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Colleges: Nursing, Horticulture, Service, FAFSA & Gaza

Area institutions of higher learning respond to their communities


Recognition ceremony honors Lander’s nursing graduates

GREENWOOD — When Lander University celebrated the achievements of its graduates during the School of Nursing’s recognition ceremony, few could have known that one of those being honored almost abandoned her dreams.

Isabella Jones, of Lancaster, enrolled at Lander to join the women’s soccer team and seek a bachelor’s degree in nursing. As an athlete and a student in the Honors College, Jones was excelling in many areas of college life.

But after her mother was hospitalized with COVID-19 during Jones’ sophomore year at Lander, she returned home to be with her. During that time, “I still attended class online, submitted assignments, and completed scheduled exams online,” said Jones, who was determined to keep up with her academic schedule while being with her mother.

After several weeks of care in the hospital’s ICU, Jones’ mother passed away. “The last thing I wanted to do was to come back to Lander and finish my classes, but I knew that that was what my mama would have wanted me to do,” Jones said, crediting the Lander community for helping her through the difficult days that she faced. 

“All of my teammates and friends prayed for me, sent my family flowers, and even attended her funeral,” she said. “I realized that God sent me to Lander for a reason. He gave me the best support system I could ever ask for. After going through this loss, I felt as though my calling was to work in critical care to care for patients and families who were going through similar situations as my mama.”

Jones completed her mother’s dream and will be a nurse in the cardiac intensive care unit at Self Regional Healthcare. Her persistence to continue the academic demands of her nursing education led Jones to receive the William Preston School of Nursing “Faculty Award of Excellence,” given to the student who demonstrates the greatest promise of making significant contributions to the profession of nursing. She also received the Self Regional Healthcare Award and he “Nursing Athletic Award,” presented to a graduating senior who has played on a sports team and has shown academic excellence, integrity, sportsmanship and athletic prowess. 

Perseverance to reaching shared goals was the message of nursing graduate Dashiona Todd, of Greenville, who gave “Greetings from Class,” during the Recognition Ceremony, which included the awarding of pins to graduates. She said the day was “a tremendous achievement” in the lives of her peers and praised their hard work, sacrifices and unwavering commitment in their nursing degree program.

Todd’s sense of humor in describing the rigors of the nursing program brought smiles and laughter from the audience throughout her talk. “Nothing in life could have prepared us for this beast that is nursing school,” she said. 

She praised the demands from faculty to not only teach them “book knowledge,” but also taught students “how to be advocates for those in our care.”

And as they prepared to embark on the next phase of their lives, Todd said, “We are celebrating our first big people jobs.”

She continued, “Wherever we will go, they will be happy to have us. I am proud of all of you. We did it.”

Among the honors awarded during the c eremony were: Kenaja Burnside, of Laurens, Clinical Excellence Award; Alexis Pickell, of Greenwood, Professional Nursing Award; Stevaunie Worden, of Anderson, Professional Development Award; Emily Jarrell, of Hampton, Neuman Award; Leslie Horne McKesson, of Greenwood, R.N. to B.S.N. Award, and Alexandra Nicole Saathoff, of Columbia, the Mickey McDowell Award.

The School of Nursing also recognized five R.N. to B.S.N. graduates who earned associate degrees in nursing before pursuing their bachelor’s degrees in Lander’s online program. They included Katherine Major Fallaw, Leslie Horne McKesson and Ashley Denise Salerno, all of Greenwood; Jacqueline Diana-Michelle Rose, of Seneca, and Peytan Riegel Smith, of Laurens.

PTC Horticulture Program Awarded $8,000 Hardscaping Grant

The Horticulture Technology Program at Piedmont Technical College (PTC) recently was selected by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) Foundation for a “Tools for Schools” grant of nearly $8,000 to purchase hardscaping equipment used for training students in concrete paver installation techniques.

The ICPI is a trade association representing U.S. and Canadian producers and suppliers in the concrete masonry and hardscape industry, as well as contractors of interlocking concrete pavement systems. PTC horticulture instructors have attended specialized training and been qualified by the ICPI to utilize their industry-leading curriculum in our Landscape Construction courses. 

