2,506 students return to classes at COA

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Students work on assignments in the Dolphins Den student lounge at College of The Albemarle's Elizabeth City campus, on the first day of classes of the fall semester Monday.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Students at College of The Albemarle’s main campus in Elizabeth City returned to class Monday against the backdrop of an electrical outage that affected two campus buildings.

In the midst of a storm Saturday night a tree limb fell on an electrical line, causing a power outage to the campus. The line was repaired and power was restored, but COA maintenance staff discovered Sunday morning that the electrical service was out in Building C.

In addition, the air conditioning system that serves the Foreman Technology and Science Center is tied into the Building C system, so the Foreman Center also was closed Monday due to lack of air conditioning. 

An electrician was brought in Monday to reset the 1600-amp breaker to Building C. As of Monday afternoon the service had not been restored to the building.

Classes were not canceled on Monday but a number were relocated because of the power outage.

The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Early College, which is housed on the second floor of Building C, held classes Monday at Elizabeth City Middle School. Building C also is home to COA programs in cosmetology, welding, certified nursing assistant, and basic skills.

The college’s enrollment, meanwhile, showed a strong trend Monday. Enrollment is at 2,506 students, which is just 31 students fewer than last year’s final enrollment for the fall semester. The final tally won’t come until October because some COA classes start later in the semester.

The full-time equivalency will not be determined until later in the semester. The FTE governs some state funding and is based on the numbers of credit hours students take.

Darynn Earls, 19, of Gates County, was among the COA students returning to classes on Monday. Earls, who graduated from Gates County High School in 2017 and attended COA this past semester, is majoring in fine arts and has courses this semester in design, drawing, art history and ceramics.

Her goal is to transfer to an art school and pursue a career in animation.

“The way the animation works is really cool,” Earls said. “I also like the way the characters are drawn.”

Earls said her favorite animated films include the Disney classic “Sleeping Beauty” and a Japanese creation, “You Are Umasou.”

Hope Varner, 18, who graduated this year from Gates County High School, has courses this semester in anatomy, psychology, and introduction to jazz. She is studying nursing at COA.

“It’s a thing my family does,” Varner said of nursing. “My aunt is a nurse and my other aunt is a pharmacy technician.”

Varner said she was looking forward to her classes.

“I’m really looking forward to my anatomy class,” Varner said. “When I took it in high school it was my favorite subject.”

Chris Robinson, 18, who graduated this year from Northeastern High School, is studying health and human services technology at COA and plans to transfer to Mid-Atlantic Christian University. He would like to become a youth minister.

Robinson said he’s looking forward to this semester and believes the biggest challenge will be balancing school life with the rest of his daily life.