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ESCC receives $1.16 million grant for new Educational Opportunity Center

ESCC receives $1.16 million grant for new Educational Opportunity Center

Enterprise State Community College was recently chosen as one of only three Alabama community colleges to receive a five-year, $1.16 million federal TRiO grant to set up an Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) for program participants who want to pursue a college education.

The grant is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Through the grant, ESCC will receive $232,050 annually for the next five years to assist, prepare and support program participants with gaining the skills necessary to pursue post-secondary education.

The EOC grant is the College’s second TRIO grant. ESCC’s Student Support Services has received TRiO grants for over 40 years.

“We are excited about the opportunity to receive another TRiO grant and expand our ability to make a difference in our community,” Dean of Students Kassie Mathis said. “TRiO grants are about increasing awareness of post-secondary educational opportunities and helping those who are low income and educationally disadvantaged.”

EOC grant funding will allow the college to hire one full-time director, two full-time education specialists and a part-time tutor. All employees hired to work within the EOC grant will train to identify the obstacles (financial, personal, etc.) participants face and create a plan to overcome those barriers. There will also be a focus on adults seeking to obtain a secondary school diploma or GED.

“We believe that a large part of our population is out of high school but really needing assistance in taking the next steps toward bettering their lives,” ESCC President Matt Rodgers said. “Education is the next step for these members of our community. Being one of a few community colleges in the state to receive this grant, we will be able to assist more people and help our residents move forward in developing successful careers.”

All services, workshops and one-on-one appointments through the Center will be available to residents in Coffee, Dale, Geneva and Houston Counties. EOC offices will also be available on both the Enterprise and Ozark campuses. The program will serve 850 participants across the service area.

“Our goal is to utilize the EOC grant to connect participants with the resources and assistance necessary to earn an education,” Mathis said. “The desired outcome is to help people improve their quality of life, increase their earning potential and motivate participants to build a legacy of educational achievement in their families.”

Cutline: Career/Transfer Coordinator for SSS for the Ozark Campus Lesia Grice, left, shows Dean of Students Kassie Mathis the many ways SSS helps their students be successful. SSS is funded by a TRiO grant, and ESCC will be receiving a second TRiO grant to set up an Educational Opportunity Center on the Ozark campus.

ESCC increasing adult education/workforce development opportunities

ESCC increasing adult education/workforce development opportunities

Two new partnerships are helping Enterprise State Community College expand its adult education and workforce development efforts in the Wiregrass.

ESCC provides free Adult Education services to help students become college and career-ready. The College offers adult education classes at 15 locations throughout Coffee, Dale, Geneva, and Pike Counties, and thanks to Christ Community Church in Enterprise, the College can now add another site to the list.

“This free GED class is so crucial to the Christ Community Church family and what we believe is our mission to the Enterprise community and surrounding area,” Christ Community Church Lead Pastor Joey Turman said. “We are excited for the chance to help people earn their GED and continue their education. We feel that the completion of this program can be life-changing for those who participate. Acquiring a GED places many individuals in a more feasible position for gainful employment, and it opens the prospect for continued education to enhance an individual’s life. It has definitely been proven to open doors for others and be a tremendous blessing to families in the community.”

Not only will instructors provide adult education classes at Christ Community Church, but other services, like childcare, will be provided. The first class was held at the church on Sept. 7, and classes are scheduled to take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the church.

“I am personally thankful for our volunteers who have grasped the vision to make a difference in our community by helping others,” Turman said. “With so much trouble around us today with COVID, shutdowns, and many other tremendous challenges, Christ Community Church desires to be a place where people can find a helping hand and a caring heart.”

In addition to adding a new adult education site, ESCC is partnering with the City of Troy, Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Southeast AlabamaWorks to provide a unique workforce training opportunity for those 18 and older with misdemeanor records.

The Pike County Re-Entry Program (PREP) is a free program developed to “provide an opportunity for employment and the development of workforce skills for those who may have certain barriers ­– such as limited education, job experience or criminal record(s) – to gaining employment and give individuals a chance to build a life here in Pike County,” Cameron Rice, liaison for the City of Troy, said.

“The City of Troy is extremely excited to partner with ESCC and Southeast AlabamaWorks to create more opportunities for the citizens of Troy and Pike County, and we are looking forward to watching this program grow and helping many citizens in our city,” he said.

