It’s hot, it’s dirty, and it’s a hard job. But welding is something he’s always wanted to do.
“I like working with my hands, and I’m really good at it,” said Raymond “Ray” Pierce, a welding student at Patrick Henry Community College. “I grew up around it a little bit. One of my parents did it in the Air Force and after that, at the shipyards.”
Pierce is a second-year student at PHCC who started his studies through the Great Expectations (GE) program. He said he was “ready to go” when he started planning to attend PHCC.
The GE program serves foster care and former foster care youth, ages 17-24. Students are provided assistance in career assessment, goal setting, education and training, as well as life skills, preparation for employment, mentoring and case management.
Christy Yaple, director GE, said she met Pierce with a group of students while he was attending Franklin County High School.
“We provide a lot of assistance to our students in Great Expectations by helping them transition from high school to college,” she said. “Once they get acclimated, we still keep up with them and track their progress.”
Yaple said one of the easiest ways to do this is by matching up students with a mentor at PHCC. This is how Pierce met Randy Smith, an associate welding instructor.
“Through our mentoring program, Randy and Ray established a relationship that goes beyond the classroom,” Yaple said. “We are very appreciative of faculty and staff who agree to be mentors for our students. Both Randy and Dwight Bower (welding instructor) have been influential in many of their lives.”
Smith said he and Pierce have a lot in common which allows them to get along so well.
“We both love to weld and we both love to work out, but I’m more than happy to work with anyone coming in here and pushing through some of the harder stuff we have in class,” Smith said. “He started out with basic welding and excelled in it immediately – he catches on quick. He’s passed three certifications now and working on number four. These are national certifications he can take with him wherever he goes.”
Yaple said she’s happy about Pierce finding something he enjoys that has great potential for the future.
“I think success is all about finding something you’re passionate about,” she said. “Many students coming through Great Expectations face numerous barriers outside of the classroom. I think the mentoring piece that we provide really is key to their success. Randy has been a key component, as well as Christy Spencer, his long-time campus coach. We’re so proud of him and all of our students who are able to move onto employment, gain independent living and be self-sufficient.”
Smith added that Pierce knows what he has to do in order to achieve his goals.
“Ray understands that with more education, more opportunities come to you in the future,” Smith said. “I know that down the road, he has real opportunities. But the ultimate goal in the end is to get a job, make a comfortable living and have fun welding.”
Being a successful student isn’t something that’s easily attainable for many people. Pierce offered some advice for students who may still be in the process of finding their niche.
“I would tell them to keep trying and work hard at it,” he said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs, but it’s important to get in with the right people. Don’t get in with the wrong crowd. There’s always a few people who don’t care and like to play around. It makes a big difference.”
Pierce said after he receives his certificate in industrial welding, he plans to study for an applied science degree in general engineering. Smith said Pierce will have a lot of options once he finishes his education, but Pierce said all he wants is stable employment with a good company.
“I just want to have a good job,” he said. “And, I want to buy a Camaro.”
You’re invited to attend the second annual African American Youth Conference at Danville Community College on Saturday, Oct. 25.
The conference is sponsored by the Regional Alliance for Excellence, which includes PHCC, Danville Community College, Central Virginia Community College and Virginia Western Community College. This year’s theme is “Turn Up! – An Empire State of Mind.”
The program includes keynote speaker Warrick Scott, grandson of Wendell Scott, who serves as the executive director of the Wendell Scott Foundation. Wendell Scott was a stock car driver from Danville. He was the only African American to win a race at what is now the Sprint Cup Series.
The conference also includes speaker Rev. Derrick Parson, director of Ministries with Young People at Virginia United Methodist Church, and sessions in relationships, self-esteem, finance, health issues and a panel discussion.
The program will be held in Temple Building, Oliver Hall at Danville Community College, 1008 S. Main St., on Oct. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free and lunch will be served to participants.
For additional information or to pre-register, contact Jean Wilson at (276) 656-0219, Sandy Saunders at (434) 797-8333 or Ronnie Pannell at (434) 797-8539. Registration is due by Friday, Oct. 17.
Audience members will enjoy an evening meal, laugh at Mr. Boddy’s ad-libs and follow the clues to solve the mystery in “Clue: The Musical,” an upcoming dinner theatre production from the Patrick Henry Community College Patriot Players.
