MECC Offers 2018 Trip to Japan, Eastern Europe

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College will host two international education travel opportunities for students and the public in the spring of 2018. The trips include an Eastern Europe tour in May 2018 and a Japan tour in June 2018.

Explore the intoxicatingly upbeat Eastern Europe on a 12-day whirlwind tour with stops in Budapest, Hungary; Krakow, Poland; Prague, Czech Republic; and Vienna, Austria. Visit fortified castles, breathtaking scenery, and humbling stops like Auschwitz and Krakow’s Jewish Quarter. Eastern Europe offers thrills and history unfiltered.

Japan is a microcosm of civilization at heart. This 11-day tour will feature stops in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Hakone. Discover a polite order to urbanization that is defined by the ancient world that remains, a seamless blending of cutting-edge technology and preserved history. Visit historic, religious, and natural monuments on this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Both tours will be led by MECC faculty members. Current MECC students who have completed at least 12 credit hours and have maintained a 3.0 GPA are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship toward travel expenses. Current MECC students who reside in Dickenson County may be eligible for an additional scholarship.

To view the full trip itinerary or apply for a scholarship, visit www.mecc.edu/travel.  For more information, please contact MECC Community Relations Coordinator Amy Greear at (276) 523-7480 or by email at agreear@mecc.edu.

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MECC to Offer CNA Certification Course

Gate City – Mountain Empire Community College will offer a 10-week evening and weekend course in Scott County this spring to become a Certified Nurse Assistant. Students will have two options for class scheduling – Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., or Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An informational meeting will be held at the Scott County Career and Technical Nursing Lab in Gate City on Tuesday, February 21 at 6 p.m. Those interested in enrolling in the course, or future CNA classes, are invited to attend. For more information, or to register for the course, contact Kim Dorton, MECC’s Assistant Dean of Health Science, at 276.523.7456.

Nominations Sought for MECC Distinguished Alumni Award

Big Stone Gap, VA – The Mountain Empire Community College Alumni & Friends Advisory Committee is seeking nominations for the MECC Distinguished Alumni Award.

The award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to one or more areas of society, i.e., professional, academic, and personal achievements, civic service, or service to MECC.

All living MECC alumni who have completed at least one class at MECC are eligible to be nominated and considered for the award. Self-nominations are also welcome. Current members of the MECC Local Advisory Board and the MECC Foundation Board of Directors, current faculty and staff of the college, and members of the MECC Alumni and Friends Advisory Committee are not eligible to receive the award.

The nomination form is available below. There is no limit to the number of nominations that one may submit. The deadline for nominations for the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award is Tuesday, February 28.

A subcommittee of the MECC Alumni and Friends Advisory Committee will select the winner of the award, and the winner will be announced at the annual Scholars’ Recognition Night Banquet held in April.

For questions, please contact Jeri Bledsoe in the MECC Foundation office at 276-523-2400, extension 287, or by e-mail at jbledsoe@mecc.edu.

 

 

MECC Announces fall 2016 Honors Roll

MECC is pleased to announce the following students have been recognized for their outstanding academic achievements during the fall 2016 semester. 

President’s List

The following students have been named to the Mountain Empire Community College President’s List for the fall 2016 semester.  Students are eligible for the President’s List if they have at least 12 credits and a GPA of 3.8 or higher during the semester with no incompletes, re-enrolls, unsatisfactory or failing grades.

 

APPALACHIA: Tamara Davidson, Ernest Mabe, Hope Phillips, Chantarae Shepard, Michael Sizemore, Dylan Smith, Gayce Snyder, and Jessica Wells.

BIG STONE GAP: Jesse Blair, Madison Blanton, Ritchie Deel, Hunter Dorton, Jerry Elkins, Alecia Estep, Bryan Fannon, Collin Fields, Krystal Grimes, Kermit Hall, Colton Holcomb, Kalee Horner, Andrew Kerr, Isaiah Kinsey, Karlee Lovelace, Sheena McGraw, Marglo Osborne, Rebecca Osborne, Tracie Powers, Jonathan Robbins, Micheala Russell, Savannah Smith, Leigh Ann Underwood, Kelvin Vo, Ken Vo, and Derrick Watkins.        

BIRCHLEAF: William Sykes.

CHURCH HILL, TN:  Olivia Addington.

CLINTWOOD:  Madison Davis, Daniel Ibrahim, Samantha Johnson, Chandler Mullins, Emily Mullins, Shawn Roberts, Jason Rose, Sarah Rose, Jordan Skeen, and Lakan Vanover.

COEBURN:  David Baker, Burley Ball, Marcus Clark, Carla Deel, Hurley Hamm, Hannah Kilgore, Jordan Lawson, Alexander Pritchard, and Tyler Tibbs.

DRYDEN:  Hannah Hayes.

DUFFIELD:  Jordan Bowen, Ryan Gendron, Phillip Kerns, Vicki Pearcy, Michael Rasnic, Courtney Stidham, Lauren Tankersley, Cody Wolford, and Jamie Wolford.

DUNGANNON: Thomas Sluss.

EAST STONE GAP: Shanley Brooks.

EOLIA, KY: Michelle Brock.

EVANSVILLE, IN: Meagan Monahan.

EWING:  Cody Roberts.

FT. BLACKMORE: Olivia Green and Brandon Hall.

GATE CITY: Emily Baker, Olivia Baker, April Bradshaw, Zachary Clark, Ashlyn Hammonds, Robbie Hicks, Rachel Kilgore, Sarah Kilgore, Cade Lane, Lydia Lane, Payton Lane, Tanner McMurray, Caitlin Parks, Ethan Penley, and Linley Pierson.     

HAYSI: Chelsie Deel, Catherine McCowan, and Denisha Sluss.

HILTONS: Tiah Derrick and Chelsea Mann.

JENKINS, KY: Brandy Bates, Melanie Mullins, and Tabitha Thompson.

JONESVILLE: Taylor Alsup, Rodney Baker, Alexandra Carroll, Verity Collingsworth, Timberly Dean, Courtney Eldridge, Amanda Harber, Walter Harding, Ashley Maness, Katie McDonald, Bradley Neff, Jackson Porter, Kayla Stapleton, and Zachary Trees. 

KINGSPORT, TN: Jarrod Bowen.      

MOUNT CARMEL, TN: Sarah Carter.

NEON, KY: Thelma Slone.

NICKELSVILLE: Alisha Taylor.

NORTON: Steven Fletcher, Lilly Redman, Curt Rose, Sarah Sturgill, Elizabeth Vanover, and Nathan Ward.

PENNINGTON GAP: Destiny Butler, Cieara Davenport, Haley Fannon, Rachel Fee, Roger Garrett, Daniel Hall, Haley Huff, Joshua Mullins, Emma Poe, John Poe, and Lee Street.  

POUND: Barbara Fleming, Lori Johnson, Candace Keith, Garrick Miller, Sophie Mullins, Matthew Ollerton, Zachary Pilkenton, James Stanley, and Joy Sturgill.  

POUNDING MILL:  Robin Smith.

ROSE HILL:  Charles Cox, Brian Humphrey, Dustin Lee, Eddie Parsons, Justin Pittman, Tammy Thomas, and Tina Yates.     

ST. PAUL: Michael Grimes, Pamela Hall, Daniel Hartley, Chessie Molinary, and Jennifer Shepherd.

TAZEWELL, TN:  Dalton Brown.        

WISE: Randall Bradley, Stephanie Cantrell, Anthony Collins, Christopher Hamblin, Christa Holmes, Derek Holmes, Joshua Jones, Jeffrey Kilbourne, Joanne Pilkenton-Robinson, Jasmine Powers, Alexis Sexton, Kendra Sexton, Jordan Wampler, Conner Wharton, and Ryan Wright.

 

Merit List

The following students have been named to the Mountain Empire Community College Merit List for the fall 2016 semester.  Students are eligible for the Merit List if they have at least 12 credits and a GPA of 3.2 to 3.49 during the semester with no incompletes, re-enrolls, unsatisfactory or failing grades, and part-time students who have between 6-11 credits and a GPA of 3.2 or higher during the semester with no incompletes, re-enrolls, unsatisfactory or failing grades.

 

ABINGDON: Donald Barton.

APPALACHIA: Hannah Barnett, Robert Florse, Brandy Jones, Debra Light, Taylor Perry, Catherine Rainey, and Joshua Reynolds.

BEN HUR: Hannah Coleman. 

BIG STONE GAP: Shelley Arnold, Cheyenne Bartee, Stuart Barton, Tristen Blair, John Bledsoe, Cory Carlton, Chelsea Caruso, Justin Clark, Kristi Coomer, Victoria Culbertson, Kasey Dalton, Lindsey Dickenson, Andrew Dutton, Channie Franklin, Jarrod Franklin, Angela Gibson, Emily Gibson, Cameron Gill, Brenda Gilley, Colleen Gilliam, Elizabeth Gilly, Courtney Hall, Sarah Hall, Bonnie Hamilton, Chad Harkleroad, Austin Harris, Jessee Hartsock, Cassidy Holcomb, Alexis Honeycutt, Cynthia Honeycutt, Amy Hubbard, Kaitlyn Jessee, Whitney Kelly, Alexis Kilbourne, Eddie Kilbourne, Kipp Kiser, Allison Lawson, Chelsea Lawson, Kelsey Lawson, Randall Lawson, Tanner Lawson, Ashlee Lewis, Margo Lewis, Brieann Lomax, Jeffery Morgan, Sydney Needham, Jacolby Patrick, Benny Peace, Em Poff, Hannah Quillen, Matthew Rhoten, Sakorra Rivera, Paul Slayton, Stacie Smith, Ciara Staudinger, Erica Stewart, Kelsey Vernon, Annie Wagner, Haven White, and Haley Woods.

BIRCHLEAF: Michael Sutherland.

BLACKWATER: Billie Johnson.

BRISTOL, VA: Taylor Moore.

CASTLEWOOD:  Emily Slemp.

CAWOOD, KY:  Kalyn Middleton.

CHURCH HILL, TN:  Sandra Bailey, Peyton Hickman, and Logan Noe.

CLINCHCO:  Katie Bise, KayLee Fleming, Jennifer Mullins, and Chelsea Osborne.  

CLINTWOOD:  Ricky Artrip, Hannah Baker, Michelle Bolling, Justin Browning, Dakota Cantrell, Chelsea Charles, Raina Cumbo, Whitney Davis, Trenton Deel, Jacob Dotson, Jessica Ennis, Jazmine Fannin, Emily Fleming, Kenzie Fleming, Timothy Fryatt, Dakota Hill, Isabelle Johnson, Joey Justice, Roy Moore, Amanda Mullins, April Mullins, Charlotte Mullins, Dustin Mullins, Isaac Mullins, Kenneth Mullins, Noah Mullins, Haylee Phillips, Briana Rose, Gary Rose, Jessica Salyers, Kendra Stanley, Brandy Taylor, Kerri Tompkins, and MaKayla Vaughn.          

COEBURN:  Ashley Arney, Louvina Ball, Christopher Bartley, Samantha Blankenbecler, Santana Bond, Jasmine Bowen, Timothy Boyd, Megan Bright, Tyler Bright, McKenzie Clay, Adam Collins, Brianna Collins, Gabrielle Collins, Taylor Collins, Dylan Dahley, Alicia Deel, Charles Gibson, Austin Hale, Rozalynd Hamm, Erica Hayes, Joseph Hollyfield, William Hunsaker, Tanya Isbell, Briana Lawson, Katherine Lawson, Lindsay Lawson, Hunter Lunsford, Hunter Maine, Christopher Meade, Lindsey Meade, Edwina Minor, Noah Mullins, Sierra Mullins, Catherine Nixon, Brandon Perry, Hannah Perry, Lucky Powers, Phyllis Powers, Alexandria Pridemore, Drew Richards, Sheila Ricketts, Melissa Ring, Allison Rose, Heather Rose, Cameron Stanley, Kaleigh Still, Janet Stout, and Hannah Wyrick.

