BOAZ, Ala. – Representatives with the Neighborhood Bridges organization in Boaz recently presented a contribution to Snead State Community College to aid college students in need.
Boaz Bridges presented a donation of $1,000 to Snead State’s Parson Pantry and Parson Closet initiatives. Jamie Bliss, Mina Butler, Rose Moody and Gary Chumley with Neighborhood Bridges presented the donation recently to Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore, Snead State First Lady Janet Whitmore, who has overseen the implementation of the Parson Closet, and Snead State Math Instructor Caitlin Dickerson, who supervises the Parson Pantry, including the Rotary Plate and Grab ‘N’ Go stations.
“Boaz is the only community with a Neighborhood Bridges program that also has a college in the community. We’ve been working with K-12 schools, but we wanted to include Snead State because it’s an important part of the community. We appreciate the cooperation of Dr. Whitmore and everyone at Snead State in supporting this partnership,” said Mrs. Bliss.
The Pantry began over a year ago as a means to provide items to students who could use support in meeting their basic needs. Through other donations, the Pantry provides food and hygiene items at no cost to students. The Pantry has also expanded this year to include Grab ‘N’ Go stations, which provide prepackaged food items for students to have between classes, and the Rotary Plate. Sponsored by the Boaz Rotary Club, the Rotary Plate is a way for students to receive hot meals through the Snead State cafeteria, and the cost is covered by the Rotary Club.
This year, Snead State began the Parson Closet, a clothes closet available to students free of charge. The closet provides items for students in need of appropriate attire for a specific purpose, such as an event or job interview, but with no means to purchase the items themselves.
“We’re thankful to have Neighborhood Bridges partner with Snead State to provide resources for our students. Our community has been very supportive of the Parson Closet and Parson Pantry, and it means a great deal to be a part of an area that values the College and wants to provide for our students as they receive a college education,” said Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore.
Neighborhood Bridges is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was launched in January 2017 to respond to the growing rate of poverty in suburban and rural America. The mission of the organization is to bridge communities with schools in providing basic needs, removing barriers, and seeking equity for students so they can engage and succeed in school and life. Neighborhood Bridges is about kindness, speed, efficiency, and bridging all community resources to drive direct support and care to remove barriers for children and families in need.
Boaz Bridges has served the community with other acts of kindness such as providing clothing and food to students, providing graduation supplies to high school students, and providing gas and food money to families of children with medical needs.
27 November 2023
Construction of Snead State Community College’s Workforce Skills Training Center remains on track to open for instruction in Fall 2024. College officials, as well as state and local government leaders including Gov. Kay Ivey, and community stakeholders broke ground at the Guntersville site in January. “We’re very happy with the progress that’s been made at the site thus far,” said Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore. “As I’ve said before, this facility is going to impact and change so many lives in this community and across the state. And, we’re thankful for our state leaders, local legislators and community stakeholders who have helped make our vision for this much-needed facility a reality.”
A 50,000 square-foot complex, the Workforce Skills Training Center will be instrumental in the future of local workforce development while facilitating the training needs of businesses and industries across the Northeast. It will be home to four Career and Technical Education programs, including Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration; Welding Technology; Machine Tool Technology; and Industrial Systems Technology with Additive Manufacturing. In addition, the center will have adaptable and flexible space to interchange programs as needed by the local workforce. A conference area, engineering design and 3D fabrication laboratory are also planned. Per the contractor, construction of the facility is approximately 40% complete, Whitmore said. Snead State is expected to have the ability to start setting and installing equipment in April and take official possession of the building in July. Currently, interior finishes are being finalized and equipment is being ordered. Whitmore said there have been few setbacks due to weather and other issues, but everything remains on track. “We have had a few issues as are common in any project of this size,” Whitmore said. “There have been some delays due to the weather and there were some initial issues with the foundation and drainage. The masons are now working 6 days per week to maintain their completion schedule. There have also been some supply-chain delays on some of the mechanical system components, but those are mostly addressed now as well.” The $30 million facility will be located on U.S. Highway 431 near Marshall Technical School.
17 October 2023
BOAZ, Ala. – Students, faculty and staff of Snead State Community College gathered inside the Academic Testing Center on Tuesday morning, Oct. 10, to cut the ribbon on the college’s new Parson Closet.
Just over a year after introducing the Parson Pantry, Snead State has opened the Parson Closet, which is designed to provide needed clothing free to students for daily wear, interviews or special events.
“We hope to take stress off students who may not have readily available the clothing that they need,” said Snead State First Lady Janet Whitmore.
