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TCC at the Murray Center

Larry Raybon-Hall refused to be deterred by obstacles that interfered with his education. That’s a message he wants others in Norfolk’s public housing projects to hear loud and clear so that they can make a better life for themselves and their families.

The president of Young Terrace Tenant Management Council suffers from multiple sclerosis that left him paralyzed from the waist down. None of his siblings graduated high school. Watching television one night, he fixed on a commercial that featured Tidewater Community College’s motto, “From here, go anywhere.”

TCC’s Norfolk Campus is located off Granby St. in downtown Norfolk.

Today he’s a first-generation college graduate with a TCC associate of science degree that allowed him to transfer to Old Dominion University.  “I tell people that with my MS, with my poor health, if I can go and be successful and move to a four-year, so can you,” said the senior, who will graduate with a bachelor’s in criminal justice in May.

Raybon-Hall is happy to share his story as part of “TCC at the Murray Center,” a St. Paul’s District community resource fair on Nov. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. The Murray Center at 455 E. Brambleton Ave., sits across the street from Tidewater Gardens in Norfolk.

While anyone is welcome, the event is directed at recruiting the residents of that district who will be displaced when city leaders and the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority move forward with plans to tear down the public housing in the St. Paul’s District and replace it with mixed-income housing. Nearly 1,700 families will be relocating, using vouchers to move into private housing or moving to another public housing unit.

What they need the most, Raybon-Hall stresses, is education to pave the way to a successful future.

“I tell the people here, ‘They are going to tear this place down. We need to get ready,’ ” Raybon-Hall said.

At the TCC event, representatives will show residents how to start taking classes this spring in programs that range from culinary arts to hospitality to early childhood development to small business/entrepreneurship. Raybon-Hall used financial aid to pay all of his college costs and knows other residents in the St. Paul’s District can do the same.

“I haven’t had to pay anything,” he said.

TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions will be on hand to promote its Job Skills Training Program and its new partnership with Hampton Roads Transit, which trains people and helps them find employment as bus operators. It’s a short-term program that can be covered with grants for qualified candidates.

Down the line, residents of the St. Paul’s District will benefit from the opening of the TCC Perry Center for Visual & Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, which will be at the site of the Greyhound station. The state-of-the-art building, expected to open in 2021, will create workforce training opportunities for Norfolk residents in addition to the dual enrollment opportunities with Norfolk Public Schools.

TCC will have staff on hand at the Murray Center to help residents take those first steps to a college degree. Future students can get help applying to TCC, get a head start on financial aid, and learn about additional support services.

The event will also feature culinary arts students cooking up some sweet treats, music, food and giveaways.

For more information, email Angel Hicks at or call the college’s new student support team at 757-822-1111.

From TCC to Sous-Chef at one of the best chop houses in Chesapeake

Many of Tidewater Community College’s certificate programs and associate degrees lead to immediate employment or, in some cases, employment while you’re still in college. We feature these on an occasional basis in our series “From here, go to work.” Here’s a look at one option.

TCC alum now a kitchen problem-solver

Brett Wellington dreamed of a career in zoology. But instead, he is taming a commercial kitchen with the skills he gained with his culinary degree.

“I was in college studying zoology and environmental engineering when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I left school to take care of her and spent a lot of my time preparing meals. I found out quickly that I was pretty good at it, and I really enjoyed it,” Wellington said.

After the passing of his mother, Darlene, Wellington, 26, returned to school with a new goal. He chose TCC’s Culinary Arts program because it was affordable and close to home.

Hands-on learning in a real kitchen

Brett Wellington in the TCC kitchens.
Brett Wellington in the TCC kitchens.

Right from the start, Wellington enjoyed working in the TCC kitchens alongside his classmates and with culinary instructors who have real-world experience.

One of them is Chef Deanna Freridge.

“Chef Dee is my idol,” Wellington said with a laugh. “But seriously, the chef instructors at TCC are all personable, and they will work with you on a real level. They don’t just teach you to cook; they go well beyond the textbook and prepare you for work in the fast-paced, high-pressure environment that is a commercial kitchen.”

Students learn knife skills, sauces and how to prepare different cuisines and how to bake. They also learn important kitchen management skills, including sanitation and safety, food purchasing, nutrition, food and beverage cost control, and recipe and menu management.

Wellington landed his job at The Butcher’s Son while in culinary school and worked his way through every station in the kitchen.

“It was helpful getting on-the-job training while still being in school,” he said. “I would not have known how to do the food ordering or pricing without my time at TCC.”

After earning his Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts in May 2019, Wellington was given the position of Sous-Chef. Today he is considered the kitchen problem solver. He is second-in-command and works directly under the Executive Chef. He handles inventory, creates daily specials, prices menu items and ensures that the kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine.

Accreditation ensures a quality education

TCC’s associate degree is accredited by The American Culinary Federation (ACF). TCC culinary graduates who maintain a student membership in the ACF are automatically awarded the first industry-level certification, which is Certified Culinarian.

“Most of my colleagues were trained at the costly, for-profit schools in the area,” Wellington said. “What I know is that from day one, I’ve had the skills and held my own in every area of the kitchen.”

Finding love and adventure along the way

Wellington with Gabrielle Lozano.
Wellington with Gabrielle Lozano.

Wellington launched his career from TCC, but he also found love. His girlfriend, Gabrielle Lozano, also graduated with her culinary degree and is now a chef at The Stockpot in Norfolk. The couple travels abroad and recently did a European food tour tasting national dishes from several places.

Find out more

Do you have a passion for food? Learn from expert faculty chefs who combine practical experience and academic perspective in all course work and integrate computer applications in all classes.

TCC’s Culinary Arts program is offered on the Norfolk Campus. For more information, contact Chef Don Averso at

Join TCC at the 2018 NEON Festival, Oct. 19

Jammin’ jazz. Tasty tidbits. Glass demos. Join Tidewater Community College at the 2018 NEON Festival on Oct. 19 from 6 to 10 p.m.

The two-night festival Oct. 18 and 19, a celebration of energy and light in Norfolk’s arts district, was started four years ago by the Downtown Norfolk Council.

For the first time, the Friday night of the festival will feature TCC, with music by its Blue Moon Jazz Ensemble, bananas Foster from culinary arts students, displays of student artwork, and demos of glassblowing and ceramics at the Glass Wheel Studio, 128 W. Olney Road.

The NEON District is anchored by the Chrysler Museum of Art and Harrison Opera House and extends to The Plot on Granby Street. Soon it will welcome TCC@NEON.

TCC Goes NEON, Sponsor: Tidewater Community College

“TCC is joining the party because we’re excited to be coming to the NEON District,” said Matthew Baumgarten, executive director of the TCC Real Estate Foundation. “It’s all thanks to Patricia and Douglas Perry, who are donating the Glass Wheel Studio to TCC and enabling us to expand our Norfolk Campus north of Brambleton Avenue.”

The Glass Wheel will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. In addition to enjoying music, dessert, wine and beer, visitors will be able to preview the college’s plans for a new building, the Patricia and Douglas Perry TCC Center for Visual & Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

The 47,000-square-foot building, to be built on the site of the former Greyhound bus station, is planned for 2021. In addition to housing TCC’s respected academic programs, it will enhance the community by offering dual-enrollment and workforce-training opportunities for area residents. “This is a game-changer, not only for TCC but for the City of Norfolk,” Baumgarten said.

The free festival welcomes everyone. For additional information, visit the festival website.

TCC’s Amanda Lloyd recognized as Top 40 Under 40 professional

Tidewater Community College’s Amanda Lloyd has been named a Top 40 Under 40 professional by Inside Business.

Lloyd, 35, became director of TCC’s Academy for Nonprofit Excellence last February. The award recognizes professionals whose work and volunteer efforts make Hampton Roads a better place to live.

“I love that I get to see the impact that is occurring in the community by the professional development and training opportunities that the academy offers,” Lloyd said. “You see nonprofit personnel take something they learned at the academy, implement it, and it directly affects our community. That’s rewarding.”

Funded by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation,  the academy offers relevant, budget-friendly training on leadership and management topics to nonprofit and aspiring nonprofit professionals.

The Suffolk native and graduate of Lakeland High School taught humanities and history classes at TCC prior to being hired for her current role last winter. She aspires to be a college president, having been passionate about higher education for most of her life. She is a first-generation college graduate.

“I love seeing students evolve in their learning,” said Lloyd, who maintains numerous mentoring relationships with her former students. “Seeing the success of my students and helping them achieve their goals is important to me.”

Lloyd previously worked in multiple administrative positions for the City of Norfolk prior to coming to TCC. Her achievements include creating the Norfolk Public Library citywide volunteer program, a model effort duplicated by additional libraries across the nation. She is a member of the Norfolk Public Library Board of Trustees as appointed by the mayor and City Council.

The graduate of Longwood University holds a position on its alumni board and is president-elect for the Junior League of Norfolk – Virginia Beach. She sits on the Women’s Center Advisory Council and Board at TCC and is an alumna of LEAD Hampton Roads and Emerge, Virginia.

Lloyd, who holds a master’s in humanities from Old Dominion University, is currently at work on a doctorate in higher education management at Hampton University. A Norfolk resident, she and husband Matt have two sons, William, 5, and Owen, 3.

Lloyd will be honored at the Top 40 Under 40 banquet on Oct. 23 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. She will be profiled with the other winners in an Oct. 22 special edition of Inside Business.

Norfolk City Council approves purchase agreement with TCC for Greyhound property

The City of Norfolk took another step Tuesday toward establishing the NEON District as a premier destination when City Council approved Tidewater Community College’s acquisition of the Greyhound station site at 701 Monticello Ave.

The council approved an ordinance authorizing City Manager Doug Smith to complete the purchase agreement with the TCC Real Estate Foundation.

“Norfolk is building a global reputation as a destination for the arts,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander. “This joint venture between the City of Norfolk and Tidewater Community College will bring new opportunities to thousands of students and visitors, while establishing the NEON District as Hampton Roads’ premier area for creative professionals.”

The TCC Real Estate Foundation’s acquisition will allow for an expansion of the downtown Norfolk Campus and the development of the Patricia and Douglas Perry TCC Center for Visual & Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

The city will relocate the current Greyhound operation to the Downtown Norfolk Transit Station.

“It is fair to say that the construction of TCC’s Norfolk Campus in the ‘90s brought new energy to downtown,” TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani said. “And now history will be repeating itself. We are proud to partner with Mayor Alexander and the City of Norfolk to light up the NEON District with this project. As one of the anchors in the NEON District, we will be creating a destination not only for students, but for visitors as well.”

“Through a generous gift from Patricia and Douglas Perry, this new center for visual and culinary arts will not only create new workforce and dual enrollment opportunities for students throughout the region, but will also become a prime dining destination for visitors and tourists,” Mayor Alexander said.

In addition, the Perrys are gifting their Glass Wheel Studio to the college. TCC plans to locate its public gallery and studio arts programs there, while creating vibrant new partnerships with the Chrysler Museum, the Perry Glass Studio, Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University.

Mayor Alexander said the new TCC centers will create opportunities not only for students, but also for Norfolk residents through workforce and dual enrollment programs.

The Perry Center will:

Allow the expansion of TCC’s visual arts programs to include fiber arts, jewelry and papermaking, among others.

Expand TCC’s nationally accredited culinary arts program from two kitchens currently to five, tripling enrollment and offering opportunities for public cooking classes and new programs.

Create a student-run restaurant on which culinary and visual arts students will collaborate.

And become the home of a new Restaurant Management program being introduced by TCC this fall.

“This offers a unique opportunity for the next generation of hospitality professionals in what is a fast-growing segment of Norfolk’s economy,” Mayor Alexander said. “Our employers will welcome this program.”

TCC opened its Norfolk Campus in 1997, thanks to a substantial contribution from the City of Norfolk and start-up funding allocated by the General Assembly. It brought new life to former stores like F.W. Woolworth and Smith & Welton, and transformed the old Loew’s theater into the TCC Roper Center for the Performing Arts.

Commercial design students put a new twist on old design in downtown Norfolk

Designing a historic landmark is a gem project for any interior designer.

For students in Tidewater Community College’s Designing Commercial Interiors class, that challenge came as part of a project this spring.

127 Bank Street
127 Bank Street

Students in Alex Reichardt’s IDS 222 had the opportunity to design the interior of 127 Bank St., a commercial building constructed at the turn of the century. The building, which is part of the Downtown Norfolk Historic District, is built with limestone in the classic revival style.  It is the only Norfolk bank to survive the Civil War.

Yureacia Norman Parker, the current building owner and president of Arbre De Vie Healthcare Services Partners, and architect David Klemt, had a vision for the project and waited for the designs to be completed as part of the students’ final exam.

The building will be the headquarters for Arbre De Vie and provide office space for other health care practitioners.

“The spaces literally sprang to life with students using the latest technology,” Parker said.

Students in Commercial Design provide renderings for 127 Bank Street in Norfolk, a historic building constructed at the turn of the century.
Students in Commercial Design provide renderings for 127 Bank Street in Norfolk, a historic building constructed at the turn of the century.

Students in Commercial Design use software tools that include Chief Architect, AutoCAD, Revit and Home Planner.  “The technology we have today enables us to feel as though we are walking through the spaces,” Reichardt said. “When working with clients, they can make decisions easily with quality information.”

Students presented their ideas in detail and included space planning, materials selection, furniture placement, as well as the aesthetic details of each of their designs. Students also considered accessibility and lighting in their planning.

Speaking to the class, Klemt added, “You brought the creative parts together and hopefully that creativity will stick with you. With the everyday practical elements of each job – from building codes and client requests – things don’t always go as planned. I applaud the work you have done. For those who went above and beyond the basics, know that the work will pay incredible dividends in your professional development.”

Architect David Klemt with student winners Paul Cage, Jillian Batson and Marisa Dankwa and owner Yureacia Norman Parker. Not pictured, Sarah Richmond.
Architect David Klemt with student winners Paul Cage, Jillian Batson and Marisa Dankwa and owner Yureacia Norman Parker. Not pictured, Sarah Richmond.

Four student winners were selected for top honors in the project with Marisa Dankwa awarded the top spot for her detailed work after designing every room on every level.

Jillian Batson placed second with a design that preserved the historic feel of the space. She added a lighting plan and materials board.

Sarah Richmond, who finished third, maximized accessibility and selected furnishings. Her design included detailed renderings of two floors.

Paul Cage placed fourth for his rendering that included details and an extensive lighting plan.

Parker and Klemt will take the designs and incorporate elements from each into the completed building renovation. Arbre De Vie will open on Bank Street next year and provide services for veterans and others including support groups and job training.

TCC’s Norfolk Campus awards its first Governor’s Medallion

Jay Sellers is the first Tidewater Community College student to earn his associate degree from the Norfolk Campus while still in high school.

The homeschooled senior started at TCC taking 19 credit hours his first semester.

This May, Sellers, 17, will earn his Associate of Science in General Studies, enabling him to enter a four-year university as a junior. He hopes to be a Hokie at Virginia Tech by spring 2019.

“I needed more challenging classes and wanted to start working on college credits early,” Sellers said. “It feels great to be ahead of the game.”

Sellers will receive the Governor’s Medallion awarded to those who complete associate degrees by taking part in a dual enrollment program where they earn four semesters of college credit while in high school.

Three Portsmouth Campus students are also receiving the Governor’s Medallion. 

While at TCC, Sellers became friends with classmates who were often a decade older than he was. “It felt kind of strange starting college so young, but it was definitely the right choice for me,” he said.

“I was always accepted and included in study groups. We spent free time together, too, going to the movies and just hanging out.”

While at TCC, Sellers discovered a love for science through early morning biology lectures with instructor Grace Murray. His older sister, Kiley, was in class with him.

“Jay’s calm, amicable, dedicated, and curious nature shines through and lends to his academic success,” said Murray “This blend of traits will certainly extend beyond college and allow him to achieve greatness throughout all avenues of his life.”

Sellers plans to pursue a bachelor’s in exercise science at Virginia Tech. He would like to give athletes and others who have lost mobility the chance to live life to the fullest. He hopes to earn a master’s in biomedical engineering and design prosthetics.

Sellers competes in triathlons and is a lifeguard with the City of Norfolk, working at the beach and the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center. He is currently training for a Kinetic Half Ironman triathlon that will take place this May.

TCC has been a family affair with Kiley also earning an Associate of Science in General Studies and now working toward a bachelor’s in speech pathology at Old Dominion University. Another sister, Emma, is four classes away from earning her associate degree in general studies.

“One thing I’ve learned is that it’s good to have a daily routine. Use a planner and don’t wait until the last minute to get things done,” Jay Sellers said. “With determination, you really can go anywhere from here.”