Uplifting stories from Virginia College students and grads

Jun 22, 2012

Darlena Kelly is a graduate of Virginia College in Birmingham and a survivor. She is also blazing new trails in the field of computer animation.

After doing freelance animation work for years, Ms. Kelly opened DK3D Animations Inc. earlier this year. She moved her business into Innovation Depot in downtown Birmingham a month after overcoming a fire that burned down her home.

Read her story in the Birmingham News.

On a recent Wednesday, motorists on Macon's Eisenhower Parkway saw an unusual sight: 87 bright red Virginia College balloons floating toward space. They didn't realize that the balloons contained more than just helium. They also held the stressors and fears of 87 new Virginia College students.

During New Student Week, first quarter students were celebrated with an ice cream social, a pampering day with new hair styles, a scholarship workshop and personalized Virginia College candy bars. They also enjoyed distinguished guest speakers from the community, a picnic and the balloon lift.

The balloon lift symbolized how the students were letting go of the fears that have been holding them back from chasing their dreams.

Virginia College newcomer Grace Mofford said she walked away from the balloon lift a different person. "The experience made me feel lifted," she said. "It made me feel positive."

Tonia Collins concurred. "I put my negative thoughts on my balloon. When I released it, I felt the weight lifted off me. Now, when I say something negative, I retract it to say something positive."

Virginia College in Montgomery had a luau recently for student appreciation day. Around 300 students from day and evening classes ate, danced, and enjoyed fellowship before final exams. In photo at left, Surgical Technology Program Director Don Hollinger grills chicken Hawaiian style. Right: Cosmetology PD Carroll Bonner General Education PD Kimberley Carter get into an island frame of mind.