Pellissippi State Announcements: Magnolia Avenue Open House

Pellissippi State Community College will hold an open house at its Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., from 5-7:30 p.m. April 28. The free open house is open to anyone interested in receiving more information about a college degree. The event will feature information about admissions, enrollment, tutoring, counseling and financial aid. Attendees also can view demonstrations in the Nursing lab and become eligible for a $250 scholarship drawing. Although the event is free, attendees are asked to RSVP at To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or

Download this press release: PSCC Briefs Open House

Pellissippi State hosts Appalachian expert George Brosi

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George Brosi
George Brosi

Pellissippi State Community will host Appalachian expert George Brosi for a presentation April 28.

The presentation, “Appalachia Then and Now,” begins at 2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. It is free and the community is invited to attend. Brosi will have a display of Appalachian books for sale following his presentation.

Brosi, a 1960 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, will discuss major cultural and social changes in Southern Appalachia since the time he was a student in East Tennessee.

“The first picket line I walked was at a segregated laundromat in Oak Ridge in 1961,” Brosi said. “When I was growing up, there were still deep coal mines in Anderson County. Knowing the historical perspective of things like this gives us hope that really dramatic social changes are possible in America.”

Brosi is the owner of Appalachian Mountain Books, a seller of books specializing in books about Southern Appalachia. He was editor of Appalachian Heritage literary magazine for more than a decade, and has served as an English and Appalachian studies instructor in Kentucky’s higher education system, including at the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University. Brosi also co-edited “No Lonesome Road: Selected Prose and Poems of Don West” with Jeff Biggers, the author of Pellissippi State’s Common Book, “The United States of Appalachia.”

“I’m really glad the students at Pellissippi State have the opportunity to read Jeff’s book,” Brosi said. “It’s a wonderful introduction to regional life, and it really helps students have a feeling of pride about where they’re from.”

Brosi’s presentation is a Common Academic Experience event. Pellissippi State’s Common Academic Experience unites all Pellissippi State freshmen students in a shared reading experience of a Common Book — this academic year, “The United States of Appalachia” — which becomes the basis of a year-long discussion of issues related to the book.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or For more information, visit or call 865-694-6400.

Download this press release: PSCC Brosi Lecture

Pellissippi State celebrates Shakespeare at ‘Bard at Blount’

Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus will celebrate Shakespeare — and the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23 — with a two-day festival that is open to the community.

“The Bard at Blount: A Celebration of Shakespeare” will explore how Shakespeare went from being a playwright to being the playwright, and how Shakespeare remains relevant in today’s modern culture. The free event will feature Pellissippi State faculty members Jennifer Horn, Kelly Rivers and Amanda Carr-Wilcoxson delivering lively lectures about Shakespeare’s life and works, as well as performances of iconic Shakespearean scenes by Pellissippi State acting students.

Beginning at 2 p.m., April 19, Carr-Wilcoxson and Rivers will present “Accidental Icon: Shakespeare in History and Culture.” Beginning at 3 p.m., April 20, Horn will present “Renew, Reuse, Recycle: Shakespeare Today.” Horn’s lecture will include a performance by fellow faculty member Grechen Wingerter’s Acting I class.

Each day’s events will be held in the West Chevrolet Auditorium, and Shakespeare birthday cake will be served following both. The Blount County Campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or For more information, visit or call the Blount County Campus at 865-981-5300.


Download this press release: Bard at Blount

World premiere of ‘Which Side Are You On’ at Pellissippi State

Florence Reece Actresses
Pellissippi State Community College will hold the world premiere of the original play “Which Side Are You On: The Florence Reece Story” beginning April 15. Three Pellissippi State students portray the titular character during different stages of her life: from left, Caroline Darwin, Julia Thress and Liel Kirk.

Gun thugs. Activism. Social justice.

These are some of the themes — still relevant today — that will be addressed during the world premiere of the original play, “Which Side Are You On: The Florence Reece Story,” April 15-17 and 22-24 at Pellissippi State Community College.

The play is written by Pellissippi State’s Writer-in-Residence Edward Francisco and is directed by Grechen Wingerter, assistant professor in Liberal Arts. It is a fictional retelling of the life of Florence Reece, an American social activist, poet and folksong writer.

The daughter and wife of coal miners, she penned the song “Which Side Are You On?” during the Harlan County War, a decade-long battle in the 1930s between coal miners and union organizers on one side and the coal companies, gun thugs and law enforcement officials on the other. The war included a series of strikes, skirmishes, bombings, executions and the occupation of Harlan County by both state and federal troops. Reece’s song became a social justice anthem after Pete Seeger recorded it in 1940.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students and are available at Show times are 7:30 p.m. April 15, 16, 22 and 23 and 2 p.m. April 17 and 24.

“This will be a very different play than what people are used to because of the scope of it,” said Wingerter. “The play has a huge, epic scope over decades and follows multiple characters. Plus the content of the play itself is all about social change and workers’ rights. We’re pushing the play to the max.”

Wingerter sees parallels between the social activism of the Harlan County War’s battle between coal miners and coal companies as reflective of similar confrontations still happening today.

“Florence Reece and her husband, Sam, wanted life to be fairer and more equitable for everyone, not just coal miners. Her song has been used in social justice movements since it was written in the 1930s,” Wingerter said.

The ensemble cast of 27 includes a number of Pellissippi State students as well as local children, high school students and other community and professional actors. The style of directing, based upon Bertolt Brecht’s concept of “epic theatre,” will include unusual features for plays, such as image projections and actors in the audience.

“Which Side Are You On: The Florence Reece Story” is one of the events that make up The Arts at Pellissippi State, a series of cultural activities including music, theatre, international celebrations, lectures and the fine arts. The play also is part of this year’s Common Academic Experience, a shared reading experience that includes class curriculum and extracurricular activities and events. This year’s Common Book is “The United States of Appalachia” by Jeff Biggers.

Additionally, “Which Side Are You On” is sponsored by an Arts Builds Communities grant administered by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

For more information, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or


Download this press release: Florence Reece at PSCC

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