Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Great Expectations: Fostering powerful change

The VCCS' and Germanna's Great Expectations program helps get at-risk foster youth aging out of the system on track toward good-paying careers. Comments from GCC Educational Board member and Great Expectations program supporter Connie Kincheloe is featured in video.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Capital One donates $20,000 to Germanna's Middle College to help high school dropouts get GEDs, make transition to regular college

Raymond R. Hall, District Manager for Capital One, left, and Bill Fulton, the company's Cosner's Corner Branch Manager, pass the first of two annual checks for $10,000 to Germanna Community College Educational Foundation Executive Director Mike Catell and Middle College Director Carolyn Bynum. GCC's Middle College helps young adults who have not earned a high school diploma get their GEDs and make the transition to regular college academic classes and Workforce training. "If this helps one student become a success in life, it will be worth it," Hall said. "We want to give back to people in the community--to people in our back yard. Ninety percent of our local branch associates were born and raised in the area and we want to make a difference here."
"Believe me, this will help more than one person," Bynum said. "Germanna and the Middle College greatly appreciate Capital One's support."
"We look forward to a long relationship with Capital One," Catell said.
Capital One's Fulton said he's gratified that the funds will help "the less fortunate--those that have great need for help-- in the area."
The funds will help GCC Middle College programs from across the region, including Culpeper, Madison and Orange. Middle College is not funded by the state and depends on local donations.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Culpeper Regional Health System named Germanna Community College's 2011 Philanthropist of the Year

Culpeper Regional Health System Board Secretary Wayne Hawkins accepts Germanna Educational Foundation Philanthropist of the Year Award from Bruce L. Davis, foundation president.

Germanna Community College’s Educational Foundation named Culpeper Regional Health System its 2011 Philanthropist of the Year Friday night at the Lake of the Woods Clubhouse.
Culpeper Regional Health System's total investment in its partnership with Germanna over the last 10 years is $539,266, said Mike Catell, Director of the GCC Educational Foundation & Alumni Relations. The donations have been been made in the form of scholarships, grants for nursing program development and a faculty position, and contributions to events like Monte Carlo Casino Night and Distinguished Person of the Year, which support the Germanna Guarantee Program. The hospital and its affiliated organizations have also invested in the Jane R. Ingalls Nurse Educator Fellowship.
“The relationship between Culpeper Regional Health System and Germanna Community College is vitally important to our future,” said Wayne Hawkins, Secretary of the Board of Culpeper Regional Health System , in accepting the award. “We look forward to our continued collaboration and partnership for many years to come.”
"Culpeper Regional Health System is a critical partner in our mission,” Catell said, “and the Educational Foundation is very grateful for their extraordinary investment and long-standing partnership.”
Germanna President David A. Sam said support from partners like Culpeper Regional Hospital has made it possible for GCC to make sure the area has enough nurses as the Baby Boomer population ages and demand for health care increases.
Bruce L. Davis, President of Germanna’s Educational Foundation, and a member of its Local College Board, said Culpeper Regional Health System has displayed leadership in the community and vision in its consistent and generous support of GCC. The college doubled the size of its nursing program this year and added non-credit Workforce health care certifications. Meanwhile, the total headcount of students taking classes is approaching 14,000, including nearly 8,000 students taking credit classes. “Enrollment is way up, demand for academic programs and Workforce training is way up, state funding is down, and we need more funding from local partners and donors,” Davis said.
Doris Buffett, the Fredericksburg philanthropist and sister to Warren Buffett also spoke, explained her own support of GCC by saying: “Germanna and I do much the same things and share the same goals—including helping people who otherwise couldn’t afford to go to college get degrees . We both work in the real world.”

Caroline County student to earn Associate's Degree at GCC before high school graduation

Paige Romeo will begin college as a junior, thanks to Germanna's affordable Dual Enrollment program
Caroline High School student Paige Romeo will walk at Germanna Community College's commencement in May before she graduates from CHS in June. GCC's Dual Enrollment program, which allows students to get credit for college courses at their high schools, has allowed her to leap ahead and save money at the same time. The cost of GCC courses is about one-third of the cost of classes at four-year-colleges and universities.
The 18-year-old Romeo is also more comfortable with the idea of going off to college because of her GCC Dual Enrollment experience. She plans to attend Virginia Tech in the fall. "I've gotten a taste of what college is like and still had the (home) support system," she said, adding that she believes it will make adjusting to college life away from home easier.
"The experience has been awesome. All the professors have been nice. I thought their expectations might be too much, but all you have to do is do the work."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

John Hollis, author of “Life in the Paint: A Black Man Fighting for His Identity” will speak at GCC's Sealy Auditorium at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4

John Hollis with his 5-year-old son, Davis. His "Life in the Paint" teaches people to be themselves. Don't try to be white. Don't try to be black. Just be you.
When he was growing up in Fredericksburg, John Hollis found a way to not only live, but thrive, in both the black and white worlds at the same time.

His skills in the classroom earned him scholarships to Woodberry Forest and U.Va. His skills on the basketball court earned him the respect of other young black males who considered getting good grades to be "white."

He's gone on to write for CNN and Time and to cover professional sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

And his brutally honest book, "Life in the Paint: A Black Man Fighting for His Identity" provides clues on how we can fix one of the major problems affecting our education system.

Q: Your dad left and your mom, Phyllis Hollis, a Stafford County teacher, raised you guys on her own, right? She drilled into all three of you the importance of education, didn't she? Have you had contact with your dad in later years--has he congratulated you on your success?

