More students, more opportunities for STEM event

More students, more opportunities for STEM event

STEMania was back and bigger than ever this year at Weatherford College Wise County Thursday.

The second annual education event – where elementary students learn how science, technology, engineering and math intersect with everyday life – drew more than 800 fourth graders from Wise and Jack County schools.

Cheers and Moos

CHEERS AND MOOS – More than 800 fourth graders from Jack and Wise counties attended Weatherford College Wise County’s second annual STEMania event Thursday. This cow was used by WCWC students to teach the fourth graders how cows produce milk. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

This was an increase over last year’s event, which drew around 600 students from only Wise County.

The increase in attendees was no accident, according to Mike Endy, dean of academics.

“It’s not just about STEM,” he said. “It’s about exposing these kids to a college environment at a young age. They may be fourth graders right now, but they’re going to grow up and become college students, if they choose to do that, and we want to provide them options.”

More than 50 stations were spread out around the campus, where students could go to learn about everything from how electricity is made to how to harvest banana DNA. Some stations, like English professor Dr. Erin Sagerson’s “Frankenstein” exhibit, used humanities as a way to teach the students about science.

Crashing Brains

CRASHING BRAINS – Wise and Jack County fourth graders look on as nursing students from Weatherford College Wise County demonstrate the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, using fake brains as props. “I’ve seen some real bad accidents that were preventable if the person had just worn a helmet, so hopefully the kids learned something today,” WCWC nursing student John Riggs said. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Sagerson, calling herself “Dr. Sagerstein,” explained Mary Shelley’s tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster to a rapt audience before showing the fourth graders a skeleton they could take apart and put back together.

“We were trying to come up with ways to show that there’s always overlap between STEM subjects and other subjects,” she said. “The first story we could think of was ‘Frankenstein.’ It’s a nice tie-in for the kids for Halloween, too.”

Many of the stations, including demonstrations on smoking, bicycle safety and chemistry, were staffed by WCWC’s own nursing students.

Penelope Lawyer, a third-semester nursing student who was working at the smoking health station, said she enjoyed the opportunity to positively impact the youngsters.

Just Say No

JUST SAY NO – Students line up to listen to the difference between healthy lungs and smokers’ lungs during the STEMania event at WCWC Thursday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It’s important to get them to realize they need to not smoke – I smoked for 25 years and finally stopped right before I started this nursing program, so hopefully we can get them early,” she said.

To make their point, the nurses had the students listen to the breathing patterns of healthy lungs and then had them listen to recordings of what a smoker’s lungs sound like.

“Listening to the lungs was really cool,” said Paradise Elementary student Hugo Huerta. “It made me not want to smoke.”

Many of the students said they want to pursue careers in STEM-related fields when they grow up.

“I think I would like to do something in electricity, and make brighter lightbulbs,” Carson Elementary’s Wade Bates said.

Jayton Watson, also a student at Carson, said the cattle roping station in the parking lot inspired her to want to go into agriculture when she gets older.

“I think I might want to become a roping teacher,” she said. “It was fun being outdoors for that part of the day.”

If those students choose to pursue those dreams, Endy said the college is ready for them.

“These 800 kids will be the most people in this building at one point all year,” he said. “We built this new building as much for them, 10 years from now, as we did for ourselves. Hopefully everyone here realizes that hosting this event isn’t a waste of time, but it’s an investment in the future of the kids as much as it is for the college.”

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New program sparks learning

Starting Oct. 15, Weatherford College students will be able to learn a new trade at the college’s Wise County campus.

That’s when the new welding program kicks off.

Fired Up

FIRED UP – Terry Pilgrim of Weatherford College Wise County demonstrates some of the equipment that students will be using in the upcoming sections of the welding class that the college is offering. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Basic welding, metallic arc welding, welding layout, intermediate arc welding, introduction to welding multi processes, advanced arc welding and pipe welding are the seven classes offered through the program.

If a student completes all the classes (a total of 336 hours of coursework), they will receive a basic welding technology certificate.

“We needed another facility. That’s why we’re there,” welding instructor Jeff Langston said. “We also saw there was a need for us to come in and do exactly just that.”

Langston is a welder with Crisp Industries Inc. in Bridgeport.

The program, made possible through grants from the Texas Public Education Grant and the Workforce Investment Act, is being touted as a way to prepare workers for an expanding employment landscape. According to a statement released by WC in July, more than half a million welding-related jobs have opened up since 2008, and jobs will continue to become available over the next four years.

“The U.S. Department of Labor has projected openings for 617,900 workers across America in jobs that require welding between 2008 and 2018, and prospects are good for welders trained in the latest technologies like those now offered by WC,” the statement said.

“We’re working to acquire a way to certify these welders under the American Welding Society, so that will be a nationally recognized certification,” said Terry Pilgrim, a WC workforce and continuing education coordinator. He said another option students could pursue independently is a Canadian certificate.

