Pellissippi State to host free FAFSA workshops

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:

FAFSA Frenzy

  • Monday, Jan. 26, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Room 129, Alexander Building
  • Tuesday, Jan. 27, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Room 147, Educational Resources Center
  • Wednesday, Jan. 28, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; 147 ERC
  • Thursday, Jan. 29, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; 147 ERC
  • Friday, Jan. 30, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; 147 ERC
  • Saturday, Jan. 31, 9-noon; 147 ERC

College Goal Sunday

  • Sunday, Feb. 1, noon-4; 147 ERC

Students and parents should bring current W2 forms and their most recent tax return.

For more information about the workshops or Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State student meets President Obama, spreads message of hope

4 people standing in an office, smiling.
Ashley Albritton and her son, Mason, accept tickets to the Jan. 9 Presidential address on Friday, Jan. 9, from Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, and Vice President of Student Affairs Rebecca Ashford, left.

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.”

Female holding up a box.
Ashley Albritton, on stage for President Barack Obama’s address at Pellissippi State Community College on Friday, Jan. 9, holds up a small hope chest mentioned in Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.’s opening remarks.

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 or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State students named to fall semester 2014 dean’s list

posted in: Awards, Dean's List, Students | 0

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:

Brandon Abele

Savannah Able

Liza Abrasaldo

Musa Abu Dayeh

Omar Abushehadeh

Melynda Adams

Melissa Aguilar

Samantha Akins

Aws Al hadeethi

Ali Alamri

Rusul Alani

Ashley Albritton

Turki Aldubaikel

Vincent Alfieri

Nicholas Alfieri

Yelena Aliy

Osama Aljunaydil

Jessica Allen

Julia Allison

Joseph Allston

Rayan Almubayrik

Nawaf Almutairi

Yousef Alshaqaq

Abdullah Altuwaijri

Alanood Al-Wadei

Nathaniel Ambrose

Evan Anderson

Cabot Anderson

Matthew Anderson

Joshua Anderson

Leslie Angerer

Niema Apiat

Juliana Appleby

Ben Aptaker

Miguel Aranda

Michele Archer

Nathan Armistead

Jessica Ashbrook

Megan Aslinger

Lynsey Atchley

Alexandria Atkins

Emma Atkinson

Geena Ausburn

Michael Avalos

Jalissa Avila

Jessie Babel

Ruth Ballinger

Drew Bandy

Jordan Barber

Jordan Barbour

Steven Barker

Carrie Barnawell

Jonathan Barnhill

Barbara Bearden

Lauren Beck

William Beck

Kaitlin Beeler

Joseph Beeler

Jaclyn Beeler

Chelsea Belcher

Eric Belew

Nick Belitz

Savannah Bell

Irina Belokobylko

Whitney Benge

Mark Bennett

Charles Bennett

Shawn Bergin

Caroline Berrong

Kayla Best

Morgan Best

Jacquelyn Bibby

Amy Bivens

Kourtney Blackburn

Kelsey Blalock

Emily Blanchard

Camber Blandford

Kendall Blankenship

Patrick Bledsoe

Gabriela Bledsoe

Taylor Blevins

Preston Blevins

Jesse Blum

David Bohling

Jordan Boring

Blair Bowden

Payton Boyd

Ashley Brabson

Elizabeth Bradley

James Bradwell

Abby Breeden

Lauren Brennan

Jason Brewer

Joshua Brite

Thomas Britt

Kennedy Brock

Travis Brock

Nina Brockman

Timothy Brooks

Trey Brooks

Richard Brookshire

Bryanne Brown

Garrett Brown

Laura Brown

Anna Brown

Camryn Brown

Caleb Brownfield

Michael Broyles

Teddi Bryant

Chelsey Buchanan

Thomas Buckner

Petr Bulkhak

Krista Burchfield

Thomas Burgett

James Burgett

Lisa Burleson

Abigail Burnett

Katherine Burns

Joe Busby

Leea Butler

Andrew Byram

Karri Byrd

Ian Cabage

Tyler Cage

Jonathan Caldwell

Cameron Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell

Robert Camp

Adam Campbell

Sokun Carathers

Clinton Carbonell

Katelyn Carden

Kristen Carlson

James Carmichael

Kenneth Carr

Hannah Carr

Mandee Carroll

Grayson Carroll

Lancia Carter

Jane Cassidy

Destiny Caughorn

Trisha Caulfield

Jonathan Caylor

Jamison Chamberlain

Joan Chamberlain

Austin Chapel

Tiffany Chaperon

Robert Chapman

Megan Charette

Brigid Chemosit

Alicia Chesney

Taylor Childres

Mariah Childress

Robert Chumley

Samantha Clanton

Lindsey Clark

Chase Clark

Christopher Clinard

Michelle Cochran

Zachery Coffey

Ashley Colantoni

Devan Coleman

Devin Collins

Lauren Collins

Zachary Conant

Diane Conatser

Katelyn Conner

Chelsea Conner

Heath Cook

Katelyn Cooley

Morgan Coram

William Core

Micaela Cornett

Marisela Correa

Jeremey Correll

Allan Coste

Renee Cota

Christopher Covert

Stephen Cox

Christine Cox

Kathryn Crabtree

Stacey Craig

Samuel Craig

Brandi Crass

Pamela Crawford

Justin Crisp

Valerie Crist

Alexandra Croce

Jacob Cross

Andrew Crouch

Mary Croxton

Nick Csercsevits

Tracey Cullen

Victoria Culpepper

Gabriella Cummings

Maria Cutler

Cierra Dailey

Cassandra Daniels

Raven Daniels

Isaac Daniels

Desmond Darko

Caroline Darwin

Emilie Daunis

Jalpa Dave

Brittany Davenport

Austin Daves

Eythan Davich

Bryn Davies

John Davis

Liesel Davis

Howard Davis

Ashley Davis

Jennifer Davis

Ashley Davis

Madeline Davis

Kenneth Deal

Erica Dean

Jacob DeArmond

Jeffrey Deitsch

Amanda Del Moro

Alexis Denny

Kelsey Denton

Kara Denton

Robin Devereaux

Taylor Diakoff

John Dickinson

Brooke Dills

James Dixon

Hong Do

Kyle Dockery

Michael Dodge

Brianna Donahue

Brittany Donahue

Ian Doss

Michael Douglas

Kirsten Douglas

Kyle Draghi

Adam Draper

Charalee Dugger

Ryan Duncan

Anielle Duncan

Stormy Dunlap

Marc Dunn

Angela Duran Lamberson

Charles Edington

Theresa Edmiston

Ashley Elcan

Brenna Elliott

Daulton Ellis

April Ellis

Kevin Ellis

Christina Emitt

Deborah Ermolov

Dena Estes

Kristin Eubanks

Timothy Evans

Rachel Evans

Alisha Evans

Janelle Evans

Zachary Evans

Kira Evans

John-David Ezell

Robert Farmer

Courtney Farrington

Sydney Faulkenberry

Stephanie Faulkner

James Feagle

Arturo Fernandez

Lowell Fields

Rebecca Fields

Almondo Fiori

Kaitlyn Fisher

Michael Fleming

Gregory Flynn

Sharleen Foster

Savannah Foster

Eli Foster

Brooklyn Foust

Savannah France

Amanda Freuler

Lauren Frye

Katie Fuchs

Christopher Gallaher

Abigail Gallaher

Diana Galyon

Davis Gammons

Daniel Garey

Shantell Gasche

Cozette Gaspard

Kaylee Geiler

Abigail Gibson

Marissa Gibson

Margaret Gicheru

April Gilbert

Seth Giles

Joshua Giles

Joshua Gill

MacKenzie Gill

Faith Gilley

Estille Gilliam

Julia Glass

John Glenn

Jackson Goble

Scottie Godfrey

Rebecca Godfrey

Jennifer Goldberg

Samantha Gomez

Rebeca Gonzalez

Michael Goode

Charles Goodin

Gregory Gorman

Cassie Grace

Hannah Graham

Jonathan Graham

Richard Grant

Stephanie Grayson

Nicky Greene

Catherine Griffith

Catessa Grimes

Lisa Grizzard

Megan Grubb

Logan Gunter

Zachary Guzman

Nicholas Hager

Steven Halcomb

Quenton Hale

Chelsea Hale

Bradley Hall

Jacob Hall

Emily Hall

Austin Hall

Jesse Hamby

Anna Hamilton

Elizabeth Hamilton

Justin Hancock

Michael Hancock

Kevin Hanson

Jennifer Hardin

Olivia Hardy

Charity Harmon

Adam Harms

Bridget Harris

Cassie Hart

Jonathan Harter

Jacob Harvey

Janet Hastings

Jeremy Hatmaker

Anna Hawkins

Kendall Hayden

Heather Hayes

Brittany Hayne

Caitlin Heater

Ashley Heath

Lauren Heath

Adam Hedges

James Helton

Jessica Helton

Erik Heng-Fischbach

Rocky Henry

Kelli Hensley

James Hensley

Kayla Hensley

Blaine Henson

Kyle Hermansky

Connor Hester

James Hiatt

Eric Hickman

Zenia Higgins

Taylor Hill

Jaylynd Hill

Steven Hines

Tuan Hoang

Taylor Hodgins

Taylor Hodsden

Kelsey Hoebeke

Fiona Holland

Celia Hollon

Amy Holloway

Wesley Holmes

Nicole Holsinger

Andrew Homan

Taylor Horan

Kristen Horner

Caitlin Hoskins

Tyler Hoskins

Jacob Houston

Bethany Howard

Ryan Howard

Emily Howard

Tiffany Howard

Letticia Howell

Kelly Howington

Matthew Hubbs

Dylan Hubbs

Hayley Huckaba

Jerad Hughes

Samantha Hunt

Sarah Hunter

Makayla Hurd

Kristin Hylton

Dave Inso

Shannon Isbill

Jess Ivens

Brittany Jackson

Sarah Jackson

Amanda Jackson

Joshua James

Brittany Janous

Katelyn Janowicz

Nabeel Jaser

Lester Jenkins

Leah Jenkins

Taylor  Jensen

Jason Johns

Audrey Johnson

Juliana Johnson

Kaitlin Johnson

Kara Johnson

Ryan Johnson

Sandy Johnson

Michaela Jones

Jacob Jones

Kelsey Jones

Brian Jordan

Cierra Jordan

Elise Jorgensen

Stephanie Joseph

Dylan Junion

Ashalatha Kamujula

Seokyu Kang

Idan Kanter

Morgan Kay

Shanquaveion Keaton

Hannah Keech

Robert Keith

Brian Keith

Jonathan Kelley

Lindsey Kelly

Laura Kelly

Kyla Kelly

Nathan Kendall

Otis Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy

Marjorie Kennedy

Brianna Kenyon

Christian Kidd

Kuk Jin Kim

Sharyllynne King

Collin King

Katlyn Kirby

Liel Kirk

Amber Kissack

Hunter Kitts

Riley Kliethermes

Sau Kong

Kevin Konopka

Thomas Krobatsch

Maggie Kubarewicz

Beth Kucsmas

Maddie Kulpa

Megan Ladd

Zachary LaLone

Lauren Lamson

Danielle Landry

Michael Lane

Abigail Lane

Michael Lannom

Bianca Lapierre

Bridgette Latham

Shelby Latham

Joshua Laurent

Jacob Lawlor

Carlee Laws

Hannah Lawson

Quyen Le

Kandyn Leach

Ayla Lecoultre

Tina Lee

Stephanie Lee

Justin Lee

Young Hee Lee

Joohyuk Leem

Jessica Leffel

Danica Leija

Rebecca Lengfellner

Matthew Lennon

Christine Lentz

Kaitlyn Lewark

Nathan Lewis

Dorian Lewis

Nikolas Likourentzos

Robert Lilligren

Michael Lindsey

Mary Lindstrom

Carolyn Listar

Jason Littleton

Brianna Littleton

Yunfei Liu

Ryan Livesey

Dominic LoBianco

Kayla Lochman

Caroline Lonas

Caitlin Long

Jenny Looney

Erin Louthan

Nicholas Lovejoy

Julia Lowery

Katherine Lown

Justin MacDonald

  1. MacLeod

Taylor Maness

Sai Manikonda

James Manley

Jacob Mann

Elizabeth Mann

Amy Mann

Trevor Mannis

Tim Marcum

Maksym Markevych

Brett Marshman

Tamara Martin

Macy Martin

Julian Martinez

Matthew Matheson

Rebekah McBride

Justin McCarter

Lidia McCord

Jennifer McCormick

Brittany McCoy

Brianna McCurry

Justin McDuffie

Benjamin Mcfalls

Courtney McGhee

Kristen McGhee

Paige McGilvra

William McGovern

Jonathan McGuire

Tiffanie McKee

Carsen McKinney

Philip McKnight

Jennifer McLean

Eric McLean

Quinton McNabb

Zachary Meador

Michael Medina

Benjamin Meeks

Cara Megahan

Benjamin Mellon

Jacob Melton

Jason Melton

Abbey Merriman

Haley Metcalf

Robert Mihelic

Anna Milam

Tyler Miller

Jake Miller

Ashley Miller

Susan Minehan

Calvin Mitchell

John Mitchell

Katilyn Mitchell

Stephanie Mojica

Brittany Monday

Sarah Monroe

Tammy Montgomery

Eric Moore

Shawn Moore

Ruth Moore

Jacob Morgan

Kassandra Morgan

Kelli Morris

Robert Morrow

Richard Motzer

Taneesha Moultrie

Jordan Mroz

Susie Mubarak

Charlie Mubarak

Dylan Mulkey

Conley Munsey

Miranda Murr

Jakob Myers

Jacob Myers

Thomas Myers

Ashley Myrick

Jacob Nahirnyj

Nicholas Napier

Julian Nassar

Robert Neel

David Nelson

Tina Nelson

Christian Nelson

Quynh Ngo

Cung Nguyen

Khoa Nguyen

Van Nguyen

Thach Nguyen

Thao Nguyen Strong

Abbie Nipper

Mackenzie Nix

Cheyann Norman

Cindel Oakley

Carrie Ogle

Jong Min Oh

Darren Oldham

Dominick O’Neal

Haley Osborne

Olivia Osborne

Molly Ott

Matthew Overton

BaiLeigh Owen

Gina Page

Daniel Paige

Lucian Palcu

Lois Palcu

Mischka Pandy

Katelyn Parker

Grace Parkinson

Jacob Parks

Sawyer Parlier

Adrienne Parrott

Tristan Partain

Abigail Patey

Tina Patrick

Alyssa Patruno

Hannah Patty

Denise Payne

Madison Peeler

Dallas Pepper

Megan Perkins

Scott Peterson

Brian Phagan

Lan Pham

Elexus Phillips

Brynn Pierce

Sheena Pilkey

Janelle Piper

Kailyn Pitts

Tony Plastino

Devin Plemons

Mico Posey

Christopher Poston

Lindsey Powell

Danae Powers

Ethan Powers

Chris Pratt

Amber Price

Emily Price

Hannah Price

Ryan Prout

Corey Puckett

Alyssa Puckett

Shane Pulsford

Autumn Putnam

Mahmoud Qasim Agha

Aaron Qualls

Angeline Quinn

Dakota Ragon

Harshita Rajasagi

Sarah Ramsay

Rebecca Randolph

Alec Readel

Hannah Reagan

Edy Recendez

Heather Reece

Rachel Resciniti

Brenna Reyes

Blair Rhodes

James Rhoton

Dami Rice

Sean Riddle

Logan Riggs

Kane Ringley

David Ritchie

Allison Rittenhouse

Misti Rivers

Molly Roberson

Meaghan Robinson

Audrey Robinson

Jeremy Rochat

Caleb Rogers

Jonathan Roland

Jeffrey Roller

Kennon Rollins

Leighan Romanesk

Tammy Romines

Zackery Ross

Leslie Rowland

Hailey Rudd

Nicholas Ruggerio

Cassidy Ruiz

Caleb Rumgay

Brooke Runion

Cory Russell

Gabrielle Russell

Bobby Russell

Johnathan Ryan

John Samar

Dustin Samples

Shelby Sams

Dylan Sanders

Deanna Sanders

Stacey Sandoval

Kelly Sargent

Leia Sauceda Pulvermacher

Andreas Sauter

Demi Scarbro

Eric Schaefer

Margarita Schmid

Hayley Schneider

Amber Schuyler

Micah Scott

Cortnay Scott

John Scott

Micah Seaman

Rachel Self

Sara Sellers

Ben Sewell

Ankit Shah

Jamie Shapiro

Natali Sharp

Katelin Sharp

Jessica Sharp

Kanden Sharp

Tala Shatara

Ciara Sheets

Benjamin Sheets

Judah Shepherd

Rebecca Sifford

Diana Silvas

Savannah Silvas

David Silverberg

Megan Simerly

Suzanne Simmons

Caleb Simpson

Joshua Simpson

Carlie Sims

James Sircy

Jennifer Skeen

Corbyn Skeen

Samantha Slater

Joshua Slater

Amanda Slaton

Hristo Slavov

Lillian Smith

Katryna Smith

Laura Smith

Isaac Smith

Harrison Smith

Zachary Smith

Kody Smitherman

Lauren Smothers

Kelsie Snider

Hailey Sniderman

Elexis Snyder

Jacquelyn Sobel

Michael Sparks

William Spencer

Phoebe Spooner

Darwin Spradlin

Logan Stair

Shaun Starnes

Tyler Starr

Kevyn Sterchi

Juli Stewart

Erin Stidham

Minnie Stombaugh

Michael Strickland

Alayna Strickland

Anna Strong

Sara Strozyk

Schyler Sukienik

Corinne Sullivan

Shannon Sullivan

Melodie Summers

David Summey

Samantha Sumner

Chesnee Sumner

Amanda Swanson

Tara Swartz

Matthew Swearingen

Avalon Tacey

Fallon Tait

Yashar Taleb-Haghipoor

Daniel Tanasov

Kayla Tarbell

Mohannad Tayeb

Addison Taylor

Benjamin Taylor

Cody Taylor

Andrea Tedder

Anna Thomas

Noelle Thomas

Samuel Thomas

Robert Thompson

Kayla Thompson

Andre Thompson

Jasmine Threlkeld

Mary Thress

Madison Thress

Mikaela Thress

Abbie Thumler

Whittney Tindell

Makayla Tipton

Brenda Tirado

Eduardo Tomazeli

Audris Trammell

Canh Tran

Andrew Treadway

Ashleigh Treadway

Katelin Treece

Gregory Trinkle

Matthew Trotsky

Kenneth Tucker

Karenna Turley

Zachariah Turner

Natalie Vaden

Ben Vaigneur

Keith Valentine

Andrew Valesky

John Vandergriff

Elizabeth Varnell

Matthew Varner

Courtney Vaughn

Miguel Velez Balladares

David Vestal

Spencer Vickery

Eric Vidal

Marissa Vineyard

Jesse Vomfell

Tobias Vowell

Sandra Wairimu

Stephen Waldrop

Bonnie Walker

Tara Walker

Shauna Walker

Jonathan Walker

Mathew Wall

Anthony Wallace

Danielle Wallace

Dillon Wallace

Lauren Wallace

Amanda Walters

Chad Walther

Yang Wang

Anthony Ward

Edward Warren

Sarah Watson

Lauren Watts

Austin Weaver

Emily Webb

Quentin Webb

Chris Webster

Bethany Webster

Alexandra Weeks

Lydia Weeks

Brianna Weiss

Heather Weixler

Michelle Welsh

Sarah Werkhoven

Sydney Whaley

Peyton Whaley

Mary Wheeler

Trent Whetsell

Caleb Whitaker

Macy White

Derek White

Holly White

Donna White

Amye White

Amanda White

Ruth White

Thomas White

Courtney Whited

Ashley Whitehead

Makenzie Whitehead

Alana Wilburn

Khloe Williams

Angeliccaa Williams

Anthony Williams

Nicholas Williams

Emma Williams

Briana Williams

Joshua Williams

Candace Williford

Erica Wills

Timothy Wilson

Katelyn Wilson

Kaitlyn Wilson

Amy Wilson

Kayla Wilson

Richard Wilson

Gordon Wilson

Patrick Wilson

Joshua Wilson

Kristen Wilson

Karessa Wimbley

Vicki Wine

Joseph Wing

Levon Winther

Camille Winton

Tiffany Wiseman

Brian Withrow

Chloe Wolfe

Mikaela Woods

Nicholas Woods

Jason Woodworth

Kaylee Worsham

Guyus Wyatt

Kasey Wybrant

Danny Wyrick

Saori Yamanaka

Myranda Yearout

Peter Yerhart

Susanna Yoder

Charysse Young

Alyson Young

Courtney Young

Jonathan Young

Qianyu Zhang

Jason Zuker

Band of stage fighters at Pellissippi State takes on Renaissance Festival

2 people fight with swords in Renaissance attire
In the photo, Steve Trigg, left, engages in a mock sword fight with Thomas Crout. Crout plays character Captain Pickle and Trigg plays Beryl Plectrum Codpiece Knackberry Folderol.

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 or call (865) 694-6400.

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