Monday, November 28, 2016

A Mother's Difficult Choice

Just a few short years ago, I found myself in the position of having to choose between feeding my family and paying the electric bill.

No parent should ever have to make that choice.

I was working two dead-end jobs and still living in poverty when I realized that work experience wasn’t all employers were looking for and that I needed at least a 2-year degree. I knew I had to make a change, but I didn’t think I had any options.

Then I saw a television commercial about Trident TechnicalCollege and I knew it was where I needed to be. I learned that tuition at TTC is less than half of most other colleges and that with financial aid and lottery assistance, I would have to pay very little out of pocket. I would be graduating from college debt-free!

Attending Trident Tech was the smartest decision I ever made. It changed my life in ways that I never thought were possible. I met people who genuinely cared about my success, and the encouragement and motivation from my instructors and classmates helped me gain confidence.

For the first time in my life I believed in myself.

It only got better from there. I applied for scholarships through the TTC Foundation and was thrilled to find out I would be awarded two scholarships, allowing me to work on fulfilling my dream without having to worry about money or sacrificing my family’s well-being. I was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa, the college’s honor society, and was chosen for Who’s Who in American Colleges. These experiences have helped me to grow as a student and become a successful, contributing member of our community. 

I will never forget attending the annual scholarship luncheon last Spring when I had the opportunity to meet Carolyn Hunter, who created one of the scholarships I received.  I was inspired by her generosity and found it remarkable that someone I didn’t even know would want to invest in my future. When I told her this, she explained that she, too, attended community college and there were people who invested in her future. Now here she is, the owner of 3 McDonald’s franchises and the first person to make a $1 million commitment to TTC. I was honored to meet her and hope that I too, can give back to the college someday!

I received my Associate in Arts in May 2015 and now I am taking classes to get my Associate in Science. I want to fulfill as many of my requirements as possible at TTC because I love it so much here and I will save money.

A few weeks ago, my 15-year old daughter and I were doing our homework together at the kitchen table, and out of nowhere, she looked up at me and said, Mom, I am so proud of you.”

I could not hold back my tears of joy because, in that moment, I realized that I have become someone my children can look up to, and I have TTC to thank for that!

Gina Corley, TTC student

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Trident Tech holds groundbreaking ceremony for S.C. Aeronautical Training Center

Trident Tech celebrated the beginning of a new era in advanced manufacturing Nov. 4, breaking ground for the S.C. Aeronautical Training Center, which will be built on 25 acres of undeveloped land on Main Campus.

Mary Thornley leads the official groundbreaking with (from left)
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, Charleston County
Council Chairman Elliott Summey, state Rep. James Merrill,
state Sen. Larry Grooms, InterTech Group CEO Anita Zucker and
TTC Area Commission Chariman Rudd Smith. 
Funding for the $80 million, 224,000-square-foot facility came from multiple sources -- the state, Charleston County, the City of North Charleston, federal grants, private donations and college resources.

The new building will house the college’s Aeronautical Studies programs, readySC training for Boeing South Carolina, and other readySC advanced manufacturing training. It will also provide classroom and lab space for the college’s advanced manufacturing continuing education programs, and Industrial and Engineering Technology programs.

The college is currently working with LS3P Associates and Lindbergh & Associates on the design of the building. The college plans to issue construction contracts ​beginning in January 2017. Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.

Mary Thornley and Anita Zucker are interviewed
by local television stations.
The center will feature open bays to accommodate aircraft, large aircraft parts and training aids. Classrooms and labs will be used to train students in subjects including aircraft assembly and maintenance, composite materials, avionics, mechatronics, robotics and automation, and additive manufacturing (industrial 3-D printing). 

Continuing its commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability, and as required by state law, TTC’s specifications will require that the new building be designed to meet Green Globes standards for high performance in the areas of site development, water and energy use, materials selection, emissions, and indoor environmental quality. The building’s design will contain many sustainable features, including a solar roof funded through private donations and a matching gift from Trident Technical College Area Commissioner Anita Zucker.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Putting Students First

Roxanne Jones, Instructor, Child and Youth Studies
A couple of years ago, I was helping a student register for classes. When we were finished, I asked if she had any other questions or concerns that I could help her with. She hesitated for a moment and then told me that she didn't think she would be able to buy her books.

I asked if she was on financial aid and she said yes, but last term she could not buy books for two of the four courses she registered for. Although financial aid covered all of her tuition, it did not cover all of the books she needed for her classes. So she bought what she could out of pocket and borrowed books from other students whenever possible. She ended up failing two of her courses that semester.

