Pellissippi State Community College will honor two of its outstanding alumni at an April 20 event that benefits the college’s Greatest Need Fund.
Scott Clark, an algebra teacher and head track coach at Powell High School, and Candace Viox, owner of Water into Wine Bistro and Lounge, will receive awards at the college’s annual Pellissippi Strong luncheon, presented by FirstBank. The event will be held 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at the Hilton Knoxville Airport, and individual tickets are $50 and include lunch. You can purchase tickets or select levels of sponsorship here.
“We are delighted to help honor Pellissippi State’s distinguished alumni,” said Brent Ball, Knoxville president of FirstBank. “It shows both the amazing work they are accomplishing in the community and the real value of education. The time you spend in school will pay dividends your entire life.”
Clark will receive Pellissippi State’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2022. Presented by FirstBank, this award highlights an outstanding graduate in recognition of significant professional achievement and service to the community. Clark graduated from Pellissippi State in spring 1999 with a general Associate of Arts that allowed him to transfer to a four-year university.
This is the latest in a long string of honors for Clark, who has been named Powell High School’s Teacher of the Year, Rotary Club of Knoxville’s Teacher of the Year and Knox County Schools’ High School District Teacher of the Year in addition to receiving the Powell High Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award. He is the son of Pellissippi State Accounts Payable Manager Debra Clark.
“Whether I was taking academic classes, playing intramural sports, competing in math league competitions or working on community service projects with Phi Theta Kappa or with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, Pellissippi State provided the foundation that I needed to be successful both personally and professionally,” Scott Clark said.
Viox will receive Pellissippi State’s Peggy Wilson Volunteer Alumni Award. Sponsored and announced by Discovery Inc., this award highlights an outstanding graduate in recognition of extraordinary service to the Pellissippi State community. Viox graduated from Pellissippi State in spring 2014 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business/Hospitality Management.
Crediting Pellissippi State with the skills and knowledge she needed to open her business, Water into Wine, Viox has continued to give back to the college, speaking to Hospitality Management classes. Viox advocated creating an Entrepreneurship concentration within the college’s Business program, which launched in spring 2022. She also has served on Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts and Business/ Hospitality Management advisory boards for several years.
“I love sharing about my industry to eager students who are considering Hospitality Management as their career path,” Viox said. “I am also grateful for the ears of the faculty, and Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., when I shared my vision for an Entrepreneurship program. So many adults want to open their own business, or be their own boss, and do not have a clear path on how to make their dream their reality. I am so thankful that Pellissippi State considered my proposal and created a unique offering that can assist those adults in our community who strive to own their own business.”
In addition to celebrating Pellissippi State’s alumni award winners, the Pellissippi Strong luncheon will feature Retired Air Force Col. Paula Penson, an adjunct instructor at Pellissippi State, who will kick off the event by sharing her remarkable story. Raised in deep poverty, Penson joined the military to get away from home, but later attempted suicide. She has married and divorced three times, held her 17-year-old son as he died from injuries sustained in a car accident and survived cancer. And yet she persisted, serving 40 years in the Air Force before retiring in January 2015.
“My mother taught me that education is the only guaranteed road out of poverty, and even though she died when I was 18 years old, I never forgot it,” Penson said.
For more information about the event, including sponsorship opportunities, visit https://pellissippistatefoundation.org/psl.