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SVCC Encourages You To Panther Up For 2017

Panther Up at Southside Virginia Community College for a successful new year in 2017.  The SVCC Panthers are recruiting new students to the ranks.  Registration is underway now for Spring semester classes and students can register online, in person or by telephone. 

Classes for the spring begin January 9, 2017.  Students can register now or in January but the earlier the better according to Bernadette Battle, Student Services Director.  She notes that financial aid, counseling and advising can all be completed before classes start. Call 888-220-SVCC.

The college will be closed for the Holiday from December 23, 2016 to January 3, 2017.

Visit the college website to learn more about classes offered at www.southside.edu  Plan now to Panther Up and Have a Great New Year.

College Community Connection - Changing Students’ Lives

The end of the year and the holiday season have become inexorably linked with gift-giving. Some gifts are purchased, some are homemade. Some get wrapped in boxes, some entail donating one’s time to a cause, and some involve making charitable contributions. In evaluating different kinds of charity, the twelfth-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon) described eight levels of giving. He ascribed the lowest rank to giving unwillingly. Giving cheerfully was better, as was giving without being asked. He rated giving anonymously higher still, but Maimonides placed the highest honor on giving that enabled the recipient to become self-reliant.  

In more contemporary times, Oprah Winfrey made a similar observation, “It's not just about being able to write a check. It's being able to touch somebody's life.”

Working in education gives me an opportunity to see these principles in action. On a daily basis, I observe faculty and staff members who give their utmost to touch students’ lives. As a result of their influence, I watch students work hard and undergo a transformative process, becoming self-reliant community members and serving as role models for others.

Here at Southside Virginia Community College, we believe that all citizens should be given an opportunity to acquire an education that develops and extends their skills and knowledge. The college's goal is to provide diverse instructional programs ranging from developmental studies to associate’s degree curricula, and our offerings cover a wide spectrum of academic, technical/vocational, lifelong education, and workforce development classes.

People who choose to pursue these opportunities often require assistance to cover the costs of education, and SVCC works diligently to give students the support they need. In fact, 94% of beginning students receive financial aid. Much of it originates from federal sources, such as Pell grants. Some comes from state sources. State funds are particularly important to students enrolled in noncredit, workforce development programs. During its 2016 session, the Virginia General Assembly passed a legislative initiative that established the New Economy Workforce Grant Program, a program that can cover up to two-thirds of the cost of courses leading to credentialing in high-demand fields.

These types of federal and state financial aid do not cover the entire cost of education, however. To help students with unmet financial need, the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation administers scholarship programs that help fill the gaps so that deserving students can successfully reach their education goals. During the most recently completed academic year, the Foundation presented awards to more than 250 students. These opportunities were made possible primarily through the generous contributions of local people and businesses who wanted to help today’s students succeed and become constructive co-laborers who will join in the task of building a better tomorrow.

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.

ABC/SVCC Partnering for Southside Virginia

A local partnership is creating education and jobs for Southside Virginians.  Southside Virginia Community College and American Buildings Company (ABC), a division of Nucor, are working together to offer the training and skills necessary for many of the jobs offered by the company.  

ABC, located in LaCrosse, Virginia, recently purchased additional software for use in the Computer Aided Drafting classes offered at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center (LCAKC) in South Hill.  The software, TeklaStructures, is the same technology used by the local manufacturer in their Detailing Department. 

The local plant has plans to expand their Detailing Department and this leads to opportunities for those interested in learning a marketable skill.  SVCC offers a program designed to train individuals interested in working as a detailer. 

Greg Kuebrich, Business Services Manager, said recently “American Buildings Company and Nucor offer career opportunities not just jobs. We are one of the only companies I have seen where teammates have started out as a painter on the shop floor or a detailer in the office and worked their way up to become General Managers of a division.  The opportunities are virtually endless for those with the right work ethic and initiative!”

Cindy A. Kirby, Human Resources and Payroll Coordinator for the Atlantic Division of ABC, said, “We are excited about the prospect of teaming with SVCC to help grow the skills of the workforce in Southside Virginia.”

She added, “In 2016 Nucor was ranked #26 on Forbes list of best employers in the Nation.  American Buildings Company is proud to be a division of the Nucor Buildings Group and offer local employment opportunities to well qualified individuals.”

The company also hires welders from SVCC’s training program at the LCAKC. John Evans, Welding Instructor, notes that a number of his students have gone to work at ABC and there are two in a current class who work and continue to attend school at night. 

SVCC offers a Career Studies Certificate in these two programs.  Both are designed to give the student the skills and knowledge needed to attain entry-level work at ABC or similar manufacturing industries.

Vincent Brown, CAD instructor, said “These programs allow a working adult to commit a few hours in the evenings and gain a new career in less than one year.”

Learn more about the educational offerings at an Open House at the LCAKC to be held December 14, 2016 from 4 – 6 p.m.  Representatives from ABC and from SVCC’s welding and CAD programs will be present to discuss the classes as well as current and future opportunities.  Students may qualify for financial aid for these courses.

For information, contact Maki Malone at 434-955-2252.

