Chipola College news


MARIANNA— The Florida Lottery will participate, for the sixth year in a row, in the Chipola College Fall Festival, Thursday, Sept. 28.

Lottery officials—including Lottery Secretary Jim Poppell—are scheduled to be on hand to meet Bright Futures scholarship recipients and to celebrate the Lottery’s 29-year history of supporting education in Florida.

All Chipola students are excused from classes Sept. 28, from 10:30 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. Chipola’s Student Government Association puts on the annual event for the student body. The event will be held in front of the Chipola gym, the Milton Johnson Center.

In addition to Outrageous Relay Races, students will enjoy music and free food. Several universities are expected to send recruiters to meet with students.The Lottery will provide free t-shirts, giveaways and a drawing for premium door prizes. Since Bright Futures was established in 1997, the Lottery has contributed more than $5 billion to send more than 750,000 students to college. To date, more than 5,000 Bright Futures scholarships have been awarded to Chipola students, totaling $8 million.

For information about the Fall Festival, call 718-2308 or visit the Chipola Student Activities Office, K-105.


MARIANNA, Fla. – Some 200 first responders from Louisiana and Mississippi got the royal treatment at the Chipola College Public Service Building as they staged there in preparation to assist in Hurricane Irma recovery efforts.

Chipola hosts first responders

Chipola College volunteers provided sleeping quarters, showers and three meals a day for three days with donations and help from Evangel Church, Rivertown Community Church, Trinity Baptist Church, Register’s Meats, Panhandle RV and the Baptist College of Florida Conference Center. Chipola also provided meals for Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Jackson County Fire and Rescue, Marianna Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Marianna Fire Department.

Jamie McAllister, Director of Criminal Justice and Public Service Programs, said, “Our guests said this was the best they had ever been treated. We were glad to host them in preparation for their important work.”

Firemen from Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Monroe, Alexandria were in Marianna according to Assistant Chief Bob Wolfe, who said, “This was the closest we could get but still be out of harm’s way.” During their 14-day deployment to Florida, the State Emergency Operations Center will dispatch the teams to different areas of the state. “Our specialty deals with anything from a collapsed building or collapsed structure to people trapped in those type situations to swift water rescue. We also do search and recovery,” Wolfe said.

Local law enforcement escorted the mobile command vehicles and equipment through Marianna before the storm.


MARIANNA—Chipola Theater Director Charles Sirmon recently cast local actors in The Odd Couple (Female Version) which opens a four-day run,Oct. 26.

The cast includes: Ashleigh Braswell as Olive, Mary Keyton as Florence, Sarah Liffick as Mickey, Breeanna Bennett as Vera, Landry Tharp as Sylvia, Sydney Cobb as Renee, Kane Keffer as Manolo and Destin Dawson as Jesus.

The play takes place in New York City in 1985. Unger and Madison are at it again—Florence Unger and Olive Madison, that is, in Neil Simon’s contemporary comic classic: the female version of ‘The Odd Couple.’ Instead of the poker party that begins the original version, Ms. Madison has invited the girls over for an evening of Trivial Pursuit. The Pidgeon sisters have been replaced by the two Costazuela brothers—but the hilarity remains the same.

For information, contact Charles Sirmon at 718-2227 or


MARIANNA—Chipola College invites students interested in becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps to attend a meeting at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Building Z, Room 116 (Jackson Hall), on the Chipola campus.

Students will learn how they can enroll in a bachelor’s degree program at Chipola and earn a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps after graduation through the Marine PLC (Platoon Leaders Course) program.

In addition to scholarships and/or stipends, PLC students have the opportunity to participate in leadership, physical fitness events, and team-building activities.

For more information, visit or contact Dr. David Bouvin at 718-2380 or


Enjoy a great meal while supporting Chipola College’s Future Educators Club at Marianna Beef O’Brady’s Spirit Night, Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 5 to 9 p.m. Let your server know that you are there supporting Chipola Future Educators Club, and 10% of your bill will to the FEC.


MARIANNA—The Florida Council of Teachers of English (FCTE) professional development institute will be held at Chipola College Saturday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST.

Dr. Pam Rentz, Chipola Vice President of Instructional Affairs, is an FCTE board member and Executive Editor of the Florida English Journal. Chipola Literature Instructor Amie Myers serves as assistant editor of the journal. Carrie Dunkle Perry, a native of Marianna and English teacher at Prew Academy in Sarasota, is the President of the FCTE.