The Parson Closet has been a dream of Mrs. Whitmore’s for a long time.
“Alongside my husband (Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore), we have a goal to help students be successful in their careers, as well as make things as easy as possible for them while they are pursuing their educational goals,” Mrs. Whitmore said. “I decided to retire in July of 2022 with my goal being to become more involved in the community and on campus. The more I became involved, the more I realized how many events students were involved in and their need for a variety of clothing. I wanted to do what I could to help them have ready access to what they needed.”
Mrs. Whitmore said she and other staff members had been working for more than a year to organize and secure a location for the Closet.
“I knew my dream was big and I would need hard-working volunteers on my dream team,” she said. “I reached out to Jason Cannon (Vice President of Student Affairs), Brittany Goble (Director of Student Engagement) and Caitlin Dickerson (Math Instructor), who together also created our Parson Pantry over a year ago. Our maintenance department worked with us to convert what was once a storage area into a readily accessible closet for the students. They went far beyond what I expected in building the cabinetry in the closet.”
Thanks to local businesses and individual donations, the Closet has been stocked full of men’s and women’s clothes ranging in style and size to fit any student with a need.
“We have had student workers tirelessly helping hang and organize the clothing,” Mrs. Whitmore said. “Brittany, Caitlin, and I have secured business sponsors for clothing donations and contacted friends, family, and co-workers who have also donated clothing. Jason has been so supportive in securing the hangers and other necessities for the closet … We have had community members already donating and are very grateful for that. We have a greater need for men’s clothing right now as our inventory is lower for them.”
Hours of operation for now will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and on Fridays by appointment only. The Closet will be available to any current student. Student and staff volunteers will help run the Closet, Mrs. Whitmore said.
“We are very honored to be serving our students in this way and thankful to the entire campus and community for their support,” Mrs. Whitmore said.
BOAZ, Ala. – Students and faculty of Snead State Community College recently participated in the Green Industry Equipment Rodeo, hosted by the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association at Pack’s Nursery in Boaz.
On Friday, Sept. 22, approximately 90 students from surrounding areas were on hand to learn about various industry equipment and machinery. Through hands-on training, students were taught how to safely operate various machines and pieces of equipment, including mini excavators, skid steers, tractors, zero-turn lawnmowers and more.
“The event also served as a networking opportunity,” said Snead State Horticulture Instructor Dr. Thomas Warren. “Students were exposed to different employment opportunities available across the green industry, and education programs that are available to jumpstart their career.”
Students at the event were also introduced to Snead State’s Horticulture program, as well as the college’s partnership with Auburn University’s Horticulture program. Representatives of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) were also on site to promote its skid steer certification and CDL training programs.
27 September 2023
BOAZ, Ala. – Snead State Community College will be the host site of opening ceremonies for the 59th annual Boaz Harvest Festival on Thursday, Oct. 5, beginning at 6 p.m.
Following a doubleheader at Emmett Plunkett Field between the Parsons Baseball team and Gadsden State, officials of the College, Boaz Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Boaz will hit the diamond to kick off a weekend of festival fun.
“The Boaz Harvest Festival is one of the premier events for our community, and Snead State Community College is proud to host the opening ceremonies this year on our newly lighted baseball field,” said Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore. “We are so fortunate to be a part of this great community, and we are always honored to host our friends and neighbors on our campus. We are anticipating the best Harvest Festival ever, and we look forward to seeing everyone here.”
Live entertainment will include performances by the Snead State Street Singers, Snead State Jazz Band, Snead State Cheerleaders, Boaz High School Marching Band, Boaz High School Cheerleaders, Sand Mountain Cheer, All That Jazz Dance Studio, and Dance Without Limits.
In addition, members of the Boaz VFW will present the American Flag, and linemen of Marshall-DeKalb Electric Cooperative will conduct a special, patriotic presentation.
A variety of food trucks will be on hand for the event, and a bouncy house will be on site for children to play.
Before the opening ceremony, the public is encouraged to attend the doubleheader matchup between Snead State Baseball and Gadsden State. First pitch is at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free thanks to Howard Bentley Buick GMC in Albertville.
Please be aware: a portion of College Street – from King Street to Elder Street – will be shut down beginning at 2 p.m. and remain closed for the duration of the opening ceremonies.
After the opening ceremonies are concluded, the Harvest Festival will continue on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6-7, in downtown Boaz and Old Mill Park. Admission is free.
