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SVCC

SVCC Dual Enrollment Students Collaborate with Microsoft and Schneider Electric

Those who worked on the prototype insulator project are(Left to Right)Desmyn Owens, Tiffany Broadnax-Bacon, Jordan Wesson, Bryana Murphy, Philip Poole,  Ayanna Coleman, Ronnie Boyter, John Mize, Kiman McCarthy, Seita McCarthy, Justin Stansell, Vincent Brown and Scott Edmonds.

Southside Virginia Community College’s dual enrollment program is taking the student learning experience to the next level. Over the past few months,the students have been collaborating with Schneider Electric and Microsoft to rapid prototype an insulator for a DC terminal block. For these Park View High School students, this involvement has been an invaluable real-world experience.

The proposed project idea started when John Mize, Electrical Maintenance Lead for Schneider Electric, a facility management company for Microsoft, could not find an electrical cover for a high voltage electrical junction box at the Boydton datacenter. When nothing fit the specifications, he recommended working with SVCC to 3D print the part. Philip Poole, Schneider’s Critical Facility Manager drafted the design parameters and Justin Stansell, an electrical engineer for Microsoft, worked to ensure all electrical insulating properties were achieved.

The next step was involving the Advanced Manufacturing dual-enrollment students who attend class at SVCC at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center (LCAKC) in South Hill. 

Vincent Brown, Professor of Industrial Technologies, presented the challenge to the students.

“Simply put, I asked each student to see how they would write the code for the program and how they would solve this problem” stated Brown.

Each one quickly analyzed and researched how they would design a 3D printed electric cover. Utilizing the Autodesk Inventor program, each student inputted their design. Once this task was complete, the parts were sent to one of the 3D printers housed at the LCAKC.

Students and brothers, Kimani and Seita McCarthy, each described how they tackled the challenge.

“I measured the gap holes and then factored in an extra ½ inch gap, but this left a large gap, which was a safety issue” added Kimani.

“My approach was similar” quotes Seita, “but my overall design had to be tweaked to fit properly.”

Ronnie Boyter, and Brianna Murphy, each contributed but stressed the importance of measuring for accuracy after printing. Our main goal was to make sure our designs were safe, precise and ergonomically compliant for Schneider, they said.  

In a classroom setting producing a realistic workforce project is difficult, but when you have the opportunity to work directly with local companies the classroom training morphs into vibrant work experience. Once the fabricated prototypes were tested and modifications made, the part was approved for installation.

Recently, the students met with  Mize, Poole, and  Stansell, and explained their design methodology. As Stansell listened, he encouraged the teams to learn from each other’s design and collaborate to enhance the overall design.

Both Kimani and Seita have been accepted at Virginia Tech and will pursue degrees in engineering. Murphy has been accepted to Longwood where she is pursuing a Science degree. Boyter plans on attending SVCC in the fall to complete his degree in Industrial Maintenance. This is just a sampling of the outstanding young minds learning and growing with SVCC.

Brown, explains, “The graduates from Southside Virginia’s dual enrollment program, walk away prepared to enter the workforce or to attend four-year university. Many of the former students are now employed with Dominion Energy, Army Corp of Engineers, NASA, Newport News, MC Dean, and Rolls Royce and many local industries.  It’s exciting to be a part of a program that has such a positive impact on the lives of students .”

 “Over the course of a year, we start with students who are unsure of what direction or career path they want to pursue, but after exposure to our programs, teachers and training facility, they finish with a clear picture of the direction they want to follow,” said Tiffany Broadnax-Bacon, LCAK Center Director.

One of the goals of SVCC is to prepare students for the local workforce.  With small classroom sizes and dedicated teachers, these goals are being met. Whether you call it career, vocational, or workforce training, these dual enrollment students are immersed in technologies of the future. And that is Real World!

Graduate to deliver SVCC Address May 11

Stephen Franklin has accomplished much in his life and graduation speaker will be added to his resume on May 11, 2019 as he delivers the graduate address at Southside Virginia Community College in Keysville at 9:30 a.m. 

Franklin will graduate from SVCC as a nursing student along with more than 1,200 other eligible students from the Class of 2019.  A native of  Bossier City, Louisiana,  he is an Armed Forces Veteran with over a decade of experience in Navy Special Operations as a Search and Rescue Swimmer/Aircrewman.

He is a proud husband to wife, Celena, and father of two beautiful girls (Ava and Adelyn). He is a volunteer youth Soccer and Volleyball Coach in Halifax County and a member of the American Legion. He has an Associate’s Degree (RN) in Business Management and after completion of the SVCC Associate Degree Nursing Program plans to work in Emergency and Critical Care Medicine while continuing pursuit of advanced nursing education.

Jones Awarded Scholorship

Summer Dawn Jones senior at Greensville County High School and Southside Virginia Community College was selected to receive a scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00 from Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.

She will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall to study nursing.

She is the daughter of Melissa and Paul Wozniak.

Community College Philanthropists Honored with 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

Joining Microsoft representative, Anthony Putorek, Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager, at the Leadership in Philanthropy Luncheon were (left to right), Kelly Arnold, SVCC Apprenticeship Coordinator, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, Dr. Glenn DuBois, VCCS Chancellor, Mr. Putorek, Jeanette Putorek and Dr. Chad Patton, SVCC Dean of Career & Occupational Technology.

Richmond – The Virginia Community College System and Chancellor Glenn DuBois has presented Microsoft represented by Anthony Putorek, Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager,  of Boydton, Virginia, with the 14th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. Microsoft was nominated for the award by Southside Virginia Community College.

Mr. Putorek was recognized along with two dozen other individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia for their exceptional support of Virginia’s Community Colleges. The awards were presented at a luncheon sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education in Richmond on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019. As part of the award, each college will be given funds for the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship, to be named in honor of the college’s 2019 Chancellor’s Award recipient.

Now in its 14th year, the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy recognizes outstanding leaders who have helped support Virginia’s Community Colleges and their respective foundations. This year, among those to be honored are four members of VCCS faculty, all of whom have made contributions that have helped their colleges and their students grow. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $18 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Microsoft’s corporate mission is to empower every person and organization to achieve more.  SVCC is a direct benefactor of the company’s efforts through a partnership that includes the donation of data center equipment, the establishment of a scholarship program, and ongoing externships for students.