Participants in PREP will take Alabama Ready to Work (RTW) course offered through ESCC and learn industry-recognized skills like Precision Measurement and Basic Blueprint Reading while using the latest VR equipment, provided to the College by TransfrVR.

“From the governor down, Alabama has been pushing for dynamic programs like this one that allows us to engage more of our unreached workforce since reaching our record-low pre-pandemic unemployment numbers,” Southeast AlabamaWorks Workforce Development Manager Katie Thomas said of the program. “When unemployment compensation claims are less than three percent of the workforce, there is a shift from finding people who need a job to find people who want a job, which results in us shifting our strategies to reach our workforce’s potential.

“With those strategic shifts, our focus is less on finding what jobs are available for our citizens, and more on finding available workers for our business and industry partners,” Thomas said. “As a result of this program, and other re-entry programs across southeast Alabama, we can directly connect business and industry with more qualified talent pools, filled with people who want a second chance to work a full-time job.”

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has identified “Second Chance Employers” in the community. According to Thomas, these employers have jobs available where PREP participants will be able to work with their hands, including in manufacturing, food production and general labor. After completing the six-week course, participants will be able to apply for open positions with these employers. Additionally, those who complete PREP and stay employed for six months will be eligible for an extension on repaying court fees.

To participate in PREP, individuals will need to contact the Pike County Court Referral Office. The first PREP class will be held on Sept. 14.

ESCC’s Director of Adult Education and Workforce Development Leigh Shiver said the College is proud to partner with these community organizations to provide more opportunities for success to those in the community.

“At Enterprise State, we want to help our students find their path forward, whether academically through our adult education classes or in their career with our workforce training opportunities,” Shiver said. “We are our community’s college, and with these new partnerships, we’re able to help more people within our community take those first steps toward their future. Our goal is to develop more partnerships like these in the future.”

Cutline: ESCC’s newest partner, Christ Community Church in Enterprise, will provide a new site for adult education services. Pictured, back row, from left, are ESCC Adult Education Instructor Jonathan Smith, Adult Education Coordinator Steve Graves and Director of Adult Education and Workforce Development Leigh Shiver. Pictured, front row, from left, are Christ Community Church GED Director and Instructor Cecelia Englewood, Lead Pastor Joey Turman, Adult Education Instructor Amanda Martin and student Jon Martin.

ESCC increasing workforce development opportunities

ESCC increasing workforce development opportunities

Enterprise State Community College is partnering with the City of Troy, Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Southeast AlabamaWorks to provide workforce training to those 18 and older with misdemeanor records in Pike County.

The Pike County Re-Entry Program (PREP) is a free program developed to “provide an opportunity for employment and the development of workforce skills for those who may have certain barriers ­­­– such as limited education, job experience or criminal record(s) – to gaining employment and give individuals a chance to build a life here in Pike County,” Cameron Rice, liaison for the City of Troy, said.

“The City of Troy is extremely excited to partner with ESCC and Southeast AlabamaWorks to create more opportunities for the citizens of Troy and Pike County, and we are looking forward to watching this program grow and helping many citizens in our city,” he said.

Participants in PREP will take Alabama Ready to Work (RTW) course offered through ESCC and learn industry-recognized skills like Precision Measurement and Basic Blueprint Reading while using the latest VR equipment, provided to the College by TransfrVR.

“From the governor down, Alabama has been pushing for dynamic programs like this one that allows us to engage more of our unreached workforce since reaching our record-low pre-pandemic unemployment numbers,” Southeast AlabamaWorks Workforce Development Manager Katie Thomas said of the program. “When unemployment compensation claims are less than three percent of the workforce, there is a shift from finding people who need a job to find people who want a job, which results in us shifting our strategies to reach our workforce’s potential.

“With those strategic shifts, our focus is less on finding what jobs are available for our citizens, and more on finding available workers for our business and industry partners,” Thomas said. “As a result of this program, and other re-entry programs across southeast Alabama, we can directly connect business and industry with more qualified talent pools, filled with people who want a second chance to work a full-time job.”

