Monday, August 26, 2013

Prevention with TIPS Incident Management System

Germanna has launched an online incident reporting platform called TIPS (Threat Assessment, Incident Management and Prevention Services), making it easy for students, faculty and staff to confidentially report concerning behaviors or incidents.
Bullying, threats to harm, verbal abuse, harassment, assault and battery, domestic violence, weapons, harassment, suicide risks, stalking, hazing, alcohol or drug possession, theft, vandalism and suspicious activity may be reported anonymously.
If someone has information about incidents that warrant concern for the safety of students, faculty or staff, they can access TIPS next to the E2Campus icon on the GCC Web site home page at, select their Germanna location and anonymously report the information.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Germanna Bears bear down, claw and kick way to championship

Rob Lewis wanted to play ball.

 And when he began taking classes at Germanna Community College last year, he wanted to feel connected.

He heard Germanna had a men’s club flag football team that played in a league. But he learned it had disbanded.

 Lewis thought to himself, “You know what, I’m going to be here and it’d be nice to represent the school.”

Rob Lewis, center, during a GCC Bears time out

 So, with much support from GCC Student Activities, Lewis founded the Germanna Bears Flag Football Club.

 He set up practice times at Loriella Park, hoping people would come out for the team.

 They did.

  And in their inaugural season, the Bears took the Fredericksburg Field House Men’s Flag Football League spring championship, finishing 6-3 and beating the second-place Ducks in the title game, 31-22.

  League play at the Field House, which  is seven on seven indoors on a small arena style  field enclosed with Plexiglas and netting on an artificial turf surface, is totally alien to the kind of back yard two-hand touch quality most associate with flag football. The game the Bears play is surprisingly fast and intense. Everyone is an eligible receiver and the pressure on quarterbacks to get rid of the ball before being “sacked” is high.

The Germanna Bears go on offense
  A good field goal kicker is a deadly weapon in the Fredericksburg Field House Men’s League and the Bears may have had the best in Andy Clohan, who was the place kicker for the varsity football team at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point before transferring to Germanna.

 “He’s clutch,” Lewis said. “He’s really good.  He adds another dimension. A lot of times you get near the goal line and when it comes down to fourth down you can play it conservative when you have a good kicker. If you get those (field goal) points it makes a big difference.”

A Bears opponent team from Spotsylvania huddles.

The championship Bears team’s roster consisted of Andy Clohan, Collin Douglas, Tyrone Ellis, Jon Kimmel, Robert Lewis, Tyler Ricchiuto, Antonio Russell and Brandon Wilson.

 The Bears are well into the summer season at the Field House now and considering whether to play in the fall, Lewis said.  Either way, he said, they will continue to practice at Loriella Park and play pickup games from about 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sundays. He said all Germanna students are welcome to come out. For more information, call (540) 834-1004.

 Bears players watch and wait to enter a game.


GCC's Adult Career Center reaching out to community

There’s nothing like getting out in the community to see where the needs are.

Michelle Beverage, Adult Career Coach and coordinator of the Adult Career Center, often presents to various organizations about what she does for those looking to re-enter the work force. But partnering with existing organizations enables the Center to do even more.

Next Wednesday, Michelle will collaborate with Thrive, a non profit organization that offers comprehensive holistic services to women and their families, at the Virginia CARES site. Together, they will help women ex-offenders with resumes and interviews. Michelle will also share the process she goes through with each person who visits the Adult Career Center.

--Susan Carter Morgan

The Adult Career Center is funded by a U.S. Department of Labor ETA grant award. This announcement is the creation of the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the USDOL.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Paying it forward: A better life for us all

Doris Buffett's mother told her she wasn't smart enough to go to college. Warren Buffett was, their mother said, but not Doris.
Young Warren, Doris and Bertie Buffett

Their mother was wrong.
Now philanthropist Doris Buffett, founder of the Sunshine Lady Foundation, explains how paying it forward through Germanna pays off for our community.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Germanna honors Dean Gilkey with scholarship fund

The Germanna Community College Educational Foundation has established a scholarship fund in Mary Blessing Gilkey’s honor.  She passed away in June at age 55 after a long battle with an autoimmune disorder.

Dean Mary Blessing Gilkey

 During Gilkey’s time as dean of nursing and health technologies at Germanna, she oversaw the doubling of the program’s size.

  Dr. Patti Lisk was named to the post in July.

  Germanna celebrated Gilkey’s life during an event Thursday at the college’s Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper.

 During the event, Lee Kirk, President and CEO of Culpeper Regional Health System, said that when Gilkey succeeded Jane Ingalls as dean,  the college already had “an excellent nursing program. She raised it higher.”

 Germanna President David A. Sam called her “a force of nature” who made good things happen. He noted that even during her final days, she was texting friends and colleagues from her hospital bed to ask how they were doing. “She couldn’t stop being a nurse,” Sam said.

Donations to the Mary Gilkey scholarship fund may be made online. They may also be made by mail. Checks should be made out to the Germanna Community College Educational Foundation with “Mary Gilkey” in the memo and sent to GCCEF, Germanna Community College, 2130 Germanna Highway, Locust Grove, Va. 22508.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Grandfather, grandaughter take classes together at Germanna

History classes at Germanna Community College have become very personal for Culpeper High School graduate Courtney Hall.

Hall, 26, has been taking Germanna classes like American History with her 81-year-old grandfather Larry Corbin, who lived through World War II; fought in the Korean War and lived through the Cold War and saw the Berlin Wall fall; saw America win the race to the moon and sweated out the Cuban Missile Crisis and the war in Vietnam.

Courtney Hall and Larry Corbin

Corbin has been taking advantage of the fact that the Virginia Community College System offers free tuition for senior citizens auditing classes.

To be eligible for free tuition for audit of credit courses or for taking non-credit courses, not to exceed three courses per term, a person must meet the criteria including the following:

Be 60 years of age or older.

Be a legal resident of Virginia.

Be admitted to the college as a student.

Auditing a course requires the approval of the appropriate division chair or director. And there must be an empty seat in the class.


Corbin said he’s enjoyed taking classes at Germanna for a number of reasons, including the fact that in auditing them, he hasn’t had to take tests.
“He leaves taking the tests and writing the papers to me,” Hall said.
“He adds so much to the classroom conversation and participation because he lived in a different era and he’s able to bring so much more to the discussion “ Hall said. “We all read about it and learn about it, but he lived through part of it and can give his perspective, which is neat.”
  “I’m a history buff,” Corbin said.  He said he enjoys interaction with the professors.
He said rather than buying a history book, be pulled one of the volumes of “Six Thousand Years of History,” published in 1899, off his book shelf at home.  “Funny thing is, nothing changed,” Corbin said. “I didn’t see much revisionism.”
 He said his granddaughter and his daughter,  Courtney’s mother Marcie Corbin, who works at Germanna as Administrative Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services, convinced him to start taking classes. He’s taken six so far, including history, sociology and biology.
“It’s her fault and her mother’s fault,” he joked. “They thought maybe I had too much time on my hands and I needed to go do something.”
 “I said, ‘Hey, it’s one night a week,” Hall recalled.
The family lives in the tiny Culpeper County community of Mitchells.
Hall graduated  from Culpeper High in 2005 and went to Virginia Tech, where she earned an associate degree in agriculture.
She soon changed her mind about her career path.
  “I grew up on a farm but I wanted to teach,” she said. “I want to be with the special needs students. In order to do that, I had to start over. She expects to graduate from Germanna in the spring of 2014. She then plans to transfer to the University of Mary Washington.
  While she’s taking classes at GCC, she’s working at Yowell Elementry School as a Para educator   supporting special needs students.
  “I graduated from the school of hard knocks,” said Corbin, who’s originally from Rhode Island, but has lived in Virginia since 1955.
Who Corbin was a high school dropout who earned his GED in the Army, which recognized his potential. He was a sergeant first class, but his superiors saw him as officer material. He earned a year and a half worth of college credit when they had him tested. And they offered to send him to officer candidate school.
 “I said ‘No thanks, but thank you.’ He said the North Korean military targeted officers and “as fast as they could turn out second lieutenants, they were killing them.”
 Before taking history classes together at Germanna, Corbin told his granddaughter little about his time in the military. She said classroom discussion led to him showing her his expert marksman badge, dog tags and other memorabilia.
When he returned to civilian life, he spent 28 years working for the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, and moved up fairly quickly. “I did alright,” he said. He said that 40 years ago, he didn’t need a college degree, but couldn’t hold the same jobs now without one.
Corbin jokes that he has to take classes with Hall so he can “keep her in line,” but his pride in his granddaughter is clear. In addition to working with special needs students at Yowell Elementary, she’s been babysitting, given riding lessons, cleaning out horse stalls-- working full time while going to Germanna.  She does all of this because she wants to help children with disabilities.
The feeling is mutual.
 “I’m proud to have him with me,” Hall said. “Not very many people get to take classes with their 81-year-old granddad.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Germanna twins won't let cystic fibrosis limit or define them

Germanna Community College students Cristina and Valentina Scholes want people to know that life with cystic fibrosis can be good. They refuse to allow the disease to limit or define them. It’s a tough life, they say, but it can be one of fulfillment, of joy and of hope.
Cristina and Valentina Scholes

It can be debilitating, and those with the disease have shorter life expectancies.
And yet bubbly Cristina and Valentina, who are in the business administration program at Germanna, are practically bursting with excitement over what’s been happening in their lives. They’re close to earning their associate’s degrees at GCC and have been part of the internship program at the college.
The twins, who are graduates of Colonial Forge High School, say they hope they can be role models for other young people battling the disease.
In the 1950s, children born with the genetic defect weren’t expected to live long enough to go to grade school. Today, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, those with the disease live “into their 40s, 50s and beyond.”
“Doctors and researchers are finding so many new treatments and medications,” Cristina says. “With all these treatments and meds it's easier to function normally. But it is a hard disease to live with because of the maintenance part. If we skip a treatment we get sick then have to be hospitalized for three or four days. We need a flexible job that is willing to work with us. Health insurance is very important.  I feel like there isn't enough information about cystic fibrosis for people to really understand it.”
Valentina and Cristina say many still do die from the disease, but that they believe if people with cystic fibrosis take care of themselves they can live a “normal” life. “But what is normal?” Cristina says. “Everyone has struggles and I think ours just motivate us. We strive to be more and to become better. Each day is a gift on this earth and we are happy to be doing well and finding jobs. I hope we can inspire other people with cystic fibrosis to do the same. I think with any disease it's mind over matter.”