Local Teachers Attend Summer Professional Development Training

Vance County Schools

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2017 

Career and Technical Education teachers in Vance County Schools are joining their counterparts from Granville, Franklin and Warren counties in a three-day “AMSTA Summer Cruisers” professional development training this week.

The educators are shown in the accompanying photo as they worked on an activity during their “Lean Manufacturing” training today in the Vance County Schools’ Administrative Services Center.

They began the training on June 19 and toured the Dill Air Controls and Revlon manufacturing plants in Granville County. They also heard presentations on youth services and how to best prepare students to be career and college ready. In addition to the manufacturing training session today, they also are touring the bioMerieux plant in Durham County. They will conclude their participation in the AMSTA event tomorrow at Franklinton High School in Franklin County, where they will meet with state commerce officials and listen to educational presentations including a session entitled, “School Choice and the Impact on Public Schools.”

Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company endows VGCC Scholarship

Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, which has a major manufacturing and distribution facility in Oxford, recently established a new scholarship at Vance-Granville Community College.

For the company, headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the scholarship marks an enhancement of its partnership with the community college. The company was the presenting sponsor of VGCC’s 33rd annual Endowment Fund Golf Tournament in May, which set a new record for fundraising success.

Mike Little, president of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco, said his company values VGCC’s important role in economic and workforce development. “It’s important for us at Santa Fe to be involved in our community and supportive of our community,” Little said. “In addition, if we can help prepare people for professional life who might work for us one day, that’s a win-win.” He added that VGCC, particularly through its Continuing Education division, has been helpful to his company. “Vance-Granville has already provided us with great training that has deepened the skills of many of our employees, and we look forward to continuing that partnership,” Little said. 

The “Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Academic Achievement Award” will be the company’s first endowed scholarship at a community college, according to Little. His company is a subsidiary of Reynolds American, which, Little noted, is also interested in philanthropy and supporting higher education. In awarding the new scholarship, preference will be given to students enrolled in programs that help meet the employment needs of manufacturers, such as Welding Technology, Mechatronics Engineering Technology and Business Administration.

“Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company is a strong community partner and supporter of Vance-Granville,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “We are grateful to them for investing in our students and in the future of our region.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 8,800 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.


NCCU and VGCC Launch Program for Early Childhood Teachers and Specialists


DURHAM, N.C. – The North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Department of Human Sciences and Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC) have signed an agreement to offer two education-related bachelor’s degree programs on the community college campus in Henderson, N.C.

NCCU will provide the second two years of study at VGCC for students with Associate in Applied Science degrees, as well as provide support services and access to NCCU’s resources, such as the Shepard Library on campus. VGCC will recruit qualified students for the two programs and provide classrooms, labs and other resources as needed on campus.

The new offerings include a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, which typically leads to a teaching certificate for working in preschool and kindergarten programs in North Carolina. The bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Child Development and Family Relations focuses on child development and prepares graduates to work in a variety of settings, including individual and family counseling programs, youth centers, social services, child care agencies and others.

NCCU and VGCC have had an existing partnership for criminal justice majors called Eagle Voyage that started in 2016.

“We are excited about this opportunity to form an additional partnership with Vance-Granville Community College,” said NCCU Interim Chancellor Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye. “Preparing students to educate the youngest and most vulnerable among us is important work. We look forward to seeing these students soar to graduation, so they can begin to educate and inspire the newest generation of North Carolina citizens.”

“We are proud to be expanding our successful partnership with North Carolina Central University to provide new opportunities for our graduates to continue their training as educators and earn a bachelor’s degree here in our community,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “Providing clear academic pathways from the community college to the university level is one important way in which we support our Vanguards so that they can achieve professional success.”

Research has shown that high quality preschool and kindergarten experiences are instrumental in giving children, especially those from economically challenged backgrounds, a better chance to succeed in upper grades and throughout life. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2015 found the ability to master social-emotional skills in kindergarten was linked to adult performance in areas such as educational attainment, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.

Students who graduate from the four-year Early Childhood Education program must take the N.C. Teaching License exam to work in public schools with preschoolers or kindergarten classes. Prior to graduation, all students must have a directed teaching experience in a public-school kindergarten or a state or nationally accredited early childhood education program.

North Carolina Central University prepares students to succeed in the global marketplace. Flagship programs include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, nursing, education, law, business and the arts. Founded in 1910 as a liberal arts college for African-Americans, NCCU remains committed to diversity in higher education. Our alumni are among the nation’s most successful scientists, researchers, educators, attorneys, artists and entrepreneurs.  Visit


VGCC celebrates Male Mentoring students

The second annual PRIDE awards were presented as the Male Mentoring Success Initiative (MMSI) at Vance-Granville Community College recently held a ceremony to recognize outstanding students who have excelled in the program.