New Members in SVCC Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

These students are recent inductees into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Alpha Theta Chi Chapter on the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College.  The ceremony was held November 29, 2016.  PTK is the international honor society of two-year colleges with students required to maintain a grade point average of not less than 3.5. Student inducted are (Left to Right)Wayne Bruce of Meherrin, Sean Stith of Lawrenceville, Sarah Smith of Baskerville, Sallie Rogers of Kenbridge, Cody Marston of Lawrenceville, Camryn Carter of South Hill, Rebecca Sandlin of Chase City, and Velma Green of Brodnax

Information Session and Open House on Jobs and Apprenticeship Opportunities

An Information Open House will be held on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at the Southside Virginia Education Center located at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Training opportunities are available and this is a time to learn more about them.  This is of interest if you want a better paying job, change the path you are on, develop skills for promotion, learn through hands-on and experience Apprenticeship Training.  Learn more about jobs in welding, precision machining, computer technology, networking and electricity. 

For more information, http://apprenticeva.com/ or call 434 579 7260 or 434 634 9358.

SVCC Hosts Job Fair

More than 30 employers set up displays, handed out applications, and talked with potential employees during the Job Fair held at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Greensville County on November 2, 2016.  Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services partnered with Crater Business Services Team to sponsor this regional event.  There were about 175 attendees learning about jobs at area nursing homes, hospitals, construction companies, manufacturers, correctional centers, retail stores, service industries, police departments and also opportunities through SVCC in job and workforce training.  For information about programs offered through SVCC's Workforce Department, call 434 949 1026 or for SVCC college programs, call 434 949 1000.

    

    

Teamwork

By Dr. Al Roberts

Southside Virginia is home to some great athletes, and sports participation is one important way young people can prepare for education opportunities and future employment. By participating at their personal best levels and learning to work with others on and off the court, athletes gain valuable experience. As men’s basketball coach Dennis Smith, explains “Playing on a sports team is really about how people work together to meet a goal. Teamwork is the foundation of everything we do.”

The Southside Virginia Community College basketball team joined the Virginia Community College System club league during the 2003–04 season and has earned rising acclaim. The team won three straight VCCS division titles from 2006 to 2008 and captured the VCCS state championship title in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.  For the last two years, SVCC’s basketball team captured the USA National Post-Grad Championship title, a competition for teams beyond the high school level. In guiding the team, Coach Smith is assisted by Coach Vincent Brown.

During its regular season the SVCC club basketball team plays against other two-year colleges in Virginia and North Carolina, prep schools, and some independent college teams. In addition to about 20 regular season games, the team participates in two showcase events where coaches from four-year colleges scout for talent. This provides an important benefit to SVCC students because most of the college’s athletes are in transfer programs and have plans to continue their education after graduation.

Student athletes have to preserve a minimum grade point average of 2.0, but coaches push them to achieve more. According to Coach Smith, “Our goal for student athletes is 3.5. We don’t always meet it, but that’s our goal because four-year college coaches are looking for athletes they know will also be successful in the classroom.”

SVCC holds an open tryout in September. Coach Smith says, “I’ve been coaching the team for fourteen years, and we’ve had students come to open try-outs and make the team every year.” The current team began practicing in September, and regular season games started at the end of October.

The SVCC club sports roster will expand this coming spring to include a women’s fastpitch softball program under the leadership of Coach Debra Hood. Practices will be held on both campuses, and games will be held on the John H. Daniel Campus beginning in March 2017.

For more information on where you fit into the SVCC team—whether your interests are focused on sports, activities, clubs, workforce training, or academics—call an admissions advisor on the Christanna Campus in Alberta (434-949-1000) or the Daniel Campus in Keysville (434-736-2000), or 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.

Panther Prep Advising Day is Coming to SVCC November 21, 2016

Panther Prep Advising Day is coming to Southside Virginia Community College on November 21, 2016.  This day is for everyone to learn more about SVCC and to register for classes.  Prizes, food, DJs, advising, informational sessions and more.  Bernadette Battle (Left), Director of Counseling and Johnny Paws, the SVCC Panther are looking forward to seeing you.  More information, www.southside.edu

Everyone is invited to a huge event happening at four locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Monday, November 21, 2016.   Panther Prep Advising Day will be held from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. for all current students, those interested in becoming a student or learning more about the college.  The general public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The event is being held at the Christanna Campus, Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus, Keysville, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, South Boston, and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center, South Hill.

SVCC will show its Panther Pride on this day with fun, food, DJs, door prizes (to include laptops and VISA gift cards), help with registering for Spring Classes, applying for financial aid and advisors getting students on the right path to success.  There will also be information about the new SVCC Women’s Softball team, entertainment, face painting and college tours.

There will be a free screening of the movie, Farmland, at 7 p.m. at the Alberta and Keysville sites to highlight the provide insights on how our food is produced and to highlight SVCC’s Agribusiness Program.

RSVP to http://www.southside.edu/pantherprepor call Leslie Perkins at 434 736 2022.

Job Fair Coming to Greensville-Emporia November 2

Job Fair 2016 is coming to Southside Virginia Education Center at 1600 Greensville County Circle, Emporia on Wednesday, November 2 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.  Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services are sponsoring the event along with Crater Business Services Team and First Media Radio.  This is a Regional Job Fair to serve employers in our locality.

Dress to impress, bring your resume, photo ID and a copy of your WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC gets you in the door at 1:45 p.m.) 

