are proud of you as you finish this hard-won journey,” she said.  She noted that change takes courage and reminded the crowd that “Virginians have always been explorers, revolutionaries and innovators.”

“We are at our best when we challenge ourselves,” she said.

She also spoke of community colleges being a critical aspect of education and workforce training in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She noted that Virginia is a commonwealth instead of a state meaning that its citizens work for the common good of all. 

“When you began this journey, it may have seemed like a mission impossible.  I am so happy to celebrate with you…mission accomplished,” she said.

“Virginia has a history of leading the way, we have a chance to do that again, you are our best asset and greatest treasure,” she concluded.

Pamela Northam became the First Lady of Virginia when her husband, Governor Ralph Northam, was sworn in as governor of January 13, 2018.  Aneducator,environmentalist and longtimeadvocate,Mrs. Northam has taken a leading role in Hampton Roads and Virginiatoprotectwaterqualityandimprovethehealthof the Chesapeake Bay.

During the ceremony, the college awarded two Honorary Associate Degrees in Humane Letters.  These are conferred by the State Board for Community Colleges in recognition of distinguished achievement.  These were presented to Dietra Y. Trent, Ph.D., former Secretary of Education for Virginia and a strong advocate and true champion of education.  A native of Halifax County, she has a fondness for the college that serves her community.

Also awarded was Russell B. Clark.  In his role as County Administrator for Charlotte, he was on the job for 37 years, and worked collaboratively with SVCC, other county governments and many partners through the state for the betterment of the area.  He is a member of the SVCC Foundation Board of Directors, serves on the board for Virginia’s Heartland Regional Partnership, Virginia’s Growth Alliance and the Bank of Charlotte County. 

Honors program graduates were Katelyn Bryant and Emily Davis. Two students were nominated this year and named to the All-Virginia Academic Team sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa.  These students were recognized as well, Anesia Powell and Sara Ruotolo-Sarnataro.

Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, conferred the degrees on the SVCC students, shaking each hand as they crossed the stage.






City of Emporia/Greensville County
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Khari Z Carr Emporia Aaliyadriah Love Cleaton Freeman
Tyshera Janae Bittle Emporia Kelita Arella Trotter Freeman
Tia Shawane Powell Emporia Corey Lamont Long Jr. Freeman
Shaquella Jenay Stephens Emporia Torri Marie Long Freeman
Willie Lee Valentine Emporia Tiara Shantelle Bobbitt Freeman
Akayla RaShay Benton Emporia Hailey Karissa Roberts Gasburg
Ziaire Sade Bynum Emporia Ethan Thomas Warwick Gasburg
Cheryl Kelly Moody Emporia Emily Elizabeth Watts Gasburg
Markel ShaCoy Threat Emporia Carli Marie Inge Gasburg
Aikayla Lyshelle Green Emporia Sussex County
Jermari O'Neal Walton Emporia Austin Blake Lewis Stony Creek
Jada Chantay Banks Emporia Carter Garnett Lewis Stoney Creek
Kailee Star Phillips Emporia Southampton County
Ja'Zona Le'Ann Spates Emporia Sateria Antonia Adams Capron
Trinitey Divine Myles Emporia
Nicholas Coletran Wells Emporia
Caroline Layne Taylor Emporia
Malik LaDarius Ellsworth Emporia
Rahmi-Iyl Imamm Jennings Emporia
Charles Isaac Gregory III Emporia

Phi Theta Kappa Honors Sutdents

The Phi Theta Kappa 2018 All-Virginia Academic Team Awards Program was held recently in Richmond, Virginia.  Two students from Southside Virginia Community College were among the nominees for this award and chosen for the All-Virginia Team.  These students are Anesia Powell of Greensville and Sarah Ruotolo-Sarnataro of Halifax.  Shown in the photo with her medal is Anesia (Center) and Dr. Al Roberts (Left) and Dr. Glen DuBois (Right), Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System.  

Anesia Powell is a senior at Greensville County High School.  She currently has a 4.1 GPA and class rank is 6 out of 177.  She has been a member of GCHS school’s Beta Club for 3 years and this year she had the honor to serve as president.  She is dually enrolled at Southside Virginia Community College and when she graduates from high school, she will also have an associate degree.   After graduation, she plans to double major in finance and marketing at Old Dominion University in the fall 2018.

