Pellissippi State’s bookstore reports $93,000 in savings for students who rented books

The bookstore at Pellissippi State Community College reports that students who rented their textbooks for the spring semester saved a total of $93,000 over the cost of purchasing the same books.

Renting a textbook can save students 50 percent compared to purchasing a book, according to Allison Crye, manager of the Pellissippi State store. This semester, the bookstore rented 3,016 textbooks, saving students an average of $30 on each, she says.

The total savings were printed at the bottom of each receipt, and often the amount saved by renting would be more than the total bill, Crye says.

“Students have so many options for renting their textbooks online, it’s great to know that the convenient bookstore close to campus offers real savings,” said Crye. “Plus, there’s the added benefit of students’ being able to pick out their own books and not wait for delivery, hoping the correct book will arrive on time and in good condition.”

The Pellissippi State bookstore is owned by Neebo, a national company that owns 280 college bookstores.

Medic hosts blood drive at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus in early April

Medic Regional Blood Center hosts a blood drive at Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus on April 2.

The Medic Mobile is scheduled to be at the campus, located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy. (U.S. 321), 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The community is invited to participate in the blood drive.

Medic, a nonprofit organization, supplies 27 area hospitals with volunteer donations.
Medic representatives say there is a need for all blood types. Potential donors must meet two criteria: They must be at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds.

Donors should not fast before arriving. Medic suggests that donors eat a meal and drink fluids approximately three hours prior to donating. Participants also are asked to present photo identification and a list of current medications.

For more questions about donor eligibility, please visit or call (865) 524-3074. For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or go to

Pellissippi State hosts March 31 Alumni Bunny Brunch Homecoming

Did you graduate from Pellissippi State Community College? If so, you and your family are invited to the first-ever Alumni Bunny Brunch Spring Homecoming, Saturday, March 31, 10-noon. The event takes place on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

At the homecoming, you’ll have the chance to decorate your own pancake in the cafeteria of the Goins Building. We’ll also have an egg hunt, crafts booths, face painting, storytelling, picture taking with the Easter Bunny and music by Hardin Valley Thunder, Pellissippi State’s bluegrass band.

The free event is presented by Pellissippi State’s Alumni Association.

“The Alumni Association strives to provide alums the opportunity to reconnect with former classmates, as well as with the college, while enjoying fun activities for the entire family,” said Brooke Pannell, coordinator of Alumni Relations.

Those planning to attend are asked to R.S.V.P. to the Alumni Office at (865) 539-7275 or by Monday, March 26.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

‘Biggest Loser’ contestant Sherry Johnston speaks at Pellissippi State

But what if you can?
It’s a question that has become a motivating force in the life of Sherry Johnston, a contestant in Season 9 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” It is also a message she will bring to Pellissippi State Community College on March 27.

Johnston, a Knoxville native, and her daughter, Ashley, competed in 2010 on the popular program, which promotes weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. Her mantra, she says, emerged from a statement her daughter made during training.

At one point, Ashley voiced concerns that she wouldn’t be able to do what the trainers asked: “I can’t do it.”

“I looked at her,” said Johnston, “and it was definitely a God moment, and I said, ‘But what if you can?’” Those words of support got them through the struggle, and Johnston now uses the same message to encourage others.

At Pellissippi State, Johnston will share her experiences on the program and discuss how she dropped nearly 100 pounds in her three-month stay on the Biggest Loser ranch. Since the season ended, she has continued to maintain her weight and now devotes much of her time to promoting a healthy and fit lifestyle.

The free presentation takes place 12:45-1:45 p.m. at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center. The center is located on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event is presented by Pellissippi State’s Alumni Association and sponsored by Covenant Health.

For more information, contact Alumni Relations, (865) 539-7275 or To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Jazz and bluegrass featured at free Pellissippi State concert

Longer days and buds on dogwood trees are not the only signs of spring in East Tennessee. The Jazz Band and Bluegrass Concert at Pellissippi State Community College, hosted every spring, is a perennial favorite in the school’s free Music Concert Series.

This year’s performance, scheduled for March 29, brings accomplished musicians to the stage for an evening dedicated to traditional and modern selections from two very different genres.

The concert gets under way with Pellissippi State’s bluegrass ensemble, Hardin Valley Thunder. The group draws its repertoire from both the traditional and the contemporary, with selections ranging from old-time songs by the Stanley Brothers to the newer sounds of bands such as the SteelDrivers and Cadillac Sky.

Following Hardin Valley Thunder is the Pellissippi State Jazz Band, which will perform traditional jazz classics. Selections will showcase the musicians’ talents at improvisation and ensemble performance.

Last year, Pellissippi State became an All Steinway School. The achievement was reached as the result of a fundraising campaign begun in 2010 by the Pellissippi State Foundation in order to elevate the college’s Music program to world-class status. Pellissippi State now boasts 13 Steinway pianos in studios, practice rooms and performance venues.

Not only is Pellissippi State the premier All Steinway community college in Tennessee, but it is also the fourth All Steinway community college in the nation and one of only about 135 All Steinway schools in the world.

Only two performances remain in this season’s Music Concert Series at Pellissippi State: the Instrumental Ensemble Concert on April 12 and the Spring Choral Concert on April 26.

Like all events in Pellissippi State’s music series, admission to the Jazz Band and Bluegrass Concert is free. However, donations will be accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship Fund. For the 2010-11 academic year, the Foundation awarded more than 100 music-related scholarships to more than 80 Pellissippi State students.

The 7 p.m. performance takes palce in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Parking is convenient and free.

For information on the Steinway Maintenance Society, call the Pellissippi State Foundation at (865) 694-6529 or visit

For additional information about the performance, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State: Hollywood playwright’s world premiere of ‘The Ladder Plays’

Friday, March 23, marks the opening night of another world premiere by regional playwright Lisa Soland. This time she sits in the director’s chair.

Soland will be directing Pellissippi State Community College’s students, working alongside other local actors, in her new series of one-act presentations called “The Ladder Plays.” In them, the playwright explores the ups and downs of being human.

Some may remember Soland’s “Meet Cute,” which premiered at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center in October 2010. Her romantic comedy “Thread Count” was part of that evening and has been chosen for inclusion in “The Best American Short Plays 2010/2011,” to be published by Applause Books.

Three years ago, playwright Soland moved to the Knoxville area from Hollywood, Calif., where she had directed and produced more than 80 shows, 55 of which were original. Upon her arrival, Charles R. Miller, the head of Theatre at Pellissippi State and producer of “The Ladder Plays,” began to discuss with her ways in which she could contribute to local theatre.

“Students need this sort of experience, and they might not get it again during their careers,” said Miller. “There’s just no better training than working with the playwright firsthand and getting to watch a play being developed right before your very eyes.

“These actors get to play a significant role in that development. You just couldn’t ask for a more exciting and educational opportunity.”

“Quite honestly, we’re having a ball,” said Soland. “It seems to be a win-win situation for everyone. I have venues willing to produce my new plays, and the local actors have an opportunity to participate in the process of creating new works.”

Soland’s world premiere of “The Ladder Plays” opens at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center on March 23. It plays Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through March 31, with a Sunday performance on April 1 at 2 p.m. The Clayton Performing Arts Center is located on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for students. Tickets may be purchased at the door. All proceeds go to the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Theatre program.

To find out more, call (865)-694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State instructor helps students overcome fear of public speaking

When it came time to present her speech, Meaghan Marsh sang.

The Pellissippi State Community College student belted out the first line of “O Canada,” the national anthem of Canada, and that was enough to get her started.

In Larry Dearing’s public speaking class on Wednesday night at the college’s Blount County Campus, the speeches ran the gamut: travel, addiction, work, disease, health-care precautions, the dangers of texting while driving. Like Marsh’s humorous musical opener, the other students’ props and approaches were unique and creative.

Dearing, who has taught public speaking at Pellissippi State for more than a decade, sat in the back of the room listening, making notes. During the day, the adjunct faculty member works full time off campus, and four nights a week, he teaches public speaking for Pellissippi State.

That schedule can make for a long day, but when Dearing sets foot in the classroom, he gets a second wind.

“When I get in class, I’m energized. All that tiredness goes away,” he said. “The day job is work—the night job is not.”

One of the reasons Dearing likes teaching in the evening, he says, is the mix of students: Students returning to college to finish a degree after several years’ hiatus from the classroom. Younger students and adults who juggle jobs, family and school. Career changers who work at jobs in which they see little hope for advancement or growth.

Returning to school after a hiatus can be a struggle. And public speaking can be especially daunting. That was something Dearing and the class addressed early in the semester.

“When we first started, we each talked about how this class was going to be for us, or how hard it was going to be for each one of us, because a lot of people have a problem with public speaking,” said Marsh, a Pellissippi State freshman and 2010 Alcoa High School graduate who wants to teach art.

Dearing has had students step in front of the class for the first speech and grow so nervous that they shake and turn red. Sometimes they apologize for the way they sound. He remembers his first public speaking class at the University of Tennessee, where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in theater and speech.

“I see me up there the first time and recall how hard it was for me,” he said.

Dearing started teaching public speaking initially in 1978, in the evenings at the Division Street Campus. He taught part time for three years and then embarked on a career in business. Twenty years later, he was still thinking about the classroom.

Ten years ago, Dearing started again in the place he originally taught: Division Street. He returned as an adjunct faculty member, and it all seemed as familiar as his first teaching experience at Pellissippi State.

“You know, Thomas Wolfe was wrong,” said Dearing. “You can go home again.”

