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2018-4-30

Southside Virginia Community College wants you!!  There is still time to register for classes and  apply for Financial Aid for the upcoming semester starting August 20.  Come by to see us...  Go to SVCC's Christanna Campus in Alberta or the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville or a location  in Emporia, Blackstone, Chase City, South Boston,  or South HIll for individual help or visit SVCC online at Southside.edu.  Now is the time, SVCC is the place!!!!!

E.W. Wyatt Middle School will be hosting soccer conditioning/tryouts on August 14-15 from 10:00am - 11:00 am. 

Must have a physical to attend!

"G. G. Hunter"

to all you out there with a pet
I ask that you listen up
it matters not if it's a kitten
or a pup.
 
They will not live forever
though at times this may seem
yes in all reality
this is but a dream.
 
Now they are a great companion
and all will return your love
yet don't forget what's written
in the paragraph above.
 
Well I had a cat named G. G.
and I thought she would forever be
now it seems the Lord did need her
a little more than me.
 
The Vet told me there was nothing else
that for her he could do
so I took her home and held on my lap
repeating that my love was true.
 
She look up like she understood
and snuggled in real tight
well the one I was counting on forever
did pass away that night.
 
Well for all the love I gave her
I got it back two-fold
yes and I learned about forever
before I got to old.
 
Roy E. Schepp

Greensville County High School SkillsUSA organization attended Virginia State Leadership Conference

 

The Greensville County High School SkillsUSA organization attended the 54th Virginia State SkillsUSA Leadership Conference April 20-21, 2018 in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The conference was attended by the following members:  Nathanial Grizzard, Mae Hammad, Destiny Johnson, Antonio Atchinson, Neal Powell, Samantha Dickens, Taylor Powell, Kamaray Sykes, and Joshua Sutton. The following club advisors were in attendance Jerry Brown, Brittany Wright, Marsha Campbell, and James E. Wright. Students’ competition areas include Presidential Volunteer Service Award, American Degree, promotional bulletin board, and chapter display. The chapter also competed in the Chapter of Excellence program. Nathanial Grizzard, Kamaray Sykes and Mae Hammad represented the chapter as voting delegates. The students placed in the following competitions:

  • Chapter Display: First Place: Neal Powell, Destiny Johnson, Antonio Atchinson

  • Promotional Bulletin Board: Third Place: Samantha Dickens, Taylor Powell, and Joshua Sutton

  • American Degree- Samantha Dickens

Service usually springs from selflessness. Through the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, the President of the United States recognizes volunteers for sustained service.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals, families and groups who have achieved a certain standard — measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime.

The following students won the Presidential Volunteer Service Award:

Gold Level- Samantha Dickens

Silver Level- Taylor Powell

Bronze Level- Neal Powell and Maci Powell

The chapter also received the following awards:

  • Chapter of Excellence- Chapter of Quality Award
  • Chapter of Excellence- Chapter of Distinction Award- Gold Level
  • 100% Membership Award
  • Plus Member Award

The Chapter Excellence Program relates to the development of personal, workplace and technical skills.  The framework actualizes SkillsUSA’s mission “to empower members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens”.  It also serves as the blueprint for career readiness--- our ultimate goal as an organization.  Greensville is one of only two schools to earn Gold out of 125 Virginia schools.

The first place winners will represent the state of Virginia at the National Leadership Conference June 26-30, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky.  Students will be sponsoring fundraisers during April- May. Please support the club in their efforts to attend the national conference.

Members will be selling tickets for the Annual Boston Butt sale starting this month until the day of the sale, Wednesday, May 23, 2018.  Please see any member to purchase a Boston Butt party pack for $50.00 or Boston Butt Only for $35.00.

If you would like to make a donation to support the club, send to Greensville County High School SkillsUSA Club, 403 Harding Street Emporia, Virginia, 23847. If you need additional information please contact one of the advisors: Jerry Brown, Brittany Wright, Gerald Wozinak, Marsha Campbell, Stephen Wells, or James E. Wright at 434-634-2195.  Greensville County High School SkillsUSA would like to extend a special thanks to the GCHS CTE Department, GCHS faculty, parents, and community for their support and donations to the club.

A New Generation Takes the Forefront in Gun Control Debate

(Editor's Note: This is part three of a four part series by the Student Journalists of theVCU Capital News Service. Alexandra Sosik has prepared a timeline of school shootings that is available here.)

By Alexandra Sosik and Fadel Allassan, Capital News Service

For the second time in as many months, thousands of students throughout the country united in a national school walkout last week, demanding government action on gun control with their piercing cry of “never again.”

The walkout marked 19 years since Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire in Columbine High School in Colorado, murdering 12 fellow students and a teacher. In the aftermath of that bloodbath, President Bill Clinton urged Congress to pass gun control laws. But nothing happened then – or after the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016 or Las Vegas last fall.

But after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day, the political winds seemed to have shifted in favor of gun control. What made the difference? Generation Z – roughly defined as those born in the mid-1990s through the early 2000s.

On March 24, 17-year-old Harry Kelso stood atop a van with a megaphone in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. He looked at the crowd of some 5,000 gun control advocates gathered before him at the Richmond March for Our Lives.

“I pray for the school year without the drills and the hide-and-lock exercises we’ve experienced since elementary school that remind us of the ever-present danger we face,” Kelso, a senior at Hermitage High School in Henrico, told the crowd. “I pray for the day I don’t have to pray about this anymore.”

Cameron Kasky – the 17-year-old firebrand and Marjory Stoneman Douglas student who made a name challenging Florida Sen. Marco Rubio during a CNN town hall – echoed a similar message at the main rally happening simultaneously in Washington, D.C. More than 800,000 people attended that demonstration.

“My generation, having spent our entire lives seeing mass shooting after mass shooting, has learned our voices are powerful and our votes matter,” Kasky said. “We must educate ourselves and start having conversations that keep our country moving forward. And we will. We hereby promise to fix the broken system we’ve been forced into and create a better world for the generations to come.”

Kelso and Kasky, in Richmond and D.C., respectively, were two of the many voices participating in the March for Our Lives – a protest sparked by the shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. The protest, like a school walkout staged 10 days earlier, was organized primarily by high school-age youths.

It all started Feb. 16, two days after the shooting in Parkland, when the hashtag #NeverAgain began trending on Twitter. That became the impetus for a rally that was originally planned for Washington but then spread to cities and towns across the nation and world.

The movement, inspired by tragedy and fueled by anger, has used social media to galvanize members of Generation Z. Among other tactics, they have confronted businesses and excoriated political leaders who accept financial donations from the National Rifle Association.

The students have had some success. Just weeks after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, Florida enacted a gun-control law that bans rapid-fire “bump stocks” and raises the minimum age for buying a firearm from 18 to 21. Although Virginia did not follow suit, Democratic legislators have formed a committee to consider ways to stop gun violence, and Republican lawmakers appointed a panel to bolster school safety.

It’s not unusual to see Kasky or other survivors of the Parkland shooting such as David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez on cable news promoting their cause nationally. In Richmond, students such as Kelso and Armstrong High School freshman Corey Stuckey lead the charge.

The recent activity among young people surrounding gun control has been a long time coming.

Since 1982, there have been 98 shootings in the U.S. in which three or more people were killed. Sixteen of those incidents happened at schools. Of all mass shootings, Marjory Stoneman Douglas had the seventh-highest number of fatalities; Sandy Hook ranked fourth; and Virginia Tech, where 32 people were killed in 2007, was third.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children and six staff members were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In response, parents created the Sandy Hook Promise to “prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge so that no other parent experiences the senseless, horrific loss of their child.”

But the Sandy Hook tragedy did not prompt governmental action on gun control. After the Columbine massacre in 1999, Larry Sabato, founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, explained why such incidents don’t necessarily result in new laws.

“The Columbine shootings have energized the gun-control debate, and moreover, they have given the emotional edge to the gun-control advocates,” Sabato told the Denver Post. “However, an edge in a debate is not an edge in Congress or the state legislatures.”

Today’s generation of students advocating gun control faces a similar test, and questions remain about whether they can impact the 2018 midterm election.

“One of the most difficult times for a movement is after the initial burst of energy when grinding work needs to be done,” said Derek Sweetman of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. “The movement will not end on Election Day, but I do expect many students in the movement will view the results as a measure of their influence, and therefore will work toward that date.”

The Sandy Hook survivors were too young to understand the magnitude of their tragedy, much less utilize technology to express their emotions. The Columbine survivors lived in a pre-digital age. The students leading the #NeverAgain movement, Sweetman said, are in the right place at the right time.

“Our political environment has destabilized some established political truths, and that has left more room for real action than we saw after Sandy Hook,” Sweetman said. “The students are taking advantage of that.”

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said the students’ efforts have already been more successful than previous attempts to influence gun policies. For example, Kaine noted, Walmart agreed to stop selling firearms to people under 21; Kroger decided to stop selling guns altogether in its Fred Meyer stores; and Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would stop selling assault-style rifles.

Kaine, a Democrat, also credited activity in Congress to young activists. A spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March lifted a decades-long ban that prevented the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting research on the causes of gun violence. In addition, the bill prods federal agencies to upload records into the background-check system for gun purchases.

“I had grown somewhat despondent in my efforts with the General Assembly and Congress. But then I saw the students of this country ... standing up and saying to adults, ‘What matters more – our safety or political contributions?’” Kaine told students at the March rally in Richmond. “Now I have more hope because of you.”

Scott Barlow, a member of the Richmond School Board, said he has been inspired by the students’ grassroots activism.

“Students haven’t had the opportunity to lend their voice in this debate. Now they’re bringing the perspective of people who are most impacted by school shootings, and the most impacted by gun violence in our city,” Barlow said about the rally. “It was the first time in a long time I felt optimistic about our ability to legislate gun safety.”

Tuition and Student Debt Increasing in Virginia

 

By Adam Hamza, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. — Most students who graduated from Virginia’s public colleges and universities last year left not only with a degree but also with a financial burden: an average student loan debt of about $30,000.

At Virginia Commonwealth University, once among Virginia’s most affordable institutions, students owed an average of nearly $31,000. As college and university tuition continues to rise, new laws that take effect this summer aim to help students get a grip on how much they owe.

Tuition increases have become the norm as decreases in state funding have pushed universities to boost prices to cover costs. These tuition hikes coincide with statewide trends in higher education costs and student loan debt.

At VCU, officials are proposing an increase of $844, or 6.4 percent, in tuition and mandatory fees for the coming academic year as part of the 2018-19 budget, said Karol Kain Gray, vice president of finance and budget.

Other institutions also are raising tuition. Virginia Tech approved a 2.9 percent hike in tuition and mandatory fees, the University of Virginia adopted a 2.5 percent increase and the College of William & Mary raised tuition 6.5 percent for incoming in-state undergraduate students. Current William & Mary students will continue to pay the tuition in effect when they were admitted.

From 2007 to 2017, college tuition and fees in Virginia have increased each year by an average of $578, or 6 percent. During the decade, VCU’s tuition and fees have increased annually by an average of  $743, or 8.4 percent.

This year, in-state undergraduate students at VCU paid $13,624 in tuition and mandatory fees. That was the fifth-highest amount among Virginia’s 15 four-year public colleges and universities. VCU’s tuition has more than doubled — it’s up 120 percent — since the 2007-08 school year. Back then, in-state undergraduates at VCU paid $6,196 — the fifth-lowest amount in Virginia.

At a recent forum hosted by the VCU Student Government Association, Gray outlined the university’s budget goals and explained how the school uses its funds and why it needs a tuition increase. About 40 people attended the session, including students, staff and members of the Board of Visitors.

For VCU, the 6.4 percent increase is part of a $33 million request to fund its “highest priority” needs and other academic and administrative priorities. Some of the high-priority needs, according to Gray, are raises for teaching and research faculty and adjuncts, and additional need- and merit-based financial aid for undergraduates.

VCU’s average instructor salary of $49,000 is lower than other four-year institutions in Virginia. Tech, U.Va., George Mason University and William & Mary have average instructor salaries between $53,600 and $63,700, according to the American Association of University Professors 2016-17 report on university salaries.

“We have to start looking at where we’re going and at having reasonable increases to support the things we deserve to have,” Gray said. “This hurts our ranking, it hurts our [faculty] retention and it’s a morale issue.”

Tripp Wiggins, an 18-year-old VCU freshman, said he came to the forum looking for fiscal transparency from the university. He left feeling like there wasn’t enough information about why VCU is relying on tuition as its primary source of revenue.

“I feel like I understand how the funds are being managed,” Wiggins said. “But I still don’t have a clear understanding why the burden [of education costs] is going towards student tuition when there are other ways of getting revenue.”

From a Public Good to a Private Benefit?

In Virginia, the state shares the cost of education with students by providing general funds to universities. Universities then set tuition based on how much state funding they will receive. This educational and general fund is used to finance faculty salaries, financial aid and improvements to classrooms and academic buildings.

In 2004, Virginia set a cost-sharing goal: The state would cover 67 percent of the educational cost, and students would cover the remaining 33 percent through tuition. But it hasn’t worked out that way.

According to the 2017-18 tuition and fees report by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, students are paying for 53 percent of the cost of their education, with the state picking up 47 percent.

Changes in state funding and the economy have pushed universities to increase tuition and fees to maintain their academic standards and growth, officials say.

At the VCU budget forum, Dr. Charles Klink, senior vice provost for student affairs, said this represented a shift in the perception of higher education overall.

“At one point people saw higher education as a public good. Now it seems more like a private benefit,” Klink said.

For students paying for their education through loans, lawmakers in the most recent General Assembly session passed new laws to protect borrowers from drowning in debt.

Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham, introduced legislation that would help students manage their federal loans, while Del. Marcia “Cia” Price, D-Newport News, sponsored a bill to create a student loan ombudsman. Both bills have been signed by Gov. Ralph Northam and will take effect July 1.

Obenshain’s bill, SB 568, requires public colleges and universities to provide students with an annual statement about their federal loans. This statement includes how much money they have borrowed so far, the potential amount they will owe and estimated monthly payments.

“I want to ensure that college students know how much they are actually borrowing and how much it will cost them in interest so that hopefully we can help get under control the overwhelming debt that our students often face upon graduation,” Obenshain said.

Price’s bill, HB 1138, created a state student loan ombudsman within SCHEV. According to the bill summary, this office is will be an advocate for borrowers by helping them understand their rights and responsibilities under their loan. The office also will review and attempt to resolve complaints from borrowers.

There are other methods universities can use to keep tuition hikes low while maintaining growth. Gray said one way is increasing the number of out-of-state and international students, who pay higher tuition.

At VCU, for example, 10 percent of students are from out of state, according to SCHEV reports. Tech and U.Va. enroll about 30 percent from outside Virginia.

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