Forsyth Tech, Lifesaver

Donna Farrar

After getting laid off in 2009, Donna Farrar came to Forsyth Tech looking for a new start. Thanks to hard work, perseverance and the support of folks like Sherraine McLean, director of the Shugart Women’s Center and now Donna’s good friend, Donna earned AAS degrees in both Paralegal and Criminal Justice Technology. She’s now enrolled online at Gardner-Webb University working on her BS degree in Criminal Justice and is working full time in the Forsyth Tech department of student activities. An ex-offender and former addict, clean since 2001, Donna says her goal is to help those who have faced the same struggles she has. She knows they can turn their lives around because she’s done it herself. “I never thought I’d go as far as I have,” she says. “But Forsyth Tech was my lifesaver. Education is the tool that can open the door to a better life, and whoever you want to be, that’s who you can be at Forsyth Tech.”

Mr. Tea

Chad Morris

Chad Morris is a man of many abilities. In his 12 years at Forsyth Tech, he’s taught English as a Second Language classes as well as running the Literacy Lab and being an adult GED instructor at the college’s Goodwill location. He’s also a successful entrepreneur – the owner and operator of Chad’s Chai & Tea Co. His products are sold in more than 50 locations nationwide, including several local coffee shops, such as Black Mountain Chocolate, Camino Bakery, Washington Perk & Provision and West End Coffee House. They’re also available through the company’s website, www.chadschai.com. His goal is a simple one: “We want to make really extraordinary tea accessible to everybody.” So far it’s going well – in 2015 Chad’s Chai sales were up 50 percent over 2014, and that trend is expected to continue.

On The Move

Chris Pearce

Chris Pearce Named To President’s Cabinet

Chris Pearce has been promoted to associate vice president and chief information officer of Information Technology Services for the college, a position that places him at the table with the president’s cabinet. Chris earned his AA in Information Systems from Forsyth Tech and has worked for his alma mater since graduation, serving as coordinator for the high-performance computer program, manager of web services, and director of Information Systems.
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Designing Women

Veronica Nielsen and Allison Carithers

When Veronica Nielsen and Allison Carithers met as students in the Interior Design program at Forsyth Tech, they immediately hit it off. Their second year, participating in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore Spaces fundraiser, they discovered a shared passion for taking old, junky items and repurposing them into handcrafted home décor, furniture and jewelry. In 2015 that shared passion led to the opening of their store, Junkies, where they sell their creations. But they don’t just sell their work – they use their creations to help photographers stage shoots and provide decorations for weddings and other events. They also work with traditional interior design clients, most of whom find them through the store. And in what little spare time she has, Veronica is working on her BA in Interior Design at Salem College! If you want to see their work, Junkies is located at 105 Bethania Street in Rural Hall.

Profiting Nonprofits

businesspeople working on a laptop in an office

When it comes to helping nonprofits, Reneé Rogers can’t help herself. As program coordinator of the Nonprofit Leadership & Management program, she helps guide Forsyth Tech students to careers in the nonprofit arena. In her free time she serves on the boards of several local nonprofits and helps with the needs they have. Often the roles overlap, as when she worked with Tony Brown, program coordinator for Web Technologies, to have his students create a new website for Kernersville Cares for Kids, an anti-drug/drinking/smoking program for middle and high school students. His web design students needed a capstone project, she recalls, so they partnered the students with the nonprofit. “It’s great for the students and for Forsyth Tech because we want to have a positive presence in the community,” she says. The project was so successful that they’re doing it again next year for another nonprofit.

Achieving A Goal

Darena Pack

The 2007-8 recession hit Darena Pack and her family hard. She lost her bookkeeping job, her husband lost his truck driving job, and they eventually had to move out of their house and into an apartment. “We were really struggling,” she says. She got a job in a veterinarian’s office that she enjoyed, but then a medical issue forced her to leave that position. A part-time job at a hotel followed, but with no benefits and no real future. Nearing 50, she realized she needed something more stable and better paying.
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Making Education Pay

Jeremiah Cockerham

Jeremiah Cockerham was looking for a job that paid well. Not because he wanted to live a lavish lifestyle, but because he has a family – including five children ­– who depend on him. For Jeremiah, like a lot of people with family responsibilities, what the job was wasn’t nearly as important as how much it paid. But now, thanks to Forsyth Tech, he doing something that he likes and pays well – he’s an electrical lineman.
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