State Board Sets Tuition for 2018-2019 Academic Year

RICHMOND —The State Board for Community Colleges established the 2018-2019 academic year in-state tuition and mandatory fees rate at $154 per credit hour today at its regular May meeting. Beginning this fall, in-state students will pay an additional $3.75 per credit hour – an increase of 2.5 percent – meaning the cost of a typical three-hour class will increase by $11.25, and the cost of a full-time load of classes for the year will increase by $112.50.

The new rate keeps community college tuition and mandatory fees at approximately one-third of the comparable costs of attending Virginia’s public four-year universities.

Virginia’s Community Colleges will use the tuition increase to pay a share of rising employee fringe benefit costs; strategic enrollment initiatives; costs associated with using various Virginia administrative systems; and facility maintenance and operating costs.

“Today’s decision requires us to find the balance necessary to advance two different priorities,” said Eleanor Saslaw, chair of the Virginia State Board for Community Colleges. “College affordability remains essential to the community college mission, and we’ve honored that. Meanwhile, resources are needed to increase student advising and other essential initiatives, like those identified in last fall’s JLARC report on our colleges, to help more students succeed and complete their programs of study. I believe we are honoring those needs too.”

Out-of-state tuition

The State Board increased the tuition rate for out-of-state students by $3.75 per credit hour to a total of $351.60 per credit hour.

Out-of-state students make up approximately five percent of the total enrollment of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Tuition differentials

There were no differential tuition increase requests for fall 2018, meaning that the tuition differential rates remain unchanged from last year for the eight colleges that implement them  (Germanna, John Tyler, Northern Virginia, Piedmont Virginia, Reynolds, Tidewater, Thomas Nelson, and Virginia Western).

New Nurses Pinned

Southside Virginia Community College held at Pinning Ceremony for those successfully completing the Associate Degree Nursing Program.  This program prepares students to become Registered Nurses.  Those who attended classes at the Christanna Campus are: 

1st row left to right:  Brandi Harrell of Baskerville, Beth Holloway Elliott of Freeman;2nd row left to right: Demetria Anderson of Blackstone, Amber Miles of Blackstone, Patricia Rice of Emporia;3rd row left to right: Emily Watts of Gasburg, Victoria Finch of South Hill, Julie Thi Nguyen-Powell of Emporia, Allison Cheely of Blackstone.

Answering a Call for Help

By Dr. Al Roberts

It starts with a call for help. When an incident causes serious illness or injury, someone makes a phone call. Each occurrence is different. There are traffic-related injuries, workplace accidents, heart attacks, strokes, falls, and countless other events that place life and limb at risk.

After the call, emergency vehicles respond. Every time I pull over to let an ambulance dash on its way, the occasion reminds me to be thankful for the comprehensive system that exists to ensure that urgent medical care arrives when and wherever it is needed.

In years gone by, the situation was different. The Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association explains “The system we have in place today was forged one link at time, dating as far back as the Civil War. With widespread trauma, a systematic and organized method of field care and transport of the injured was born out of necessity. It wasn’t until 1865, however, that the first civilian ambulance was put into service in Cincinnati.”

Our nation’s first independent, volunteer rescue squad was established in Roanoke, Virginia in 1928. Virginia’s first EMT-paramedics were certified in 1976. Today, the existence of emergency personnel waiting to be called into action is so ubiquitous that their presence is easy to take for granted.

To help raise awareness, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians work together in support of National EMS Week to recognize the contributions of personnel who bring pre-hospital care to people in need. This year, National EMS Week will be observed on May 20-26. On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students of SVCC, I offer these dedicated practitioners a wholehearted “Thank you” in recognition of all they do to safeguard the wellbeing of people across our communities.

Beyond giving thanks, I also feel a sense of pride. Many of the men and women who serve as EMTs and paramedics across the counties that comprise Southside Virginia received their training from programs at SVCC. As Bobby Lester, one of the College’s Emergency Medical Technician instructors explains, “The EMS program is vital to the community because it provides an avenue for our students to provide care to the citizens of our local community. Many of our students become volunteer members at local EMS and fire departments.”

Ricky Lyles, Instructor of Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services, wants prospective students to know, “SVCC offers a comprehensive slate of courses to prepare students for EMS careers.” These include four Career Studies Certificates and an Associate’s degree in Emergency Medical Services.

