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Young Harris College Hosts Annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — YHC hosted its Annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon on Thursday, May 11. College employees enjoyed an afternoon of cornhole and karaoke, and the incoming Staff Council and the Unsung Heroes of Young Harris College were announced. 

The Faculty and Staff Luncheon is one of many opportunities for employees to enjoy the camaraderie of the Young Harris College community outside of the hustle and bustle. Held at The Barn in Young Harris, the luncheon was a relaxing interlude between the end-of-semester finals and upcoming summer activities. The team enjoyed catering by Hawg Wild BBQ of Hiawasee. 

The Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon is designed to recognize these individuals and their contributions to the College. President Van Horn presented multiple Unsung Hero Awards to those who not only do their jobs exceptionally well but do so without fanfare. These individuals were nominated by their peers for going far beyond the expectations of their jobs to help their students, colleagues, and the College in extraordinary ways.

  • Dr. Alex Barnes, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Co-Faculty Athletics Representative 
  • Jeff Barkiewicz, Information Technology Systems Administrator
  • Joe DeFrank, Residence Life Coordinator & Rollins Campus Center Event Coordinator 
  • Dr. Brian Hoffman, Professor of Chemistry & Computer Science
  • Tommy Jenkins, Voice of the YHC Mountain Lions & Supervisor of the YHC Chick-fil-A
  • Dr. Linda Jones, Professor of Biology & Dean of the Division of Mathematics, Science & Technology 
  • Teresa Kelley, Executive Assistant to the President
  • Tony Petty, Sergeant, YHC Police Department
  • Teresa Sampson, Institutional Research Analyst
  • Sandy Sosensky, Accounts Receivable & Front Office Coordinator
  • Jenny Stowers, Coordinator First Year Experience & Instructor Outdoor Studies Program
  • Shlea Wright, Assistant Director of Residence Life & Head Cheerleading Coach

The new Staff Council was introduced by current Staff Council President and Assistant Director of Admissions Operations Myra O’Connor. She will be succeeded as president by Shlea Wright. Rev. Adam Daniels will step in as Vice President, while Jenny Stowers will serve as Vice President Elect. Erin Tozier was named Secretary. 

Finally, an annual challenge, the Purple and White Competition was won by staff members. Each year, faculty and staff members alike take the opportunity to give back in support of the College’s mission of educating, inspiring, and empowering students. Myra O’Connor was presented with the coveted Luke the Mountain Lion trophy, and staff members won bragging rights over faculty for the coming year. The afternoon concluded with Mimo’s Ice Cream and Twisted Treats. 

About Young Harris College 

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit