Enter a ‘Winter Wonderland’ at Pellissippi State’s annual holiday concert

Group of students singing with Santa Claus in middle
Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff perform with Santa Claus during the 2018 Holiday Spectacular.

Pellissippi State Community College will wrap up its fall 2019 Arts at Pellissippi State series with its annual concert featuring all of the college’s instrumental ensembles and choirs.

The hugely popular Holiday Spectacular is a perfect time to catch performances of the musicians you may have missed earlier in the season.

There will be two performances of the Holiday Spectacular, which is themed “Winter Wonderland” this year: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.

Both performances will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Tickets are free and available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

The Holiday Spectacular will feature religious and secular selections performed by

  • Variations, Pellissippi State’s audition choir;
  • Concert Chorale, the college’s non-audition choir;
  • Faculty/Staff Choir;
  • Jazz Band and Bluegrass Ensemble, both audition groups;
  • Brass, Guitar and Percussion Ensembles; and
  • Studio Orchestra.

Among the selections this year will be familiar Christmas carols such as “What Child Is This?” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” as well as pop culture classics like “Christmas Time is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Grinch.” And not only will audiences hear “Snow” from “White Christmas,” but the concert will end with falling snow, a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

Plan to arrive early to the performance of your choice to get a complimentary ticket, as seating is limited to the first 495 guests per show. While the performance is free, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund.

The Holiday Spectacular is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State Jazz Band takes the stage this Thursday

Jazz band on stage, playing instruments
The Pellissippi State Jazz Band performs last November. You can catch them again this Thursday, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center.

Works by jazz greats Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and others will be performed at Pellissippi State Community College’s Fall Jazz Concert this Thursday.

The concert, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The Pellissippi State Jazz Band, under the direction of Tom Johnson, also will feature music by Broadway composer Richard Rodgers and a well-known bolero by Mexican composer Consuelo Velazquez.

Many different musicians in the 15-piece ensemble will have solos, Johnson noted.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music, theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865.694.6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State celebrates 45 years of serving the community with 45 Days of Giving

1974 faculty and staff of Pellissippi State in front of Division Street building
Pellissippi State Community College opened for classes at what is now the college’s Division Street Campus on Sept. 23, 1974. The college was named State Technical Institute at Knoxville,and it offered three associate degree programs, all in Engineering Technology.

It’s been 45 years since Pellissippi State Community College opened as State Technical Institute at Knoxville, with 45,000 square feet of floor space, to an inaugural headcount of 45 students.

Now the largest community college in Tennessee, with five campuses and 10,694 students, Pellissippi State is celebrating its 45th anniversary with 45 Days of Giving, a push to finish out Pellissippi State’s campaign to build two new buildings, expand its Media Technologies programs and support students financially.

“There will never be forests in the future if we don’t plant the seeds today,” said Ronni Chandler, a Pellissippi State alumna who serves on the college Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “This campaign is about doing our part to ensure that current and future students have the facilities and resources they need to be prepared to succeed and to lead.”

Pellissippi State launched the campaign Feb. 1, outlining a lofty goal of raising $10 million. So far the Foundation has reached 99% of that goal, and construction of the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus is underway.

The college expects to break ground on the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the Blount County Campus in spring 2020.

“Every part of this campaign — from the new buildings to the Student Opportunity Fund — will benefit our students,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.

For example, the new 82,000-square-foot Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science will help Pellissippi State meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect scholarships while the new 53,000-square-foot Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center will be used by Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville to help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees.

Pellissippi State’s Student Opportunity Fund also will benefit from the campaign. Created in 2018 to help break down the barriers that keep students from staying in school, the Student Opportunity Fund has provided a total of $55,115 in assistance to 153 students since its inception last year.

“Many people believe the cost of an education at Pellissippi State is now paid for by the state,” explained Campaign Chair Tom Ballard, who established the Student Opportunity Fund with his wife Diane and support from Marty Adler-Jasny and Norm and Ann Naylor. “That is true for things like tuition, but it doesn’t pay for incidentals or unexpected expenses for a student whose car breaks down or computer dies. Those are expenses that many of Pellissippi State’s students cannot absorb.”

To complete the campaign before the end of the calendar year, Pellissippi State is celebrating 45 Days of Giving. 45 Days of Giving will continue until Dec. 31 and will include Giving Tuesday on Dec. 3.

During these 45 days, Pellissippi State faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community are encouraged to donate to Pellissippi State at https://giving.pstcc.edu.

Five alumni champions – one for each decade the college has existed – are challenging their fellow alumni to see which decade’s alumni can raise the most for the campaign. Champions include Curt Maxey, Class of 1979; Randy Merritt, Class of 1989; Ronni Chandler, Class of 1994; J. Travis Howerton, Class of 2002; and Candace Viox, Class of 2013.

