Written by Olivia Jordan, Career Services Coordinator
Rachel Handley is a graduate from the Massage Therapy program at Centura College’s Virginia Beach campus. Although Rachel faced an array of obstacles while completing her training, she was determined to persevere and finish, despite her circumstances.
Rachel expressed that during her time at Centura she learned the lesson of listening to her needs. “My time at Centura College taught me a lot,” Handley stated. “However, the most important lesson I learned was to simply slow down, listen, enjoy, and be patient. Slow down and listen to my body, listen to my mind, listen to my emotions, and listen to my spirit. Slow down and enjoy the moment, enjoy my family, and enjoy my food. Slow down and be patient for the right moment to come and let what I desire to be drawn to me.”
Rachel has now successfully completed her massage therapy program and launched her own business, Knots Untwisted. With her experiences at Centura College to guide her, she is now capable of withstanding the unexpected difficulties one can have in owning their own business. “I am living my dream right now and enjoying every second of it,” stated Handley.
We are so proud of Rachel’s success and wish her all the best in her massage therapy career!
A small team of local filmmakers have completed work on a documentary of an Army veteran, Toby Yarbrough, and his service dogs Duke and Sasha. The film gets its origin from the novel The Quiet Healing, which was authored by Yarbrough and published in 2017. The film premiered at a special screening at Regent University on Saturday, January 19th.
A Story of Perseverance and Healing
The film tells the story of Yarbrough, the traumatic injury
he suffered during his time in the Army, his struggles with PTSD upon the end
of his service, and how his service dogs saved his life in more ways than
“The most important thing people should take away from this
film is that this is just one man’s story, but so many others suffer from
similar situations that Toby does,” says Andrew Lauto, director of the film.
“It’s a story about struggles, hurt, pain, perseverance, love, and
companionship. If you like dogs, support the military, or just want to listen
to a feel-good story, this film is for you.”
From the Classroom to the Big Screen
The Quiet Healing project was partially funded by a collaboration of a trio of local educational institutions, Centura College, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, and Tidewater Tech. Yarbrough is a graduate of Centura College’s Chesapeake campus.
“We are so proud to be able to support a student who has
given so much to serve his country. Toby was a tremendous student and a true
inspiration to everyone around our campus,” says Ashley Oden, Campus Executive
Director at Centura College Chesapeake. “When he told us he was writing a book
and that it was going to be made into a film, we knew we wanted to be a part of
helping him tell his story.”
All proceeds from ticket sales for the premiere were to be donated to Heal the Warriors and prior to the showing, a check for $5,400 was presented to Heal the Warriors. Heal the Warriors provides access to much-needed services to our veterans and first responders who suffer from traumatic service-related brain injuries.
Also as part of the premiere ceremony, Dr. Joel English, Vice President of Centura College, announced the creation of a scholarship program called the Yarbrough Scholarship for Disabled Veterans. This scholarship will be awarded to one disabled veteran each year.
Centura College Newport News graduate Mary Majette.
Prior to her time at Centura College, Mary Majette had over 20 years of experience in the Human Services field. In 2010, Mary decided to move to the Hampton Roads area. Upon continuing her career path in Human Services, Majette quickly realized that she needed to go back to school if she was to improve her career prospects and earning potential.
With that realization in mind, Mary began to look into potential educational options. She chose Centura College because she could obtain her diploma in Health Information Technology in less than a year. On top of that, the Newport News campus was conveniently located near her home.
Mary completed her program in eight months. During her time at Centura College, she became a Centurian Ambassador and participated in several community volunteer opportunities. Majette maintained and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. She is now a member of Centura College’s Program Advisory Committee (PAC).
Centura College grad Mary Majette poses for photo op infront of Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute.
We are proud to announce that Mary is currently working full-time in her field at the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute. Way to go Mary!
About Centura College
Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, and trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit www.CenturaCollege.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/centura.edu
After working in the financial services industry for many years, Tracy Peloquin found herself suddenly out of a job and relocated to a state that didn’t offer the types of financial career options she had in her previous home state. Tracy had often worked in food service and as a temporary employee in the past and once again found herself back into those types of jobs.
“When I reached my 50th birthday, I took a look at where I was in my life, what I had started and what I had not accomplished,” Peloquin stated. “Each day on my way to yet another temporary job, I passed by Centura College. I saw students outside and often wished I was one of them.”
In 2016 Tracy found herself laid off again and decided enough was enough. She went to Opportunity Inc. to see what options would be available to a middle-aged woman who had been displaced from her previous career. To her surprise and joy, there was a grant available to help with the cost of college. Her next stop was Centura College.
For the next year and a half, Tracy worked full time and attended school full time. Reflecting on that time, Tracy stated, “I really wanted to do my best at both. Whenever you would see me, I would either have a book in my hand or I would be working on homework.” Many late nights later, Tracy graduated summa cum laude with a 3.85 grade point average and a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Concentration in Management degree. Tracy exclaimed, “I felt so accomplished!”
Tracy knows this is only the first important step in achieving her dream to someday run her own business of helping low-income seniors with housing. She is currently working at Canon and advancing in her career. Her next step is to enroll in a Master’s program pursuing additional business and human resource training.
Moving forward on her journey, Tracy states “Had I never made that stop to Centura College, where I felt a peace as soon as I walked through the door, I would not have a plan for my future. I know where I am heading with my life and I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend Centura College. The instructors were great and offered additional assistance whenever I needed it. They taught me so much more than just the book material. I was able to gain practical application experience which helped me to fully understand the purpose of what was being taught.”
Centura Richmond Campus Executive Director, Rob Jones and Sarah Irby.
Centura College Richmond is passionate about the work at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Children’s Hospital. VCU Children’s Hospital is Central Virginia’s only comprehensive, full-service hospital devoted to the care of children. It’s ranked among the nation’s top children’s hospital by U.S. News and World Report and is Virginia’s only Level 1 pediatric trauma center.
Last year, the Richmond campus collected over 75 children’s books for the many kids undergoing care at the facility. This year we decided give back to the young patients again, by collecting everyday school supplies. Our students and faculty rose to the challenge presented and we outdid our donations from the previous year!
Student Services Representative Kelvin Lee and Sarah Irby.
With so many school supply drives, the children are unfortunately unable to attend those types of events due to the efforts concentrated on their recovery. Student Services Representative Kelvin Lee and Campus Executive Director Rob Jones decided to visit the Children’s Hospital to present Ms. Sarah Irby (Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator) our donations. With the incredible job this hospital performs on a daily basis we truly look forward to partnering together with Ms. Irby for future events. This was a great way to kick off the new school year by providing much needed school supplies to the hospital’s young patients.
About Centura College
Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, and skilled trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit www.CenturaCollege.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/centura.edu.
Centura College Graduate Spotlight – Carissa Chalsma
By Lisa Pinson, Massage Therapy Coordinator, Centura College Newport News
Carissa Chalsma began her Massage Therapy career at Centura College in Newport News on October 17, 2017 and c ompleted her coursework on June 18, 2018. She was a diligent and engaged student, which resulted in her achieving a 4.0 grade in her coursework.
Currently, she is employed with Williamsburg Neck and Back Chiropractic in Williamsburg, Virginia as a Massage Therapist. Through her work there she uses a variety of trigger point, orthopedic, myofascial, and stretching techniques that are designed to treat injuries, ease muscle tension, reduce muscle spasm and pain. Her favorite work focuses on sports/trigger point and neuromuscular massage techniques that enable clients to regain and maintain healthy well-moving bodies.
Carissa has a passion for helping people through hands on healing. She intends to pair her Massage Therapy diploma with a degree in Physical Therapy that she is currently pursuing at Old Dominion University.
In her free time, Carissa spends most of her time furthering her education in the healing arts. She is dedicated to her craft and excels at it. She also enjoys her family, friends, and boyfriend and loves to travel when she has time.
Even as busy as she is, Carissa still comes back here to Centura to assist other students who are about to graduate. She serves as a Licensed Massage Therapist during clinicals and gives constructive feedback. She is a true mentor.
Carissa is one of our best and brightest. She is a true success story!