I was shocked to hear this and wondered how does this happen?  I got her in touch with Financial Aid, who connected her with a counselor, and it looked like she was going to end up in the exact same situation, without money for books. Someone suggested I contacted TTC Foundation, which I did, and the next thing I know the student came by my office to let me know she had her books.

It turned out that she hadn’t filed her financial aid correctly and it was eventually straightened out. But in the meantime, the TTC Foundation was able to step in and provide funding so that she would be able to start her classes with all of her books. 

I started giving to the TTC Foundation in 2010, right after I started worling at TTC, as a way to honor my grandmother. Although she only had an 8th grade education, she and my grandfather were always reading. She had a deep effect on my love of learning and when I started college, she was one of my biggest cheerleaders. She inspired me to become an educator and I have been teaching for 25 years.

After my experience with that student, I knew that I needed to continue giving to the Foundation. I have always believed that, as educators, we need to put aside our own agendas and make sure that our students have the best possible learning experience. The programs of the Foundation are there to help students be successful, and by donating to the campus campaign, we are making a smart choice to put our students first. 

Roxanne Jones
Instructor, Child and Youth Studies
2016 Campus Campaign Captain

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Another Successful TTC Pro-Am

Great weather, a special golf course and superb food – all combined to make the 2nd Annual TTC Pro Am golf tournament a huge success.  Held at the Country Club of Charleston, the TTC Pro Am netted over $51,000 for the Trident Technical College Foundation. Sun Trust Private Wealth was the presenting sponsor.

“We are very grateful for all the members of the community who supported TTC students by playing or being a sponsor for the TTC Pro-Am," said event chair Skip Godow, who is a member of the TTC Foundation Board of Trustees. "We are lucky to have a passionate and dedicated committee who were committed to the success of the event."

The opportunity to hold the event at The Country Club of Charleston was also a key factor. According to Godow, “The Country Club only holds two tournaments a year for outside groups. Being able to hold the TTC Pro-Am at this wonderful place with it’s long history and tradition made our tournament especially attractive.”   

After a great barbecue lunch provided by Swig & Swine, each of the 24 foursomes was paired with a local PGWA professional and hit the links for 18 scenic holes. At the end of play, everyone returned to the clubhouse for the Culinary Institute of Charleston’s Distinguished Alumni Extravaganza after-party.

Money raised from the tournament will support student scholarships, the student emergency fund, faculty/staff development and other critical needs throughout the college.

See more photos from the tournament and the after-party.

Learn more about The TTC Pro-Am

2016 TTC Pro-Am Results

1st Place Gross: Bull's Bay
1st Place Net: Thomas & Hutton
2nd Place Gross: Homegrown Hospitality
2nd Place Net Team: Nexsen Pruet

3rd Place Net: Bonitz Flooring

4th Place Net: Godow

1st Place Gross (Pro): Greg Boyette
1st Place Net (Pro): Randy Glover

Better Luck Next Year: Raymond James

Closest to the Hole

#3: Arthur Swanson
#6: Brennan King
#11 (amateur): Bob Bishop
#11 (pro): Austin Cody
#17: Custis Byars

Longest Drive (Amateur): Jamie Yonce

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Trident Technical College Saved My Life

Going from a scared, troubled child to a goal-oriented, professional woman in just a few short years would never have been possible without Trident Technical College (TTC).
My happiest memory was when I was five and visited my very first film set in my hometown of Covington, Georgia. Seeing so many people and hearing them shout, “places, people!” made me realize this is exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up. I set out to learn everything I could about the film industry by setting up mock sets, taking old cameras apart and destroying any electronic equipment I could get my hands on.
But my innocent, childhood dreams were quickly forgotten.
My mother began to struggle with drugs and alcohol, and I was often left to fend for myself with little food and no running water or electricity. When I was 15, I was alone in the house and heard the front door open. Two large men came bursting into my bedroom, brutally attacked and attempted to kidnap me. 
 They told me that my mother had sold me for drugs.
I somehow managed to get away and eventually went to live with my father in Charleston, South Carolina. When my dad asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I remembered my childhood dream of wanting to work in the film industry. I did some research and was thrilled to discover TTC offered such programs, was affordable and I could attend with my GED.  
It turned out that I was unable to receive financial aid because my mother was still my legal guardian and I had no idea where she was. I was working four jobs, trying to juggle my classes and trying to make sense of the nightmare of my past. I loved going to school and learning about the industry, but I struggled and, once again, lost sight of my dreams. I ended up doing the one thing I thought I would never do: I turned to drugs. 
Thankfully, my instructors at TTC did everything in their power to help me. They treated me like I was family and gave me the strength, encouragement and tools to achieve my goals. I received my degree in 2008 and today I am happily working at CNN as a Satellites and Transmissions Operator/Engineer. 
I know I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the positive experience I had at TTC and I am proud to be an alum!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

TTC Future Alumni Essay Contest Winners

The Trident Technical College Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Fall Future Alumni Essay Contest, which was open to all current students. Students were asked to share what TTC has done to assist them with their goals; their plans immediately after TTC and what they will do to help the college and future students after leaving. More than 150 submissions were received and judged by a panel of volunteers. 