Dr. Rentz says, “This is the first time this statewide conference has been held in the Panhandle. We invite all area English/Language Arts teachers to attend to share in the latest and best practices in teaching.”

The theme of the meeting is “Finding Our Balance.”  Workshops will center on helping teachers find and maintain balance between: testing and teaching, work life and home life, STEM and the arts, technology and text, and classic and contemporary.

Mark Hinson, journalist and entertainment columnist for the Tallahassee Democra

Presenters include: Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University; Elizabeth Thomas, published poet, performer, educator and advocate of the arts; Carol Jago, who taught English in middle and high school for over 30 years in California; and Mark Hinson, journalist and entertainment columnist for the Tallahassee Democrat.

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. His work focuses on the teaching of writing, literacy and technology. He collaborates with K– 12 colleagues and explores how they implement newer literacies in their classrooms. Hicks directs CMU’s Chippewa River Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, and he frequently conducts professional development workshops related to writing and technology. He is author of several Heinemann titles centered on digital writing and the forthcoming, “From Texting to Teaching.” Hicks has authored or co- authored 30 journal articles and book chapters, and he blogs regularly at

Elizabeth Thomas is a widely-published poet, performer, educator and advocate of the arts. She served as Poet-in-Residence at the United Arab Emirates University in Dubai in 2009. She has been a member of three Connecticut National Poetry Slam teams and in 1998 was a member of the U.S. team that performed in Sweden. She is an organizer with Brave New Voices: International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. Much of her time is devoted to designing and teaching writing programs for students of all ages to promote literacy and the power of written and spoken word. Thomas is a teaching artist for the Bushnell Performing Arts Center, HOT Schools, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Education Advance, CT Humanities Council, the Graduate Institute and the Florida Keys Arts Council.

Carol Jago has taught English in middle and high school in California for over 30 years. A past president of the National Council of Teachers of English, she serves as an associate director of the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA. She served as AP Literature content advisor for the College Board and has published four books on contemporary multicultural authors for NCTE’s High School Literature series. She has written a weekly education column for the Los Angeles Times, and her essays have appeared in English Journal, Language Arts and NEA Today. She edits the journal of the California Association of Teachers of English, California English.

Chipola College alumnus Mark Hinson is a journalist and entertainment columnist for the Tallahassee Democrat. He earned a degree in political science from the University of Florida and studied in the Florida State University Creative Writing Program with noted writing professor Jerome Stern. He drew cartoons, wrote features and humor columns for the independent Florida Flambeau, the unaffiliated student newspaper of FSU. His fiction has been published in literary journals and he was nominated for an O. Henry Award. In the mid 1980’s, he worked at The Tallahassee Democrat as a critic and features writer. He also worked at the New Orleans Times Picayune, mainly writing cutlines and headlines. He returned to the Democrat in the early ‘90s, where he has served as an editor, entertainment writer, arts reporter and weekly columnist. He has interviewed many noted figures such as Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Joseph Heller, Allen Ginsberg, Margaret Atwood, Elie Weisel, Jonathan Demme, and Salman Rushdie.

For information about the conference, visit or phone 850-718-2305.


Four Chipola College students majoring in engineering recently were awarded the Mike Melvin Memorial Scholarship.

Pictured from left, are: Engineer Cleve Dryden, Ruth Melvin, scholarship recipients—Bryan Buchanan, Trevor Brogdon, Trent Woodham, Quaid Van Huss—and Engineer Randy Lane.

Funds for the scholarship are raised through an annual golf tournament in Melvin’s memory.


A host of theatre-goers attended the recent Chipola College Theatre Showcase. The event is a fundraiser for Chipola theater majors’ educational trip to New York City.

Here, students perform a dance routine.


The Chipola College TRIO Society recently held an Installation of 2017-2018 Officers.

Pictured (not in order, are): President Tyre Myrick, Vice President Cristina Ramirez, Secretary Josalynne Giles, Assistant Secretary – Christopher Oliver, Treasurer Ariel Beswick, Parliamentarian Danny Morales, SGA Liaison Charli Robbirds, and Social Media Consultant Dazhonna Dawson