“I understand there’s a lot of welders going up to Canada right now.”

As for the nuts and bolts of the class, Pilgrim said everyone will start with Intro to Welding, move on to basic shielded metallic arc welding, and then move from there. The further along the students get in the coursework, the more actual welding they will do.

Langston said the first thing every student will learn is safety.

“There’s really not a lot of actual welding in the intro class, but there is a lot of identification of weld quality,” Langston said. “We want to train our people what a good weld looks like.”

The welding layout class “should be 20 to 30 percent class work, just studying blueprints and symbols,” Langston said.

By the time students get to the pipe welding class, they will know how to safely identify welding tools, perform bead and fillet welds, create welding layouts, perform stringer bead and cap welds, art gouging, flux-cored arc welding and pipe fitting.

“It’s the hardest weld test out there,” Langston said of the 6G weld test used to identify pipe welds.

The class will be offered two nights a week, three hours a night, for eight weeks. Students are only allowed to miss three nights if they want to get certified. The $3,780 cost is approved for WIA/Workforce funding.

Pilgrim said he hopes there will be enough interest in the welding program to start a full-time welding school to make it faster to get certified.

“Maybe somewhere down the road we can have a welding academy or welding school, where they can come in and do this in three months instead of taking one class a week. It’s a long process,” Pilgrim said. “But if we can plug in something that they can benefit from – even if it may take a while – that’s alright.”

He added that the welding program is just one among many that the college is looking to implement in the future.

“If we’re not improving ourselves, then we’re getting stagnant, and I’m too old to get stagnant.”

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Weatherford College enrollment outpaces other community colleges

Like most Texas community colleges, Weatherford College saw a decrease in enrollment for the fall 2014 semester.

The good news is that among its peer group – other Texas colleges with similar enrollment numbers – WC performed very well.

Normally, as unemployment drops, so does community college enrollment. A stronger economy means fewer people going back to school for training in a new field.

But with 5,636 students, Weatherford College is down less than one percent in student headcount compared with last fall. Over the past two years, WC still holds a 1.3 percent increase while statewide enrollment is down 3.2 percent over the same period.

College President Dr. Kevin Eaton told the board Thursday that he is encouraged by WC’s enrollment data when compared with the rest of the state.

The WC Wise County campus has a 1.75 percent increase in its student population year-to-year, and dual-credit and online courses continue to increase in popularity across the entire five-county area served by WC.

In a strategic plan update report later in the meeting, Dr. Arleen Atkins, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, further discussed the increasing popularity of dual credit courses, where students earn high school and college credit at the same time.

WC now has agreements with all the high schools in its service area to offer courses to their students.

In other business, the board approved:

  • Bids for color and web printing;
  • The purchase of JET grant welding equipment and ultrasound equipment for sonography;
  • A renewal of proposals for commercial charter bus services;
  • The purchase of radiology equipment;
  • Updates to policies incorporating a ban on all electronic cigarettes and electronic vapor devices.

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Agenda Briefs for Saturday, October 4, 2014

BRIDGEPORT COUNCIL TO MEET – The Bridgeport City Council will discuss community center rental fees, Halloween road closures, radio-powered utilities measurements and natural gas and water line contracts at its meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 900 Thompson Street. The meeting is open to the public.

SCHOOL BOARD TRAINING SET – The Bridgeport school board will conduct its “Team of 8″ training and consider and take action on certified personnel at its meeting Monday night at 7 p.m. at 2107 15th Street.

CHICO COUNCIL MEETS TUESDAY – The Chico City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at City Hall. Agenda items include the Chicofest 5K route, Chicofest street closures, a lease/purchase of a backhoe, a purchase of a vehicle, a contract with the Wise County Appraisal District, various interlocal agreements with Wise County, a zoning change at 305 E. Kentucky and regular monthly reports.

P&Z COMMISSION TO MEET – Decatur’s Planning and Zoning Commission will meet 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in the council chamber at City Hall. Replat applications from Brenda Scott, as well as feedback from the city council regarding variance requests to the city’s sidewalk, curb and gutter ordinances, and the handling of escrowed funds for those items, are among the items to be considered.

WEATHERFORD COLLEGE BOARD TO MEET – The trustees of Weatherford College, which operates a campus in Wise County, will meet 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, on the college’s main campus in Weatherford. Among the agenda items are reports on construction, enrollment and finances, contracts for printing, welding supplies, sonography and radiology equipment, policies and the annual evaluation of the college president, Dr. Kevin Eaton. The meeting is open to the public.

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15 Wise residents earn degrees from Weatherford College

August graduation from Weatherford College included 15 students from Wise County – two of them earning double recognition.

Seven Decatur students, three from Paradise, two each from Boyd and Runaway Bay and one student from Chico finished up their WC careers this summer.

They were:

Boyd: Jackie Delaine Lodes, associate of arts in general studies; Desirea Rachelle Nelson, associate of arts and associate of science, both in general studies.

