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News in Education

Donation to support agribusiness

To support training of area agriculture-centered businesses, Carolina Farm Credit recently awarded $5,000 to Southwestern Community College’s Small Business Center.

SCC is using the funds to support a pair of educational opportunities this winter. The first, an Agribusiness Summit, was completed on Dec. 7.

The second, SCC’s annual Appalachian Farm School, starts on Jan. 11 and runs through March 1.

“This is the second time we’ve been awarded a grant from Carolina Farm Credit, and I am personally very thankful for their support,” said Tiffany Henry, Director of SCC’s Small Business Center. “Without the financial assistance we receive from community-minded organizations like this, we wouldn’t be able to offer the quality of training that our area agriculture-based businesses need to succeed.”

This will be the sixth annual Appalachian Farm School, which Henry launched with the goal of providing local farmers the skills they need to thrive. There is no cost to participate. Registration deadline is Jan. 6.

For more information or to sign up, visit or contact Henry at 828.339.4211 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Tribe offers COVID relief funding

The Harrah’s Cherokee Tribal Scholarship Fund has announced emergency COVID-19 funding made available to qualified educational institutions in the seven surrounding counties bordering the Qualla Boundary (Jackson, Swain, Haywood, Macon, Graham, Cherokee and Clay).

Organizations may apply for emergency funds related to personal protective equipment, screening supplies, sanitization chemicals/equipment, safe food transportation, and other qualified needs resulting from COVID-19. Funding will not be provided for staffing, payroll, gift cards, or any items not specifically related to safety.

For an application and full qualification criteria, contact: Yona Wade at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.554.5032 or Sherri Booth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.497.8753.


SCC inducts 88 into Technical Honor Society

Although the pandemic kept Southwestern Community College from holding an in-person ceremony this fall, SCC officials welcomed 88 new members into the college’s chapter of the National Technical Honor Society with an induction video.

SCC President Dr. Don Tomas joined Dr. Thom Brooks, Executive Vice President for Instruction & Student Services, and Mathematics Instructor Vicki Todd to produce a virtual ceremony for the most-recent inductees.

NTHS members hold at least a 3.5 Grade Point Average. They were nominated by a teaching faculty members and rank among the top 20 percent of active students in their respective programs.

“We would love to have welcomed all these students into our Burrell Conference Center to celebrate their achievements, because they deserve to hear the applause of family and friends,” Dr. Brooks said. “Just because we weren’t able to do that doesn’t lessen their accomplishments. We are extremely proud of every single one of these inductees, and we look forward to seeing what each of them accomplishes in the years ahead.”


HCC presents service awards

Haywood Community College recently presented service awards to several employees. Employees were recognized for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years of service with the State of North Carolina.

The awards were designed and handcrafted on campus with assistance from student Kelsi Mulock and faculty members Doug Cabe, Hilary Cobb, James Holton and Brian Wurst. Employees recognized for five years of service include Cody Ferguson, Darrell Frizzell, Pamela Hardin, Karen Lawrence, Sarah Mathis, Polly Amanda Mills, Heather Patterson, Randall Warren, and Scott Yager. HCC employees recognized for 10 years of service include Larry Davis, Wendy Davis, Mark Hicks, Susannah High, William Kinyon, Jeremy Phillips and Lisa Rhodarmer. Employees who received a 15-year service award included Tyler Beamer, Eliza Dean, and Wayne McCrary. Marc Lehmann and Patricia Smith were recognized for 20 years of service.


SCC introduces Teacher Prep pathway

To help prepare the next generation of educators, Southwestern Community College is introducing an Associate in Arts – Teacher Preparation pathway this spring.

“Aspiring teachers can get the first two years of college credit while staying close to home and saving thousands of dollars at Southwestern,” said Dr. Barbara Putman, SCC’s Dean of Arts & Sciences. “Teachers touch all of our lives. They are vital to our communities and to our future. We hope anyone who’s been inspired to pursue this fulfilling profession will enroll this spring.”

There’s still time to enroll for SCC’s spring semester, which starts Jan. 11. Prospective students can start the application process at


Pepsi donates to SCC student fund

Pepsi-Cola of Whittier presented a donation to Dr. Don Tomas, Southwestern Community College President, on Monday, Dec. 14, in Sylva.

Every year, Pepsi employees forego their annual holiday party and instead give $1,000 to the SCC Foundation. The money goes into SCC’s Student Emergency Fund, which helps deserving students who encounter unexpected financial emergencies so that they can remain at SCC and continue working toward their degrees, diplomas and/or certificates.

For more info about the Student Emergency Fund and the SCC Foundation, call 828.339.4241, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit


WCU to offer facilitation workshop

Western Carolina University’s Office of Professional Growth and Enrichment will be offering an online workshop entitled, “Facilitation: An Essential Leadership Skill,” from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, with live, interactive instruction. 

Kimerly Hinkelman of Hinkelman & Associates and Kathleen Osta of Vital Clarity will serve as instructors for the workshop and John Bourke of Bourke Associates, content expert on the ToP Facilitation Methods, and other business topics, will serve as technology assistant.

Participants will learn leadership skills for facilitating a focused conversation that invites and honors all perspectives; and experience a consensus-building brainstorm approach that elicits and organizes a diverse range of ideas in a way that reveals areas of alignment. 

The registration fee for the course is $149 and SHRM credits are available at the completion of the workshop. Visit and click on “For-profit and Nonprofit Professional Development Workshops.”


Jackson schools receive educational grants

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina recently awarded $2,955 to Jackson County schools from the Learning Links grant program. The grants include $1,350 to support classroom teachers and $1,605 to Jackson Community School for integrated literacy and healthful living programs.

Smokey Mountain Elementary School was awarded two classroom grants. The grant to Jackson Community School will fund programs addressing key activities for student learning. One focuses on healthful living to provide students opportunities to learn about exercise and nutrition to create lifelong behaviors. The literacy program explores career interests, financial literacy and student dreams and goals.

Learning Links grants are made possible by the Ben W. and Dixie Glenn Farthing Charitable Fund, the Cherokee County Schools Endowment Fund and the Fund for Education.

For more information, contact The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina at 828.254.4960 or visit


Higdon finalist for Teaching award

Teachers from across North Carolina have been selected as finalists for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2020 Prudential NC Beginning Teacher of the Year Award in honor of their dedication, innovation, and ability to inspire students to achieve. Macon County teacher Emilee Higdon has been selected as a finalist.

One of these talented educators will be named the 2020 Prudential NC Beginning Teacher of the Year. The award will be presented on April 15, 2021, at the NCCAT Cullowhee Campus.

“We appreciate the enthusiastic response from all over the state for the Beginning Teacher of the Year Award,” said NCCAT Executive Director M. Brock Womble. “These finalists provide a snapshot of the lasting impact great teachers have on our students from the first to the last day they step into a North Carolina public school. We are excited about this opportunity to honor teachers for the important work they do in our state.”

The award winner will receive $5,000 cash prize, participation in a GoGlobal N.C. trip and instructional supply funds for the teacher’s school. The runner-up will receive $2,000 cash prize and all finalists will receive travel expenses to participate in NCCAT professional development and leadership development.

More information about the program is online at

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