According to SVCC president Dr. Al Roberts, “This relationship with Microsoft has become a driving force for SVCC’s fastest growing information technology program.  Microsoft’s generosity extends beyond hardware and financial donations to include personal interest in student success.  The company’s employees tutor, coach, advise, and mentor, fulfilling their mission in our community.”

 

 

Donald Graham, keynote speaker and Chairman of the Board at Graham Holdings Company and Co-Founder of TheDream.US, spoke about the importance of Virginia’s Community Colleges and the ways that the philanthropists have contributed to the Commonwealth.

“We are in this room today to tell you, whether you work for one of the colleges or have given to one of the colleges, that what you are doing is absolutely right,” Graham said during his remarks. “I am so proud of this crowd for what you’re doing, and I hope you are proud of yourselves and your fellow donors and of the leaders and teachers at the community colleges you serve.

Recipients of the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy:

 

  • BLUE RIDGE: Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth D. Bowman
  • CENTRAL VIRGINIA: Donna Schewel Clark Charitable Lead Annuity Trust
  • DABNEY S. LANCASTER: Stephen and Donna Vaughn
  • DANVILLE: Danville Kiwanis Club Foundation, Lions Club of Danville Foundation
  • EASTERN SHORE: Tom and Page Young*
  • GERMANNA: Mary Jane Pitts O’Neill
  • J SARGEANT REYNOLDS: Mitchell F. Haddon and Sabine Neumann
  • JOHN TYLER: Amsted Industries
  • LORD FAIRFAX: The Jenkins Family – Russell, Elta Rae, Rodney and Karen
  • MOUNTAIN EMPIRE: Ralph T. and Shirley M. Fisher
  • NEW RIVER: Dr. and Mrs. Lee Wheeler
  • NORTHERN VIRGINIA: Dr. Glenn Fatzinger
  • PATRICK HENRY: The Harvest Foundation
  • PAUL D CAMP: Charles R. Henderson, Jr., Bank of America Foundation     
  • PIEDMONT: H. Gordon* and Mary Beth Smyth
  • RAPPAHANNOCK: Rick and Sue Farmar
  • SOUTHSIDE VA: Microsoft                               
  • SOUTHWEST VA: Mary W. Lawson
  • THOMAS NELSON: Newport News Shipbuilding
  • TIDEWATER: Stanley Black & Decker
  • VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS: David and Schéry Collins
  • VIRGINIA WESTERN: Maury and Shiela Strauss Family
  • WYTHEVILLE:  Floyd and Hilda Jonas
  • VFCCE: The Petters Family Foundation

 

*honored posthumously

  •  

Correctional Officers Honored at 11th Annual Banquet

Southside Virginia Community College recently hosted the 11th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet at the Christanna Campus in Alberta to recognize Officer and Employee of the year from area correctional facilities.  The event was sponsored by Lawrenceville Correctional Center and the guest speaker was Mr. Harold W. Clarke, Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections.  Those receiving recognition are (Front Row, Left to Right) Officer Shelyne Smith of Lunenburg Correctional, Christine Watkins of Lunenburg Correctional, Shelia Booker of Diillwyn Correctional, Officer Daphne Andrews of Lawrenceville Correctional, Officer Myesha Gaines of Buckingham Correctional, Officer Michael Boone of Deerfield Correctional, Lt. Ronald Gallimore of Halifax Correctional, Lt. Aaron Benny of Greenville Correctional, Officer Milicent Clayton of Nottoway Correctional and Dr. Alfonzo Seward, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC and (Back Row, L to RO)Tiffany Robinson of Lawrenceville Correctional, Officer Edward Tolbert of Dillwyn Correctional, Sandra Garner-Coleman of Halifax Correctional, Linda Peete-Pierce of Greensville Correctional, Veesa Gough of Buckingham Correctional, Destiny Johnson of Nottoway Correctional.  Those who were unable to attend are Officer Jennifer Ksor and Dennis Yohe or Baskerville Correctional and Sandra Banty of Deerfield Correctional.

SVCC FBLA Members Compete at State Leadership Conference

Southside Virginia Community College students Janet Wilson(Right) of Farmville and Kimberly Solomon(Left) of South Hill are in the Administrative Support Technology program. These students attended the FBLA-Phi Beta Lambda State Leadership Conference in Glen Allen on April 6, 2019 and competed against students from two- and four-year colleges across the state. Wilson placed first in Computer Applications. Solomon placed first in Administrative Technology and third in Business Communications. 

In addition to the competitions, the students and advisers participated in informative and engaging workshops on topics that included Keys to Getting the Job You Really Want, Emotional Intelligence, and Beyond Networking. 

Students were accompanied by PBL advisers, Crystal Jones and Elizabeth Burns.

VCU School of Nursing opens accelerated path to a bachelors to Rappahannock and Southside Virginia Community Colleges

RICHMOND, Va. (April 16, 2019) — The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing has partnered with Southside Virginia Community College and Rappahannock Community College to offer accelerated coursework to registered nurses who are students at both community colleges, providing them a faster path to obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Students will be enrolled concurrently at VCU and their respective community colleges.

“We’re looking forward to offering SVCC and RCC nursing students a more efficient path to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, which subsequently will help to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared RNs in Virginia’s health care workforce,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing.

The partnerships are in line with a national push to enhance academic progression for nurses. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” report, which recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be educated at a baccalaureate degree in nursing or higher by 2020. Reduction in medication errors, lower mortality rates and positive patient outcomes are linked to nurses being educated at baccalaureate and higher degree levels, according to a recent position statement by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 

Enrollment will open on May 1 to nursing students at both community colleges and classes will start in fall 2019. Enrolled students will complete six credits of baccalaureate courses during their last year at either community college and subsequently complete the remaining credits online through the VCU School of Nursing.

Both VCU and SVCC aim to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses who might seek employment at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Virginia, and other health care facilities in Southside Virginia, said Michelle Edmonds, DNP, dean of nursing, allied health and natural sciences at Southside Virginia Community College.

“This partnership brings world-class baccalaureate education to the communities of Southside Virginia,” Edmonds said. “Additionally, the partnership will increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses to Southside Virginia. I am certain that SVCC and VCU will together advance the health of this region.”

The agreement with Rappahannock Community College will provide nursing students in eastern Virginia with more extensive educational opportunities, said Ellen Koehler, an associate professor of nursing for Rappahannock Community College.

“This concurrent enrollment agreement with VCU School of Nursing is an extraordinary opportunity for the students of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region,” Koehler said. “This affords our students the opportunity to enhance their career goals toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a prestigious school that values advancing the profession of nursing.”