“Concrete pavers can be a great alternative to conventional pavement materials because they add interesting patterns, colors, and textures to the hardscape,” said PTC Horticulture Technology Program Director Daniel Greenwell. “When installed correctly, interlocking concrete pavement systems can actually outlast traditional pavement options due to their ability to flex and expand, which minimizes cracking.”

With proceeds from the grant, the program purchased:

•          1 iQ362i Dust Control Masonry Saw

•          1 Weber Vibratory Rammer for compacting base material

•          1 Ziplevel Precision Altimeter for measuring grade

•          2 Quick-E-Screeders for screeding bedding material

For more information about PTC’s Horticulture Technology Program, visit


A class for first-year students at Presbyterian College found new ways to combat and even fix social problems in their communities.

The class, taught by PC business professor Karen Mattison, allowed students to develop individual business models to solve issues in their hometowns. Designed only for first-year students, the service entrepreneurship class dovetails the college’s commitment to service and its annual Service Entrepreneurship Competition for high school seniors.

Mattison explained that each student was allowed to address any problem and come up with any solution – but they did have to “stress test” their ideas with a plan to measure social impact and sources of revenue to sustain a long-term solution.

While the social entrepreneurship class is one of several first-year exploration courses offered to freshmen, it is the one devoted to PC’s motto, Dum Vivimus Servimus.

“It does support ‘While We Live, We Serve’ because students can think of lots of different ways to venture into service entrepreneurship,” Mattison said. “The hope is that they’re going to create a business that is sustainable and provides a service to the community. That’s really exciting.”

Students found a variety of social problems they hope to address – including homelessness, addiction, poverty, and a lack of opportunities for people in rural areas. Students shared their projects with the campus community at a recent poster symposium to close out the semester.

Angelo Lemb, for example, is a first-year student from France and a Blue Hose men’s soccer team member. Lemb hopes to create opportunities in his native country for young people to access France’s rich cultural heritage – museums, historic places, and galleries.

Torreana Miller, a student from Greer, wants to combat the “pink tax” – the higher price women pay for hygiene products.

“Women’s products are generally 13 percent more expensive than men’s, like razors, soap, and underwear,” she said. “For women living in poverty, that’s a lot each month. I’d like to eventually help by getting people jobs, but at first, I would contact vendors and sponsors to get funding to help them.”

Xupheng Ly, a first-year student from Lancaster, based his project on the premise that success breeds success. Xupheng wants to motivate adolescents to achieve their bigger goals by helping them achieve smaller goals to build skills and confidence.

“I have a lot of cousins – around 10-13 – and they’re always stuck,” he said. “They’re always stuck on their technology. And I hate that for them. I don’t want them to not go anywhere in life; I want them to succeed. I want them to be motivated to have a good life.”

Xupheng said he wants to build a program that takes young people step by step toward their individual goals.

“The more things that you complete, the easier it will be to complete something bigger,” he said. “It’s the little steps that you have to take until you actually eventually reach the big steps.”

Like many students who come to America’s Innovative Service College, Xupheng was intrigued by the idea of learning and serving simultaneously.

“I definitely knew I wanted to do something to help a lot of people,” he said. “I just didn’t know exactly what – I just had to look into it.”

Jianna Branyon is a resident of rural Abbeville County and envisions an after-school tutoring program that helps students boost their GPAs and morale to get into college.

“I know that when I’m succeeding and getting better grades that I like school because I am doing well,” she said. “I know a lot of my friends didn’t go to college because they didn’t have great grades, so I want to build a program to help students get their grades up.”

Like many small, rural communities in South Carolina, Abbeville County has aging schools and little funding. But Branyon said she hopes to find donors to help make her dream a reality. In the meantime, she said PC is the right place to shape her vision.

“I was already sold on going to USC until I got my scholarship package from PC and came on a tour,” she said. “I kept on seeing the banners that said, ‘America’s Innovative Service College,’ and I was like, “Yep, this is where I need to be.’”

