Weatherford College tuition won’t go up for 2015-16

Tuition rates for Weatherford College students will remain unchanged for the 2015-16 academic year following approval from the WC board of trustees during their meeting Thursday afternoon.

WC’s in-district tuition of $80 per credit hour sits right at the state average for the state’s community college districts.

“We have to remain affordable for students in our service area,” said Andra Cantrell, vice president of financial and administrative affairs. “Keeping tuition rates flat for another year keeps us at the state average, and that’s been our goal.”

Differential tuition for selected allied health programs will increase from $20 to $40 per credit hour. This additional cost was added to several programs this past academic year due to higher program costs.

A $50 increase in room and board charges was also approved to cover the rising cost of food and supplies.

WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton told the board House Bill 1, the first version of the state’s budget for the next two years, includes a cut of more than $80,000 in funding to WC. Eaton said WC fared better than the other schools in its peer group, and that the numbers could change somewhat before the final version is approved by the governor.

Eaton also reported:

  • enrollment for the spring 2015 semester is flat compared with this time last year. As of count day there were 5,229 students enrolled collegewide compared with 5,237 this time last year;
  • notices of employee resignations from ADN Nursing Instructor Lisa Webster and economics professor Carol Eppright who will retire after 40 years with WC.

In other business the board approved:

  • lab fees for new developmental math courses and a new phlebotomy course;
  • the 2015-16 academic calendar;
  • an order of election for Place 3, Place 4 and Place 5 on the board of trustees. Early voting is April 27 through May 5, and election day is May 9.

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Weatherford College accepting applicants for Vocational Nursing program

Applications for the Weatherford College Vocational Nursing program are being accepted through March 31 for the class that begins in August. Only 35 students are accepted into the 12-month program on Weatherford’s main campus.

Over three semesters, students progress from the basics of anatomy and physiology to more advanced skills like mediation administration as well as leadership and professional development courses. All three semesters include clinical work in long-term care facilities and hospitals in Weatherford, Mineral Wells, Stephenville, Decatur and Fort Worth.

“We have a lot of clinical work,” said Nita Parsons, Vocational Nursing Program director. “Graduates who come back to us thank us for that strong clinical aspect of the program. It enables them to take care of patients as soon as they get out there.

“Our employers love it too because they are ready right after certification and don’t require a long orientation,” she said. “They just get in there and get to work.”

No prerequisite courses are required for acceptance. The program costs approximately $6,000, which covers tuition, fees and books. Workforce funding is available to students in this program as well as PELL grants for those who qualify.

After acquiring a year of experience, vocational nurses are eligible for a one-year credit toward the Associate Degree Nursing program should they decide to continue their education.

Applicants must submit an Allied Health application, a copy of their high school transcript along with any official college transcripts, immunization records and a passing Compass test score. A letter will be sent to applicants approximately six weeks after the deadline to let them know if they were accepted into the program.

The Allied Health application can be downloaded at For more information, email Karen Long,

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Weatherford College honors 6 teachers

Six teachers from area schools were among the 32 honored by Weatherford College at the 2015 Jack Harvey Academy of Exemplary Teachers celebration, held Jan. 30 at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center in Weatherford.

In its 19th year, the Harvey Academy recognizes exemplary teachers in the memory of Professor Emeritus Jack Harvey, who taught at WC for 23 years and was considered among his peers as a “master teacher.”

The honorees, along with an excerpt from their nomination letters, are:


Kimberly Maag

“Mrs. Maag is an exemplary teacher because she treats each student with love, care and fairness at all times. She provides special attention to students needing that little bit of extra attention to be successful in her class, on their work or just in the event they need some good ‘loving on.’

“Mrs. Maag is a dedicated teacher who wants all of her students to be successful learners and feel good about themselves at all times. Mrs. Maag has a way of teaching her students by letting them think “they are just playing” and keeps their attention from wandering off topic.”


Jessica Bailey

“Mrs. Bailey is an exemplary teacher who goes above and beyond to meet the needs of her students and to make learning fun. She takes pride in developing lessons for her classroom that are learner-centered by integrating technology and challenging learners at their varied levels of ability. Mrs. Bailey is an excellent communicator who is loved by students, parents and colleagues alike.”