If you want to be prepared to answer someone’s call for help, you can contact Ricky Lyles (ricky.lyles@southside.edu or 434-736-2097) or Bobby Lester (bobby.lester@southside.edu or 434-949-6603) for more information.

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.

April 2018 Truck Driver Training Graduates

Southside Virginia Community College graduated a new class from the Truck Driver Training School on April 19, 2018.  They are

 
Front L-R:  Roger Gholson (Carson), Burt Hurdle (Victoria), Spencer Croner (Pamplin), Darius Jones (Farmville).Back L-R:  Donnie Sisk (Instructor), Doug Kemerer (Instructor), Wilson Treese (Instructor), Thomas McIntyre (Burkeville), Richard Alley, Jr. (Amelia), Byron Moody (Blackstone), Duncan Quicke (TDTS Coordinator) and Don Biggerstaff (Guest Speaker and ATA Road Team Captain, Utility Driver for ABF Freight System, Inc.)

New Inductees into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at SVCC

The Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society is an organization of scholars that exists to recognize and encourage scholarship among students in community and junior colleges. New inductees to this society from Southside Virginia Community College are:

Front row L-R Austin Hancock, Ryan Craighead, Destiny Morgan, Stephanie Apruzzese, Ametria Booker, Robin Falwell, Karen Anderson, Jonathan Byron, Na'shiyaa Robertson, Trent Pettus, Amanda Lenning, Teri McCall; and Back row L-R Dean Dr. Dixie Dalton (Congratulating the new inductees), Doralease Jackson, Sinclair Hargrave, Katie Clark, Nidhi Brahmbhatt, Amanda Pierre, Patrick Fowler, Haley Overton, Chyna Levy, Jalynn Hicks, Salima Wasi, Jessica Laws, Haniya Thomas, Emily DavisI

SVCC Nursing Program Wins Excellence in Education Award

The Southside Virginia Community College  Associate Degree Nursing Program's Student Success Initiative 'Team Up To Dream Up! ' received the Virginia Community College System Excellence in Education Award at the New Horizons Conference.   Dr. Michelle Edmonds (Left), Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Natural Sciences is shown with SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts (Right).  SVCC won in the category of Integrated Student Support.

May 2018 SVCC Diesel Technology Program Graduates

The Diesel Technology program of Southside Virginia Community College held a graduation ceremony  on May 3, 2018 to recognize students who completed the two semester program and received a Career Studies Certificate for that accomplishment.  Those completing the program are First Row, Left to Right:Jacob Craven (Dundas), Kevin Matthews (Wakefield), Nick Cundiff (Midlothian), Chase Canter (Gold Vein), James Johnson (Lynchburg).Second Row, L to R:Greyson Hensley (Crewe), Jared Warren (Farmville), Bryan Lewis (Instructor), Thomas Parrish (Blackstone), Tyler Johnson (Burkeville), Travis Weston (Red Oak),  Justin Irving (Spring Grove), Jacob Monger (Prince George), Russ Hicks (Instructor), Billy McGraw (Instrutor).Back Row, L to R: Dillon Harvey (Gladys), Malik Ellsworth (Emporia), Jacob Walker (Smithfield), Nolin Watkins (Chesterfield), William Chilton (Moseley).

Community College Philanthropists Honored with 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

L to R:  Dr. Glen DuBois,Chancellor for Virginia Community Colleges; Midge Coward and Emily Coward, board members of Laughing Gull Foundation; Latrisha McCargo, Dr. Tara Blackwell, &  Dr. Al Roberts representing SVCC

 

Richmond– The Laughing Gull Foundation has received the 13th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The progressive family foundation proud of its’ commitment to justice was nominated for the award by Southside Virginia Community College.

More than two dozen individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia have earned the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in Richmond on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018.

Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), the 13th annual event honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of $6 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Laughing Gull Foundation is a progressive family foundation proud of its’ commitment to justice.  As a steadfast advocate of higher education in prison, the Southside Virginia Community College’s Campus Within Walls(CWW) program appealed to the Foundation.  Targeting higher education in prisons, LGF aimed to increase access to credit-bearing college courses for incarcerated individuals.  Beginning in 2015, LGF awarded scholarships to incarcerated men at the Lunenburg Correctional Center who were involved in the CWW program. Recently, the group awarded additional funding to hire a coordinator to keep the program operational. 

