Perspective | Leadership in a brave new normal: Forsyth Tech takes up the challenge

In January, when I began my second year as president of Forsyth Technical Community College, I never imagined how the coming months would unfold. Obviously, we were all watching the evolving situation with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, but I don’t think any of us anticipated how quickly and dramatically all our lives would change.

I am reminded of poet Robert Burns’ famous line, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” No matter how much we plan, things we don’t expect and don’t anticipate often change those plans. This was certainly not what we envisioned for our spring semester, but it was, so to speak, the hand we had been dealt, and therefore the hand we would have to play.

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MIXXER is using its talent and tools to produce protective equipment for hospitals

A large white board, spanning a few feet across, stood on metal legs. Bold, stenciled lettering spelled out the words “2020 ConnExxpo” across the top of the frame.

Monthly events filled the board’s white space. A March 20 seminar titled “Entrepreneurship” described as “Make Stuff. Get Paid!” in purple was the first of two seminars Alan Shelton canceled since shutting the doors to MIXXER, a nonprofit makerspace just off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, five days earlier out of growing concern for the coronavirus outbreak. That roughly 8,000-square foot building — equipped with anything from an anvil to circular saws, Singer sewing machines and even 3D printers spanning the concrete floors — was nearly vacant

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College and Career Readiness Students: The Next Enrollment Group

Take people where they are and carry them as far as they can go. As a North Carolina community college educator, I have been trained to remember this statement by Dallas Herring as the reason to show up to work every day. With this statement, it’s also important that community colleges not let policies and procedures impede their mission, especially as it relates to student services and enrollment. One often overlooked student group in these discussions is College and Career Readiness (CCR) students who take free classes. If they were recognized as a target group for enrollment and provided with wrap-around services early in their studies, then community colleges are later more likely to enroll these students into advanced level programs and retain them more easily.

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A recent Forsyth Technical Community College graduate shares her experiences serving on the front lines with COVID-19.

On Good Friday, Savannah Hayes drove into work at a Novant Health COVID-19 screening center in Winston-Salem with a basket of eggs in the seat next to her.

In our pre-pandemic world, Hayes, a newly minted nurse, would have had the day off. Those eggs would have gone to her three children. She wouldn’t have been hiding them for the sole purpose of delighting her (adult) colleagues just a few days before Easter.

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Pro wrestler Fulp is feeling the impact of COVID-19

KING — Mickey Fulp, a 2015 South Stokes graduate, has continued his normal daily routine since the stay-at-home order on March 27 due to the COVID-19 virus.

Fulp has been wrestling professional since 2016 with several different independent wrestling companies including Allied Independent Wrestling Federation (AIWF), Real Shoot Wrestling, Firestar Pro Wrestling, and Premier Wrestling Federation (PWF). He was able to complete his last scheduled event on March 7, but April sites have been canceled with hope of returning to the ring by the first weekend of May.

“Wrestling is my only source of income and I’m not making that right now,” Fulp said. “I’m just doing some basic exercises at the house to stay in shape. Hopefully I’ll be back in the ring in May, but realistically I don’t see all of this blowing over until at least June.”

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Owens is living the dream

WALNUT COVE — Matthew Owens graduated in 2016 with an associate degree in from Stokes Early College and then promptly snagged a job with Learfield/IMG College as a broadcaster monitor and producer for Southern Mississippi football and basketball, with hopes to one day become a studio host for Southern Mississippi or another school.

“I am having a blast,” said Owens. “I never really knew a person could love a job as much as I do with my current job at Learfield/IMG College. Certainly, it’s tough times right now with what’s going on in the world and how it has affected sports. There’s not much to do right now, but eventually sports will be back and I will too.”

Owens has always known that he wanted to get into broadcasting from an early age. As a toddler he would sit in the floor with toy cars and announce a race since he was three or four years old according to Owens.

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Educator Certification Experience by Sandy Grover Mason

Thinking about my history in massage therapy education immediately brings to mind two teachers who worked at a school with me, and how vastly different they were. In short, one was probably the best teacher I have seen before or since, and the other was quite possibly the worst. Having little access to feedback and essentially no credentials in education, I asked myself how I could be more like the great teacher, and less like the poor one. And unfortunately, other than intuition, I did not have an answer, because my school (like practically every other massage school in the country) had no requirements for teachers – not even being a licensed or certified Massage Therapist.

I relied upon student evaluations, peer discussions, and the few teacher training courses I could find that would also offer CE credits, as well as feedback and impetus for upgrading my class material or teaching style.

My father was a University professor emeritus at VA Tech and freely offered advice about teaching, but it did not always seem to apply to the unique world of bodywork education (suffice it to say, he had no experience with students regularly disrobing in his classroom). Other than pursuing a degree in Education (which has appealed to me for years but requires both financial and time commitments still beyond the scope of what I can offer), what resources do I have to ensure my success as an educator?

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Nursing students graduate to work front lines of Coronavirus

Medical professionals across the country are working tirelessly in the fight against the coronavirus.
In May, graduates in the Triad will join that front line team to help during this crisis to help in any way they can.
Williams Wallace is one of those expected graduates. He’s a nursing student at Forsyth Tech Community College.

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A sweet surprise for someone stuck inside on his 94th birthday

Harley Affeldt expected an uneventful birthday.

After all, he was turning 94 years old. That made going out for a birthday meal a big no-no in the age of the new coronavirus, which is particularly lethal for people over the age of 65. And because of their age, they aren’t seeing any visitors for fear they might contract the virus.

The Affeldts also live in Arbor Acres, which is restricting visitors to protect its residents.

But March 31 wound up being a pretty special day for Affeldt, a World War II veteran and the first employee of Forsyth Technical Community College back in 1960.

For one thing, Virginia, his wife of 68 years, who is also 94, was able to continue a tradition that she started when they first married — spelling out “I Love You” in toothpicks on the kitchen table.

“I thought his birthday would just be us,” Virginia said, “and that this would be the first year without a birthday cake.”

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