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has identified “Second Chance Employers” in the community. According to Thomas, these employers have jobs available where PREP participants will be able to work with their hands, including in manufacturing, food production and general labor. After completing the six-week course, participants will be able to apply for open positions with these employers. Additionally, those who complete PREP and stay employed for six months will be eligible for an extension on repaying court fees.

To participate in PREP, individuals will need to contact the Pike County Court Referral Office. The first PREP class will be held on Sept. 14.

ESCC’s Director of Adult Education and Workforce Development Leigh Shiver said the College is proud to partner with the City of Troy, Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Southeast AlabamaWorks to provide more opportunities for success to those in the community.

“At Enterprise State, we want to help our students find their path forward, whether academically through our adult education classes or in their career with our workforce training opportunities,” Shiver said. “With this partnership, we’re able to help more people within our community take those first steps toward their future. Our goal is to develop more partnerships like this in the future.”

Cutlines: PREP: ESCC’s new partnership with the City of Troy, Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Southeast AlabamaWorks will provide workforce training to those 18 and older with misdemeanor records.

Instrument donated in memory of longtime ESCC instructor

Instrument donated in memory of longtime ESCC instructor

Enterprise State Community College’s Fine Arts Division is now home to an organ, valued at approximately $60,000, that will be used to increase fine arts offerings and honor a former ESCC instructor.

The new Viscount Prestige I Digital Organ was donated in memory of longtime ESCC – then Enterprise State Junior College – English instructor Rex Everage. Everage retired after 30 years of teaching at the College. He was known as a lover of music and played the organ at the local Episcopal church for many years.

“I realized the importance of great music to Rex when one morning as I parked, Rex, who was never late to class, remained in his car, swaying slightly and nodding his head,” Dr. Becky Armstrong, a former colleague and friend of Everage’s, said. “When I tapped on his car window to remind him that he had only a few minutes before his eight o’clock class, he replied that he would join me after the magnificent Handel Concerto ended; then he smiled happily as he rolled up the window and continued his private concert.”

To honor Everage’s love of music and the organ, the donated instrument will be installed in the College’s Multipurpose Room located in the Lurleen B. Wallace Student Center where many Fine Arts Department performances and events are held.

“I want the Fine Arts Division at ESCC to be a place for students to train and a place for the community to gather for wonderful music,” David Deal, a supporter of the arts who has served on ESCC’s Lyceum Committee and as the vice-president for the Coffee County Arts Alliance, said. Deal donated the instrument in memory of Everage. “Rex loved the organ, and he would want more students learning to play the instrument.”

Using the new organ, the College’s Fine Arts Division has added Private Organ lessons to its curriculum. Three students are currently enrolled in the class.

“Future plans are to add a short-term certificate in church music,” ESCC Fine Arts Division Chair Dr. Ken Thomas said. “Many local churches contact us seeking qualified students to work with their music program. As the community’s college, it is important for us to offer programs that meet the needs of community and industry partners.”

According to Thomas, church organists in Alabama could earn a yearly salary of over $40,000, and the national yearly salary for a church organist is over $52,000.

Scholarships for all fine arts programs are still available. For questions about scholarships or for those interested in learning more about fine arts programs, contact Dr. Ken Thomas at kthomas@escc.edu.

The first public performance with the new organ will be Sunday, Aug. 8, at 3:30 p.m. during the Coffee County Arts Alliance’s “An Afternoon with Art and Music” event, which will be held from 2-4 p.m. in Forrester Hall. The public is invited to attend the event and the performance.

Cutline: David Deal, left, donated a new Viscount Prestige I Digital Organ to the ESCC Fine Arts Division in memory of Rex Everage. The instrument will be used during performances and to increase fine arts music offerings. Pictured, right, is ESCC Fine Arts Division Chair Dr. Ken Thomas.

ESCC/AAC students to receive more stimulus funds

ESCC/AAC students to receive more stimulus funds

Enterprise State Community College and Alabama Aviation College students will soon receive more stimulus funds for attending college classes.

This will be the third disbursement of federal dollars to students enrolled in classes at ESCC. To date, the College has distributed $1.2 million dollars to students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was originally signed into law on March 27, 2020.

In addition to disbursing funds to students, previous disbursements to the College were also used to purchase technology to assist faculty, staff, and students to the total transition to online learning in 2020, such as laptops for the College’s Laptop Loaner Program, as well as safety equipment for both campuses.