L-R: Steven Henneberry, Sonia Cline, Megan Olivia Hernandez,
Terry A. Beyer and Kalyn Judkins
Megan Olivia Hernandez, who won first place in the contest, received a check for $1,000 from the TTC Foundation. 

Megan, who is enrolled in the cosmetology program at TTC, wrote about the challenges of being a military wife: "I will not complain of the hardships because I truly see this life as a privilege. Nonetheless, it is all too common for a military wife to lose herself." 

Megan plans to help other military wives see the importance of finding their own identities and point them in the direction of TTC: "I consider myself an unofficial ambassador for Trident Tech in a community that often does not think about college as an option."

Runners up, who received $500 each, were Steven Henneberry, Sonia Cline, Terry Beyer and Kalyn Judkins

Essays were read and scored by at least 3 different judges, consisting of alumni, volunteers and friends of the college. Their scores were based on spelling, grammar, organization and how effectively they describe their college experience, plans for after graduation and how the intend to give back to the college and/or the community. 

"We want them to be able to draw a clear connection between their personal experience and giving to others, but do in an authentic, believable and passionate voice," says Steve Price, chair of the TTC Foundation Board Alumni Relations Committee.  "I believe our winners hit the mark and we are very proud of them." 

Congratulations to all winners! 

The next essay contest will be held during the month of October 2016.  

Future Alumni Essay Contest Winning Essay

By Megan Olivia Hernandez

The first time I walked onto campus at Trident Tech, I was trembling and had to give myself a pep talk before I even got out of my car. I had been in South Carolina for less than two months; I knew no one and absolutely nothing about starting cosmetology school. I walked into the registrar’s office, despite my trepidation, and I am so very glad that I did. I was greeted with attention and kindness from the second I walked in the door. The dean, herself, gave me a tour of the campus and introduced me to my future teachers. The dean, the assistant dean, and the registration staff kindly helped me through the registration process. They made me feel like attending college at TTC was an achievable feat, and I could see that I would have the support I needed. 

As a military wife, I take my duty to serve my country, through the support of my husband, a sailor in the United States Navy, very seriously.  It is an honor to play a small part in the service of my country through supporting my husband and the military community.  Being a military spouse is challenging, but I will not complain of the hardships because I truly see this life as a privilege. Nonetheless, it is all too common for a military wife to lose herself; it is very easy for a woman to fail to find her own identity. Trident Technical College has helped me find my own identity, express my creativity, and become trained in a skill that will allow me to further support my family. 

With the help of Trident Tech, I have been able to carve out who I want to be in my career and how I can achieve my goals. I cannot speak higher praises of the teachers I have encountered in the cosmetology program. They have, not only trained me in physical skills, but have also taught me how to treat all people with respect, kindness, and integrity. My teachers are experts in their field and are always willing to share that expertise with their students. They have pushed my creativity and my skills set without destroying my self confidence. The cosmetology teachers have made a huge impact on my life, and I am certain I would not be this close to graduating without their untiring help and affirmation. 

My goal for when I graduate is to "pay my dues" in a salon and continue to learn about the cosmetology industry, and one day, with hard work and determination, open my very own salon. I would love to somehow serve the military community through the tools and skills with which Trident Tech has equipped me. I cannot wait to join the workforce; I am confident with the education I have received at Trident Tech, I can begin to strike out on my path as a cosmetologist.  In the more distant future, I would love to teach cosmetology, so that I may impact the lives of others in a positive way, as I have experienced here. 

After graduation, I will continue to help other military wives see the importance of finding their own identities, and I will point them in the direction of Trident Tech. Even now, before I’ve graduated, I consider myself an unofficial ambassador for Trident Tech in a community that often does not think about college as an option. I have already sung Trident Tech’s praises on social media, and in person, to my fellow Navy wives, and will continue to do so.  I will help Trident Technical College and future students through sharing my wonderful experience and letting future students know there is always a way to achieve their goals with Trident Tech. After graduation, I will proudly display my Trident Technical College diploma in my station, and then hopefully, I will one day be able to hang it in my very own salon.  I am proud to be a future graduate of Trident Technical College; I sincerely hope that I can bring more Navy wives to join me in gaining their own identity through exploring all of the programs here at Trident Technical College!