Springtime in Paris From SVCC Chorus

The acclaimed Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Chorus, is bringing “Springtime in Paris” with Harpist, Winifred Garrett to Southside Virginia on Sunday, April 28th at 3:00 PM at the South Hill Presbyterian Church at 914 N. Mecklenburg Ave, South Hill, VA 23970. Admission is free.

The Chorus of the Southside Virginia Community College is fully supported by SVCC, your local community college, and its Foundation. SVCC realizes the value of bringing quality choral music to you in Southside Virginia. Because of the valuable support of the SVCC Foundation, harpist Winifred Garrett from Durham, NC will be performing this Spring with flutes, Dee Pinnell and Laurel Sciortino, both from Boydton. This exceptional concert will be offered at South Hill Presbyterian Church’s accessible space at no cost to you.

Winifred Garrett last played with the SVCC Chorus in December 2015. She is a noted harpist from Durham where she teaches and performs within a full concert and recital schedule. With a career of over thirty years, Winifred has had the privilege of being the first African American harpist to grace the stage in countless performance venues and settings. The Founder/Artistic Director of “The Harp Studio” based in Durham, North Carolina, highlights from her performance career includes appearances with Stevie Wonder at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, performing with Marvin Gaye at Radio City Music Hall, playing the wedding of singer/actress Whitney Houston, and performing with the Boys Choir of Harlem and for the Dance Theater of Harlem. She continues to maintain a heavy performance schedule and is the Principal Harpist for the Fayetteville Symphony. She presently plays for the Umstead Hotel and Spa, one of the prestigious four star/five diamond hotels of North Carolina.

“Springtime in Paris” features a Romantic selection of music for Harp, Chorus, Piano and Flutes with a French accent, composed by Gabriel Fauré, Aaron Copland, and even a Claude Debussy harp solo. Fresh arrangements of, “Angel Band”, tunes by George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, “Goin’ Home” by Antonin Dvořák, popular love songs,  and music from “Les Miserablés”, are just a sampling of the repertoire to be presented on April 28.

The SVCC Chorus has been under the direction of Carol Henderson of Buffalo Junction since 2014. And through the support of pianist Sally Tharrington of Boydton, and the inclusion of its great singers, the chorus is growing in vocal beauty. Rehearsals are conveniently located at the crossroads of Highway 58, Route 1, and Interstate 85 at the South Hill Presbyterian Church. The chorus, now 42 members, continues to attract new singers from the surrounding Southside areas. Rehearsals for Fall 2019 will begin on the Sunday following Labor Day, September 8th at 6:00 PM at South Hill Presbyterian Church.

Thorough continued support by SVCC and its Foundation, we are looking forward to plans for 2019-20 season which include brass and carols for Holiday Concerts 2019,  and  a special presentation of  Handel’s MessiahPart 2 with chamber orchestra for Spring 2020. For more information on the SVCC Chorus: NEW! visit:www. southside.edu/svcc-chorus

The SVCC Chorus promises to bring you a concert of excellence and beauty,…and what better inspiration than with music of the classical harp and music from France! Presented on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 3:00 PM at South Hill Presbyterian Church, fully accessible, the concert includes a reception. Church lot parking is available, and also, across the street at Benchmark Bank and the neighboring parking lot. You are invited to bring your families, friends and neighbors for “Springtime in Paris”!

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson Hired as the Next President Southside Virginia Community College

RICHMOND– Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, announced today that Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, currently of Mooresville, North Carolina, will become the next president of Southside Virginia Community College. He will assume the role at the beginning of July. Johnson’s selection marks the end of national search that attracted 81 applicants.

“Quentin Johnson brings to the table a strong student services background, and a deep understanding of the needs of nontraditional students – a group that we need to focus on,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “And he believes deeply in what we do. In fact, his son is currently attending one of our community colleges.”

Johnson has worked in higher education senior leadership roles for more than 20 years. That includes, beginning in 2004, serving as the president’s chief of staff and acting vice president for Student Life and Enrollment Management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In 2011, he became senior vice president for Enrollment and Student Services at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College in West Virginia.

Johnson moved to Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina in 2012 to become the vice president of Student Support Services, the position he holds today. He also has some Virginia experience, previously serving as the assistant dean for Enrollment Management & Student Services at the UVa School of Nursing.

Johnson earned a doctorate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University; and a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio.

"After a thorough and fruitful search process, our board is delighted that Dr. Quentin Johnson will be the next president of Southside Virginia Community College.  He brings an energy and insight that will prove to be invaluable in taking SVCC to the next level of service in our communities," said Betsy Sharrett, chair of the Southside Virginia Community College local board.

Johnson will succeed Dr. Al Roberts, the college’s fifth president, who announced last fall that he was retiring at the end of June, having served as president for five years.

SVCC serves one small city and spans ten rural counties across southern Virginia. The college offers 23 degrees at the associate level, a host of shorter-term academic and workforce development programs, opportunities for dually enrolled high school students, adult basic education, and other transitional services for non-traditional students.

Let’s Get REAL about Education for Inmates

By Dr. Al Roberts

I believe in the transformative power of education.

Earlier generations considered high school completion the key to success. Many viewed postsecondary education an extravagance because folks with high school diplomas could secure good-paying jobs. Today, that is no longer the case. Finding a job with family-sustaining wages often requires education beyond high school, whether it be the completion of a certificate program, the attainment of industry-recognized credentials, or earning an Associate’s or higher academic degree.

When it comes to recognizing the benefits of education, incarcerated people are often overlooked. This lapse may be counterproductive. A study completed earlier this year by the Vera Institute of Justice and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality revealed that inmates who received college-level education were much more able to reenter communities successfully upon release. The report concluded, “Expanding access to postsecondary education in prison is likely to reduce recidivism rates, resulting in a decrease in incarceration costs across states of $365.8 million per year.”

Lisa Hudson, Coordinator of SVCC’s Campus Within Walls program, has seen compelling evidence regarding the value of education for inmates. “Our prison college program not only benefits Virginia and makes fiscal sense, it also positively impacts our students. We believe that human beings have value and are capable of making positive life changes. We know that 95% of people in prison will eventually be released.  In Virginia, the 13,000 people released annually from prison represent an opportunity.  Through college classes, we prepare incarcerated Virginians to reenter our communities as educated, employable, and taxpaying neighbors.”

