Hot Nights, Cool Music concert series opens June 11

Summer is coming and what better way to spend a few warm evenings than enjoying Northeast State’s annual “Hot Nights, Cool Music” summer concert series. The series begins June 11 and includes local, regional, and nationally known musical artists taking the stage.

All shows are free and open to the public. All performances are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater on the College’s Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. This year’s lineup features traditional country and folk artists as well as soul, shape-note, and big band performances.

Trey Hensley and Rob Ickes, June 11 – A collaborative effort between two uniquely gifted musicians provides a great opening to this year’s concert series. Rob Ickes is a longtime, well-established instrumental giant with his band Blue Highway. Trey Hensley is a local son from Jonesborough making his mark in Music City. The duo’s recent album Before the Sun Goes Down blends bluegrass and traditional country with nods to legends in both styles.

Muriel Anderson & Jack Pearson, June 28 – Muriel Anderson is considered among the top acoustic nylon-string guitarists / harp-guitarists in the world. She is the first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. She is joined on stage by Jack Pearson. Formerly of the Allman Brothers Band, Pearson’s musicianship and vocals have made him one of the most sought after studio musicians in Nashville.

Summer Music Concert Series 2016 banner

 The Johnson City Community Band, July 9 – Founded in 1983 by faculty members from East Tennessee State University, the Johnson City Community Band is made up of approximately 60 members and associate members who have diverse backgrounds in music.

Gus Moon, July 14 – Gus Moon members Anthony Mullis and Dennis Furr began playing music together in a coffeehouse in Indiana. Mullis is a tremendous singer/songwriter whose voice embodies the characters and place of his songs. With two full length albums and two EPs under their belt, Gus Moon is touring across North America including a much-anticipated stop at Northeast State.

The Billy Crawford Band, July 16 – Billy Crawford was raised playing bass in church, then gaining an early hard-rock pedigree on electric guitar playing with blues-rocker Deborah Coleman. Today, his Bristol-based Billy Crawford Band includes some of that region’s finest blues men. The fire is still burning blue from Crawford’s Guitar, as he rips through blues, ballads, rock, surf, even New Orleans-style.

The Frito Puente Band, July 26 – Frito Puente’s style spans Latin flavored artists like Santana and Chick Corea, jazz standards from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonius Monk, and original compositions. Latin Jazz with a spicy blend of standards and originals with Bill Perkins on guitar, Sam Burke on bass, & Jose Castillo on Congas & Percussion.

Tri-Cities Shaped-Note Convention Annual Concert, July 28 – Shaped-note singing is an American tradition of hymn-singing that endures today in churches and annual singing schools and conventions. The style began in New England in the 18th century and made its way to the Southern states where it enjoyed popularity through the 19th century. Check out this unique musical style returning to the WRCPA stage.

The Spirit of Soul Dance Band, July 30 – The eleven-piece Spirit of Soul Dance Band has quickly become one of the area’s most popular bands, with its incredible ability to cover the best in dance music. Enjoy music from five decades spanning the 60’s best songs to favorites in the 70’s, 80’s and more including classic Soul, smooth R&B, Disco, Beach Music and Shag. You can hear favorite tunes by Earth, Wind and Fire, The Temptations, Wilson Pickett, Natalie Cole and more.

For more information about the summer concerts visit or contact 423.279.7669.


Mountain City campus moving to Johnson County HS

The Northeast State at Mountain City interactive television (ITV) classroom is moving from its current location at 2431 S. Shady Street to 290 Fairground Hill on the Johnson County High School campus in Mountain City.

The move will be completed in time to host second term summer classes that begin on July 7. The ITV classroom will also be ready to host fall semester classes beginning Aug. 22.

“This relocation provides a significant improvement because we are moving into the high school vocational building,” said Dr. J. Mike Ramey, director of Distance Education Programs and Services at Northeast State. “This move creates better accommodations for students and staff and also provides better visibility for Northeast State classes in the community.”

Northeast State at Mountain City campus moves to the JCHS this year.
The Northeast State at Mountain City campus moves to JCHS later this year.

