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Juneteenth Closure

TCC will be closed Wednesday, June 19, in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

Original member of Black Lives Matter movement to speak at TCC on Feb. 22

Scholar, activist and playwright Funmilola Fagbamila is the keynote speaker for Tidewater Community College’s 2019 Black History Month celebration. The adjunct professor of Pan African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, is an original member of the Black Lives Matter movement.

She will speak on Feb. 22 at noon in the multipurpose room of the Portsmouth Campus Student Center. Her remarks are titled “Justice Too Long Delayed is Justice Denied: Black History Now.”

Reserve your spot for this free event at

Dana Singleton in the Portsmouth Campus Student Center.
Dana Singleton
Shanice Mills sitting on the seal in the Portsmouth Campus Student Center.
Shanice Mills

TCC will also honor the recipients of the college’s 2019 Martin Luther King Jr., Recognition Program that afternoon. Dana Singleton, dean of Student Services at the Portsmouth Campus, won the College’s Distinguished Service Award. Nansemond River High School graduate Shanice Mills, who is studying funeral services at TCC, is the scholarship winner.

Both were chosen for exemplifying the teachings and ideals of King.

The national theme for Black History Month, “Black Migrations,” tracks the continuous movement of African Americans from the south to the industrialized north and beyond.

TCC will sponsor an assortment of free, public activities with speakers, films and entertainment at each of its campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.

Events are subject to change and are on a first-come, first-served basis. For the most up-to-date listing of events, visit

For more information, contact or 757-822-7296.

For maps and directions, visit

MLK scholarship winner’s history of giving dates back to kindergarten

For Shanice Mills, giving back isn’t an idea reduced to special times and holidays.

It’s woven into her life, partly because that’s how her grandparents raised her and also because she knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end.

“You never know when you’re going to need help,” said Mills, recipient of Tidewater Community’s College’s 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship, which will be awarded on Feb. 22 at a ceremony at the Portsmouth Campus Student Center.

In kindergarten, Mills watched her best friend struggle with proper handwriting. She brought stencils to school as a guide.

“I taught him how to write correctly, to be more legible,” she said. “Next thing I know, my teacher is taking me around, telling people, ‘You wouldn’t believe what she did. She helped Timothy learn how to write!’ I was just being me.”

Mills, 19, remembers accompanying her grandmother to the food pantry at their Chesapeake church to donate nonperishables. She also remembers a visit to the pantry shortly before her 10th birthday when they were the ones in need. They left with groceries and a cake with pink icing that read “Happy Birthday.”

These days, Mills participates in “Good Works Sundays” at Point Harbor Community Church in Western Branch. Regularly, the church divides volunteers into groups and sends them into the community for projects. On a recent Sunday, she found herself painting and talking with veterans at an apartment building in need of refurbishment.

“They’re just normal people going through a hard time,” Mills said. “You never know when the tables will turn on you.”

The Nansemond River High graduate is in her second semester at TCC, working toward an Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service. That’s a program that also speaks to her desire to give back.

“I want to help people on their worst day,” said Mills, who holds a 4.0 GPA.

Learning about Martin Luther King Jr., has resonated with her as long as she can remember. Mills has been bullied for everything from her hair to the darkness of her skin. A friend of hers committed suicide after suffering relentless online bullying. Mills initiated a social media campaign denouncing cyberbullying afterward.

“I wish there could be a change,” she said. “Martin Luther King talked about social justice and not judging people by the color of their skin. He paved the way for everybody. If he didn’t do what he did, I might not be sitting here today.”

Renowned playwright part of TCC’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Tidewater Community College will recognize Hispanic Heritage Month with a keynote program featuring world-renowned playwright Dino Armas, Professor Gabriela Christie Toletti, Juan Raúl Ferreira and other guests on Sept. 27.

The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center in downtown Norfolk, is free and open to the public.

Dino Armas and Gabriela Toletti in Uruguay.
Gabriela Toletti, with Dina Armas, when she first presented her book at a special event in Uruguay.

The trio will discuss Toletti’s new book, “On the Scene with Migration and Dictatorship: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Work of Uruguayan Playwright Dino Armas.” The conversation will focus on the migratory waves that shaped Latin America, as well as military dictatorships that changed the course of history.

Toletti teaches Spanish classes at TCC and is chair of liberal arts on the Norfolk Campus. Ferreira is a past Uruguayan Parliament representative and senator and Uruguayan ambassador to Argentina.

Dancers performing selected tangos and actors portraying scenes from Armas’ plays will be part of the evening. A book signing and reception will follow the event.

Armas’ works have been staged in Latin America, the United States and Europe.

“My book is a way to enter Armas’ world to inquire into Hispanic and universal human conflicts,” Toletti said. “This work constitutes a shared stage of reflection, analysis, collaboration and affection toward Armas, Hispanic culture and a universal multicultural heritage.”

TCC will celebrate the rich and diverse cultural traditions of Hampton Roads’ Hispanic-American community with activities on its four campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.

All Hispanic Heritage Month events are free and open to the public.

Visit for a listing of campus events.

For more information, contact the Intercultural Learning Center at or 757-822-7296.

Ernest T. “Bo” Buchanan Scholarship awards money to deserving students

Ernest Trezevant “Bo” Buchanan IV was just two months shy of graduating from the University of Virginia (UVA) when he died in a car accident.

Bo’s father, Joe, was provost of Tidewater Community College’s Virginia Beach Campus at the time and had been a dean for 21 years before that.

Faculty and staff on that campus banded together to honor Bo with a scholarship in his name. The Ernest T. Bo Buchanan IV Memorial Scholarship recognize young men demonstrate exceptional leadership and service while maintaining a commitment to academic excellence.

Nimpare Nantob Bikatui and Kevin Fraser are the most recent recipients of the scholarship. Bikatui is earning his Associate of Science in Engineering; Fraser is working toward his Associate of Science in Business Administration.

Buchanan graduated from Cox High School in 2000 after serving as student government president and captain of the volleyball team. The Eagle Scout was recognized as an outstanding male student-leader-athlete in his class.

Bo Buchanan

Buchanan received a full Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship to continue his education at Virginia to work toward a history degree and his dream of joining the Navy.

By 2004, he had worked his way up to the UVA NROTC Battalion Commanding Officer. He lost his life just shy of his 21st birthday.

Maj. Fritz Pfeiffer, UVA NROTC MOI called Bo “a superb leader.”

“He was well liked not only by his peers but by the other active duty officers here as well. He was an example to us all.”

David Wattenmaker, an NROTC Marine, said, “Everyone who knew Bo learned something from him. He set an example that people could learn from.”

Joe Buchanan donated more than $10,000 to his son’s scholarship fund in honor of his wife, and Bo’s mother, Susan, an award-winning English and journalism teacher and department chair. Joe was president of the National Association of Student Personnel and received national, regional and state leadership awards for his service. Susan leads the women’s ministry of her church and serves as president of a local chapter of Philanthropic Educational Organization, a philanthropic sorority that supports female students in higher education.

An international student pursues a future in engineering

When Bikatui came to the United States from Togo in West Africa, he didn’t know English. His first language was French.

“Before I started my engineering courses, my fellow country people were telling me that English was too hard,” said Bikatui. “They said ‘The material is in English. The instruction is in English. The language is English. You’re going to have trouble!’ But I didn’t see it that way. I didn’t want to be underestimated because I speak another language.”

As an international student at TCC, he found a common language in mathematics – and one-on-one support from his professors encouraged him to keep going.

“Chemistry is the same. Math is the same. Once you know them, you can find your way to science,” Bikatui said. “My TCC professors have always appreciated me. One of my teachers comes in every Sunday for students like me who want help with the material. I spend my Sundays over there with her.”

Winning the Ernest T. Bo Buchanan IV Memorial Scholarship encouraged Bikatui – who used the money to help cover his expensive engineering textbooks and tuition.

Bikatui will graduate next spring with his engineering degree and transfer to Old Dominion University to pursue a bachelor’s in chemical or biomedical engineering.

A local small business owner finds his passion

 Fraser was a father of three with a full-time teaching job when he enrolled in TCC’s business administration program.

A Navy veteran with eight years of service, Fraser had always dabbled in areas, such as corporate taxes and accounts payable with his small businesses. He knew he needed a formal education in the field to grow his companies and follow his dream of working in accounting.

TCC was a smart financial choice for the money-conscious entrepreneur, who already had a daughter in college and a career when he came back to school.

“The first time I went to college, I had access to the GI Bill,” said Fraser, “so that degree was paid for. But this second degree – I was on my own. I knew I would be paying out-of-pocket. Once you go two semesters on student loans the money starts piling up.”

Scholarships didn’t even occur to Fraser as a possibility until he got on his daughter about applying for her own scholarships her junior year at Liberty University. “I’m on the phone encouraging her to look for scholarships, when the light dawned and I realized I should be looking for my own scholarships!” he said.

A quick web search led him to TCC’s scholarship page, where he realized he could qualify for awards through the school. He won the Coca-Cola Enterprises Scholarship and was shocked when the award amount of $500 hit his student account.

“I had no idea how large these awards are,” Fraser said.

When he won the Ernest T. Bo Buchanan IV Memorial Scholarship, Fraser realized his final semester would be paid for in full. “My scholarship awards were almost to the penny perfect. I had $80 leftover, which I used to buy a book. To know my entire last semester was paid… it was such a blessing.”

Fraser is currently enrolled in a master’s program in taxation accounting at Liberty University. His favorite part of running his businesses is being able to give jobs to people looking for flexible work – and employing his ex-students.

A legacy of giving

In addition to the TCC scholarships, the Buchanan family also offers scholarships in Bo’s honor at the University of Virginia and Cox High School.

For more information about available scholarships at TCC, visit To learn more about establishing a scholarship at TCC, contact the TCC Educational Foundation at or 757-822-1080.