 Freshmen Luke Lambert of Simpsonville and Braylon Barton of Graniteville centered their service entrepreneurship projects on addiction. Lambert specifically targeted underage drinking and wants to develop a program that educates young people on the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Barton, who said he regularly sees homeless people walking the streets in his rural community, envisions a shelter that not only gives people a temporary place to stay but addresses the root cause of their homelessness, namely drug or alcohol addiction.

“It really bothered me seeing all these people walking down the road,” he said. “You could tell some of them were on drugs because they would be shaking and wobbling while they walk. They’re putting themselves and other people in danger because the road they’re on is a really narrow single-lane road. They’re not bad people – just people who’ve probably had bad upbringings.”

Barton also believes PC is the right fit for him as he considers a life serving others.

“Service was one of the really big reasons I came here because I liked the emphasis on service entrepreneurship,” he said.


The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy is offering a one-of-a-kind online avenue for pharmacy students through its new Accelerated Distance Pathway (ADP).

The innovative curriculum gives students more time – three and a half years — compared to most three-year programs, while still allowing for a spring graduation. Students will take the bulk of their courses online and are only required to be on campus for four one-week periods over the entire course of their studies. This pathway will run alongside the traditional four-year in-person pathway, and provides an additional option for graduate students to take advantage of the high quality education PCSP provides for its students.

Pharmacy students in the ADP who complete their prerequisites in three semesters and begin their studies in January may even complete their Pharm.D. in only five years.

PC president Dr. Anita Gustafson hailed the Accelerated Distance Pathway for giving pharmacy students a more flexible online option.

“I am really proud of the School of Pharmacy’s innovative approach to developing this exciting new pathway for students,” she said. “The ADP’s architects have created a curriculum that is student-focused and concise – without sacrificing the standards and quality of teaching that our students are accustomed to receiving. We are confident students who participate in the ADP will continue to produce pharmacists who change patients’ lives and serve their communities.”

College provost Dr. Kerry Pannell said the ADP is a prime example of PC’s commitment to innovation and service to students – and an historic first for the college.

“We designed PC’s inaugural online program with one thing at the forefront – providing our pharmacy students with an expedited opportunity to pursue their professional goals,” she said. “I believe we have achieved that.”

The key to the online courses is, of course, using new technology to allow off-campus participants to engage with their professors in a virtual classroom setting.

“Our faculty is committed to ensuring that ADP students receive the same rigorous pharmacy education to prepare them for practice and serving as a critical part of their patients’ healthcare team,” said pharmacy school dean Dr. Giuseppe Gumina. For more information, contact Josh Tyson, director of graduate enrollment, at

New FAFSA projected to expand SC Pell Grant awards by 9,100 

The U.S. Department of Education projects changes in the simplified and redesigned 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form will help award federal Pell Grants to more than 9,100 new students in South Carolina from low-income backgrounds.

More than 71,000 of South Carolina’s 230,000 college students receive the Pell Grant each year.

U.S. Department of Education projections also indicate the new FAFSA will also help more than 19,000 students in the state receive the maximum Pell Grant amount ($7,395 for the 2023-24 award year). The average South Carolina Pell award amount in 2020-2021 was $4,828, according to the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. 

The changes are the most significant redesign of the application process and the formulas used to determine aid eligibility since the Common Financial Aid Form (the FAFSA form’s predecessor) was introduced in the Reagan era. In addition to unlocking federal aid such as Pell Grants, the FAFSA is also used to determine student eligibility for various state-funded financial aid programs. The opening of the FAFSA form was delayed from the traditional October 1 opening date as changes have been finalized for the 2024-25 award year. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the FAFSA form opened Dec. 31, 2023.

Each year the CHE partners with the South Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SCASFAA) to facilitate the College Goal SC FAFSA completion campaign from January-March for high schoolers across the state. To date, 46 high schools have registered to participate in College Goal SC events for the 2024 season. The CHE also encourages students and their families who are new to the FAFSA to set up their Federal Student Aid Identification (FSAID) credentials in the coming weeks to remove one step from the process once the FAFSA opens. The CHE will continue to post information to the agency website and social media accounts to help students, families and counselors complete the better FAFSA.