Keynote speaker Paul Koonce, executive vice president & president and chief executive officer with the Power Generation Group, Dominion Energy, called the community college system “one of Virginia’s greatest inventions.” He also borrowed a passage from a 1903 Teddy Roosevelt speech to underscore the invaluable connection between higher education and opportunity.

“’Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Our purpose (as donors) is to make sure that prize – meaningful work – the best prize that life offers, remains within reach of every Virginian.’”

Recipients of the 2018Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy:

  • BLUE RIDGE: Mr. and Mrs. L. Ronald Smith
  • CENTRAL VIRGINIA: Wells Fargo Bank- Lynchburg Region
  • DABNEY S. LANCASTER: Temple Baptist Church and Ovella Worsham Estate
  • DANVILLE: Anita J. Wyatt
  • EASTERN SHORE: Virginia Space and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport
  • GERMANNA: Ed C. Dalrymple, Jr.
  • J SARGEANT REYNOLDS: The Lipman Foundation
  • JOHN TYLER: Mr. J. Richard and Mrs. Jeannine Commander
  • LORD FAIRFAX: Nick and Kathy Nerangis
  • MOUNTAIN EMPIRE: Donna Stanley
  • NEW RIVER: Eddie and Kathy Hale
  • NORTHERN VIRGINIA: Northrop Gumman
  • PATRICK HENRY: The Martinsville Speedway and the Campbell Family
  • PAUL D CAMP: Mrs. June Fleming                 
  • PIEDMONT: Wendy Brown
  • RAPPAHANNOCK: Northern Neck Electric Cooperative
  • SOUTHSIDE VA: The Laughing Gull Foundation                                   
  • SOUTHWEST VA: Dr. Charles R. King
  • THOMAS NELSON: Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.
  • TIDEWATER: Elizabeth River Crossings, LLC, The Landmark Foundation
  • VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS: First Bank and Trust Company
  • VIRGINIA WESTERN: Friendship Health & Living
  • WYTHEVILLE: Charles G. Crockett
  • VFCCE: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Whitt

Spring 2018 SVCC Nurse Aid Graduates

Nurse Aide graduates who attended classes sat Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia through Southside Virginia Community College.  Students are from Brunswick, Greensville, Emporia,Mecklenburg and Petersburg areas.  

First row left to right:Montia Monea´ Gray,Lakesha Danielle Claiborne,Crystal Joy Gillus,Josie Vivian Gordon,Brenda Thompson,Ashley Necole Simpkins,Shavon Yvette Barner, and Natasha Eveliz Ayala.Second/back row left to right: Linda Diane Owen,Jermarus Donnell Cabbins,LaQuechia Qwanchia Carey,Alexus Octavia Parrish,Princess Callie Ellies Rawlings,Gracie Baskerville,Christine Michell Cooper andBrandon Aaron Scott

Keeping Athletes in the Game is A Cool Job for this SVCC Alum

Lannie Hales’ job is cool because she gets paid to attend sporting events.  As the athletic trainer for East Carolina University’s Cross Country/Track and Field team, she attends events in the fall, winter and spring to keep her athletes healthy throughout their seasons.  Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.  Athletic trainers are licensed as health care professionals in about 48 of the 50 states in the USA.

Not surprisingly, Hales got her higher education start at Southside Virginia Community College.  Since her mom (Christie Hales) has worked full time for the college since before Lannie’s birth, it was just a natural pathway to follow.

Her first classes at SVCC began as a ninth grader at Brunswick High School through the Dual Enrollment Program.  As a junior, she was accepted into the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia and attended morning classes at the Christanna Campus in Alberta for two years. 

In May of 2012, Hales received her Associate’s degree from SVCC a month before her high school graduation.

For the next move in her career path, she registered at James Madison University, a school she chose because she could major in Athletic Training.    With plenty of credits to transfer, she began at JMU as a sophomore and started taking the pre-requisite classes necessary for acceptance into the prestigious program. 

Hales was overjoyed to learn she had been chosen for the program that only accepts 18 students each year.  For the next two years, Hales studied the necessary classes, observed athletic trainers in the field for over 1000 hours and assisted in the health care and rehabilitation of athletes at Eastern Mennonite University and JMU. 

One of the greatest opportunities was working with JMU Softball in 2014, highlighted by being in the dugout during the Colonial Athletic Association Championship game and travelling with the team to the University of Kentucky at Lexington for the NCAA regionals.

