By Breanna Hiett
Volunteer State Community College Office of Student Support and Engagement hosted an event Sept. 17, through Zoom called Rise Up, with a guest speaker named, Okturia Ross. She is a local business owner in Gallatin, Tennessee. Ross told her life story and spoke about many life-changing experiences such as abandonment, sexual assault and racism.
Ross has gone through life using her past experiences to take her further in life, even though it has not been easy. Ross enjoys telling others her story and what she has been through because it is what has made her who she is today. Her story could impact one of her listeners in a positive way.
Tiffany Zwart, coordinator for the Office of Student Engagement and Support said,” Vol State hosted the Rise Up event in hopes that it will inspire our students. Our office works with our students in a very direct way and what we notice is that our students come from very different backgrounds and each comes to college with their own struggles,”.
One major thing that they hope students get out of hearing her story is that they can find some motivation through her words to be positive and never give up, no matter how easy it may be to quit the fighting.
Vol State holds events such as this one on campus but due to the pandemic, they had to find an alternative way to share Ross’s story. VSCC decided the safest way to host the event would be through Zoom. Every year, VSCC has a speaker tell their story that involves suicide because September is suicide awareness month. This was first Ross, first trip to Vol State campus in Gallatin, Tennessee.