Terry Rye

“Mr. Rye is the type of teacher who should be cloned. He is dedicated to his job; but, more importantly, he is dedicated to his students. He supports them in and out of the classroom.

“He recently traveled out-of-state to watch one of his students compete in a race. Mr. Rye is seen at all school functions and extracurricular activities. In his classroom, he teaches the curriculum, but he also teaches responsibility, respect, dedication and service.

“Mr. Rye is a positive light on campus. He is always the first one to volunteer for anything that needs to be done. His students respect him and come back to visit him long after they graduate. He is compassionate about his students, but he is also a positive mentor for other teachers.

“Terry Rye is an exemplary teacher a true asset to Bridgeport High School.”


Brent Hand

“Mr. Hand demands excellence from every student, all the time. Every lesson he teaches is engaging and exciting. This kind of planning never goes unnoticed, and because of this, student achievement is at its best.

“His upbeat and positive attitude is contagious to all he comes in contact with. He absolutely leaves no child behind and strives daily to see that every student is successful. Mr. Hand gives 110 percent, no matter what he attempts.

“He is, by far, one of the best teachers his principal has ever had the privilege of working with. Not only does Mr. Hand have a good work ethic, he is a team player which is a quality most admired. He knows that success comes from all the stakeholders working together to achieve excellence.

“Mr. Hand is definitely an asset to his district. Our students are lucky to have him.”


Sonya Holloway

“Mrs. Holloway goes above and beyond to develop relationships with students and families. She’s what a great teacher is all about. She is constantly looking for new ways to teach math that will engage her students.

“Mrs. Holloway is a leader in her discipline and supports her peers with her math knowledge as well as her students.”


“Dianne Meadows has the task of providing special education to students across three different grade levels and overseeing paraprofessionals attending to the tasks of serving students. She works across subject areas with students whose needs range from severe learning disabilities to students who just need someone to read to them.

“She knows each student and their individual capabilities; so, every pupil is taught specifically to experience and enjoy their own successes. She does all this with complete professionalism – but most of all, Mrs. Meadows has the utmost compassion for her students.

“It is a pleasure to work with Mrs. Meadows, as she reliably handles everything to benefit her special needs students while also gathering data and information on students in preparation for ARDs. Paradise ISD is proud to have Mrs. Meadows represent the district as this year’s Jack Harvey Fellow.”

Other 2015 award recipients are:

Aledo ISD, Marian Flinchbaugh, pre-kindergarten

Azle ISD, Barbara Richardson, grades 7-8, Math/Algebra

Birdville ISD, Traci Ratliff, grade 6, Social Studies

Bowie ISD, Rhonda Parr, grades 7-8, Math/RTI Specialist

Brock ISD, Bobby Atchley, grade 8, Math

Burleson ISD, Janice Pyles, grades 10-12, Pre-AP/AP Chemistry

Castleberry ISD, Julie Cantu, grade 8, English Language Arts

Garner ISD, Diane Shaw, grades 2-8, Response to Intervention and Accelerated Instruction

Graford ISD, Andrea Hughes, grades K-6, Gifted and Talented

Granbury ISD, Scott Carpenter, grade 8, Science

Jacksboro ISD, Linda Collie, grade 6, English Language Arts/Reading

Joshua ISD, Tim Wade, grades 1-6, Special Education

Lipan ISD, Amber Branson, kindergarten-grade 12, Physical Education

Millsap ISD, Dr. Stephen Edge, grades 9-12, History

Mineral Wells ISD, Haidee Couger, grade 8, Science

Muenster ISD, Dianne Endres, grade 3

Palo Pinto ISD, Crystal Bean, pre-K to grade 6, Physical Education/Computer

Peaster ISD, Lisa Cockerell, grades 9-12, English/Theater Arts/Speech

Perrin-Whitt CISD, Julia Dinda-Weston, k-grade 12, Physical Education

Poolville ISD, Paula Clark, grades 10-12, Spanish

Santo ISD, Jenny Evans, grade 2, Language Arts

Springtown ISD, Debbie Parker, grade 6, English Language Arts/Reading

Stephenville ISD, Diana Gibson, grade 8, Reading

Tolar ISD, Cynthia Ratbon, grades 9-12, Family and Consumer Science

Weatherford ISD, Jenny Stilwell, pre-K, kindergarten

Weatherford College, Scott Williams, U.S. History.