While a senior at JMU, Hales researched and applied to programs offering Graduate Assistantships in athletic training.  She landed a full scholarship to North Carolina State University where she practiced clinically as an athletic trainer and went to school for the next two years.  As a member of the Wolfpack’s Sports Medicine team, she was assigned to the Cross Country/Track and Field team consisting of about 80 athletes.    This was an excellent chance to hone her skills, gain valuable knowledge in the field and continue her lifelong passion and involvement with sports and healthcare. 

She graduated from NC State with a Masters in Adult and Community College Education (with a specialization in Health Professions Education) in May of 2017 and searched for a full-time job as the next step in her journey.  In July, she happily accepted a position as assistant athletic trainer at East Carolina University.

Hales said, “I am very fortunate to have had the career opportunities I’ve had so far as a young professional in athletic training. When I look back on the reasons why I have been so fortunate, my education always comes to mind first. Being an athletic trainer is the perfect job for me; I get to combine my love for sports with my passion for quality health care for others. Getting my degree at SVCC really served as the kickstart for my athletic training career and I couldn’t be more grateful. “

Lannie is the daughter of Gil and Christie Hales of Lawrenceville and the granddaughter of Annie Ruth Kirk Clarke of Lawrenceville.

2018 SVCC Corrections Awards

Southside Virginia Community College recently hosted the 10th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet  sponsored by Lawrenceville Correctional Center at the Christanna Campus in Alberta.  This night recognizes an officer of the year and employee of the year for Southside Virginia's correctional facilities.  Those recognized are (Front Row, Left to Right) Dora D. Hardy, employee for Baskerville Correctional Center, Officer Kathy Turner for Greensville Correctional Center, Officer Regina Pearson for Lawrenceville Correctional Center, Officer Joyce H. Bruce for Baskerville Correctional, Lt. Cynthia Power for Deerfield Correctional Center, Dinah Kreitz, employee for Lawrenceville  Correctional, Cecilia Presseau, employee for Lunenburg Correctional Center, and Sgt. Elsie Pennington for Lunenburg Correctional and (Back row, L to R) Sylvia Lawrence, employee for Greensville Correctional, guest speaker Warden Eddie L. Pearson of Greensville, Elizabeth Carr, employee for Deerfield Correctional, Sheron Jenkins, employee for Dillwyn Correctional Center, Officer Dolly Scruggs for Dillwyn, Pamela Labriola for Nottoway Correctional Center, Officer Tyrone Craighead for Nottoway Correctional Center, Officer John Towns for Buckingham Correctional Center, and Jennifer Andrews, Employee for Buckingham  Halifax Correctional  #23 was unable to attend but awards went to Officer Jonathan Carey and Rickey Childress, employee. 

SVCC Offers Apprenticeship Opportunties

Global Safety Textile (GST) of South Hill, developers and manufactures of airbags, airbag textiles and technical textiles, has partnered with Southside Virginia Community College to help develop and train twelve employees to become industrial maintenance technicians.

“In today’s current economy, hiring qualified maintenance mechanics is a challenge”, said Rob Deutsch, Director of Human Resources for the company.

For years, colleges saw enrollments declining in technical degrees such as Electrical and Mechanical. Unfortunately, for manufacturing this decline presents a real crisis. In fact, the hardest segment of the workforce to staff has been in the skilled trades: welders, electricians and mechanics.

GST, collaborated with SVCC’s Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Technical Training, and Kelly Arnold, Apprenticeship Coordinator, to formulate a strategy to train current employees. Apprenticeship is a tried and true method for training, remarks, Arnold.

“By combining educational classes with on-the-job training, apprentices learn exponentially,” she said.

Each class the employees are taking was selected with the intention of transforming the twelve into maintenance technicians for GST.

 The group began in January taking classes at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  The instructor applies hands-on training to the AC/DC Electrical class. 

Dr. Patton said, “All of our teachers in the program have real world experience.  We have former department lead instructor for Mechatronics and a host of teachers who are currently working in the Industrial Maintenance field to ensure the instruction is relevant.”

The college has also run apprenticeship training for Beach Mold, Georgia Pacific and Toll Brothers located in Emporia/Greensville.  

Each week the employees build on the previous class. While some are coming after work and others before work; both groups arrive ready to learn. Long days or nights at work, coupled with educational classes, homework, and tests all prove the group is willing and able to invest in themselves but also into preparing GST to beat the skills gap challenge.