CUMBERLAND, KY:  John Jones.

DANTE: Brett Newton, Isaac Rasnick, and Dylan Winslow.

DRYDEN: Makayla Bentoski, Ramona Drescher, Sheridan Herron, Zachary James, Lindsay McNeil, Baylee Robinette, and Alexandra Willis.

DUFFIELD:  Santana Adams, Erin Benjamin, Courtney Bishop, Carli Cassell, Krista Collins, Gabriel Edmunds, Ryan Edwards, Chance Fannon, Jocelyn Fields, Adam Gibson, Dylan Hammonds, Randall Kluck, Leah McDavid, Matthew McMahan, Anna Proctor, Dawn Rector, Kassidy Sharpe, Cody Smith, and Angelina White.

DUNGANNON: Alec Couch, Sierra Ingraham, and Krista Powers.   

EWING: Scottie Hunley, Maria Pridemore, Austin Williams, and Shawn Williams.

FT. BLACKMORE: Callie Carter, Ethan Darnell, Taylor Darnell, Faith Lawson, Logan Lorenzo, Elizabeth Mullins, Devynn Osborne, and Carrie Shell.

GATE CITY:  Alexis Atkins, Anna Baker, Leah Baker, Makenze Baker, Charlie Bartlett, Chance Blakely, Mitchell Cassell, Richard Chapman, Alyssa Clark, Dylan Cox, Jordan Cunningham, Austin Davis, Kiondra Dingus, Tanner Dingus, Kelsey Dockery, Sydney Fields, Hannah Flanagan, Katelyn Fuller, Bradly Gibson, Jamie Gilbert, Dylan Grindstaff, Katelyn Hall, Destiny Hatfield, Bailey Hensley, Kevin Herron, Sydney Jones, Ella Kilgore, Misty Kilgore, Phebe Lane, Brandon Ledbetter, Karson Light, Quentin Mann, Matthew Martin, Louis Maya, Olivia McCarty, Matthew McConnell, Sawyer Miller, Sydney Miller, Kristel Moore, Joshua Penley, Brandi Potts, Ruth Potts, Frances Ramsey, Jonathon Ramsey, Haley Reed, Bryanna Rhoton, Robin Richards, Chynna Roberts, Trenton Robinette, Bailey Rusek, Tristan Shell, Anastasia Smith, Phoebe Smith, Brayden Stokes, McKenzie Templeton, Whitney Tipton, Landon Turner, Andrew Vaughn, Santana Vincent, Andrew Williams, Lauryn Williams, and Jessica Winters.

HAYSI: Heaven Blevins,Elizabeth Fields,Kenna Fields,Prell Honey Hackney,Jaren Owens,Lisa Rife,Caleb Stanley,Matney Sutherland,Jenna Triplett, and  Kasey Yates.

HILTONS: Madison Clark, Kobe Derrick, Nathan McDavid, Nicole McMurray, Holly Owens, Abigail Sallee, and Abby Turner.

JONESVILLE:  Rachel Adams, Claudia Alsup, Mackenzie Arney, Austin Dean, Abbie Dorman, Julia Eldridge, Jacob Garrett, Emily Graham, Taylor Hines, Velma Jerrell, Stephanie Lamb, Hannah Martin, Dayna McLaughlin, Abigayle Nighswander, Makaila Penley, Kaylin Pennington, Michael Short, Eryn Surber, Sarah Taylor, Brooklyn Warner, Hunter Watson, and Cameron White.

KEOKEE:  Aaron Begley, Tiffany Lawson, and Johnathan Stapleton.

KINGSPORT, TN: Kayla Bird, Hunter Bowen, Landon Gardner, Abbey Mullins, Tyler Page, Emma Peterson, Alexandra Pillion, and Haley Williams.         

MCCLURE:  Brayden Carty and Dustin Whisenhunt.

MOUNT CARMEL, TN: Leah Fields, Kiersan Light, and Barbara Jean Whitehead.

NICKELSVILLE: Nakeshia Boggs, Tyler Culbertson, Alyssa Ferguson, Ashlyn Lane, Jasmine McCloud, Stephen Pennington, Savanna Phillips, Chelsey Stapleton, and Leigh Ann Stapleton.

NORA:  Chasity McKinney.

NORTON:  Jailen Bailey, Clayton Baker, Shannon Ball, Tierra Bates, Jonathan Blackwell, Tony Boggs, Laura Brickey, Ethan Cates, Andrew Cavins, Candice Collins, Wendy Cooke, April Darnell, Brian Fields, Alyssa Fultz, Rosalyn Fultz, Taylor Gardner, Kimberly Gilliam, Tyler Ingle, Cassandra Isom, Cameron Jenkins, Ginger Joseph, Kelsey Kennedy, Makenna Kennedy, Bobby Kern, Amber Kiser, Jasmine Maggard, Laquiel McCurdy, Autumn Mullins, Jonathan Mullins, Derek Noaks, Nicholas Noble, Cassandra Page, Allison Palmer, Hannah Phelps, Brian Potter, Summer Rhodes, Cobye Robbins, Ryan Roberson, Nathaniel Robinette, Jarrod Ruley, Brittany Rutherford, Courtney Sargent, Isaac Shortt, Stephanie Slone, Sierra Spriggs, Tammy Stanley, Kira Sturgill, Amanda Thacker, Karli Underwood, Payton Walker, Jeffrey Ward, Jessica Ward, Robert Wells, and Savannah Wiles.

PENNINGTON GAP:  Sydney Anderson, Autumn Bishop, Loghan Dye, Gerald Fitzpatrick, Austin Hornsby, Samantha Hurd, Annalysse Parsons, Katherine Pridemore, Teresa Rhoten, and Maggie Zhang.

PIKEVILLE, KY: Caleb Godsey.

POUND:  Rebecca Blanton, Ethan Bolling, David Cantrell, McKenzie Crabtree, Justin Elkins, Dallas Eskridge, Carlie Fleming, Ashtyn Grant, Kristy Griffin, Jon Habersetzer, Sherri Holston, Alexandria Hutchison, Logan Johnson, Dawson Meade, Allison Mullins, Keyleigh Mullins, Merri Mullins, Robert Mullins, Tammy Ollerton, Chasity Phillips, Brittany Potter, April Powers, Benjamin Salyers, Hannah Stallard, Matthew Stallard, Lauren Sturgill, and Matthew Sturgill.

ROGERSVILLE:  Rachel Vaughn.

ROSE HILL:  Robin Cottrell, Anna Davis, Rebekah Glass, Jordan Langley, and Nicholas Williams.

ST. CHARLES: Chelsey Stapleton, Summer Stapleton, and Alicia Stiltner.

ST. PAUL: Benjamin Broyles, Jessica Culbertson, Makayla Funk, Hunter Hall, Grace McCowan, Rachel McCowan, Melissa Meade, Jayme Salyers, and Taylor Salyers.

WEBER CITY:  Caleb Bright, Hunter Davis, John Fansler, Tyler Fields, Callie McMurray, Katalin Perry, and Casey Wood. 

WILLIAMSBURG:  Brent Weiss.

WISE:  William Addington, Janna Anderson, Rachel Bailey, Sydney Bates, Christopher Bishop, Joseph Boggs, Adam Bowen, Emily Broadwater, Rebecca Bush, Jessica Caldwell, Hannah Cantrell, Andrea Church, Tucker Coffey, Stephanie Compton, Zoe Crihfield, Hunter Culbertson, Deanna DeWein, Breanna Ellis, Ashlee Fletcher, Jarrod Gardner, Coleman Gentry, Taylor Guthrie, Amanda Hall, Marc Hamilton, Benjamin Hayes, Michael Hill, Millie Hillman, Thomas Hillman, Karen Hubbard, Amanda Hughes, Kaitlyn Ingle, Ashlyn Jones, Dale Kennedy, Jessica Kennedy, Bobby Kern, Gwendolyn Kern, Rachel Lester, Emily Livingston, Gregory Maggard, Melissa McGahy, Hunter McNew, lexandria Meade, Kathryn Morris, lyssa Mullins, Angelina Mullins, Dalton Mullins, Eryk Nayagam, Rebecca O’Quinn, Elliott Owens, Brooklyn Porter, Felicia Powers, Rebecca Richardson, Mallory Shell, Cheyenne Shepherd, Angelica Shoffner, Trevor Shupe, Elijah Smith, Devin Stacy, Haley Stallard, Colyn Sturgill, Morganne Sturgill, Nathaniel Swiney, Sierra Thacker, Katelyn Tignor, Miriam Vanover, Nathan Vicars, and Joshua Webb.      

 

Honor’s List

The following students have been named to the Mountain Empire Community College Honor’s List for the fall 2016 semester.  Students are eligible for the Honor’s List if they have at least 12 credits and a GPA of 3.5 to 3.79 during the semester with no incompletes, re-enrolls, unsatisfactory or failing grades.

 

ABINGDON: Amanda Montgomery.

APPALACHIA:  Tanner Hall, Rose Holmes, and Robert Stidham.

BEN HUR: Nicholas Hadges.

BIG STONE GAP:  Braxton Bishop, Patrick Brooks, Sarah Chandler, Raechel Clark, Ally Connell, James Day, Richard Dishner, Evan Duncan, Madison Gibson, Tori Gibson, Donnie Guerrant, Kristy Hood-Pickell, Madison Jones, Casey McKee, Briana Meredith, Dominic Nickels, Kirsten Record, Rebecca Shupe, Jimmy Spears, Benjamin Sullivan, Gabriel Vaughan, Christopher Wampler, David Woodward, Logan Yose, and Jordan Young.           

BLACKSBURG:  Emily Hjulstrom, Jessica Eldridge, and Logan Shepard.

CASTLEWOOD:  Jeanna Finch and Elizabeth Ward. 

CLINCHPORT:  Rebecca Lane.                       

CLINTWOOD:  Rashell Barton, Kailee Cox, Makayla Horne, Christopher Neece, Amanda Phillips, Katlyn Phillips, Devin Rose, Isaac Stanley, and Monica Yates.         

COEBURN:  Tyler Adams, Laken Austin, Emily Baker, Shawn Johnson, Richard Jones, Emmitt Kellogg, Marcus Meade, Natasha Smith, Neisha Tuggle, and Herlin Vance.

DANTE:  Kelly Sykes.

DRYDEN:  Toni Flanary, Matthew Sturgill, and Alexander Wilder.  

DUFFIELD:  Katelyn Bishop, Kayla Chambers, LaShalia Dorton, Chad Fritz, Sarah Harris, Sherri Miller, Brandon Perry, Caitlin Summey, Michael Tomlinson, Samuel Wheeler, Grace White, and Holly Williams.

DUNGANNON:  Tuan Pham and Nathaniel Quillen.

EAST STONE GAP: Roscoe Sexton.

EWING: MaKayla Yeary.

FT. BLACKMORE: Keila Vaughn.

GATE CITY:  Noah Bledsoe, Adam Bowers, Gary Bradshaw, Augusta Carver, Olivia Dishner, Alexis Flanary, Briana Gilbert, Sydney Helms, Alexandra Johnson, James Lane, Kurt Lane, Austin Lussardi, Katherine Musick, Taylor Page, Peyton Palmer, Derick Robinette, and Courtney Wilson.

HAYSI:  Sarah Owens.

HILTONS:  Christopher Lewis.

JONESVILLE:  Hannah Allen, Irvin Chavarria, Charna Davis, Kaitlin Mencer, Samuel Scott, Kelsey Sexton, Makayla Sharpe, Kayla Terry, and Brandon White.

KEOKEE: Zachary Hall.