“These CARES funds are dollars going back to the colleges to benefit students in different ways,” ESCC President Matt Rodgers said. “These funds are there to personally help students overcome hardships created by the pandemic so they aren’t having to put their education on hold, and they allow us as a college to make our campus an environment for our students to safely learn and train.”

For the 2021-22 academic year, ESCC will receive approximately $2.3 million in CARES Act grant funds. The $2.3 million will be fully distributed to eligible ESCC/AAC students. Students attending classes during the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters who qualify under the federal program are eligible to receive a disbursement.

The final amount to be received by students for the 2021-22 academic year will not be determined until enrollment numbers are finalized each semester. These dollars are intended to help students with technology, course material, health care and childcare costs as well as other essential college needs.

Students are urged to sign up for a direct deposit to receive this payment quicker. Students may receive the funds by mail or through direct deposit. To ensure that funds are correctly distributed, students are asked to log into their MyESCC account and verify that all mailing and banking information is up to date.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to provide additional financial support to students during this difficult time,” Mathis said. “Many of our students and their families have experienced significant financial setbacks as a result of the pandemic. Our hope is that the stimulus grants will enable our students to continue their education at ESCC in the fall.”

Registration for the fall semester is still happening at ESCC and AAC. For individuals interested in attending classes in the fall who have not applied, the College’s free application can be found at escc.edu/apply. To register for the fall semester, students can visit escc.edu/registration and follow the steps to register.

ESCC Fine Arts adding Digital Multimedia program

ESCC Fine Arts adding Digital Multimedia program

Enterprise State Community College will offer a new Digital Multimedia program through the College’s Fine Arts Division starting this Fall 2021 semester.

“This program was actually the brainchild of Dr. Jean Johnson, retired ESCC Fine Arts Division Chair,” current ESCC Fine Arts Division Chair Dr. Ken Thomas said. “Since her retirement, we have been working to get this program up and running.”

This program will help meet the growing need for graphic designers, producers, and other multimedia artists. According to the 2021 Statewide List of In-Demand Occupations, Graphic Designers, Music Directors, AV Equipment Technicians, and Producers and Directors are listed as in-demand careers, with median annual salaries ranging from $33-58,000. Additionally, Graphic Designer is also listed on the Region 6 In-Demand Occupations list.

Thomas said the program would also provide skills training in a field of interest for many in the area.

“After many inquiries from prospective students, Vice President/Dean of Instruction Daniel Long encouraged us to start the program, so we revised the program curriculum and submitted the application for approval,” he said.

Digital Multimedia will be a two-year associate degree program that is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers using multimedia, including graphic design, digital animation, motion graphics, 3D visualization, game, and interactive media design, music and sound design, video production, web design, and photography.

The program will consist of 65 credit hours. Classes in this program will include Two-Dimensional Composition, Digital Photography, Computer Graphics I, and Digital Video Production. Students will also learn to use video and audio recording equipment and software as part of the program.

Practicum Field Experience will be required to graduate from the program. This will be completed through projects completed with various College departments or with outside industry partners if requested.

“The program will certainly add to the Fine Arts technical programs, and we are excited about getting started,” Thomas said.

Scholarships are currently available for this program. Students interested in applying for a fine arts scholarship can contact Dr. Ken Thomas at kthomas@escc.edu.

Cutlines: Art Instructors Lynn Ledbetter, left, and Leslie Gibson will be teaching some of the core classes that will be offered through the Digital Multimedia program.

Fine Arts holding virtual spring showcase

Fine Arts holding virtual spring showcase

Enterprise State Community College’s Fine Arts Spring Concert and Student Art Show will offer a showcase of the arts virtually.

This annual ESCC event is traditionally held on campus in the Fine Arts building for visitors to see student talent and work from the spring semester. This year, the event will be offered virtually as a pre-recorded concert and art show that will be available online starting May 6 at 6 p.m. The event will be featured on ESCC’s Facebook and Youtube pages.

Fine Arts Division Chair Dr. Ken Thomas said the spring showcase is a way to highlight the hard work the students put in for their performances and projects throughout the semester.

“It is important for our students to set and meet their goals,” Thomas said. “Although there have been many challenges this academic year, our students have continued to meet or surpass their individual and collective goals.”