While maintenance technician may not be the new career buzz, it is certainly a profession where both men and women can find employment in Southside Virginia. In fact, recent statistics indicate that job seekers are realizing that skilled trades are in hot demand. For the twelve at GST, the future is bright. The industrial maintenance program involves taking one class per week, for about 18 months, but provides an easily attainable goal. For more information about industrial maintenance or apprenticeship training, visit LCAKC or www. southside.edu   SVCC also offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance Technician.

Customized, Job-Driven Training

Businesses across the Commonwealth of Virginia, including right here in the Southside region, continue to report a skills mismatch between job seekers and open positions. Skilled workers, especially in information technology and advanced manufacturing, seem to be in short supply. Entrepreneurs often testify to the fact that nurturing a business is a challenging proposition, but when companies cannot find workers with the skills necessary to fill critical positions, business success can be even harder to achieve.

At the same time, escalating college costs sometimes put higher education out of reach. Many young people and transitioning workers are looking for ways to prepare for well-paying careers without amassing heavy burdens of debt.

The solution for growing businesses and the answer for the potential future workforce may be the same: apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship is more than just assisting in a workplace, more than just on-the-job training. Registered apprenticeship programs provide a formal plan that combines at-work elements with rigorous classroom preparation and mentoring. They culminate in a certification that the graduate is fully prepared, experienced, and job-ready.

Traditionally, U.S. apprenticeships have focused on skilled trades, but recent innovations and policy changes are bringing the model to other industries. Penny Pritzker, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce explains that “by building regional partnerships with education, workforce, and social service institutions, businesses and government can create training programs that connect workers with middle class careers.” For diverse companies, she notes that “developing talent through apprenticeships results in a more dedicated, flexible, loyal workforce that is poised to rise into leadership positions and make the companies more competitive.”

Southside Virginia Community College is proud to be able to bring these benefits to the communities of south-central Virginia. Through ApprenticeVA, a collaborative effort among four community college partners, we can help businesses leverage the resources needed to create registered apprenticeship programs and customize them to meet specific training requirements.

Rob Deutsch, Director of Human Resources at Global Safety Textile acknowledges, “In today’s current economy, hiring qualified maintenance mechanics is a challenge.” His company is one among several with whom SVCC has worked to establish registered apprenticeship programs. Others include Beach Mold and Tool, Toll Brothers, Huber Woodproducts, Presto Products, and Microsoft.

At SVCC, more than 40 apprentices are currently registered and working on the job and in the classroom. They will graduate with industry-recognized credentials in fields such as industrial maintenance and network technician.

Apprenticeship programs have a proven track record and are well situated to meet 21st century needs. If your business would like more information about how it can benefit from a registered apprenticeship program, contact SVCC’s Apprenticeship Coordinator, Kelly Arnold at Kelly.arnold@southside.edu or call 434-579-7260.

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.

Celebrate SVCC During Community College Month

Once again, Virginia’s Community Colleges are marking national Community College Awareness Month (CCAM) in April designed to raise awareness of the benefits of attending one of our 23 community colleges.  Southside Virginia Community College has been part of the community since 1970 and is still the best deal around. 

In honor of the Community College celebration, here are a few tips to remember. 

Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Bachelor’s Degree
Student debt has reached crisis levels in this country. The typical bachelor’s degree graduate in Virginia leaves college nearly $30,000 in debt. That burden is forcing people to wait longer to get married, buy a home, and even retire. So why would anyone take on more debt than necessary?

Below are five guaranteed ways to save money while pursuing your bachelor’s degree in Virginia.

  1. Know what you really want to do: There’s nothing wrong with changing majors while in college. Lots of people do it. But it means you’re going to pay for classes that you won’t serve you in the long run. Take the free assessment tests on the Virginia Education Wizard. They can help you decide before ever spending the first tuition dollar.
  2. Start college while you’re still in high school: Sign up for Dual Enrollmentclasses which allow you to take college-level classes while still in high school, often at a reduced price. Ask your school counselor or Career Coach about it. Use these credits to jump-start your pursuit of an associate degree at a community college.
  3. Earn your associate degree first: Thanks to an amazing collection of Guaranteed Transfer Agreements, you can earn an associate degree at a community college first, which guarantees placement as a junior at one of more than 30 Virginia universities. Community college tuition and fees are only about one-third of what you'll pay at a public university.
  4. Get free money from the state to attend a university: Virginia’s Two-Year College Transfer Grant Programwill give you up to $3,000 a year, for two years, at a university to finish your bachelor’s degree. That’s FREE money! But, you should graduate from a community college first.
  5. Always take 15 credits every semester: No matter where you go to college, go full-time, which means 15 credit hours every semester. Time is money.

