tnAchieves Mentors Still Needed

The deadline to apply as a mentor for Tennessee Promise students is December 4. Tennessee Promise is the last-dollar scholarship that guarantees the payment of all tuition for the first 2 years of college for graduating high school seniors. A minimal commitment of time as a mentor helps to ensure that students receive the encouragement and support they need to continue their education and receive a post-secondary credential tuition-free.

According to tnAchieves, more than 3,400 mentors are still needed statewide to meet student demand. There are approximately 226 mentors currently needed in the JSCC service area. Specific areas of need can be found on the mentor recruitment dashboard at

As a mentor, you will invest 10-15 hours annually assisting 5-10 high school seniors. Many mentors spend as little as 1 hour per month serving as a resource to students. The role of a mentor is simple but significant. The time commitment consists of a one-hour training session, two one-hour meetings, and communicating with students every two weeks via email, phone, or text as they transition from high school to college.

To learn more about this important opportunity and to apply, visit

Drive into your future at Jackson State!

Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid

(FAFSA) at the Drive Into Your Future FAFSA Workshop.

Documentation needed at the workshop includes tax returns, W2 forms, amounts for child support paid or received, and any other relevant financial documents for the 2019 tax year. Students who are claimed as dependents are asked to bring a parent with them.

Thursday, October 29 | 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Friday, October 30 | 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Jackson State Community College Gym

To register for the workshop, go to

You must schedule an appointment to attend this event.

Schedule an appointment or call 731-425-2605 for additional details.

4Hands set to perform virtual performance at JSCC

The piano duo known as 4Hands is set to perform a virtual concert at Jackson State Community College on Tuesday, October 27 at 6:30 p.m. The performance will premiere on the college’s JSCC Communications YouTube channel and will be open to students and the public at The link to the concert will also be posted on the college’s website ( and Facebook page.

The month of October is Global Learning Month at Jackson State Community College. JSCC is well known for bringing world-class musical performances to the area to introduce students and local audiences to the music of various cultures from across the globe. Despite the numerous restrictions the global pandemic has placed on the ways the college can provide services to West Tennessee communities, the International Studies Program has continued the longstanding tradition of presenting musical performances during the monthlong celebration of global learning.

Performing for the first time at JSCC, the piano duo of Kristina Henckel and Amanda Virelles, also known as 4Hands, will perform a total of 8 selections from Antonin Dvorak and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Henckel is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic and earned her doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma. In August 2017 Kristina joined the music faculty at Sandhills Community College in Southern Pines, North Carolina where she currently resides with her husband and two children, Elishka and Maksim. Most recently she became the newest addition to the faculty in the Performing Fine Arts department at Fayetteville State University.

Virelles is best known to JSCC audiences as half of the Duo Guitiano piano-guitar duo that has performed at the college a total of 12 times over just as many years. She has performed as a soloist as well as a collaborative artist throughout the United States, France, Russia, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Cuba. Amanda began her piano studies in Cuba, continued at Moscow State Conservatory Tchaikovsky, and received her Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Russian Academy of Music Gnessin in Moscow, Russia, under the guidance of Inna Malinina. Currently, Dr. Virelles is an Associate Professor of Piano at Fayetteville State University, in NC and also teaches piano at Fayetteville School of Music.

Virelles and her husband Carlos Castilla gave a virtual performance as Duo Guitiano for JSCC on October 20. Anyone can watch this performance on the college’s JSCC Communications YouTube channel at

For more information about international music performances at JSCC or study-abroad opportunities offered through the college, contact Mary Wadley at or 731-424-3520 ext. 50252.

Duo Guitiano’s 12th performance at JSCC is set as virtual experience

Now a standing tradition at Jackson State Community College, the musical duo of Dr. Amanda Virelles and Dr. Carlos Castilla are set to return for their twelfth performance at the college. Due to coronavirus restrictions, this year’s performance will be conducted in a virtual environment. The YouTube premiere event will go live on Tuesday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m. A link to the event will be available on the college’s home page at and on the college’s Facebook page. This free event is open to the public.

The International Education program of JSCC is hosting Virelles and Castilla. They are classically-trained musicians who have been performing together for many years. While their repertoire is very broad with many styles of music, their performance is typically tailored to consist primarily of Spanish and Latin music.