Northeast State opened the Mountain City campus on Shady Street in June of 2007 through a joint effort by the College, the East Tennessee State University Economic Development Center, the Johnson County Board of Education, and the Johnson County government. Courses are taught through ITV, allowing students to interact with the instructor and students at other campus sites.

Dr. Ramey said the relocation required no budget or personnel changes to the Mountain City teaching site. The current ITV equipment and peripherals will be moved into the new classroom at the high school vocational building.

An ITV classroom uses two-way audio and video instruction delivered in real time to one or more locations. Northeast State broadcasts classes via ITV from the Blountville campus to locations at Bristol, Johnson City, Elizabethton, Gray, Kingsport, Unicoi County, and Mountain City.

For information concerning ITV classes or classes available at Johnson County High School, please contact 423.354.2497 or

Northeast State to offer ESL courses for fall 2016

Northeast State will offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at its Johnson City campus for fall 2016.

“The ESL sections will be different from other sections in that they will be taught by an instructor familiar with the needs of ESL students,” said Caitlin Chapman-Rambo, a Northeast State English instructor. “As a result, these courses will implement the language teaching methods that work best for students learning a second language.”

The courses are ENGL 0870 (Basic and Developmental Writing) and ENGL 1010 (Composition I). Students are required to sign up for both sections and have approval from the instructor.

ENGL 0870 is scheduled for the first seven weeks of the semester and ENGL 1010 is slated the second seven weeks. The classes are scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

English as a second language graphicChapman-Rambo said the ESL classes will focus on English grammar for non-native speakers, vocabulary building, group work and communication, and mastering the skills needed for academic writing in a second language.

The classes will also be smaller, so instructors will spend more one-on-one time with each student. She said she expects the student population will be diverse, so classes will employ a culturally sensitive approach as well.

“We think there are probably other non-native speakers in the community who would like to enroll in a degree or certificate program at Northeast State, but are worried about taking and passing the required English classes,” Chapman-Rambo said. “Right now, those are the students we’re trying to reach.”

Northeast State at Johnson City is located at 101 E. Market Street. For information on the classes, e-mail or call 423.354.5302.

Dual enrollment students earn college certificates

A top-notch welder or metal fabricator uses fire, oxygen, water, and the earth’s ore to shape vehicles, bridges, skyscrapers, aircraft, ships, and other wonders of modern civilization. Machine Tool operators and machinists create precision-crafted materials both great and small that drive the mechanized world.

The next generation of these technical troubadours will include the first class of students from Sullivan Central High School to earn their technical certificates in Combination Welding from Northeast State this spring.

“Most people don’t know how much technical skill goes into welding,” said student Matt Baker. “It requires a lot of math to get correct measurements. You can’t just show up in the shop and play around.”

Dual enrollment welding students from Sullivan Central High School.
Dual enrollment welding students from Sullivan Central High School.

The Welding/Metal Fabrication dual enrollment students are: Baker, Connor Couch, Travis Franklin, Samuel Cole Hutchens, Christian Lee, Richard Poore, Bradley Matney, and J.W. Rutledge. The Welding/Metal Fabrication curriculum focuses on the development of knowledge and skills in Oxy-fuel welding, brazing and cutting, plasma arc cutting and carbon arc cutting, Flux-Core Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, (MIG), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (TIG), and Shielded Metal Arc Welding.

Baker and his classmates from Sullivan Central entered the dual enrollment program during their junior years of high school. They took dual enrollment classes at both their high school and Northeast State at Blountville. The welding cohort completed 8 college classes totaling 27 college credit hours and the machining cohort completed 9 college classes totaling 33 college credit hours.

Sullivan East High School dual enrollment students participating in the CNC/Machine Tool program are: Trevor Baker, Christopher Booher, Jacob Gourley, Logan King, Kyler Harley, Travis Justice, Austin Litton, Preston O’Dell, James O’Neal, and Joshua Rouse.

“I had an opportunity to do dual enrollment and wanted to see what I was all about,” said O’Dell. “It teaches you to take your time and do things right.”

Both Welding/Metal Fabrication and Machine Tool students classroom study, math, and the practical applications of the welding laboratory. Math meets metal in the welding and machining shops where instructors track the progress of students.