This year, the concert will feature performances by the ESCC Camerata, ESCC Concert Choir, ESCC Entertainers and ESCC Jazz/Show Band, ESCC Percussion Ensemble, and the ESCC Concert Band. Musical pieces performed by these groups will include: “Sing to the Lord,” “O My Love’s Like a Red, Red Rose,” “For the Beauty of the Earth,” “Total Praise,” “Psalm 100,” “Ride On, King Jesus,” “Land of a Thousand Dances,” “Seasons of Love,” “Jump,” “Hot, Hot, Hot,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Tallis’s Canon,” “Non knobs, Domine,” and “Flow, O, My Tears!” Percussion pieces will include: “Taiko A La Tom-Tom” and “Red Rock Canyon.” There will also be piano and vocal solos performed by students and instructors.

In addition to the musical performances, student art will also be featured, with the pieces being recorded as they hang in Forrester Hall prior to the event.

“Our students receive first-class instruction, second to none,” Thomas said about the fine arts educational experience at ESCC. “This is evident through their artwork and performances.

“The students have amazed me with their tenacity. They look forward to the limited time they have been able to come to the campus for instruction and rehearsal. This is a testament to the commitment our instructors have to our students and their artistic abilities. The arts and music will live forever.”

Thomas said those who are interested in completing a fine arts program at the College can still apply for a fine arts scholarship.

Scholarships are available to qualified students through a music and theater audition process and/or an art portfolio review. Interested students can contact Dr. Thomas at kthomas@escc.edu or they can complete the Enterprise State Community College Scholarship Application at escc.edu/scholarships.

Cutlines:

Piano: ESCC Fine Arts student Connor Howell, left, and Instructor Carol Windham perform a piano duet as part of the Spring Concert and Student Art Show.

Percussion Band: ESCC’s Percussion Ensemble will perform pieces such as “Taiko A La Tom-Tom” and “Red Rock Canyon” during the spring concert.

Concert Band: ESCC’s Concert Band will perform such pieces as “Knockout” and “Grooved Pavement Ahead.”

ESCC welcomes Gibbs, Hess as new recruiters

ESCC welcomes Gibbs, Hess as new recruiters

Enterprise State Community College has added two new members to its recruitment team.

Cassie Gibbs will serve the College as the recruiter for the Alabama Aviation College, a unit of Enterprise State. Gibbs has been at the College since August 2019, where she served as the Communication Marketing Specialist in the Public Relations Department. She will bring her knowledge of ESCC and AAC to her new position as well as her skills in communication, marketing and social media management. Previous to her time at the College, she worked as a staff writer for The Southeast Sun/Daleville Sun-Courier.

A native of Sweet Water, Gibbs received both her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in Strategic Communication from Troy University.

“I am very excited to join the recruitment team at ESCC and the Alabama Aviation College,” Gibbs said. “While I’ve been at the College the last year and a half, I have seen firsthand just how much this College has done and can do for its students and community. I am so ready to meet potential students so I can share all the great opportunities available to them and help them take those first steps toward their future.”

Cayden Hess is serving as the newest recruiter for the ESCC campus. Previous to joining the ESCC team, Hess worked as a brand specialist for Crazy Cool & Company and graphic designer for Enterprise Printing and Signs. She is bringing her skills in media management, marketing and event planning to the role.

Hess is a 2019 graduate of ESCC, where she received her associate degree. While attending ESCC, Hess was an active member of the Camerata, Concert Choir and ESCC Entertainers; Phi Theta Kappa; Student Government Association; and the WOW Team. After attending ESCC, Hess received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Troy University. She is currently completing her master’s degree in Strategic Communication from Troy University.

“I am so honored to be back at Enterprise State Community College,” Hess said. “My time here as a student challenged me to dream big and pursue more, so I cannot wait to help students do just that while taking those next steps in furthering their education. I cannot wait to meet you all. Go Weevils!”

Gibbs and Hess are joining current ESCC Recruiter and Career Coach Emily Baker. Both recruiters started their new roles on April 7.

ESCC President Matt Rodgers said both Gibbs and Hess will be great additions to the ESCC recruiting team.