JOHN HOLLIS: Yep, my mother (A Howard University grad who has a master's degree in education from U.Va) raised the three of us on her own after divorcing my father when I was very, very young. We were still living in Germany--my father was in the U.S. Army--when their marriage ended and my mom returned to the U.S. with three sons to support. My youngest brother, Rick, was just a newborn baby at the time. I vaguely recall seeing my father once or twice while growing up, but not all since I was about 8 or 9, I guess. He sent two e-mails to me a few years ago in 2003, congratulating me on my success. I never responded back to either of his e-mails, although I did a few years ago speak via phone to the 20-something-year-old son he had by the German woman from his second marriage. I have never hated my father or anybody else for that matter. I truly have no feelings towards him whatsoever. He just wasn’t there when we needed him while growing up, so I don’t need him now. In fact, I look at it as a blessing of sorts that he wasn’t in my life because there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be the person I am today had there been such negative daily influences around me during my formative years. As for my mom, she was always preaching the value of education to us, ingraining in us at a young age that we would be good students, that we would be going to college and that our behavior in the classroom would be as exemplary as our academic performances. As I’ve grown into a man and become a parent myself, I realize how important that was in setting high goals for us and challenging us to meet those goals. All the more so for young black men. According to the statistics, my brothers and I should most likely be either dead or in jail. I’ll be forever indebted to my mother for demanding excellence from us. It’s a lesson from many other people could learn.
Q: Do you agree with the messages of Bill Cosby and President Obama that black families need to stress the importance of education more?

JOHN HOLLIS: I think President Obama and Bill Cosby were both right on the mark in chastising some African-American parents for failing to put the proper emphasis on education. They were both roundly criticized by apologists from within the black community for reasons still unclear to me, other than it’s always easier to simply blame the messenger rather than take a hard look at the message. Let's call it what it is and address the problem rather than bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist. I certainly can’t speak for all African-American families, but I do think many of those I see daily here in the Atlanta area anyway concede education, for whatever reason, as somehow an exclusively white domain, that somehow the sports arena is the only avenue out of a poor socio-economic situation. Black kids who excel in school or speak proper English are often ribbed as “acting white” as if underachieving were somehow synonymous with African-Americans. Black kids who athletic, however, are the unquestioned kings of the kingdom, free to have whatever they wish. It’s absurd, and it has to stop. Don’t get me wrong – I love sports and it has always played a major role in my life. But there’s never been a doubt that I or my brothers could always do a lot more than that. We have never bought into this ridiculous and incredibly insulting concept that all African-American males can do is either play basketball or be a rapper. The failure of our nation’s education systems has long been well documented, but nowhere is it more glaring than among young black men, only about half of whom graduate from high school these days, dooming themselves to a challenging life that more often than not leads to poverty and criminal behavior. I’ve always been dumbfounded by this line of thought because of the flawed underlying premise that says there are certain things African-Americans can’t or won’t do. It’s because there are such low expectations of black men in America – from both whites and blacks alike – and rather than be insulted and hell bent on proving people wrong, too many folks just meekly go along with the status quo. Bad grades and poor efforts in school are tolerated by way too many African-American parents because the bar is set so low and that’s what is expected of them. It’s about time we in the African-American community started asking – no, demanding - better from all black students, especially black males. That means turning the TV off at night to do schoolwork, it means becoming involved with your children’s education and it means not letting their son play sports if he or she is not getting it done in the classroom.I have been amazed at how many African-American parents in the Atlanta area anyway see nothing wrong with letting their son play sports despite their academic shortcomings. Many of those same parents – especially in the case of the fathers- couldn’t ever be found in a parent/teacher conference, but you can bet they won’t miss their son’s football game or practice. It absolutely makes no sense to me, and it is detrimental to the entire black community as a whole. Sports is a privilege to be earned, not a right. We played all kinds of sports while growing up, but my mom always made it very clear to us it was a luxury we would lose if we didn’t get the job done in the classroom. Critics will say that these young black men often come from broken homes with no strong parent to guide them like my mom did. But such academic deficiencies are nowhere near as prevalent among African-American females, many of whom come from the same homes. The difference is that expectations are considerably higher of black females. I would like to see young black males held to the same high standard so they, too, can have a chance at a good life. Many will rise to meet the challenge if only they are pushed. We owe them that much. I was raised by a single mother who instilled in us a belief from a young age that we were smart and that we could do anything or be anything that we chose. I have firmly believed that my entire life and will always believe that. It wasn’t easy, but we overcame the major life obstacles in front of us b/c much was always expected of us. Others can do likewise, but it’s going to take a lot more effort from more African-American parents

Q: You say that your ability on the basketball court allowed you to straddle the line and relate to both sides. What do you think would have happened if you didn't have those skills?

JOHN HOLLIS: I’m not sure what might have happened if I didn’t have a little game back in the day. That innate confidence to know I could thrive in whatever my environment I might have found myself has been very pivotal for me. I might have turned out differently without the basketball skills, but who knows for sure?

Q: You write about other black kids you played basketball with being as smart as you but either being killed or going to jail for selling drugs because they bought into the idea that doing well in school was a white thing.

JOHN HOLLIS: I’m not sure that the friend of whom I spoke in the book as being as bright as me ever bought into the idea of studying made you “white.” I always believed this friend “Jimmy” was more a victim of life’s circumstances than anything else. He turned to selling drugs when the single mom raising him and a younger sister became ill. But there are plenty of young black males who don’t have the confidence to dare go against the grain. Often young and looking to fit in, too many black males do buy into that flawed premise, often with terrible consequences. I was always blessed to have lots of self-confidence, and I was determined to never let other people or different environments define me. Only I could define me. Yes, I was different than a lot of guys I played pickup basketball with, but I think I earned their respect because I always had the confidence to just be me and not try to be something else.

Q: Sports were a real blessing to you---they not only helped you relate to others who might have shunned you, they got you your start in journalism. But isn't it true that for many, they lead a lot of kids—especially poor kids-- to believe they can succeed without studying?