Chico: Shanita Nichelle Weatherly, associate of arts in general studies.

Decatur: Omar Raven Baltierra, associate of arts in general studies; Crystal Bialas, associate of arts in general studies; Ruby G. Rivera, vocational nursing certificate; Amber Renese Rodriguez, AAS in respiratory care; Brenda G. Pacheco, associate of arts in general studies; Chaneylee Margaret Gentry, associate of arts in general studies; Nancy Zamora, vocational nursing certificate.

Paradise: Lisa Brown, AAS in accounting and the accounting clerk certificate; Kristina A. Kemp, associate of arts in general studies; Mercedes Katherine Smith, associate of arts in general studies.

Runaway Bay: April Michelle Plyler, associate of arts in general studies; and Samantha Kaye Underwood, associate of arts in general studies.

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Weatherford College approves 2014-15 budget, tax rate

The Weatherford College Board of Trustees approved the 2014-15 budget and tax rate during a called board meeting Thursday afternoon.

“The board’s action today demonstrates their continued support of both the employees of Weatherford College and the taxpayers of Parker County,” said WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton. “Despite having one of the lowest tax rates in the state, Weatherford College has consistently outperformed its peers. As I have said many times before, it is an honor to work with the best college employees in the state.”

At $54.7 million, the budget is balanced and was presented to the board with no changes from their last meeting. The budget includes a 3.75 percent pay increase for full-time college employees and a $25 per credit hour increase for adjunct instructors.

The tax rate will remain unchanged at 11.464 cents per $100 valuation. This rate includes 10.741 cents for maintenance and operations expenses and 0.723 cents for debt services.

Two public hearings were held on a tax revenue increase since, due to an increase in property values, Weatherford College will receive about $400,000 more in revenue in the coming fiscal year compared to 2013-14. No one spoke during either public hearing.

While the board unanimously approved the budget, the tax rate passed 5-1 with Joel Watson opposing. Board member Dr. Trev Dixon was not present.

In other business the board approved:

  • TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) policy service update No. 29;
  • increasing the number of credit hours in the phlebotomy curriculum from 10 to 16 in order for students to receive a WECM (Workforce Education Course Manual) certificate and become eligible for federal financial aid; and
  • insurance and incidental fees for the computed tomography practicum course.

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More tax dollars headed to college

Weatherford College Wise County will receive more local tax dollars in 2014-15.

Wise County commissioners proposed Tuesday to keep the branch campus maintenance tax at the current rate of 4.618 cents per $100 valuation, which will generate approximately $170,600 more than last year.

The move came at the request of campus officials, Dean Duane Durrett and Associate Dean Matt Joiner, who had both addressed commissioners over the last two weeks.

“Today I’d like to recommend on behalf of [college president] Dr. (Kevin) Eaton and the board of trustees leaving the tax rate at its current rate,” Joiner told commissioners in a budget workshop Tuesday morning.

The increase in funds will help cover a proposed $6.2 million budget that’s up slightly from last year.

Joiner said it’s a 5.32 percent increase, primarily due to a 20-plus percent increase in benefits and a 3.75 percent raise for all full-time employees. He said part-time instructors will also see a 4.2 percent increase in pay.

Another increase to the budget was a new position – workforce and economic development coordinator, who plans continuing education programs such as Spanish, photography and computer classes.

“Otherwise budgets by and large were very flat or decreased,” he said.

Joiner also noted the change in the calculation of the indirect costs, which comes in at $849,176. That resulted in a $43,656 savings for the county.

Indirect costs are based on actual institutional support and administrative costs provided by Weatherford College to the Wise County campus. The number includes 39 categories such as human resources, communications and public relations, admissions, financial aid and the learning resource center.

County Judge Glenn Hughes thanked Joiner and Durrett during the workshop this week for their conscientious efforts.

“I feel like your interests are with Wise County and with the college,” he said. “I’ve been surprised and pleased with the way you’ve tried to work with Wise County on this. I really appreciate the way that y’all have done.”

The Weatherford College board is expected to adopt the budget Thursday, Aug. 28.

Commissioners will hold public hearings on the branch campus maintenance tax rate 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, and 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, in the third-floor conference room of the courthouse in Decatur.

They are expected to adopt a tax rate for the college at a special meeting 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 8.

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Weatherford College Wise County Dean asks county to accept proposed budget

Duane Durrett, Dean of Weatherford College Wise County (WCWC) asked commissioners Monday to accept the college’s proposed $6.2 million budget, a slight increase over last year.

Perhaps most notable about this year’s budget is the change in the calculation of the indirect costs, which comes in at $849,176. The change in calculation has resulted in a $43,656 savings for the county.

Indirect costs are based on actual institutional support and administrative costs provided by Weatherford College to the Wise County campus. The number includes 39 categories such as human resources, communications and public relations, admissions, financial aid and the learning resource center, just to name a few.

Indirect costs were previously figured according to a formula based on the number of student contact hours and the budget of the main campus. This year, it was computed by multiplying WCWC’s budgeted expenditures from last year by 15.82 percent, which represents the actual institutional support/administrative costs reported to the state during the previous fiscal year.

“They did reduce campus security, technology and learning resource center expenses,” said county Auditor Ann McCuiston. “They’ve been working with us trying to get better numbers. Our suggestion is to go ahead with this, and we’ll have discussions and see what we can do in this next year.”

This is also the first year the college’s indirect costs have been itemized, giving county officials more accurate information as to how these funds are used.

Durrett asked commissioners to consider approving the current rate for the branch campus maintenance tax – 4.6 cents. The effective rate, 4.4 cents, would raise the same amount of tax dollars as last year, applied to this year’s property values.

Commissioners took no action on Durrett’s requests and did not discuss the budget. Those talks will occur in workshops planned for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, and Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the Wise County Sheriff’s Office training room, 200 Rook Ramsey Dr., in Decatur.

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More money, fewer meetings; Weatherford College board keeps tax rate flat, cuts meeting dates in half

The Weatherford College board of trustees Monday approved a proposal to keep its property tax rate at 11.464 cents in Parker County.

With an increase in property values, that rate will bring in about $400,000 more in tax revenue than it did last year.

The rate includes 10.741 cents for maintenance and operation expenses and 0.723 cents for debt services.

Because of the increase in revenue, two public hearings will be required. Those will be held Aug. 19 and Aug. 22, and the board is expected to take a final vote on the budget and tax rate at a noon meeting Thursday, Aug. 28.

The new $54.7 million budget goes into effect Sept. 1.

“At 11.464 cents, our tax rate is a full nickel below the state average for community college districts,” said Dr. Kevin Eaton, WC President. “We have one of the lowest tax rates in the state of Texas as it is.”

Trustees Frank Martin, Don Allen, Dr. Luke Haynes and Mac Smith voted for the proposed rate. Joel Watson voted against it, and Dr. Trev Dixon and Betty Jo Graber were absent.

The public can view a detailed proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year online at www.wc.edu/wc-budget.

In other business, the board voted to cut back from 12 to six regular meetings a year in the new fiscal year. They will meet in even-numbered months with the option of called meetings when needed. Regular meetings will be Oct. 9, Dec. 11, Feb. 12, April 9, June 11 and Aug. 13.

The board also:

  • Listened to an update on the remodel of the old Allied Health Building and the Business Building. Both projects are nearing completion.
  • Approved bids for food services products and supplies for 2014-15; and
  • Authorized an interlocal cooperative contract with Education Service Center Region 20 for participation in the PACE Cooperative Purchasing Program.

In his president’s report, Eaton:

  • Gave an enrollment update noting that total enrollment for the two 2014 summer sessions was 2,878 students – down slightly from 2013. Early indications for this fall indicate similar numbers after the record-setting fall of 2013, which totaled 5,717 students at all of WC’s sites.
  • Recognized volunteers and participants for the Peach Pedal Bike Ride in July, which added about $40,000 to WC’s scholarship funds.
  • Recognized Kay Young, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development, and the Workforce and Continuing Education staff for receiving another Texas Workforce Commission Jobs and Education for Texas (JET) Grant. The $336,090 grant will be used to purchase equipment for the WC welding program. With this grant, the department is closing in on $900,000 in JET Grant funding over the past four years.
  • Presented the annual report on GED testing.

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Weatherford College board to meet Monday

The Weatherford College board of trustees will propose a tax rate of just under 11.5 cents in Parker County to support next year’s operations when they meet at noon Monday, Aug. 11, on the Weatherford campus.

For the current fiscal year, Wise County taxpayers paid a 4.6-cent branch campus maintenance tax, raising more than $3.5 million of the budget for the Wise County campus, which totaled just under $6 million.

WC trustees will also consider proposals on food service and supplies, an interlocal agreement with Education Service Center Region 20 for participation in a cooperative purchasing program, and hear reports on construction, enrollment, finances and investments. In addition, they are expected to set dates for meetings Aug. 19, 22 and 28 for required public hearings and adoption of the 2014-15 budget and tax rate.

The board’s meetings are open to the public.

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Wise lands more than 50 on Weatherford College dean’s list

A host of Wise County students were among the 400-plus named to the Weatherford College Dean’s List for spring 2014.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must take 12 or more semester hours, have no grade lower than a C and meet the minimum grade-point average. The GPA system is based on a one-to-four rating.

Wise County students earning the honor, listed by their hometowns, were:

Alvord: Trevor Hardee; Christina Overton and Maribel Vargas.

Boyd: Derek Martin; Abram Moreno and Sarah Smith.

Bridgeport: Torie Carter; Sharlyn Fagan; Alexis Garrett; Joshua Hartsell; Gabriel Huerta; Taylor Hulsey; Tina Jennings; Annbra Johnson; Alexandra Martinets; Danielle Mindieta; Martha Sanders and Garrett Wagner.