KINGSPORT, TN:  Elijah Leighton, Christian Minnick, and Caleb Tabor.

LEBANON:  Ashlie Pineda.

NICKELSVILLE:  Courtney Boggs, Brittney Duty, and Cindy White.

NORA: Tiffany Hill.

NORTON:  Victoria Adams, William Buchanan, McKenzie Dykstra, Mikala Dykstra, Bruce Gardner, Leah Gilbert, Ronald Gilliam, Nathan McFalls, Patricia Peters, and Roneil Yu.

PENNINGTON GAP:  Tamra Brewer, Joshua Calton, Allison Cochran, Katelyn Hurlock, Enrique Lopez, Shawn Napier, Jordan Robbins, Kaitlyn Robbins, Charles Smith, and Angelina Woodard.  

POUND:  Nickolas Britton, Dalten McCoy, Janet Moore, and Jacqueline Polly.

ROSE HILL:  Summer Corbin, Matthew Glass, Abigail Grabeel, and Marie Hopkins.

ST. PAUL: Kayla Collins.

WEBER CITY:  Williams Bausell and Cathrine Rucker.

WISE:  Bethany Adkins, Amanda Bolling, Jordan Collins, Brett Freeman, Graysen Hale, Kaitlyn Hamilton, Kendra Hamilton, Hannah Hughes, Briana Kiser, Jason Oquinn, Rachel Porchie, and Karrie Powers.

 

MECC Foundation Offers Food City/Friends of Coal Scholarship

Big Stone Gap, VA — The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation is pleased to announce the availability for the Food City/Friends of Coal Scholarship for Coal Industry Impacted Students for the spring 2017 semester. 

Earlier this year, Food City and Friends of Coal of Pikeville/COA partnered to design special commemorative reusable shopping bags, sold on Earth Day 2016.  Each bag was filled with valuable Food City exclusive brand merchandise and retailed for $10.00 plus tax.  100% of the proceeds from the bag sales were presented to local colleges to provide scholarships for displaced miners, their spouse or their children wishing to continue their education. 

The total amount of funds available at Mountain Empire Community College is $5,250.00 to support seven (7) $750.00 scholarships. 

To be eligible for consideration a student must:

  • Be a Virginia resident
  • A current/former employee of the coal industry (documentation required)
  • A dependent spouse or child of a current/former employee of the coal industry (documentation required)
  • Enrolled Spring semester 2017 for credit courses
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 if enrolled prior to Spring 2017.
  • Have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Priority consideration for these scholarships will be for students enrolled full-time who need assistance with tuition and fees.

Please visit www.mecc.edu/scholarships to print and complete the scholarship application. 

The deadline for consideration is Friday, February 3, 2017.  Please submit all applications and required documentation to the Financial Aid office.

For more information on the MECC Foundation visit www.meccfoundation.org or call 276.523.2400 ext. 466.

-MECC FOUNDATION-

 

 

 

MECC Recognizes Fall 2016 Practical Nursing Program Cohort

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College is pleased to announce the fall 2016 Practical Nursing program cohort.

Each year, more than 40 students apply to join the Practical Nursing cohort. Only 25 students are selected based on their academic performance, non-nursing courses completed, and admission testing scores. The Practical Nursing program is a three semester certificate program. Students are admitted twice a year (fall and spring).

MECC’s Fall 2016 Practical Nursing Cohort are: (front row left to right) Kari Stapleton, Lyndsay Oaks, Emily Mullins, Kayla Edwards; (middle row left to right) Hunter Smith, Laken Bryant, Allison Christian, Meghan Woodsby, Allie Carroll, and Caitlin Beverly; (back row left to right) Honey Wyatt, Maggie Begley, Latisha Clifton, and Christopher Hamblin.

For more information on MECC’s Practical Nursing program, please contact Mitzi Jones, Sabrina Cowden, or Lena Whisenhunt at 276.523.2400 ext. 456 or lwhisenhunt@mecc.edu.  

 

-MECC-

 

 

 

MECC Receives Grant to Launch Power Lineman Program

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College has been awarded a $950,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commissions’ POWER Initiative to establish the region’s only power lineman training program.

The non-credit lineman training will enable students to earn a number of credentials to prepare them for entry into an apprenticeship program with the power distribution industry. MECC’s 14-15 week power program will incorporate a variety of competencies and certifications requested by employers, including OSHA-10 safety certification; CPR/First Aid; National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Basic certification; Virginia Department of Transportation Traffic Control training; Chainsaw Safety, Forklift Operator certification; Commercial Driver’s License (CDL); and NCCER Line Power Worker Certification.

The grant will help fund the start-up costs of the program, including hiring faculty, as well as purchasing vehicles and educational supplies needed for instruction.  

MECC is partnering with power industry employers to develop and implement the training curriculum that equips participants for entry-level employment as apprentice utility line workers. The Flatwoods Job Corps Center, in Coeburn, Va., will provide a training site and dormitory space for individuals who must travel to the region to participate in this intensive training. Some Flatwoods Job Corps Center students are expected to participate in the program.

MECC anticipates operating the program on a full time schedule of four 10-hour days each week, with Fridays reserved for career exploration, studying, job shadowing, and related activities.

Power utilities usually hire entry-level employees as power groundman (or apprentice linemen). These workers participate in employer-specific training and apprenticeship programs to become journeyman linemen. This progression typically takes approximately four to five years to complete, with the salary increasing as apprentices develop the required skills to be promoted to the position of lineman.

 “The power groundman and lineman career pathway presents a rare opportunity for former coal miners to retrain for jobs with the potential to replace the high wages formerly offered by the coal industry,” said MECC President Scott Hamilton. “The demand for power line workers is largely the result of large-scale retirements of experienced linemen across the industry. Workforce demographics, combined with aging electrical transmission and distribution infrastructure and an insufficient pipeline of younger workers entering middle-skilled technical careers, have focused industry attention on the development of more linemen as a critical priority.”

For more information on the power lineman program, contact Tommy Clements, MECC Dean of Applied Science and Technology at 276.523.2400 ext. 431 or by email at tclements@mecc.edu.

-MECC-

 

MECC to Offer Online Training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer online training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) this spring. Individuals, municipal and regional government organizations, and public service workers interested in furthering their training in GIS are encouraged to enroll. Courses offered this spring include GIS 200 & 201 Geographic Information Systems I and II, GIS 205 GIS 3-Dimensional Analysis and GIS 210 Understanding Geographic Data. Participants can learn about geospatial technologies, applying GIS into business operations and can earn certifications in the GIS field. Classes begin January 30. For more information, or to register, contact Jake Gilly, GIS Instructor, at 276.523.2400 ext. 280, or visit www.mecc.edu/programs/gis

GIS Training

 

MECC to Offer Free Quick Start to College Class

Big Stone Gap – Enrollment is now open for Mountain Empire Community College’s free Quick Start to College class. The class is designed for individuals who have considered enrolling in college, but are unsure about what is required. The class will be held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning February 21 through March 23. Topics such as success skills and career options are covered. Students are also able to refresh their computer, math, and English skills with one-on-one assistance. To qualify, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED). For more information on the Quick Start program, or to enroll, contact Beth Boggs, MECC Career and Transfer Counselor, at 276.523.7438 or by email at bboggs@mecc.edu. Visit the program website at www.mecc.edu/quickstart.

-MECC-

 

 

 

MECC Offers Music, Old Time Dance Classes This Spring

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College is offering a host of music and instrument instruction courses this spring.

The MECC campus offers day classes in beginning lead guitar. Night class offerings at the Big Stone Gap campus include: Recording Systems Services, Internship in Recording, Beginning Fiddle, Beginning Clawhammer Banjo, Beginning Mandolin, Beginning Rhythm Guitar, Intermediate Lead Guitar, Blues Guitar, 3-Finger Picking Banjo, Old Time String Band, Gospel Jam, Percussion Ensemble, Intermediate Percussion Ensemble, Advanced Percussion Ensemble, Introduction to Lyric Writing and Music & Musicians of Central Appalachia.    

Several evening courses in old-time music will be offered exclusively at Gate City High School including Old Time String Band and Beginning Upright Bass on Monday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Online classes in Music Appreciation and the Music and Musician of Central Appalachia are also available.

For more information or to register, contact the MECC Workforce Development Center at 276.523.2400 ext. 372 or visit www.mecc.edu/music.

MECC Offers Old Time Dance Class

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer PED 195 Old Time Dance on Monday’s from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. This course will cover basic styles of traditional dance from the central and southern Appalachian region. Classes will provide an overview of solo and group dancing history, accompanied by instruction and performance of each dance. The instructor is Tyler Hughes. To enroll, call 276.523.2400 ext. 372 or register online at www.mecc.edu.

-MECC-

MECC to Offer Coursework in Cyber Security

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will introduce new courses this spring in cyber security. Individuals interested in obtaining a credential in cyber security are encouraged to enroll in up to five courses to be offered during day and evening hours. ITN 101-H1 Introduction to Network Concepts provides instruction in networking media, physical and logical topologies, common networking standards and popular networking protocols. The class will be offered in 8 weeks on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. beginning January 17. ITN 260-H1 Network Security Basics will provide instruction in the backs of network security. The 8 week class will be offered on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. beginning March 14. ITE 105-H1 Careers and Cyber Ethics will begin March 14 and will be held on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. ITN 171-01 Unix 1, which instructs students on the installation, configuration and administration of the Linux operating system, will be offered as a 16-week course beginning January 16 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:40 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. ITN 111-01, covering the installation, configuration, administration and maintenance of a server in a networked environment, will be offered as a 16-week course beginning January 16 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. For more information, or to enroll, visit www.mecc.edu/cyber-security or call 276.523.2400 ext. 313.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UVa-Wise, Mountain Empire Community College Reverse Transfer Agreement Will Help Students Earn Degrees

 

Left to right: Dr. Scott Hamilton, MECC President and Dr. Donna Henry, Chancellor UVa-Wise

Big Stone Gap, VA – The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) announced the signing of a reverse transfer agreement between the institutions during a meeting held Friday, Dec. 16.

The reverse transfer program will be available to MECC students who have transferred to UVa-Wise from MECC prior to the completion of their associate degree program. Students who have completed a minimum of 15 semester hours toward their associate degree at Mountain Empire Community College and a set number of semester hours at UVa-Wise may be eligible for the reverse transfer program. Once a student has completed the remaining coursework toward their associate degree program at UVa-Wise, they will now be able to earn their Associate’s degree at MECC.

“Most understand the process in which students take classes at community colleges and then transfer those credits toward a bachelor’s degree,” said UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry. “The agreement signed today will allow students to transfer credits toward an associates degree at MECC, which would give those students an educational boost as they work toward a four-year degree at UVa-Wise.”

The reverse transfer agreement between UVa-Wise and Mountain Empire Community College will present great opportunities for our students and represents a new partnership between the two institutions,” said Dr. Scott Hamilton, president at Mountain Empire Community College. We have a great working relationship with UVa-Wise, and this new partnership further enhances that working relationship to benefit all students.”

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Mountain Empire Community College have a longstanding partnership in helping students attain their baccalaureate degree through the AIMS Higher Scholarship program. The existing articulation agreement between the two schools is designed to ensure a seamless transition for students transferring from community college to a bachelor’s-level institution.

Mountain Empire Community College has existing reverse transfer agreements with King University and Lincoln Memorial University.  UVa-Wise has a reverse transfer agreement with Virginia Highlands Community College.

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Public Invited to Provide Input in MECC Presidential Search

Big Stone Gap, Virginia – MECC invites the community to provide input in the selection of the college’s next president as the search to replace current President Scott Hamilton begins.

Hamilton announced this fall that he will retire July 1, 2017, following almost seven years of service at MECC. Initial stages of the search process for MECC’s new president have begun, including the launch of a survey to assist the MECC Advisory Board in the selection process.