JOHN HOLLIS: “I’ve always believed sports can serve as a great life lesson. You learn to win with class and dignity, as much as you learn to lose gracefully as well. And when you lose, you go back, practice and get better so you can do it right the next time. You learn teamwork in sports and how to work together towards a common goal with others who might be different from you. Kids who want to be successful athletes will have to be talented, yes, but they’ll also have to be willing to put in the long practice time and planning necessary to be good. The same principles apply to school as well. African-American parents just need to expect more of their sons in this realm as well and hold them accountable when they don’t meet expectations. Just like their coaches would.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

GCC to host information sessions on low-interest Federal Direct Stafford Loans Nov. 4 at Locust Grove and Nov. 11 at Massaponax

Germanna Community College will offer Federal Direct Stafford Loans beginning with the spring 2011 semester. Federal Direct Stafford Loans are offered through the Department of Education and are being offered as a responsible alternative to private borrowing.

Click here for YouTube video about White House Community College Summit.

Direct loans are intended to help students and their families offset the rising cost of college tuition. Currently, Germanna offers several types of financial aid to our students including grants, scholarships, work study programs, and private student loans. The college is now able to offer Stafford loans, as well for those students who need additional financial aid to meet their educational expenses.

Stafford Loans have lower interest rates, longer repayment terms, deferment and forbearance options as well as early loan forgiveness for graduates working in public service.

For more information, click here. Or attend one of the following Information Sessions:

• Thursday, 11/4 at the Locust Grove Campus 10 a.m.-11 a.m. or 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Room 202

• Monday, 11/8 at the Fredericksburg Area Campus 10 a.m.-11 a.m. or 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Room 212

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daniel Center reschedules Green Jobs Conference for Earth Day, April 22, 2011

The Germanna Center for Workforce and Community Education Green jobs conference set for Monday, Oct. 25, 2010 has been rescheduled for Earth Day, April 22, 2011. It's only $20, including lunch.
Call 540/937-2900 and register now to learn from experts about opportunities for green living & working through a series of quick workshops including Green Building Professional Development, Green Building Training and Certification Options, Marketing Green Homes, and the Top Ten Home Energy Upgrades for Consumers.

For more information, please click here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

At Germanna, instead of being pitied, she decided who she was going to be

Amherst College has given Devon Geary nearly a full scholarship after Germanna Community College helped her excel academically in spite of entering the school with a rare and debilitating disorder.

She was so sick in 2006 that she had to drop out when she was a sophomore at James Monroe High in Fredericksburg. She suffers from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). The rare genetic disorder can be debilitating. For those with the disorder, sitting up or standing can cause heart rates to soar and blood flow to the brain to decrease, resulting in fainting.

Some POTS sufferers can't go to school or work. Devon's case is complicated by Ehler-Danos syndrome, which affects connective tissue between joints and makes movement agonizing. At 16, Devon was faced with the prospect of being bedridden or in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Her doctor gave her little hope.

But she refused to give in.

In 2008, she came to Germanna in a wheelchair and got her GED.

In 2009, she began classes at GCC, using a walker, and frequently fainting.

"There was no way I could have gone to a four-year school," Devon says. "I could barely walk. I could barely stay conscious."

"I would sometimes find Devon in the fetal position," says Winford Stevens, GCC's Coordinator of Disability Services.

She was able to stick with it, she says, because at Germanna, "Nobody stared at me. Nobody laughed at me. I had been in a wheelchair for 2 ½ years. I was used to pity stares. But I didn't get that here. People were very kind and accommodating, but they didn't pity me."

Devon thrived on the kind of one on one attention students get from faculty at Germanna.

Her condition gradually improved, and though there is still pain, she now not only walks on her own, but is an assistant dance instructor. The outcome: nearly a full scholarship to Amherst, one of the top liberal arts schools in the country.

At Germanna, instead of being pigeonholed, she decided who she was going to be.

"If anything, I'm the 6-foot-tall redhead with the 4.0," Devon says. "I was never defined by my illness here and I really appreciate that. I don't know if it would have been that way at a 4-year school," she says. "I think I did pretty well, but it was because of the environment."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

GCC Workforce & Economic Development Partnership series offers quick-hit courses that can help your company grow

In the current economic environment, small businesses with shrinking staffs need to find ways to invigorate themselves without devoting a lot of time to retraining.

So Germanna Community College is offering a Workforce & Economic Development Regional Business Series that allows employers to enhance skills in a hurry.

GCC, which is offering the series in partnership with local economic development authorities and chambers of oommerce, is offering a two-hour course on Branding & Marketing at the Daniel Center in Culpeper from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on July 16.

There will also be a Branding course on the same day at the same time at the Germanna Stafford Center.

Two weeks later, there will be a course titled Develop a Strategic Business Plan at GCC's Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on July 30.

On Aug. 13, there will be a Legal Fundamentals course from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Caroline County Business Center.

And on Aug. 27, there will be a course entitled Develop a Marketing Plan from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the King George Community Citizens' Center. The two-hour courses cost $29. Call 540/891-3012 for more information and to register.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'Thank you for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself'

Anita Newhouse of Culpeper didn't believe she was smart enough. She was wrong ...

I came up with every excuse I could think of:

“I have a child.

“I work full time.

“I wasn’t a good student in high school.”

The truth is, my self esteem and confidence were so low that I honestly didn’t think I would be successful in college. I thank God I listened to a friend who pushed me to enroll at Germanna Community College in 2000. She suggested taking one class at a time until I was used to that, and then later taking more than one class each semester. As each semester passed, my confidence increased and I held my head a little higher.

I couldn’t believe that I was going to college and that I was working towards an associate’s degree! No one in my family had ever attended college, and now I was. It felt amazing.