26 September 2023
Mother of 3-year-old battling cancer opens up on Huntsville family’s journey
BOAZ, Ala. – “There’s no chemotherapy, radiation treatment or clinical drug trial that’s more powerful than love, support and friendship…”
Those were the words Friends of Jaclyn Foundation founder Dennis Murphy shared inside Fielder Auditorium on Sunday afternoon as Snead State Community College hosted a special signing ceremony to welcome Andrew Tappen, a 3-year-old from Huntsville battling pediatric cancer, to the Parson Family.
“We are excited to honor [the Tappens] and welcome them to the Parson Family,” said Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore. “We look forward to getting to know them over the coming weeks and months, because it’s like I say every year at graduation, once a Parson, always a Parson.”
Andrew, who particularly loves basketball, and his siblings Josh (6), Lydia (5) and David (8 months) each received a commemorative T-shirt, signed certificates to join the program and other gifts – and they enjoyed a piece of cake, too. In addition, the children spent time with all of Snead State’s student-athletes and coaches.
“With childhood cancer, the little things to you mean the world to us,” said Brittany Tappen, who is Andrew’s mother. “So, just the fact that you’re here and some of the players came out and gave my kids a high five – like, we’re going to hear about that for a long time, so thank you so much. We appreciate it.
“I cannot express enough how much this means to our family, to have someone in our corner and to have someone help us as we are battling something that, really, we cannot explain. And although Andrew is doing good, and we have good moments, and there are things that other people have worse, cancer sucks. So, thank you for helping us make this a little better.”
About a year ago, just days after his second birthday, Brittany said she and her husband, Spencer, began to notice “weird things” happening with Andrew.
“As a mom, I try not to freak out about things,” Brittany said. “But he started having unexplainable bruises on his face, and then nosebleeds. I just thought, ‘He’s a toddler. No big deal.’”
But then his mouth started bleeding a lot, Brittany said, so she decided to take him to the pediatrician.
“I thought they would laugh at me and say he’s just a 2-year-old,” she said. “But they ran bloodwork, and I knew something was up when the nurses came in, took all three kids out of the room and told me I needed to call my husband.”
That’s when Andrew was diagnosed with Leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the function and production of blood cells.
As recommended by the pediatrician, the Tappens took Andrew to the emergency room at Huntsville Hospital. Thereafter, Andrew was transported to St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
“We stayed there for several weeks while they blasted him with a ton of chemo treatment,” Brittany said. “That was kind of the start of Spencer and I just being in autopilot as we try to figure out what’s going on and what the next day looks like.”
Since then, Andrew has been in treatment for over a year, receiving lots of chemotherapy, multiple lumbar punctures, as well as blood and platelet transfusions.
“Although he’s been on this journey for a year, Andrew still has a year and a half left,” Brittany said. “He won’t finish treatment until February 2025. But, although there’s so many sucky things, Andrew does not let this cancer define him. He is the most happy, energetic kid who is constantly playing basketball at the house or soccer or baseball, volleyball, tennis – you name it. If there’s a ball, he’s playing the sport … So, although it feels like cancer has taken so much from us, it is so nice to see that he still enjoys sports so much. That’s why when we got a hold of Dennis and we talked, I was like, ‘This is perfect for Andrew.’ But the thing that also enticed me for this was that it was also there for his siblings. Josh and Lydia especially have had to suffer alongside Andrew, and it has been very hard as parents from the first time we went to the ER. I’ve had friends come and take the kids through the night while Spencer and I tried to figure out what this meant. And leaving my children for several weeks while Spencer and I went to Memphis to try to help Andrew. Josh and Lydia have had to make sacrifices that a 6- and 5-year-old shouldn’t have to make.
“This is something they can look forward to and can enjoy. They have talked about this for weeks. They are very excited to be part of Snead State and to see you guys play, whether its practice or a game, and just feel part of a community and give them something to look forward to. Because, it feels like cancer has just taken so much from us… From the coaches to the Athletic Department, to the players, to the organization, to the president, to Dennis – everyone: thank you.”
Before Brittany opened up about Andrew’s cancer journey, Murphy briefly shared the origin story and mission of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.
The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation was created several years ago when Murphy’s daughter, Jaclyn, was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, and she became connected to and later adopted by the Northwestern University lacrosse team as an honorary team member. Jaclyn’s strength, courage, relentless spirit, and joy for life inspired the players, he said. The team went on to a perfect season, winning their first NCAA national championship in 64 years.
Jaclyn’s wish became to help every sick child find a team to show them love, support and friendship – which soon became the mission of Friends of Jaclyn.