“We here at Enterprise State and the Alabama Aviation College are committed to recruiting students from the schools and communities in the Wiregrass, and I am excited to have Cassie Gibbs and Cayden Hess join our recruitment team,” Rodgers said. “Along with their personal connections to the College, Cassie and Cayden both have a strong desire to provide our students with opportunities to further their education and enter the workforce. They are going to work well with our lead recruiter Emily Baker, and I know we will see amazing things from this group.”

Cutline: Cassie Gibbs, left, and Cayden Hess joined ESCC and AAC as recruiters on April 7.

ESCC to reopen scholarships, increase funding

ESCC to reopen scholarships, increase funding

For a second year, Enterprise State Community College has reopened its scholarship application and increased scholarship funding by $150,000.

ESCC offers a variety of scholarships for academics, technical and career interests, and participation in fine arts, athletics, and leadership activities. The $150,000 increase in funding will affect all areas.

“Over the last two years, we have increased our scholarship offerings here at Enterprise State by $250,000,” ESCC President Matt Rodgers said. “Thanks to enrollment increases, grant opportunities, and being good stewards of our money, we have been very fortunate, so we’re taking that money and investing it back into our students and our community.”

The first round of scholarship recipients – those who applied by the March 1 deadline – were notified of their award on Friday, April 9. If a student previously applied for a scholarship but did not receive one, his or her name will be kept in the applicant pool for consideration after the June 1 deadline.

During the first round, ESCC awarded 73 technical, career, and academic scholarships. Additional scholarships, such as leadership or student organization scholarships, have also been awarded.

The scholarship application reopened on April 12 at escc.edu/scholarships. The new deadline to apply will be June 1. With the reopening of the application, high school valedictorians and salutatorians are encouraged to apply for the Presidential Scholarship, which covers all tuition costs.

“These Presidential Scholarship offers are on the table,” Rodgers said. “We are proud to offer them to our local valedictorians and salutatorians, and we would love to have those students join us in the fall.”

Prior to increasing total scholarship amounts for the first time last year, ESCC previously increased scholarship amounts for athletics and fine arts as part of an initiative to increase participation. These areas will also see an increase this year as part of the $150,000 total increase.

The College offers athletics scholarships for baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s basketball. While the College has continually increased athletic scholarship funding for the past three years, ESCC will offer the maximum amount of scholarships for each sport per NJCAA recommendations for the Fall 2021 semester: 24 baseball and softball scholarships and 15 scholarships for men’s and women’s basketball.

“We want to give our coaches the best resources to develop strong, successful student-athletes,” Rodgers said. “By investing in our students and our athletic facilities, we’re showing our community that we are here to compete at a high level.

“Additionally, our Fine Arts Division does great things for our campus and community,” he said. “Dr. Thomas and our Fine Arts Department staff are second to none, and they do a fantastic job teaching and leading our students, who are great ambassadors of our College not only on campus but across the Wiregrass and nation as well.”

For students who are interested in attending Fall 2021 classes but who have not already applied, applications are being accepted at this time. The College’s free application can be found at escc.edu/apply. Individuals who would like to learn more about the College and its programs or take a tour of campus can visit escc.edu/admissions to reach out to a recruiter or take the College’s virtual tour.

In addition to the scholarship application, students who plan to attend ESCC/AAC during the fall semester are encouraged to complete the 2021-22 FAFSA at studentaid.gov and use school code 001015 for ESCC/AAC. For more information about the FAFSA and ESCC financial aid, visit escc.edu/financialaid.

For individuals interested in getting a head start on their degree or training, summer classes are an option at ESCC. Open registration for Summer 2021 will begin Thursday, April 15. Students are encouraged to speak with their adviser before registering for summer classes through their myESCC account. Once summer registration begins, summer pell grants will start being processed. For transient students who wish to take summer courses, visit escc.edu/admissions to begin the enrollment process.

“While the pandemic has been difficult, we are coming out of this time even better than ever,” Rodgers said. “We have kept up our momentum with facilities upgrades, the additions, and new programs and, now, offering our students additional opportunities for scholarships for school. We want to help anyone who wants to go to college for a degree or training to have that opportunity.

“Exciting things are happening here at Enterprise State,” he said. “We would love to have you take part and join us.”

Cutline: New Brockton: Members of the Enterprise State Community College team presented New Brockton High School’s Valedictorian Haley Jones and Salutatorian Jordan Boland with Presidential Scholarships. Pictured, from the left, are Director of Financial Aid Dr. Kevin Ammons, Vice President/Dean of Instruction Danny Long, Jones, Boland, Recruiter Emily Baker, and President Matt Rodgers.

ESCC plans for in-person graduation services

ESCC plans for in-person graduation services

Enterprise State Community College will hold a socially distanced, in-person graduation service on Thursday, May 13, from 6-7 p.m.

This year’s ceremony will be held “Under the Oaks” on the main quad in front of the Wallace Administration Building. Safety protocols will be in place during the event, according to ESCC President Matt Rodgers, including a mask requirement. All faculty, staff and graduates will receive a mask with the College seal for the ceremony.

“We missed honoring our graduates in person last year, but thanks to the work of a great team of people, I believe we have developed a plan that will allow us to gather together safely to celebrate this milestone for the members of the class of 2020 and 2021,” Rodgers said. “However, while I look forward to celebrating in person, we will remain flexible and adjust our plans based on changing virus conditions or changes in public health guidelines. The College is prepared to shift our plans should circumstances surrounding the pandemic change or worsen. We will provide everyone with updates as needed leading up to commencement.”

The College is renting a stage, two screens, a sound system and 850 chairs. The chairs will seat up to 80 faculty/staff members, 108 graduates and 662 visitors, with 24 chairs being reserved for handicapped individuals.

The chairs will be placed six feet apart to maintain social distancing. Graduates, faculty and staff will be located closer to the stage with visitor seating located behind the graduates. The two screens will allow audience members to view the stage from a distance.

“Commencement is a pivotal occasion for our students, their loved ones and our community,” Public Relation and Marketing Director Stephen Schmidt said. “The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority, and we will continue to work in partnership with health officials to make safe choices to celebrate our students’ collegiate accomplishments.”

According to Schmidt, the decision to move forward with in-person commencement ceremonies was made possible by having the event outside and following social distancing guidelines.

“As our safety team and committee began discussing the event, we looked at possible sites on and off-campus,” he said. “Knowing the desire to have graduation on our campus, our facilities director, Michael Helms, took the time to measure the front quad to determine if it was the best location. We are pleased to report that the area was suitable for the ceremony and able to offer social distancing.”

Additionally, the College will rent equipment to livestream the event for those community members who wish to view the ceremony from home. The livestream will be found on the Enterprise State Community College Facebook page.

A professional photographer will take pictures of graduates on stage after they receive their diplomas. The College will not host a reception following the event, but graduates and visitors are encouraged to take pictures with William “Bo” Weevil, located at the front of the campus, after the ceremony.

During the ceremony, both Spring 2021 graduates from ESCC and the Alabama Aviation College, a unit of Enterprise State, and Spring 2020 graduates – recognized during last year’s virtual graduation ceremonies – will be recognized. Last year’s graduates were invited by Rodgers to attend the next in-person graduation ceremony held at the College and be recognized first in the ceremony as honored guests.

ESCC will also host GED Graduation “Under the Oaks” on Wednesday, May 12, from 6-7 p.m. Last year’s GED graduates are also invited to attend this year’s event.

This event will follow the same safety protocols and feature the same socially distanced layout as the College’s graduation event. Similarly, a livestream of the GED graduation will be available on the Enterprise State Community College Facebook page.

A photographer will take photos of the graduates on stage after they receive their GED, and all graduates and visitors are encouraged to take pictures with William “Bo” Weevil after the ceremony. There will be no reception following the event.

“Graduation is a special time for us to recognize our students’ achievements,” Rodgers said. “We are very much excited to hold this important event for our students and their families on our campus once again.

“Congratulations to all those being recognized. You have worked hard to get where you are today, and all of us here at Enterprise State and the Alabama Aviation College is proud to join you in celebrating your many accomplishments.”

Cutline: During one of the last graduation ceremonies held “Under the Oaks,” 2016-17 SGA president Katie Sullivan (at podium) spoke during the 2017 ESCC graduation ceremony held in front of the Wallace Administration Building. During this year’s graduation, safety protocols will be in place for event-goers and graduates, including masks and social distancing. The event will also be available to watch live on the ESCC Facebook page.

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