One of my professors at GCC, Randy Martin, encouraged me to check with the University of Mary Washington to find out what classes that I had already taken would transfer as well as what other classes I could take at Germanna that would transfer. I humored him, still not believing it was realistic. Mr. Martin checked with me periodically to see where I was in the process. He even said that he was not going to let me stop at an associate’s degree.
One day I realized that if he believed in me and he thought I could do it, maybe I should pursue it. But I didn’t have the money to continue my education. And though my self esteem had increased during my time at Germanna, I was still not confident enough in myself to believe that I could also be successful at a university. I simply thought I was not smart enough.

I met with an advisor at UMW and was able to take a lot of classes at GCC that would transfer. Germanna provided me with educational assistance for tuition for these classes as well as for the books.

In addition to working full time and attending school, my husband and I are small business owners, and this takes a lot of my time. I was only able to take one class a semester at UMW. I didn’t really have the time or money to devote to any more than that.

In April of 2009, an email about a fellowship program was sent to all state employees. I quickly closed the email without really reading it because at the time I didn’t realize what it was. Later that day my wonderful supervisor, Sarah Somerville, came to me and asked if I had read the email. I told her I looked at it briefly but that I didn’t really know what it was or if it even pertained to me. She explained to me that it was the Chancellor’s Fellowship scholarship and she encouraged me to apply for it. If she hadn’t brought it to my attention, I would never have applied. I did, and I was awarded the scholarship which provided me the opportunity to be a full-time student for the first time ever.

Not only could I be a full-time student and not have to balance work, but I also had no worries about the cost of attending the university as my salary and tuition would be taken care of during the academic year in which I was attending school. Dr. David Sam, Germanna’s president, called to tell me that I was awarded the scholarship and when I hung up with phone with him, I cried. I cried because I was so grateful for the opportunity and I couldn’t believe that I was going to be receiving my Bachelor’s degree.

As a full-time student, I was able to network and build relationships. This was something I was never able to do before while balancing other things in my life. When I finished classes at Germanna, I would always rush home to my family. As a full-time student, I was able to stay after class to discuss my thoughts on various things and build relationships that I will continue to maintain.

On May 8, 2010, I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with my Bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Management. I am forever grateful to so many people for supporting me through this journey and providing me with this opportunity.
Thank you, Chancellor Glenn DuBois, for providing such a scholarship. Thank you Sarah Somerville, for being such a wonderful and selfless person and encouraging me to take advantage of this opportunity though it would mean I would have to leave the counseling office. Thank you Randy Martin for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Also, thank you Pam Frederick for being so supportive of me at all times.
I can’t tell you how much it means to have such wonderful supervisors who encourage growth and want the best for their employees. Joan Fischer, Kelly Wolfe, Katey Denner, and Dean Rowe, thank you all for always believing in me! Dr. Sam and Victoria Waldron, you both were willing, without hesitation, to write letters of reference for me and I am so grateful for that as your opinions and insight are extremely valued.

Thank you as well to every single employee at Germanna who has believed in me, and shared in my exciting journey.

God bless you all!

--Anita Newhouse

Monday, June 28, 2010

Germanna's on-site Apprenticeship Program makes career ladder easier to climb; doesn't require students to leave work

After spending the last six years making airplane parts at Euro-Composite in Culpeper, 29-year-old Doug Bray saw a chance to advance his career when the company began an apprenticeship program in partnership with Germanna Community College's Center for Workforce and Community Education. The program opened the door to an associate’s degree and a journeyman’s license in industrial maintenance.
The four-year Workforce apprenticeship program combines classroom work with on-the–job training at the work site. It’s designed to meet the need for trained industrial maintenance technicians and intended for those who wish to work as maintenance employees or those who have recently been hired as maintenance employees. It also allows current employee to upgrade the skills necessary to support and maintain high-technology equipment.

“It was definitely a good opportunity for me, going to Germanna,” said Bray, who has a wife and child. “I think it’ll allow me to look at my job a little different. It’ll help me to excel at what I’m doing. It could mean promotions, raises. It’ll just benefit me all around and look at different things I’m doing and come up with new ideas to do my job that maybe I wouldn’t without taking the program and without getting my license.”

“It’s been a little bit of a learning experience,” Bray said. “It’s taught me things I never knew and also helped me refresh on things I learned in high school and never really used while I was working. It will definitely help me to think more critically. It’s been a little tough at times, but it’s definitely been enjoyable.”

Call 540/891-3012 or go to www.germanna/workforce/.edu for more information.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GCC honors Sen. John Chichester

Karen Chichester, Sen. John Chichester and GCC President David Sam at the Distinguished Person of the GCC Educational Foundation of the Year banquet.

Retired Sen. John Chichester, long a supporter of higher education in Virginia, is Germanna Community College's Distinguished Person of the Year for 2010. He was honored at a GCC Educational Foundation Banquet for which Mary Washington Healthcare was the major sponsor. Speaker of the House Bill Howell, VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois and Germanna President David A. Sam were among the speakers at the event.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Students missing out on Pell Grants simply because they don't apply

Too many Germanna Community College students are leaving money on the table because they're unaware they're available for Pell Grants.

In the 2007-08 academic year, 58 percent of Pell Grant-eligible students who attended community colleges either full or part-time applied for federal financial aid, compared with 77 percent of eligible students at four-year public institutions

During the two-year period from fall 2007 to fall 2009, full-time enrollment at U.S. community colleges increased by 24.1 percent

Students are reluctant to apply for aid in part due to a lack of basic understanding. Click here for the rest of the story.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Above, philanthropist Doris Buffett, 'The Sunshine Lady,' with Sunshine Lady Foundation board member Diane Grimsley.

Click on graph below to see Nightline report

Nightline visited Germanna recently to capture the moment when philanthropist Doris Buffett surprised Aundrea Handy, who had been homeless before attending GCC's Middle College, which helps high school dropouts get their GEDs and prepares them for college.
Buffett also recently donated $150,000 to the GCC Educational Foundation's Germanna Guarantee Scholarship program and donated the profits from a booksigning at the Fredericksburg Campus to the Middle College.

At a November GCC Educational Foundation dinner, Ms. Buffett heard three Germanna students on scholarships speak and decided to get involved with GCC: “I thought, ‘These are exactly the people we want to help.' I have a high regard for what Germanna's doing. They're into the real world. They're helping people to a good life through a good education."

Carolyn Bynum, director of the Middle College at Germanna, wrote in a letter to Ms. Buffett:

"I can tell you that Aundrea is a remarkable young woman. I knew it from the first moment I met her. She was homeless but not discouraged; down but not out. She knew then and knows now that education is the key to a better life and she is taking on the challenge to ensure a better life for herself and her children. I have no doubt that your foundation made a wise choice in selecting her to benefit from your generosity.

"I would also like to thank you for donating the proceeds of the sales of your book at the recent event at Germanna. These funds will help more young people as they come through Middle College and strive to change their lives as well. I can truly say that working with this program and helping my students find their way to a better future has been the most rewarding experience I have ever had in my professional life. So I can appreciate the warm feeling you must get when you know you have helped so many that may not have otherwise made it through whatever trying situation they may encounter."

Doris Buffett is the big sister of Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest men. She has donated over $100 million of her own money, much of it to individuals like Aundrea after talking with them one on one. At 82, she says her goal in life is to give all of her fortune away to those in need and hopes that her last check bounces

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

GCC student on Nightline Monday

Germanna student Aundrea Handy will be featured on ABC News' Nightline Monday night, June 7, at 11:35. That's all we can tell you. The rest is a surprise.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Germanna nursing the winner as Culpeper loses weight

Thanks to Joe and Linda Daniel, Germanna nursing the winner as Culpeper loses weight ...

"Just Drop It" dropped nearly $160,000 into Germanna nursing program piggy bank.

The Culpeper "Just Drop It" Campaign resulted in more than 3,132 pounds lost by participants and a resulting donation of $156,610.00 for the Nursing and Allied Health Programs at Germanna Community College.

The goals of helping people to be healthier and better manage their diets were possible through the leadership and support of Culpeper Regional Hospital, Powell Wellness Center, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Daniel and Germanna Community College.

The Hospital, Wellness Center and the Daniels committed financial support to the College and its joint program in nursing with Eastern View High School as a way of challenging participants and investing in the long-term health of the community. This donation will go a long way towards helping Germanna educate the next generation of nurses and health care workers. We thank them for their ongoing support

Our deep appreciation to Sandy Boone at the PWC, Lee Kirk from CRHS, Greta Haggerty from GCC, Joe and Linda Daniel, and other stakeholders including our faculty and nursing students. And congratulations to all the participants. You won both by becoming healthier and by helping Germanna Community College and its students.
--Germanna President David A. Sam

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Germanna graduates its biggest class ever

Friends and family snap pictures of Germanna's Class of 2010 in this photo by Peter Cihelka of The Free Lance-Star ...


The Free Lance-Star

James Richardson is a second-generation Germanna Community College graduate who said his father's words inspired him to complete his degree despite self-doubt and challenges.

"My father always told me, 'James, you have to do the hard thing,'" Richardson said last night before a crowd of about 2,500 at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center.

Richardson, a 20-year-old Falmouth resident, was the community college's student speaker at last night's commencement ceremony. He spoke of the determination, sacrifice and belief in self that were needed to meet the requirements for his associate degree.

He spoke not only of his own struggles but also those of classmates who worked full time and who had families.

"It takes determination to get up in the morning and go to class knowing that after you're done you have to go work for eight hours so you can pay for your house," he said. "It takes determination to study for a test when you've got kids who want and need your attention."

He added that teachers can't teach determination.

"It's something that you have to work at and want. It is the difference between those who make it and those who don't," Richardson said. Click here for the rest of the story.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chichester to be honored at June 3 Germanna Educational Foundation dinner

Retired Virginia State Sen. John Chichester has been named the Germanna Community College Educational Foundation’s Distinguished Person of the Year.

Mike Catell, Director of the GCC Educational Foundation, said Chichester was chosen “because of his extraordinary commitment to higher education--in particular his support of the mission of community colleges.”

Mary Washington Healthcare is the title sponsor of a June 3 event in his honor.

Chichester was President Pro Tempore of the Virginia Senate when he announced his retirement in 2007. He represented the 28th district in the Senate from 1978 to 2007. He initially entered that body by winning a special election following the death of Paul Manns, who had held the seat.

In 1985, the Republican Party nominated him for lieutenant governor, but he lost to Doug Wilder, who went on to become Virginia’s first African American governor since Reconstruction.

In 1995, Chichester became co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. When the Republicans took control of the Senate in 1999, he became the committee’s chairman, a position of power and prestige.

There will be a 6 p.m. reception on Thursday, June 3 at Fredericksburg Square, followed by dinner and an award presentation.

The dinner is $100 a plate, with all proceeds going to the Educational Foundation. Contact the Educational Foundation office at 540/423-9060 or foundation@germanna.edu for more information and to purchase tickets.

For sponsorship and other gift opportunities, please contact Darla Burton, Foundation Executive Committee member at 540/371-3566 or Mike Catell, Foundation Director at 540/834-8988

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Deadlines approaching for application to Germanna RN and PN programs

Apply for admission to GCC nursing programs now ...

The deadline for applications to Germanna's Registered Nursing Program at the Locust Grove Campus is July 1.

