Northeast State Theatre stages The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Northeast State Theatre Department will take audiences through an old coat closet into the strange nature-world of Narnia with its spring production of the C.S. Lewis classic: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The production will recreate the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch, and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into the never-to-be-forgotten land of Narnia. The story is one of love, faith, courage, giving, and the triumph of good over evil.

“Our goal is to create a totally original production of the play,” said Brad McKenzie, technical director. “Since nature plays such a large role, we’ve taken an organic bent and tried to incorporate wood and other elements of nature to help tell the story. It won’t be childish, but it will maintain the child-like wonder that’s inherent in the original story.”

Visit the land of Narnia.
Visit the land of Narnia.

The action features chases, duels, and escapes as the witch is determined to keep Narnia in her possession and to end the reign of Aslan. All the memorable episodes from the story will unfold: the temptation of Edmund by the witch, the slaying of the evil wolf by Peter, the witnessing of Aslan’s resurrection by Susan and Lucy, and the crowning of the four new rulers of Narnia.

The memorable supporting characters are also here: the unicorn, the centaur, and other forest animals, as well as Father Christmas, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and the faun, Tumnus.

The set will feature two, 13-foot tall arches and four large panels of material that will use multiple arrangements and lighting to adapt to various settings. McKenzie said stage hands dressed as wood nymphs will set the stage as needed and then fade back into nature.

A unique aspect of the production will be sound, which will be created solely by the actors or crew members – and require deft timing. For example, as the actors crunch through the woods or snow, a crew member will create the sound of footsteps off-stage.

“We think it ideas like this will make the production unique and be something that no one’s seen before,” McKenzie said. “We know we have a challenge presenting this story because it’s well-known, so we’re looking to stray from convention.”

The production is totally designed by students and all the actors are Northeast State students.
The production is totally designed by students and all the actors are Northeast State students.

The set is totally designed by students and all the actors are Northeast State students, McKenzie said. He said there are eight student-designers and 20-25 cast members.

The play was dramatized for the stage by Joseph Robinette from the story by C.S. Lewis.  The novel was the first installment of Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series. First published in 1950, it has long been a youth-fiction staple. Time magazine placed the book on its 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels.

The play is being brought to the Northeast State stage courtesy of Dramatic Publishing. The play is being directed by Northeast State’s own Elizabeth M. Sloan, theatre department chair.

The show will be presented at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on two successive weekends of April 3-6 and April 10-13.   Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., April 3-5 and April 10-12.  Matinee performances begin at 2 p.m., April 6 and 13.

Tickets are $10 general admission with senior and students priced at $8. Tickets for children under 12 are $6. Performances are free to current Northeast State students, but they must pick up tickets at the box office.

Tickets can be purchased online at or at the theatre box office one hour prior to the show. The house opens 30 minutes before show time.

The performing arts center is located at 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

For more information, contact Northeast State Theatre at 423.354.2479 or e-mail

As a bonus attraction, pop-culture historian Stephanie Murray will give free presentations about the book on April 10 at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the performing arts center.

Murray, is an education specialist with a passion for mythology, will explore the novel’s influence on pop culture. Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Religious Studies from Lees-McRae College. She currently serves as an educational advisor for adult learners in North Carolina.

Nikki Sumner named Silver Scholar on 2014 Coca-Cola Academic Team

Northeast State student Nikki Sumner of Kingsport has been named a 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. She will receive a $1,250 scholarship and a special medallion.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars, and providing nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually.

“I was ecstatic when I got the news,” said Sumner, a Sullivan North High School graduate. “This is very helpful for me – I don’t have to worry about working so much and can focus on school,” Sumner said.

Nikki Sumner
Nikki Sumner

Sumner is a nursing major, planning to transfer to ETSU in fall 2014. Her career goal is to work as an operating room registered nurse and eventually become a physician’s assistant. In addition to her position as secretary/treasurer for the Alpha Iota Chi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, she is the administrative liaison for the Council for Leadership, Advocacy, and Student Success; secretary of the Green’s Club; a member of the Northeast State President’s Student Advisory Council; and a member of the Scholars Foundation. She also holds the Academic Work Scholarship.