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Meeting Agendas for Saturday, February 7, 2015

BRIDGEPORT – The Bridgeport City Council has a special meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, to discuss in closed session the city administrator position.

WEATHERFORD COLLEGE – The Weatherford College board meets 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Doss Student Center on the Weatherford campus. Along with a host of reports, possible action items include adoption of 2015-16 tuition and fees, lab fees and academic calendar, and ordering an election for places 3, 4 and 5 on the board.

DECATUR – Decatur City Council will consider how to distribute hotel occupancy tax funds when they meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, at City Hall, 201 E. Walnut. The council will also look at bids for grounds maintenance services at Oaklawn Cemetery and consider approving a lease assignment at the airport. A report on police racial profiling, nomination to the board of directors for Wise County Appraisal District and street closure requests for two events – the Glitzy Girls Trailer Park April 11 and the Wise County Youth Fair kickoff parade Feb. 28 – are also on the agenda.

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Weatherford College announces fall 2014 graduates

More than 270 Weatherford College students graduated in December with either an associate’s degree or certification preparing them for the workforce.

Students who graduate in December are invited to walk the stage at the WC commencement ceremony in May.

Those with Wise County addresses who graduated in December include:

Alvord: Michael Davis, Thomas Houston and Colton Redman

Aurora: Victor Ramirez.

Boyd: Elizabeth Lankford; Amber Lowery and Sarah Smith

Bridgport: Grasiela Henriquez-Ortiz and Lindsey Walker

Chico: Hannah Avants, Elizabeth Brown and Tiffany Vislosky

Decatur: Shain Burns, Misty Lawson, Kariana Norman; Tracie Pryor and Taylor Whittle

Newark: Savannah Brooks

Paradise: Rebecca Ashmore, Samantha Cobb; Amber Kirkland, Heather Lemaster and Angel Perez

Rhome: Breena Mitchell and Hunter Shearer

Sunset: Rebecca Evans

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Weatherford College Wise County library dedication to honor Eatons

The public is invited to a dedication reception for the Roy and Jeannine Eaton Library and Research Center at the Weatherford College Wise County campus Thursday, Jan. 29.

The come-and-go reception runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

College officials said the Eaton family has dedicated a great deal of time and resources to ensure the success of WC in Wise County.

“I have come to know the Eatons as true friends of K-12 and higher education in Wise County and beyond,” said Dr. Matt Joiner, associate dean for instructional services at WCWC. “Simply stated, Weatherford College’s presence in Wise County would not have been possible without the visionary leadership of folks like Roy in the late 1990s.”

Roy was a member of the steering committee that investigated the need for a branch campus in Wise County and supported construction of the WCWC facility. The Eatons have also donated more than $50,000 for scholarships.

Roy is a longtime member of the WC Foundation board of directors.

“Roy and Jeannine Eaton have been pillars of Wise County for decades,” said Dr. Kevin Eaton, WC president. “They worked tirelessly to get the branch campus initiative on the ballot and then supported the initiative financially with a large contribution.

“I am honored to know the Eatons and extremely proud to share our last name [although they are not related]. They truly embody the philosophy of leading by example.”

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Weatherford College seeks 2015 Alumnus of the Year

Weatherford College is seeking nominations for the 2015 Alumnus of the Year Award and Distinguished Alumni Award. The deadline to submit nominations is 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, in the Institutional Advancement Office on the main campus.

Each year the college hosts an alumni awards luncheon where one former student is honored as Alumnus of the Year and up to three former students are recognized as Distinguished Alumni. This year’s luncheon will take place Friday, April 17.

To receive one of these awards, nominees will be evaluated on contributions to society, performance in their field of expertise, loyalty to Weatherford College and other factors.

Committees – made up of former award winners, representatives from WC employee groups, leaders from the alumni association, board members and others – will meet in February to select this year’s honorees.

The Alumnus of the Year Award was established in 1967, and the Distinguished Alumni Award began in 1994. A list of previous award winners is posted online at

“When you look at our list of previous winners, it’s impressive,” said Brent Baker, vice president of institutional advancement. “Weatherford College has produced some incredible leaders in a variety of fields over the years. It’s a pleasure to see our alumni honored each year.”