The brief survey is located at www.mecc.edu/president-search. A link to the survey is also featured below. College staff, students, and alumni are also invited to complete the survey. The goal is to collect ideas regarding the challenges and opportunities facing the college and the attributes that a new president should possess to meet future needs. The survey will be available now through January 6, 2017.

Mountain Empire Community College is a two-year, public institution of higher education with approximately 1,600 full-time and 2,000 part-time students enrolled in the Wise, Lee, Scott, and Dickenson Counties and city of Norton service region and beyond. The college’s mission is to provide quality higher education and workforce training programs and services that are financially and geographically accessible and meet individual, business, and community needs.

For more information on the search process or survey, contact the MECC Office of Community Relations at 276.523.7480.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MECC Recognizes Summer 2016 Phlebotomy Students

fall-2016-phlebotomy-cohortBig Stone Gap, VA — Mountain Empire Community College is currently accepting applications for the Summer 2017 Phlebotomy cohort. Students interested in completing this two-semester, 25 credit program are encouraged to apply online at www.mecc.edu/forms.  The deadline for applications is April 15, 2017. Students will begin class in June.

MECC is pleased to announce the following students are completing the requirements for a Career Studies Certificate in Phlebotomy. The Fall 2016 Phlebotomy cohort graduates are: Front row (L-R) Savannah Lambert, Brittany Wilder, Tiffany Farmer, Chasity McKinney; Back Row (L-R) Hannah Maness, Jennifer Graham, Ashlyn Mitchell, Kasey Dalton, Lisa Briggs, Jasmine Calhoun, Rachel Reece, Lila Gilliam, and Melissa McGahy. Not pictured: Kandace Sturgill, Jordan Kelley

For more information on MECC’s Phlebotomy program or other health science programs, contact Kim Dorton, Health Sciences Coordinator, at 276.523.7456 or by email at kdorton@mecc.edu.

MECC Foundation Hosts Fundraiser for Dickenson County Endowed Scholarship

 

dale-jett-and-hello-stranger2-275x300The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation will present a special evening of music with Dale Jett and “Hello Stranger” as part of its fundraising event for the Dickenson County Endowed Scholarship.

This special fundraising event will be held Tuesday, November 29 at 6 p.m. at Ridgeview High School in Clintwood. Patrons will enjoy a reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres at 6:00 p.m., followed by the concert.

Singer and musician, Dale Jett, is a native of Southwest Virginia, and is a third generation member of the legendary Carter Family. The son of Janette Carter, the grandson of A.P. and Sara Carter, Dale’s roots have been heavily steeped within the heart of his family’s musical heritage.

“Hello Stranger” provides the closest link to the music of the original Carter Family. The group includes Dale, his wife Teresa, and longtime friend Oscar Harris.

Dale and Oscar have been musical partners and friends for over twenty years. Teresa joined them a few years back and the three have been playing and recording together since.

The Carter Family influence is evident as they continue the unbroken circle of music that Dale grew up in, and that their fans demand. The group also adds an electric mixture from songwriters they admire and original tunes, resulting in a true Appalachian Americana experience.

Growing up within the Carter Family, Dale has been influenced by many musicians and styles of music. He began playing guitar in his late teens when Elizabeth Cotten taught him his first chords – left handed, upside down. Later, he added his own style of Autoharp playing to his repertoire. But, it is ultimately his voice that captures you. It is powerful and compelling, yet at the same time, delicate and haunting.

Like his grandfather, Dale is a “collector” of songs. His dedication to the preservation of traditional music, his love of Carter Family songs, and his admiration of other songwriters are evident in his performances. His performances and recordings encompass a unique combination of traditional songs blended with a mix of others that extend the boundaries of conventional country. Whether playing an original tune, or that of others, “Hello Stranger’s” music will ring true to the soul.

Their performances have included the Carter Family Fold, Barter Theater, Mountain Stage, the California Autoharp Gathering, the Smithsonian, the Marty Stuart Show, the Grand Ole Opry, Irish Arts Council of New York City, and many other venues and events across the nation and in Canada. They have also performed at festivals, concerts, colleges, workshops, private gatherings, etc. around the country and in Canada.

 

Tickets for the event are $30 and will cover the reception and the concert. Tickets may be purchased by contacting Doris Rife, Chair of the Event Committee, at 276.926.8745, by e-mailing Jeri Bledsoe at jbledsoe@mecc.edu, or by calling Jeri at 276.523. 2400, ext. 287.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Dickenson County Endowed Scholarship Fund may donate online at meccfoundation.org, or by mailing a check made payable to MECC Foundation to MECC Foundation, 3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, VA, 24219. Please note in the memo section of the check that it is for the Dickenson County Endowed Scholarship.

For more information about the event, contact Jeri Bledsoe, MECC Foundation Annual Fund Coordinator, 276-523-2400, extension 287, or by e-mail at jbledsoe@mecc.edu.

 

MECC to Offer CNA Certification Course in Lee County

Pennington Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer a Spring 2017 course to become a Certified Nurse Assistant at MECC’s Pennington Gap satellite campus located in the Pennington Gap Mini-Mall. An informational meeting will be held at the Lee Nursing & Rehab Center on Thursday, December 1 at 6:30 p.m. Those interested in enrolling in the summer course, or future CNA classes, are invited to attend. For more information, or to register for the course, contact Kim Dorton, MECC’s Assistant Dean of Health Science, at 276.523.7456.

MECC Foundation Raises $9.5M in Major Gifts Campaign

2016oct12_2519-sim-labBig Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College Foundation has announced that $9.5M has been raised in a three-year capital campaign supporting increased student success and developing a highly skilled workforce for the region’s new economy.

More than 1,200 individuals participated in the “Building for the Future” Campaign, which exceeded the Foundation’s initial fundraising goal by $500,000. College faculty and staff, along with MECC Foundation Board members, celebrated the close of the campaign during an event at the college on Wednesday, November 16.

“The college thanks our generous donors, the campaign’s leaders, and all of the members of the MECC Foundation Board of Directors for making this campaign a success,” stated Dr. Scott Hamilton, President of MECC. “The new opportunities resulting from this campaign are already enhancing our student’s success and their preparation for employment.”

In January 2013, the MECC Foundation Board of Directors launched a $9 million major gifts campaign to secure current and planned gifts for MECC’S strategic priorities, including scholarships, expanded support for student success and outreach programs, and new investment in academic programs that had the potential for diversifying and strengthening the local economy.  

Bob Isaac served as Campaign Chair, and Leton H. Harding, Jr. as Vice-Chair.  Nancey Smith, one of the trustees of the C. Bascom Slemp Foundation, was named the campaign’s Honorary Chair. 

In 2014, a bequest of $4 million was received from the estate of the late Carol Buchanan that created a new unrestricted endowment. In addition, the C. Bascom Slemp Foundation provided a lead gift of $2 million to create a new unrestricted endowment, leverage other gifts, and help launch the campaign. Almost $6.7M in the gifts or pledges were made for unrestricted purposes.  An additional $2M was given or pledged for scholarships.  Over $50,000 was contributed for student success endowments. 

Campaign investments have already enabled:

  • two new full-time Career Coaches and one continuing part-time coach to serve high school students with career and post-secondary education planning;
  • the Great Expectations Program to continue supporting the success of MECC students who were formerly in foster care;
  • $1,000 incentives to be offered to adults who have completed a GED, but have not previously pursued post-secondary education;
  • a new state-of-the art health care simulation laboratory has been created, equipped, and is being used for instruction;
  • investment in the college’s manufacturing and cybersecurity training programs have increased and other funding has been leveraged;
  • the college is increasing funding for scholarships and emergency assistance now and into the future.

To achieve the goal of increasing investment in academic programs to diversify and strengthen the local economy, the MECC Foundation secured grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission ($100,000) and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission ($442,309) to enable the college to create a health care simulation laboratory.

Wednesday’s celebration included the dedication for the health care simulation lab located in Robb Hall.  The lab will enable health care students in practical and registered nursing, respiratory therapy, physical therapy and other related programs to receive state-of-the art, real-world training in a variety of medical situations. Prior to the simulation lab addition, MECC students were required to travel to more than an hour to Virginia Highlands Community College to complete the same type of training.

For more information on the MECC Foundation visit www.meccfoundation.org or call 276.523.2400 ext. 466.

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MECC Enrollment Goes Off-Campus with Mobile Enroll

mobile-enroll-december-2016Big Stone Gap — Mountain Empire Community College will offer off-campus enrollment, or Mobile Enroll, this fall at locations in Wise, Dickenson, Lee, and Scott County. Individuals interested in applying for admission to MECC in spring 2017, obtaining financial aid, or who want to learn more about MECC’s programs are encouraged to visit the MECC Mobile Enroll van. On Thursday, December 8, Mobile Enroll will be located at the Clintwood Sleep Inn parking lot from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the Wise Food City parking lot from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Wednesday, December 14, Mobile Enroll will be at the Duffield Food Country parking lot from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and at the Pennington Gap Food City parking lot from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Thursday, December 15, Mobile Enroll will be at the Weber City Food City parking lot from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and at the Big Stone Gap Food City parking lot from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information on MECC’s Mobile Enroll, contact MECC Recruiter Todd Clendenon at 276.523.7434 or email tclendenon@mecc.edu.

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MECC Offering Non-Credit Fall Courses in Crafting, First Aid/CPR This Fall

MECC To Hold Corn Shuck Doll Workshop

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College will offer a corn shuck doll workshop on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wampler Library in Robb Hall. 

Corn shuck dolls are hundreds of years old, adopted by early European settlers from Native Americans.  These dolls were made from the moistened husks or shucks of corn.  Master artisan and workshop instructor Ganell Marshall (http://www.ganellscornshuckery.com/) has had her corn shuck dolls on display in Williamsburg, the Smithsonian, and on the White House Christmas tree.  The workshop is limited to 15 participants.  The non-credit workshop fee of $25.00 includes the costs of materials.  Participants are encouraged to bring a bag lunch.  Wampler Library will furnish coffee, tea, and water.  Registration is required by noon on Friday, November 11. To register, visit https://mecc.augusoft.net/ or call Lori Dingus at276.523.2400, ext. 372.  

 

MECC To Hold Advanced First Aid Class

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College will hold three upcoming Advanced First Aid classes in November. This American Heart Association certification course for Heart Saver AED will include child and adult CPR and use of AED plus required first aid recertification topics to recertify first aid training. The course will be offered Friday, November 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Saturday, November 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Friday, November 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost of the course is $35. To register, visit https://mecc.augusoft.net/ or call Lori Dingus at 276.523.2400 ext. 372.

 

MECC To Hold CPR Recertification Class For Health Care Providers

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College will hold two upcoming CPR-BLS courses for Health Care Providers in November. The courses will be offered Saturday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Friday, November 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Robb Hall Room 117. This American Heart Association certification course in BLS for health care providers includes modules of AED, BVM, one-person and two-person adult CPR, child and infant care CPR, and obstructed airway. The cost of the class is $35. To register, visit https://mecc.augusoft.net/ or call Lori Dingus at 276.523.2400 ext. 372.

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MECC Highlights Youth Talent in New CD Release

youth-movementBig Stone Gap, VA — Mountain Empire Community College is highlighting the best of Southwest Virginia’s youth music and the cultivator of those talents with the release of “Youth Movement: A Tribute to Miss Ellie”.

Musician and Home Craft Days Festival Organizer Tommy Bledsoe said the CD release, which includes 28 old-time, bluegrass, gospel and early country music tracks, celebrates the 45th anniversary of the festival as well as the life of festival organizer Sue Ella Boatright-Wells and her remarkable dedication to preserving mountain music. “Youth Movement: A Tribute to Miss Ellie” features performances by Bill and the Belles, the Whitetop Mountain Band, Todd Meade and family, Empty Bottle String Band, Sam Gleaves, Kelsey Rae, The Buttermilk Girls, Brett Ratliff, Brandon Maggard, Corbin Hayslett, The Childress Girls, the Scott and Wise County JAM programs, the Mountain Music School Band, and Sycamore Hollow.