“To be recognized this way makes me feel really good and humbled,” Sumner said. “Getting this award helps me clarify that I’m doing the right things and that I am capable of achieving even more things in the future.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program and recognizes Coca-Cola Academic Team scholars during All-State Community College Academic Team Recognition ceremonies held in 38 states. Student scholars also receive recognition locally during ceremonies held on campus and internationally for those who are able to attend Phi Theta Kappa’s Annual Convention.

More than 1,700 students were nominated from more than 900 community colleges for recognition. Judges consider grades, leadership, activities and most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. A total of 51 students received the honor.

Sumner will be recognized during the Parade of Scholars at the Second General Session of the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., April 25 and at a special reception for Phi Theta Kappa Scholars later that same day.

In addition, Sumner was recently named to the All-Tennessee Academic Team. The All-Tennessee Academic Team is comprised of students nominated by their colleges to be considered for the All-USA Academic Team, sponsored by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Each of the state’s 13 community colleges selects two outstanding students to recognize for their academic achievement, leadership, and service to the community.

“We appreciate the support of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and The Coca-Cola Foundation to recognize the outstanding academic achievement and leadership accomplishments of these outstanding community college students,” said Dr. Rod Risly, Phi Theta Kappa’s executive director. “These scholarships provided by organizations like Coca-Cola make the goal of college completion possible – especially during these challenging economic times.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1,285 chapters on two-year and community college campuses around the world. Nearly three million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually.

College earns award for blood drive participation

Northeast State was recognized by Marsh Regional Blood Center on March 21 as the top blood drive supporter among community colleges for the 2013 year.  The College’s student organizations help make Northeast State’s blood drives successful and receive a monetary donation to their club funds when they are one of the top clubs recruiting donors.

Marsh honors Northeast State for blood drive successes in 2013.
Marsh honors Northeast State for blood drive successes in 2013.

The February blood drive winners were the TRiO Club (1st place); the Greens Club (2nd place); and the Scholars Foundation (3rd place).  A big thanks to the Northeast State family of students, staff, and faculty for your commitment to donating blood for our community needs.

The Marsh Award to Northeast State.
The Marsh Award to Northeast State.

The next blood drive happens April 15 at the main campus and Northeast State at Kingsport.  Thanks to Marsh Regional Blood Center for their support of Northeast State.

Alpha Iota Chi welcomes new members

Northeast State welcomed 72 new members to the Alpha Iota Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for the 2014 spring semester.

The new members were welcomed into Alpha Iota Chi during an induction ceremony held March 16 at the College’s main campus in Blountville. The ceremony was led by Jane Honeycutt, the chapter’s faculty advisor and coordinator of the Northeast State Honors Program.  The event’s guest speaker was Dayna Smithers, Northeast State faculty member, Phi Theta Kappa co-advisor, and recently named Maxine Smith Fellow.

The newest members of Alpha Iota Chi are:  Tracy M. Allen; Myka M. Baker; Matthew A. Baptist, Melissa Botaro Ros; Michael B. Bowers; Kayla E. Bryant; Bonnie Burns; Antje Campbell; Kimberly D. Campbell; Summer D. Cleek; Jason E. Conley; Holly Renee Carter Bradlee Clark; Rebecca J. Cote; Patrina N. Cradic; Sherry Crigger; Austin E. Cross; Matthew K. Dean; Jose E. Diaz; Misty D. Dishner; Hunter R. Dotson; Richard S. Ervin; Brandon K. Fenwick; Carly D. Fields; Patricia Fink; Eden Galvez; Curtis D. Grindstaff; Kevin B. Grindstaff; Emily M. Hamilton; Amber N. Harr; Shelley Harrell; Dustin T. Harris; Justin K. Hartsell; Alicia B. Holley; Teresa P. Horton; Kaylin C. Huston; Alexandra S. Johnson; Kasey N. Johnson; Kyle A. Johnson; Allan B. Jones; Josie L. Klepper; Austin W. Lewin; James E. Lewis; Miriam N. Little; Hannah Long; Faith N. Maddox; James McDonald; McKensie G. McGee; Christopher S. Middleton; Christopher W. Miller; Haley C. Money; Labreeska Montgomery; Rebecca L. Murray; Logan Myers; Dylan S. Nichols; Andrew Perry; Logan C. Phillips; Dillon J. Price; Brenda Rankhorn; Heidi Rankhorn; Rebecca Rasnick; Samantha S. Reed; Kimberly A. Regan; Jordan Rhoton; Jeffrey L.  Robinson; David J. Shepherd; Christina F. Stacy; Esta A. Stevens; Heater R. Trinkle; Morgan L. Wallen; Charles Walters; Rachel M. Wyco; and Adam J. Zapka.

To qualify for membership in Phi Theta Kappa, a student must be enrolled full-time in an associate degree program, have completed at least 12 hours of college-level coursework, and have a minimum 3.5 grade point average. A college’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter extends membership invitations to students meeting these criteria.

The Alpha Iota Chi chapter has achieved five-star status, the highest level of participation in Phi Theta Kappa activities. The society supports the four hallmarks of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Fellowship that are designed to give members opportunities for personal growth as well as service to others. Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,200 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 of the United States and four countries

Let’s Teach Paperless project cuts faculty paper usage by 19 percent

Northeast State’s faculty went green instead of white this fall, cutting paper usage by 19 percent.

The volunteer effort was in response to a challenge by the College’s Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Iota Chi chapter, which sought to reduce paper usage by asking faculty members to find alternative ways to communicate class information.

According to Jane Honeycutt, PTK faculty advisor, faculty members slashed usage from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 by 197,533 copies, saving the College $5,531.00. The Humanities Division led the way, reducing its paper usage by 41 percent or 36,336 copies. Other noteworthy savers included the Behavioral and Social Sciences Division, which lowered usage by 35 percent (39,569 copies); and the Health-Related Professions Division, which cut usage 61 percent (2,875 copies).

“Overall, I think people became more aware of when it’s necessary to use paper and when it isn’t,” Honeycutt said. “Just little things, such as making double-sided copies and putting information on D2L (the College’s online learning management system), made a difference.”

Honeycutt said the Let’s Teach Paperless project came about from a discussion between PTK members and Northeast State President Janice Gilliam. Gilliam was looking to find funds for faculty salary increases as well as help the College with sustainability efforts. Honeycutt said the decision was made to challenge faculty paper usage in positive, fun ways, and apply the savings to salaries.

The PTK chapter launched the initiative during the College’s Fall 2013 Convocation with a humorous skit, illustrating positive outcomes, while raising awareness about campus paper consumption. The chapter also asked for written commitments from faculty and staff, and urged academic deans to emphasize the project. Five reserved parking spaces were offered as a reward to the division with the largest paper reduction.

Honeycutt said PTK was aided by the College’s Chief Financial Analyst Ranee Baker who provided baseline comparison numbers and Computer User Support Services Director Patsy Bowers who created a registration form and a paper usage log.

At the start, Honeycutt said students were concerned because low numbers of faculty formally signed up to participate; however, they soon realized handouts were on the decline. She said students also learned President Gilliam’s commitment to the cause unified the effort.

Honeycutt said PTK will continue to tweak the project and push for a 25 percent reduction through the Spring 2014 semester. She said PTK may extend project into next year and include students in the challenge.

“I thought it was a really good example of everybody cooperating to make it happen and work toward a goal that’s good for the College and the environment,” Honeycutt said. “Each of us did a little bit and we ended up with good results.”