Interested employers with job vacancies should reserve a booth for this event by October 26.  Hiring employers who reserve a booth will be treated to a catered luncheon at 12:30 p.m. compliments of SVCC.

Employer registration is required by contacting Angela McClintock at angela.mcclintock@southside.edu or 434 949 1026.

SVCC Nursing Club Officers

The SVCC ADN Nursing Club Officers for 2016 on the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College are (Left to Right) Molly Buchholz, President, from LaCrosse, Casey Dalton, Vice President, from Blackstone, Emily Watts, Secretary, from Gasburg, Rose Marie Privott, Treasurer, from Chester, and Stephanie Robinson, Assistant Treasurer, from Blackstone.

Christie Hales Honored for Excellence in Communications

Christie Hales, Public Relations Director at Southside Virginia Community College, received a 2016 Excellence in Communications Award from the Virginia Community Colleges Association.  Hales won a second place award for writing in the category of Feature Story.  The article was "SVCC Student Now Familiar Face on Georgia TV," about Benjamin Billmyer, an SVCC graduate, who landed a job  as Multimedia Journalist with a television station in Georgia.  Hales lives in Lawrenceville and received a B.A. degree in Journalism from the University of Richmond.  She has worked in PR at SVCC for 27 years.

Editor's Note: Christie's words have graced this page many times, and I am grateful for every one of them over the past few years. Congratulations, Christie!

Register Now for Truck Driver Training

Coming in November to Greensville County; Truck Driver Training through Southside Virginia Community College! Train now for a great well paying job.   The class will begin on November 7, 2016 and will run for six weeks, Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.  at the facility located on U.S. 58 east of Emporia.  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.

SVCC FAculty and Staff Recognized

During the recent Virginia Community Colleges Association meeting held at Wintergreen, four members of the Southside Virginia Community College staff and faculty were recognized as Showcase Recipients.  This award recognizes hard work and dedication to their individual colleges and the overall mission of the Virginia Community College System.  Congratulating the Showcase winners is Stephen Walker of Charlotte Court House, President-Elect of the VCCA and SVCC faculty (Left to Right)and winners are Sharon P. Freeman of Lawrenceville, Associate Professor of English, Christanna Campus, Rosa Townsend of Victoria, College Librarian and Adjunct Associate Professor on the John H. Daniel Campus, Christie C. Hales, Public Relations and Marketing Specialist for SVCC, and Robert J. Blackwell of Keysville, Trade Technician III of John H. Daniel Campus. 

Community Is Our Middle Name

By Dr. Al Roberts

We are Southside Virginia Community College. “Southside Virginia” describes the geographic area we serve. “College” explains our function as an institution of postsecondary education. But “Community” is what characterizes our mission. Community stands at the core of our purpose and in the middle of our name. Community binds the people and places of our region together as we share our lives, our challenges, and our dreams.

Admittedly, some of the challenges have been significant. But challenges only serve to make us stronger. For example, business start-ups have increased every year for the past three years (from 214 to 308 to 353). Employment rates also show recovery. Regional unemployment stood at 10.5% in 2010, and the most recent Virginia Employment Commission figures peg it at 5.5%. The College promotes regional and individual prosperity through a wide slate of education opportunities. Earlier this year, SVCC awarded Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Arts and Science, and other credentials to more than 1,300 students, opening many doors of opportunity. Furthermore, for the eighth year in a row, SVCC was recognized as a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

SVCC faculty and staff also maintain strong community connections. With more than 300 full-time and part-time employees, the College’s workforce constitutes an armada of volunteers. They serve in areas such as fire departments and rescue squads. They distribute food and clothing, provide health care, and keep our region beautiful by picking up litter. SVCC employees serve on non-profit boards and committees, help out at festivals, and assist in schools, nursing homes, and churches. They help build and repair houses, volunteer as coaches, and give their blood—literally. By example, they lead students into lifestyles characterized by helping others.

SVCC student organizations include the Human Services Club, whose members seek to address needs among the elderly, young, and mentally challenged members of the community. The Student Government Association networks with legislators to find solutions to educational issues. The Minority Awareness Programming Club sponsors an annual African-American History month program and raises funds for charitable organizations. The Automotive Club sponsors car care clinics, and the Wellness Club offers workshops and community outreach programs to promote healthy lifestyles. Student Veterans of America provides encouragement to veterans and spouses of veterans, and members of Student Ambassadors honor the value of giving back to the community through outreach and volunteer projects. These are just a few of many examples.

When SVCC staff and students join hands with neighbors and others, Southside Virginia becomes a place where unity strengthens our relationships and prepares us for the future. SVCC’s Annual Report includes more details about the ways in which the College helps put the “unity” into our Community. If you would like to receive a copy, please contact me at 434-949-1004 or al.roberts@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.

SVCC Fighting Childhood Hunger

Make It Happen and Empowered Women Groups at Southside Virginia Community College are joining with Gamma Lambda Omega to collect healthy snacks for hungry children through a Childhood Hunger Drive. Drop off locations are on the Christanna Campus A Building Lobby, Student Lounge and Faculty Lounge. Items needed include applesauce and fruit cups, crackers and pretzels, raisins and dried fruit, trail mix without peanuts and breakfast bars. The men of Make It Happen shown here are Kaleb Greene, Andre Harrell and Raquan Richardson. The drive will run through October 25, 2016.

SVCC Offers Deal On Welding Testing

It has been said, “the best things in life are free.”  This does not typically apply to professional credentials, but it does in the Southside Virginia Community College Welding Program. Welder certification is free to all welding students while they are enrolled in welding courses during the 2016-17 school year. 

In the welding industry, welders performing code quality work are required to pass a skill test to prove that he or she has the skill to make a sound weld.  These tests are called Welder Qualification Tests, and are typically part of the interview process at many companies that hire welders.  The tests are administered in various positions, welding processes, joints and shapes of material.  SVCC offers students the opportunity to take both plate and pipe tests while enrolled in welding courses at SVCC.

David Braun, Professor of Welding at SVCC, is an American Welding Society Certified Welding Inspector (CWI).  CWIs inspect welds and certify welders through Welder Qualification Tests. 

Cost can be a barrier for many students in attempting to earn the credential during training, which is why SVCC has removed that barrier.  Welder Qualification Tests typically cost between $150 and $450 elsewhere.  Some students enrolled in the SVCC welding program have passed as many as 12 tests saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 

For more information about Welding at SVCC, visit the website at www.southside.edu  The college offers welding at the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville, Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston and Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia.

COLLEGE DAY AND FOUR YEAR COLLEGE TOUR SET FOR OCTOBER 5

Area eleventh and twelfth-grade high school students and their parents are invited to attend “College Day” at Southside Virginia Community College’s Christanna Campus in Alberta on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  This is the Regional College Day program for Brunswick, Mecklenburg, and parts of Lunenburg and Nottoway counties.  Second-year students and graduates of two-year college degree programs are also urged to attend.  Over 50 colleges, universities and special schools will be represented.

Institutions that should be represented include Averett University, Bluefield College, Chowan University, Christopher Newport University, College of William and Mary, Concord University, Eastern Mennonite University, Ferrum College, George Mason University,  Hampden-Sydney College, Hampton University, James Madison University, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Johnson & Wales University, Liberty University, Living Arts College, Longwood University, Lynchburg College,  Mary Baldwin College, Meredith College, Mid-Atlantic Christian University, National University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Wesleyan College,  Old Dominion University, Old Dominion University On Line, Pfeiffer University, Potomac State College of West Virginia University, Radford University, Randolph College, Regent University, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Southside Regional Medical Center, Southside Virginia Community College,  Strayer University, Sweet Briar College,  The Apprentice School, University of Mary Washington, University of Mount Olive, University of Virginia, University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, Virginia Wesleyan College and William Peace University.  Also attending will be a representative for the Virginia Tobacco Region Scholarship.

For more information about “College Day” contact the Admissions Office at SVCC’s Christanna Campus (Phone: 434-949-1014).

Chancellor Visits SVCC To Learn Of Best Practices

The Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System recently visited Southside Virginia Community College in order to learn more about programs that enhance student success.  At SVCC, he heard about the Make It Happen (MIH) Program that benefits African-American Males in their successful pursuit of higher education.  Those participating in the event are (Left to Right) Shauna Davis, Executive Director of VCCS Student Success Center, Dr. John Hicks, SVCC MIH Advisor, Andre Harrell, MIH student, Sharon Morrissey, Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Research, Kaleb Greene, MIH student, Dr. Glenn Dubois, Chancellor, Anquinnie Lee, MIH student, LaFreda Ogburn, SVCC Local Board member, Jarius Miller, MIH student, Van Wilson, VCCS Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Services, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, Dr. Anne Hayes, SVCC Dean of Institutional Effectiveness.

Dr. Glenn Dubois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, recently began a statewide listening tour of best practices related to student success.   He stopped by Southside Virginia Community College on September 13, 2016 to learn more about one of the college’s successful programs as well as facilitate a discussion around barriers to student success within the community college system.

The SVCC presentation featured students from the Make It Happen (MIH) program who participated in internships and research projects at Hampton University during the summer.  This MIH program began in the fall of 1998 in an effort to enhance the academic success of African-American males at the college.  This comprehensive program provides meaningful activities for participants and establishes an institutional climate of support.

The students presented information about the Hampton University Minority Men’s Health Initiative.  They participated in this programto promote and deliver the highest quality of research, education, training, and outreach to combat and eliminate health disparities affecting minority men in several areas.  These areas of research included cancer, cardiovascular disease, violence prevention, diabetes and obesity, and melanoma in Hispanics by, transforming cultural lifestyles resulting in healthy bodies, healthy families and healthy communities of minority men and ultimately all Americans.

The MIH participants who presented during the Chancellor’s visit were Andre Harrell of Brunswick, Kaleb Greene of Brodnax, Anquinni Lee of Nottoway and Jarius Miller of Prince George.

50th Anniversary Graduating Class Breaks Records for Virginia’s Community Colleges

RICHMOND — Virginia’s Community Colleges are off to a promising start in their quest to triple the number of credentials students earn annually by the year 2021. As the VCCS celebrates its 50th anniversary, the 2016 class was the most successful in history, reaching record numbers for both individual graduates and credentials earned. This past spring’s graduations also represented the end of the first year of the VCCS’s six-year statewide strategic plan, Complete 2021, which established the goal of tripling credentials.

All told, Virginia’s Community Colleges saw a 7.6% increase in degrees, certificates and diplomas earned, from 31,194 to 33,580 – and a 5.2% increase in the number of individual graduates, from 25,562 to 26,899. There were significant increases in certain groups driving those record numbers including:

  • A 14% increase in the number of Hispanic/Latino graduates;
  • An 11.4% increase in the number of so-called traditional-age graduates, those between the ages of 18 and 24; and
  • A 9% increase in the number of graduates who are the first in their family to attend and graduate college – in fact, first generation students earned one out of every five awards earned by the 2016 class.

There was also a smaller, though notable, increase of 6.5% in the number of men graduating. Traditionally, men pursue and complete postsecondary credentials at rates well below that of women. Today, men make up just more than 41% of the total VCCS enrollment.

The graduation numbers above do not include the more than 13,000 industry-certified credentials earned by VCCS students in short-term workforce training programs last year. Those programs operate outside of a traditional academic calendar and are counted separately.

“With a focus on student success, we are helping more individuals overcome the barriers that can prevent them from earning a postsecondary credential, the passport that is essential today to pursuing the American Dream,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Much work remains, however, if we are going to reach that tripling goal of Complete 2021 and truly prepare individuals for the new Virginia economy.”

No one, perhaps, better personifies that pursuit of the American Dream better than Augusto “Gus” Infantas, 22, who became the first in his family to attend and graduate college when he earned his degree last May from Northern Virginia Community College.

Infantas was born in Peru but raised in America. The sometimes-frustrating process of obtaining legal residency, and a lack of resources, delayed his pursuit of a college education. Instead, he began working fulltime to support his family. He wasn’t sure what to think by the time he made it to campus.

“As a very non-traditional student, I was nervous going into college; I was older and working two jobs all through school. But the diversity of people, thoughts and ideas made me comfortable. I was encouraged by faculty and other students to succeed. They motivated me to reach toward my goals,” said Infantas.

Infantas is now studying finance at the University of Virginia. “NVCC really sets students up for success,” he added. “You just have to be willing to work for it.”

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week Recognized at SVCC

2016 National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is upon us, September 11  – 17.  Southside Virginia Community College salutes our nation’s truckers and continues to provide training to keep the freight and economy moving. 

For the past 20 years, SVCC has successfully trained 2,029 people for careers in this industry.  The college’s Truck Driver Training Program is recognized by companies as a topnotch, high quality program to train the employees they want to hire.

According to Dale Bennett, President and CEO of Virginia Trucking Association in the Richmond Times-Dispatch tabloid, Heroes of the Highway, published Sunday, September 11, 2016, “These drivers delivered nearly 10 billion tons of freight last year, that’s about 70 percent of all the freight moved in the U.S.  Here in Virginia, trucking transports 88 percent of our total manufactured freight.” 

He also noted, trucking employs more than 150,940 Virginians (one out of every 20 jobs in the state) including 55,100 tractor-trailer and delivery truck drivers.

SVCC continues to offer this training in three locations:  Blackstone, South Boston and Emporia.  For information, contact Susan Early at 434-292-3101.

Answering the Call

By Dr. Al Roberts

On the morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen people carried out suicide attacks against targets within the United States. Two airplanes smashed into the twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center and another plunged into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania without reaching its intended target. More than 3,000 people, including hundreds of police officers and firefighters, were killed during the assaults.

According to a report by the 9/11 Commission that investigated the horrifying events, casualties at the World Trade Center “were very high among first responders who stayed in danger as they tried to save lives.” The report goes on to note that ultimately, “all but approximately one hundred of the thousands of civilians who worked below the impact zone escaped, often with help from the emergency responders.”

In honor of the bravery and courage with which men and women faced these strikes against our national security, the U.S. Congress passed bipartisan legislation in 2009 designating September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. By instituting a tradition of charitable service, the commemoration redirects memories of destruction toward the establishment of hope. It encourages people to show respect to the victims, survivors, and first responders by promoting goodwill and unity. The declaration calls people to work together through service motivated by the desire to make the world a better place.

Our nation’s first responders include a diverse range of dedicated individuals who place their duties and responsibilities ahead of their own personal regard. They are professionals and volunteers; they are our nation’s first line of defense. The National First Responders Organization defines a first responder in this way: “Any individual who runs toward an event rather than the other way.”

In order to perform their duties, first responders must be well-equipped. They face day-to-day dangers and handle large scale crises. Being prepared includes undergoing readiness training, maintaining mental and physical capabilities, and being able to deploy safety technologies to meet emergency needs. Because they are such skilled leaders, first responders often serve as role models within their communities.

Southside Virginia Community College takes pride in the part we play in providing instruction and credentialing for people who embrace these vital responsibilities. We offer Associate degrees, Certificate programs, and Career Studies Certificates in the fields of Administration of Justice, Emergency Medical Services, and Fire Science Technology. In addition, we offer CPR and first aid training classes.

If you yearn to answer the call to service, I invite you to visit SVCC’s website (www.southside.edu) or call SVCC at 888-220-7822. Admissions personnel can help you to learn about the training opportunities that will qualify you to join the elite cadre of first responders.

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.

Local Law Enforcement and SVCC Partner for Active Shooter Training

Numerous law enforcement agencies across the nation have taken extra steps to standardize their first responders’ reaction to active shooter incidents through their agencies and academies. A two-day training session was held recently for preparedness in such an event on the John H. Daniel Campus of Southside Virginia Community College, organized by Sheriff Arthur Townsend of Lunenburg County. 

Virginia was among the first to implement a statewide plan. In 2007, The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) partnered with Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) to develop and deliver an aggressive state-wide response and prevention model.  This model will allow Virginia’s law enforcement officers to respond, prevent and/or mitigate an active shooter incident implementing ALERRT’s pivotal uniform response standards.  It is critical to the safety of the public as well as the safe and efficient mitigation of active shooters for all responding agencies to be trained to the same set of standards and tactics.  This consistent and proven partnership is and has proven vital to officer survivability and public safety.

Those participating in the training were the following agencies: Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Department, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department, Nottoway County Sheriff’s Department, Victoria Police Department, Kenbridge Police Department, Virginia State Police and included observation by a member of the administration of Southside Virginia Community College.

The participants of this training received an overview of the Active Shooter Level I course.  The module covered all administrative requirements including registration, waivers, and training rosters. The course was designed to prepare the first responder to isolate, distract, and neutralize an active shooter.  The course curriculum includes weapon manipulation, threshold evaluation, concepts and principles of team movement (including solo officer strategies), setting up for room entry and room entry techniques, approach and breaching the crisis site, follow-on responder tactics, improvised explosive devices (IED's), and post-engagement priorities of work.  The course will culminate with dynamic “force-on-force” scenarios.  Also included was a post test to assess participant’s base knowledge of the course material.

SVCC was very appreciative of the time and effort expended by Sheriff Townsend seeking grant funding for this project, organizing the training, and communicating with surrounding agencies inviting participation.

SVCC Recognizes Tobacco Commission Partnership

Southside Virginia Community College recently recognized the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission as a partner that has been, and continues to be, instrumental in providing resources to students in the form of scholarships and in the development and expansion of programs.

In making the presentation, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, said, “the college has a history of making the most out of our individual and community partnerships. It is how our institution has grown over the years and how we are better able to serve our communities and all residents of Southside Virginia. Tonight, the SVCC Local Board and the SVCC Foundation Board would like to recognize The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission was created in 1999 by the Virginia General Assembly to promote growth and development in tobacco dependent communities.”

He noted that for over 15 years, SVCC and the communities served have partnered with the Commission. He said funds have assisted in the creation and development of many facilities and programs that are instrumental to SVCC. Centers, such as The Estes Community Center, the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, the Clarksville Enrichment Complex, the Southside Virginia Education Center, and the Occupational Technical Center, allow SVCC to offer classes and programs that make education and training accessible throughout the 4,200 square-mile footprint. The Commission partnered with the communities in the development of these state-of-the-art facilities.  Programs offered by SVCC have been established and expanded because of Commission funding. Nursing, Welding, Precision Machining, Automotive, Truck Driver Training, Diesel Technology, Information Technology, Emergency Medical Services are all included and, the list goes on and on! The Commission has supported programs to encourage and assist students to complete their GED. It has provided scholarship assistance to help hundreds of students in their quest for education and training.                                                       

SVCC’s grateful appreciation was expressed with the presentation of  a plaque that will be placed in the lobby of the Student Services and Learning Resource Center on the Daniel Campus.

SVCC Recognizes Employees for Years of Service

Southside Virginia Community College recently recognized Commonwealth of Virginia employees with Service Awards .  Nancy Turner of Kenbridge received her Thirty Year Award.  Brent Richey of South Hill (not pictured) received the Twenty Five Year Award.

Southside Virginia Community College recently recognized Commonwealth of Virginia employees with Service Awards .  Those receiving the Twenty Year Award are (Left to Right) Debra Andrews of Charlotte Court House, Matt Dunn of Keysville, Dr. Al Roberts of Emporia and Dr. Dixie Dalton of Kenbridge.  Not pictured is Duncan Quicke of Blackstone.

Southside Virginia Community College recently recognized Commonwealth of Virginia employees with Service Awards .  Those receiving the Fifteen Year Award are (Left to Right) Marysue Lewis of South Hill, Tim Jenkins of Kenbridge, Sharon Freeman of Lawrenceville and Stephen Capon of Keysville.  Not pictured are Mary Elkins, Teresa George, Mike King, Gunay Smith.

Southside Virginia Community College recently recognized Commonwealth of Virginia employees with Service Awards .  Those receiving the Ten Year Award are (Left to Right) Terri Milroy of Midlothian, Christy Lowery-Carter of South Boston, Janet Lenhart of Chase City, Stacy Hines-Bentley of Lynchburg, John Hays of Ashland and Alfonzo Seward of Lawrenceville.  Not picured is Christopher Dickerson.

Southside Virginia Community College recently recognized Commonwealth of Virginia employees with Service Awards .  Those receiving the Five Year Award are (Left to Right) Patricia Archer of Kenbridge, Mashonda Macklin of Lawrenceville, Bobby Lester of South Hill and William McGraw of Blackstone.  Not pictured is Pamela Taylor of Clarksville.  

So Many Choices

By Dr. Al Roberts

The Model T was America’s first automobile priced for the middle class. In writing about it, industrialist Henry Ford quipped, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

Not all early cars were black. Cars built by craftsmen—and even some of the first production models of the Model T—sported different colors. The switch to all-black was made to accommodate nascent assembly lines and to overcome technical problems related to paints. The one-color-fits-all approach didn’t last long.

After the end of World War I, improvements in painting technologies opened the way for car manufacturers to offer a variety of colors. By 1926, even Henry Ford found himself bowing to customer demand and offering more choices.

It seems that in every area of human endeavor, individual needs based on unique circumstances call for customize solutions.

This is especially evident in education. Students come from diverse walks of life. They face multi-faceted challenges. Daily, they juggle numerous obligations, and each faces different sets of complications and worries.

For this reason, Southside Virginia Community College offers courses in a variety of places and with a wide array of scheduling options. SVCC serves students from more than seven different physical sites across its service area. Classes include those taught in traditional 16-week semesters, but others are available in shorter formats of twelve, ten, eight, five, or even four weeks. Some classes are held during the day; others meet at night.

And, just as improvements in painting technologies ushered in a rainbow of car color choices, the present internet age has introduced a host of new technologies for teaching. SVCC makes full use of these state-of-the-art developments to offer classes in a wide variety of formats, including online, hybrid, compressed video, and shared distance learning courses. Online course can be completed from anywhere with a computer and a reliable internet connection. Hybrid courses combine the benefits of seated and online components. Compressed video technology makes courses available at more locations by enabling instructors and students to connect with two-way communication tools. Furthermore, shared distance learning lets SVCC students broaden their online class choices to include offerings from other partner institutions.

So many choices! Yet, not every choice is right for every person. At SVCC, counselors work with each individual to customize a roadmap to success. This dedication to personalized assistance helps ensure that every individual finds just the right mix of class schedules, formats, and locations to successfully reach his or her chosen destination.

If you’re ready to start or to continue on an education journey, call 888-220-7822 or visit www.southside.edu for assistance in choosing the right education model for your lifestyle.

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 Attracts International Students

Wenchan S. Dickens of Emporia, Virginia, has been accepted into the Associate Degree Nursing Program of Southside Virginia Community College for fall 2016 semester. She graduated from high school in China and received her Masters Degree in Horticulture in China.  Wenchan is a Phlebotomy Technician.   Her mother, Zhapo Lan, lives in China.  Wenchan is married to Joseph A. Dickens and has one child.

Students who successfully complete this program are eligible to apply for the licensure examination for Registered Nursing.    The program is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Nursing Education and is fully approved as an associate degree nursing school by the Virginia Board of Nursing.   The nursing program is made possible through partnerships between SVCC and VCU/Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia, Sentara Halifax Regional Health Systems in South Boston and Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville as well as numerous other partners throughout the Southside area. 

Katherine M. Belcher of Carson,  Virginia has been accepted into the Associate Degree Nursing Program of Southside Virginia Community College for fall 2016 semester.  She is a graduate of the University of the Visayas in the Phillipines.  Her husband is Robert Belcher and they have a son, Adam, 13.

Students who successfully complete this program are eligible to apply for the licensure examination for Registered Nursing.    The program is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Nursing Education and is fully approved as an associate degree nursing school by the Virginia Board of Nursing.   The nursing program is made possible through partnerships between SVCC and VCU/Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia,  Sentara Halifax Regional Health Systems in South Boston and Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville as well as numerous other partners throughout the Southside area.

Small Town Girl Now Working At The Pentagon

“Just because you are from or live in a small town, this does not mean your chances and options are limited,” advises Brishauna J. Hawkins-Wesson.  A native of Lawrenceville and graduate of Southside Virginia Community College, this small town girl now works as a Temporary Hire for the U.S. Department of Army Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management at Headquarters, U.S. Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia.

Hawkins-Wesson graduated from Brunswick High School in 2014 as number 6 in the top ten percentile of her class.  Having tried but not gotten a spot in the prestigious Governor’s School of Southside Virginia, she enrolled in dual enrollment courses as well asclasses on her own at SVCC in order to complete her Associates of Arts and Science degree in General Studies with a specialization in Administration of Justice the same year as her high school graduation.

Having many credits to transfer to her four-year college of choice, she completed a Bachelor of Science degree at James Madison University in two years.  Hawkins-Wesson received the B.S. in Public Policy and Administration with a concentration in Public Management and a minor in Political Science in May 2016. 

An added bonus was serving the state of Virginia and Virginia’s 5th Congressional District by interning for U.S. Representative Robert Hurst and U.S Senator Mark Warner from May to August of 2015.

About her experience at SVCC, she said, “First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the late Mrs. Rosa Hawkins (former dual enrollment Coordinator) for her dedication and service in shaping and molding the dual enrollment program, as well as serving as a mentor to the students within the SVCC community. Her encouragement and spiritual wisdom carried me through this program and made my SVCC experience the greatest. In addition, I would like to thank Professors: Lisa Jordan, Teresa Hudson, Shanley Dorin, and Mary Downing-Gardner for shaping and molding me to become a better learner and student.”

She also encourages students to “seize every opportunity that is provided or available for you and persevere and stay focused on achieving your goals.”