Bledsoe noted that while the establishment of Home Craft Days in 1972 brought attention to traditional music and the musicians who were playing it, the latest CD release demonstrates how that same music is being carried on and reborn through younger generations.

“In making this CD, I thought about what had changed,” said Bledsoe. “The most obvious change was the incredible number of young people who were now included in the festival, mostly due to the dedication of Sue Ella. She started Mountain Music School, helped get the Junior Appalachian Musician (JAM) programs started and created an additional stage at HCD to feature our youth musicians. As a result, dozens of new groups and individual performers had been appearing at the festival and we had a lot of good recording. In addition, some of the second and third generations of our legacy performers, like Todd Meade and his family, Martha and Kilby Spencer (Whitetop Mountain Band) and others were carrying on the music. That was our focus this year.”

Preserving mountain music was a hallmark effort of Boatright-Wells and Bledsoe added that she was able to enjoy the CD and have a hand in the musical selections before her death. Tracks include, “Darlin’ Cory,” by Corbin Hayslett (winner of the 2015 Orthophonic Joy Contest); Loretta Lynn’s “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” by Kelsey Rae and Bill and the Belles; “Skillet Good and Greasy” by Whitetop Mountain Band; and original songs, like “Grandpa’s Working Shoes” by Sam Gleaves.

Several of the musicians featured on the CD started playing at Mountain Music School and in the afterschool JAM programs, including Tyler Hughes, Beth Miller, Maggie Gatley, and the Childress Girls. Bledsoe said not only are students preserving their legacy, but they are shaping the future of our region.

“A good number of those students who started getting interested in mountain culture are going deeper, wider and with more confidence than I could have imagined 25 years ago. Once they are invested with a sense of belonging to mountain culture, everything they do is shaped or influenced by it. If mountain people don’t understand the pathway from where we have come to now, they will be easily misled in the future. And the arts are a window into that history and the ownership of it,” Bledsoe said.

“Youth Movement: A Tribute to Miss Ellie” is available for purchase at MECC’s Bookstore, located in Holton Hall, and online at www.mecc.edu/bookstore. All proceeds benefit the Home Craft Days festival and Mountain Music School program.

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Vote Now to Help MECC Receive $25,000 Grant

state-farm-logo-assistBig Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College needs help from the community to be selected for a $25,000 grant to support a comprehensive opioid education program in Southwest Virginia, entitled Project REVIVE Appalachia.

MECC was selected as one of 200 finalists in State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist grant program, a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. Individuals can vote up to ten times a day from now until midnight on Friday, November 4 by visiting http://www.neighborhoodassist.com/entry/1984419.  A valid email address is required for voting.

Project REVIVE Appalachia will provide education and assistance to rural EMS, First Responders, school nurses and school administrators in Southwest Virginia in responding to opioid overdoses and reducing associated deaths from opioid abuse. Funding will be used to assist in purchasing of Naloxone (Narcan), a therapy used to reverse the effects of opioids in the brain and reduce death rates from overdose. In addition, MECC staff will work directly to train EMS, First Responders and public school administrators and nurses in the administration of Naloxone (Narcan). 

MECC Practical Nursing students will provide general community awareness training of opioid issues to public schools, community colleges (students, staff, and faculty), and faith based organizations throughout the region.  Training will address how to recognize and respond to opioid use and possible overdose, dispelling common myths about how to reverse an opioid overdose, and understanding civil liability laws in reporting an overdose.

On Nov. 30, the top 40 vote-receiving causes will be announced at www.neighborhoodassist.com and a $25,000 grant will be awarded to the affiliated nonprofits.

For more information or to vote, visit www.mecc.edu/neighborhoodassist or contact Nora Blankenbecler, MECC, Director, Mountain Empire Rural Health Network, at 276.523.2400 ext. 241.

 

 

 

MECC Student Veterans Association to Hold Basketball Tournament

2016-veterans-3on3flyerBig Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College’s Student Veterans Association is seeking teams to participate in a 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. The tournament will be held Saturday, November 5 at 10 a.m. in the Appalachia High School Gymnasium. There is a $15 charge per team with all proceeds benefitting outreach and scholarship funds for MECC student veterans. Awards will be given to the top tournament winners and concessions will be available. For more information visit www.mecc.edu/events/3on3 or contact Lena Grace, MECC Veterans Coordinator, at 276.523.2400, ext. 217.

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MECC Foundation Hosts Alumni and Friends Reunion and Concert

kaitlynbaker_publicity5_bychansesimpsonBig Stone Gap, VA __ The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation will host the MECC Alumni and Friends Reunion to be held on Saturday, November 12, at 6 p.m. in the Goodloe Center of Phillips-Taylor Hall on the MECC campus.

“Come Home to MECC” is the theme of the evening featuring receptions and a concert by Pound, Virginia native Kaitlyn Baker, and opening band, Scratch River Telegraph Company from Wise. This free event is open to all alumni and college friends and is an opportunity to connect with friends, former classmates, and faculty.

There is no fee to attend, but guests are asked to register for the event on the MECC Foundation website, www.meccfoundation.org. Seating for the concert is limited to 400 and once all tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, the event will be sold out.

Kaitlyn Baker’s music reflects the beauty of the mountains and the ruggedness of the coal mining culture in which she was raised. Indeed, this 21-year-old singer/songwriter has been referred to as a new “coal miner’s daughter.” Kaitlyn Baker recently produced a video of her song “Heart of Appalachia,” which is being used to promote tourism and economic development in southwest Virginia. Her ballad “Coal Train,” which was inspired by her hometown, was included in the official 2015 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards ZinePak, alongside tracks by such superstars as Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Florida-Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and others. The 2-CD compilation debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart and remained in the Top 10 for three consecutive weeks.

Scratch River Telegraph Company will open the concert. The band performs rock ‘n’ roll music, but also draws inspiration and musical elements from blues, folk, rockabilly, and country. The band has shared the stage with acts such as The Delta Saints, The Steepwater Band, Wayne Graham, Red County Gospel, The Rickshaw Roadshow, and Folk Soul Revival, among many others. They have been a part of music festivals including the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover, the Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City, Tennessee, and the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

MECC is pleased to host these popular local artists for this first-ever event. Appreciation is expressed to Norton Community Hospital for helping sponsor the event receptions.

For more information about the MECC Alumni and Friends Reunion, call or e-mail Jeri Bledsoe at 276.523.2400, extension 287, or e-mail at jbledsoe@mecc.edu.

Mountain Empire Community College to Hold MECC PROUD Week

mecc-proudBig Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College is hosting the third annual MECC PROUD week, recognizing the college’s important contributions to higher education and regional economic development October 10-16.

MECC alumni, local businesses, MECC staff members, MECC students and community members are encouraged to display “MECC PROUD” signs in their yard, window displays, and vehicles. “MECC PROUD” signage will be distributed to local businesses by several student clubs. Signs will be available to the public in the lobby of MECC’s Godwin Hall Tuesday, Oct. 11 – Friday, Oct. 14 and at the MECC Alumni Booth during the Home Craft Days Festival, October 15 and 16. Businesses may also email a request for MECC PROUD signage to info@mecc.edu. Signs are offered at no cost.

The goal of the “MECC Proud” campaign is to recognize the success and continued contributions of thousands of MECC graduates to our region and beyond, while also promoting the college’s role in providing educational opportunities and supporting economic development in Southwest Virginia since its founding in 1972.

MECC hosts an alumni recognition program with a goal to expand and update contact and career information of all graduates and former students. Alumni are encouraged to email their updated information to alumni@mecc.edu.

The “MECC Proud” campaign will coincide with MECC’s Home Craft Days Festival, to be held Friday, October 14 through Sunday, October 16. The college will host thousands of local and out of town visitors to the campus during the festival events, creating a unique opportunity to showcase support for the college and the community.

For more information on MECC Proud week, contact the MECC Office of Community Relations at 276.523.7480.

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Mountain Empire Community College to Host 45th Annual Home Craft Days Festival  

hcd-2016-2Big Stone Gap, VAMountain Empire Community College will once again welcome thousands of visitors to the campus this fall for the 45th Annual Home Craft Days Festival held Oct. 14-16.

Celebrating the rich music, culture, and artistry of Southwest Virginia, the Home Craft Days Festival features demonstrations of weaving, pottery making, grist milling, wood crafting, basket weaving, broom making, quilting, tatting and much more.

This year’s festival is dedicated to long-time festival organizer and MECC Dean of Workforce Development, Sue Ella Boatright-Wells. A free tribute concert in her honor will be held Friday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Phillips-Taylor Hall Goodloe Center. Performers include Dan and Robin Kessinger, Bill and the Belles, Dale Jett and Hello Stranger, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, and Kelsey Rae Copeland.

According to festival music coordinator Tommy Bledsoe, “The 45th annual festival is dedicated to Sue Ella Boatright-Wells, who helped the Home Craft Days Festival become one of the best celebrations of traditional arts, crafts and music in the mountains. She worked so hard to respect the traditions of the elders and to make a way for the youth to become invested in their culture and traditions. This festival is her gift to the local community and a promise for the future of Appalachian music and culture.”

Craft and food vendors will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday’s music schedule includes featured performers: Todd Meade, Debbie Adams, Beth Bailey/Osborne Family Band; Scott County and Wise County JAM program; Patti and Glenn Roberts; Sycamore Hollow; Bill McCall & Southern Country; Lee Sexton and Son; Bill and the Belles, Center Stage Cloggers; Kelsey Rae; Dale Jett & Hello Stranger; Scott County Boys; White Top Mountain Band; Empty Bottle String; Town Branch Bluegrass Band; Miss Ellie’s String Band; New Harvest Brothers; Angelyn DeBord; Richard Phillips, Tommy Clements, and Roger Bullock; Poor Valley Girls; Buttermilk Girls; High Test Grass; Jimmy and Ada McCown; New Circle Bluegrass; Sparky and Rhonda Rucker.

Sunday’s music schedule includes: Skin and Bonz; The Childress Girls; Rich Kirby and Nate Polly; Pam Randolph & Doug Dorschug; T.V. Barnett and his Roan Mountain Moonshiners; Center Stage Cloggers; Fred O’Quinn and the Bluegrass Travelers; Smith Family Singers; The Sheets Family Band; Crooked Road Ramblers; Jack Wright and Roger Hall; Ben’s Boys; Poplar Hill Reunion; Ben’s Boys; Brandon Maggard; Anndrena Belcher; Wolfe Brothers; Corbin Hayslett; Ron Short & the Possum Playboys and Nancy and Bill Smith.

Admission is FREE to all the festival events. MECC is located on US Route 23 just south of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Parking and shuttles for the festival will be offered at five locations in Big Stone Gap. Shuttle rides are $1 per person at boarding. Locations include:

  • Union High School (formerly Powell Valley High School) – Front Parking Lot
  • Curbside, Wood Ave, in Front of Food City
  • Curbside, Municipal Parking Lot behind Post Office/Federal Building
  • Country Inn
  • Comfort Inn

For more information on the event, including a detailed schedule of vendors and musicians, visit the Home Craft Days website at www.homecraftdays.org.

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MECC Hosts Annual Haunted Forest Event

haunted-forest-2016-picBig Stone Gap, VA –The woods around Mountain Empire Community College will soon come alive with the spirits of the “undead.”

MECC will host its annual Haunted Forest beginning Friday, October 7 from 7-11 p.m. The event will be held every Friday and Saturday until Halloween. Admission is $10. The Haunted Forest is recommended for age 10 & up. All proceeds will benefit student scholarships at MECC.

