VGCC students inducted into honor society

Vance-Granville Community College recognized 75 students who were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for students of two-year colleges, on April 18 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus. VGCC students honored with induction into Phi Theta Kappa must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 in associate degree curriculum programs and have completed at least 12 credit hours toward their degrees.

As advisors for VGCC’s PTK chapter, instructors Olu Ariyo, Isaac Talley and Maureen Walters conducted the ceremony. Walters, the head advisor, told the new inductees and their families and friends in attendance that since VGCC’s chapter of PTK, “Alpha Sigma Chi,” was chartered in 1991, more than 1,900 students have been selected for induction. She said that while scholarship is the first aim of PTK, the society also encourages fellowship, leadership development and service to others, and she noted that the letters Phi Theta Kappa stand for the Greek words for “Wisdom,” “Aspiration” and “Purity.”

Serving as guest speaker for the ceremony was Danny Wright of Henderson, a retired Vance County commissioner and the current chair of the VGCC Board of Trustees. “On behalf of the trustees, we salute you for your accomplishments and achievements,” Wright said. “The most important element of a democratic society is the education of its citizens. The greatest anti-poverty program this country has ever administered is a good education. The foundation for any nation to become a peaceful, ordered society is the education of its people. Each of you has demonstrated how much you value and how much you believe in education, so you are well on your way.” Education, he noted, does not, in and of itself, make students better people. “Life is a constant exercise in self-improvement,” Wright said, and the most important thing in life is the cultivation of relationships. “Technical competency alone is not enough to achieve career success,” he added, but rather, students must develop their interpersonal skills as well.

This year’s inductees into the Alpha Sigma Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa are:

From Franklin County

Rebekah Glasheen, Christopher Plumley, Charles Sawyer and Mya Wilson, all of Franklinton;

Madison Waddle of Kittrell;

Loganne Driver, Michael Gokee, Katelyn Jensen, Mark Meinhart, Katlyn Riley and Charmaine Sutton, all of Louisburg;

Hope Crute, Skylar Davenport, Jordan Dowdy, Lindsay Henry and Sydney Venezia, all of Youngsville.


From Granville County


Jordan  Ligon and Katie Weary, both of Bullock;

Debra Duncan of Butner;

Caitlyn Good, Carlos Matinote, June Matinote, Sara Reid, Martin Spencer and Hunter Thompson, all of Creedmoor;

Cedric Rodebaugh of Franklinton;

Cecilia   Barrenechea, Nicole Bowman, April Brogden, Larecia Bullock, Kristel Dehart, Timothy Farley, Keodric Grant, Aaron McNeill, Sharon Ray, Francis Scotland, Sydney Towers, Alana Towles, Johnathan Williamson and Ymani Yancey, all of Oxford;

Alex Jackson of Stem;

Kellyann Cook of Stovall.


From Vance County


Lauren  Beauchamp, Angela Burrell, Anthony Henderson, Victoria Inscoe, Jacquella Jones, Lindsey Perry, Katelynn Ray, Janet Rodriguez-Morales, Fatima Saleh, Melissa Simmons, April Thompson,

Bailee Tippett, Makala West and Shanetta Wright, all of Henderson;

Beverly Ellis, Renee Jackson, Leslie Leake and Allison Long, all of Kittrell.


From Warren County


Shima’a Hauter of Norlina;

Ellen Denning, Nubia Lockett, Amanda Miller, Raina Mills, Rowan Morris, Daniel O’Malley, Hannah Ortiz and Joshua Taylor, all of Warrenton.


From Wake County

David Jeanblanc and Charles Keith, both of Raleigh;

Kathryn Catlett of Zebulon.

From other counties

Joshua Jacobs of Durham;

Brian Stevenson of Gastonia;

Brianna Lynch of Hollister.

Author of “Blood Done Sign My Name” To Speak at VGCC Adult Basic Skills Commencement


Vance-Granville Community College will hold commencement exercises dedicated exclusively to new graduates of Adult Basic Skills programs on Thursday, May 4. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County.

Those being honored at the ceremony will include students who have completed either the Adult High School Diploma program or the High School Equivalency program in the past year.

Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, an author and professor who spent part of his childhood in Oxford, will serve as the guest speaker. Tyson is currently Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture at Duke Divinity School. He also holds a faculty position in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His most recent book is The Blood of Emmett Till, published early this year.