Both of her parents are Brunswick County natives. Her mother, Rachelle Hawkins-Wesson, is a popular educator and We The People coordinator for Brunswick County Public Schools and her father, Terrence Wesson, is SGT First Class in the U.S. Army and human resource specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Setting and meeting goals is in Hawkins-Wesson’s DNA.  Her future plans include receiving a Master’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Management or Security Studies at a well accredited and qualified institution of higher learning within the next two years. Within the next four years she plans to be proficient in Arabic and to obtain graduate certificates in Islamic or Middle Eastern Studies and possibly cyber security.   She hopes to work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the future also. 

SVCC offers dual enrollment opportunities throughout Southside Virginia in many areas of studies including administration of justice, nurse aide, culinary arts, fire science, welding, emergency medical services, high performance technology, advanced manufacturing, general education coursework, and more! For more information, please contact the guidance department at your local high school.

WIOA Summer Program Recognizes Participants/Partners

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act's Summer Youth Work Experience contracted through Southside Virginia Community College held a closing luncheon and awards ceremony on July 29, 2016 at the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville.   Guest speakers included Edward DeJesus, motivational speaker and author of Makin’ It”: The Hip-Hop Guide to True Survival.  Other speakers included Joseph Ashley, Assistant Commissioner of Grants and Special Programs for the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, and Dr. Rick Mitchell, Deputy Director of the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired. 

For the program, participants are matched with an employer in their area to do a four to eight week paid work experience. 

According to Christin Jackson, Coordinator of the WIOA Adult and Your Programs for SVCC, “There were 19 employers that worked with our 41 participants this summer.  Each week, the WIOA Case Managers (Suzanne Lawson, Monica McMillan, D'Elia Gafford, and part-time assistant case manager Julia McInturf) taught the employment soft skills class created by the NCCER called Tools for Success.  Successful participants in this class received a certificate for completion to put with their resume that included their employment skills such as resume writing, interview skills, working as a team, conflict management, thinking outside the box, sexual harassment awareness, etc.”

The students were also offered the opportunity to take the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) Assessment. A total of 14 took the CRC Assessment and the results were: 1 - Gold, 2 - Silvers, and 6 Bronze Certificates.  

This year for the Work Experience SVCC and WIOA partnered with DARS (Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services) in a Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities (CPID) Grant to put on three Dream It Do It Academies.  This enabled all 41 participants to experience an academy.   The first academy was taught by Vincent Brown and was a Robotics/Drones Academy where the students built robots and flew drones and were able to take aerial photos and videos.  These students also toured UAV Pro, a drone manufacturer in Blackstone.  The second academy was taught by Scott Edmonds and was a 3-D Imaging Academy and the students designed marketing tools for various companies using AutoCad.  They were able to print their designs using 3-D printers.  They created a portfolio of their work and they were able to tour Cardinal Homes, Inc. of Wylliesburg to see 3-D imaging that is used in creating homes.  The last academy was Welding taught by Fernandez Bruce.  The students worked as a team to create two beautiful drafting tables.  Also, individually the students designed and created a fireplace poker and shovel.  These students toured Slap Nasty Custom Designs of South Boston.  All of the academy participants got to tour Dollar General Distributing in South Boston to see what happens to products after manufacturing. 

“At the finale on July 29th, the employers were awarded certificates of appreciation for their participation in the program.  The students were given portfolio's with their resume, a letter of reference from their employer, their CRC Certificate, their Dream It Do It Certificate and their Tools for Success Certificate to ensure that along with the valuable work experience, they would be prepared for interviews,” said Jackson.  

The 2016 Summer Work Experience Employers are Virginia Cooperative Extension Office (4-H0 in Charlotte Court House, Charlotte County Treasurer’s Office in Charlotte Court House, Ellis Acres Memorial park, Dillwyn, Southside Virginia Community College Buildings and Grounds, Keysville, Southside Virginia Community College Student Services Office, Keysville, Randolph-Henry High School office in Charlotte Court House, South Boston and Halifax County Museum in South Boston, The Prizery in South Boston, The Prissy Hippie Beauty Shop, South Hill, Central Middle School, Charlotte Court House, YMCA, Farmville, @Work Personnel Services, Farmville, Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library, Farmville, Central High School, Victoria, South Hill Workforce Center, South Hill, Estes Community Center, Chase City, Butler Memorial Library, Chase City, Life Changing Community Development, Blackstone, Chase City Rescue Squad in Chase City.

Lauren Upton of Dinwiddie Receives K. George Verghese Memorial Academic Merit Award

Lauren Upton of Dinwiddie was a recent recipient of the K. George Verghese Memorial Academic Merit Award. Dr. Verghese was a long time faculty member at SVCC and was instrumental in the establishment of the Registered Nursing and Practical Nursing Programs. Lauren (center) is shown with Karen Abbett (right), Practical Nursing Program Director and Patricia Archer, Associate Professor of Practical Nursing.

Machining Skills Program Graduates

Front row, left to right: Gary Holderness; Jason Cates; Chad Garcia, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee, Command Sergeant Major Clarence D. Richardson; Chief Antonio Belmar, Sr of Fort Lee; Gabriel Kelechi;   Second row, left to right:  John Bright;  Brandon Cooper;  Robert Homer.  (Absent were Smith Jeandenis, Vantyne Montes, and Bruce Trask)

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