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Education roundup: Voorhees College earns high ranking

Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C., is a four-year private, coeducational liberal arts college...
Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C., is a four-year private, coeducational liberal arts college that was founded in 1897 and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund.(WRDW)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 2:23 PM EDT
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DENMARK, S.C. - Voorhees College is once again among the best regional colleges in the South, according to 2022 U.S. News and World Report rankings.

Voorhees tied for 48 along with the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith — a six-point improvement in the rankings over the previous year.

Voorhees also ranked four in top performers on social mobility, which measures how well schools graduated students who received federal Pell Grant, 18 among private Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 46 among all HBCUs ranked.

“These rankings demonstrate Voorhees College’s commitment to educational excellence. We are grateful to faculty and staff who do their very best every day to enhance teaching and learning at our institution. I am honored to work with them to take Voorhees to the next level of excellence,” said Ronnie Hopkins, president of the school.

Criteria used for the rankings include outcomes such as graduation rates, retention rates and social mobility; faculty resources; expert opinion from presidents, provosts and admissions leaders who rate academic quality of peer institutions; financial resources; student excellence; and alumni giving.

The four-year private, coeducational liberal arts college was founded in 1897 and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund.

Bluebird Society launches scholarship fund at local school

Michelle Vieyra, associate professor of biology at UofSC Aiken (left), and senior biology major...
Michelle Vieyra, associate professor of biology at UofSC Aiken (left), and senior biology major Emelie Alarcon monitor a bluebird nesting box in Hitchcock Woods.(WRDW)

AIKEN - A donor recently established the South Carolina Bluebird Society Scholarship Fund at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

The annual $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to full-time, degree-seeking students majoring in biology and in good student standing.

Biology major Emelie Alarcon is the first scholarship recipient.

“Thanks to this generous scholarship, I can focus more on the most important aspect of school, which is learning,” she said.

The school is also working with the society to establish a bluebird nest box trail on campus.

The society was established in Aiken on October 19, 2010, and has currently installed and is monitoring over 1,472 bluebird, wood duck, screech owl, and kestrel nest boxes over 88 trails across South Carolina and Eastern Georgia.

The need for protection arose when between the 1920s and 1970s, the bluebird population declined by an estimated 90%. The main reasons for this decline are loss of habitat and competition from other species.

Center for Lifelong Learning schedules book fair

AIKEN, S.C. - The University of South Carolina Aiken department of external programs is planning the first Center for Lifelong Learning book fair.

It will take place Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Business and Education building, Room 200.

Admission is free, but guests are encouraged to make a donation at the door and be entered to win prizes.

The book fair will promote local authors and offer book lovers an opportunity to meet and chat with the authors while browsing unique titles. A total of 46 authors are expected to participate, with more signing up as the date draws closer. The fair will have sessions on African American heritage poetry, fantasy and more.

“The authors who will be attending represent a wide range of writing genres, from middle-grade fiction to fantasy and science fiction. If you plan to attend, please allow enough time to attend some or all of the sessions and also to talk with any authors whose writing interests you,” said Steve Gordy, book fair organizer and CLL curriculum chair. “We’re doing this book fair as a fund-raising endeavor, but also to let the public know how much writing talent we have both locally and regionally.”

Federal agency awards funds to S.C. colleges

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration awarded $7 million for workforce development and training supporting plutonium pit production to minority-serving educational institutions in New Mexico and South Carolina.

The agency provided $3.5 million for partnerships in each state to be distributed among selected institutions, including historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities.

Some of the funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies like those used at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Savannah River Site to train those pursuing careers within the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

South Carolina recipients are:

  • Allen University
  • Benedict College
  • Claflin University
  • Clinton College
  • Denmark Technical College
  • Morris College
  • South Carolina State University
  • Vorhees College

“I was pleased to have worked with the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy to make funding available to all eight historically black colleges and universities in South Carolina,” said Rep. James E. Clyburn. “Partnerships and investments like these are essential in order to create a future workforce that is not only skilled but reflects the diversity of America and ensures workers’ access to good paying jobs.”

Jessye Norman School of the Arts earns statewide honor

AUGUSTA, Ga. - The Jessye Norman School of the Arts has been awarded the 2021 Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development Excellence Award for afterschool programming.

The announcement was made during the virtual 2021 Georgia from the Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development Conference held on Sept. 14-16.

The award is given to Georgia organizations demonstrating “outstanding afterschool or youth development program that meets the highest standards of quality in the field and demonstrates capacity to meet the needs of children, youth and families in their community.”

The Jessye Norman School of the Arts offers year-round, free arts education to students throughout the CSRA, ranging from fourth through 12th grade.

The school predominantly serves students from low to moderate income backgrounds, and every student gets to choose their own path of study from one of five disciplines: dance, drama, music, visual arts, and digital arts.

“The school is honored by this award, which recognizes JNSA as one of Georgia’s preeminent after school programs,” says Executive Director Gary Dennis. “The school is named after Ms. Jessye Norman, an Augusta native who came from meager beginnings and who went on to become one of the greatest opera singers of all time. We strive to honor Ms. Norman’s legacy by providing extraordinary arts experiences to students of every background, and by helping our students to become accomplished, caring, and responsible citizens of this world.”

Georgia Military College hosts hospice providers

Fifi Memon from Heartland Hospice visits Georgia Military College recently.
Fifi Memon from Heartland Hospice visits Georgia Military College recently.(WRDW)

AUGUSTA, Ga. - During the past few weeks, Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus hosted a variety of area hospice providers, including St. Joseph’s, Heartland Hospice and Trinity.

As the pre-nursing program is the schools second most popular degree program, “this outreach is a perfect fit for our student body,” the school said.

“In addition to an interest from our medically minded students, students with a desire to give back to their communities, often seek out opportunities to volunteer, fulfilling a portion of GMC’s mission, to ‘produce educated citizens and contributing members of society.’”

Why volunteer with an area Hospice? A student volunteer shared, “Your hours are never wasted. Your job would be providing companionship and comfort to help patients transition. It is a great way to get involved and give back to the community.”

Technical college offers option of shorter semester

SANDERSVILLE, Ga - With the traditional fall semester well underway, Oconee Fall Line Technical College is providing a shorter semester to help those who need to further their education quickly.

The eight-week minimester begins Oct. 21 and allows students to complete a course with the same quality of instruction but on a shorter schedule.

Students taking minimester classes can choose from a variety of courses, including online formats, to stay on course.

The one-stop enrollment day will take place at the Sandersville campus on Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Atrium.

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