This year, Mama Lebow’s vile anger has conjured another spell. The creatures of the woods are developing a taste for two legged meat and the butcher has lost control of the animals! In the Slaughterhouse, you will be in a fight for your life against demonic animals that have taken control. No turn is safe as they hunt for their prey!

For more information, please check out the MECC Haunted Forest Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MountainEmpireHauntedForest or contact Cindy Ringley at (276) 523-2400, ext. 264.

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Mountain Empire Community College Offers Fall Late Start Classes

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer a variety of late starting classes for students this fall. Classes start throughout October and will run through December. Topics include Armed & Unarmed Security, Accounting, Office Administration, CPR & EMT training, Healthcare, Basic Pharmacy, Business Management, Medical Terminology, Multimedia Development, Legal Assisting and more. To view the full list of fall late start courses, visit www.mecc.edu/latestart. For more information, or to register, contact the MECC Office of Enrollment Services at 276.523.7474 or visit www.mecc.edu/apply.

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MECC President Scott Hamilton Announces Retirement

Dr. Scott Hamilton

Big Stone Gap, VA – Dr. Scott Hamilton, president of Mountain Empire Community College, has announced his retirement effective July 1, 2017.

Dr. Hamilton joined MECC as president in 2010. He had previously served as the Dean of Instruction at Eastern Idaho Technical College in Idaho Falls, ID. A native of Illinois, Dr. Hamilton’s experience includes work in the mining industry as well as instruction and administration in high school- and community college-level career and technical education.

During his tenure at MECC, Dr. Hamilton oversaw the renovation of Dalton-Cantrell Hall, construction of new access and entrance facilities, numerous campus improvements, the development of several new career and technical programs, and the college’s SACSCOC five-year reaffirmation.

“When I came to MECC I had been told by many people that MECC had a hard-working and dedicated staff who made it their mission to help the people of Southwest Virginia,” said Hamilton. “Over the last six and a half years I have found that to be very true.  The needs are great here in Appalachia and the challenges are as steep as the mountains; but this college has always met, and will continue to meet those challenges. Thousands of lives have been changed through the hard work and commitment to students of the faculty and staff here and I am sure that tradition of service will continue.”   

Hamilton added, “It has been my privilege and honor to serve as president of this excellent college for seven years.  I will always cherish the years here at MECC as the capstone of my career.”

“We are grateful for the hard work and dedication that Scott Hamilton has given to Mountain Empire Community College and we wish him nothing but the best in retirement,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “We also look forward to working with the local college board and the college community to find Mountain Empire’s next president – someone who will continue to build on the progress and momentum the college achieved over Dr. Hamilton’s tenure.”

A search to replace Hamilton is expected to be conducted in the spring of 2017. For more information, please contact MECC’s Office of Community Relations at 276.523.2400 ext. 480.

 

 

 

 

 

MECC’s Slemp Gallery Features Veenstra Exhibit

veenstra-fall-exhibitBig Stone Gap — Mountain Empire Community College’s Slemp Gallery will feature an exhibit by James Veenstra titled  “Trees, Tessellations, and Tests” now through October 29.

Veenstra says the “Trees” theme represents the idea that technology tends to isolate people. The “trees” in his 3D prints and woodcuts are a reaction to the cell phone/texting culture he sees as replacing face to face conversation, and interaction.  Ironically, Veenstra used technology to produce the works. The “Tessellation” theme focuses on pattern and abstraction. The “Tests” of the show consist of looped video displays of 3D animations. The common theme to these short clips is the flowing movements of dance.  

James Veenstra is an instructor at both Mountain Empire Community College and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He is a 1987 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting. In addition to teaching painting, drawing, photography, animation, and computer graphics, Veenstra has been working to promote 3D printing as an artistic medium.

MECC’s Slemp Gallery is located in the Wampler Library in Robb Hall. The library is open is Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 276.523.2400 ext. 468.

-MECC-

 

 

 

 

 

Event to Raise Funds for Scott County Endowed Scholarship

virginians-2010Gate City, VA – A special dinner and entertainment event will be held September 22 to raise funds for Scott County students attending Mountain Empire Community College.  

The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation will host a fundraiser for the Scott County Endowed Scholarship on Thursday, September 22 at 6:00 p.m. at the Scott County Career and Technical Center in Gate City. The event theme is Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and patrons will enjoy a delicious buffet dinner and entertainment by “The Virginians.”

The “Virginians” first organized as a musical group in 1965, so 2016 marks its 51st anniversary. All of the members were from Wise County or the City of Norton, and that’s still the case today. For the first decade, the band played every weekend within the southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, and eastern Kentucky region, particularly at country clubs, and the many large service clubs that existed in the Tri-Cities at that time. Of course there have been many personnel changes over time, and the band has been through periods of inactivity in years past, only to reform for special events, “reunion” concerts and other functions.

The 2016 edition of the band includes three of the members who first played in the 1960s, plus more recent additions. Also, the number of personnel used for particular performances can range from four to seven. The “Virginians” specialize in a broad range of popular dance music, including American standards, R&B, and even some rock and roll and–rarely–a country tune. Versatility has always been the group’s hallmark, and it remains so to this day.

Tickets for the event are $30 and sponsorships are available for a gift of any amount. For tickets or to sponsor the event, contact Jeri Bledsoe in the MECC Foundation office at (276) 523-2400, extension 287, or by e-mail at jbledsoe@mecc.edu. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.meccfoundation.org.

Gifts to the Scott County Endowed Scholarship are fully tax-deductible.  Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund may give online by going to the MECC Foundation webpage, www.meccfoundation.org, and clicking on the red “Make A Gift” button located at top right of the page. Gifts may also be mailed to MECC Foundation, 3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219. Please note in the memo section that the funds are for the Scott County Endowed Scholarship.

For more information about the event, check the MECC Foundation web page at www.meccfoundation.org.

 

-MECC Foundation-

 

MECC Offers Music Classes This Fall

 

Gate City – Mountain Empire Community College is offering a host of music and instrument instruction courses this fall.

A variety of music classes, including new lower cost one-credit courses, will be offered at the Big Stone Gap campus as well as Gate City High School. The MECC campus offers day classes in beginning lead guitar. Night class offerings at the Big Stone Gap campus include beginning mandolin, beginning and intermediate guitar, three-finger banjo, blues guitar, and intermediate percussion, advanced percussion, and percussion ensemble.

Several evening courses in old-time music will be offered exclusively at Gate City High School including Old Time String Band and Beginning Upright Bass on Monday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Online classes in Music Appreciation and the History of Jazz are also available.

For more information or to register, contact the MECC Workforce Development Center at 276.523.7464.

-MECC-

 

Music Classes - Fall 2016

MECC to Offer Free Quick Start to College Class

Big Stone Gap – Enrollment is now open for Mountain Empire Community College’s free Quick Start to College class. The class is designed for individuals who have considered enrolling in college, but are unsure about what is required. The class will be held on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning September 26 through October 26. Topics such as success skills and career options are covered. Students are also able to refresh their computer, math, and English skills with one-on-one assistance. To qualify, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED). For more information on the Quick Start program, or to enroll, contact Beth Boggs, MECC Career and Transfer Counselor, at 276.523.7438 or by email at bboggs@mecc.edu. Visit the program website at www.mecc.edu/quickstart.

-MECC-

MECC to Hold Information Session for Health Records Coding and Clinical Documentation for Health Professionals

Big Stone Gap – Interested in furthering your skill set in medical coding and health information management? MECC will hold a Health Records Coding and Clinical Documentation for Health Professionals Information Session on Tuesday, September 13 at 6 p.m. in the Goodloe Center, Phillips Taylor Hall. The eight-week, evening class will cover the following topics:  ICD10 – CM – Conventions and Guidelines for Coding and Reporting; Severity of illness, Evaluation and Management; ICD 10 PCS – Coding Guidelines for Procedures by body system; CPT – Includes the 17,000 code changes for 2017; Clinical Documentation Guidelines for Reimbursement. Tuition assistance may be available for qualified individuals interested in enrolling this fall at MECC. For more information on this degree program, call 276.523.2400 ext. 462.

 

 

 

 

MECC to Offer CNA Class

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer a 10-week evening and weekend course this fall to become a Certified Nurse Assistant. An informational meeting will be held at the Heritage Hall in Wise on Tuesday, August 16 at 6 p.m. Those interested in enrolling in the fall course, or future CNA classes, are invited to attend. For more information, or to register for the course, contact Kim Dorton, MECC’s Assistant Dean of Health Science, at 276.523.7456.

MECC to Host Wise County Historical Society Meeting

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will host a meeting of the Wise County Historical Society in the Wampler Library at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 13.  The featured speaker will be acclaimed Civil War Historian and Author Randall Osborne who will speak about the Civil War in Wise County and Southeastern Kentucky. The public is invited to attend and learn more about becoming a member and volunteer of the Wise County Historical Society. For more information, contact Wanda Rose, Wise County Historical Society Treasurer, at 276.328.6569.

 

 

 

 

MECC Celebrates the Life of Sue Ella Boatright-Wells, Dean of Workforce Development

Sue Ella

Big Stone Gap, VA — Mountain Empire Community College is mourning the loss of a longtime employee, Sue Ella Boatright-Wells. Sue Ella served as the college’s Dean of Workforce Development.

Sue Ella left a legacy of 39-years of service with MECC, touching hundreds of thousands of lives in her efforts to keep the culture and traditions of the Southwest Virginia region alive and growing. Not only was she a tireless advocate for workforce programs in Southwest Virginia, she was primary coordinator of the Home Craft Days Festival, was instrumental in the development of MECC’s Mountain Music School, and facilitated the development of the Wise County JAMS afterschool program.

Sue Ella was a dedicated community servant. She was a member and past chair of the Scott County Rotary Club and was a board member for Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Round the Mountain, and Pro Art. She served on the Southwest Virginia Leadership Academy Steering Committee, Crooked Road Traditional Music Education Program, Papa Joe Smiddy Festival Committee, and the Community Advisory Committee for WMMT Radio at Appalshop. In 2015, she was awarded the Virginia Community College System Community Service Award by VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois.

“She loved Mountain Empire Community College and was the driving force behind both Home Craft Days and the Mountain Music School,” said MECC President Dr. Scott Hamilton. “Her leadership and guidance helped these important college events grow and prosper.”

The Home Craft Days Festival, held annually the third weekend in October, has served as an integral part of MECC’s longstanding commitment to promoting and preserving the rich musical and cultural heritage of Southwest Virginia. Established in 1972, the festival features more than 200 musicians and artisans from throughout Southwest Virginia, East Tennessee, and Eastern Kentucky and draws at least 10,000 visitors to the MECC campus.

Through her interactions with musicians throughout the region, Boatright-Wells established the MECC’s Mountain Music School in 2004. This unique educational program offers opportunities for students age ten and older to experience traditional Appalachian old-time music in a fun, enriching, and supportive environment.

Sue Ella, along with friend Ron Short, developed the school to address a growing concern that traditional mountain music was not being passed down to the youth of Southwest Virginia. Today, the school has grown to include more than 170 students, many of whom travel from throughout the country and even internationally to participate. Sue Ella was able to see the conclusion of her beloved Mountain Music School last Friday and the final concert, dedicated to her, was live-streamed so she could watch from home.

To further expand traditional music education in Southwest Virginia, Boatright-Wells worked with school divisions throughout the region to establish the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program. The after-school program has allowed hundreds of students to learn the music, traditions, and heritage of our mountain culture.

“Sue Ella has been a venerable member of the chief workforce officers group for years, offering both history and perspective to us all,” said Virginia Community College System Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development Services Dr. Craig Herndon. “She was admired for her knowledge and for her kindness. She also had a passion for serving her community. This was clear in her zest for workforce development as well in her tireless work to support and promote the richness and beauty of Appalachian culture.”

