Cleveland State Student Teko Amouzou Wins Writing Award

Friday, March 14, 2014
Cleveland State student Teko Amouzou
Cleveland State student Teko Amouzou

Cleveland State Community College student Teko Amouzou won the Tennessee Association for Student Success and Retention (TASSR) Student Honorarium for his academic achievement and personal growth.

In order to qualify for the Student Honorarium Award, eligible students had to be first-time freshmen, attending a Tennessee higher-education institution, nominated by a TASSR Member, submit a 500 – 1000 word essay regarding impressions of the first-year experience and speak at the Honorarium Luncheon and share the first-year experience.

“I was very excited to win this award,” stated Mr. Amouzou. “I came here last January from Togo, West Africa, a French country, so I spoke French there. I have always been very passionate about the English language—even before I came here. I love to read, but I was not used to speaking English because we don’t speak English in my country. I am much better at writing than speaking.”

CSCC English Instructor Jennie Eble nominated Mr. Amouzou for the award. “Teko is focused on working toward academic success and benefiting from his college educational opportunities. Although he has struggled academically at times, through perseverance and a positive attitude, he has used these challenges as opportunities to enrich his own education. It is obvious from his attitude that education means more to him than receiving a diploma; rather, education is a tool for his growth as a person and a member of the community.”

It was because of his dedicated approach to his academic career that Eble invited Amouzou to join CSCC’s Supplemental Instruction Program so that he could help other students who underperform academically. Mr. Amouzou accepted the position and according to Ms. Eble, is showing as much dedication to the other students as he does for his own academic career. It is apparent, not only from the improvement in grades, but from the student feedback that Mr. Amouzou is making a positive impact on the students.

Ms. Eble said, “Teko has been a wonderful student, and his writing shows so much creativity and thought. I am just so proud of him!”

Before enrolling at CSCC, Mr. Amouzou came on campus to apply for financial aid. On the way in, he said he noticed his country’s flag among the multitude of flags posted all around the sides of the main common’s area in the George L. Mathis Student Center. These flags represent all of the many students from different countries enrolled at Cleveland State. 

“Instead of being just a discovery, that increased my excitement! I had anxiety that I was not going to see students like me here, but all of that anxiety vanished when I got here and saw all the nationalities on this campus.”

Mr. Amouzou reflected on this occurrence in his essay. “A college that does not discriminate and fight to reduce prejudices and establishes activities that gather them together in the school environment should be supported and encouraged.”

Mr. Amouzou said, “I have really enjoyed my experience at Cleveland State. My instructors have been so supportive of me. They are very sincere and considerate of me. I feel like I really know them and they really know me. I hope this award inspires my fellow students and moves some of them to put much effort in the writing course.”

Ms. Eble said, “In a recent conversation, Teko related to me how important it is to him to be able to use his education to give back to the community, even if it is only one person. This is a goal that Teko has achieved and exceeded. He has become a leader through his commitment to the value of education and through the dedication he feels to bring that value to his fellow students, and the community as a whole.”


UT Professor Develops App For Patients Who Can't Speak

Patients who are unable to communicate with their health care providers are now able to better verbalize their needs, thanks to a new app developed by Rebecca Koszalinski, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Speak for Myself allows intubated and voiceless patients to communicate pain, fear, anxiety, loneliness and toileting requests ... (click for more)

AT&T Donates $5,000 To CSCC

AT&T announced a $5,000 contribution to the Cleveland State Community College to support non-traditional, underserved students preparing for high-skill jobs requiring technology-based skills in Tennessee community colleges.  The donation will fund scholarships to help students begin a path toward completing their college degrees. The contribution was presented on Tuesday ... (click for more)

Boyd Questions Effectiveness Of Read 20 Program; Coppinger Defends It

County Commissioner Tim Boyd said he questions the effectiveness of the Read 20 pre-K literacy program and wants the director to come before the County Commission to answer questions.   County Mayor Jim Coppinger defended the program, noting that it was the creation of former County Mayor Claude Ramsey.   Commissioner Boyd said the low literacy level hearing ... (click for more)

Corker Says Without Budget Reform, Washington Is “Laying A Huge Burden On Future Generations”

In remarks on the Senate floor  on Wednesday , Senator Bob Corker joined a number of colleagues to discuss the broken federal budget process.   “The processes that we have in place make it impossible for us to really deal with our country’s fiscal issues,” said Senator Corker. “Today is the perfect example of that: we pass a continuing resolution ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Knobfather & Me

I’ve seen some beautiful things in my life. I’ve eaten dinner inside the Eiffel Tower with the city of Paris all aglitter below. I’ve been sprayed by champagne in the Dallas Cowboys’ dressing room after they won the Super Bowl. I’ve stood both at the top and at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I’ve snorkeled in the Great Exuma islands, learned to snow ski in the Austrian Alps, and ... (click for more)