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50 years forward: HCC invites community to ‘Big Day’ of celebration

fr hcc inviteWhat better way to celebrate 50 years of education at Haywood Community College than to invite the community for a firsthand look at what the school has to offer?

This “Big Day” celebration with activities for everyone will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 19, at the HCC campus in Clyde.

“We’re excited to just have people here with us on campus,” said Aaron Mabry, HCC’s director of marketing. “Our motto is ‘50 years forward’ — we want to be as innovative as possible and create a new culture here at HCC. We want you to interact on campus with colleagues and classmates.”

The day’s events will start with a Freedlander 5K on campus. Mabry said the college hasn’t had a 5K event since 1980. To show some nostalgia, Mabry said the race t-shirts given out to runners would be a replica of the t-shirts from 1980. 

The race will start on Freedlander Drive and take runners on an out-and-back section on a flat section Jones Cove Road. Once participants are back on campus, they will start the hilly portion of the course around campus, with the finishing stretch around Mill Pond. More than 70 people are already registered to run, but it isn’t too late to sign up for $30 a person. 

In addition to the 5K, participants can also take part in the fun run/walk — a .44 mile-route that will take place entirely on the HCC campus and is designed for kids and older adults. All children completing the fun run will receive a finisher’s medallion designed and made by HCC’s High Technology Advanced Machining Program. Fun runners can register for $15 up until the day of the race. 

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After the race award ceremony, the campus will stay busy through the afternoon with tours, live music and clogging, demonstrations, food and more.

“If you are an alumni — meaning if you’ve taken one class at HCC — you can give us your updated information at the event and we’ll give you a $5 voucher for food,” Mabry said. 

Of the many alumni HCC has to be proud of, Ben Kniceley, HCC’s very own STIHL Timbersports national champion, will be on hand to give a demonstration at 11 a.m. with additional Timbersports team demos throughout the day. 

Kniceley, who earned associate’s degrees in both fisheries and wildlife from HCC, will be showing off his standing block chop skills. He’s the third HCC student to win the national title in the 10 years STIHL’s held the series, the fourth to compete in the national event.

The community is encouraged to bring their old computers to either be recycled or donated to a High School Equivalency or Adult High School graduate. PCs for HSE (previously PCs for GED) is a green initiative to recycle old PC computer equipment, while supporting the educational success of HCC certificate and degree students as well as graduates from the College and Career Readiness program.

Once the computers are donated, HCC students work to refurbish the computer. Any computer parts that can’t be salvaged and reused are recycled properly. 

“To date we’ve awarded over 35 refurbished computers to graduates from our HSE programs,” said Marc Lehmann, HCC instructional technologist.


HCC’s Big Day — Sept. 19

Schedule of Events

• 8-10 a.m. — Freedlander 5K and Fun run

• 9 a.m.-3 p.m. — Kids’ casting clinic

• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Kids’ activities (bounce house, blow-up slide, putt-putt, face painting, balloon animals)

• 10 a.m.-3 .m. — Dickey’s BBQ and Waynesville Soda Jerks 

• 10-11:30 a.m. — Campus Arboretum tour

• 10-10:30 a.m. — Timbersports Team Demo

• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Antique Car Show

• 10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Creative Arts workshops/art sale/exhibits

• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Free photo booth

• 10-10:40 a.m. — Live music: Empire Strikes Brass

• 10:50-11 a.m. — Clogging: J. Creek Cloggers

• 11-11:30 a.m. — Timbersports demo with STIHL National Champion Ben Kniceley

• 11:30 a.m.-noon — Live music: Jeff Santiago y Los Gatos Negros

• Noon-12:10 p.m. — Clogging: Fines Creek Flatfooters

• 12:10-1:15 p.m. — Live music: Joe Lasher Jr.

• 12:30-1 p.m. — Timbersports team demo

• 1:20-1:30 p.m. — Clogging: Appalachian Mountaineers

• 1:30-2 p.m. — Live music: Bird in Hand

• 2-2:30 p.m. — Flag raising honoring alumni

• 2:30-3 p.m. — Live music: Tommy Payne


Freedlander 5K

Registration is $30

Fun Run — registration is $15

Each 5K runner will receive a cotton/poly short sleeve shirt commemorating the inaugural race and the 50th anniversary of Haywood Community College. Register online at until Sept. 17. Race day registration onsite Sept. 19.

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