Category Archives: Students

Get to know editor-in-chief Kayla Cormier

Get to know Kayla Cormier, 2011-2012 editor-in-chief

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Get to know Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer is the official student blogger at Volunteer State Community College. His writing can be found on the Vol State website’s home page, and often on the school’s Facebook page. Farmer is also a member of the TRiO program, which is part of Student Support Services. TRiO funded fully through the U.S. Department of Education. “The main objective of this program is to provide eligible Vol State students increased educational opportunities in order to promote academic success,” according to Vol State’s TRiO website. There is an application process to be a TRIO member. Students must meet eligibility criteria such as having a low income or being a first-generation college student. According to Farmer, he did not do well in high school and it took him 20 years to get the motivation to get back to school. “In fact, during my sophomore year (almost thirty years ago), one counselor told my parents to forget about me graduating with my class,” he said in a blog entry. When he did return, he found that he was a much better student than he had ever expected. Each year TRiO members are encouraged to submit an essay to the national TRiO Quest Awards. Farmer’s paper was submitted, and he was awarded first place out of 600 entries. His award was “Best of Contest,” and he received a medal and cash prize as well as an iPod. “Vol State’s been great for me. This was the first academic award that I’ve ever received. “If I can do it, anyone can,” said Farmer. Farmer decided to make his entry a memoir about an experience that he shared with his family, titled “Life Lessons from a Smelly Shoe.” The essay tells of a disabled boy, a children’s game, and a new perspective on life. The emotion in the room was overpowering as the entire place stood in a standing ovation for Josh. The roar of clapping and shouts of “Bravo” were touching; some had tears running down their cheeks, impressed with his accomplishment. Josh stood there with a big grin, and his face beamed with pride, still unaware of why he was the star attraction. “Paul’s DigiText (entry) was amazing and so powerful,” said contest organizer Sharon Primm-Dayot, on Vol State’s website. “Judges were blown away. I know anyone who reads it online will feel the same ‘faith in mankind’, ‘we can make a difference’ message that Paul so beautifully presented.” Farmer is also a member of Vol State’s honors program, as well as the school’s new writers’ club the Author’s Lair. He will graduate in May, becoming the first person in his family to receive a college degree. His goal is “to write literature that is brilliant, complex, and beautiful. However, learning to write is kind of like playing a musical instrument. I’m trying to start with a complicated piece and play it perfect,” he said on his personal blog. “I forgot about practicing scales, tone, and timing on songs I didn’t even enjoy. After years of practice I developed my skills enough to play what I wanted, but I didn’t succeed starting with the hard stuff. Writing is the same way. You practice on things you don’t really want to do, but these exercises develop your ability. Soon you will know the craft, and be competent to write what you enjoy.”