Duo Guitiano’s performance this year has added significance. The International Education program committee made the decision to bring all of the activities for Global Learning Month into a virtual format. Duo Guitiano’s performance has been a part of the event’s activities for the past 11 years. The virtual performance will be a first, though.

The term Duo Guitiano is used to describe the instrumental combination of guitar and piano. Dr. Virelles plays piano and Dr. Castilla plays classic Latin American guitar. Both Virelles and Castilla have studied music in world-renowned universities and have performed in numerous orchestras and music ensembles.

Amanda Virelles is known as a versatile musician, who has played for audiences around the world. Her performances have been described as sensible, profound, and energetic. She has performed as a soloist as well as a collaborative artist throughout the United States, France, Russia, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Cuba. Currently, Dr. Virelles is an assistant professor of Piano at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

Colombian-American guitarist, Carlos Castilla, has been featured as a soloist with orchestras and chamber ensembles, as well as in solo recitals in different cities of Latin America and the United States. He has worked as a collaborative artist with orchestras featuring stars such as Placido Domingo, James Galway, and Bernadette Peters. Carlos is the co-founder of Duo Guitiano, along with Cuban-American pianist Amanda Virelles, and is known for his innovative technique, clear sound, and soulful interpretations. Carlos currently teaches guitar courses at Coastal Carolina Community College, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina State, and runs his private studio.

Virelles and Castilla have recently founded the Fayetteville School of Music. Responsibilities for this venture have been added to their teaching duties for Fayetteville State University.

Mary Wadley, coordinator for this event, says, “we are so happy that the coronavirus didn’t derail this wonderful annual tradition at Jackson State.” She continues, “both Amanda and Carlos have been so gracious to work with us during this unusual time to develop performance that will be unique for the Jackson State audience.”

For more information, please contact Mary Wadley, at or by calling (731) 424-3520 ext. 50252.

Manufacturing Day 2020 becomes a month-long virtual event

Manufacturing Day — where high school students traditionally are introduced to the many job opportunities at local industry — is expanded this year.

When the event’s planners canceled student tours at local plants because of the coronavirus, they expanded Manufacturing Day to a month-long virtual event on the Chamber’s website that will target students of all age levels, educators, and parents.

“It’s really an opportunity to see all that manufacturing has to offer,” said Cathi Roberts, Completion Coordinator, Advanced Maintenance Technician (AMT) Co-op at Jackson State Community College.

The virtual event includes a welcome by Miranda Cox, a Jackson State student in the AMT Co-op who also works at TBDN; panel discussions where educators and employers will answer questions submitted by students and parents; virtual tours of local manufacturing facilities; and other resources that celebrate and recognize the role of manufacturing.

Manufacturing Day is sponsored by the Jackson State Engineering Systems Technology Program, the Jackson Chamber, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Tennessee Pathways, and the Southwest Tennessee Workforce Development Board.

“Manufacturing is not just about production or maintenance,” Roberts said. “It includes the front office and many other opportunities. If you like accounting, there’s a job for you in manufacturing. If you like health care, there’s a job for you in manufacturing.”

Roberts is particularly pleased that the virtual event will have information for parents. “Parents don’t tell their children, ‘I want you to grow up to work in manufacturing.'” Parents will change their attitudes about manufacturing when they learn about the jobs and salaries manufacturing offers, she said.

Jackson State’s two-year program in Engineering Systems Technology prepares students for jobs in manufacturing and gives them an associate of applied science degree.

Students like Cox, who want to earn money while they attend college, can apply for the AMT Co-op. Students work three days a week at one of about 30 participating manufacturing plants and attend Jackson State two days a week. The starting salary for the internship is $12 an hour. “Our average student graduates on a Saturday and has a job paying $20.59 an hour on Monday,” Roberts said.

A new cohort begins each fall. Twenty-three students are enrolled in the seventh cohort that began in August.

Jackson State’s program has earned national recognition. The Manufacturing Institute selected it as one of three schools to participate in the institute’s live FAME event during October. AMT Co-op graduate Zach Stoops, who works at Henderson Stamping Inc., is on one of the institute’s panels.

For more information about Manufacturing Day and to attend the virtual event, visit the Chamber’s Economic Development section on its website at Look for a square labeled, “Southwest TN Manufacturing Day” under Workforce.

You will learn a lot, Roberts said. “Manufacturing is not what you think it is.”