Friday, November 22, 2013

VIDEO: 'Standing Next to History' on Nov. 22, 1963

Culpeper Media Network's Germanna Today cable show takes a look at "Standing Next to History," a program commemorating today's 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy featuring an eyewitness from Nov. 22, 1963 and GCC history faculty members Dan Carter and Stuart Smith.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Germanna's Anita Newhouse is GCCEF Alum of the Year

She didn't think she was good enough. She was wrong.

Last Friday night Anita Newhouse accepted the Germanna Community College Educational Foundation Steve B. Jones Alumnus of the Year Award at the GCCEF Annual Dinner at Stevenson's Ridge.
 A friend convinced Newhouse, who thought she wasn't smart enough for college, to go to Germanna. With support from faculty and staff, she excelled, earning her associate's degree, then going on to earn a bachelor's degree while working at GCC. She's now manager of Germanna's Welcome Center. "I was that student in the parking lot, scared to come in, who I'm helping now," she told the crowd.
GCCEF Alumnus of the Year Anita Newhouse
Before registering at Germanna, Newhouse was hesitant to pursue higher education, coming up with excuses not to enroll.

“I have a child. I work full time. I wasn’t a good student in high school,” she said.

. “The truth is my self-esteem and confidence were so low that I honestly didn’t think I would be successful. I thank God I listened to a friend who convinced me to enroll at Germanna in 2000. She suggested taking one class at a time until I was used to that and then taking more than one class each semester. As time passed, I became more confident and I held my head higher.”
It was the encouragement of Randy Martin, an associate professor of business management, and Sarah Somerville, coordinator of counseling, both of whom work at Germanna’s Locust Grove Campus, that kept her going.
Newhouse was 29 when she started at Germanna. Her goal was to earn a bachelor’s degree by the time she was 40. She did it with half a decade to spare, graduating from the University of Mary Washington at the age of 34.
Along the way, she received a Virginia Community College System Chancellor’s Fellowship.

Anita Newhouse with family, GCCEF President Jane Wallace (left)
and GCC President David A. Sam (right)
The Welcome Center combines counseling, financial aid and admissions resources.
Newhouse said she can identify with “the hesitation, the anxiousness, the worry and the fear” some students she assists feel as they enter community college.
She also knows firsthand how those feelings may be overcome.

“If you have the burning desire to do it, follow your dreams and don’t let age or anything else hold you back from you want to do. Believe me, you can,” Newhouse said.

The Henrico native, who grew up in Spotsylvania County, graduated from Courtland High School in 1994 and from Germanna in the spring of 2006 with an associate’s of applied science in business management.
She graduated from UMW in the spring of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in leadership and management.
Newhouse began working at Germanna in 2006, while she was a student.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Germanna Community College Board to meet at 5 p.m. Nov. 21 at Locust Grove Campus

The public is invited to attend the upcoming meeting of the Germanna Community College Board on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at 5 p.m. The meeting will take place in Room 100 of the French Slaughter Building at the College’s Locust Grove Campus in Orange County A sign-up. sheet will be made available 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the meeting for those interested in addressing the Board.
Germanna Community College is a two-year, public institution of higher education, serving the counties of Caroline, Culpeper, King George, Madison, Orange, Spotsylvania, Stafford and the city of Fredericksburg.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Video: Germanna students, faculty, staff and The Gettysburg Address

Germanna Community College students, faculty and staff participated in Ken Burns' Learn the Address project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Germanna President David A. Sam a top tweeter

Germanna's Dr. David A. Sam has been rated one of 10 community college presidents to follow on Twitter.
Education Dive says:
 "many of Germanna Community College President David A. Sam's tweets feature links to articles and developments at the Virginia institution, as well as stories related to students. Mixed in among those posts, however, are bits of 'wit and wisdom' that make giving his account a follow even more worthwhile. Additionally, he posts links to his Goodreads reviews of books he has read, and in October, several of his tweets spotlighted famous people who attended community colleges."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

'Standing Next to History' at a moment that changed everything

Standing Next to History panelist Jim Martin was a reporter on Nov. 22, 1963

WHEN Jack McNairy rode his motorcycle into the crowded city of Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, it quickly became clear to the 18-year-old high school student that going all the way into downtown wasn’t going to work. There were just too many people. His mother may have gone there that morning to catch a glimpse of John and Jackie Kennedy, but young McNairy quickly changed gears and decided to park just off the Stemmons Freeway not far from Dealey Plaza to catch a peek. When he saw the presidential motorcade come flying by moments later, seemingly doing 60 with an agent holding on in the back with a gun in his hand, the young man’s initial reaction was, “How rude. They aren’t waving or anything.”The reality of that day, when the country’s young president was shot and killed 50 years ago this month, would become real to McNairy all too quickly.

Germanna history Asst. Prof. Stuart Smith explained why JFK was in Dallas.

Dr. Ann Woolford talks to students and community members about JFK's death 

Part of the crowd at the Standing Next to History JFK panel discussion.

Left to right, Dan Carter, Stuart Smith, Jim Martin, Jack McNairy

Germanna President David A. Sam recorded a message for the audience
Germanna history instructor Dan Carter

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Germanna's Adult Career Center can help you get back on your feet

People's pasts ought not determine their futures, especially if they are trying to get back on their feet.

The Germanna Community College Center for Workforce & Adult Education's Adult Career Center, the Thrive Healing Center, an organization that provides comprehensive services to women, and VA Cares, a statewide program that gives support for ex-offenders needing to re-enter the workforce, have recently joined forces to provide a process for select women in need of help. Thrive will take the lead in determining the best fit for each person. Some may be sent directly to the Adult Career Program and Michelle Beverage for help with resumes and the job search. Others will begin with life coach courses at VA Cares led by volunteers at Thrive. Together the organizations hope to make a difference for women trying to restart their lives.

"“I’m looking forward to working together with Thrive & VA Cares to help coach these women toward successful career pathways," Beverage said.

All services funded by a U.S. Department of Labor ETA grant award. This is the creation of the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the USDOL.



Saturday, November 9, 2013

'Young, battle-scarred, and trying to navigate an academic field very different from the world they had come to know.'

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Jacob Brooks was a student at Dundalk Community College in Baltimore.
The events of that day were about to change his life, and the lives of many thousands of other patriotic young men and women who would enlist as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks, forever. 
 More than a decade later, Brooks, now a Germanna Community College student, like thousands of other vets, is struggling to make the transition back to civilian life and playing catchup with friends who chose not to serve in the military. 
Jacob Brooks

“When 9/11 went down, I took it very personally,” he says. “I decided to enlist. It was the fastest route to get where I wanted to go, which was overseas.”
His father, grandfather and great uncle had served in the military, but “I was never interested till 9/11.”
He was disappointed when he was initially assigned to a mechanized unit, where he spent his first three years in the Army. “I wanted to be in the light infantry,” the Spotsylvania County resident says.
Brooks eventually got his wish, at one point serving four months attached to 1st Platoon, B Company, 1-502nd Infantry Battalion of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division-- the unit about which Time  International and editor Jim Frederick wrote the book “Blackhearts: One Platoon’s Descent into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death.”
 “Now you have a volunteer Army,” Brooks says.  In past wars, he notes, soldiers “usually served one tour and that was it.” Because there is no longer a draft, he says, “Now you go back again and again, serving forty-some months in combat. Now guys are making a lifetime of combat.”
Brooks suffered concussions in improvised explosive device blasts and a number of other wounds and injuries in Iraq. The ligaments in both hands were torn in a fall during combat seven years ago. He’s 31 years old and he’s in near constant pain. 
“I see pictures of my buddies missing two legs and an arm on Facebook and looking happy as a bird,” he says. “What do I have to complain about?”
Still, he admits leaving the military and making the adjustment to civilian life and college hasn’t been easy. 
“That freedom is a blessing and a curse for them,” says Bob Dixon, Germanna’s first Veterans Support Counselor, who was an Army artillery officer during the Gulf War and served in Afghanistan.
It’s strange to be outside the structured, demanding environment of the military. It’s even stranger to be sitting in a classroom next to teenagers just out of high school, some of whom are texting on the phones during lectures.
“He was on the upside of almost being a lifer and his life took this turn,” Dixon says. “Suddenly, he finds himself pushed out. 
“You’re RG III and you blew your leg out,” Dixon says, drawing an analogy to Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. “There are physical wounds and emotional, social and psychological wounds.”
“In combat, you have a heightened sense of awareness and you can’t replicate that. You can go rock climbing, mountain climbing—you just can’t replicate that.”
“Joy doesn’t even register in my brain,” Brooks says. “Contentment, peace, none of that. A picnic, going to a water park, going to a pool—those things, nah. The toughest thing is that everything seems so dull, so boring. The bar [for excitement] is up here,” he says, holding his hand high.
Dixon says Brooks “really connected” with Germanna English Prof. Cory MacLauchlin.
“Obviously,” MacLauchlin says, “I’m seeing more and more vets coming back to school. Young, battle-scarred, and trying to navigate an academic field that is very different from the world they had come to know.”
Brooks, MacLauchlin says, is in the process of redefining himself and is a talented writer. 
“Jacob has a big personality,” the Germanna professor says. “He carries a presence when he walks into a room.”
Brooks completed three combat tours in Iraq, serving in one of the bloodiest parts of that war as a platoon sergeant in charge of 30 troops.
“When you’re in a position like that, your hormones—adrenaline, cortisol get pumped up so you can cope,” he says.  “Then the longer you’re back here, the harder it gets. Once you start to look back on it as a normal person, it really is a lot harder.  That’s why Vietnam vets have struggled later on. They’re no longer in that mindset” and they still have the memories.
Perhaps without even realizing it, Brooks has been helping others to understand.
“There were points in class when he made me very self-conscious--in a good way,” MacLauchlin says. “ I mean, a year ago, this guy was fighting a war, getting shot at nearly every day, and now he has to listen to me drone on and on about the importance of citation and ways to make your writing ‘flow.’ It was a powerful learning experience for me in that sometimes we need to put what we consider ‘critical’ in perspective with how another person sees the world.”
Dixon says our region is “rife with guys like Jake.” The details are different, but the general story is the same. Germanna and other colleges in Virginia must prepare to help thousands of them make a difficult transition, but one with a potentially huge payoff. 
“The veterans are a tremendous resource to society,” Dixon says. “They’re mission-focused, with proven results. They know how to organize resources and people.  Why wouldn’t we want to leverage that in the community?”

Sunday, November 3, 2013

'Target Car' eyewitness to be part of JFK discussion Nov. 5 at Germanna

When shots rang out in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, Jack McNairy was there.
The 18-year-old high school student watched as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade sped away from Dealey Plaza.  An official flashed a badge and asked McNairy to give him a ride to Parkland Memorial Hospital. Once there, McNairy stared in disbelief into the president’s blood-splattered limo moments before the Secret Service ordered it cleaned and sent it back to Washington.

Germanna Community College history instructor Dan Carter will moderate a Tuesday discussion with McNairy and Jim Martin, who was a young newspaperman covering President Kennedy’s assassination from a Washington perspective. GCC Asst. Prof. Stuart Smith will explain the political climate that led to the president making his fateful trip to Dallas. A discussion with the audience will follow. The event, which is open to public, free of charge, will be held at Sealy Auditorium in the Workforce Building at Germanna’s Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m
McNairy says what he saw in the limo indicated the shots that hit the president came from behind--possibly from the School Book Depository Building--where Lee Harvey Oswald was perched, and not from the grassy knoll on the Northwest side of the plaza, as some conspiracy theorists have speculated.. McNairy played a key part in the Discovery Channel's 2008 investigative program, "Inside the Target Car."
An interactive video feed in room 114 at Germanna’s Locust Grove Campus  and room 118 at GCC's Daniel Technology Center will allow student and area residents in those locations to watch and hear the event live and ask the panelists questions.
For more information, email or call 540/846-5163,

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Prof. Shockey knows firsthand the difference community colleges make

When Michael Shockey was 13 years old, he weighed 240 pounds.
“I was mocked,” he remembers. “I didn’t want to go to school.”
Because of bullying, he did poorly academically.
Germanna adjunct Professor Michael Shockey

His troubles didn’t end there.
By the time he was 16, he was hospitalized for acute, nonspecific pericarditis—a painful and dangerous inflammation of the sac around the heart.
“I had these enormous difficulties, pressures,” 63-year-old Shockey, an adjunct professor of psychology  at Germanna Community College and senior minister at Calvary Southern Methodist Church in Stafford, says now.