PHONE: 627-4521

DATE: 10-8-02



At Haywood Community College, students are actively involved in volunteering as a part of learning. The results are far-reaching. From building a handicap ramp to educating school age children, HCC students make a difference.

Students gain many skills through their selflessness. They achieve a sense of motivation, experience, employment contacts, job opportunities and critical thinking skills.

The Building Construction Technology students are working on bathrooms at the fair grounds. They recently finished a handicap ramp and will soon start an addition to the Canton Good Samaritan Clinic.

Tommy Clements, Building Construction instructor says, "It helps them develop problem solving skills, which is the main goal."

"When students really see something work, they retain it. By volunteering, students hone skills, learn and apply concepts," says Steve Kirton, Electrical Technology Instructor.

Fish and Wildlife Management Technology students have numerous volunteering opportunities. Over the Labor Day Holiday, many students traveled to South Carolina to work with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on dove hunting research. For the 16th year, the students participated in the annual Big Sweep river clean-up in September. Every spring there is a similar project called the Clean Streams Day.

The Fish and Wildlife Management Technology students have been involved with a program called CATCH for almost 10 years. CATCH is Caring for Aquatics Through Conservation Habits. Through demonstration, HCC students work with school age children teaching them environmental principals, ethics, and safety.

Students also work in Haywood County monitoring the Northern Flying Squirrel. In October, they will return to South Carolina to assist the Central Piedmont Management Unit with data and samples on whitetail deer. In the spring, the students work in the eastern part of North Carolina with the Sandhills Gamelands maintaining a database on woodpeckers.

Dave Dudek, Fish and Wildlife instructor says that volunteering is a great advantage to students as well as the communities they help. Dudek says, "I stress to students the best way to distinguish themselves is to go beyond the call of duty." Volunteering is the best way to achieve this advice.

Electrical Technology students also devote a lot of their time to volunteering. According to Kirton, students work frequently with Habitat for Humanity. His students have also been involved with projects for the Boy Scouts, Haywood County Council on Aging, Haywood ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens), Haywood Literacy Council, and many other organizations.

The Electrical Technology students work on houses in varying states of completion. They are soon going to start on a totally handicap house. Other projects include rewiring, upgrading, electrical evaluations, and many others. Their largest project was the complete wiring of a new building at the fairgrounds, which lasted from March until early September.

Machining students participate in numerous volunteering projects as well. They have been involved for approximately six months on the Waynesville Kiwanis Community Playground. The students are engraving around 500 fence pickets. Dale Haddock, Machinist Instructor says the students have worked closely with Haywood Vocational Opportunities in the past. According to Haddock, the hardest part of his job is saying no to requests for volunteer help. "Anytime it relates to the curriculum or what I’m teaching, I find a way to help."

Kirton says he loves to see the response and appreciation from those his students help. "Volunteering is a phenomenal aid to learning. It is a hand up, not a hand out."