The ceremony, held May 3 at VGCC’s South Campus, began with welcoming remarks from the dean of that campus, Cecilia Wheeler. “Being involved in this program shows that you are leaders,” Wheeler told the students.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Male Mentoring PRIDE awards. As Anthony Pope, co-coordinator for the MMSI, explained, PRIDE stands for “Pin Recognizing Individuals Demonstrating Excellence.” Each honored student received a lapel pin and a certificate.

For their longevity being active in the program, Anthonie Mycal Elam of Warrenton and Jerry Pierce Jr. of Stem received the PRIDE Awards for Tenure.

PRIDE Awards for Engagement went to Johnathan Williamson of Oxford and Christopher Blue of Henderson for being active in the program and bringing in other students.

PRIDE Awards for Athletic Excellence went to three members of the Vanguards men’s basketball team, Christopher Pernell and NiQuan Cousins, both of Raleigh, and TyQuon Reid of Goldsboro.

Blue, Reid and Williamson also received PRIDE Awards for Leadership.

PRIDE Awards for Scholarship were presented to Williamson, Cody Boylorn and Tyler Boylorn, both of Franklinton, Osvaldo Hernandez of Stem, Brian Restrepo and David Restrepo, both of Youngsville,

Hadden Justice of Louisburg, and Francis Scotland of Oxford.

The event also featured by remarks by several students. Justice said he was enrolled in Automotive Systems Technology and became involved in the MMSI after finding out that the group would be taking a trip that included a tour of UNC-Charlotte. Taking the tour helped him decide to transfer to that university in the fall to study Motorsports Engineering after completing his VGCC diploma. Likewise, Scotland said that the MMSI trip gave him a closer look at UNC-Charlotte, where he may be continuing his education in engineering to the master’s level. Scotland recently graduated from the college with both an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science. He thanked Pope, Academic Skills Center Coordinator Jason Snelling, and the college generally for their support.

Former VGCC student mentee Harold Ragland, who is now a student at North Carolina Central University, returned to speak to the mentoring initiative’s current participants. “Be your own person, and be a leader in the community,” Ragland urged them.

Williamson, a Radiography student who has mentored some of the younger students in the program, said he appreciated the “opportunities for networking and learning” in the MMSI. “Some of the things you get here at VGCC you don’t get at the bigger universities, like the individual help and commitment,” Williamson noted. “We’ve learned in the mentoring program to represent ourselves and our school well.”

Several special guests who had participated in the MMSI speakers’ series during the year offered words of congratulations and encouragement to the students. These included former Harlem Globetrotter James “Twiggy” Sanders, attorney Roderick Allison (who also presented a solo on the trumpet), and attorney and former N.C. District Court Judge Quon Bridges.

In addition to the PRIDE awards, Anthony Pope presented a certificate to every student who actively participated in the program this year. In closing remarks, VGCC Dean of Enrollment & Outreach Jeffrey Allen thanked Pope and co-coordinator Michael Farmer for their efforts to support students.

Supported by a grant from the North Carolina Community College System, the MMSI at VGCC works to help male students stay in school and on track to graduate or transfer to a four-year university. For more information on the mentoring initiative, contact Anthony Pope at [email protected] or (252) 738-3395.


Former Judge Quon Bridges speaks at VGCC South Campus

Attorney and former N.C. District Court Judge S. Quon Bridges spoke to students, faculty and staff at Vance-Granville Community College’s South Campus as part of a speakers’ series sponsored by the college’s Male Mentoring Success Initiative (MMSI), as the spring semester drew to a close. Among those in the audience were Granville Early College High School students.

Bridges recalled his mother, who had recently passed away at the time he spoke to students. She had encouraged her 11 children to read and to stay out of gangs, he told the audience. Bridges then recalled a harrowing incident from his childhood when he found his mother, injured and bleeding, at home one night.

“She told me that some young men had beaten and robbed her,” Bridges said. “I picked up my baseball bat. I wanted to go look for these guys. But my mother grabbed my arm and said, ‘Son, I can get back what was robbed, but if you go out to get revenge, and you get hurt or get in trouble, I can’t replace you. Don’t be like those young men who did this to me. Make something of your life.’” He added, “I try to encourage all young people to do the same.”

