All posts by elsimpson

Pellissippi State again premieres work of ‘Best American Short Plays’ playwright

When Pellissippi State Community College staged the world premiere of Lisa Soland’s “Meet Cute” in October 2010, audience members had no idea they were seeing the work of a playwright who would go on to be honored with inclusion in “The Best American Short Plays 2010/2011.”

Those who attend the world premiere of Soland’s “The Ladder Plays” at Pellissippi State just might be witness to the staging of another honors-worthy production.

“The Ladder Plays” is a series of one-act presentations that opened at the college on March 23 and runs through April 1. Each of the segments explores the ups and downs of being human. Soland directs Pellissippi State’s students, working alongside other local actors.

It was the Pellissippi State premiere of “Meet Cute” that showcased Soland’s romantic comedy “Thread Count,” the play chosen to be included in “The Best American Short Plays 2010/2011.” For more than 70 years, “The Best American Short Plays” series has showcased the one-act works of the country’s most talented playwrights. The works of Tennessee Williams, David Mamet and Horton Foote have appeared in previous editions.

“The Ladder Plays” is being performed at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through March 31, with a Sunday performance at 2 p.m. on April 1. The Clayton Performing Arts Center is located on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for students and 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 www.pstcc.edu/theatre. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: New Service-Learning program pairs in-class work with community outreach

Gladys Nance headshotOpt for service-learning at Pellissippi State Community College and the world can become your classroom.

Case in point: Ijams River Rescue on Saturday, March 31.

Pellissippi State students are taking part in Ijams Nature Center’s annual cleanup of the Tennessee River through the college’s new Service-Learning program and its service-learning student club, Gnosis. Service-learning pairs community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

Beyond Ijams, Pellissippi State’s program has created partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank in Maryville, Beardsley Community Farm, Maynard Elementary School and a growing list of other schools and nonprofit organizations.

“This spring, students from several Pellissippi classes are incorporating their class work with meaningful service to these community partners,” said Annie Gray, associate professor of English, Service-Learning program co-facilitator and co-advisor for the student club Gnosis.

Gray’s freshman composition students, for example, are establishing the bluebird trails at Ijams in conjunction with writing a paper on nature. Those working on a unit on education are tutoring children at Maynard Elementary School. Some of the college’s students are learning about wealth and poverty as they help build houses through Loudon County Habitat for Humanity.

Classes taught by H.L. Ford, associate professor of English, and Tara Lynn, assistant professor of English and Service-Learning program co-facilitator, also are participating in the program.

Gladys Nance, one of Gray’s English composition students, has incorporated her service-learning experience this semester into writing assignments. Until recently, she was an Army medic in Afghanistan. As a student, Nance chose to provide medical assistance to homeless people through Lost Sheep Ministries:

“Service-learning has shown me the true values of life…. It is important for all of us to play our part right in order to make a difference and ensure that no one goes without the necessary things to survive.

“This service has drastically changed my views on judging those individuals that are unable to provide for themselves. There is always a reason why those individuals are in that predicament…. Everyone deserves a second chance at life.”

Interested in learning more or getting involved in Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program? Call Tara Lynn, (865) 539-7210, or Annie Gray, 694-6492, or email Service-Learning@pstcc.edu.

Here are some of the upcoming events:

  • Call to Service (C2S), 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 30. At C2S, local nonprofits come to campus to let students know about service opportunities. Service-Learning hosts C2S in the Courtyard of the Hardin Valley Campus.
  • Ijams River Rescue, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the 31st. Service-Learning students and Gnosis members clean up around the river at a site off Western Avenue. The area is accessible through the Beardsley Community Farm parking lot.
  • Highlander Research and Education Center, Friday, April 6. Service-Learning and Gnosis co-sponsor the multi-club field trip to New Market. Students will learn about Highlander’s impact on the labor movement, Civil Rights era and, more recently, immigration.

Sample skills of Pellissippi State’s culinary students at Ready for the World Café

Students enrolled in the Culinary Arts concentration at Pellissippi State are showcasing their talents in a series of weekly luncheons this spring at the University of Tennessee’s Ready for the World Café.

Each of the Ready for the World Café luncheons focuses on the traditional dishes of one country. Every luncheon consists of an intermezzo (a small appetizer), salad, entrée and dessert. Upcoming luncheons and the cuisines featured:

Tuesday, March 27—Italy

Tuesday, April 3—France

Tuesday, April 10—Liberia

Tuesday, April 17—Persia (Iran)

Thursday, April 26—Germany

The Ready for the World Café is produced through a collaboration by Pellissippi State with the UT Culinary Institute and UT’s Advanced Food Production and Service Management class. Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend luncheons in support of our Culinary Arts students.

The cost for each luncheon is $12, and seating capacity is 50-60. Tickets are available through UT. Call 974-6645 for ticketing information. Luncheons are noon-1 in the UT Visitors Center, 2712 Neyland Dr. For the weekly menu, visit www.utk.edu/readyfortheworld/cafe.php and click on the current week.

Meet Liberian artist/restaurateur at Pellissippi State


Those who regularly dine at the Palavah Hut on Magnolia Avenue know that they’ll be served traditional Liberian food by Hawa Ware and her family, and they may even be aware that Ware is an artist. What they likely don’t realize is that Ware’s art is on display locally and as far away as the United States Embassy in Monrovia. On March 30, she will be at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus for an art exhibit reception which is free and open to the public.

Ware came to Knoxville in 1993 after three years of exile from Liberia. The artist and restaurateur currently has pieces exhibited locally not only at Pellissippi State, but also at the Oak Ridge Art Center. Her art at Pellissippi State can be viewed in the Joe Armstrong Building on the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., which is also the location for the 12-1 p.m. reception. Those attending the reception should go to the Community Room.

For additional information, 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 humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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 medicblood.com or call (865) 524-3074. For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or go to www.pstcc.edu.

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 alumni@pstcc.edu 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 humanresources@pstcc.edu.

‘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 alumni@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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 www.pstcc.edu/steinway.

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 humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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 www.pstcc.edu/theatre. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.