A scholarship has been established honoring Sue Ella Boatright-Wells’ legacy which will support scholarships for Mountain Music School students. For more information, or to donate, please contact the MECC Foundation at 276.523.2400 ext. 466 or visit www.meccfoundation.org.

-MECC-

CDBG Proposal Public Hearing Scheduled Thursday, August 11

The Wise County Board of Supervisors and Mountain Empire Community College will conduct a public hearing on Thursday, August 11, 2016 at 3 p.m., in the Conference Room of the Wise County Courthouse, Room 223, to solicit public input on a proposed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) proposal to be submitted to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for tuition assistance to aid individuals who do not qualify for financial aid, but wish to enroll in classes at Mountain Empire Community College to develop workforce skills needed by a new employer, Frontier Secure.

A draft CDBG proposal or a project fact sheet will be presented for comment along with information on projected beneficiaries, including the number of low- and moderate-income residents to benefit from the proposed project, and plans to minimize displacement.  Citizens will also be given an opportunity to comment on Wise County’s past use of CDBG funds.  A project fact sheet will also be available at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC), Big Stone Gap, VA.  For additional information, contact Donna Stanley at MECC, (276) 523-7493.

Complaints and grievances can be submitted in writing to Mr. Shannon Scott, Wise County Administrator, at the Wise County Courthouse, at P. O. Box 570, Wise, VA 24293, or by phone at (276) 328-2321 until the date of the hearing.

If you plan to attend and have any special needs requirements, please call the number listed above.

MECC Partners with Frontier Secure to Offer QuickBooks Training

Big Stone Gap – Months prior to Frontier Secure’s announcement of locating a customer care center in Wise County, Mountain Empire Community College was working behind the scene to make sure the company would have a skilled workforce in place by their August opening.

Based on conversations during Frontier’s initial visits to the area, MECC has developed a training program focusing on the skills Frontier needs as they look to hire at least 500 employees in the next year.

Sixty students enrolled in the two training sessions offered at MECC this summer, with a number of those students already hired by Frontier.

MECC will hold a third Information/Orientation session for the training program on Monday, August 8 at 6 p.m. in Phillips-Taylor Hall Room 218. Classes will begin the week of August 22. The orientation session will provide information on the coursework and career opportunities associated with completion of the classes.

“We are excited about our partnership with Frontier,” said MECC Assistant Dean of Business and Technology Fran Doyle. “Students who participate in the training are guaranteed an interview with Frontier. As the company continues to hire, MECC will be there to prepare students for these skilled, good-paying jobs in our region.”

Students who participate in the QuickBooks training will complete four, three-credit classes at MECC. The training includes Accounting 115, a basic accounting class that covers accounting terminology allowing students to gain a basic understanding of financial statements.  In Accounting 215, students will engage in hands-on learning opportunities with Quick Books, creating their own company and entering various transactions. Students will then complete Accounting 124, providing experience performing payroll in QuickBooks.

Finally, students will complete Marketing 260 — Customer Service Management. Doyle said MECC worked directly with Frontier to develop the course content which focuses on providing quality customer service with every interaction.

 “We certainly hope to continue the partnership beyond job recruitment,” added Doyle. “Frontier encourages their employees to complete at least a two-year degree. We hope to provide on-site training to assist their employees with obtaining an associate degree.”

Scholarships and financial aid may be available to students interested in enrolling in the QuickBooks Training Session. For more information or to register, contact Fran Doyle at 276.523.2400 ext. 313 or by email at fdoyle@mecc.edu.

 

 

 

 

MECC To Host Lecture On UAS Use In Coal Mine Reclamation

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will host a lecture by Dr. Robi Stark, CEO of Sensilize, an Israeli-based company using a sensor mounted on an drone. The technology has the potential to revolutionize coal mine reclamation efforts in the Appalachian Mountains.

Stark’s lecture is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, July 28 at 10 a.m. in Dalton Cantrell Hall. Congressman Morgan Griffith will also be present to discuss how drones can be used in land reclamation in the future. Dr. Stark will present his findings on the data collected from a drone flyer-over of reclaimed mine lands in Wise County.

“Mountain Empire Community College is pleased to be partnering with Virginia Tech’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, Sensilize, and Hazon Solutions to commence this innovative and creative study of mine reclamation. Because of the ongoing support of the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, and the Wise County Industrial Development Authority, our region will be a leader in unmanned aerial systems applications,” said MECC President Scott Hamilton.

Representatives of Sensilize, Hazon Solutions, and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership have been in Wise County this week conducting research and development efforts to enhance coal mine land reclamation by using multispectral sensors to measure the health of vegetation. Sensilize uses an autonomous octocopter outfitted with a sensor called ‘Robin Eye’ to fly over one thousand acres of mined real estate.

Mountain Empire Community College is playing a leading role in unmanned aerial system pilot education in Virginia.

For more information, contact the Mountain Empire Community College Office of Public Relations at 276.523.7480.

-MECC-

MECC to Offer Class in Drone Technology

drone 2Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College is seeking small business owners/operators who are interested in learning more about how Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) can be used to improve their business operations. UAVs are enabling construction, agriculture, real estate, reclamation, surveying, videography, security, EMS, and many more businesses to carry out operations more efficiently. Businesses can utilize UAVs to offer clients new and exciting services, to attract new clientele, and to stay on top of their competition. MECC will offer a college credit course in drone technology focusing on UAV use in business operations. AVI-195 Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems will cover the UAV history, uses, design, assembly, programming, legality, mission planning and operations, maintenance, and flight. The class will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8:45 p.m. For more information, or to register, contact MECC’s Enrollment Service Office at 276.523.7474 or visit www.mecc.edu/apply.

MECC Enrollment Goes Off-Campus with Mobile Enroll

Big Stone Gap — Mountain Empire Community College will offer off-campus enrollment, or Mobile Enroll, this summer at locations in Wise, Dickenson, Lee, and Scott County. Individuals interested in applying for admission to MECC in Fall 2016, obtaining financial aid, or who want to learn more about MECC’s programs are encouraged to visit the MECC Mobile Enroll van. On Monday, July 18, Mobile Enroll will be located at the Weber City Food City parking lot from 9 a.m. to noon. On Tuesday, July 19, Mobile Enroll will be at the Duffield Food Country parking lot from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and at the Pennington Gap Food City parking lot from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. On Friday, July 29, Mobile Enroll will be at the Sleep Inn Clintwood parking lot from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and at the Wise Food City parking lot from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on MECC’s Mobile Enroll, contact MECC Recruiter Todd Clendenon at 276.523.7434 or email tclendenon@mecc.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MECC Receives Technology Award for Development of UAS Coursework

drone 2Abingdon, VA – Mountain Empire Community College has been named the recipient of the 2016 Southwest Virginia Technology Council President’s Award for the development of coursework in unmanned aerial systems.

The award honors an educational institution in the region that has demonstrated outstanding technology advancements toward the enrichment of students and the community at large.

MECC has successfully developed the only credit-based Unmanned Aerial Systems coursework within the Virginia Community College System. An introductory level UAS class was launched in the summer of 2015, with pilot ground school and ground control also available to students.  MECC’s goal is to offer a certificate in Unmanned Aerial Systems, more commonly known as drones.

Tech Award

SWVTC President Sam Wolford noted that MECC’s efforts have been actively supported by international UAS firm Flirtey. The UAS curriculum project was funded in-part by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. 
 
“Mountain Empire Community College is already playing a leading role in the recruitment, training, and job placement as unmanned systems avionics, pilot-operators, remote sensing operators, and electronics manufacturing and installation takes root locally and throughout the Central Appalachian service area of the technology council,” said Wolford.  

Unmanned systems is a priority in economic effort within the Commonwealth. In 2015, the first ever successful use of a drone as a delivery agent occurred in Wise County during the Remote Area Medical event.

Dr. Scott Hamilton, President of MECC stated, “This award recognizes Mountain Empire Community College’s commitment to innovation and utilizing the latest technology in all of our programs where appropriate.  Our faculty, staff and administrators are committed to offering high-quality, state-of-the-art programs that prepare out students for success and enhance the economic development of our region.”

For more information on MECC’s Unmanned Aerial System courses or the SWVTC award, contact the MECC Office of Community Relations at 276.523.7480.

-MECC-

MECC Offers Concealed Weapons Class

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer a Concealed Weapons Permit course Saturday, August 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost for the course is $100. Pre-registration is required.  This class satisfies the requirements for a concealed weapons permit and will cover legal guidelines, safety issues, and hands-on instruction on the firing range.  Early registration is recommended as this class has limited spots available.  To register go to www.mecc.edu/workforce and complete the Non-Credit Registration form or contact Lori Dingus at 276.523.2400 Ext. 372 or ldingus@mecc.edu.

MECC Offers Basic First Aid & CPR

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College’s Workforce Development Center will offer Basic First Aid & CPR training on Saturday, July 9 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Phillips Taylor Room 231. The fee for this course is $70. To register, go to www.mecc.edu/workforce and complete the Non-Credit Registration form or contact Lori Dingus at 276.523.2400 Ext. 372 or ldingus@mecc.edu.

 

 

MECC – Wellmont Health System Golf Classic at Cedar Hill Country Club

BIG STONE GAP, VA – Mountain Empire Community College Foundation, in partnership with Wellmont Health System, will hold its annual MECC – Wellmont Health System Golf Classic on Friday, August 5 at Cedar Hill Country Club in Jonesville, VA.

Proceeds from the event will provide scholarships for MECC students.  These scholarships will be awarded in memory of the late Shannon O. Evans, a golf pro at Cedar Hill Country Club for 30 years.

The entry fee is $75 per person or $300 per four person team, which includes breakfast, a mulligan package, goodie bag, range balls, cart fees, green fees, and a boxed lunch.

Registration for the Captain’s Choice tournament will begin at 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 9:15 a.m. The tournament will feature two flights, putting and chipping contests, as well as, “Most Accurate Drive” and “Closest to the Pin” prizes. The hole-in-one prize on Hole # 5 is a 2016 Chevrolet Sonic sponsored by Freedom Chevrolet of Big Stone Gap.

Three levels of corporate sponsorships are available:  Bronze – $500; Silver – $1,000, and Gold – $1,500 and up. Bronze sponsors will receive a complimentary team and a hole sponsorship, Silver sponsors will receive two complimentary teams and a hole sponsorship, Gold sponsors will receive two complimentary teams, a hole sponsorship and an opportunity to speak at the event.

Hole sponsorships are available for a $50 fully tax-deductible gift to the MECC Foundation. Signs will be placed on the golf course recognizing all hole sponsors. Businesses or individuals needing information or wishing to be a corporate sponsor, sponsor a hole or team may call Brandi McAfee, Tournament Coordinator, at (276) 523-7466 or email at bmcafee@mecc.edu. Team registrations and sponsorships may also be submitted online at www.meccfoundation.org.

 

 

 

MECC to Host 20th Annual Melungeon Union

 

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College will host the 20th Melungeon Union June 23-25, featuring presenters, field trips, and research opportunities for those interested in learning more about the heritage and genealogy of Melungeon people.

MECC’s Wampler Library, in coordination with the Melungeon Heritage Association and the Wise County Historical Society, will sponsor three genealogy workshops and a lecture session on Thursday, June 23, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, June 24 events include a trip to Vardy, TN, home of the Vardy Museum and former site of a Melungeon school. Saturday, June 24 activities include a Keynote Address from Author Wayne Winkler and presentations by two Melungeon researchers.  

