Chattanooga State's Tennessee Technology Center Names Outstanding Student Of The Year

Monday, November 12, 2012
Shown are Richard Claburn, associate instructor, Industrial Maintenance, and Mary Kamuiru, the Tennessee Technology Center at Chattanooga State's 2012 Outstanding Student of the Year.
Shown are Richard Claburn, associate instructor, Industrial Maintenance, and Mary Kamuiru, the Tennessee Technology Center at Chattanooga State's 2012 Outstanding Student of the Year.

14 nominees waited anxiously to hear their name called at the Tennessee Technology Center (TTC) at Chattanooga State’s annual Outstanding Student of the Year luncheon. Each year TTC instructors select exceptional students in their classes to compete for this prestigious honor from. The lucky few are chosen form among over 2,000 TTC students enrolled in classes on the main campus, the Kimball site and Dayton site. Aesthetics student, Mary Kamuiru emerged as the winner from what the judges called an “excruciating decision.”

Upon hearing her named called, Ms. Kamuiru emotionally thanked the judges and told the other nominees, “You’re all outstanding. You’re already winners. The TTC is not the building. It’s the people… the students and faculty.”

In addition to community service, leadership, attendance and performance in the classroom, nominees were judged on a their strength of conviction. Many have faced overwhelming obstacles that had to be conquered in order to complete their TTC training. Ms. Kamuiru, a mother of one, is no exception. Her ailing grandmother in Kenya recently passed away, and she was called upon to lend support to a deeply depressed relative who tired to end her own life. If that wasn’t enough, expensive car repairs have plagued her in recent months. “I didn’t quit, even though most days I didn’t want to get out of bed,” she said.

Ms. Kamuiru and her family came the United States 18 yeas ago from Kenya, in East Africa, to join her father who was attending seminary. Thanks to winning a green card lottery, they granted admission to this country and a chance for citizenship. The family is currently spread out. Kamuiru’s father is currently back in Kenya. Her mother is in Clarksville, Tn., and her brother is in Birmingham. Ms. Kamuiru lives in Chattanooga with her daughter, Rachel. Her youngest sister also lives in Chattanooga.

Ms. Kamuiru earned her RN degree from UTC and has worked part -time in Memorial Hospital’s ER. Currently, she’s working in Chattanooga State’s Enrollment Services Department. Her goal is to become a technology instructor in either practical nursing or aesthetics. Additionally, she would like to own a medical aesthetics business.

She has risen through the ranks of SkillsUSA from local chapter president in 2011 to secretary at the state level. She was elected national secretary in June of this year at the annual SkillsUSA conference in Kansas City.

Next for Ms. Kamuiru is the regional competition in Knoxville on December 6. The regional winners will be announced on Dec. 11. From there the top three candidates will attend the American Technical Education Association (AETA) conference held annually in Chattanooga beginning March 20. The Outstanding Student of the Year winner for the state of Tennessee will be announced at a banquet with an expected attendance of more than 900. The winner receives the keys to a new car. When asked what her reaction would be to winning a new car, she enthusiastically responded, “I would be beside myself, speechless, very excited!”

Other candidates for outstanding student of the year include Misty Smith, who along with Ms. Kamuiru, was nominated by aesthetics instructor Rhonda Castleberry; Andrew Lippard, nominated by automotive technology instructors Bill Heckathorn and Marty Hicks; Kyle Barham nominated by computer operations technology instructors Jill Wentworth and Mike Mercer; David Benton nominated by industrial electricity instructor/industrial electronics Winston Lay; Sarah Carrico, Melissa Hargis, and Lynette Hargis nominated by medical assisting instructor Cindy Quick; Stephanie Lewis nominated by massage therapy instructor Michael Matthews; Jonathan Carmack, Harrison Eller, and Keith Pruett nominated by machine tool instructor Wade Silvey; Kristie McDowell nominated by motorcycle and marine engine instructors Ed Grun and Jimmy Jones; and Ryan Whary nominated by Volkswagen Academy automotive mechatronics instructor Ralph Gwaltney.

 


LAUNCH Has Youth Entrepreneurship Competition Sunday

LAUNCH is holding their 6th annual Youth Entrepreneurship Competition on Sunday at 4 p.m. in UTC's Benwood Auditorium. Students from Howard High School, Brainerd High School, Tyner Academy, East Ridge High School, and Red Bank High School have been working on their business plans this fall semester, and will be pitching their businesses to a panel of esteemed judges for three ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State's TISL Delegation Awarded Best Overall

A contingent of 15 students descended upon the state capitol to participate in the 47th Annual Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) forum, which was attended by 550 students statewide. Since it first convened in 1966, TISL teaches and unites student leaders as they exchange ideas, express their opinions and learn how government works. Planning, hard work and dedication ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Officer Shot 3 Times In East Chattanooga; Later Is Released From Hospital; Manhunt On For Shooter

A Chattanooga Police officer was shot three times on Thursday morning in East Chattanooga. The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. on Mission Avenue near Glenwood Drive. He was able to drive himself to the hospital and later was treated and released. Chattanooga Police Department Chief Fred Fletcher said the identity of the officer would not be released until the investigation ... (click for more)

CSAS Students Have Long Day At School Due To Concern Shooting Suspect Might Be On Campus

Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences students had a long day at school on Thursday after there was concern that a man who shot a police officer not far away had slipped onto the campus. Amy Katcher of the county schools said, " On Thursday, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences was evacuated around 3 p.m. as a precaution after a shooting incident in Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Tennessee River Gorge Trust Trail Warriors Make You Want To Take A Hike

Trail warriors of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust make you want to take a hike.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust staff and volunteers make a huge difference in the Chattanooga community and have been making the outdoor areas around the River Gorge clean and protected for more than 30 years.  They deserve to be recognized and praised for all of the hard work they have ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Bible In Gatlinburg

The day after fire rained and reigned in Gatlinburg, Isaac McCord, 24 and from Tullahoma, was picking up debris at the popular Dollywood attraction. The theme park had minimal damage compared to the hundreds of structure either lost or severely damaged in Sevier County. He picked up a piece of paper that was in a puddle of water, beneath a bench. “It was one of the most surreal ... (click for more)