If you follow all five of these steps, you will save at least $52,000 on the cost of that shiny new bachelor’s degree. That's about one-and-a-half times the average student debt load of a graduate in Virginia, and one more way to show that you’re smarter already.

For information, www.southside.edu

MIT Bound SVCC Governor's School Student Feels, Deals With Pressure

The pressure to succeed has always been ‘off the charts’ for Ahmad Negm as the third in a family of educationally gifted siblings.  A senior at Nottoway High School and candidate to graduate from Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) through the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia(GSSV), there were many pre-conceived expectations to reach during his educational journey.

His sister, Maggie, and brother, Mostafa, were both valedictorians for Nottoway, both attended Governor’s School and Mostafa is a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Guess what, Ahmad just received his acceptance to MIT recently (sigh of relief) and plans to attend and study Electrical Engineering.   He was accepted at California Institute of Technology located in Pasadena, CA, also.  Oh, and his sister is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

On the day of the interview, Ahmad was in class with Brent Richey studying advanced math courses such as Abstract Algebra and Discrete Math.  Abstract Algebra studies algebraic structures such as rings, vector spaces, fields, lattices, modules and algebra and Discrete Math is the study of mathematical structures that are fundamentally discrete rather than continuous. (Just FYI).

Richey advocates strongly for Dual Enrollment courses at the college. 

He said, “GSSV STEM students have the opportunity to attend classes on the campus of Southside Virginia Community College with other top students from multiple area high schools. I have the privilege of teaching these students Calculus and as part of the class for the last five years we have been building and launching big high-powered rockets. Our students graduate from high school with an Associate’s Degree and then go on to some great universities. Currently,  I have students at Virginia Tech, UVa, NC State, VCU, JMU and MIT. Many of them go into engineering programs but they also pursue other STEM fields like computer science, mathematics, biology and chemistry.” 

“I like to remind people that though these students are academically gifted, they are not necessarily economically privileged. They come from every kind of home situation imaginable. And like other students, some are economically disadvantaged. It is extremely rewarding for me to see these students succeed here at SVCC then again at their university of choice,” he concluded.

Since Negm can independently maintain his studies in a class entitled Computer Programming for Engineers, he is able to spend 2.5 hours a week studying these special advanced math courses.  The math whiz took Algebra I in seventh grade and has been ahead of the game ever since.  He scored a perfect 800 on the Math SAT, just to mention another accomplishment.

His parents, Hussein Negm and Samira Elshebaily, were born in Egypt and came to America for a better life and opportunities for their children.  They settled in New Jersey first and later, came to Virginia.  All the children in the family felt the pressure to succeed and exceed academically.  Although, Ahmad also exceeds in sports running cross country and playing soccer for his school.    

The STEM curricula of the GSSV offers a chance for students to take classes that often cannot be made available at their local high school.  These include Physics and of course, the advanced math Negm is taking. 

Negm is excited to attend MIT.  He has visited Cambridge three times and likes the proximity to Boston.  He will travel with the GSSV STEM Seniors to Sumter, South Carolina in April as part of the launching of a rocket the students designed and built.

As the pressure wains for the third sibling, one can assume the heat is turning up for Abdullah, the last of the family who is currently in ninth grade at Nottoway.  Stay tuned. 

Getting a Second Chance in Southside Virginia

Ja' Kei Woods (Left) and Jamarcus Reid (Right) with Alonzo Seward (Center) recognizing the two young men who recently completed the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College.
 

Second chances are always good.  In Southside Virginia, a Diversion Program for young offenders is offering another chance at a successful life without incarceration.

Alonzo Seward, Coordinator of the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) is pleased to announce initial successes from its first class.  Designed to provide alternative sentencing, the first class began in October 2016. SVCC worked in partnership with local Commonwealth’s Attorneys' offices to include Brunswick, Greensville, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg counties. The youthful offenders that enter the program face incarceration in either jail or prison due to a crime that they have committed and to which they have subsequently pled guilty. The program serves as an alternative to incarceration and/or a felony conviction and includes a requirement of participation in group and/or individual community service projects.  Additionally, the program requires participants to be drug free (verified through drug screenings) and of good behavior.

