Roanoke College logo. Courtesy of Roanoke College.

Here’s a roundup of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside.

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Roanoke College fields six proposals for memorial to recognize role of enslaved workers at the school

Six artists have submitted concepts to Roanoke College for a memorial to recognize and honor the role of enslaved people in the history of the school.    

The memorial project was initiated two years ago by the school’s Center for Studying Structures of Race (CSSR). Jesse Bucher, College Historian and CSSR director, said a jury made up of stakeholders from Roanoke College, the local community and the arts world will evaluate the concepts and select an artist this spring.    

Creative Time, a New York-based creative arts company, is partnering with Roanoke College and the CSSR on the memorial project and working closely with the artists to develop and finalize their proposals.     

In late February, the proposals will be shared with the Community Vision Committee, comprised of community members and college faculty, staff and students. That group will hear descriptions of each artist’s concept and give feedback to Creative Time to be used when the jury begins its review process.    

Since 2019, CSSR has been working on a comprehensive plan to commemorate the role of enslaved people both in the history of the College and across the wider region. CSSR sponsors the Genealogy of Slavery project, which documents enslaved individuals who were either connected to Roanoke College or who lived in Roanoke County. This summer, student researchers will create a publicly accessible database that makes that research available to genealogists and historians. 

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Power Line Worker Training program to expand into Patrick County

Patrick & Henry Community College and Wytheville Community College have been awarded a $750,000 Virginia G3 (Get a Skill, Get a Job, Get Ahead) Innovation grant to expand WCC’s highly successful Power Line Worker Training program into Patrick County.

Virginia’s Fast Forward programs – such as the Power Line Worker Training Program – help students pay for short-term training that leads to industry-recognized certifications, licenses, and ultimately, high-paying jobs. Students enrolled in the Power Line Worker program train for 14 weeks to gain certifications and the skills to become successful power line workers. Skills that these students learn include electrical theory, aerial framing, rigging, safety, commercial truck driving, and the use of utility service equipment. 

The Stuart Rotary Club approved the use of Rotary Field in Stuart last week.  The Patrick County Board of Supervisors currently lease the Rotary Field facilities and on Monday, the Board approved the field to be used as the training site for the training.  Electrical poles and related equipment will be placed on the site to provide students with a realistic learning environment. Funds from the G3 Innovation grant will be used to purchase needed equipment and for other training costs.

Since WCC’s Power Line Worker Training program’s inception in 2017, eleven groups of students have completed the program and received the training and certifications necessary to become successful power line workers. 

The first class to be trained in Patrick County is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall of 2023. For more information about enrolling in the program, contact Perry Hughes (WCC) at or Rhonda Hodges (P&HCC) at

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Souper Bowl at Washington and Lee raises $9,700 for backpack program

Washington and Lee University’s Campus Kitchen and community members helped tackle childhood hunger in Rockbridge County in early February with its annual Souper Bowl event. This year’s Souper Bowl raised $9,700 to support the Campus Kitchen at W&L’s Backpack Program.

This hunger-fighting project began in 2009 as a partnership between CKWL and local public schools. The CKWL Backpack Program now serves all area elementary schools and Head Start programs, providing more than 1,250 children with a bag of non-perishable food items to take home for the weekend.

The Feb. 5 event featured 19 local soup creations from 14 participating restaurants, caterers and community organizations, and many were made with locally sourced ingredients. This year’s Souper Bowl participants were CKWL, CHEFS Catering Company, Globowl Café, Heliotrope Brewery, LexMex Tacos, LexVegas Bistro, Napa Thai, Pronto, Pure Eats, the Rockbridge Jewish Community, the Southern Inn Restaurant, Sweet Treats Bakery, the Georges and W&L Dining Services.

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Former Sen. Jim Webb to speak on Scots-Irish influence in America at UVA Wise

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb will speak about the historical impact of Scottish and Irish people and communities in America at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise on Feb. 22.

Webb will share insights from his best-selling 2004 book, “Born Fighting: How The Scots-Irish Shaped America.” The book was adapted into a two-part Smithsonian Channel documentary in

His lecture will begin at 7 p.m. at the college’s Science Lecture Hall and is open and free to the public.

Webb, who spent six years in the U.S. Senate, from 2007-2013, served as secretary of the Navy in the Ronald Reagan presidential administration. He served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marines and was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

Webb also worked as a lawyer, journalist and screenwriter and movie producer. He is best known for “Rules of Engagement,” “Whiskey River” and “Prepared to Serve: the U.S. Naval Academy in the Vietnam Ear.” Another of his books, “The Emperor’s General,” was purchased by Paramount.