Tyson is the author of Blood Done Sign My Name, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the Southern Book Award for Nonfiction and the Grawemeyer Award in Religion. His Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power was the winner of the James Rawley Prize for the best book on race and the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for the best first book in U.S. history from the Organization of American Historians. His Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy, published with David S. Cecelski with a foreword by Dr. John Hope Franklin, won the 1999 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights. He serves on the executive board of the North Carolina NAACP and the board of advisors for the UNC Center for Civil Rights.

Speaking on behalf of the graduating students during the ceremony will be Spencer Bojan Boyd of Oxford. Boyd completed the Adult High School Diploma program online and is already enrolled in the College Transfer program at VGCC. Boyd is a native of Serbia and was adopted at the age of six by a family in Johnston County, who later moved to Granville County. He was born without a right leg and with a distorted left leg, which was later amputated. Boyd’s future plan is to continue his education at the four-year level and become a certified prosthetist in order to help other amputees.


VGCC Summer Bridge program accepting applicants

Vance-Granville Community College is now accepting applications from incoming first-year students for the “Summer Bridge” program.

Summer Bridge is a three-week program designed to enhance a student’s transition from high school to college and prepare them to be successful during their freshman year at VGCC. The program is scheduled for Monday through Friday, July 10-July 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.

The program is completely free of charge, including lunch each day, and is conducted at VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. All incoming first-year students who will be attending the college in the fall 2017 semester (which starts in August) and who are North Carolina residents are eligible to participate.

During the program, students will be enrolled in the Success & Study Skills (ACA 115) course, participate in an academic enrichment class and learn about campus support resources in a fun and engaging environment.

The ACA 115 course provides an orientation to campus resources and the academic skills necessary to achieve educational objectives. Emphasis is placed on an exploration of facilities and services, study skills, library skills, self-assessment, wellness, goal-setting and critical thinking.

“Summer Bridge is an excellent opportunity for students to get a head start by gaining the tools and the preparation that will help them succeed during that critical first year of college,” said Jeffrey Allen, VGCC’s dean of enrollment and outreach.

Participants must first apply to VGCC and take the North Carolina Diagnostic and Placement (NC DAP) test prior to enrolling in the Summer Bridge program.

Students are encouraged to register for the program online at

For more information, contact Allen at [email protected] or 252-738-3405.


Guest designer helps VGCC bring “The Glass Menagerie” to life

When audiences enjoy the upcoming Vance-Granville Community College Dinner Theater production of “The Glass Menagerie,” they will see the work of a set designer who has worked on professional productions all along the Eastern seaboard. Shannon Clark is the first official “guest designer” for a VGCC theatrical production.

VGCC’s fifth annual Dinner Theater event, featuring the classic American drama that first launched playwright Tennessee Williams to fame, is scheduled for the evenings of Thursday, April 27, and Friday, April 28, starting at 6 p.m., in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. Tickets are $30 per seat and may be purchased online at

Clark has known Betsy Henderson, VGCC’s Department Chair/Instructor of Humanities and Fine Arts and the director of the play, ever since they were both undergraduate students studying theatre at the University of Southern Mississippi. Clark and Henderson are, like playwright Tennessee Williams, also Mississippi natives. “Tennessee Williams has been a favorite of mine for a long time,” Clark said, so he relished the opportunity to work with Henderson on this production.

“’The Glass Menagerie’ is an impactful piece of literature,” Clark explained. “It’s about family, relationships and hope. The matriarch character, Amanda, has hopes and dreams for her children. I think the play has a really powerful message.” He said that his approach to the VGCC production played with the concept of a “memory play” and the themes of dreams and wish fulfillment. “We’re using muslin and lace on the walls, which gives them the ability to ‘glow’ with a dream-like quality,” Clark said. He also gave the scenery a period feel, since the setting is an apartment built in the 1920s. “It’s a bit disjointed and disconnected, because the family is disconnected,” Clark noted. “The pieces of the set belong together, but we don’t know exactly how they fit together, which is a metaphor for the family unit.” All the design elements are tied to the story, with lace representing delicacy and fragility (like the “glass” of the title), while warm colors are used to contrast with the characters’ cold family relationships.

After an initial visit to talk with the VGCC students, Clark returned to campus for what he called “a glorious three days” to work with students on building the sets and putting together the costumes. “I’m thrilled to be working with such a talented, dedicated cast and crew,” he said of the students. For her part, Henderson said, “It has been a wonderful opportunity for our students to work with such an accomplished professional in the field of theatrical design.”

With a career in the theatre spanning 25 years, Clark has called North Carolina home since completing his master’s in fine arts at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2000. He has managed the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Cary Academy for the last 17 years, and his work is often seen on stages across the region, with credits including: Meredith College, William Peace University, Raleigh Little Theater, StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, Manbites Dog Theater, Bright Star Touring Theatre, Raleigh Ensemble Players, Honest Pint Theatre, the Justice Theater Project and NC Theatre. Clark has been an artist for opera and ballet productions, as well as traditional plays.

First staged in 1944, “The Glass Menagerie” is based in part on Tennessee Williams’s own memories of his family. The story focuses on Amanda Wingfield, a “faded Southern belle” who lives in poverty in a dingy St. Louis apartment with her son, Tom, and her daughter, Laura. The crux of the action comes when Tom invites a young man of his acquaintance to eat dinner with the family. Jim, the caller, is at once pounced upon by Amanda as a possible husband for Laura.

The VGCC cast features Brittney Patterson of Henderson as Amanda Wingfield; Ben Taylor of Franklinton as Tom Wingfield; Samantha Hines of Henderson as Laura Wingfield; and Jordan Bunting of Rocky Mount as Jim O’Conner. Members of the crew include Chadstity Copeland of Henderson (Assistant to the Director/Stage Manager), Allison Hines of Henderson (Assistant Stage Manager/Props), Jamie McGinn of Wake Forest (Costumes/Assistant for Props), Camden Jones of Henderson (Lighting/Sound operator), Lauren Elliott of Oxford (Head of Props) and Mya Hargrove and Evan O’Geary, both of Henderson (Hair and Make-up). All are current students at the college, except for Elliott, an alumna and VGCC staff member.


Retired judge, wife endow scholarship at VGCC

Henry Banks, who recently retired as chief judge of the North Carolina Ninth Judicial District Court bench, and his wife, Mamie B. Banks, recently established a new scholarship at Vance-Granville Community College.

Residents of Henderson, Judge Banks held court in Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties as a district judge for almost 21 years, while Mrs. Banks is a longtime educator, currently teaching in the Exceptional Children’s department at Northern Vance High School. She actually started her own higher education at VGCC, taking general education courses at the college before transferring to North Carolina Central University to complete a bachelor’s degree in education and, later, a master’s degree in special education.

Judge Banks also received both his undergraduate and law degrees from NCCU. He practiced law for many years in Henderson and served on the Henderson City Council for 13 years.

In awarding the new J. Henry and Mamie Banks Academic Achievement Scholarship, preference will be given first to students in the VGCC Paralegal Technology degree program, and secondly to students preparing to become teachers, either in the Early Childhood Education program or in the College Transfer program.

Judge Banks said that in addition to his wife’s experience in the teaching profession, he has always had a passion for education, as well. “We’re endowing this scholarship to provide financial support to help people pursue their dreams,” he said. “Because of my career, I know there is a particular need for qualified paralegals in our area.” Mrs. Banks added that she and her husband hope their contributions will encourage others to donate to the community college and help area residents gain education and training.

“We are so grateful to Judge and Mrs. Banks for their support of VGCC students,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “Their examples of public service, both in the law and in education, will inspire students who receive the scholarship in their name for years to come. Not only the scholarship recipients, but also their families, their employers and their communities will benefit from the Banks family’s generosity.”

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.


VGCC Radiography students seek local businesses for fundraiser

Radiography students at Vance-Granville Community College are planning a fundraiser to help them attend a major conference, and they are inviting local businesses to join them in a vendor event. The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the gymnasium at the First Baptist Church of Creedmoor (108 South Main Street, Creedmoor).

Students are seeking vendors of all sorts to participate, including local crafters. So far, they have enlisted a variety of direct sales and craft vendors selling products ranging from apparel and home décor to personal health items and cosmetics. Vendor fees start at $40.