The deadline for the GCC Practical Nursing Program with classes at Eastern View High School is May 7.

Call 540/423-9821 or email nursing@germanna.edu or visit the nursing office at the Locust Grove Campus for to apply or to request more information.

Above: Members of the Certified Nurse Aide class of Spring 2010. The CNA program quickly prepares students to enter the health care field, allowing them to earn a living in nursing while further studies move them up the ladder.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Germanna's Monte Carlo Night draws big crowd, raises big money for students who couldn't otherwise go to college

Germanna's Monte Carlo Night fundraiser hits the jackpot ...
The Germanna Educational Foundation raised netted $70,000 with Saturday night's Monte Carlo Casino Night fundraiser at the Daniel Center. All the proceeds go to the Germanna Guarantee Program, which helps students in need.
Above, Culpeper native Dana Brill plays the slots at Monte Carlo Night.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saturday's Monte Carlo Night: Fun for a good cause

The Daniel Center hosts scholarship program's black tie fundraiser Saturday ... BY MICHAEL ZITZ
Life itself is a game of chance, says Germanna Community College President David A. Sam.

"And Germanna Community College is about second, and even third, chances," he said.

A little bit of Las Vegas comes to Culpeper on Saturday, when Germanna Community College's 16th annual Monte Carlo Casino Night returns to the Daniel Technology Center, located 30 minutes west of Fredericksburg, just off State Route 3.

But buying a ticket--or even better, a table--for Monte Carlo Casino Night is no gamble, Sam says. It's more than a roll of the dice.

It's a sure thing.

Monte Carlo Night is what they would call in Las Vegas "a mortal lock"--that is, at least in terms of helping local students who have financial need, and helping to jump-start the area's economy at the same time by making its work force more competitive.

The black-tie event has become a highlight of Culpeper's social season, while providing scholarship funds for the Germanna Educational Foundation's Germanna Guarantee Program. See Free Lance-Star story on Monte Carlo Night and photos of last year's event.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Germanna student immigrates from Brazil, wins top 10 All-Virginia Academic team honors and becomes one of two GCC Coca-Cola Scholar national finalists

GCC's Rosana Marzullo-Dove racking up academic honors ...

Germanna Community College student Rosana Marzullo-Dove has been named one of the top 10 students on the 2010 All-Virginia Academic Team, earning a $500 scholarship.

Marzullo-Dove, a psychology major, is GCC's Phi Theta Kappa Chapter President and Psi Beta Chapter Treasurer.

She has also has been selected as a 2010 Coca-Cola National Finalist, along with fellow Germanna student Pamela Petzold, based on scores earned in the All-USA Academic Team competition. This program is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and is administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. National finalists win $1,000.

Marzullo-Dove and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation will be attending Phi Theta Kappa’s 92nd Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., April 8-10.

Friday, April 2, 2010

With help from Germanna's Middle College, single mom gets her life back on track after dropping out of high school

My name is Aundrea Handy. I’m 24, and a single mother of two children. I graduated from the Germanna Middle College Program in 2009 and received my General Education Diploma.

As a high school dropout, there aren’t many options when it comes to jobs: the only experience I had was customer service. Therefore, a minimum wage job was all I could get. As the economy slowed down in 2007, I began to struggle. I was living paycheck to paycheck and could barely afford my rent; then business slowed even more and my hours were cut completely. I could no longer afford my home and had to move into a homeless shelter.

I was devastated; I did not know what to do next. Then I saw an ad in the newspaper for The Middle College Program at Germanna and started to think. I thought about my kids and how I didn’t want them to make the same mistakes I did. What better way to show them this than to go back to school, become a great role model, and show them that school is necessary for a better life and a great career.

Going back to school to complete my high school education was the best decision I ever made. Middle College opened my eyes and gave me a new outlook on life. Everything started to fall into place, I became more confident and motivated and I even landed a better paying job. I moved out of the shelter and am now living a very comfortable, stable life and my kids are very happy.

My daughter sees me doing homework and it inspires her, she loves going to school every day. Completing the program and graduating was a dream come true, I never thought I’d be given another chance to graduate. Middle College gave me that chance. This inspired me to want to continue with my education. I thought 'Why stop here? The sky is the limit and school has been the best thing to happen to me.'

I am a Germanna student, and it feels great to say that. I have always wanted to be a successful businesswoman and a psychologist to help people. So I am currently taking classes to earn a degree in both Business Administration and Psychology. I hope to become an Organizational Psychologist. In this career I will apply the principles of psychology and human behavior to personnel, administration, management, sales and marketing problems.

I was so happy to find this occupation, as it is also a part of human services, counseling, and mental health services which I am very interested in. This has been an eye-opening and reassuring experience for me overall. I am so thrilled to continue this journey and grateful for the opportunity that the Middle College Program at Germanna has given me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rep. Wittman hears concerns about jobs, health care reform at Germanna Community College small business roundtable

GCC President David A. Sam welcomes Rep. Rob Wittman to Germanna for a talk today with small business owners ... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"When I see the talent out there that cannot find a job, it scares me to death," Laurie Newman of Taskforce told Rep. Rob Wittman (R-1st Va) today during a small business roundtable discussion with area business leaders and regional chamber of commerce members at Germanna Community College. "We have to [create] jobs, we have to have places to put them. There's no end in sight. They just keep coming and coming."

The regional roundtable, hosted by GCC's Center for Workforce, was a forum intended to allow the congressman to hear directly from employers on what steps government can take to incentivize real growth. Small businesses account for 70 percent of the new jobs created each year, and Wittman said he is committed to ensuring they have the tools they need.

Others at the meeting told Wittman that small, "main street" banks are ready and willing to make loans to small businesses, but are finding their hands tied by red tape.

On the topic of health care reform, Wittman said he wants to end the perception of the GOP as "the party of no." He said the Democrats are expected to try to pass a reconciliation of its House and Senate health care bills on Feb. 21, four days before a summit is to be held at the White House during which President Obama has promised to open the floor to all ideas. When someone asked if the Republicans would show up for that meeting, Wittman said he hoped so.

"I think we have an obligation to put forth our ideas," he said. He said the Republicans should attend the meeting to offer proposals for tort reform and allowing cosumers to buy health insurance from companies competing across state lines.

"We are hopeful the meeting on the 25th is still open to ideas," he said.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Former firefighter who was disabled as he responded to Sept. 11 attack on Pentagon wins scholarship

Greg Foley, at left, is pictured with VCCS Chancellor Dr. Glenn DuBois, delegates Ed Scott and Bobby Orrock, and his daughters.

Germanna student Greg Foley, a first responder after the Sept. 11 attack on Pentagon, was one of two recipients of the new $3,000 Virginia Education Wizard Scholarships Wednesday night. A firefighter injured during the response and now retired, Foley is enrolled in his second semester at GCC, where he has a 4.0 grade-point average. With a fixed disability income, Foley plans to complete his associate degree before continuing his education at a Virginia university, with a long-term goal of earning a doctorate in psychology. “Being able to continue with my education is not just important for myself,” the single father of two said. “Being a good example to my young daughters, getting their ‘help’ with my school work and having them share in my success are wonderful things.”

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Nobody wants to be politically honest about what’s really happening to our country...We’re running out of time to live in denial.'

Admiral who ran U.S. military study on obesity's impact on the future of health care to speak at Germanna Tuesday and Wednesday nights ...

The way things are going, who's going to be "the Biggest Loser?"
America, says a nationally known expert on health care and "futurist."

Dr. William Rowley, a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and a futurist at the Institute for Alternative Futures, says America can’t handle the truth when it comes to the health care reform debate.

The nation can cut its health care expenses by 75 percent by making simple lifestyle changes like doing things as simple as throwing away the TV remote so we have to move around more and eating meals with sensible portion sizes.

“The reality is that our lifestyle is the biggest disease we have in America--it’s killing us,” says Rowley, who will speak at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Center in Culpeper at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and at GCC’s Fredericksburg Campus in Spotsylvania at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Rowley trained as a vascular surgeon and has been chief executive officer of two medical centers and a large managed care organization.

He was chairman of the Department of Defense Military Health System 2020 research project, which studied the future of health care and its possible impact on military medicine. Rowley is particularly concerned about what this is doing to our children, but is encouraged by efforts like “Drop It: The 2010 Healthy Living Challenge,” which kicks with a fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Center in Culpeper. That will be followed by a “Biggest Loser” type 12-week Weight Loss and Healthy Living Challenge with cash prizes of up to $1,000 for kids and prizes for kids including a Nintendo Wii with Wii Fit. Children are encouraged to make healthier choices, but not required to lose weight.

Culpeper Regional Hospital and Germanna are teaming on this effort to help Culpeper live healthier. Rowley’s talk is part of the Drop It campaign.

Rowley says: ”There are a couple of things health care reform does not tell us. No. 1 is that we’re creating far more disease than our society can afford to pay for. And that’s never gonna change unless we change our lifestyle.

“No. 2 is that we all assume that somebody else is paying for our health care. The reality is we are paying for everything. We pay for it with rising health insurance premiums. And if it’s not our insurance paying for it, it’s our taxes. About 50 percent of what’s paid for health care [already] comes out of governments.”

He notes that health care cost inflation has recently run at 17 percent a year and by 2020, will be 21 percent.

“Until we start honestly talking about what’s going on in our society and putting a limit on what a third party is required to pay and change our lifestyles, we can’t change it.

“Nobody wants to be politically honest about what’s really happening to our country.

“We’re running out of time to live in denial. This is gonna come bite us. And the lobbies are incredibly powerful.”

But we have the power to change things ourselves.

He says a study a few year ago asked 175,000 adults four questions:

Are you a non-smoker?

Are you maintaining a normal body weight?

Are you eating five fruits and vegetables a day?

Do you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week—including walking?

Shockingly, only 1.5 percent of men and 4.2 percent of women said yes.

“That’s really pathetic,” Rowley says. “It’s not all that hard to get 30 minutes of walking in and eat five fruits and vegetables.”

Studies show 70 percent of premature death is lifestyle-related, Rowley says.

People who follow the simple guidelines above, he says, have:

A 60 percent reduced risk of cancer

A 90 percent reduced risk of diabetes

An 80 percent reduced risk of heart disease

“If you’re 60 and older, 50 percent of the illnesses and injusires could be eliminated if you just did those four simple things,” Rowley says. “Seventy-five percent of our health care costs could be prevented if we got people to modify their lifestyles”

Today, 25 percent of Virginians are obese.

Five years from now, 40 percent of all adults in Virginia will be obese.

By 2030, almost 50 percent will be obese.
“It's amazing how fast this came on,” Rowley says.

An overweight 18-year-old has a 30 percent chance of developing diabetes. One who is obese has a 57 percent chance. One who is very obese has a risk of getting diabetes of 70 percent.

Rowley says the growing obesity problem is draining America’s coffers due to related health care expenses and crippling the nation’s economic productivity and competitiveness.

Rowley cited a Duke University study of its own employees that showed that severely obese employess filed twice as many workman compensation claims, had seven times higher medical costs and lots a whopping 13 times more days from work.

“In other words, as an employer, you cannot afford to have severely obese employees. They’re not capable of working up to their full potential and their costs are unbelievable.”

Today there 680,000 people in Virginia with diagnosed cases of diabetes. That’s 8.5 percent of the population, and that figure is underreported and growing.