“Our mission at Friends of Jaclyn is about improving the quality of life for children battling pediatric cancer,” Murphy said. “And I’m about today. Not tomorrow, a week, five or 10 years down the road. Research is important; we’re gonna get there, but we’re focused on today. So, we pair children up with a local sports team. Doesn’t matter what level or division it is. All I care about is the love, support and friendship that you’re gonna give to this family. Not only the child that’s afflicted, but the siblings, too.
“There’s no chemotherapy, radiation treatment or clinical drug trial that’s more powerful than love, support and friendship, and that’s what this family is gonna get. In turn, you guys are gonna walk away for the rest of your life with a different perspective.”
18 September 2023
BOAZ, Ala. – Casey Underwood, who currently works as Snead State Community College’s Head Baseball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director, has been hired as the Parsons’ next Director of Athletics, officials announced recently.
“It’s an honor to be named the Athletic Director at Snead State,” Underwood said. “Being a former student-athlete and transitioning to head baseball coach, it’s a great honor to continue to serve this college. I appreciate Dr. Whitmore for entrusting me with this role and responsibility to build on the solid foundation led by those before me. [Previous AD] Mark Richard has been a great mentor who not only created a championship culture in athletics but also a standard of excellence in academics and community engagement. It’s my goal to continue to build on this legacy and position the Parsons for success.”
This fall marked the beginning of Underwood’s 20th year on staff at Snead State and his sixth season leading the baseball program. Through five seasons, Underwood has compiled a 154-82 (.652) record with postseason appearances each year.
Since the 2018 season, Underwood has built Snead State Baseball into one of the nation’s premier junior college programs. After winning the 2021 ACCC Northern Division Regular-Season Championship, the program continued to climb, leading to an unprecedented 2022 season – the program’s first JUCO World Series appearance, first ACCC State Conference Championship and most program wins (42-16).
In Underwood’s career with the Parsons, he has coached more than 100 players who continued their baseball careers at the four-year collegiate level or professionally, including two Major League Draft picks and two free agent signees. The Parsons first-ever MLB debut was in 2023.
Underwood was recognized as the 2022 ABCA NJCAA Division I Coach of the Year and awarded Coach of the Year (2022), Co-Coach of the Year (2020) and Assistant Coach of the Year (2014) by the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.
Not only does Underwood lead the team on the field, but his leadership also translates to off-the-field excellence. Snead State Baseball received the ABCA Excellence Award Winner seven years running, graduated 100% of its student-athletes and received the ACCC Baseball Academic Team of the Year. The NJCAA has recognized Snead State Baseball as an All-Academic Team for thirteen years.
Off the field, Underwood has been a community college representative on the ALABCA Board and received the Alabama Community College Chancellor’s Award (2014) for his commitment to his student-athletes hard work and success. He received the Parson Pride Award from the Boaz Chamber of Commerce (2023). He and his team volunteer their time and efforts with the Miracle League of Albertville at Sand Mountain Park.
Underwood began his collegiate career playing at Snead State and earned his bachelor’s degree in sport management from Ashford University.
Underwood will continue his coaching duties while serving as Director of Athletics. He takes over following the retirement of former Director of Athletics Mark Richard.
10 August 2023
BOAZ, Ala. – Snead State Community College is set to host its annual Founders Day Pageant & Festival on Saturday, Aug. 19, to celebrate the institution’s rich history.
Returning for a second year, the Founders Day Pageant will be held from 1-4 p.m. at Fielder Auditorium, located in the Dr. Joe and Susan Story Administration Building at 220 North Walnut Street, Boaz, AL 35957. The pageant is open to current Snead State students and to juniors and seniors in high school. A winner and first runner-up will be crowned in each division.
To sign up for the pageant, complete the contestant registration packet found at snead.edu/foundersday, and submit it along with the $25 entry fee to the Business Office, located in the McCain Student Center on Elder Street in Boaz, across from the Snead State cafeteria. Instructions for submissions and payments are included in the packet.
Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 16. Entry fees must be paid at the time applications are submitted.
At the conclusion of the pageant, the Founders Day Festival is scheduled begin at 4 p.m. with an Opening Ceremony at the Story Administration Building. The Opening Ceremony will include placing a new time capsule as well as replacing the cornerstone at the building.
Following the Opening Ceremony, the community is invited to gather at the gazebo behind the Story Administration Building for an afternoon and evening of live entertainment, food trucks and festival vendors. There will also be a Kids Corner with inflatables and face painting for children.