Chico: Hannah Avants; Kimberly Bible; Elizabeth Brown; Damian Delgado; Callie Fuller; Ramiro Loza; Dee McHenry; Luke Plummer; James Redwine; Molli Umphress and Tiffany Vislosky.

Decatur: Rosaura Aldape; Victoria Aldape; Amanda Byrum; Sarrah Ennis; Zachary Flaherty; Selena Galindo; Wilson Garrett; Lacy Hankins; Brittany Hargrave; Jeffrey Keller; Martha Maldonado; Rebekah McGregor; Nathan Mitchell; Mercedes Moreno; Victoria Myers; Brandon Pelton; Sonia Resma; Venancio Rodriguez; Yanet Rodriguez; Karol Saenz and Kelsey Smith.

Paradise: Kristina Kemp and William Ngetich.

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College prep offered through talent search

Weatherford College is offering free college preparation through the Educational Talent Search Grant to the following schools: Bridgeport Middle School, Decatur Middle School, Jacksboro High School, Jacksboro Middle School, Tison Middle School, Mineral Wells High School, Mineral Wells Junior High, Santo High School, Santo Middle School, Hall Middle School, Springtown High School, Springtown Middle School, Weatherford High School and the Weatherford High School Ninth Grade Center.

There are only 100 spots open this year. Submit your application by July 30 to participate. You can find the application online: wcmess.com/application. (Family income is used for federal reporting, not as a determining factor for program acceptance.) Email completed applications to tvaughn@wc.edu or mail to: Educational Talent Search, 225 College Park Dr., Weatherford, TX 76086. Call 817-598-6497 for information.

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Weatherford College board names library after Eatons

Among the Weatherford College facilities that received new names Thursday was the library/academic research center at the Wise County Campus.

It is now the Roy and Jeannine Eaton Library and Research Center.

The couple are longtime Decatur residents who have generously supported numerous community causes. Roy Eaton, publisher of the Wise County Messenger, was a key force in getting voter approval for the tax to build the Wise County campus, located on U.S. 380 between Decatur and Bridgeport.

Since 2003, the Eatons have contributed more than $50,000 to support scholarships for WC Wise County students.

At Thursday’s board of trustees meeting in Weatherford, several other facilities also got new names.

The old Allied Health Building will soon bear the name of 1st Lt. Jack L. Knight, believed to be the only WC graduate to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Knight, who graduated from WC in 1938, was honored posthumously for actions with the U.S. Army’s 124th Cavalry Regiment in Burma.

The board also approved naming several rooms on the Weatherford campus after long-time supporters of the college.

In other business, the board:

  • heard an update on renovation work in the Business Building and in the old Allied Health Building. The projects have an Aug. 15 completion date.
  • approved sealed bids for medical equipment and supplies for the 2014-15 year totaling $39,424 to six vendors.
  • approved a tax abatement policy and reaffirmed their previous vote to provide a 50 percent tax abatement for five years to KEG1, a warehouse company currently building a facility on BB Fielder Road near Bethel Road.
  • listened to a report on the 2014-15 budget which is still in the refining stage.

In his report, WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton noted an increase in Summer I enrollment and contact hours, as compared to 2013, and recognized several employees and students for outstanding achievements.

The board will not meet in July. Their next meeting is 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11.

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College pins first class of nurses

Twenty-eight beaming nurses-to-be walked across a makeshift stage Thursday in the dining area at Weatherford College Wise County to receive their pins.

Some were greeted by spouses and children, others by mothers and fathers. Some were even pinned by their instructors.

PINNED WITH LOVE – Whitney Lamance receives her nursing pin from her sons and husband at Weatherford College Wise County Thursday. Later in the ceremony, Lamance was recognized as salutatorian of the first graduating class of the associate degree nursing program at WCWC. Messenger photo by Erika Pedroza

They comprise the inaugural class of the associate degree nursing program at WCWC.

“It’s pretty neat,” graduate Shantell Walker said. “We’ve definitely gotten some special treatment. It’s been fun.”

A pinning ceremony is the traditional “welcoming into the profession” nurses receive, explained Carrin Adams, assistant director of the associate degree nursing program.

Each student is presented with a nursing pin and the class recites the Nightingale Pledge – the statement of ethics for the nursing profession. Graduates Kim McDaniel and Naomi Stallard led their class in the pledge at Thursday’s event.

Many of the students in the first class are parents, a role which has dictated the pursuit of their goals.

Walker said she was an LVN for 14 years and always wanted to become an RN. But she waited until her children grew up.

Classmate Tiffany Wooten said she has young children, but the college’s location enabled her to pursue her goal of becoming a registered nurse.

Both Walker and Wooten joined through the college’s LVN to RN bridge program. Others, like Kirsten Coleman, said they just needed a career change.