“While in high school, these students have completed a rigorous program of study that not only prepares them to enter the workforce, but also is completely embedded in an Associate’s degree program at Northeast State.  said Chelsea Rose, director of Career and Technical Education at Northeast State. “Some of the students even took additional dual enrollment classes and will graduate from high school with 47 college credit hours, leaving them only one semester away from earning their Associate’s degree.”

Students from Sullivan East High School receiving technical certificates in Machine Tool Operations.
Students from Sullivan East High School received their technical certificates in Machine Tool Operations.

With Northeast State’s spring commencement held May 10, Travis Franklin noted the class would be getting their college certificates before their high school diplomas were awarded on May 19. He praised both his high school and college instructors for their guidance during the program.

“It is a great facility to learn with and the teachers really care about the students learning here,” said Franklin. “The skills you can learn at this facility are amazing.”

Samuel Cole Hutchens became interested in welding during middle school. Like many of his classmates, Hutchens referenced family members who had forged successful careers in welding as influences in their decision to pursue the occupation. Their skill and advice compelled him to take welding in high school and join the dual enrollment program.

“You’ve got to put all your effort into it,” said Hutchens. “You’ve got to make the use of your time in the shop and put in the hard work.”

As one of many high school students trying to figure out a direction in life, Christian Lee said the Welding program completely changed his focus and academic pursuits. His said dedicating himself to the work helped raise not only his overall grade point average but his desire to succeed in college and beyond.

“When I dedicated myself to the dual enrollment program, my grades went up and everything clicked for me,” said Lee. “I had a lot of growing up to do and realized you’ve got to make something of yourself.”

Dual enrollment welding student Christian Lee at work.
Dual enrollment welding student Christian Lee at work.

Courses such as Welding Blueprints help students understand geometric construction and welding symbols to follow blueprints submitted by project architects. Students dedicate themselves to learning the difference between groove welds and a fillet weld with considerable hands-on work in the College’s welding laboratory.

Connor Couch said his brother had a MIG welding machine that he became familiar with before he entered high school. He echoes the sentiments of his classmates by advising high school students to pursue welding education with diligence.

“If anyone is interested in learning I’d recommend they give it a try and put all their effort into becoming skilled at welding,” said Couch. “If they commit to doing it they can make a career out of it and a good living at it.”

The dual enrollment students received their technical certificates on May 10 during Northeast State’s spring commencement held at East Tennessee State University/Mountains State Health Alliance Athletic Center.

Northeast State celebrates 50 years of graduates

Northeast State celebrated 50 years of graduates on May 10, 2016 as the College awarded 1,155 degrees and certificates at commencement exercises.

Northeast State started classes in 1966 as a vocational school with two buildings, six programs, and 35 students. Since then it has grown into a comprehensive community college with five campuses and 150 programs, serving more than 7,500 students annually.

Northeast State awarded 14 academic certificates, 264 technical certificates, 394 associate of applied science degrees, 21 associate of arts degrees, 27 associate of science in teaching degrees, and 435 associate of science degrees. A total of 135 students graduated cum laude (3.6 – 3.74 GPA), 60 received magna cum laude distinction (3.75 – 3.89 GPA), and 88 students were summa cum laude (3.9 – 4.0 GPA) graduates.

commencement mom and dad and grad
Northeast State awarded 1,155 degrees and certificates May 10.

Dr. Warren R. Nichols, vice chancellor of Community Colleges for the Tennessee Board of Regents, delivered the commencement address. Nichols provides the overall strategic direction, coordination, and support of the 13 Tennessee public community colleges.

Nichols previously served as president of Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tenn. In his time there, he led the institution through a substantial growth period, with a record student enrollment of nearly 9,000 students and several significant construction projects to expand the college’s facilities.

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Nichols holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Houston. He received his master and bachelor degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Beth Ross, Northeast State Class of 2013, served as special 50th anniversary speaker. Ross, a non-traditional student who overcame a number of personal struggles, earned the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship while at Northeast State, allowing her to attend Columbia University. She will attend Harvard University in the fall and pursue a Ph.D.

The event was held at the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletics Center on the East Tennessee State University campus.