Accessing postsecondary education in prison can pose a challenge, however. Individuals with substantial financial need often receive Pell Grant assistance, but in 1994, federal lawmakers instituted a ban on Pell Grants for inmates. Without funds for tuition, the number of education programs available to people behind bars plummeted. A recent trial program, the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, lifted the ban on Pell Grant eligibility among incarcerated populations at 67 sites across the nation. Data indicate that when inmates access higher education in prison, they are 43 percent less likely to reoffend after release when compared with inmates lacking a similar opportunity.

The 116th Congress is preparing to consider the legislation “Restoring Education And Learning (REAL) Act of 2019” to reinstate Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals. Because education is one of the best and most cost-effective means of helping former inmates avoid a subsequent term behind bars, its potential is as REAL as its name.

Education remains key in efforts to transform lives, families, communities, and the local economy. SVCC remains committed to the belief that all people should have educational opportunities, and that includes the incarcerated people in our service region.

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.

Truck Driver Training Classes

Southside Virginia Community College is offering Truck Driver Training in May at locations in Emporia, Virginia and South Boston, Virginia.  The Emporia class will begin May 6, 2019.  Classes run for six weeks.  The South Boston class begins May 13, 2019.

For information, call Susan Early at 434-292-3101.

SVCC Nursing Programs Tops In State According to RegisteredNursing.org

RegisteredNursing.org has just released its list of 2019 Best RN Programs in Virginia, and Southside Virginia Community College's RN programs have been ranked among of the best in Virginia! 

The Christanna Campus program was ranked #3, while the South Boston and Daniel Campus programs were ranked #8 and #9, out of 62 RN programs assessed.

Nursing programs were assessed on several factors which represent how well a program supports students towards licensure and beyond.

Dr. Michelle Edmonds, SVCC Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences, said, “This designation is certainly an honor.  It validates all the hard work our faculty and staff do to insure student success.  Our program is very rigorous and this clearly demonstrates our success.”

According to the website RegisteredNursing.org, “Graduates from Southside Virginia Community College in Alberta, Virginia are given five core values throughout the education process including patient-centered care, professional identity, nursing judgement, collaboration and safe and effective care.  These values are what makes the graduates an exceptional addition to the nursing field.”  Christanna Campus scored 97.63 out of 100.

The site also stated, “Southside Virginia Community College’s South Boston campus offers and ADN degree to prepare students for a career in registered nursing. The curriculum includes coursework and clinical learning experiences arranged within the community to give students a complete nursing education.”  The South Boston overall score was 95.55.

And this was noted about the final site, “Southside Virginia Community College’s John H. Daniel campus in Keysivlle offers students an exceptional Associate of Applied Science nursing program.  The dedicated faculty guide students to deftly perform the duties of a registered nurse with confidence.”  Their score was 95.32.

For information on the program at SVCC, contact Rebecca Laben, Health Sciences Counselor, at 434 736 2214.

Clary’s Cool Job Keeps Her Down On The Farm

Bridgette Clary’s job is cool because it allowed her to follow her heart into farming, something she was raised on and dearly loves. She started her new job on March 6 and is the Virginia Territory Sales Representative for Zeigler's Distributor, Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

“I am responsible for overseeing existing accounts and generating new sales for my territory. Zeigler's is a family-owned pet food and supply distributor that distributes several high- quality brands,” she said.

An SVCC alumnus with an Associate of Applied Sciences with specialization in Agribusiness, she said, “When I first started college I was on a totally different career path than Agribusiness, but growing up on the farm and being involved with it my whole life, eventually my heart led me 'home'.”

She notes that she grew up on her great grandparent’s farm near Alberta where they raised beef cattle, tobacco and small grains. She spent her childhood on the farm and her parents often had to beg her to come home. This is also where she was introduced to cattle or ‘moo cows’ and continues her love of raising these animals.

“I currently live on a beef cattle and small grain farm with my fiancé, David, where we breed and raise Sim/Angus and Black Angus cattle along with wheat and soybeans. When I'm not working or showing dogs, I enjoy spending my time riding my horses and working cattle,” she said.

After her graduation from SVCC, Clary continued to work in the agriculture field with a sales job at E.E. Vaughan and Sons in Lawrenceville and, with animals, at Brunswick Veterinary Clinic in Lawrenceville.

“My biggest piece of advice to any new student, or any student for that matter, would be to never give up on your dreams. It was important for me to be able to study the field I wanted to major in and remain close to home on the farm,” she said. 

“I compete in AKC dog shows across the country all throughout the year and being able to remain close to home and study my field of choice while being home on the weekends to attend shows was ideal. I have been involved with competition hunting and showing Coonhounds since I was 13 and currently raise, breed and handle national winning UKC and AKC registered Treeing Walker and Bluetick Coonhounds,” she noted.

About her advisor and AGR instructor,  Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, clary said she was a huge part of her success at SVCC.

“I will forever be grateful to her and SVCC for offering such an amazing program,” she said.   

In the future, continuing her education in anything that is agriculturally based is very important.  Her goal is to continue to be actively involved with the agriculture field through her current job and any future job as well as to continue to produce and raise beef cattle.

Mentoring for Success

By Dr. Al Roberts

Audrey Williams June, writing in the October 2018 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education, reported, "Having a mentor can make a big difference in student's academic success—particularly for members of underrepresented groups." Her comments were based on the result of a Strada-Gallup Alumni survey of more than 5,000 recent college graduates.

The National Mentoring Partnership explains that mentoring “guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.” Statistics reveal that young adults who were at-risk for falling off track but had a mentor were 55% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

According to the Strada-Gallup Alumni survey, nearly two-thirds of alumni who had a mentor during college said that person was a professor. College staff members were next on the list. Students benefited from mentors’ guidance regarding their educational studies, career plans, personal issues, and physical and mental health.

While the benefits of mentoring are well documented, the survey also pointed to national inequalities in access to mentors. It noted that although 72% of white alumni reported having been mentored by a faculty member, only 47% of alumni of color described the same experience.

At Southside Virginia Community College, faculty and staff work together to ensure that all students have the opportunity to receive guidance and encouragement. SVCC programs based on mentoring relationships include Make It Happen, Women in Search of Excellence, and Great Expectations.

Make It Happen (MIH) focuses on the academic success of rural young men of color, a group that often lags behind its white and urban peers. One cause is the lack of socioeconomic support, which can promote workforce entry over college. MIH provides an institutional climate supportive of the success of African-American males by providing mentoring, ensuring academic support services, and promoting academic achievement.

