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The Amazing Shake

McDowell Technical Community College staff and community members recently enjoyed Interacting with Nebo Crossing Academy students who were participating in a local version of “The Amazing Shake.”

The Amazing Shake 2018

David Likens, Principal of Nebo Crossing Academy, invited Chip Cross, McDowell Tech Business Instructor, to participate in a very innovative process for Nebo Crossing Academy students called “The Amazing Shake.”  The 6-step competition, designed to develop students’ professional and social skills, included interviewing with local businesses; interacting with business professionals in a social setting; answering questions from city leaders, including the Mayor, City Council, and Police Department; pitching an idea for a new doughnut to Krispy Kreme executives in Winston-Salem; meeting with Representative Josh Dobson and other state legislators; and, for the top scoring participants,  having an opportunity to manage Countryside Barbeque for an evening.  Participants were also evaluated on etiquette in a nice restaurant.  Cross was asked to participate by interacting with students in a social setting and giving feedback.  He was also asked to recruit additional business professionals and community leaders to participate. 

Everyone involved was very impressed with the process, along with the poise and composure of the students.  This activity pushed many of them outside of their comfort zones. They acknowledged that it enabled them to grow their skills, and they did a wonderful job! Keep up the great work!  

The following statement regarding “The Amazing Shake” national competition comes from The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Ga.: “The Amazing Shake” is a competition that places an emphasis on teaching manners, discipline, respect, and professional conduct. Prior to the competition, students learn the nuances of professional human interaction as they are taught skills, such as how to give a proper handshake, how to “work a room,” how to give a successful interview, and how to remain composed under pressure. The goal is to prepare our students so that they are able to present themselves exceptionally well for opportunities today as well as those that will come in the future.” To learn more about “The Amazing Shake” National Competition, please refer to

Below is some information about each of the MTCC staff and community leaders who participated in this fun and innovative activity:

Scott Cook: Graduate of East Burke High School and UNC-A with a degree in Business Management. Attended an Alternative Education Center. Experience in lending, insurance, and trusts. Currently, Senior Loan Officer at SECU in Old Fort. Serves on the Board of Directors of the Swannanoa Valley Medical Center. Advice to Students: “Believe in yourself no matter what. Keep on fighting to achieve your goals.”

Walt Bagwell: Graduate of McDowell High School and Clemson University with a degree in Industrial Management. Has owned and operated a Nationwide Insurance agency in Marion for 27 years.  Past President and Treasurer of the Marion Civitan Club.  Current Board Member and Past President of the Marion Rotary Club.  Past President of the Marion Elementary PTO.  Current Board Member and Vice-Chairman of the McDowell Chamber of Commerce.  Member of the Marion Business Association and McDowell Trails Association.  Married to wife Tabitha (American Red Cross Blood donor recruiter) for 29 years.  2 children, Brooklyn, 28 (casting director, Sharp Entertainment, New York City), and Josh, 22, (Branch Manager Trainee, Enterprise Rental, Greenville, SC). Advice to students: “You learn more with your ears than your mouth.  Inquire and learn from the people you come in contact with.”

Lora Bartlett:  Certified Nurse Educator. Currently attending Liberty University in pursuit of a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.  Graduate of Western Carolina University with a Master’s in Education (2008); Gardner Webb University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (1998); Catawba Valley Community
College with an Associate Degree Nursing (1984); McDowell Technical Community College for Practical Nursing in (1982), GED recipient.  Nursing background includes 36 years in nursing with a concentration in long-term care, critical care, home health, and education.  Employed as an instructor with McDowell Technical
Community College for the last 13 years. Currently, Assistant Director in the Practical Nursing Program.  Loves reading and gardening as hobbies. She and her husband have two daughters and four grandchildren with
a fifth on the way. Advice to students, “To be successful, reading is fundamental.”

Donna Allison: Husband, Dennis is a business owner. Son, Justin, is an officer in the Navy; Daughter, Taylor, is a Deputy in Madison County. Donna is employed by N.C. Outward Bound as a Medical Screener and Database Manager; She is an avid reader, reading/listening to 100+ books/year. Attends classes at McDowell Tech pursuing a double major in IT and Business Administration. Advice to students: “Spend as much time as you can learning. Gain experience through hands-on application. Be open to positive changes.”

Chip Cross: Graduate of McDowell High School, Presbyterian College, and Clemson University with an MBA.  22 years in textile industry with job assignments including Supervisor, Department Manager, Plant Manager, Director of Training, and Human Resource Manager.  Director of Leadership Development for Western Carolina Industries conducting leadership training for over 250 companies.  Currently Business Instructor and Foundation Director at McDowell Technical Community College.  Served on 15 Board of Directors for community organizations.  He and his wife Penny have two children: Ben and Rachel.  Advice to students: “If you want to be a great communicator, first be a great listener!”

Ashley Boone​: Graduate of McDowell High School, and will be graduating from McDowell Tech in May 2018 with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. Is a Growing Entrepreneurs of Marion (GEM) Program graduate. Ashley has been an intern with McDowell Economic Development Association (MEDA) since November, 2017, but her main goal is to open a wedding and event venue in the Montford Cove area of McDowell. She enjoys CrossFit, photography, hiking, and hunting. Advice to students: “My favorite quote by Albert Einstein, ‘It’s not that I am so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.’ In other words, never give up, no matter how long it takes. Keep striving, because outside the comfort zone is where you grow.”

Allyson Camby: Graduate of McDowell High School and UNCA with a degree in Sociology. Has worked in the insurance industry for 22 years and currently an Insurance Agent with Farm Bureau in Marion. Married to husband, Darrell, and has 2 sons, Taylor, who attended McDowell Tech, went on to graduate from UNCA, and currently is a Quality Associate II at Baxter; and Casey who also attended McDowell Tech, and is currently at UNCA and will be graduating this Spring with a degree in Psychology. Advice to students: “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right. Work hard in silence. Let your success be your noise!”

Tommy Creson:  Graduate of McDowell High School. Over the past 18 years has held a variety of jobs at WestRock, including his current position as Environmental Health and Safety Manager. Volunteers with McDowell Emergency Management and is the Industrial Representative for the Local Emergency Planning Committee. Advice to students: “No one cares about your excuses, only your results, and how they were achieved truly matters.”

Pat Gross: Graduate of Ohio University with a major in English; “Gear Up” Facilitator for McDowell High School; 25 years’ experience as an educator. Advice to Students: “Don’t be afraid to look somebody in the eye, connect with them, and share your story.”  

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