Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coker Alpha Students understand a challenge

Charles Bethea, a Coker College student at the Marion/Mullins campus. was getting students at the campus to sign a card for one of their own who had recently been diagnosed in breast cancer. He had garnered a lot of signatures from his fellow students.

One thing that becomes quickly apparent when teaching in the evening program at Coker College is that all the students seem to have a story. Some will tell the story and others just continue building their story but you will find people balancing a lot of things in their quest for their college degree.

Lapoleon "Charles" Bethea has one of those stories. At 55, he is one of the older but not the oldest of the students at the Marion/Mullins campus. He graduated from Dillon High School in 1974 and went straight into the work force - not even considering the possibility of college. But now, on disability because of a stroke, a heart problem and twice broken neck, he has focused on a dream and a challenge of getting a degree in psychology that will allow him to take many of his volunteer activities to the next level.

At the Monday night Homecoming gathering, held between the early and late classes, Charles shared a little of his story with his fellow Coker students. He told them about fighting his way back from a 2008 stroke and deciding in the recovery that "I had not lost the will to keep going." During that recovery friends would stop by to check on him and talk about things. A few of those friends were pursuing their college degrees and the spark caught and Charles had a new dream. "I worried that I might not be smart enough or that I might not remember all that I needed to remember but they did it and I thought I could too." So, in 2009 he began his Coker career.

Charles notes, with more than a little surprise, "it was not as difficult as I might have thought. There is always someone a fellow student, a faculty member or a Coker staff member who is interested in helping." Charles, who had loved reading for most of his life, finds that nowadays he is reading psychology texts, or philosophy articles more than his favorite western author, Louis L'Amour, but he his enjoying it at least as much. He describes how his psychology instructor, Dr. Brown brings experience to the classes and how she imparts "so much insight." He notes the challenge of being forced from his normal thinking by a Dr. Isley-taught philosophy class. "He forced you to think out of the box."

Charles is walking with some crutches and a boot on his leg from a recent fracture but he is at class each night. With all of his medical troubles, and they are frequent, he says he has only missed about three class nights over these past three years.

A native and resident of Dillon, he got to live a lot of places as a construction worker during the 1970s and '80s retuning to Dillon in 1990 to recover from a heart attack. Despite health issues, he has been Chairman of the Dillon County First Steps, he is a Guardian Ad Litem and works with a variety of activities and groups in Dillon to build his community. He is certain that the quality education he is getting through the Coker ALPHA program will allow him to build on his volunteerism and find new, more effective, ways to continue helping people.

Charles Bethea is one of the many stories of adults who are back in college working toward a dream deferred and as they tell their stories, it is easy to feel the impact the Coker College ALPHA program is making within the Pee Dee community.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Totally 80s Homecoming Theme


Zumba photos by Sarah Folsom


Homecoming Events for the 2011 Fall Semester at Coker College are in full swing. Glow-in-the-dark Zumba kicked off Homecoming on Sunday night and on Monday Coker women competed in Powder Puff football.

And, at the Marion campus, Jamie Thomas, who is coordinator of the Marion/Mullins Coker campus, scheduled a Homecoming event for the adult students at that location that featured a current student and two former students discussing the difference the Coker College ALPHA (adult learner) program has made in their lives. One graduate told of being in graduate school and having the instructor discuss the research component of the class. She told the group how prepared she felt and that she was because of the faculty at the Marion/Mullins site. Thomas told the students, who gathered between their first and second session classes, that he wanted some Homecoming events at Marion so they could see and feel what it means to be part of Coker College. Barbara Jackowski, coordinator of the Coker Alpha program, also spoke, telling the audience that seeing them move their Coker years is a dream of hers as an adult-learning educator.

Lecture Series --
Tuesday evening the college is featuring the annual Lois Coker Walters lecture with Harvard Professor Dr. D. N. Rodowick speaking on the The (Fading)/(Future) Memory of Film.

The Homecoming events for current students and alumni continue throughout the week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Televison Stations Showcases College

Using this post to establish a link to a web story by WMBF and their coverage of Coker College. Interesting to see another perspective.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bob Sloan, editor of The Hartsville Messenger joined the “Writing for Media” class at Coker College to tell the students about the life of a community journalist. “Visiting professionals give the students a new perspective about the class work and this is especially important in the field of journalism,” said R. A. Puffer, associate professor – communication.

The students wrote inverted pyramid stories on the visit, taking the perspective of reporters for this exercise. I hope some of the students will post their stories as comments to the Blog so they can see what they look like when printed in a public forum.

Many in the class commented that they found the visit productive and that they enjoyed hearing about the multiple jobs that are involved in being a community journalist. The Hartsville Messenger is part of the Media General media corporation.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 11, 2001 Commermoration at Coker College

Photos contributed by Caleb Dunlop

The bell tolled and the emotions swelled. It was a Darlington County Firefighter pulling the chord and then an Air Force veteran, now a Coker student. As the bell tolled the emotions swelled. TAPS played by a Coker student, and veteran of the United States Navy, capped the morning's commemoration but the feelings of sadness and loss continue flowing like waves on a beach. Those of us alive still and alive that day will always remember.

The Coker College community joins together on most Thursdays for a Coffee in the Courtyard to recognize events and achievements of students, staff or faculty. This morning, September 8, 2011 the Community gathered to remember those lost on 9-11.

It was a moving event. Jason Umfress, Dean of Students, noted that the idea came because of the importance of remembering as a community. He also stressed the importance of passing on the memory to the next generation, those students who were in the third, fourth or fifth grades when the United States of American was attacked by terrorists.

In addition to the Coker Community representatives of the local law enforcement, fire departments and emergency services were on hand to be recognized for their daily commitments to creating a safer community. Coker is also sponsoring another event to commemorate the events of ten years ago. This commemoration will be a gathering of the arts at the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Auditorium on the Coker Campus at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, September 11, 2011.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Coker College Women's Soccer team opens play for the 2011 season on September 1 at 7 p.m. The following story was put on the college's sports web site this morning.

Coker Women Ready to Get the Season Started
by Caleb Dunlop, Coker Sports Information Intern

Read this article on the web at
The Coker Cobras women's soccer team will begin play tonight with not only a group of fresh faces on the pitch, but three new faces roaming the sidelines.
Dan Muns will lead the women's soccer team this season after serving as an assistant at Columbus State University (GA) since the program's birth in 2004. Columbus State became a regionally and nationally ranked program during Muns' tenure. Muns will be assisted by Jackie DeNova and Garrett Vaughan.

Muns is very excited to get the season underway. "The ladies have a terrific work ethic and have embraced our focus on competition and accountability," Muns said, "we have been preparing for the regular season one day at a time."

The new Cobra women's team includes eight new players, six of which are freshmen. "With a new coach there are changes in the philosophy," freshmen keeper Lizz Morris said, "a lot of new players have come on board, and we are looking to change the face of this program ."

Junior Sarah Rountree echoed this thought saying, "There is a different type of atmosphere on the field. There is a lot of team chemistry, we work well together."

Overall, the feel on campus is breathing excitement and energy into the program. New players and returners alike look to make an impact on the pitch when their season kicks off against USC Aiken. "We have a whole new attitude towards this season. We are all very excited," said junior Morgan Hartline.

The bar has been raised for the club this year. With a new coaching staff and plenty of new faces, eyes will be upon the team as they begin their season tonight at 7 p.m. against the USC Aiken Pacers.
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