Women in Search of Excellence (WISE), a new program just entering its second year, has already amassed significant achievements. WISE participants receive coaching for success, work on building academic skills, explore career options, and plan for their futures. They also participate in team building activities and assist others through community service opportunities.

Great Expectations serves current and former foster youth. Participating young people receive active support as they explore career possibilities, locate sources of financial aid, and succeed in college.

SVCC faculty and staff give generously of themselves to enrich the lives of students—in and out of the classroom. If you’d like more information about mentoring programs or other student support services, please contact Bernadette Battle, Dean for Student Success, at 434-949-1063.

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.

Job Fair Planned for April 10, 2019

Job Fair 2019 will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Southside Virginia Education Center at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia.  This event is open to all job seekers so dress to impress, bring resumes, a photo id and copy of your WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate that will be a pass to get in at 12:45. 

This event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services.  For information, call Courtney Starke at 434-949-6614 or email Courtney.starke@southside.edu

Employers that will be on site include:

Lake Country Area Agency on Aging

Greensville Correctional Center

Emporia VEC

Armor Correctional Health Services

Envoy of Lawrenceville

Walmart- Emporia

Penmac Staffing Services

Greensville Health and Rehabilitation Center

Avon

P&S Trucking

Lincoln Heritage Insurance

The GEO Group

Virginia Department of Corrections

Greensville/Sussex 1

Meherrin River Regional Jail

Learning House/Partner Plus

Heritage Hall Blackstone

Melvin L. Davis Oil Company

Southside Regional Jail

Walker Navigated to a Cool Job

Since people are not born with navigation systems installed, the road to success is not always straight, fast, and without bumps along the way.  Dixie Walker, who has a cool job as the new Tourism Coordinator for Brunswick County, took such a journey in her educational pursuit.

While attending high school, Walker enrolled in Dual Enrollment classes at Southside Virginia Community College as early as the ninth grade.  These classes, combined with summer and online courses, enabled her to complete an Associate degree in General Studies from SVCC along with graduating high school the same year.

After a brief stay at Virginia Tech, Walker decided to transfer her esteemed SVCC associate degree to Radford University where she earned two Bachelor of Science degrees which included a minor in Marketing. During her time at Radford University, Walker also served three years as a Radford University Ambassador.

Upon graduation, she returned to Southside Virginia where she utilized her creative talents. She has worked for locally owned small businesses in our surrounding community.  Walker used her creative skill set to help promote and market these businesses through several different medias. She’s held a job since she was fifteen serving the public and gaining customer service expertise.  Walker has also served as President of the South Hill Junior Women’s Club for two years and is still an active member.  She recently was recognized as “Member of the Year” by her fellow club members. After becoming a member of the club, she was able to further use her talents to promote the club through social media, raise money hosting special events for the community, and inspire her follow club members.

“It’s all added up to this,” she said recently from the new Brunswick Byways Visitor Center located on Christanna Highway 46 south of Lawrenceville.       

Completed in October 2017, the Center serves and informs the traveling public about Brunswick County’s Native American heritage, Colonial American “frontier” history, Civil War history, early American religious history, natural resources and assets, and agricultural economy.   Besides operating the Center, Walker works with other special events throughout the county including the Taste of Brunswick held in October and the Brunswick Stew Day at the capitol in Richmond.  She also coordinates volunteers at the Center and greets visitors to the county.

She is also proud to have taken advantage of the offerings at SVCC. “I liked the smaller class size at SVCC, the rural area and the one-on-one attention students received from the teachers.  The faculty and staff at SVCC care about you and your educational journey. They want to see you succeed no matter whichever path you may be on. Everyone seems pleased to be on campus and in the classroom, learning. It is a textbook learning environment for someone from a small town who doesn’t like to be distracted from reaching their goal. The paths are clear and straight at SVCC as to what’s needed to obtain your chosen goal, there are hardly any unexpected speed bumps or hurdles as long as you do your part” Walker said. 

SVCC Truck Driver Training to Start in March at Pickett Park

Truck Driver Training through Southside Virginia Community College will be offered in March of 2019.  Classes at the Pickett Park site in Blackstone begin March 11, 2019.  The South Boston site will begin a class on March 18, 2019.  Train now for a great well-paying job.   The classes will run for six weeks, Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.   SVCC's program is an excellent school turning out qualified drivers that are in high demand.  Pre-registration is required so contact the school at 434 292 3101 or visit our website at www.southside.edu for more information.  There is assistance with tuition so call soon to register for this exciting program to put you on the road to success.

Reading across the Community

Reading is important. The One World Literacy Foundation explains, “Reading is how we discover new things and how we develop a positive self-image. The ability to read is a vital skill in being able to function in today's society. Reading is important because it helps to expand the mind and develops the imagination.”

Echoing these sentiments, popular author Neil Gaiman says, “Literacy is more important than ever it was, in this world of text and email, a world of written information. We need to read and write, we need global citizens who can read comfortably, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuance, and make themselves understood.”

The National Endowment for the Arts notes, “Literature inspires, enriches, educates, and entertains. It reminds us that there is beauty and joy in language, that others have insights worth paying attention to, that in our struggles we are not alone.” Furthermore, NEA cites scientific evidence confirming that reading for pleasure reduces stress, improves empathy, helps students achieve better test sores, slows the onset of dementia, and encourages citizens to become more active and aware.

To support all these benefits, and in conjunction with its own Quality Enhancement Plan, “iRead, iLead, iSucceed: A Commitment to Literacy,”  Southside Virginia Community College applied for NEA grant funding to conduct an NEA Big Read program across the communities in our service area. Through a competitive process, the SVCC was selected as one of 75 applicants representing institutions across the nation to receive an award.

The title chosen for SVCC’s NEA Big Read is A Lesson before Dying by Earnest J. Gaines. Set in Louisiana during the 1940s, the novel tells the story of a young, uneducated black man who has been incarcerated and sentenced to death for his alleged participation in the murder of a white storekeeper. A college-educated black man who teaches in a nearby plantation school befriends him. Together, both men search for ways to live with dignity.

SVCC’s NEA Big Read program is currently in full swing, and I’d like to invite you to participate in a book discussion and one of the slated special events. Here’s a sampling: A panel discussion will be held at the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville on February 21, 2019 beginning at 5:30 p.m. A movie adaptation of the book, starring Cicely Tyson, Mekhi Phifer, and Don Cheadle, will be shown at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville on March 11, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. The Longwood University Jazz band will present a concert of songs related to the book and time period at SVCC’s Daniel Campus in Keysville on March 26, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. For more details and additional information, visit SVCC’s website at www.southside.edu.