“We have some tremendous characters – because they really are characters – and they’re very well-developed,” said Dr. J. David Martin, playing the role of Mr. Boddy. “On opening night, I want to see a lot of people having fun and just having the anticipation that something exciting will happen.”
Martin said three members of the audience will choose from six suspects, six rooms and six murder weapons, so potentially, the show could have 216 different endings.
“We’re going to ask the audience to play the game,” Martin said. “The numbers of possibilities make this show really exciting because we actors will have to change and move quickly based on what the audience decides.”
Director Devin Pendleton said guests can expect to come to an intimate evening dinner to enjoy a different type of Patriot Players show.
“It’s a very interactive show in that we incorporate the audience a lot,” he said. “And we’ve also designed an interactive lighting scheme that is unique to each character. If you have a suspect onstage talking about a clue, the entire room will illuminate in their corresponding color. It provides a surrounding visual to further immerse the audience.”
Pendleton said guests are in for a special treat with Martin as Mr. Boddy and the experience of how he interacts with the cast and crowd.
“David (Martin) is absolutely hilarious,” Pendleton said. “His candor and ad libs will really sell the show. He has a timely spontaneity with people, and you’ll never hear the same thing twice. Even the cast is having a hard time in rehearsals because his comedy takes you by surprise.”
“Clue” is the first dinner theatre production for the Patriot Players, which brings a new set of challenges for the performing arts group, according to Jane Leizer, the program director.
“The music is so different because the harmonies are not what you would expect, and they’re clashing somewhat – it’s been challenging for the cast,” she said. “We also have a host of different instruments like an organ, a huge bass, cello and drum, which are different for us. They provide a unique and spooky sound.”
Leizer said by the time the evening is over, the “audience will feel like they’ve enjoyed an orchestra performance with dinner, seen a spectacular musical and been involved in a game show. It’s definitely a multifaceted evening of entertainment.”
The cast includes Martin as Mr. Boddy; Leah Hylton as Mrs. Peacock; Kendall Ledyard as Professor Plum; Demi Richardson as Miss Scarlet; Kayla Moore as Colonel Mustard; Pam Wall as Mrs. White; Robbie Hendrix as Mr. Green and Brandi Collins-Burnette as Detective.
Spencer-Penn Centre, located at 475 Spencer Road in Spencer, Va., will host the event on Oct. 3-5. Friday and Saturday’s performances will include an Italian dinner starting at 6 p.m. with the show following at 7 p.m. Sunday’s performance at 2 p.m. will include dessert and coffee.
Tickets are $30 and $15 for Sunday’s performance. An accurate count is needed for food preparation, so tickets will only be available until Oct. 2. They will not be sold at the door.
For additional information, visit www.patrickhenry.edu/patriotplayers or call (276) 638-8777.
You’re invited to a free, give-what-you-can fundraising show at Patrick Henry Community College that presents traditional, contemporary and modern gospel performed within musical theatre.
“Growing Up Gospel: Music Revue” will open on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. with an additional performance on Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. in Walker Fine Arts Theatre on PHCC’s campus. Director Devin Pendleton said it’s a “very musical theatre-style revue” with all the gospel songs the community has grown up singing in church.
“Church choirs may not feel they have a place in musical theatre – they may think they can’t perform on stage,” Pendleton said. “This revue lets them connect to the community on another level. Gospel music is powerful. It can impact you emotionally, mentally and spiritually.”
Some of the numbers performed in the revue include “Battlefield,” “For Every Mountain,” “Now Behold the Lamb,” and “Shackles.”
“This is a way for me to show my support for community theatre,” said Pamela Wall, a performer in “Growing Up Gospel.” “I do a lot of plays, and not a lot of musicals, so this is a chance for me to use my voice. These songs weren’t that familiar to me; it’s not what I grew up singing. It’s been an awesome experience to learn all the new music.”
Performer Heather Minter said, “I just enjoy Jesus. How could I not be part of a show about Jesus? Being in this has been a lot of fun, and it’s just uplifting to come in from work and sing and dance to music about Jesus. I feel so uplifted going home after rehearsal.”
For one cast member, participating in this show has been a healing process. Michelle Johnson-Epps is singing in her first musical since battling breast cancer.
“I recently finished with chemo, and I have my good days and bad days,” she said, “but this is the best way to start feeling better. I took a chance knowing my immune system was still weak, but I’m feel very blessed to have gotten through everything. Healing is a process.”