Door prize drawings will take place every hour, and attendees must be present to win. The Radiography students will be selling light refreshments at the event as well. All monies raised will go directly to the VGCC Radiography Club for program-related student expenses to help students achieve their goal of attending the next Atlanta Society of Radiologic Technologists, Inc., Student & Radiographer’s Seminar & Educator’s Conference, scheduled for March 3-6, 2018.

“By attending this conference next year, students will be exposed to other imaging professionals and Radiography students,” said VGCC Radiography Clinical Coordinator/instructor Stacey Soles. “They will be able to actively participate in classes to prepare them for their national registry exam after graduation. The conference also includes opportunities for students to meet the authors of commonly used textbooks within the Radiography program.”

Based at VGCC’s South Campus between Butner and Creedmoor, the two-year Radiography degree program prepares graduates to be radiographers, skilled health care professionals who use radiation to produce images of the human body.

For more information or to apply to be a vendor, please contact Stacey Soles at [email protected].


VGCC students visit RHA patients

A group of students from Vance-Granville Community College conducted a Valentine’s-themed community service project in February at RHA Health Services in Creedmoor.

VGCC Radiography and Human Services Technology (HST) students handed out valentines and gifts to the patients, staff and administrators at RHA. “The patients were very receptive and appreciative to receive the gifts,” according to VGCC Radiography Clinical Coordinator/instructor Stacey Soles. The VGCC Radiography Club invited Human Services students who wished to participate in the community service activity to join them. Both degree programs are based at VGCC’s South Campus between Creedmoor and Butner. Sharon O’Geary, instructor of Human Services Technology, also went with the group, and said she plans to start an “HST Club” that would participate in service projects and attend regional and national Human Services conferences.

RHA Health Services is a multi-state company providing a comprehensive network of support services for people with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities and those with mental health needs or substance use challenges.

The two-year Radiography degree program prepares graduates to be radiographers, skilled health care professionals who use radiation to produce images of the human body. For more information on Radiography, contact Dean of Health Sciences Angela Thomas at (252) 738-3397.

The HST curriculum program prepares students for entry-level positions in institutions and agencies which provide social, community, and educational services. VGCC offers a general HST track, a Substance Abuse track, and a Gerontology track. For more information on HST, contact Tracy Wallace at (252) 738-3519.


VGCC puts Associate in Arts degree on fast track

Vance-Granville Community College is introducing a new way for students to complete the first two years of a four-year degree on an accelerated timetable.

Starting with the fall semester that begins in August 2017, students will have the option to earn the 60-credit-hour Associate in Arts (College Transfer) degree in just three semesters: fall, spring and summer. Under the standard pathway currently in place, full-time students typically complete the Associate in Arts in five or six semesters (while taking courses in the summer on a part-time basis).

“The VGCC Division of Arts and Sciences is very excited to be able to offer a new accelerated pathway for the Associate in Arts,” said Cynthia Young, the college’s dean of arts and sciences. “This will allow dedicated students the ability to complete a two-year degree in just one year and quickly move on to a four-year university.”

The new pathway will be rigorous, with students taking a combination of 16-week and eight-week courses. For example, during the fall semester, students on the accelerated schedule will take two courses over the entire 16 weeks, four other courses during the first eight weeks and three others during the second eight weeks. A student would take a maximum of six courses at any one time. Only three courses would be required in the eight-week summer term.

Some required courses will be taken online, while others may be taken either online or in the traditional face-to-face format.

Students must first either complete or place out of any developmental coursework in order to complete the degree on this schedule.

The Associate in Arts (A.A.) is ideally suited for students who want to pursue bachelor’s degrees in communication, education, humanities, fine arts, languages, and social and behavioral sciences. Students in the program complete essentially the same required general education courses that they would take at most four-year universities and colleges. Graduates with an A.A. who make a grade of “C” or better in every course are assured of admission into one of the 16 universities in the University of North Carolina system, usually transferring in with junior ranking.

In the past few years, the comprehensive articulation agreements between all North Carolina community colleges, the UNC System and the private N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities have been revised with clearer pathways, simplifying the transfer of credits for both A.A. and Associate in Science (A.S.) graduates.

Registration for the fall semester at VGCC is currently ongoing, and ends on Aug. 10.

For more information on the accelerated pathway, contact Oluwunmi Ariyo at (252) 738-3270 or [email protected].


VGCC offers online four-week summer classes

Students can earn college credits on an accelerated schedule at Vance-Granville Community College by taking four-week online classes this summer.