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.

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative Donates to Southside Virginia Community College

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) donated a  a 2004 GMC truck to assist with training of future technicians through the automotive program at Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC). According to Jeremy Parenti, the lead instructor, “The donation of this truck helps to round out our fleet of vehicles allowing our students to have hands-on training in a variety of vehicle types.” Participating in the delivery are (from left) Kris Newcomb and Ray DeJarnette of MEC and Jeremy Parenti and Chad Patton of SVCC.

John Shepherd Has a Cool Job

John Shepherd’s job is cool because he practices the ancient art of farming using modern methods.  Recently, he and his wife, Lydia, of Nottoway County, were awarded third place in the 2019 American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award.

According to the Virginia Farm Bureau news release, “The Achievement Award honors young farmers who are successful in production agriculture and provide leadership on and off the farm. State-level winners from Farm Bureaus across the nation compete for the award, and judges narrow the field to 10 finalists.”

The Shepherds called the recognition “pretty amazing” and said the competition had been an exciting process. The Shepherds serve on the VFBF Young Farmers Committee and raise wheat, rapeseed, corn and soybeans on their farm near Blackstone.

            John is a Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) graduate who attended a full two years before transferring to Virginia Tech (VT) where he received a degree in Agricultural Science.  He received minors in Biology and Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences.  He planted his first crop in the fall of 2007 while finishing his last semester at VT. 

About his SVCC experience, he said, “I am excited that SVCC now offers Agribusiness as part of the curriculum.  The community college helped me to mature and prepare for a four-year school.  Also, I saved a bunch of money and I would recommend community college to everyone.”

The Shepherd’s started their farm from scratch and said in the VFB article, “the fact that we built from the ground up without inheriting a farm” helped them place so high in the national competition. 

After graduating from VT, he was working full-time as a seed and fertilizer representative when he began buying land for his future farming career.  Shepherd serves on the Nottoway Country Farm Bureau board of directors and Lydia teaches at Kenston Forest School in Blackstone.  They were recipients of the 2011 VFBF Young Farmers Environmental Stewardship Awards and the 2012 Bayer Crops Science Young Farmer Sustainability Award.  The couple uses conservation practices in their farming business.

The Shepherd’s truly are a farm family as their days are spent raising crops and three children!!

Tammy Ezzell Receivs Scholorship

Tammy Ezell (Center) of Brodnax, a resident of Brodnax, is the recipient of the K. George Verghese Memorial Academic Merit Award for Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC).  This award recognizes her academic achievements.  The award was established by the Arts and Sciences faculty at the Christanna Campus of SVCC and supported by the Verghese family to commemorate the instrumental role played by Dr. Verghese in the establishment of both the Registered Nursing and Practical Nursing programs at the college.  Leigh Moore (Left), Associate Professor of Nursing, and Felicia Omick (Right), Associate Professor of Nursing, are shown with Ms. Ezell.  

Microsoft Donates to Southside Virginia Community College

Shown with the donation from Microsoft to Southside Virginia Community College are (Left to Right) Kelly Arnold, SVCC Apprenticeship Coordinator, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, Anthony Putorek, Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager for Microsoft, and Mary Jane Elkins, Dean of Institutional Advancement for SVCC.

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.  Anthony Putorek, Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager for Microsoft, said simply, “We are investing in people and developing communities.”

The company recently donated another $45,000 towards student success and has invested in the community by providing 14 scholarships to students in the past.

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.

Dr. Al Roberts said, “Microsoft has been a true partner in our community and has provided valuable support for this IT program offering.  We appreciate their investment in the future of Southside Virginia.”

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

The CITE and ITA labs are an example of how a partnership can make things happen for a community. Microsoft and their involvement impacts Southside Virginia and those seeking a future with a career in IT.

Dual Enrollment Opens Diverse Doors

By Dr. Al Roberts

At the end of the last school year, in addition to their high school diplomas, 741 graduating seniors received credentials from Southside Virginia Community College. Awards included 287 Associate Degrees, 300 Career Study Certificates, and 154 other Certificates documenting the completion of job readiness training. These achievements were made possible through collaborative dual enrollment partnerships with 14 public and private high schools across SVCC’s service region.

Dual enrollment programs offer students an opportunity to get an early start on postsecondary education pursuits. For students in transfer associate degree programs or enrolled in courses designed to satisfy general education requirements at senior institutions, dual enrollment credits can shorten the time required to complete a bachelor’s degree, resulting in tuition cost savings. For students with plans to enter the workforce in technical areas, dual enrollment offers a chance to receive training necessary to pursue more advanced opportunities, enter apprenticeships, and embark on career pathways with family-sustaining earnings.

Standards adopted by the Virginia State Board for Community Colleges safeguard the quality and rigor of college courses offered to high school students. These rules ensure that high school students meet the same academic challenges faced by on-campus college students and that the students be held accountable to the same criteria of achievement. In addition, instructors who teach college-level courses to high school students must hold the same qualifications as instructors who teach older college students.

Brent Richey, Chair of the Mecklenburg County School Board, says “The dual enrollment partnership between Mecklenburg County Schools and Southside Virginia Community College offers our students a wide range of higher education opportunities. Some students will complete a degree, certificate, or industry-recognized certificate that they can use to move immediately into the workforce, while others take their credits with them as they matriculate at a university. It also provides the rigor needed to give Mecklenburg County a talented and well-qualified workforce, which helps us attract new industries to our area.”

Shanley Childress Dorin, a dual enrollment (DE) instructor at Kenston Forest School, says her work with college-bound students equips them for success. “As an instructor I try to prepare my students for college life. Students leave a DE class with college credits and a glimpse into meeting college deadlines, learning various teaching styles, and mastering time management.”

The Commonwealth of Virginia first opened the door to dual enrollment opportunities in 1988. Since that time, course offerings have expanded to provide young adults with multiple pathways to achieve wide-ranging academic goals. SVCC’s most recent Annual Report highlights the diverse successes made possible through collaborative partnerships between the college and regional high schools. For more information about dual enrollment or to view the Annual Report, visit the college’s website at http://southside.edu/parallel-pathways-svcc-annual-report

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.