Lander scientist calls on graduates to ‘keep learning, improving as a society’

GREENWOOD — A scientist who struggled to write papers in college told graduates at Lander University’s 168th Commencement on Wednesday (Dec. 13) not be discouraged by obstacles or failure because “the first draft is not the final draft.”

Commencement speaker Dr. Emily Prince, an associate professor of biology and Lander’s 2023 Distinguished Professor of the Year, said papers awash in red ink during her college years led her to understand that people aren’t expected to do things well, or even perfectly, the first time. 

“We all have to start somewhere, but we shouldn’t stop after that first attempt,” Prince said. “Even when feedback hurts our feelings, we learn what we need to improve, and then we do it again.”

Prince was the featured speaker at the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies in the Finis Horne Arena as Lander conferred bachelor’s and master’s degrees to 390 bachelor and master’s degree graduates.

True to Prince’s challenge to keep moving forward, Leslie Horne McKesson, of Greenwood, has revised her career by earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing through Lander’s R.N. to B.S.N. online nursing program. 

After completing an associate’s degree program in nursing 14 years ago, McKesson started a family and attempted to return to college for a bachelor’s degree a couple of times only to find that the “timing just wasn’t right.”

A wife and mother of children ages 8, 11 and 13, McKesson was determined that her children “see ‘Mom’ do something good,” and she came to Lander to make her dream a reality.

“Not only will I be able to grow in my nursing career, but my kids get to see me graduate college. I hope that proves to them that we can all do hard things,” said McKesson, who earned President’s List honors for her academic achievements.

She praised the University’s online program with helping her reach her goals. “I was concerned about not having the ability to meet with my professors in person, but each professor has been very quick in their response time when I had questions.”

For Honors College graduate David Floyd, an accident in a chemistry lab led him to change course and pursue a major in mathematics. That switch gave Floyd, the recipient of the Honors Medal and Alpha Chi Medal and a Mathematics Discipline Award, the opportunity to conduct research last year at Auburn University on plasma filaments in a super magnet.

Much like Prince, who felt frustration over the revised drafts of papers, Floyd admitted he encountered challenges when professors “pushed me hard in the right direction.”

While “that push was painful most of the time,” Floyd, of Greenwood, is looking forward with optimism. He is applying to study for a graduate degree in physics. “I want to do research in the field of astronomy and physics,” he said.

Prince called on the graduates to “keep learning and improving as a society. We can make things better. I have confidence in you and in your generation. In so many ways you’re smarter, harder working, and most importantly you’re kinder, than students were when I graduated from college. I believe that you can make your draft of society better than the ones that have come before.”

Emmanuel Dula, of Spartanburg, already has embodied another of Prince’s pleas to the Class of 2023 to ‘keep making improvements and to keep getting better.”

The exercise science major was a 16-year-old student at Dorman High School when his father died. The dream of completing an education and having a successful career were goals his father had for him, Dula said, and he is planning to continue his studies to become a physical therapist. “Today is an accomplishment for my family and me,” he said. “It’s what my Dad wanted.”

McKesson, an infection prevention specialist at Self Regional Healthcare, said she believes her degree is inspiring for her family and her career. “I can show my kids that hard work truly pays off,” she said. “Now that I have my bachelor’s degree, I would love to learn more about the leadership part of nursing. I love working in my current role, but I will have more opportunities for leadership if I choose.”

Biology Students Awarded Research Grants for Spring 

GREENWOOD — The Lander University College of Science and Mathematics is pleased to announce that five students have been awarded research grants totaling $4,550 from Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) National Biological Honor Society.  

TriBeta’s Research Grant Program provides financial support for notable undergraduate research proposals. The grant program is designed to introduce undergraduate students to the basic process of research and research funding.  

“The students are going to be doing interesting research over the next year and I am very excited to hear what they find,” said Dr. Emily Prince, associate professor of biology and Lander’s 2023 Distinguished Professor of the Year. “They all have great ideas for projects and worked really hard to write their grants. It’s nice to see that effort pay off.” 

Dr. Prince, who also serves as the faculty advisor for Lander’s chapter of TriBeta, explained that the students will present their work at the Association of Southeastern Biologists meeting in the spring. “It is a wonderful opportunity for them to share their findings broadly and make connections with other scientists,” she noted.  

