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Passover is historic celebration of freedom

17Passover is a Jewish celebration that begins this year at sundown on April 22 and ends on April 30.
According to the religious resource My Jewish Learning, Passover is a festival of freedom that marks the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and their freedom from slavery. The term "Passover," which is also known as "pesach," coordinates with a key moment in religious history.
According to texts, the Egyptian Pharaoh refused to liberate the children of Israel, despite requests from Moses and his brother, Aaron. The pharaoh was warned that his people and he would be punished if the pharaoh did not comply.
Persistent and obstinate in his refusal, Pharaoh was subjected to 10 plagues, each of which was more devastating than the previous one. These plagues included blood, frogs, bugs, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and finally the demise of all firstborn males.
To be spared the ultimate devastation, Israelites were instructed to sacrifice a lamb for a meal and to mark their doors with its blood. The Lord would see the blood and pass over that household, sparing the occupants' sons.
Because Passover is so symbolic, Passover seders, which take place either on the first Friday or both the first and second Friday of Passover, feature many traditions.
It is customary to read the Haggadah at the seder table, but celebrants who cannot come together may share these important stories, blessings and songs via an online video chat.
In addition, if Passover celebrants cannot make it to the store or find all of the ingredients for their seder plates, substitutions may need to be made. Traditionally, an egg, bitter herbs, a shank bone, parsley, haroset (chopped mixed nuts, fruits and cinnamon), and lettuce are included.
Celebrants can even experiment with making unleavened bread at home if necessary. If horseradish for a bitter herb is unavailable, any item that can cause tears, such as ginger or raw lemon, may be substituted.
Passover is an important part of Jewish history and a holiday that is celebrated each year with vigor.

Fun ways to celebrate Earth Day

19Earth Day is an annual holiday that has been celebrated since 1970. Despite somewhat humble beginnings, much of the globe now celebrates Earth Day, which this year takes place on Monday, April 22.
Earth Day has long drawn attention to issues affecting the planet and its climate. The effects of those issues have grown increasingly noticeable in recent years, which makes this Earth Day and all subsequent celebrations an ideal opportunity to celebrate the planet while learning about the many challenges it faces in the years to come. The following are unique, fun and educational ways to celebrate the planet this April.
Leave the car at home. Winter weather is a distant memory by late April in many places, making Earth Day an ideal time to travel by foot or by bicycle instead of by car. That is not only fun, but also a great opportunity to learn about carbon emissions.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. Vehicles also emit a substantial amount of methane and nitrous oxide. This is why gas-powered vehicles are so often linked to climate change, much of which is driven by greenhouse gas emissions.
A car-free Earth Day can be fun and serve as a catalyst for conversation about the effects of gas-powered vehicles on the health of the planet.
Volunteer with a local environmental organization. Environmental organizations are committed to the ideals behind Earth Day all year long. However, each Earth Day many of these organizations sponsor eco-conscious efforts to help the planet and raise awareness about issues like climate change.
Volunteering with a local beach or park cleanup or signing up to walk and raise money for a local environmental charity makes for a fun and educational way to spend your Earth Day.
Get your hands dirty and plant. The National Forest Foundation notes that planting trees can have a profound and positive impact on the planet.
According to the NFF, planting more trees helps forests sequester carbon, which can have a significant effect on climate change.
The NFF estimates that 100 mature trees can remove 50 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and 430 pounds of pollution from the atmosphere. Even if you can't work with a local forestry organization to plant more trees in a nearby forest, planting native trees on your own property can help combat climate change.
Involve children in your efforts to combat climate change. Today's adults likely won't be the ones forced to confront the more challenging consequences of climate change.
Unfortunately, that cost is likely to be passed on to future generations. That makes this Earth Day a great time to involve kids more directly in efforts to combat climate change. Explain the significance of avoiding the car, volunteering or planting trees in terms that kids can understand, emphasizing that the planet's future could very well be in their hands.
Earth Day takes on greater significance each year as the effects of climate change become more noticeable.
This year, the holiday can be celebrated in various ways that are both enjoyable and educational.

FTCC offers program in database management

18In many ways, data is changing the face of the world. The constant collection of data helps to improve the quality of life. Businesses thrive on data to help improve processes, save money, and maximize profits. Decision-makers rely heavily on data to help make key decisions on business practices and processes. Data helps find solutions to problems by effectively determining the cause and developing fact-based solutions that are as close to predicting the future as humanly possible. Data helps businesses and organizations be extremely strategic in their approaches. The world runs on data, so it’s vital that data is managed properly, kept secure, and accessible in a timely manner. In today’s world, that means immediately.
The Information Technology curriculum at Fayetteville Technical Community College prepares graduates for employment in the technology sector as designers, testers, support technicians, system administrators, developers, or programmers who use computer software and/or hardware to design, process, implement, and manage information systems.
Course work includes the development of a student’s ability to understand the role of databases and database management systems within the field of Information Technology, to demonstrate knowledge of SQL data definition and SQL, to develop queries to extract information from large databases, and to implement a database solution in the area of Information Technology.
A career in database management can be very financially rewarding. Database architects currently earn a median salary of $113,000 a year.
FTCC Student Tiffany Brown shared her thoughts about the program: “In my experience, the Database Management program at FTCC is exceptional. Throughout my matriculation, the courses provided me an opportunity to build a strong foundation in Information Technology and Database Programming which helped me feel confident that I will be able to excel in the field of Technology. More importantly, our Dean, Tomica Sobers, was very knowledgeable on the subject matter and always willing to go the extra mile to assist me with any questions or hurdles I encountered during and after my completion of the program. As an individual with minimal prior knowledge in this discipline, her advice and constant words of encouragement helped me maintain a positive attitude when facing new challenges.”
FTCC Student Bryan Campbell plans to pursue a career in database management: “With help from my favorite advisor, Ms. Sobers, I completed the database program at FTCC, and I wish to pursue a career in database management; with the knowledge that I have gained, I continue to excel in my current program of study at UNC-G.”
Are you ready to learn more? FTCC offers a broad range of specialty areas in the field of Information Technology. Contact FTCC today to begin your career in database management or explore the many available pathways to success.
Find the office of Advanced Technology Center in Room 154-D, 2300 Hull Rd., open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call 910-678-7365. Tomica Sobers, department chair, can also be reached at sobersto@faytechcc.edu.

Methodist University wins Military Friendly gold medal ranking

8Methodist University proudly serves those who serve at the highest level – and once again, it has the designation to prove it.
Today, the Military Friendly® ratings program officially named Methodist University a Military Friendly® university with a gold-level ranking for the 2024-25 academic year. The ranking is a recurring honor for the University, which was also listed as one of the Military Times’ “Best for Vets” schools in November.
“Receiving this recognition is important for Methodist University,” said Dr. Doris Munoz, assistant provost of student retention and persistence initiatives at MU. “We have amazing services and resources in place to support all military-connected students. It is an honor for us to receive this recognition, but it’s even more of an honor to be able to provide military-connected students with the services we provide. After all they have done for us, this is the least we can do for them.”
The Military Friendly® program utilizes public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey to determine the rankings.
Located only a few miles away from Fort Liberty and Pope Army Airfield, Methodist University is uniquely positioned with several students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are serving or have served. For active-military student Ryan Lucas, the Military Friendly® ranking for Methodist University is well earned.
“At Methodist University, they adapt to my mission in expanding my education,” said Lucas, a U.S. Army critical care flight paramedic who is studying MU’s online Advanced Paramedicine program. “Flexibility meets dedication as they synchronize with my military schedule, ensuring I’m successful both in the field and in the classroom.”
With a Fort Liberty Office, Methodist University is dedicated to serving active-duty military, veterans, and their family members with personal assistance on general inquiries, admission, registration, academic and career advisement, and tuition assistance.
Methodist University also offers more than two dozen 100-percent online degree and certification programs – allowing active-duty military the flexibility they need to take the steps in their education or career.
Online undergraduate and graduate programs include Advanced Paramedicine, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Health Administration, Marketing, Psychology, Social Work, and more.
To learn about all of the advantages offered to active-duty military, visit Methodist University’s Fort Liberty Office web page.
Methodist University is an independent, four-year institution of higher education with approximately 2,000 students from across the U.S. and more than 50 countries.
MU offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including doctoral-level options, on campus and online. MU has been ranked as the “No. 1, Most Diverse University in North Carolina (2021-22 and 2022-23)," features more than 75 student clubs and organizations, plus 20 NCAA intercollegiate sports with nearly 40 team national championships.
To learn more about Methodist University, please visit methodist.edu.

Deployed Love celebrates military children


Deployed Love, a national nonprofit organization, will be hosting a celebration for military children at Fort Liberty in honor of April, the Month of the Military Child.
Military families will be able to join Deployed Love at Sprout Springs Church Community Playground on April 20 for a fun afternoon. Children will be able to play on the playground, get their faces painted, jump in a bounce house, and dance to music.
As the kids have fun, there will be a special appearance from Leo the Lion, the Food Lion mascot.
Several food trucks will be available on-site for families to purchase food and drinks. The New Growth Cafe, which is partnering with Deployed Love to host the event, will also be open. Their menu includes a variety of espresso, coffee beverages and a selection of non-coffee drinks and seasonal flavors.
The event will begin at 1 p.m.
With help from volunteers from the community, Deployed Love will be able to provide 50 military families at Fort Liberty with free professional photos.
“I am so excited for this event, as it gives us the opportunity to recognize the military kiddos and the sacrifices and changes they make everyday.
"They are asked to follow their parents where they go, even if that means leaving behind friends, family, sports and schools. They have experienced certain things other children will never understand, but they also get to explore more than most children! Our military kids are the strongest group affiliated with the military and they deserve the world,” said Co-coordinator Katrina Belvin.
Anyone interested in volunteering, donating items and food for the event, or sponsoring the event can email communicationmanager@deployedlove.org.
About Deployed Love
Deployed Love is a non-profit based out of Fayetteville, North Carolina and currently has 6 chapters nationally.
It is a fully volunteer-run organization providing a community for military families.
Deployed Love strives to unite deployed military members and their families by serving the military community with events that bring connection and joy to the families involved.
The purpose of Deployed Love is to create and share events that allow families separated by military deployments a chance to connect. To learn more, visit DeployedLove.org or follow @DeployedLove on Instagram and Facebook.


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