December 2018 SVCC Truck Driving Graduates

Southside Virginia Community College celebrated another successful class at the Pickett Park site in Blackstone on December 13, 2018.  They are (Front Row: L-R) Martin Ahrens (Midlothian), Warren Branch (Church Road), Gregory Brown (Cullen), Melvin Cabrera (Meherrin), Tim Reavis (Blackstone). (Back L-R)  Doug Kemerer (Instructor), Christopher Kennon (Farmville), James Baskerville (Lawrenceville), Reggie White (Instructor) and Duncan Quicke, Truck Driver Training School Coordinator.

Song Traveled a Long Way to SVCC Training Program

Terence Song won a lottery and almost three years later, he has graduated from the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program at Pickett Park in Blackstone, Virginia.  A native of Cameroon, a country located in Central Africa, Song had applied for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) that makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. 

From his native town to Blackstone, he has traveled about 5,800 miles to attend the 11-week training program and graduate with the largest class thus far, 36 members.

Song is not a stranger to lineman work as he worked as a lineman in Cameroon for eight years.  In what he calls his ‘new country,’ he has been working for Rockingham Construction, a company that provides electrical construction work.  He lives in Woodbridge, Virginia. 

Song’s native language is French and in studying lineman work in America, he has learned new names for all the familiar equipment.  Asked about his ability to grasp a new language complete with Southern accents, he notes that he tilts his head in and listens hard.

“There are no bucket trucks in Cameroon,” he said, noting that America offers much better equipment to maintain electric power lines.    He said in his former country, they plant utility poles by hand using shovels and the power of five to six men to place the pole.  The machinery and power line equipment here is much safer and easier, he noted. 

Another difference that amazed Song’s classmates are the climbing spikes he brought from Cameroon.  The spikes used in America feature a long gaff or spear that gouges into the wood of the pole and allows for moving up and down.  The ones used by Song have a row of shorter spears plus semi-circle claw.  Instructor Clyde Robertson notes that if one ever gets accustomed to the spikes Song uses, they offer a more comfortable platform for the feet. 

During his training in Virginia, he has been given a chance for more practice in snow, something one never see in Cameroon.  He said the lowest temperature there is around 60 and the hottest can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.   Also, there are not four seasons in his native land, he said, “There are only two seasons there, rainy and dry.”

At age 40, he said he was the old man in the class.  Most of his classmates were in their early 20s.  He said some of the guys in the lineman class would tell him to take his jacket off when the temperature was warm but the temperatures here  in October did not seem particularly hot to him.

“I like it here, I like the countryside,” he said and the small town atmosphere.  His hometown is Ombe, a city of about three million people. 

Proud of his recent accomplishment, he looks forward to continuing to live and work and one day obtain citizenship in his New Country. 

Ninth Class Graduates Power Line Worker Program at SVCC

The Ninth Class of Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Training graduated on December 18, 2018.  This was the largest class to complete the training with a total of 36.  They are

Joshua Bale

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

Noah Blackwel

 Ruther Glen, Virginia

Tristen Bunch

Dinwiddie, Virginia

Collin Burnett

Mine Run, Virginia

Austin Cherrix

S. Prince George, Virginia

Waverly Clements

Emporia, Virginia

Colton Cliborne

McKenney, Virginia

Hunter Cochran

Cumberland, Virginia

Tyler Conner

South Boston, Virginia

Ryan Drewery

S. Prince George, Virginia

Cordell Farley

Montpelier, Virginia

Logan Farrell

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Lane Janosik

Church Road, Virginia

Cody Jewett

DeWitt, Virginia

Jake Lloyd

Louisa, Virginia

Ryan Love

Waverly, Virginia

Austin McCormick Mechanicsville, Virginia

Jacob McLamb

Vernon Hill, Virginia

Logan Miller

Wilsons, Virginia

John Moore

Warrenton, Virginia

Jason Ownby

Cumberland, Virginia

Brycen Parnell

Keysville, Virginia

Elijah Patterson

Staunton, Virginia

Bayse Pitts

Farnham, Virginia

Aaron Ruddick

McKenney, Virginia

Hunter Rutledge

Keysville, Virginia

Fred Smith

Craddockville, Virginia

Terence Song

Woodbridge, Virginia

Daniel Sorrells

Buena Vista, Virginia

Adam Stubbs

Ashland, Virginia

Charles Thompson

Richmond, Virginia

Noah Tosh

Bedford, Virginia

Robert J. Watson

Nellysford, Virginia

Jarvis Wingo, Jr.

Jetersville, Virginia

Joel Wright

Gordonsville, Virginia

Seth York

Blackstone, Virginia

A Gift in Winter

By Dr. Al Roberts

Twentieth century British poet Edith Sitwell wrote, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

I enjoy many of winter’s simple pleasures, including the beauty of snowflakes and moonlight, traditional feasts and gift-giving, and hot cocoa with warm conversations. Warding off winter’s chill by bundling up in a snug, woolen coat contributes to an overall sense of serenity and comfort.

But winter can also be a time when harsh conditions lead to hardship. Emergencies multiply. Their effects compound.

According to an analysis by the United Way’s ALICE Project, 39% of Virginia’s households were either living below the federal poverty level or identified as Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE). The ALICE designation describes working families with incomes above the poverty level but still less than required for basic living costs, such as housing, food, child and health care, and transportation.  Within SVCC’s service region, the number of households at or below the ALICE or poverty level ranges from 49% to 60%, much larger percentage than the statewide averages.

Income at ALICE and poverty levels supports only a modest lifestyle. It leaves no room for savings, so families are often left vulnerable to emergencies and unexpected expenses.  A surprisingly high heating bill, a car that won’t start, or a doctor’s visit can threaten to topple plans and cast the future into darkness.

Several factors contribute, including low regional pay scales and increases in the basic cost of living that outpace wage growth. Education is a documented solution. Career and technical certifications and associate-degree programs provide rapid access to well-paying jobs and pathways to family-sustaining careers.

Pursuing educational goals, however, can temporarily stress finances. On the road to better pay and professional security, students encounter such expenses as tuition, books, technology, and transportation that can strain limited budgets. Illustrating this concern, recent studies have found that 13% to 21% of community college students experience food insecurity, yet college students are often ineligible for federal food assistance programs. In light of this need, SVCC has established food pantries at locations across its service area.

Additionally, to help students facing food emergencies and other crises, the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation administers funds that help meet urgent needs so that students can remain on track to reach their education goals. These opportunities are made possible through the generous contributions of people who understand the importance of helping students succeed. If you would like to join them and make a gift that will usher in a brighter future for hard-working students with unexpected challenges, contact the SVCC Foundation office at 434-949-1051.