Students receiving grants for their research projects are below.  

•“The Effect of in ovo Nicotine Administration on Tbr2 Expression During Gray Matter Development in the Chicken Embryo” by Lila Bagley, of Irmo, S. C. 

•“The Effect of Long-term Intermittent Fasting on Spatial Memory in Rats” by Jordyn Deason, of McCormick S.C.

•“Exploration of Antibacterial Effects of Extracts of Plants Common in South Carolina Against ESKAPE Pathogens” by Rebekah Logan of Greenwood, S.C.

•“Does Human Infrastructure Free Mammals from a Landscape of Fear?” by Kaitlyn Thompson, of Evans, GA.

•“Examining the Role of BRK1 in the Embryonic Development of Zebrafish (Danio rerio)” by Max Williams, of Greenville, S.C.

“We are so proud of Lila, Jordyn, Rebekah, Kaitlyn, and Max and very excited to see the outcomes of their research,” said Dr. Jennifer Yates, interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “Engaging in research as an undergraduate student is a high impact educational practice, and I am so grateful to the faculty mentors supporting our students in these projects.” 

To learn more about the Lander College of Science and Mathematics, go online to  

Greenwood Native Leitreanna Brown Takes the Paranormal World by Storm

Greenwood — Leitreanna Brown, a Greenwood native, has become a prominent figure in the world of paranormal research and investigation. Recently recruited by the History Channel of Canada, she serves as the psychic medium on the hit TV series “Repossessed.” While the show is available for streaming on Hulu and Apple TV in the United States, it is yet to be aired in Canada, with plans for a strategic release to captivate Canadian viewers.

Leitreanna, alongside her husband Matthew Brown, and her mother, Judy Terry, create a spiritual bond that helps them walk through the supernatural world. Each member possesses unique psychic abilities, with Matthew specializing in analytical skills and technical expertise gained from growing up in a haunted environment. Together, they founded the Paranormal Research Organization of the Southeast (PROS) and Family Spirit International, dedicated to paranormal research and investigations.

The Brown family’s journey into the supernatural has garnered attention in various publications and television shows, including being featured on the cover of Paranormal Underground Magazine, and presented in “My Ghost Story Caught on Camera,” and “The Ghost Inside My Child.” Matthew presented his experiences in a violently haunted home on “Paranormal Witness.” Leitreanna has also been a guest on radio programs such as Coast to Coast and Demonology Today.

In addition to her television appearances, Leitreanna is an active speaker at paranormal conventions and holds a founding membership with Dominion Ministries. Her family’s paranormal TV talk show, “Family Spirit International,” enjoys a significant online presence, airing on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Roku channels, reaching a diverse audience interested in the paranormal.

The Browns have authored five books under the Family Spirit series, covering a range of paranormal and supernatural topics. Titles such as “Family Spirit, The Origins of Five Generations of the Supernatural,” “Parapsychology 101,” “So, You Think Your Kid is Psychic,” “Tales In the Dark,” and “Your Psychic Connection” are available on popular platforms like Amazon, Walmart, Books a Million, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble, providing valuable resources for those seeking insights into the supernatural.

Matthew and Leitreanna Brown Offer Insightful Paranormal Classes at Piedmont Technical College

Greenwood — Residents of Greenwood have the unique opportunity to delve into the mysterious world of the paranormal with Matthew and Leitreanna Brown, who are set to teach captivating classes at Piedmont Technical College. The upcoming sessions, Ghost Hunting 101 and Phantoms and Psychics, are scheduled to commence on January 23, offering participants a two-week journey into the realm of supernatural phenomena.

Class Details:

- Ghost Hunting 101: This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of ghost hunting. Participants will learn about the equipment used in paranormal investigations, the principles of evidence collection, and the basics of interpreting findings. Practical aspects of ghost hunting will be explored, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in a field that combines science and the unexplained.

- Phantoms and Psychics: Delving deeper into the mysteries of the paranormal, this course focuses on the relationship between phantoms (apparitions) and individuals with psychic abilities. Students will explore the history of psychic phenomena, learn about famous psychics, and understand the connections between spirits and those with heightened intuitive capabilities.