Rowley says this year in Virginia there will be:

About 755 new cases of blindness due to diabetes About 1500 people need dialysis because of renal failure due to diabetes. Almost 2,400 are going to have amputations due to diabetes.

In the past, people didn’t typically develop type 2 diabetes until their 50s, 60s and 70s.

“Unfortunately, now we’re seeing it even in teenagers and it’s not uncommon for people in their 40s,” Rowley says.

They’re going to die 10 to 14 years prematurely, he said. And they will have 18 to 21 years of life in which their quality of life is essentially cut in half.

“If you have an amputation and some other problems, maybe you lived all year, but your quality of life was maybe a half a year.” He says. “Get diabetes at age of 40, you lose 20 ‘quality life’ years. That means they’re gonna have an awful lot pain and suffering and [early deaths] due to heart disease, kidney failure, amputations and things like that. So this has a huge impact on our society.”

Seventy-two percent of seniors--those 65 and over—either have diabetes or have pre-diabetes, which means they will develop it unless they change their lifestyles.

There are 977,000 seniors in Virginia, and 165,000 have diagnosed cases of diabetes, another 140,000 have diabetes but they’ve never been never tested and almost 400,000 have pre-diabetes.

“In Virginia, 540,000 seniors desperately need to get tested,” Rowley said. “Either they have it or have pre-diabetes and they don’t know it.”

Rowley says we must face reality and make simple changes in our lifestyle.

“Unfortunately, once you get a chronic disease like diabetes or cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, it’s very unlikely you’re gonna cure it. We can manage it with a lot of expensive medicines and other therapies. But once you get these diseases, they rarely go away.

“You’ve probably seen the commercial: ‘I’m struggling with my family finances. We’re in a recession. How dare you tax soft drinks?’ “ Rowley says. “ Well, one of the biggest changes for adolescents is school vending machines filled with soft drinks. It’s not unusual for kids to drink two or three 20 ounce bottles a day. You can get 800 to 1,000 calories just in our soft drinks.”

He says it’s vital that schools only stock vending machines with low-calorie drinks and parents make sure children’s meals consist of sensible portion sizes.

The food industry, he says, has turned America into a “obesenogenic” society.

The last study of the American military, in 2005, showed that 62 percent of all active duty military were overweight,” he says, and that’s in a situation where people are required to train for endurance and are weighed twice a year.

“Today, the average American adult is eating 500 calories more a day than in the 60s or 70s. Kids eat 300 more. And 3,500 calories is a pound. You could be gaining a pound a week.

“Everything is supersized. If I go to McDonalds today and get a standard meal, that’s got 800 calories more than when I went to McDonalds in 1960 and got a standard meal. Eight hundred calories takes about three hours of vigorous physical activity to burn off.”

“We have no idea what we’re doing to our bodies,” he says.

“You can go to a restaurant and have a 1,000 calories as an appetitizer before you ever eat your meal.

“And we’ve redesigned out environment so you don’t need to get any physical activity and our work life so there’s no time anyway.

“Kids ride the bus to school and back, gym is eliminated to save money, then they go into the house and play video games and watch television,” he says.

“If 50 percent of the adults in Virginia are gonna be obese in the next 20 years, that shows you what’s going on. Society doesn’t want to deal with it.”
--Post by Mike Zitz

Sunday, January 10, 2010

HCA donates $100,000 to Germanna Community College

Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center donates $100,000 to Germanna Community College
Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center has given the nursing program at Germanna Community College extra reason to celebrate the New Year. The hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Tobin, presented the college with a check for $100,000 Friday.

“Nursing schools are the lifeblood of a hospital’s workforce,” said Tobin. “This donation recognizes the vital work being done by Germanna Community College, and it represents the beginning of what will surely be a strong and collaborative working relationship between our two organizations.”

"We at Germanna Community College value and appreciate this second donation from HCA as further testimony of our growing and mutually beneficial partnership," Germanna President David Sam said. "Their support for and trust in our nursing program will be a vital factor in our ability to produce the increasing numbers of nurses and other health professionals desperately needed in our area, especially as the new Spotsylvania Medical Center opens its doors across the street from our campus entrance. This is a promising start for the New Year for Germanna, and those in our community who need our help, thanks to HCA."

HCA has donated a total of $150,000 to GCC. Medicorp has donated $1.4 million to Germanna over the years.

Construction activity on the hospital and the adjacent Pogonia Medical Arts office building continue on schedule. The office building is expected to open its doors in March (confirm?), with the hospital to follow in June. SRMC will add some 375 full-time jobs to the economy at that time, with more to follow as the hospital grows. “The countdown is on,” said Tobin. “Building a new enterprise from the ground up is a challenging but exhilarating experience, and our entire team is grateful for the ongoing support we’re receiving from physicians, the business community, county officials and others.”

About Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center: This technologically advanced, 126-bed hospital will open June 2010 on a 75-acre campus near Fredericksburg, just south of Exit 126 of Interstate 95 and adjacent to GCC's Fredericksburg Campus. It will have all private rooms and provide a wide range of in- and outpatient services, including 24-hour emergency care, obstetrics, advanced diagnostic imaging, intensive care, cardiac catheterization, orthopedics, and behavioral health services. Adjoining the hospital will be the Pogonia Medical Arts office building, an 80,000-square-foot complex that will house physician offices.

About HCA Virginia: HCA Virginia is the state’s most comprehensive healthcare network with two dozen locally managed hospitals and outpatient centers in Central, Southwestern, and Northern Virginia. With a workforce of more than 10,000, it is one of the state's largest employers and healthcare providers. Each year HCA Virginia facilities provide approximately $100 million in free charity care to needy patients and pays $100 million in taxes that support vital community services.