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.

 


Lee’s Celebration 2016 To Be A Community Event

Lee University will host hundreds of guests, alumni, and community leaders on Friday, Sept. 30, for Celebration 2016, planned as a “festive and colorful day” commemorating another two years of university progress.  The event will recognize the success of the five-year “Find Us Faithful” Campaign including the opening of Lee’s new School of Nursing building and further development ... (click for more)

Baylor To Honor 7 During Headmaster's Award Service

Baylor will honor seven members of the school community during the Headmaster's Awards and Memorial Chapel Service on Sunday, Oct. 2, as part of the school’s Alumni Weekend festivities.  The Honorable W. Neil Thomas III (class of 1962) is this year's recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award; Kelly Nation and Leyden Pugh (class of 1985) will receive the John T. ‘Buddy’ ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Files Petition To Declare 2 Gangs A Public Nuisance

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston filed a petition on Monday, asking that two Chattanooga gangs, the Gangster Disciples and the Grape Street Crips, and their members be declared public nuisances. General Pinkston is also asking that injunctive relief be given to the law-abiding residents of East Lake by establishing a Safety Zone that covers most of their neighborhood.  ... (click for more)

Boy In Critical Condition; Another Person Stabbed And Man Shot In Dispute At Apartments On Citico Avenue

A boy is in critical condition after being stabbed on Sunday afternoon in what police described as a dispute between neighbors. One other person was stabbed and a man was shot in the stomach in the melee in the 2700 block of Citico Avenue. The injuries to the second person stabbed in the neck and the shooting victim were said to be not life-threatening. The 12:45 p.m. incident ... (click for more)

Patrol Cars Donation To Kevin Muhammad's Nation Of Islam Sets A Dangerous Precedent

Re: City Police donating two patrol cars to Kevin Muhammad's Nation of Islam: While I know it's unpopular to mention the wisdom of separation of church and state, this sets a dangerous precedent and should meet with concern from everyone who values religious and secular freedom. What's next? Southern Baptists getting old city parking scooters to patrol church parking lots ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Pitch Called ‘The Defector’

When Jose Fernandez was killed early Sunday morning in a boating accident, he was 24 years old yet had already lived a life much larger than almost all old men. He had spent part of a year in an unimaginably cruel Cuban prison, this when he only 14 years old and sandwiched in an inhumane cell among grown criminals. There were murders daily – in his very cell -- and nobody cared. ... (click for more)