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 www.pstcc.edu 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 www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

TSBDC names 2014 Rising Star

group of people in front of a building with a ServPro sign
Tennessee Small Business Development Center director Larry Rossini presents SERVPRO of Rocky Hill, Sequoyah Hills and South Knoxville owners John and Kristina Greenway with the 2014 Rising Star award.

The Knoxville office of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, a division of Pellissippi State Community College, has presented SERVPRO of Rocky Hill, Sequoyah Hills and South Knoxville with the 2014 Rising Star award. The disaster-cleanup franchise is owned by John and Kristina Greenway.

The Rising Star award is the highest honor TSBDC has to recognize small businesses. The award honors business owners who have achieved sustainability and success and who contribute to the growth and development of Tennessee’s economy.

“John and Kristina Greenway have expanded their business from 1,900 square feet in 2009 to over 16,000 square feet and 23 employees today,” said Larry Rossini, director of the Knoxville TSBDC. “They had a bumpy start finding affordable space, learning on the go and managing a large number of jobs, but they have risen to become our Rising Stars.”

SERVPRO, which is based in Gallatin, specializes in cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties that incur damage from fires, floods, and other disasters.

The Greenways opened their franchise in 2009. Kristina had worked with the Knoxville TSBDC for years before that as a home-based entrepreneur, and the couple used TSBDC’s services to connect with SERVPRO after the pharmaceutical firm for which John served as district manager downsized.

“Without Larry Rossini and the TSBDC there would have been no SERVPRO at Rocky Hill,” said John. “We’d have never become a company. I needed someone to steer me in the right direction, and Larry was that guy. It’s because of him and the team at TSBDC that we found SERVPRO and got our start.”

Making the business a success wasn’t always easy.

“We were totally overwhelmed with work for the first eight months,” Kristina said. “We had a tough time keeping up as we taught ourselves what we desperately needed to know.”

But the couple’s dedication and hard work paid off.

In 2013, the Greenways’ business was recognized at the SERVPRO National Convention as “The Best” among 1,700 franchises for best practices. Last year, the Greenways also were recognized by SERVPRO, as members of the company’s Southeast Storm Response Team, for their efforts to help clean up post-Hurricane Sandy.

“John and I know we’ve built a team of quality people who understand the needs of our clients,” said Kristina. “Our mission is to restore customers’ lives, business and homes. We go the extra mile for each other, for our employees and for our customers.”

TSBDC is a network of small-business consultants offering services in 13 centers throughout Tennessee. For more information, visit www.tsbdc.org. For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

‘Elasticity’ brings award-winning contemporary artist’s ‘organic’ installation to Pellissippi State

picture of a person walking through colorful art exhibit display.
Artist Crystal Wagner’s room-sized installations are unique at each site. Pictured is a previous installation titled “Immersion.” At Pellissippi State Community College, Wagner will have an installation titled “Elasticity,” which will be exhibited from Jan. 19-Feb. 20.

“Elasticity”—a room-size multimedia exhibit that its creator, award-winning artist Crystal Wagner, describes as “fast forward to 2050, where plastic grows by itself”—is scheduled for display at Pellissippi State Community College Jan. 19-Feb. 20.

Visitors can experience Wagner’s mesmerizing exhibit, which takes a full week just to set up, in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The exhibit is free.

A reception takes place 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5.

“‘Elasticity’ is a conduit,” Wagner said. “It explores ideas related to human beings and the increasingly severe divide between themselves and the natural world by growing—as if the art itself were a life form—through the gallery.

“More and more of our natural world seems alien to us, but there’s a strange familiarity and attraction to the forms that people categorize as exotic. Even in our attempt to keep the outside ‘out,’ plastic plants occupy small corners of people’s homes.”

According to Nastia Voynovskaya in “Hi Fructose” art magazine:

“[Wagner] creates deceptively natural-looking environments with paper and other materials purchased from dollar stores and office supply chains. Whether working on drawings, installations or printmaking, Wagner begins all of her work with an organic mark, allowing shapes to emerge and multiply like moss or fungus from another planet.”

Wagner, who earned an M.F.A. from the University of Tennessee in 2008, is represented by Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco. This year, her work has been exhibited in California, Florida, Hawaii, Canada and England.

The artist recently won the Sculpture and Installation category at the SeeMe “Art Takes Paris” international competition (www.see.me/blog/art-takes-paris-winners). She has been featured in “Juxtapoz Art and Culture Magazine” and on the contemporary art blog www.arrestedmotion.com.

“Elasticity” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the series commemorates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.

For more about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call (865) 694-6400.

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