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.

National Driver of the Year to Speak at SVCC Truck Driving Graduation Events

Trucking’s National Driver of the Year, David Boyer, is the guest speaker for the next two graduations of the Southside Virginia Community College’s Truck Driver Training School.  Students will complete the program with ceremonies at the Fort Pickett site on December 13 at 9 a.m. and at the South Boston site on December 20 at 9 a.m. 

Boyer, a professional truck driver with ABF Freight and an America’s Road Team Captain, was honored as trucking’s 2018 National Driver of the Year at American Trucking Associations Safety Management Council’s meeting in Long Beach California on November 14, 2018.  He is a 40-year veteran with ABF Freight and has worked for only one other company in his career.  He regularly operates twin trailers over the road between Wytheville, Virginia and Memphis, Tennessee.

Being named for this award recognizes drivers for noteworthy and career-long professional achievements, holding a stellar safety record and maintaining dedication to keeping the roads safe.  As a part of his award, Boyer attended a White House event in October alongside Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in which she told President Trump about his achievements. 

The SVCC Truck Driver Training School opened in 1996.  There have been approximately 2300 graduates.

Big Comeback Leads to Cool Job for Hawkes

Sometimes a big setback leads to an even bigger comeback.  This was the case for Cedric Hawkes whose rebound has landed him in the cool job of teaching at Nottoway Middle School where he impacts lives. 

When his fiancée and mother of his two children passed away and he found himself a single father of two boys, ages five months and 15 months, Hawkes knew some things in his life had to change.  Hawkes had attended Old Dominion University but not finished and was working at Southside Virginia Community College as a restaurant manager for the Farley Experience.  Working in the college environment, he was interested in returning to school and found encouragement from Dr. John Hicks, counselor.

“Working at the café was the perfect scenario,” he said. “It jump-started me back on track, it was a home place with a fun-oriented atmosphere.”

He told the he Longwood College publication The Lancer, “It had been on my mind for a while so one day I took my apron off and went to talk to one of the counselors there (at SVCC).”

After taking some classes at SVCC, he was able to in get into Longwood University through the guaranteed acceptance agreement. He joined the Call Me MISTER program, a national teacher leadership program, where he excelled and was the eldest MISTER so he was role model to others. 

Asked why his job as a teacher is cool, he said the first word that comes to mind is satisfying. 

“I am able to give back to so many people, to give so much of myself, to offer selfless service.  When I see the looks on these kids’ faces, when you relate to them on their level, I see growth and change in their lives,” Hawkes said.

“I try to reach ‘em before I teach ‘em,” he said.

He does not just change lives and act as a role model during the school day, but he also coaches varsity football at Nottoway high school in the afternoons and is on the field leading the players during practice and games. 

“I never thought I would be a teacher but the experiences I had and the people I met influenced me,” he said.

One way he influences his students is by giving them a sense of pride in their appearance.  He sponsors Tie Tuesday for the gentlemen in his class and Step It Up for the ladies as they sport their dressier clothes on these days.

Besides teaching and coaching, Hawkes is also a volunteer firefighter in Crewe.  He is certified to teach Fire I and 2 and Hazmat training. 

Hawkes wants to be a role model for his own children, ages, 10, 9, 8 and 14 months.   He and his fiancé’ are both school teachers and he is encouraging her to return to school to complete her Master’s degree.   His philosophy is to keep trying and never give up.  And this certainly shows as he impacts many lives at all levels in Southside Virginia.

 

Beach Mold & Tool, Inc., Growing Skilled Workers through Apprenticeship

Celebrating a successful Apprenticeship Program at Beach Mold and Tool, Inc. are (l to r)Maynard Stowe, Department of Labor- Office of Apprenticeship, Joey Sims, Beach Mold and Tool HR Manager, Bryan Floyd, Apprentice, Edward (POP) Clements, Apprentice, Clarence Logan, Apprentice, David Batliner, Beach Mold and Tool VP of Operations, Mike Brockway, Beach Mold and Tool Operations Manager, Kelly Arnold, Apprenticeship Coordinator at Southside Virginia Community College.

In the fast-paced world of manufacturing, training skilled workers can be a challenge. For Beach Mold and Tool, Inc., located in Emporia, VA, this challenge was especially true. The company, which is currently expanding, was struggling to find qualified industrial maintenance technicians. With the current manufacturing boom, addressing this issue and formulating a solution was paramount.

For years, trade jobs were not promoted as viable career choices. While this is one factor, another contributor to the deficiency is an aging workforce entering retirement.

Joey Sims, Human Resource Manager, weighed his options and chose to look internally at a training strategy for the skilled worker shortage. To be successful, Joey collaborated with Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) to implement an industrial maintenance apprenticeship program. The company selected employees who were willing to attend classes one night per week at the Emporia training facility located at the Southside Virginia Education Center (SVEC).   Through hands-on lab work and instruction, the employees are mastering electrical and mechanical concepts. The hard work recently paid off for three employees as they proudly received their machine operator apprenticeship certificate.

David Batliner, Vice President of Operations, for Beach Mold and Tool, congratulated each recipient and spoke proudly of the level of commitment the group had displayed. Speaking from experience, he noted that working full time and attending school is demanding but the rewards are life changing.

Evidence of the employees’ level of commitment occurred right after Maynard Stowe, Department of Labor, presented the certificates at the apprenticeship awards ceremony. Each employee signed up to embark on the next level of training as an Industrial Maintenance Technician.

This is confirmation that the apprenticeship model is the perfect training program to fix the shortage of skilled workers, stated, Kelly Arnold, apprenticeship coordinator for SVCC.  When you combine on-the-job training with a few educational classes, the results are always positive and life changing.

Being able to train locally began when Dr. Chad Patton, Dean, for SVCC, started offering electrical classes at the SVEC in Emporia. Recently, SVCC collaborated with CCAM for a GO Virginia grant to outfit a mechatronics’ lab for workforce training. This lab has simulators that replicate a real-world scenario in an industrial facility. Classes are available every semester to fill the skills trade shortage.

Apprenticeship is the solution. Therefore, while others are sounding the alarm of a skilled labor shortage, Beach Mold and Tool is actively taking steps necessary to fill the gap, said Arnold.

If you are interested in finding out more about the programs, contact SVCC’s office in Emporia or visit our website, Southside.edu.

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