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History Refresh: The 4th of July

Posted by on Jul 4, 2017 in Centura College, Community Connections, Lifestyle, Spotlight Feature

Source: Library of Congress.

What Happened on the 4th of July

Americans observe the 4th of July to commemorate the birth of our nation. With fireworks, cookouts, and garments consisting of red, white and blue, it’s a day that we all come together as a nation and celebrate with pride. In 1776, it was the day that the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was adopted and America’s 13 colonies officially declared their independence from Great Britain. With Thomas Jefferson as the main author, the Declaration of Independence’s contributors included: John Adams, Ben Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. It was later signed by all members of Congress on August 2, 1776.

How it All Began

By 1774, the first settled colonies grew tired of Britain’s tight control and high taxes. They felt that they were being unjustly taxed and didn’t have any representation in the British parliament. They expressed their unrest by staging rebellions, such as the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773. The colonies formed the First Continental Congress on September 5, 1774, in order to come up with solutions that would convince Great Britain to recognize their rights. They were unsuccessful and Britain’s King George III continued to tax the settlers. This led to great discontent and eventually, the Revolutionary War.

The Revolutionary War

By 1775, Tensions between some of the colonists and Great Britain reached their boiling point. Rebellions and restlessness grew rampant and movement towards a revolution was rapidly gaining speed. Colonists wanted to take action and started by rallying troops and collecting supplies. When it was made clear that King George III had no intentions of making compromises, the support for the revolution increased. On April 19, 1775, the Revolutionary War began in the towns of Lexington and Concord Massachusetts. British soldiers and Minutemen, the colonists’ militia, exchanged gunfire in what is known as the “shot heard around the world”. George Washington was elected Commander of the American patriotic forces by the Second Continental Congress on May 10, 1775.

Even though the Revolutionary War continued on until 1783, America was eventually able to gain its independence from Great Britain. It would not have been possible if the Declaration of Independence was not finalized and adopted on our Independence Day, July 4, 1776. By declaring themselves as an independent nation through the Declaration, the 13 colonies were able to form an alliance with France, which ultimately led to Great Britain’s surrender to America in Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. Later in 1783, a final peace treaty was signed in Paris, putting a final end to the Revolutionary War.

Pet Positivity: How Owning a Pet Helps Your Health

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in Centura College, Community Connections, Health, Lifestyle

Pet Positivity: How Owning a Pet Helps Your Health

April 11th is National Pet Day and in honor of our loyal companions, Centura College gives insight to some of the health benefits of owning a pet.

Written by: Esperanza Poquiz Edited by: Jul DeGeus

Having a pet companion has more benefits than you can even imagine. They can give you pure joy just by the way they cock their head and look at you, or give you that rush of excitement when you return home from a long day at work or school, which in itself are all the benefits one might need. Sure, they are cute and fun to play with, but having a furry, feathery, and even scaly friend also comes with responsibility, which believe it or not, can still have a positive impact on your life. Being a pet parent can actually make your life, mentally, emotionally, and physically better. So, let’s break down some reasons on why having a pet can be enjoyable and beneficial:

Animals are known to show unconditional love, which can decrease depression. Becoming a pet parent can help combat the feelings of loneliness through companionship. I know what you’re thinking, pets are fun to have and all, but pets take a lot of work, and money, to keep them happy and healthy. What you may fail to realize is that even the tedious tasks that come with owning a pet can have great benefits for your mental health. Think about it, your pet relies on you for almost everything and thrives on having your love and attention. It’s always nice to feel wanted, let alone needed, and your pet’s dependency give you a sense of purpose you might otherwise be lacking because of depression. Knowing that you have someone relying on you to wake up every morning and take care of them is a great motivator for you to get up out of bed and get your day started. (1) 

Source: Pixabay

In addition to all the comforting benefits your pet may bring you, research has shown that having a pet can have a positive impact on your overall health. Owning a pet can lower your blood pressure, improve your immunity, and decrease the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have conducted studies on people who own pets. Their results have revealed that pet owners confirm signs in decreased cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels, all of which reduce the risk of heart attacks. (2) If someone has already faced one of these issues, owning a pet can speed up your recovery rate and have you back to taking care of yourself and pet companion in no time!

Source: Max Pixel

Owning a pet can improve your social skills by helping you meet new people. Your pet can serve as a conversation starter, enabling you to interact with more people who share a common interest.  Going for a walk or bringing your pup to the dog park or training class can put you in a situation where there are plenty of people willing to have conversations that involve you both gushing over your four legged friends. If big social settings aren’t your forte, but you love being out of the house, try going to pet friendly cafes. Dining with your furry friend is a rapidly growing fad these days and more cafes are starting to cater it. Owners can enjoy a quiet meal at their favorite restaurant without having to take a doggy bag home for your fur-baby bestie. Not a big dog person? If cats, birds, fish or reptiles are more your thing and you don’t usually take your pet out, don’t worry! You can still meet plenty of people online through social media with the same interests/pet as you from the comfort of your own home! (3)

Source: Pixabay

Don’t have a pet? No problem! Just by having interactions with someone else’s pet or meeting with therapy animals can decrease stress. Playing or petting an animal can increase oxytocin, the stress reducing hormone, and decrease cortisol, the hormone known to cause stress. Playing with an animal can promote levels of serotonin and dopamine, nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasant and soothing properties.(1)  If you suffer from stress anxiety, and you don’t want the responsibility of having a pet of your own, try volunteering at an animal shelter, or offer to pet sit. Not only will you be helping others, you will be able to relieve some of your stress in the process!

So there you have it, just a few of the many reasons why having a pet can be beneficial. The bond you create with your pet is something that can last you a lifetime, giving you memories that are irreplaceable. Not only can pets bring you joy and love to your life, they can also help save yours.

Source: Pixabay

Sources:

  1. Davis, J. L. (2004). 5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/health-benefits-of-pets#3
  2. McCandless, S. G. (2012, August 22). No. 3: Stay Heart Healthy. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/no-3-stay-heart-healthy/
  3. Holland, E. (2017, February 13). 7 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.chopra.com/articles/7-health-benefits-of-owning-a-pet#sm.00080x16bxntf9c100m17enhork0y

The Book Keeper: Centura Celebrates Librarians

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in Campus Connections, Centura College, Community Connections, Spotlight Feature

By: Jul DeGeus

Nothing makes those long days and nights of studying better than the sight of the reassuring, friendly face of a helpful librarian. Always there to find the book that is hiding on the top shelf or suggest the resource you need, school librarians are an imperative cog in the tinkerings of schools. In honor of National School Librarians Day on April 4th, we wanted to extend our gratitude to some of our very favorite librarians:

Centura Chesapeake

John Smith

“John Smith has been an employee at Centura Chesapeake since May of 1998. Mr. Smith is not only our Library Assistant but also one of our Accounting and Business teachers.  Found in either the classroom or library, he enjoys teaching students how to use the Library and Network Information Resources Network (LNIRN) and helping them find materials they need for research papers and presentations. With a flair for fun, Mr. Smith enjoys a good Library Scavenger Hunt. For one hunt, he even dressed up like the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz.  Thank you, Mr. Smith, for all the things you do, both big and small!”

-Centura Chesapeake Staff

Centura Columbia

Nicole Bryant

“Ms. Nicole Bryant is the librarian and the Penn Foster Facilitator at Centura Columbia. She is great at helping the students in the Learning Resource Center find all the materials that they need to aid them in their studies. We appreciate all that Ms. Bryant does for students and staff alike. Thank you!”

-Centura Columbia Staff

Centura Newport News

Ms. Ruffin

“Ms. Ruffin has been with Centura Newport News for quite some time!  She attended the campus as a student after she retired early as a cashier at Fort Eustis.  Ms. Ruffin graduated in July of 1995 from the Computer Administrative Specialist Program, and then began working for us in September of 1995.  She is a favorite around campus and loves her students who seek her out for her knowledge and assistance in both the library and in life!”

-Centura Newport News Staff

Centura Richmond

Towana Hatcher

“Towana Hatcher is Centura Richmond’s Learning Resource Center manager.  Mrs. Hatcher, formerly Ms. Kelly, has been working at Centura College for more than 19 years.  In addition to running the LRC, Mrs. Hatcher provides orientation and training for students and faculty.  She also works as the Practical Nursing Administrative Assistant. Thank you for all the hard work that you put into your job daily.”

-Centura Richmond Staff

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