To receive a nomination form, contact Baker at or 817-598-6275.

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Weatherford College releases fall 2014 dean’s list

More than 600 Weatherford College students were named to the dean’s list for the fall 2014 semester, including 97 Wise County residents.

The list includes 10 students from Alvord, one from Aurora, 10 from Boyd, 19 from Bridgeport, eight from Chico, 33 from Decatur, one each from Lake Bridgeport and Newark, eight from Paradise and six from Rhome.

To be eligible for the dean’s list, a student must be enrolled in 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 on the honor roll, by community, are:

Alvord: Tara Geer, Leresa Greenwood, Shelbi Harmon, Kirstie Caruthers, Keri Malone, Jeanette Morales, Christina Overton, Allison Swiney, Megan Wentworth and Kelly Zalopany

Aurora: Victor Ramirez

Boyd: Andrea Fagan, Kaylee Ford, Derek Martin, Abram Moreno, John Mosley, Sequoia Smith, Anthony Spinelli, Christina Civis, Jessica Stone and Valerie Campbell

Bridgeport: Ana Caldera, Lacey Erwin, Wesley Hughes, Tina Jennings, John Monk, Jayme Rivera, Garrett Wagner, Lindsey Walker, Martha Sanders, Dillion Waldrep, Tracy Hale, Grasiela Henrique Ortiz, Fernanda Parra, Joshua Winebrinner, Valeria Reyna, Sharlyn Fagan, Jesus Huerta-Gutierrez, Melissa Monk and Mathew Morales

Chico: Damian Delgado, Dee McHenry, James Redwine, Andrea Younger, Tracie Davis, Tiffany Vislosky, Karla DeAmicis and Alyssa Bowyer

Decatur: Amber Askey, Rodrigo Carillo, Selena Galindo, Sarah Gibbs, Charles Greever, Dona Hardin, Jeffrey Keller, Netosha Laverty, Kristina Marion, Brittan Mitchell, Brooke Pelton, Austin Poole, Kelsey Smith, Shelby Smith, Omar Torres, Jessica Sanchez, Venancio Rodriguez, Ethan Stallard, Brandon Pelton, Nathan Mitchell, Efrain Ruiz, Alyssa Leake, Senecca Smith, Sandra Garn, Isaac Chavez, Austin Stallard, Mercedes Moreno, Amanda Byrum, Cynthia Carillo, Erin Hamm, Robbie Watson, Elisabet Godoy and Maria Martinez

Lake Bridgeport: Coulter Galvan

Newark: Samuel West

Paradise: Brandy Baker, Lorrie Barrow-McLemore, Braden Broussard, Carol McCutchen, Amber Wood, Erika Wreay, Grady Ivie and Derek Marshall

Rhome: Tara Dean, Kristina Lake, Breena Mitchell, Andrea Cheek, Jonathan Davis and Megan Boyd

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Weatherford College honors winter graduates

Seventy-nine graduates were recognized Dec. 4 at the Weatherford College Workforce and Continuing Education Winter Graduation Ceremony on the college’s main campus in Weatherford.

Students were recognized from the Dental Assistant, Nurse Aide, Medication Aide, EKG Technician, Pharmacy Technician and Computer Skills for Business programs.

Dental Assistant Graduates

DENTAL ASSISTANT GRADUATES – Ready to enter the workforce as dental assistants are (front, from left) Maria Leyva, Stephanie Crowley, Alejandra Beltran, Kendra Massie, Melinda White and Instructor Julie Merida, (back, from left) Michelle Wagner, Annie Welch, Madeline Kohl and Bridgett O’Shields. Not pictured are Angela Marsh and Alyssa Whitten. Photo courtesy of Zachary Peterson

The WC Wise County campus had students who were recognized along with the main campus, Weatherford High School, the WC Education Center at Granbury and the WC business partnership with Center of Hope.