“After being out of the workforce for 13 years and college for 20 years, I enrolled in the culinary program at Pellissippi State,” said Viox, owner of Water into Wine Bistro and Lounge. “My experience and the many supporters I gained there led to the conception, and ultimately the success, of my restaurant in Farragut.”

Even those donors who didn’t graduate from Pellissippi State are welcome to indicate which decade they want their gift to join. The winning decade will be the theme of the campaign celebration.

To keep up with 45 Days of Giving and the friendly competition between the decades, be sure to follow Pellissippi State, Pellissippi State Foundation and Pellissippi State Alumni and Friends on Facebook. Facebook profile frames to support the campaign are available here.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

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Pellissippi State invites all to celebrate international culture next week

Four students at a table
Pellissippi State students participate in the International Culture Festival in spring 2018. The next one is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

Pellissippi State Community College will mark International Education Week with five days of activities on its Hardin Valley Campus next week, culminating with an International Culture Festival hosted by the college’s international students.

“We celebrate the week at Pellissippi State to highlight the many international experiences available to students from both here and abroad,” explained Theresa Castillo, assistant director of the Tennessee Consortium of International Studies, which is housed at Pellissippi State, and chair of the college’s International Education Committee. “The week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and to attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences with us.”

Pellissippi State has 96 international students enrolled in classes who are here on student visas from 35 countries, noted International Admissions Specialist Patricia J. Higgins. The college also has hundreds of students who were born outside of the United States and now live here permanently, she added.

“Many of the students celebrating with us at the Culture Festival are U.S. immigrants who are bringing their families with them to help celebrate,” Higgins noted.

All International Education Week activities at Pellissippi State are planned for the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and are free and open to the public:

  • Monday, Nov. 18: World Café featuring Brazil, 12:30-2 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center. This event, cosponsored by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, will feature music, culture and activities focused on the country of Brazil.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 19: Faculty panel on internationalizing the curriculum, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. Professor Oakley Atterson, a Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence faculty fellow for Global and Diversity Learning, will share his project working with faculty to internationalize their syllabi to prepare college students for an increasingly interconnected world and the impact this project is already having in our classrooms.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 20: International film “Embrace of the Serpent,” 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Goins Building Auditorium. Through parallel story threads set 40 years apart, this odyssey follows two Western scientists who travel deep into the Amazon jungle looking for a rare plant that possesses healing powers. This film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Feature at the 2016 Academy Awards and Best International Film at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and was winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Award.
  • Thursday, Nov. 21: Displays in the Educational Resource Center (library), all day. Displays will include films and books highlighting international themes as well as art, photos and journals from 2019 Tennessee Consortium for International Studies study abroad programs.
  • Friday, Nov. 22: International Student Culture Festival, 12:30-3:30 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center. Pellissippi State’s international students will share their country’s culture through music, food, dance and more. Cosponsored by the International Student Club and Access and Diversity, activities will include a fashion show of clothing traditionally worn in other countries and virtual reality tours that allow festivalgoers to “visit” countries around the world.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

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Pellissippi State play explores racial injustice, inspired by true story

Rehearsal for "Blood at the Root"
The cast of “Blood at the Root” rehearses the upcoming play at Pellissippi State.

Racial justice – or lack of it – in the United States is at the center of “Blood at the Root,” a play at Pellissippi State Community College this fall.

Written by Tony Award-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau, “Blood at the Root” was inspired by a 2006 incident in Jena, Louisiana, in which six black students were charged with attempted murder for a school fight after nooses were found hanging from a tree on campus – while the white students involved in the fight received three-day suspensions.

“Here we are, almost 20 years into the 21st century, and we are still having these conversations about valuing people – or devaluing people – based on skin color,” said Associate Professor Grechen Lynne Wingerter, who is directing the play for the Arts at Pellissippi State. “Of course it makes us uncomfortable, but it comes down to those of us who have privilege need to be listening to those who don’t. And theatre is the one way I know how to talk about difficult subjects.”

Audiences will have six chances to see “Blood at the Root” at Pellissippi State: 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 8-9 and Nov. 15-16, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 10 and Nov. 17. There will be nightly talk-back sessions after each performance.

All performances are general seating in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Seating is limited, and advanced reservations for tickets are strongly encouraged.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff. They can be purchased at www.pstcc.edu/tickets.

While “Blood at the Root” is inspired by the true story of the Jena Six, the plot is multi-layered, Wingerter noted. One fictional student involved in the fight gets outed as homosexual, for example, while eyewitnesses all have different perspectives of what happened.

“The heart of it is still the inequity of the justice system in America and how our systems were set up from the beginning for this kind of inequity,” she said.

The play centers on three black students and three white students, as well as the principal of the school and the district attorney. Wingerter has cast 14 Pellissippi State students – non-named characters are members of the ensemble – while five Pellissippi State students and one Austin-East Magnet High School student join Pellissippi State faculty, staff and alumni as members of the artistic production team.

“I’ve always wanted my students to understand the power of theatre and art in general and to recognize the need for everyone to truly have a voice and be seen,” Wingerter said. “Theatre has the ability to do that.”

Wingerter hopes audiences will take away from “Blood at the Root” the courage to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable.

“The last couple of years in this country have pointed out all the things that divide us,” Wingerter said. “The only way to move forward is to be willing to be uncomfortable for a bit, to admit, ‘I haven’t lived these experiences, but I can see that that is difficult.’ It is easy to pretend that if something is not happening to us, it’s not happening. But until we talk about it, nothing is going to happen.”

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music, theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State hosts War Dog Memorial March for pooches and their people this Sunday

Humans and their canine companions can help raise money to build a War Dog Memorial Dog Park in Knoxville simply by strolling around Pellissippi State Community College’s pond this Sunday.

Pellissippi State is partnering with PetSafe and other sponsors to host the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation War Dog Memorial March 2-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Participants will walk their pooches on Pellissippi State’s 0.75-mile paved walking loop while learning about “war dogs” and Knoxville’s plan to honor them with a new dog park at Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park.

Festivities begin at 2, with the walk starting at 2:30 p.m. This year’s grand marshal is Marine Corps War Dog Sgt. Rush, who has served six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and participants are sure to spot several local celebrities, including Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., walking dogs.

Young-Williams Animal Center will be on site with adoptable dogs and will be offering discounted vaccinations and microchipping. Participants are asked to bring a sack of dry dog food to support this local no-kill animal shelter.

Dress up your dog for a chance to win a prize for the Most Patriotic dog. The march also will feature a custom dog house auction and door prizes. Pellissippi State’s student club for veterans will be selling Sweet P’s barbecue sandwiches, mac ’n cheese and banana pudding.

To register for the march, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vhsf-war-dog-memorial-march-presented-by-petsafe-tickets-62958428354. Single dog registration is $20 while those bringing more than one dog may register for $15.

The registration fee includes an event bandana for your dog while matching event T-shirts are available at the march for an additional cost.

Registration ends Saturday, Nov. 2.

There’s also an opportunity, at the same link, to donate even if you can’t make the march. Donations will be accepted until Sunday, Nov. 3.

The VHSF War Dog Memorial March is sponsored by PetSafe & Radio Systems Corp., Young-Williams Animal Center, WIMZ 103.5 radio, Powell Animal Hospital, River Dog Bakery, Woodmen Life Chapter 803, Sweet P’s BBQ and Pellissippi Patriots, the student club for veterans.

Variety abounds at Pellissippi State’s Fall Instrumental Concert

A student playing a trombone
Pellissippi State music students perform in concert in November 2018.

Where can one hear both marimba music from Mexico and a medley of cop and detective television themes from the 1970s and ‘80s?

Pellissippi State Community College’s Fall Instrumental Concert on Monday, Oct. 28, will include these and much, much more from the college’s brass, guitar and percussion ensembles and the studio orchestra.

The free concert, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The evening’s diversity will include:

  • The brass ensemble, directed by Tom Lundberg, playing selections from ballet to opera by Italian Giovanni Gabrieli, French composer Leo Delibes, American composer Collier Jones and Spaniard Manuel Penella;
  • The guitar ensemble, directed by Chad Volkers, performing a series of character pieces telling a story using musical imagery, taking the audience from a tumultuous boat ride and the sounds of the earth to a circus and finding a mouse in the house;
  • The percussion ensemble, directed by Paul Hayes, exploring the unique and eccentric, including marimba music from Mexico, a flamenco-inspired mallet duet and a trio using some of the more neglected instruments in the percussion family; and
  • The studio orchestra, directed by David Slack, playing a medley of cop and detective television themes composed by Mike Post, Jack Elliot, Allyn Ferguson, John Parker and Henry Mancini.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State presents Fall Bluegrass Concert on Thursday

Hardin Valley Thunder performing
The Pellissippi State Bluegrass Ensemble, also known as the Hardin Valley Thunder, performs at the college’s Fall Bluegrass Concert last year.

Bluegrass fans have an opportunity to hear a local ensemble before they perform internationally in 2020.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Bluegrass Ensemble, under the direction of Associate Professor Larry Vincent, will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The ensemble, which was established in 2009, has performed in prestigious venues in the Knoxville area – the Tennessee Theatre, the Bijou Theatre and the Museum of Appalachia, to name a few – and has appeared on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special on multiple occasions.

The group, which is also known as Hardin Valley Thunder, is scheduled to perform in Slovakia and Hungary in 2020.