With the semester nearly halfway over, his students seemed to have overcome many of their initial fears and appeared relaxed on Wednesday night. Marsh opened with the song and made the transition into her speech about work. She is not shy, but beginning with the song helped her get over the first hurdle.

“Yes, it was kind of like breaking the ice,” said Marsh. “Also, [Mr. Dearing] tells us that we need to have an introduction that draws people in, so I always try to start with something that makes people pay attention.”

Pellissippi State offers return of popular multi-fandom weekend

Pellissippi State hosts Pellicon, a multi-fandom convention for fans of anime, gaming, role playing and sci-fi, the weekend of March 24-25. Pictured: Pellicon 2011 attendees.

Over the course of one weekend last March, there were Jedi warriors and all sorts of other characters roaming the campus of Pellissippi State Community College. The scene will be repeated this year, during the second annual Pellicon convention on March 24 and 25.

Pellicon is a nonprofit, multi-fandom convention for fans of anime, gaming, role playing and sci-fi. The event features presentations by faculty from Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies program. Pellicon is hosted by S.U.R.G.E. (Sci-fi, Ultima-anime, Role playing, Games and Everything else), a Pellissippi State club focused on multi-fandom—a collective of fans of sci-fi, games and the like—and hobbies.

A wide range of guests, panels, contests and events will be featured at Pellicon. Special guests include the MidSouth Garrison of the 501st Legion, a group that celebrates the “Star Wars” films through costuming, and My Parents Favorite Music, a band centered on gaming and other “nerd culture.”

Panel topics include Cosplay, Lolita fashion, anime, ’90s cartoons, Doctor Who, Xadune live-action role playing, the Legend of Zelda, Xbox Achievement Hunting and more. Contests include a Cosplay competition, nerd Jeopardy and Nintendo trivia.

A game room will be open all weekend for free play, and there will be tournaments for games such as Marvel VS Capcom 3, Street Fighter IV and Super Smash Brothers Brawl. There also will be a dealer room where artists sell their wares.

All Pellicon activities take place at the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Event hours both days are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Panels and other activities take place in the Goins Building, with faculty presentations being offered in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art.

Admission fees range from $10 to $20, with discounts for students who present a valid student photo ID card.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit Updates can also be found at

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Public invited to Pellissippi State’s ‘Women in Film’ lecture

Katie Lovette, a Video Production Technology instructor at Pellissippi State, presents the lecture “Women in Film” on March 21. The community is invited to the free event.

In the cartoon program “The Dudley Do-Right Show,” Snidely Whiplash was always tying Nell Fenwick to the railroad tracks, keeping Do-Right busy rescuing her just in the nick of time. Nell was the perfect damsel in distress, but, of course, she was a just cartoon character.

According to Katie Lovette, an instructor at Pellissippi State Community College, women have historically been a staple not only on TV but also in the movie industry, beginning with silent films. But times they are a-changin’, and so is the role of the female in Hollywood, says Lovette.

Lovette discusses female roles in a March 21 lecture at Pellissippi State. “Women in Film” is 1-2 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Goins Administration Building on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The community is invited to the free event, which is part of the college’s ongoing Faculty Lecture Series.

Lovette takes a chronological look at film, beginning in the 1930s and moving up through the decades. She examines the image of the starlet, the shift toward older actresses and roles women are now playing in the making of films. She also looks at the opportunities the internet has made available to budding filmmakers, including her own students.

“Women have come a long way from being tied on the railroad tracks,” she said.

For more information, contact Trent Eades at or Keith Norris at

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State lecture tackles ‘Science vs. Religion’

The ongoing Faculty Lecture Series at Pellissippi State Community College is meant to provoke thinking, discussion, debate. The March 28 lecture on science and religion—supported by the Faculty Lecture Series and sponsored by Gnosis, the college’s student service-learning club—is guaranteed to be no exception.

In “Science vs. Religion,” David Howell, a Liberal Arts professor at Pellissippi State, addresses the incompatibility of the two. The presentation is 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on­ the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The community is invited to the free event.

“Many people believe that you can be religious and scientific at the same time,” said Howell. “I believe that the news is worse than that. Much as we’d like that to be the case, it’s not. You have to choose between science and religion.

“The conflict between science and religion is a real conflict and cannot be made to go away. Religion says that the world is a creation of a loving God. Science says it’s obviously not the case. People of good will want to say we can be religious and scientific and don’t have to give up one or the other. Unfortunately, they’re mistaken.”

Howell will refer to the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, a philosopher and theologian; Sir Isaac Newton, a mathematician and scientist; and Stephen Gould, an evolutionary biologist and historian of science.

The Gnosis service-learning club hosts educational events throughout the year, and its members do volunteer work in the community. The college has recognized Gnosis as its top student organization for the past two years. The Faculty Lecture Series showcases the talent of the college’s faculty members.

For more information about this event, contact Gnosis club sponsors Annie Gray,, or Trent Eades, To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN