Monday, November 5, 2012

Dr. Faulkner: EPIC

This blog kicks-off a series of pieces in the Insider from Vol State President Dr. Jerry Faulkner.
Too Epic to Fail

On Friday, Oct. 26, I visited Springfield High School to join the Springfield Middle School 7th grade students as they received a glimpse of their EPIC FUTURE!   The meeting was the kick-off event for a seven year Gear-Up program.  The grant funded program is designed to increase the college – going culture of a school and community.  This 7th grade cohort will receive support and encouragement through their sophomore year in college.  Volunteer State is pleased to be a part of this grant by providing thousands of dollars of in-kind support for the effort.

As you may imagine it was a lively event with approximately 200 seventh grade students in attendance.  The theme is built around the word “epic.”  The students were reminded that synonyms of epic include impressive, majestic, great, and heroic.  Whenever the word “epic” was used in the presentation, the students responded by shouting, “I am!”  Every student received a t-shirt that said, “I’m too EPIC to fail.”

The creators of the grant have incorporated EPIC as an acronym for some powerful phrases:

Educational Persistence Is Critical

Every Peer In College

Educational Partners In Collaboration

As I sat there enjoying the excitement and youthful exuberance, I wondered what we could do to foster the college - going culture across our entire service area?  There is probably an extensive list, but here are a few thoughts we could all do right now:

·         Get excited about what is happening at the college and share that with others in the community.  It’s OK if you aren’t excited about the Learning Commons but you are excited about basketball. Just share.

·         Let others know of the advantages of a post-secondary education. 

o   Those with an associate’s degree will have average life-time earnings of $350,000 more than those with just a high school diploma.

o   A recent article in the Tennessean revealed that in TN persons with an associate’s degree earned an average $1400 per year more than persons with a bachelor’s degree.

o   During the recent economic recession, persons with post-secondary degrees had substantially lower unemployment than other groups.

·         Be a good example.  Take advantage of the educational benefit we have to work toward a degree or certificate or just to enrich our lives.

Like our middle school friends in Springfield, let’s be EPIC!

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