Both courses are designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the paranormal while offering practical skills for those interested in pursuing their own investigations or simply expanding their knowledge of this intriguing field.

Enrollment Information:

Interested individuals can enroll in these paranormal classes through Piedmont Technical College’s website at []( The classes promise an immersive and educational experience, guided by instructors with extensive expertise in the paranormal.

Matthew and Leitreanna Brown bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to these classes, drawing from their involvement in paranormal research, investigations, and their family’s unique connection to the supernatural.

As Greenwood becomes a hub for paranormal enthusiasts, these classes offer an exciting opportunity for residents to explore the unexplained and learn from experts in the field. Don’t miss the chance to unlock the mysteries of the paranormal with Matthew and Leitreanna Brown at Piedmont Technical College. Enroll now to secure your spot in these intriguing and enlightening courses!

”Repossessed” Unleashes Paranormal Thrills: Saving Owners from Haunted Objects

In the realm where the supernatural meets reality, the team of “Repossessed” fearlessly steps in to confront the eerie and the unexplained. This documentary-style show, with 8 gripping episodes in its first season, captures the team’s mission to rescue desperate owners from the clutches of their haunted possessions.

From lethal antique beds to intricately possessed mirrors, the “Repossessed” team confronts a diverse array of paranormal phenomena. The intensity of each episode leaves viewers on the edge of their seats, as the team navigates the unknown to bring resolution and relief to those tormented by the supernatural.

The series has quickly gained a dedicated following, with viewers praising its captivating content and spine-tingling encounters. With a remarkable IMDb audience rating of 9.2, based on 14 votes, “Repossessed” stands as a testament to its impact on paranormal enthusiasts and documentary enthusiasts alike.

For those eager to join the adventure, “Repossessed” is available for streaming on Hulu, allowing subscribers to embark on a chilling journey into the world of haunted objects. The show’s unique blend of real-world drama and paranormal exploration has resonated with audiences, making it a must-watch for those seeking an adrenaline-fueled experience.

As the series continues to unfold its mysteries, fans are eagerly anticipating future episodes. Although the next episode or season’s release date remains unannounced, the suspense only adds to the allure of what “Repossessed” has in store for its dedicated audience.

For those who crave a combination of supernatural intrigue and gripping storytelling, “Repossessed” is a documentary series that promises to deliver the paranormal thrills viewers seek. Tune in, buckle up, and prepare to be captivated by the spine-chilling encounters faced by the “Repossessed” team as they venture into the unknown to save desperate owners from their haunted objects.


As Leitreanna continues to share her knowledge and experiences, her contributions to the paranormal field promise to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide. Keep an eye out for this Greenwood native, whose journey into the unknown is leaving an indelible mark on the world of the supernatural.

A ‘trust fall’ into the world of words at PTC

From day one of Ian Levine’s fall semester English class, students were invited to suspend their fears and blindly, albeit metaphorically, fall back, because he absolutely will catch them. Feeling safe in class has made all the difference to Levine’s students on the Newberry County Campus of Piedmont Technical College (PTC). They are excited about language and expressing themselves in a number of forms, including “mémoires,” extreme micro-stories from their personal lives. “Micro” in this case means six words, an abbreviated — and challenging — sort of haiku.  

Student Grace Livingston enjoys the creative challenge of the mémoire assignment. “You don’t have a lot of words to express what you are getting across,” she said. “I now think about English as an artform.”

Being a neurodivergent thinker who experienced hardship in childhood, Livingston noted that many of the mémoires are inspiring and suggest that recovery is possible after some personal trial. 

“All people have been through hard times,” she said. “These exercises help process the feelings. It’s almost therapeutic.”

“I never listen to the hate,” proclaims one mémoire on a posted sticky note. “I lost you to find myself,” states another. “Best investment possible is in yourself,” adds another. 

Levine’s encouraging and nonjudgmental teaching style puts his students at ease. He will gently coax participation from the shyest students but never force them to speak up in class if they aren’t comfortable doing so. And he never casts any individual in a negative light. 

Drew Longshore is in his third year at PTC, and Levine’s class has been near life-changing for him. 

“Ever since high school, I have hated English,” he said. “I even debated dropping out just to avoid taking it. Now it is a favorite class.”

Dual Enrollment student Abby Boster noted that Levine always begins his class with some form of engagement.

“Out of nowhere, he gets us thinking, and he pays attention,” she said.

“He won’t tell you that you are wrong, but he will find a way to painlessly connect you with the correct answer,” Livingston added. 

“He doesn’t say ‘Can you make sense of this?’ Instead he says ‘Am I making sense? Do I need to find a better way to say it?’” Longshore said. This puts the responsibility to understand on the instructor and not the student.

The students agreed that it’s reassuring to be corrected without being embarrassed or singled out in front of the class. It makes them more likely to actively participate. In a word, it’s safe.

Introducing the mémoires, Levine asked the class to compose 10 lines of writing to convey a thought or idea, each line containing only six words. When completed, he asked them to select their favorite line and write it on an index card. Then he invited the students to draw an image to augment what they wrote. When all was said and done, the mémoires were posted on colorful sticky notes in the college lobby for all to see and enjoy.

Levine modestly prefers that the full focus of this article be on his students, but they won’t have it. Their consistent and resolute high praise make it impossible not to seek comment from the instructor himself.

“Most of us have had a teacher who embarrassed us, and we didn’t feel safe in their classroom,” Levine said. “It was experiences like that that motivate me. How can a student allow you to enter their mind or change their mind if they don’t trust you? The more you trust someone, the more they will let you in.”

Boster especially appreciates Levine’s sincere interest in each individual student’s education and experience.

“He remembers everybody’s name, and he pays extra attention when we need it,” she said. “He is always there to help. He will stay after class if needed.”

Levine sees his relationship with his students as an ongoing process that requires the fuel of engagement to keep it running smoothly. “Every day, I think about how I can build on this relationship so I can really teach. It’s all cumulative. … Some of my favorite teachers were silly. They took the seriousness out of learning, which helped me relax.”

“I look forward to whatever he has planned for us,” Longshore said. “He always finds some way to make it fun.”

Livingston noted that Levine’s easy manner removed a lot of anxiety about attending college for the first time. “He was my first class as a Dual Enrollment student, and I really like him,” she said. “He gives us a connection with writing and makes it fun.”

It all comes naturally to Levine. He clearly loves his job.

“Sometimes I will catch myself humming or singing or whistling,” he said. “I am so happy that I can barely contain myself, and I always look forward to coming to work.”

Columbia Kennel Club provides stethoscopes to Vet Tech students 

The Columbia Kennel Cub (CKC) presented truly heartfelt gifts recently to Veterinary Technology students at Piedmont Technical College (PTC). On Oct. 2, Kennel Club member Michele Pyle and several colleagues visited the college’s Newberry County Campus to present 24 incoming freshmen Vet Tech students with stethoscopes and calculators to help with their educational costs. 

Pyle is chair of the CKC Helping Paws Committee, which holds a fundraising dog show every year and donates proceeds back into the community. Because quality veterinary care is a top priority, and after conducting its research, the CKC selected the Vet Tech Program at PTC as its newest beneficiary. 

“We wanted to do something new. This is the first year in a three-year commitment to PTC,” Pyle said. “Hopefully it will be an ongoing partnership.”

CKC officials consulted Vet Tech Program Director Tanya Niles for guidance on purchasing stethoscopes for the students, and Niles recommended a commonly used model that retails for about $30, saving students a total of about $720 in out-of-pocket costs on the stethoscopes alone. 

Without question, the CKC is contributing something far more than financial support. Members are also providing the invaluable gift of their active involvement in the program, sharing their experience and knowledge as needed.  

“Tanya (Niles) was doing classes on different dog groups in the American Kennel Club. We took the sporting group, and I brought our Chesapeake Bay Retrievers to the class for them to see in October,” Pyle said. Pyle and her husband are proprietors of Claddagh Farm Chessies, a specialized breeder for these special retrievers in Wagener, SC. 

Other CKC members were scheduled to introduce the class to other breeds, including a Lhasa Apso and a Borzoi. 

“We need good vet techs,” Pyle added. “I have been to several veterinarians’ offices, and the vet techs are the ones I deal with the most. It’s a very important job.”

Crisis and Opportunity on Campus

by Winslow Myers

The war in Gaza has generated far more heat than light on American college campuses. Students shout past each other as they bear helpless witness to the injustice and absurdity of the latest spasm of violence in the Middle East. 

The protests provided an opening for politicians to examine challenging questions about bias, free speech, and student safety. Instead, there was superficial posturing and playing “gotcha” with college presidents who are doing a difficult job. 

Larger questions around the ultimate purpose and value of a college education remain insufficiently examined. The ivory tower cannot presume isolation from the world crisis of values of which the Hamas-Israeli conflict and the wars in Ukraine or the Sudan or elsewhere are a festering symptom—students sense this more than anyone. 

For both Hamas and the present Israeli government, the deaths of so many innocents have been a means to exercise raw power rather than move toward genuine resolution of a fiendishly difficult conflict. In Israel’s case, the immediate goal seems to be to re-establish deterrence, and in Hamas’s, to disrupt the gradual accommodation of surrounding Arab nations to the legitimacy of Israel’s existence. 

Violent and cynical means on both sides are themselves at war with the ends of authentic resolution. The indiscriminate nature of Hamas’s attack and the equally indiscriminate Israeli response has only set back long-term security in the region.

Unfolding events provide an opportunity for dialogue on college campuses, including between Jewish and Palestinian students. To ask Palestinians and Israelis sheltering in-country from bombs and rockets to sit down together in small groups and share food and stories in order to build mutual understanding would be a bridge too far in the present chaos—yet it has been done effectively here in the U.S. And colleges could, and sometimes do, provide occasions for something similar to happen on campus.

The education of the complete person, the enlargement of what was once called character, by a combination of formal curriculum and the informal experience of campus culture will always remain challenging. 

For decades there has been talk about a crisis of the humanities. As students flee the liberal arts, classes in the business and computer fields expand. College is expensive, and students want to be able to monetize their learning, or at least have a fighting chance to pay down burdensome loans. It is hard for college administrators to resist trends that, left unaddressed, could shut down their institutions altogether. 

Still one can’t examine too often what ought to be some of education’s bedrock goals, including how to mold active citizens, people who are informed, responsive, authentic, present, inclusive, and responsible. Education in that larger sense is a good in itself, a means toward a good life, beyond just making a good living. 

This is a challenge not just for the humanities, but for education as a whole, including STEM, as indicated among other things by apathetic and misinformed voters, shallow politicians unequipped to cope with huge challenges like AI, leaders who choose authoritarianism and war over the difficulties of building peaceful democratic structures, and a materialist culture which knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. 

Pure scientific research for its own sake, like threatened humanist disciplines, faces its own need to demonstrate its utility. But there are projects which speak to such a depth in us that no justification is needed. The Webb observatory, which simultaneously looks outward into deep space and backward in time, because of the time it takes for the light of stars and galaxies to reach it, was designed by engineers from 14 countries. The Webb shows what we can do when we cooperate toward larger ends rather than warring with each other. 

The Webb brings into even greater focus the magnificent unfolding of the universe through a series of emergent stages, from pure energy, to matter, to life, to conscious life reflecting upon itself. The universe story confirms the reality that all of us, including Arabs and Jews, come from a single origin. The story also magnificently confirms the resilience of life on earth, which has persisted through billions of years of challenges.

Albert Einstein said that we cannot solve a problem on the same level of consciousness that created the problem. The connective tissue across all time and space revealed by the Webb points toward this new level of consciousness, a world where “us” against “them” is subsumed by the truth of interdependence. It will become the task of education to help students explore this larger context and apply its implications practically to all our problems. 

Students face a future of environmental, demographic and disarmament crises laid on them (sorry) by previous generations. The quality of their collective response will depend upon their seeing that all the wars on the planet, including the present horror in Gaza, are an absurd distraction from listening, sharing, working things out with each other and stewarding the natural systems that sustain us. 

Winslow Myers, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide” and serves on the Advisory Board of the War Prevention Initiative.