Entertainment for the festival will include Kelli Dodd, Cyle and Rachel Rice, The Love Apples, and Worth the Wait. To close out the festival, the College will have a fireworks display.
The festival is free to the community, so bring a lawn chair and enjoy the fun!
For more information about the Founders Day Pageant & Festival, including the festival vendors and food trucks, visit www.snead.edu/foundersday.
25 July 2023
BOAZ, Ala. – Admission for all athletic events at Snead State Community College for the 2023-2024 season is now free to the public after the college has entered into a historic partnership with Howard Bentley Buick GMC.
The Albertville dealership recently agreed to become a leading sponsor of Parson Athletics, donating $10,000 to cover the cost of admission to all home games for Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Softball, Volleyball and Tennis.
Dr. Joe Whitmore, President of Snead State Community College: “Snead State is grateful for Howard Bentley Buick GMC’s decision to support Parson Athletics through this generous donation. Not only will the funding help enhance our sports programs, but it will also allow families across the community to come support our teams without worrying about the cost.”
Taylor Bentley Conner, General Manager at Howard Bentley Buick GMC: “We believe that our partnership with Snead State Community College will result in a successful and memorable season for everyone involved. We hope that our support will help Snead State Community College’s Athletics program reach new heights and that their commitment to excellence will shine during this 2023-2024 sports season. We are proud to be part of such a great community college and show our support for all who work hard to make Snead State Community College Athletics successful. Together, we can build an amazing future for the students, coaches, players, and fans!”
Casey Underwood, Snead State Assistant Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach: “This is huge for Snead State Athletics and this community. I don’t know that there’s a college out there that has been able to do something like this, and it wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful people of Howard Bentley Buick GMC. We look forward to witnessing how this partnership positively impacts our college and its student-athletes.”
BOAZ, Ala. – Snead State Community College continues its commitment to maintaining a safe campus by forming the SSCC Campus Police Department.
Doug Pollard, a lifelong resident of Sand Mountain, was recently hired to lead the new department as Chief of Police.
“I am truly honored to have been chosen as the founding Chief of Snead State’s Police Department,” Pollard said. “I am eager to invest my knowledge and professional experience to build this department. Working closely with Snead State staff, students and local law enforcement, we will build a safe environment for our campuses. I want all staff, students and parents to know I am available to them and am here to protect them and serve this community.”
Pollard previously worked for 28 years in law enforcement at the Albertville Police Department. He started his career in 1989 as a patrolman and worked his way up the ranks. After becoming assistant chief in 2000, he was promoted to Albertville’s Chief of Police in 2009. He went on to lead the department for the next eight years before retiring in 2017.
Pollard and his wife, Katie, are parents to eight children, Kayla, Bradley, Brooke, Haley, Judd, Levi, Callie and Evan; and six grandchildren.
“The support of my wife has been tremendous,” Pollard said. “She stands behind me, has my back, and supports the decision I have made to accept the position of Chief of Police at Snead State. She is employed by Marshall Medical Center South, and we enjoy serving our local community. We attend Solitude Baptist Church in Albertville. God has been good to my family and above all, I thank Him.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Chief Pollard to Snead State Community College,” said Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the College, and I look forward to working with him as he oversees our new campus police department in continuing to provide the safest environment for our students, faculty and staff.”
Essential duties of the chief include, but are not limited to:
Supervising and managing the functions and personnel of the campus police department and armed security officers along with the SSCC Director of Security.
Ensure increased efficiency and effectiveness of the department by developing procedures, methods, and policies; working administratively alongside the SSCC Director of Security to update the College’s EOP to include policy incorporating law enforcement functions of the department.
Provide foot and vehicular patrol of the campus.
Secure all campus buildings each evening after classes/activities have concluded
Respond to and investigate all incidents on campus including but not limited to motor vehicle accidents or criminal violations.
Provide security to college community, as requested, including but not limited to supervising sporting events, college events, or acting as a witness at meetings involving potentially irate personnel or students.
Act as law enforcement liaison between college and outside agencies involving matters of law enforcement, safety, and security.
In addition, the College has recently allocated funding for security upgrades. The College focused on safety measures because having such an environment is paramount to students’ success.
Using monies from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), Snead State has upgraded its security camera system campus-wide and also solidify its door access and emergency alert system.
“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is, and always will be, at the forefront of our minds as a top priority,” Whitmore said. “I believe the creation of a police department and other upgrades we’ve made will only improve our campus security and further ensure Snead State Community College maintains an optimal learning environment.”