While serving as an advisor to SVCC’s Administration of Justice Program, Lezlie Green, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Brunswick County, presented the idea to Seward, who heads the Administration of Justice program at the college.  Both Green and Seward throughout their years in law enforcement recognized an unmet need for alternative sentencing programs in Southside Virginia.  They joined forces with Monica McMillan, caseworker with Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Out of School Youth Program (WIOA) and Linda Macklin, caseworker for Southside Community Corrections to develop a program that was approved by the college’s administration and has been accepted as a sentencing alternative by both the local judiciary and defense bar.

The program is designed to follow a paramilitary format during the initial semester. The semester begins with a cohort of offenders meeting three nights a week in two different courses. These courses are designed to improve life skills, academic skills and overall behavior. The concept of the program is to provide individuals who fit the criteria with opportunity to gain the necessary skills to attain employment and deal with the stressors of life, so that they can become successful citizens.

Recently Seward recognized two success stories: Jamarcus Reid andJa' Kei Woods,both members of the initial group. Although they were in the same cohort, their challenges were different due to differing educational backgrounds. Both men met the criteria of being drug free during the program

Reid completed the initial cohort semester, and transitioned into college courses where he successfully completed hiswelding certification through SVCC’s program. Reid also participated in 24 hours of community service projects while in the program. He participated in projects benefitting SVCC, Alberta Fire Department and the Town of Lawrenceville.

During the course of the program, and in addition to the welding certificate Reid completed a work experience and earned a Career Readiness Certificate. Reid recently secured a fulltime job in the welding industry.

Woods was awarded his GED on February 23, 2018. For a period of almost a year and a half he attended GED classes during the day and diversion courses at night. He successfully completed the “Dream It Do It Welding Academy” and was awarded a $100.00 gift card for his presentations.  Other accomplishments for Woods throughout the program included successfully completing two work experiences, earning a National Career Readiness Certificate, and participating in 32 hours of community service projects. He plans to remain at SVCC to earn his welding certificate.

The program operates through grant funded assistance and donations to the SVCC Foundation, Inc. For more information or to make a contribution, call 434 949 1051.

Governor Visits SVCC Power Line Worker Training Program

Governor Ralph Northam spent time at the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park.  Among those attending are (Left to Right) Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives(VMDAEC), Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, John Lee, CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Governor Northam, Jeffrey Edwards, CEO of Southside Electric Cooperative, and Brian Mosier, Vice President of Member and Governmental Relations for VMDAEC.

Virginia’s new Governor, Ralph Northam, spent part of a cold, snowy and blustery day touring the field where power line worker students train for jobs in the Commonwealth.  His visit to the Southside Virginia Community College Occupational Technical Center at Pickett Park wasarranged by Virginia Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives and Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for VMDAE. 

The Governor spent time watching power line students climb, saw truck driving activity on the range and met the head of the diesel tech program. He also sat down with the CEOs of Mecklenburg and Southside Electric Cooperatives, John Lee and Jeffrey Edwards respectively, and SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts and VP of Workforce Dr. Keith Harkins to learn more about the impact these programs have on the economy of Virginia. Dr. Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Development Advisor to the Governor was also in attendance.       

Governor Northam was at the Blackstone facility to see firsthand the benefits of the Workforce Credentialing Grant Programand discuss issues facing rural Virginia; including broadband deployment and workforce development. Leepresented Governor Northam with a letter, signed by CEOs from all 12 electric cooperatives headquartered in Virginia pledging unified commitment to collaboratively work on a comprehensive solution to rural Virginia’s lack of broadband availability.         

Now in its third year of operation, this 11-week line worker pre-apprentice program provides Level 1 certification from NCCER (the National Center for Construction Education & Research), as well as commercial driver’s licenses, CPR/First Aid certification and OSHA safety training. At the recommendation of its advisory committee, the PLW program recently expanded to include chainsawsafety, with training provided by Penn Line.         

“We’re proud to help launch these young people into a vital career that will enable them to stay in their rural communities,” said Harkins.

For more information about the Power Line Worker Training School, visit https://southside.edu/events/power-line-worker-training-schoolor call SVCC’s Susan Early at (434) 292-3101.  Next Class begins June 4, 2018.

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