Solar panels on the New River Community College campus. Courtesy of New River CC.
Solar panels on the New River Community College campus. Courtesy of New River CC.

Here’s a roundup of education briefs. Want more education news? There’s no full-time reporter west of Richmond covering education K-college. You can help fix that. Help us fund this position. From now until the end of the year, NewsMatch will double your gift of up to $1,000.

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New River Community College gets approval for solar technician program

New River Community College recently received state approval to offer a new training program for those interested in becoming a solar technician.   

Students who complete the program will be trained to assemble, set up, and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy. Program completers will also earn the Solar Hands-On Installation Network of Excellence (SHINE) credential.

NRCC’s solar technician program was developed in response to regional labor needs. NRCC workforce coordinators collaborated with local business and industry to determine trainings and credentials that would benefit businesses and potential employees.  

The program will be administered by NRCC’s workforce development office as one of its FastForward offerings, which are low-cost, short-term training programs that prepare students for in-demand careers. Typically, students who take FastForward programs pay only one-third of the normal cost of training. Additional funds are also available to help offset training costs.   

The program is slated to begin in summer 2023. An exact date and enrollment details for the first course offerings in the new program will be announced at a later date. For more information, contact NRCC workforce development at (540) 674-3613. 

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Adriana Trigiani.
Adriana Trigiani. Courtesy of UVA Wise.

Adriana Trigiani to speak at UVA Wise

Adriana Trigiani, the award-winning author widely known for her novel and movie, Big Stone Gap, will read from her new book at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise on Nov. 14.

A Big Stone Gap native, Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of 20 fiction and nonfiction books that have been published in 38 countries. She is also a playwright, television writer and filmmaker. Her new novel, The Good Left Undone, is an endearing story of family love, loss, memories and regret, old age and grief, mothers and daughters then and now, across generations, wars and continents. It was published in April by Random House. 

Nominated three times by the Library of Virginia Fiction, Trigiani won for Home to Big Stone Gap in 2007, and has also won a RUSA Award from the American Library Association for Very Valentine. She is a recipient of the Appalachian Writers Heritage Award, presented by the Shepherd University Foundation, the West Virginia Humanities Council and the West Virginia Center for the Book.

Trigiani’s apperance on campus is in conjunction with the fall debut of Jimson Weed, the literary journal of University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA Wise). The event marks the 25th anniversary of the bi-annual publication.

The event will be held Nov. 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Cantrell Banquet Hall. Starting at 6:30 p.m., students and faculty will perform or read their poetry or prose from their contributions to the fall journal, followed by Trigiani’s presentation. Coffee night is free and open to the public.

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College Lake was drained temporarily after the August 2018 flood, revealing a glimpse at its future as a wetland. Courtesy of University of Lynchburg.
College Lake was drained temporarily after the August 2018 flood, revealing a glimpse at its future as a wetland. Courtesy of University of Lynchburg.

University of Lynchburg to collect oral history on College Lake

In a few months, Lynchburg — in partnership with the University of Lynchburg — will begin draining the water from College Lake and removing a dam that’s been deemed hazardous. That process is slated to start in late January 2023. The goal is to turn the former lake into a wetlands ecosystem.

In conjunction with that, the university recently launched College Lake Community Memory Project to archive, display, and share those stories.

Anyone can submit an oral history (via video or audio recordings), photos, or written documents, and all submissions will become part of Knight-Capron Library’s archives.

Dr. Laura Henry-Stone, an associate professor of environmental sciences and sustainability and director of sustainability, began collecting oral histories with her students in 2016.

“When I first became a faculty member at Lynchburg in 2012, I lived on Faculty Drive and had a view of College Lake out my backdoor,” Henry-Stone said in a statement. “Most days, I walked to my office, which meant crossing the lake on the dam and then walking the trail along the lake before heading up the hill to the main campus.

“I was developing my own relationship with the lake, while also learning about its history and ecology. As I walked, I frequently daydreamed about ways to reconnect community members with the lake and capture some of the memories from people who knew it decades ago. So, this project is the fruition of a dream that started for me 10 years ago.”