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For Kassidy Mathis, graduating from high school and community college at the same time reinforces that she is a self-motivated student.

Mathis will receive her associate in arts college transfer degree from Southwestern Community College May 10, just days before she receives her high school diploma from Smoky Mountain High School. As a dual-enrolled student, Mathis has taken tuition-free college-credit courses in cooperation with SCC.

“I’ve saved time and money,” said Mathis of Sylva. “Plus, it’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn to manage my time better.”


Budget includes $1.5 million from savings to cover loss of federal stim money

Budget time is here again, and this year’s negotiations promise to be even more interesting than usual. At last week’s meeting of the Macon County Board of Education, a draft budget for the 2011-2012 school year was passed which anticipates cuts of up to 10 percent from state allocations this year.

Earlier in the year, school districts were instructed to produce budgets based on various reduction scenarios of 5, 10 and 15 percent as the state scrambles to cover a $3 billion budget hole brought on in part by the loss of revenue from temporary taxes that expire this year.


A ground-breaking ceremony for Southwestern Community College’s new $7.9 million academic/ administrative/ bookstore building on the Jackson Campus will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, May 6.

Due to the mud and access issues at the property site, folks are asked to gather in the Balsam Center Lobby for the ceremony.

The 38,210-square-foot building will be named for SCC’s long-time Chairman of the Board Conrad Burrell. An SCC trustee since 1996, Burrell is currently serving his 11th term as chairman of the board.

Burrell, whose close ties to SCC began years ago when he took carpentry and electrical classes, called it “an honor” to have this new building named for him. He remembers the night he learned of that honor.



FHS biology class experiences biodiversity, culture of Costa Rica

In the early morning hours of April 18, Franklin High School students from Joan Willis’ advanced biology class loaded a motor coach and began their field trip to the Central American nation of Costa Rica. After more than a year of planning and holding 16 fundraisers, the group of 17 students and six adults made their way to the Atlanta Airport, their point of departure for Costa Rica.

Once the class arrived at their destination, they were met by a guide who quickly shuttled them through security and to their hotel, where they were fed a traditional Costa Rican meal by the wait staff.


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