Patriot Players Director Jane Leizer said with everything PHCC has been through in the past several weeks, this show serves as a chance to reflect and move forward.
“We’ve been through changes, reconstruction and the loss of our coworkers,” she said. “This show is all about tolerance, love and acceptance of who we are. We have an amazing group of people in this show, and we’re so excited to bring it to the community.”
The suggested donation for the show is $5, but Pendleton said audience members are welcome to give what they can.
“Making theatre affordable is a main goal of the Patriot Players,” Pendleton said. “It takes out the excuse of ‘I can’t go because it’s too expensive.’ This is a great opportunity for everyone to see the talent we have in our community.”
The cast includes Wall, Minter, Johnson-Epps, Erica Becker, Valeria Edwards, Kimberly Hairston, Robbie Hendrix, Brandon Martin, Christy Pulliam, Demi Richardson, Charlotte Spencer and Lori Lowe, who is an adult career coach at PHCC.
To find out more, visit http://www.patrickhenry.edu/patriotplayers or call (276) 638-8777 ext. 0460.
The PHCC Patriot Players are back for Season 2!
Auditions for CLUE THE MUSICAL & 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE THE MUSICAL will be held on August 25 & 27, 2014 from 6pm-8pm & August 30, 2014 from 11am-1pm in the Walker Fine Arts/Student Center theatre at Patrick Henry Community College.
Q: What do I need to audition?
A: To audition, participants should bring 16 bars of music (roughly one verse and one course). An accompanist will be provided, or singing a cappella is permitted. If a track from a CD or MP3 player is used, please use a track without pre-recorded vocals. Actors must be at least 13 years old to audition. Everyone is welcome.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an audition time OR just stop by the theatre. Walk-ins are welcome and will be seen around with those who have scheduled appointments. For additional information, visit http://www.patrickhenry.edu/patriotplayers or call (276) 638-8777 ext. 0460. Must be at least 13yrs+ to audition.
Q: Can I audition for both?
A: Yes! You may choose to audition for one or both musicals. Each production holds a six (6) week rehearsal timeline leading to the first performance.
Q: Do I have to be enrolled in the class or as a PHCC student to participate?
A: No. While our goal is to offer collegiate level educational opportunities and elective credits, we also serve as an outlet for the community. We exist to offer local students and community members the opportunity to broaden their artistic talent, and engage in a structured performing arts environment.
“Remember: At PHCC everyone is either a STUDENT or a POTENTIAL STUDENT, so we would love to have you consider being part of this collegiate performing arts program!” – Dr. Angeline Godwin (PHCC President)
Q: How can I participate AND receive collegiate credit toward my Fall 2014 semester?
A: It’s EASY! Contact your advisor and he/she will assist you in adding a PHCC Patriot Players course (CST-136) to your schedule.
Have additional questions? Contact (276) 638-8777 and a member of the PHCC staff will be happy to assist you.
Below are a few links that will help get you started.
Apply to PHCC
We look forward to another successful year of entertainment combined with education! PHCC supports all performing arts in its service region and looks to add value to existing programs and efforts.
The “Farm to Fork” cooking event will be Monday, Aug. 11 with sampling starting at 5 p.m. Bob “Chef Bob” Koester, a culinary arts instructor at PHCC, will highlight vegetables grown by local farmers in the demonstration.
He said, “This is a great event for us to bring visibility to uptown Martinsville for the culinary department and the farmers market, and to showcase what this area has to offer the community at night.”
Pat Folio, manager of the Uptown Martinsville Farmers’ Market, said she’s hoping the “farm to fork” concept will catch on more throughout the area.
“We have a few local restaurants like Mtn’ Jax that are taking advantage of the farmers market, but we hope more will get on board,” she said. “Everything that’s available in our farmers market is grown on our soil in the area. You can talk to the farmer who grew it, the person who baked the goods, or the person who crafted what you’re buying. It’s cheaper, more sustainable, and a great way to support your local businesses is by supporting the farmers market.”
The Uptown Martinsville Farmers’ Market is open on Mondays from 4-7 p.m., Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to noon and on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon until the end of September. Starting in October, the market will be open only on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon, and it will close for winter at the end of October.
“We are so excited that Chef Bob is doing this with his students,” Folio said. “There’s a lot of room for growth, so we’re hoping this is something we can do annually.”
To get the latest updates, visit the farmers market on Facebook by searching “Farmers Market-Uptown Martinsville.”