Cleveland State’s Cougar Coach - A Big Lift To Tennessee Education

Students From Meigs, McMinn Getting Where They Need To Be With Help Of Pilot Program

Sunday, September 22, 2019 - by Don Foley, Cleveland State Community College
Cleveland State Cougars can now ride the Cougar Coach to the college’s main campus from Meigs and McMinn County. The Cougar Coach is a pilot program CSCC has put into place due to feedback from students stating transportation was a hurdle to attending the college.
Cleveland State Cougars can now ride the Cougar Coach to the college’s main campus from Meigs and McMinn County. The Cougar Coach is a pilot program CSCC has put into place due to feedback from students stating transportation was a hurdle to attending the college.

A freshman at Cleveland State Community College, Sydney Crane was lost. The 2019 McMinn County High School graduate took a wrong turn during orientation and wound up face-to-face with Cleveland State President Dr. Bill Seymour.

Before sending her in the right direction, Dr. Seymour asked about Ms. Crane’s background. She explained that she comes from Athens every day. 

“He said they were thinking of a shuttle bus to McMinn and Meigs counties,” said Ms. Crane, who is studying to become a park ranger. “It sounded cool, so later that day I started telling other people about it. No one had heard about it though.”

That changed a few days later when Ms. Crane and the rest of the Cleveland State student body got an e-mail. The e-mail explained that an innovative shuttle service known as Cougar Coach Shuttle would begin Monday, Aug. 26, offering free transportation to students traveling from Meigs and McMinn counties.

Suddenly, Ms. Crane didn’t have to foot the bill for gas every time she came to campus. She also wouldn’t have to worry about parking. And, if she used her time wisely, she could get a good bit of homework done as she waited for the bus.

Ms. Crane wasn’t the only person who noticed the e-mail. Fellow McMinn County High School graduate Adam Belton perked up at the news, as well.

Having grown up in northeast Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mr. Belton was accustomed to utilizing public transportation. In fact, he relied on public transportation so much that he never got his driver’s license. As a result, his mother had to drive him to and from CSCC for classes. Wanting to give his mom a break, he jumped at the chance to ride the shuttle.

“It takes a lot of gas to be driven back and forth to school,” said Mr. Belton, the first to attend college in his family. “The Cougar Coach Shuttle is a great option for anyone who can’t drive, doesn’t drive, or can’t afford the gas.”

The Cougar Shuttle Coach runs Monday through Thursday, with morning, mid-day, afternoon, and evening trips. Stops are at the Decatur City Hall in Meigs County, Athens Center in McMinn County,  and the main campus in Cleveland.

To ride, students simply show up at the appropriate location at the appropriate time. When picked up, they show their student ID, sign the log in the 15-passenger van, and then enjoy the ride. 

As owner of Chattanooga Bus Company, Dominic D’Amico oversees a fleet of 16 school vehicles  that typically transport K–12 students. When Cleveland State contacted him about their idea for the Cougar Shuttle Coach, he jumped at the chance. He’d never heard of free shuttle service for college students and suspects it may be the first of its kind. 

On the first day of service, Mr. D’Amico had one student ride the shuttle. A month later, four more joined in. As it catches on, Mr. D’Amico knows the impact will only grow.

“I’ve had parents shake my hand and thank me for what we’re doing,” Mr. D’Amico said. “All the feedback I’ve gotten has been positive. It’s good to see more students taking advantage of this unique opportunity being presented to them.”

To learn more on the Cougar Shuttle Coach, including the shuttle schedule, call Cleveland State   Community College at 472-7141. For more information on the story, contact CSCC’s Director of  
Communications and Marketing Don Foley at 473-2341 or dfoley@clevelandstatecc.edu.



Youth Success Academy Student Gets To Work With Rome Non-Profit

Cleveland City Schools' Activities For The Week Of Jan. 21

Local Elementary, Middle School Students To Compete In Robotics Challenge Saturday At Volkswagen Chattanooga


Four years after graduation, a Model High School alum has found her passion in helping the children of Rome and she is doing so through a partnership between the Rome-Floyd County Commission ... (click for more)

Blythe-Bower Elementary hosts Science Night on Tuesday, 5:30-7 p.m. Dr. Jason Robinson from Lee University will engage families in 10 different fun-filled science stations. A light supper will ... (click for more)

Volkswagen Chattanooga will host the VEX IQ challenge this Saturday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at 8001 Volkswagen Dr. This competition brings together 38 teams of students from area elementary and ... (click for more)


Student Scene

Youth Success Academy Student Gets To Work With Rome Non-Profit

Four years after graduation, a Model High School alum has found her passion in helping the children of Rome and she is doing so through a partnership between the Rome-Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth and Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Youth Success Academy. Abby Larry met the executive director of RFCCCY, LaDonna Collins, when she was working at Snazzy ... (click for more)

Cleveland City Schools' Activities For The Week Of Jan. 21

Blythe-Bower Elementary hosts Science Night on Tuesday, 5:30-7 p.m. Dr. Jason Robinson from Lee University will engage families in 10 different fun-filled science stations. A light supper will be served. All third-fifth grade students and families are welcome. For more information, contact Linda Tyler at 423-479-5121 or ltyler@clevelandschools.org . George R. Stuart Elementary ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Gang-Related Party At Short-Term Rental Property On Signal Grew Out Of Members’ Desire To “Get Out Of Chattanooga Where The Heat Was On”

When three Signal Mountain police responded to reports of a fight in Old Towne Friday night, they found that the house at 404 South Street was dark. Investigators soon learned from neighbors, however, that the lights in the house had been on prior to the arrival of law enforcement officers, and could see for themselves that the driveway and back yard were filled with vehicles. ... (click for more)

Inspired Reverend Paul McDaniel Leads Reminiscences At Celebratory M.L. King Event

What started as a remembrance by five local civil rights leaders praising the 50-year-old Unity Group and other local civil rights work turned into an enthusiastic sermon by the Reverend Paul McDaniel Monday night of what still needs to be done. Mr. McDaniel, the last of the five speakers at the special Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day town hall program at Orchard Knob Missionary ... (click for more)

Opinion

A Lack Of Civility At The Women's Rally

The behavior of our local radical left women was abusive and uncalled for. The next Woman’s Rally and March should be lessons in common decency and civility towards other women. Interrupting an invited female speaker with displays of yelling and holding up disparaging signs is wrong. The women before me that broke the barriers in male-dominated professions would be embarrassed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Angels Walk Among Us

I know little about Scott Shaunfield, other than that he is a Captain with the Houston, Texas Fire Department, and the fact he once wrote a story about “the angels among us” that he knows is true. For the record, I am a huge believer in angels on this earth. No, you can’t see them, but I can easily recall the times that I have been highly suspect of angel-like people during my life. ... (click for more)