For the first time, VGCC has scheduled certain curriculum courses on back-to-back four-week schedules during the summer term. The first four-week mini-term will begin May 30 and end on June 26. Then, the second mini-term starts June 27 and ends on July 31.

Five courses are scheduled for the first mini-term: Personal Health/Wellness (HEA 110), Critical Thinking (HUM 115), Music Appreciation (MUS 110), American Government (POL 120) and Keyboarding (OST 131). All five are offered completely online. During the second mini-term, the same courses will be offered, except for Keyboarding.

Registration for these classes is currently underway, and will close on May 25 for the first session and June 23 for the second.

“This summer, students can accelerate their education in a fast-paced period of study,” said Jeffrey Allen, VGCC’s dean of enrollment and outreach. “We had a great response when we offered four-week classes for the first time in late December and early January, so we are excited about continuing to use this format to meet the needs of our diverse learning community.” He added, “These courses can give many students the opportunity to quickly make progress toward a degree.”

Not only current VGCC students, but also new students, including students at four-year universities, are welcome to enroll. Current VGCC students are encouraged to talk with their advisors to see if the four-week courses are right for them.

All the courses on the schedule except for Keyboarding transfer to most North Carolina colleges and universities. Students are encouraged to check with their four-year school of choice on transferability before registering for particular courses. New students will need to complete a VGCC application for admission first.

Financial aid is available for qualified students. For more information, contact the VGCC Financial Aid Office at [email protected] or (252) 738-3280.

For registration information, visit the Student Learning & Success Center on any VGCC campus or call (252) 738-3330.


VGCC adding new Associate in Fine Arts degree

Vance-Granville Community College is preparing to offer an Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) degree in Visual Arts, with classes starting in August. Prospective students can begin the process of enrollment now.

The degree will be a third college transfer option available at the college, joining the Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees already being offered. Earning this two-year AFA degree can serve as a springboard to completing a four-year bachelor’s in fine arts (BFA) degree in visual art at a university. Students will be encouraged to contact four-year universities in which they are interested, to find out about any specific transfer requirements.

In addition to their general education classes, AFA students will take classes in art history, two-dimensional and three-dimensional design, and drawing.

VGCC has offered visual arts classes of different kinds throughout its history. In 2015, VGCC began holding “Fine Arts Day” events, which incorporated not only visual art but also music, dance and dramatic arts.

Isaac Talley, an award-winning visual artist, is a full-time art instructor at VGCC, teaching courses such as Art Appreciation, Two-Dimensional Design, and Drawing. “The AFA will be an excellent way to complete your first two years of college with tuition that’s very affordable, and then proceed on to East Carolina University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro or elsewhere,” Talley said. “It’s a great opportunity, especially for people who are interested in painting, as well as digital photography, which we are planning to add in 2018.”

He added that while at VGCC, students will be able to hone their skills and build a portfolio that can help them gain admission to the university of their choice. They also may simply want more training in art without necessarily continuing to the four-year level. Jessie Hartley of Oxford, a current VGCC College Transfer student who won first place at the college’s juried student art exhibition, said that “the AFA program is appealing to me because it opens up more learning opportunities for me involving art. With the Associate in Arts program, I have learned everything from some early art history to painting and drawing. With the AFA program, my knowledge of art can expand even further with the use of different media and techniques that I possibly haven’t even heard of. It will also help my credibility for future job possibilities involving art.”

Hartley said that she has enjoyed all of the art classes she has taken at VGCC thus far. “In painting and drawing, I enjoyed the freedom and self-control it gave me,” she recalled. “I learned that I could express myself in all manners of ways on a canvas that could speak to the viewer of that piece, perhaps even touch their soul.  In art history and art appreciation, I enjoyed going through the past, learning facts and valuable information and where it all began. All in all, I am really looking forward to the AFA program, and I feel that all art students, including myself, will benefit wonderfully from it.”

After she graduates from VGCC, Hartley’s plan is to develop her own studio as a freelance artist. “I would like to travel to different art festivals and sell my work, as well as learn different crafts and techniques with a diverse range of media,” she said. “I may pursue further education later on, which the AFA degree will help with to enhance my credibility and experience.”

For more information about the AFA program, contact Betsy Henderson at [email protected] or (252) 738-3371.