EKG Tech Graduates

EKG TECHNICIAN GRADUATES – Earning certification as EKG technicians were (from left) Jennifer Elrod, Mary McCune, Becky Mulder, Mary Lou Yerian, Instructor Kathi McKenzie, Cheli Buchanan, Taylor Evans and Julie Vu. Photo courtesy of Zachary Peterson

Also recognized were partnerships with Holland Lake Nursing Center, Keeneland Nursing and Rehab, Harbor Lakes Nursing and Rehab, Senior Care-Bridgeport Nursing and Rehab, and Weatherford Cosmetic and Family Dentistry.

For more information on the WC Workforce and Continuing Education programs, visit

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Weatherford College Board approves child development degree

The Weatherford College board of trustees Thursday approved the creation of an Associate of Arts degree in child development.

By taking courses already offered, students attaining this degree will graduate with their core completed and be able to transfer to universities to pursue a bachelor’s degree in child and family studies or a related field like education.

Dr. Richard Bowers, vice president of instruction and student services, said the new AA will better equip students for further study.

“Tarleton State University is developing a new program that will allow a student to earn a bachelor’s degree in child and family studies,” he said. “This is a new development, and it’s giving us an opportunity to allow students to take hours at Weatherford College in that field of study that they will be able to transfer into their four-year degree.”

The degree will be available as soon as the plan is approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

In other business the board:

  • extended WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton’s contract by one year to Dec. 31, 2017, following a closed executive session.
  • approved the 2013-14 financial audit presented by Snow Garrett Williams.
  • approved the disposal of obsolete and surplus items through an online auction.
  • accepted bids totaling $88,951 for the purchase of sonography equipment.
  • approved the addition of two courses for varsity baseball and softball, along with $24 fees for each course. The courses will allow athletes to receive transferable credit for each semester they participate.

Eaton reported:

  • the 14th Annual Weatherford College Golf Tournament raised more than $50,000 thanks to the Title III matching grant.
  • more than 6,000 people attended the Safe Halloween program hosted by the WC Police Department, and more than 350 attended a similar event at the Education Center at Mineral Wells.
  • more than 700 fourth graders attended STEMania at WC Wise County organized by Dr. Lisa Welch and hundreds of volunteers. The day included numerous interactive activities enforcing the importance of science, technology, engineering and math.
  • about 1,500 people attended the WC Fine Arts Department’s production of “Young Frankenstein” over a four-day period. Eaton praised the musical as one of the best yet produced at WC and congratulated Nancy McVean and Rob Laney for their work on the show.
  • more than 200 people attended the successful Veterans Day celebration organized by Ralph Willingham.
  • all board members are up-to-date on their required trainings.

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Meeting Agendas for Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WC BOARD TO HEAR STEM DAY REPORT – The Weatherford College board of trustees will hear a report on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Day held last month at Weatherford College Wise County when they meet at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11 in the Doss Student Center on the Weatherford campus. Other agenda items include reports on a possible AA degree to be offered in child development, purchase of instructional sonography equipment, disposal of obsolete and surplus items through online auction, and various other reports. They will also consider action on the contract of college president Dr. Kevin Eaton. The meeting is open to the public.

BOARD TO DISCUSS AUDIT – The Boyd school board will discuss its annual financial audit, show animal project facility and budget amendments during its meeting 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11. The meeting is open to the public.

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Annual Messiah concert set for Dec. 1

The much anticipated Weatherford College choir concert, selections from Handel’s Messiah, is Monday, Dec. 1, at the Alkek Fine Arts Center.

“The college choir, along with talented and enthusiastic singers from the community, form the choir that will perform some of Messiah’s most notoriously challenging songs along with seasonal favorites including ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’ and ‘Hallelujah,'” choir director Rob Laney said.

The Messiah concert at WC began as a way to bring a piece of Dallas culture and arts to Parker County, he explained.

In Dallas, the entire Messiah production is performed on baroque instruments and features the Dallas Bach Choir at the Meyerson Symphony Center. To their west, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to perform the classic at Bass Hall. And in Weatherford, music lovers are invited to hear selections from the arrangement performed by students and other local talent.

“As you go west, we do only the highlights of the piece with a string quartet here on campus,” Laney said. “My perspective is: We bring a little bit of Dallas to you, so you don’t have to make the drive.”

Messiah begins at 7:30 p.m. Doors open a half-hour prior to the concert, and admission is free.

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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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