Pellissippi State Community College is offering a series of free FAFSA workshop sessions for students and parents Jan. 27-Feb. 1. FAFSA Frenzy and the annual College Goal Sunday serve to walk students and parents through the process of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form.
All sessions take place on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Workshop dates, times and locations:
Monday, Jan. 26, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Room 129, Alexander Building
Ashley Albritton sits down at her kitchen table each night to study with her 13-year-old son, Mason.
As an added incentive to succeed, they also compete with one another to get the highest grades—Ashley at Pellissippi State Community College and Mason at Farragut Middle School.
At the end of the semester, their report cards hang side by side on the refrigerator.
Ashley Albritton is busy knocking out the prerequisites to apply for nursing school. She enrolled at Pellissippi State in 2013, with strong encouragement from her sister.
“It was just Mason and I, and I had been working in hospice and home health, just getting by,” she said. “My younger sister told me that I needed to get back into the world.”
Her sister also helped her apply to Pellissippi State.
“When I first got here, I felt like it was a joke for me to be in college,” said Albritton, “like I wasn’t worthy to be here. But now I feel like this is all a dream. My son tells me that college has given me back the light in my smile, the light in my eyes.”
Albritton was seated on the stage when President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visited Pellissippi State on Friday, Jan. 9. She shook President Obama’s hand from her place in the front row.
She had hoped to give the nation’s president a memento: a hope chest her father had given her when she was a child. Into this box, throughout her life, she has placed scraps of paper that represent all of her hopes and dreams.
“I want to give that box to someone else. The truth is, I can never say thank you enough to all the people who have helped me. I just hope to pass on my story so that it can help some other young woman follow her dreams.
“I don’t need my dream box anymore, because all of my dreams are coming true.”
Friday afternoon, Albritton gave the hope chest, instead, to Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., who had featured her in his introductory speech earlier that day.
“Ashley is truly an inspiration, both to other students and to me,” Wise said. “She has a sincere heart, and through her strength and compassion, she proves, each day, that everyone can follow their dreams.”
Albritton hopes to become a medical missionary. She believes that her purpose is to give back and to serve. When she graduates from Pellissippi State, she hopes to go on to earn her bachelor’s degree and then a master’s to be an advanced nurse practitioner.
For more information about Pellissippi State’s academic offerings or its 40th anniversary celebration, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.
Pellissippi State Community College has named 920 top students to the fall semester dean’s list. Students are eligible for the dean’s list upon completion of 12 college-level hours per semester of college coursework with a 3.5-4.00 GPA. Pellissippi State honorees include the following:
Stage-fighting students at Pellissippi State Community College took their unique combat skills to the next level when they performed recently for the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival.
“Our stage-fighting course is unique in Tennessee,” said Charles R. Miller, the college’s Theatre program coordinator and a professor of Liberal Arts. “We have one of the top two-year Theatre programs in the country.”
Students in the stage-fighting course learn the skills to perform mock combat for theatrical purposes. Participants are a mix of full-time students and people from the community enrolled only in the class.
The fighters from Pellissippi State—Greg Congleton, Jordan Cook, Carolyn Corey, Thomas Crout, Julianna Meyers, Steve Trigg and Debi Wetherington—worked as “street characters” at October’s Renaissance Festival in Harriman. Several also performed on stage twice a day in “In a Pickle,” a comedy stunt show, and all honed their skills in “Human Combat Chess,” featuring theatrical sword fighting.
“We were aiming for the highest level of quality and safety available,” said Barrie Paulson, vice president/manager and entertainment director of the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival. “These students from Pellissippi State were cast in lead roles. The word after the performances was that even though the student actors were new, they more than held their own beside other professional stage acts.”
Earlier this year, 10 students at Pellissippi State passed the skills proficiency test of the Society of American Fight Directors. It was the first time the test had been administered in the state in almost 20 years.
In the video, Debi Wetherington and Jordan Cook take part in the Human Combat Chess Match. Jordan plays William Black and Debi plays Mary Tailor, two characters who are engaged to be married, but pitted against each other in the chess match. The video shows their unwillingness to hurt each other even as they are forced to appear to battle.
The college’s stage-fighting course is taught by Bob Borwick, the only SAFD certified instructor in Tennessee. Borwick teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State. Paulson served as a volunteer fight assistant in the course. She, too, passed the SAFD exam earlier this year.
Miller, who taught the stage combat class for years, says he gladly stepped aside for Borwick’s expertise: “Bob has so much great experience, and the quality of our Theatre program comes first.”
“It turned out to be a great opportunity for me to keep current with my stage-fight skills and to scout quality actor-combatants for the Renaissance Festival,” Paulson said.
Paulson and the Pellissippi State students tested with Dale Girard, an SAFD fight master and director of stage combat studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. By passing the exam, the students earned a much sought-after skill status in the world of professional theatre.
The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat), and it will be available again in spring 2015. Business and Community Services also is offering a non-credit Stage Combat course.
“I would love to see Pellissippi State’s Theatre program become the place for stage combat training in East Tennessee, and the place talent scouts target for expertise,” Paulson said.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.