Bridges said that young people need to “feel good about themselves” and avoid illegal drug activity. “You all have potential to do great things in life,” he told his audience. “You’re responsible for yourself. No more excuses! Get out there and do the very best you can do.”

Success, Bridges advised them, will not happen overnight. He talked about how, when he was a child, he and each of his siblings were given a wall in their house, on which they could post what they wanted. He would cut out pictures of courtrooms, lawyers and judges to post on his wall as a way of visualizing his future.

Bridges received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster and his Juris Doctorate from the North Carolina Central University School of Law. He was appointed by former Governor Mike Easley as a district court judge for the 9th Judicial District in 2007. Prior to this appointment, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for 17 years. He began his career working for the North Central Legal Assistance Program before becoming a private practice lawyer. Bridges also is currently a member of the Oxford board of commissioners.

He encouraged students to continue their education, keep working hard and believe in themselves.

Supported by a grant from the North Carolina Community College System, the MMSI at VGCC works to help male students stay in school and on track to graduate or transfer to a four-year university. For more information on the mentoring initiative, contact Anthony Pope at [email protected] or (252) 738-3395.


Spence Bailey named VGCC Director of Admissions

Spence Bailey has been named the director of admissions at Vance-Granville Community College. As part of the college’s Enrollment and Outreach division, Bailey will lead a department that develops and maintains a student-centered process of admission, from engaging and recruiting prospective students to welcoming them to VGCC.

Bailey has been a member of the VGCC staff, as College Recruiter, since 2006. A resident of Oxford, he graduated from J.F. Webb High School and then started his higher education at VGCC. He then transferred to East Carolina University, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in communications. Bailey then worked for WCTI-TV, the local ABC affiliate in the New Bern-Greenville area, first as a creative services producer and later as a news photographer before joining the staff at VGCC. He has since completed a web design certificate at VGCC and will soon complete a master’s degree in network technology at ECU. 

Bailey is a graduate of Leadership Granville, a program sponsored by the Granville County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with VGCC and Granville County Schools, and now serves on the program’s steering committee.

“A VGCC alumnus, Spence has been a dedicated, innovative member of our staff for more than a decade, collaborating with other faculty and staff, as well as community partners, to recruit students and inform them about all the opportunities available at the college,” VGCC Dean of Enrollment & Outreach Jeffrey Allen said. “We look forward to his leadership as our Admissions team continues to inspire and support new Vanguards who are joining our diverse community of learners.”

Bailey and his team are currently enrolling students for the fall semester, which begins Aug. 14. For more information, apply for admission online at or call (252) 738-3234.


Creedmoor attorney speaks to Vance County Early College students

Shortly before the recent spring semester ended, attorney Roderick Allison of Creedmoor spoke to Vance County Early College High School students as part of a spring speakers’ series sponsored by the Vance-Granville Community College Male Mentoring Success Initiative (MMSI). VGCC staff member Anthony Pope, co-coordinator of the MMSI, introduced Allison as a “triple threat,” not only an attorney but also a comedian and a musician. Allison has performed comedy and made motivational presentations to groups across the country.

Allison talked with the students, who were joined by some faculty and staff from both the high school and the college, about their dreams and the need for hard work to achieve those dreams. 

“Find out what you’re good at, and focus on that,” Allison advised the students. “Also, know what you’re not good at. Personally, I’m not good at math.” He recalled that in high school, “I made all A’s in math because I’m funny. I made the math teachers laugh and I was creative, and they gave me good grades for the effort!”

Everyone has potential, he emphasized. “In school, I was smart, but mostly, I worked hard and I developed my talents. I ended up being the valedictorian of my graduating class at North Carolina Central University, even though others were smarter than me.” Allison put that same work ethic to practice in comedy, repeatedly practicing a routine in his basement as a young man. He told the young students that they cannot wait until later to develop their talents and skills. “Prepare now for what you want to be,” he said.

Supported by a grant from the North Carolina Community College System, the MMSI at VGCC works to help male students stay in school and on track to graduate or transfer to a four-year university. For more information on the mentoring initiative, contact Anthony Pope at [email protected] or (252) 738-3395.


VGCC Pharmacy Technology students serve community

Students in the Pharmacy Technology program at Vance-Granville Community College have been participating in a unique “community pharmacy practice” clinical rotation at a Granville County nonprofit organization.

Under the supervision of Pharmacy Technology Program Head Dr. Erica Fleming, students completed part of their clinical rotation at Area Congregations in Ministry (ACIM) in Oxford on Fridays during the spring semester. The students provided health services for ACIM clients such as blood pressure checks, diabetes risk assessments and medication therapy services, while also providing information on vital health issues, stroke awareness and chronic disease state management.

The mission of ACIM, an organization made up of Granville County churches and faith-based organizations, is to provide food and other resources and services to Granville County citizens in need. In addition to food items, ACIM is able to provide financial assistance for housing and utilities to clients who meet certain eligibility requirements.

This marked the fourth semester that VGCC students have worked with clients at ACIM. Sue Hinman, ACIM’s executive director, said the partnership with the college is the first of its kind for her organization. “This partnership is awesome,” Hinman said. “My clients are getting to know the students, and it makes a huge difference that our clients know that there is someone they can talk to and get information about medications, so that they can take better care of themselves.” She added that by collaborating with the Pharmacy Technology students and faculty, she and her volunteers have also gained a better understanding of the medications that their clients are taking.

Fleming said that the partnership is helping not only the community, but also the students. “Rotating here is an example of community pharmacy practice,” she said. “We want to expose our students to this area in the field of pharmacy and expand their perspective. This experience gives students another way to apply what they learn in class. It’s a good way to learn about various diseases, because we never know what we are going to encounter.” Fleming said students sometimes need to research problems that clients have and come back the next week to offer them possible solutions. “We screen people for diabetes and high blood pressure and counsel them on their medications,” she said. “We also provide them with information about services that can help them pay for prescriptions, like NC MedAssist.”

Fleming added that through her program’s “Rx 4 Life” project, her students give each ACIM client a handy medication card that they can keep in their pocket. On the card, clients can make a list of all their medications, the reasons they use them and when to take them. The card also has spaces for important phone numbers and other information.

“The purpose of the project is to empower patients to take an active role in managing their medications, to increase patient medication knowledge, to optimize medication use to improve therapeutic outcomes for patients and to provide patients with a portable medication record,” Fleming said. Another card that students created and distributed to clients has information on the signs of stroke, as well as the client’s target weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood glucose. Awareness of the targets for these major risk factors of stroke gives patients specific areas to focus on when setting health care goals. Spaces on the card allow them to track their actual data over time.

Fleming said that overall, the ACIM partnership has helped her program “to develop community ties and promote awareness of us as a resource.” She estimated that her students have seen almost 400 clients to date.

Tamika Everett of Creedmoor, one of the spring semester students, recalled one remarkable incident. “We had a client who lived by herself,” Everett said. “She came in to receive services from ACIM, not intending to visit us, but she saw us and came over.” The students checked her blood pressure and were shocked to find that her systolic blood pressure number was over 220, which generally indicates a life-threatening hypertensive crisis.

Fleming notified the client’s primary care provider and immediate family members, and then took her to a nearby emergency room for monitoring and treatment. “We’re glad we were able to help her, because who knows what would have happened?” Everett wondered. Fleming said that is just one dramatic example of how area residents visit ACIM because of one particular need but end up receiving help with other needs, including health and medication management issues.

For information on volunteering at ACIM, call (919) 690-0961. For more information on the VGCC Pharmacy Technology program, call Dr. Fleming at (252) 738-3482.


VGCC students excel at SkillsUSA state competition

Vance-Granville Community College students recently earned several awards at the 52nd annual SkillsUSA North Carolina State Leadership and Skills Conference, which was held in Greensboro. A record 2,600 participants competed in 110 contests at the conference, billed as the largest showcase of career and technical education in the state.

VGCC Culinary Arts student Shirley Bennett of Durham took home second place in commercial baking, while her classmate, Marcus Brown of Henderson, placed third in the same competition, in which students had to produce cookies, bread and muffins on a large scale.

Two other Culinary Arts students, Hayya Wright of Louisburg and Tyneshia Brackett of Creedmoor, placed third and fifth, respectively, in the culinary arts competition. The contest challenged participants to think on their feet in a “mystery box” format, in which each student was given a box of ingredients and asked to prepare a soup and an entree in a limited amount of time.

Tonisha Chavis of Oxford, a Cosmetology student, placed fifth in the SkillsUSA nail care competition, which was held at the Greensboro Coliseum. The culinary and baking contests were held at Guilford Technical Community College.

VGCC students were accompanied to Greensboro by Culinary Arts instructor Jillian Whitlow and Cosmetology Program Head/instructor Tomeka Moss.

SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. With 18,000 chapters and more than 335,000 active members, SkillsUSA is a national membership organization serving middle-school, high-school and college/post-secondary students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. Among the benefits to VGCC students are opportunities to participate in competitions, which are designed by industry experts and showcase the nation’s top career and technical education students.

“We are very proud of our students for demonstrating that they are among the best in North Carolina,” said Steve Hargrove, VGCC’s Public Services department chair and lead advisor for the SkillsUSA chapter.

For more information on SkillsUSA at VGCC, contact Steve Hargrove at [email protected] or (252) 738-3467.


VGCC team competes in electric car race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Teamwork is what got a group from Vance-Granville Community College onto the track at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway — not only the teamwork demonstrated by students and faculty from curriculum programs at the college, but also by a team of sponsors from the community who supported them.

For the first time, VGCC sent a team to compete in an event as part of the GreenpowerUSA racing series supported by Siemens and the Sports Car Club of America. GreenpowerUSA is a national organization that promotes education in sustainable engineering and technology by offering challenges for schools based around designing and building a single-seat, electric-powered racecar. The series is open to middle schools, high schools, colleges and corporate teams. After the University of Alabama dropped out of this year’s GreenpowerUSA program, VGCC was the sole remaining college at the Greenpower Grand Prix at Indianapolis on May 1.

The Indy race followed a 10-week period of intense work by VGCC students to design, procure parts, manufacture parts and construct the car. After Mechatronics Engineering Technology students designed the basic layout, Welding Technology student Joshua Pfohl of Wilton, with assistance from classmate Jared Q. Siemers of Wake Forest, fabricated the frame of the car. From there, the Welding team worked with the Mechatronics students, including Jerry Pierce, Jr. of Stem, Thomas Boyd of Henderson, Kyle Painter of Berea and Charles Nordcliff of Creedmoor, to complete construction and start testing. The drivers for the team were recruited from among the VGCC student body. Driving the car and setting the driving strategy in the final race of the weekend were Jessica Baker of Wake Forest (a pre-Nursing/general education student), Alexa Clayton of Rougemont (Cosmetology) and Olivia Williamson of Oxford (Radiography). None of the students had raced before.

Faculty members leading the effort included Applied Technologies Department Chair Keith Shearon, Welding Program Head Rusty Pace and Engineering Technologies Program Head Wesley Williams.

A number of local business sponsors joined to support the effort, including PowerSecure of Wake Forest, Charles Boyd Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC of Henderson, Vance County Tourism/East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame, VanNess Chevrolet of Creedmoor, Duke Energy, Toyota of Henderson and Superior Tooling of Wake Forest. In addition, Action Graphics & Signs of Bullock affixed graphics representing the sponsors onto the sides of the car and provided some parts and expertise. The college’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant funded many of the components and raw materials for the collaborative project.

The Greenpower Grand Prix at IMS featured 27 teams from the United States and Britain coming together to race. The Indy event included two 90-minute races over the 2.6-mile MotoGP layout, during which pit stops were conducted for two driver changes. VGCC’s car placed 21st in the first race and came in 13th in the second. At the finish of the second race, the VGCC car was the fastest on the track. “For that car to have never run a race before, show up and run two races without failing during either, and to finish 13th in the second race, is a phenomenal feat,” Shearon said. He added that the drivers achieved faster speeds than he had expected. Being at the enormous speedway, student Jerry Pierce added, was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

GreenpowerUSA racecars are built to a specification that includes a single-sourced 24V DC electric motor and two specific 12V DC batteries that are meant to provide similar performance capability between teams, according to Shearon. Teams focus on the engineering problems of reducing friction, total driver/vehicle weight, increasing reliability, and improving aerodynamics. The largest technical challenges are chassis and bodywork design.

“The GreenpowerUSA program is a very good STEM catalyst,” Shearon said. “These projects promote science, technology, engineering and math to students through a hands-on experience as team members. GreenpowerUSA builds teamwork, releases creative energy and inspires confidence through personal achievement.” He added that the effort was “groundbreaking for VGCC, in the sense that we’re going way outside of our community and getting some recognition for our engineering and welding programs.” Shearon expressed his appreciation to the Welding and Mechatronics programs for collaborating so well, and to the local community sponsors for supporting the team.

Shearon said that the college plans to expand the program next year with more cars and hopes to encourage other local schools and colleges to compete. For more information on the TAACCCT grant program and participating in the next GreenpowerUSA project as a student, contact Zane Styers at [email protected] or (252) 738-3342 or Keith Shearon at [email protected] or (252) 738-3256.