Following the pinning ceremony, all that stood in the way of the realization of those dreams was the conferring of diplomas at graduation – which is 2 p.m. today (Saturday) at the Weatherford College main campus.

There’s also “a pesky test” – the NCLEX, the National Council Licensure Examination – which all nurses must pass to receive their license.

During Thursday’s ceremony, staff recognized Jayme Staley as the class’s valedictorian and Whitney Lamance and Natalie Giddens as co-salutatorians.

Kim Taylor, president of the Student Nurses Association at WCWC, presented Durrett and Matt Joiner, associate dean of WCWC, a park bench on behalf of the class. The bench will be situated at the east end of the college, near the classrooms nursing students use.

“It’s a great day in the history of Weatherford College Wise County,” said Duane Durrett, dean of WCWC. “We are so proud of each and every one of you.”

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Lifelong learners browse computer concepts

For most people these days, using a computer is second nature. But for some senior citizens, booting up and finding the browser are entirely new concepts.

Never Too Old to Learn

NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN – Wise County residents are getting the basics on computers in a class at Weatherford College Wise County. Submitted photo

To assist these novice tech users, Weatherford College Wise County offers a continuing education class called “The World of Computers.” It’s an introduction to the most basic computer skills including Windows, word processing, and how to browse the Internet, and send and receive email.

“This course provides a basic introduction to people who have little to no knowledge of computers,” instructor Mike McCoy said. “One of the students who could barely turn on the computer and could barely type was able to successfully send and receive an email during a recent class. He has come a long way.”

Each Tuesday and Thursday about 20 students, most retirement age, gather to expand their computer knowledge. Some come alone; others arrive with a spouse as they learn the technology together.

“He’s taking it to encourage me to take it,” Betty Roberts said of her husband, Ernie. “He’s really familiar, but I am not. I’m always asking him to look something up, and he thinks I’ll be able to do it myself now. I had to learn how to turn it on, the very basics.”

Even the experienced Ernie has learned a few tricks along the way.

“I’ve been using these for awhile, but I didn’t know about the arrows (on the keyboard being able to scroll a web page) and being able to enlarge and reduce the font size (on a web page) and other little things,” he said.

“I took a course in 1952 for a UNIVAC. We used a punch card. We had our own business and ran a big mainframe.”

In those days, computers took up entire rooms. Now a cell phone is more advanced than the technology used to put men on the moon – and the learning curve for new users can throw them for a loop if they don’t get help along the way.

“I used to use the mainframe, too,” Betty said. “What I notice now is that when I try to use the computer, it knows more than I do, or it thinks it does.”

But she is gaining confidence in herself and believes she’ll be off Googling on her own shortly.

Bobbie Smith, 86, is another student encouraged to take the course by her spouse.

“My husband didn’t prompt me – he prodded me,” she laughed. “We’re quite elderly, and we are still living in the 20th century. We need to get into the 21st, but it’s way over my head.”

Smith wants to learn the basics so she can look up information and send emails on her own, but she doesn’t want it to become her entire life as it has for so many in the younger generations.

“I have too many other things to do,” she said. “I have my friends, and I love to play bridge.”

For more information on continuing education programs offered at Weatherford College, call 817-598-8870.

Crystal Brown is coordinator of public relations for Weatherford College.

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Weatherford College trustees get preliminary budget

A preliminary 2014-15 budget presented to the Weatherford College board of trustees Thursday projects $54.3 million in total revenues for the fiscal year that begins Sept. 1.

“This is our first stab at it, bringing all the requests together and all of our estimates,” said Andra Cantrell, vice president of financial and administrative affairs. “We know right now there are things we need to polish.”

At the request of WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton, each department combed through their budgets looking for places to cut back, with a goal of cutting 5 percent.

The preliminary budget also includes a 3.75 percent across-the-board raise for all full-time employees and a 4.167 percent increase for adjunct, overload and contract instruction salaries.

“I think we have been conservative in our request for equipment, supplies and travel,” Cantrell said explaining which areas were reduced in order to fund the pay increase. “We will be making adjustments through the summer. This is to show you the goals we are trying to reach this year.”

The budget proposal is posted to the wc.edu website under Financial Transparency found in the “About” tab. The board will continue budget discussions at their June meeting.

In other business:

  • Jared Jones of Steele and Freeman updated the board on the pending completion of the Don Allen Health Science Building on the main campus in Weatherford. The college will begin moving furniture into the building next week. Remodeling of the current Allied Health building and part of the Business Building first floor begins May 19.
  • Eaton reported Summer I enrollment numbers are only one student down from this time last year, but contact hours are up .5 percent. State funding for the college is based on contact hours.

He also recognized:

  • WC Financial Aid Director Donnie Purvis for receiving the Outstanding Service Award from the South Central POISE Users group.
  • Johnny Emmons and the WC men’s rodeo team for qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., and Emmons for being named as Southwest Region Coach of the Year and his induction into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in April.
  • Itiana Taylor and Bre Brooks for being named NJCAA Basketball All-Americans for the second consecutive year. Brooks was named first-team All-America, and Taylor was named honorable mention.
  • The WC Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa for being named one of the top 100 chapters out of nearly 1,300 in the society. They also received the Distinguished Honors in Action Project Award and the Distinguished Theme Award Honors in Action at last month’s International Convention.

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8 earn Character Counts scholarships

Eight Wise County high school seniors shared $20,000 in college scholarships Thursday during the first Character Counts Scholarship program at Weatherford College Wise County.

Cast of Characters Counts

CAST OF CHARACTER COUNTS – Eight Wise County high school seniors were honored Thursday night during a banquet at the Wise County Weatherford College campus. Brian Stephens (center) presented $2,500 Character Counts scholarships to (from left) Misten Kittrell of Chico, Kayla Boaz of Boyd, Isaac Davis of Slidell, Derrick Stanford of Bridgeport, Lauren Hart of Alvord, Rachel Smith of Northwest, Billy Carr of Decatur and Katy Skoberg of Paradise. Submitted photo

The event, sponsored by Stephens Bastian and Cartwright Insurance of Decatur, drew several hundred to the college campus to honor the students who had been nominated by teachers and administrators for their character, honesty and leadership.

Chico Mayor J. D. Clark, himself an educator, was the keynote speaker.

“If we are to truly make this a better place, we must put good character into action,” Clark told the crowd.

“When we devalue character, we devalue what America should mean to the rest of the world,” Clark said. “As a society, we must show that character counts and in Wise County, something special is happening here tonight. We need to tell everyone what we value in Wise County.”

Students were introduced and presented $2,500 scholarship checks by Brian Stephens, who originated the idea for the character-based scholarships. Stephens said next year WC Challenger Charities, sponsors of the J.W. Hart Professional Bull Riding Event, would become a partner in the event to help raise funds for the scholarships.

Andrew Rottner of WC Challenger Charities said his group was delighted to be a part of the character scholarship program. Since its inception, WC Challenger Charities has given more than a half-million dollars to local charities including the Wise County United Way and other groups – including helping build homes for wounded veterans.

Students honored included:

LAUREN HART, ALVORD

Lauren is involved in numerous extracurricular activities including athletics, student council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. A teacher said she is a leader of the school. “I notice on a daily basis how Lauren cares for her fellow classmates – which in today’s society, isn’t very common.”

KAYLA BOAZ, BOYD

Kayla is active in the Boyd band and served as percussion captain this year. She’s also involved in yearbook, National Honor Society (NHS) and is a class officer. She plans to attend Oklahoma Baptist University and pursue a career as a Christian counselor.

DERRICK STANFORD, BRIDGEPORT

Derrick, a leader on the basketball court, FCA, student council and other areas, ranks 44th out of his 132-member class and is always willing to help out wherever there’s a need.

MISTEN KITTRELL, CHICO

Misten has been involved in NHS, yearbook, Student council, 1-act play, athletics and cheerleading while also doing volunteer work in the community. She plans to attend Oklahoma Baptist University and major in pre-med, with the goal of becoming a surgeon.

BILLY CARR, DECATUR

Billy is on the Eagle football team, is a PAL and works as a student aide for Special Programs. He also spends a lot of time volunteering with Sonflower Camp, Special Needs Baseball and the Wise County Olympathon. He plans to become a special education teacher.

RACHEL SMITH, NORTHWEST

Rachel has been involved with NHS, FFA, Visual Asrts Scholastic Event and the Big Event – Northwest’s day of giving back to the community. She is also a third-degree black belt and teaches Tae Kwon Do to students from age 5 to adulthood.

KATY SKOGBERG, PARADISE

Katy has touched many lives during her three years at Paradise High School, excelling in one-act play and qualifying for state in UIL writing events. She will travel to Pretoria, South Africa for a one-year college and missions program before returning to pursue a degree in occupational therapy.

ISAAC DAVIS, SLIDELL

Isaac is an All-State basketball player and a member of the one-act play cast, even filling in for the director. He’s also been successful in UIL writing. He plans to pursue a college degree and possibly coach.

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WC board approves in-district tuition for all dual credit courses

Area high school students will now have access to dual credit courses at Weatherford College at in-district rates regardless of their address following a vote by the Weatherford College board of trustees Thursday afternoon.

A review of dual credit tuition was conducted in response to school districts’ concerns about students not being able to participate in the program due to the cost of out-of-district tuition. Now, students will pay a flat rate of $80 per credit hour regardless of where they reside.

Students who are on the free/reduced lunch program will continue to pay $25 per credit hour, and technical dual credit courses remain free.

A reduction in revenue of $96,525 is expected at first, but administrators believe the new rates will ultimately draw additional students into the program who have declined to register for dual credit courses in the past because of the cost.

“It will be good business, in the long run, to adopt in-district tuition for all dual credit in the high schools,” Andra Cantrell, vice president of financial and administrative affairs, explained to the board.

In other business, the board:

  • listened to a construction report on the Don Allen Health Science Building. The facility will be completed by the end of the month and handed over to the college May 9.
  • approved a change order to the Don Allen Health Science Building Construction Contract for $1.38 million, which includes the renovation of the existing Allied Health Building. Renovation work on the building will take place over the summer and be open for classes in the fall.
  • recognized basketball player Itiana Taylor for being a finalist for the 2014 WBCA Community College Player of the Year.
  • learned that math professor Rickey Harman is retiring after 11 years at WC, and nursing instructor Carin Adams has submitted her resignation to accept an administrative position at JPS.
  • approved the purchase of $52,627 worth of science equipment and supplies from six vendors.

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Weatherford College board approves tuition changes

The Weatherford College board of trustees Thursday approved the implementation of “differential tuition” for the college’s allied health programs, starting in the 2014-15 academic year.

College administrators have been studying the possibility of charging more per credit hour for courses that are more costly to operate. Andra Cantrell, vice president of financial and administrative affairs, came back with a suggestion of charging an extra $20 per credit hour for allied health programs such as sonography, respiratory therapy, radiology technology and nursing.

Those programs are a primary focus of the college’s Wise County campus.

Cantrell told trustees she found four other Texas community colleges that currently charge differential tuition – and noted many more discussing the possibility.

Allied health programs were selected as a starting point because the programs require smaller class sizes, expensive equipment and a higher cost for qualified faculty.

The estimated increase in revenue is $174,340 for the upcoming academic year. That won’t cover the actual cost of the programs, but officials say it will help close the gap.

“We don’t want to scare off students,” WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton said. “Even with an increase we are still a third of the cost of a university. You may have five or 10 less applicants, but we will have no problem filling our programs.”

Cantrell noted that most of the programs have two or three times as many applicants as they have openings.

Overall tuition at WC will also increase next year by the following amounts:

  • $4 per semester credit hour or 5 percent for in-district students;
  • $6 per semester credit hour or 5 percent for out-of-district students;
  • $6 per semester credit hour or 6 percent for out-of-district WC Wise County campus students;
  • $6 per semester credit hour or 6 percent increase for out-of-district Granbury campus students;
  • $3 per semester credit hour or 2 percent for out-of-state students.

OTHER BUSINESS

Board members also got a construction update on the Don Allen Health Science Building on the main campus in Weatherford. The facility is ahead of schedule and should open in early May.

They also heard the president’s report, which recognized numerous college employees for achievements, including:

  • The Vocational Nursing Program, for achieving a 100 percent pass rate on the 2013 NCLEX Exam – the licensure exam for VN students. Of the 22 programs which received a 100 percent pass rate nationally, WC had the most test takers at 51.
  • WC Wise County nursing students Kim Taylor, Jamie Battenfield, Lacy Garris, Sarah Ervin and Alex Talamantes, for representing WC at the Texas Student Nurses Convention Brain Bowl where they tied for first place.

The board also approved the reinstatement of the Emergency Medical Services Profession AAS Degree, along with the 2014-15 academic calendar and a transfer rate increase to help fund athletics, student activities and the Oak Leaf annual.

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51 from Wise on Weatherford College dean’s list

More than 450 students – including 51 from Wise County – were named to the Weatherford College Dean’s List for the fall 2013 semester.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must be enrolled for 12 or more semester hours, have no grade lower than a C and meet the minimum grade- point average. The GPA system is based on a one-to-four rating.

Earning the honor from Wise County were:

Alvord: Trevor Hardee; Shelbi Harmon and Alexandria Talamantes.

Aurora: Victor Ramirez and Bertie Sellers.

Boyd: Derek Martin and Carolina McDowell.

Bridgeport: Ana Caldera; Torie Carter; Sharlyn Fagan; Taylor Hulsey; Danielle Mindieta and Autumn Pickett.

Chico: Hannah Avants; Karla Deamicis; Damian Delgado; Callie Fuller; Luke Plummer; James Redwine; Vanessa Saxon; Molli Umphress; Tiffany Vislosky and Kaylee Wriston.

Decatur: Rosaura Aldape; Victoria Aldape; Monica Bernard; Carissa Byrd; Steven Cao; Araceli Cruz; Sarrah Ennis; Elda Garcia; Brittany Hargrave; Sara Harris; Kasidi Heiens; Victoria Myers; Christina Overton; Brandon Pelton; Venancio Rodriguez; Liliana Torres and Omar Torres.

Sunset: Austin Gaskins and Brittani Martin.

Newark: Savannah Brooks.

Paradise: Lacy Jackson; Sara Kelly; Amber Kirkland; Carol McCutchen and William Ngetich.

Rhome: Haley McGuire, Bethlyn Prentice and Lisa Shearer.

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