Pre-registration is required for the Genealogy Pre-Conference for the 20th Melungeon Union by emailing Dr. Michael Gilley, MECC Director of Library Services, at mgilley@mecc.edu.  There is no fee for the Genealogy Pre-Conference, although participants are encourage to join the Wise County Historical Society and/or the Melungeon Heritage Association.  Admission for the Melungeon Union is $10.00.  Admission to all events is free of charge to residents of the City of Norton and Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties in Virginia.  The schedule for the 20th Melungeon Union is as follows:

Thursday, June 23

Pre-conference Genealogy Workshop-Mountain Empire Community College, Dalton-Cantrell Hall, Room 242 /243.

  • 9:00 AM – 12:00 noon…Paula D. Royster: African American Research for the Novice.
  • 1:30 – 2:50 PM…………Philip Edwards: Family of Tree Makers: Computer-Automated Genealogy in 2016.
  • 3:10 – 4:30 PM…………Lynda Davis-Logan: DNA for Family History Studies (DNA terminology, various companies for DNA)
  • 4:45 – 6:00 PM…………Darlene Wilson: The WebSpinning Granny Still Spins – How It Began

 

Friday, June 24

Those wanting to carpool/caravan to Vardy, meet at the Holiday Inn parking lot at 1051 Park Ave NW, Norton, at 10 a.m. For those driving on their own from Big Stone Gap or elsewhere, use the following address as a GPS point in Vardy, Tennessee: 3865 Vardy Blackwater, Sneedville, TN 37869-6432. Meet at the Vardy Museum/former Vardy Presbyterian Church.

  • 10:30 AM. …………….Depart for Vardy, Tennessee from Holiday Inn parking lot, Norton, VA.
  • 11:45 AM………………Arrive Vardy (approximate time)
  • 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM….Lunch at Vardy (sandwich lunch provided, bring lunch for special diet)
  • 12:30 – 2:30 PM……….Tour Vardy Historical Museum/District
  • 6:00 PM……………… Reception (light fare food and refreshments), Victorian Parlor,
  • Southwest Virginia Historical State Park, 10 E 1st St N, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219. Exhibit of Julie Williams Dixon’s photographic prints, “People and Their People.”
  • 7:00 PM………………..Julie Williams Dixon will talk briefly about her photography exhibit, “People and Their People,” and also facilitate a group discussion focused on the value of photography in historical genealogical study. Again, she welcomes participants to bring family portraits to share with the group.

 

Saturday, June 25

Events held at MECC’s Goodloe Center, Phillips -Taylor Hall

  • 9:00 AM………………Announcements: Mike Gilley, Scott Withrow
  • 9:30 – 10:15 AM………Wayne Winkler: Melungeon Keynote Talk
  • 10:15 – 10:30 AM………Break
  • 10:30 – 11:15 AM………Stephanie Musick: Tazewell County Schools in the 1930s
  • 11:15 – 11:30 AM………Announcements
  • 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM….Lunch on your own
  • 1:00 – 1:45 PM……….. Laura Tugman: Ongoing Melungeon Research
  • 1:45 – 2:30 PM………. .S. J. Arthur, Wayne Winkler: History of the Melungeon Heritage Association
  • 2:30 – 3:00 PM…………Break/Executive Committee meeting
  • 2:45 or 3:00 – 4:00 PM…Final announcements/raffle

-MECC-

 

 

MECC Announces Record Number of High School Students Earning College Credentials

Union cohort studentsBig Stone Gap – A record number of local high school students have earned their college degree or certificate at Mountain Empire Community College before their high school graduation thanks to a growth in the MECC’s dual enrollment program.

A total of 44 high school students received a college credential from MECC in 2015-16. Six of those students — a twin brother and sister from John I. Burton High School and four students from Union High school — earned their Associate Degree in General Studies. Thirty-seven students graduated with a General Education Certificate, and one student received an EMS-Basic career studies certificate. 

House Bill 1184, signed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell in April 2012, requires that each of Virginia’s Community Colleges and every local school division they serve develop agreements allowing high school students to complete an associate’s degree or a one-year general education certificate from a community college concurrent with a high school diploma.

The associate degree or general education certificate may also include credits earned through Advanced Placement (AP) as well as dual-enrollment if applicable. Since 2012, thousands of high school students across Virginia have earned college credentials, while a select few meet a higher challenge in earning their two-year degree.

What drives a high school student to complete both their high school education and college degree simultaneously?  Money, time, motivation, and parent support, according to these students.

Union senior Jon Hall noted that his parents encouraged him to complete his degree early. Hall, who will attend Virginia Tech this fall, will be able to enter college as a sophomore. That idea also appealed to fellow Union senior Beth Miller. “I liked the thought of having two years of my education already completed so that I will have more time in the future to either go to graduate school or to start my career at an earlier age.  The cost to get my associates degree in high school has been a fraction of the cost for a normal college student.  This appealed to me as it is a great option financially.”

Burton High School Senior Jazlyn Adams was motivated to set high goals for herself. Although she was heavily involved in sports, forensics, yearbook and other activities, she says, “I have always wanted to do different things and set high goals for myself. The biggest challenge I faced was learning to adapt to a college atmosphere and balancing my high school activities with a college course load.  To obtain this degree, I not only took dual enrollment classes, but took summer and night classes in addition to my high school courses, beginning my sophomore year.”

Jazlyn’s brother Tra, also juggled sports and activities. Choosing between high school and college activities was sometimes difficult. “College classes are much more strenuous and the addition of them to my already tough schedule made it very difficult.  I also did not want to miss out on enjoying high school and the clubs and activities that I had always enjoyed.”

Completing both a degree and high school diploma is not for every student, added Union Senior Alexis Stapleton. Although the work is challenging, the experience prepares students for the next step in their educational journey. “I would absolutely recommend this program to others. Not only does it give a student the opportunity to experience a truly unique experience, it also prepares the student for the rigors of a four-year university, and teaches them a set of skills needed as a real college student,” Stapleton said.

Local High School Students earning a credential at MECC in 2016 include:

  • James Winston Adams III from John I. Burton High School- Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in General Studies and Certificate in General Education
  • Jazlyn Whitney Adams from John I. Burton High School- Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in General Studies and Certificate in General Education
  • Jonathan Lee Hall from Union High School- Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in General Studies and Certificate in General Education
  • Frances Elizabeth Miller from Union High School- Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in General Studies and Certificate in General Education
  • Gavin Bryce Spears from Union High School- Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in General Studies and Certificate in General Education
  • Alexis Brooke Stapleton from Union High School- Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in General Studies and Certificate in General Education
  • Eric Douglas Blankenship from Eastside High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Noah Eli Bledsoe from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Thomas Andrew Cassell from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Tannor Blake Cates from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Tiffany L. Cole from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Nicolas Chase Collins from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Brandon Heath Combs from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Derrick Jean Cusano from Eastside High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Dylan Blake Dockery from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Hannah Elizabeth Dysart from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Alecia Ann Estep from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Sean Aaron Ghammashi from Eastside High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Matthew Hunter Gilliam from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • David Clayton Goodman from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Kermit Lamar Hall III from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Taylor Gabrielle Hamilton from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Charisma Jobenna Hunter from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Faith Elizabeth Jackson from Eastside High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Austin Blake Johnson from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Richard Patton Johnson II from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Chasity Amanda Kirk from Eastside High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Karlee H. Lovelace from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Abigail Brooke McKinney from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Christopher John McKnight from Eastside High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Dakota Lee Messer from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Marissa Dawn Mullins from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Alexandria Nicole Pridemore from Eastside High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Wesley Allen Qualls from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Devon Markus Simon from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Peyton Stewart Stallard from John I. Burton High School- Career Studies Certificate in Emergency Medical Technician: Basic
  • Samantha Elaine Sturgill from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Michael Jericho Taylor from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Emily M. Trent from John I. Burton High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Kayla Rose Vicente from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Ken Kim-Long Vo from Union High School- Certificate in General Education
  • Nathan A. Ward from John I. Burton- Certificate in General Education
  • Evan McCaleb West from John I. Burton- Certificate in General Education
  • Ciaran Michael Wheatley from Union High School- Certificate in General Education

For more information on dual enrollment opportunities for high school students, please contact your high school counselor, or MECC Dual Enrollment Coordinator John Bledsoe at 276.523.2400 ext. 307.

Photo Left to Right (Tim Cox): These Union High School students participated in the 2015-16 MECC dual enrollment cohort program.

MECC to Offer Free Quick Start to College Class

Big Stone Gap – Enrollment is now open for Mountain Empire Community College’s free Quick Start to College class. The class is designed for individuals who have considered enrolling in college, but are unsure about what is required. The class will be held on Thursday evenings beginning July 14 to August 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Topics such as success skills and career options are covered. Students are also able to refresh their computer, math, and English skills with one-on-one assistance. To qualify, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED). For more information on the Quick Start program, or to enroll, contact Beth Boggs, MECC Career and Transfer Counselor, at 276.523.7438 or by email at bboggs@mecc.edu. Visit the program website at www.mecc.edu/quickstart.

MECC Law Enforcement Leadership Academy Celebrates 10th Year

Law Enforcment LeadershipBig Stone Gap — Police officers are trained to serve in multiple roles – as law enforcement personnel, counselors, and supervisors.

However, most law enforcement training programs do not devote the time to train officers on how to serve as effective leaders within their organization and community.

A decade ago, Mountain Empire Community College Professor Robert England and Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Academy Director Doug Cooley recognized the need to develop stronger leadership skills in new and veteran law enforcement officers.  The Southwest Virginia Professional Leadership Academy was born.

Since 2006, hundreds of law enforcement officers have graduated from the academy, a year-long program that meets twice a month involving selected police and corrections personnel from throughout the region. Officers earn 16 college credits from Mountain Empire Community College by completing the leadership curriculum and a detailed administrative project.

“Most officers have been through field training that covers the basic leadership skills needed in the field and at work,” said England. “Our goal with the leadership academy was to develop leadership skills at a whole new level, so that officers can find out about themselves, their personality and leadership profile. There is a lot of focus on personal and professional leadership, morals, ethics, motivation, and communication.”

Numerous academy graduates have attested to the positive changes they experienced after completing the program. Often, graduates have reorganized operations and changed the culture of their organization by implementing ideas gleaned from the experience. Academy participants are encouraged to examine their budgets, operation procedures, training programs, community engagement, and mentoring activities for possible improvements.

“Your way of thinking changes after going through this program,” said Dickenson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Tammy Robinson. “You are able to re-analyze the processes in your organization and the decisions that you make.”

“I’ve used the program to help our department move forward. The academy has helped me see the potential of our organization and how we can interact better with our community and with each other,” added Bluefield, Va. Police Officer Justin McCully.

England noted that almost every law enforcement agency in Southwest Virginia has participated in the program during the last ten years, with Wise County Sheriff’s Office boasting over 25 graduates of the program. In addition to police forces, the program has expanded to include federal, state and local corrections employees as well.

“A criminal justice agency can only be as strong as its leadership,” added Cooley. “The Academy has afforded the leaders and rising leaders from our local agencies the opportunity to truly develop as professionals. Participating in this academy helps officers develop the skills that our communities expect from their top law enforcement executives.  It is critical in these challenging times in law enforcement that we continue to develop strong leaders.”

-MECC-

 

Photo Left to right: Greg Vencil, Bristol City Sheriff’s Office; David Collins, Bristol Virginia Sheriff’s Office ; Chris Whitt, Bristol Virginia Sheriff’s Office;  Marty Berry, Washington County Sheriff’s Office; Ryan Phillips, Wise County Sheriff’s Office; DeWitt Cooper, Tazewell Police Department; Robert England, Mountain Empire Community College; Justin McCulley, Bluefield Police Department; Chris Kent, Wise Police Department; Tammy Robinson, Dickenson County Sheriff’s Office; Charles (Tody) Curry, Wise County Sheriff’s Office; Tim Carroll, Bluefield Police Department; Charles Foster, Wythe County Sheriff’s Office; and Kenneth Joyner, Appalachia Police Department.