This year’s concert will feature 14 songs by artists such as Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and Hank Williams. The ensemble is comprised of Andie Bradley on fiddle; J.T. Coleman on bass; Jonathan Maness on mandolin and Dobro; Marshall Murphey on banjo, mandolin and vocals; AnnaBelle Rabinowitz on vocals; David Sharp on guitar; Isaac Scott on fiddle and vocals; Hannah Sloas on vocals; and Vincent on guitar.

The Fall Bluegrass Concert is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Knoxville author Bob Booker to headline Pellissippi State’s lectures on 1919, the ‘Year of Fear’

Bob Booker, author
Knoxville author Bob Booker will discuss the Knoxville Race Riot of 1919 at Pellissippi State next week.

It’s been 100 years since the “Year of Fear,” when race riots, stock market crashes and flu pandemics swept the country.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Liberal Arts Department will help mark the occasion with a series of short lectures and discussions on these and other notable 1919 events next week.

Bob Booker, former executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and an authoritative author on Knoxville’s black history, will provide the keynote address on the Knoxville Race Riot of 1919. His presentation will be held 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, on Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. A reception with Booker will follow.

All “Year of Fear” events at Pellissippi State are free and open to the public.

“The First World War was the most catastrophic, bloodiest event in human history up until that time. So often what is forgotten when studying war are the profound effects wars can have on the homefront of any nation,” said History Instructor Leslie Coffman, an organizer of the event. “The aftermath of WWI in America and around the world is a dark story. 1919 is known as the ‘Year of Fear’ for a reason, and we wanted to offer opportunities for the public to understand why.”

The “Year of Fear” schedule includes opportunities at each of Pellissippi State’s five campuses.

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road:

  • 9:40-10:10 a.m. “Russia Still Remembers: America’s Invasion of Russia, 1918-1919” by Instructor Yuliya Kalnaus;
  • 10:20-10:40 a.m. Discussion of the upcoming play “Blood at the Root,” based on the Jena Six, led by Associate Professor Grechen Wingerter;
  • 10:40-11:20 a.m. “The Day Wall Street Exploded: America’s First Great Terrorist Attack, 1919-1920” by Assistant Professor Nathan Pavalko;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Magnolia Avenue Campus Community Room:

  • 10:40-11:20 a.m. “The Year that Fun was Banned: The Flu Pandemic of 1919” by Professor Toni McDaniel;
  • 11:20-11:50 a.m. “’It Was a Fear for All of Us’: The Lynching of Will Brown and the Omaha Race Riots” by Coffman;
  • 11:50-12:50 a.m. “The Heat of a Red Summer: Race Mixing, Race Rioting in 1919 Knoxville” by Booker;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Blount County Campus West Chevrolet Auditorium, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville:

  • 10:15-10:40 a.m. “The Spanish Flu: Adding Insult to Injury” by Assistant Professor Amanda Carr-Wilcoxson;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Division Street Campus’ conference room, 3435 Division Street:

  • 11:20-11:50 a.m. “The Marathon Continues: Questions of Race in 2019” by Instructor Gregory Johnson; and

Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Strawberry Plains Campus’ lobby, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike:

  • 12:55-1:50 p.m. “How 1919 Changed Knoxville Forever: The Events that Weren’t Supposed to Happen Here” by Instructor Laura Arnett Smith with a musical performance by tutor Marcel Holman.

“We wanted to focus on remembering the Knoxville Race Riots as part of this ‘Year of Fear’ because all of this seems particularly troubling when dealing with humanity issues so close to home,” Coffman said. “Understanding the Red Summer, in particular the atmosphere of Knoxville post-WWI, also gives us the context we desperately need for understanding modern racial dynamics. This is a road we have traveled together as Americans.”

For maps and driving directions to Pellissippi State’s five campuses, visit www.pstcc.edu/maps/.

To request accommodations for these or any campus event, call 865-694-6411 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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More than 50 Pellissippi State students sing at college’s Fall Choral Concert this Thursday

Meagan Humphreys directs student singers on risers
Pellissippi State Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys, far left, directs student singers during the Fall Choral Concert in October 2018.

Mark your calendars for Pellissippi State Community College’s Fall Choral Concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. More than 50 student singers will perform.

This annual concert, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will feature both college choirs, Concert Chorale and Variations, and will feature a variety of repertoire, both sacred and secular in nature.

Concert Chorale will present a set of three songs that focus on the topic of peace, all differing widely in style. One of the songs in that set, “Hands are Knockin’” by Kyle Pederson, was published in 2018 and will feature student percussionist Dakota Loo on djembe.

Variations will present music from the Romantic era by Anton Bruckner, a set of three songs by three different contemporary composers all based on childhood poetry, and finish off the program with a rousing spiritual, “Hold On!”, arranged by Moses Hogan.

Several student soloists will be featured throughout the program. Both choirs are led by Pellissippi State Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys and are accompanied by Associate Professor Peggy Hinkle on piano.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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