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J.M. White Funeral Home Endows VGCC Scholarship

— courtesy VGCC

VGCC scholarship endowed by local funeral home

A new Vance-Granville Community College scholarship has been endowed by J.M. White Funeral Home of Henderson in memory of its namesake and co-founder, Jerry Marshall White Sr.

His widow and co-owner of the funeral home, Betty Oakes White, said that the family sought to create the scholarship because “education is the future for our children, and we want everyone to be able to get an education.” She noted that higher education in particular is more important than ever to allowing area residents to obtain gainful employment.

In awarding the Jerry Marshall White Sr. Memorial Academic Achievement Scholarship, preference will be given to students who are enrolled in VGCC’s Accounting and Business Administration programs.

Although this is the first scholarship that the business has endowed, J.M. White Funeral Home is a longtime supporter of the annual VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament. “This community has been good to us, so we support our community,” Betty White said.

J.M. White Funeral Home was established in 1967 as Waite and White Funeral Home. Jerry M. White Sr. became the sole owner of the business in 1971, and the name was changed. After his death, the business continued to serve families in the area under the direction of J. Hillman Dickerson, who was supported by a loyal and professional staff. With the help of that staff, Jerry’s wife, Betty, gradually took over as manager of the funeral home, eventually becoming a licensed funeral director herself. Following in their father’s tradition of dignified service, Mr. and Mrs. White’s sons, Jerry White Jr. and Gregory Scott White, came into the business after gaining their education in funeral service. The funeral home has been operating at its current location on Zeb Robinson Road in Henderson since 1989.

“This scholarship is a wonderful tribute to J.M. White and to the half-century of service that the funeral home bearing his name has given to this community,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “We appreciate the White family’s support for VGCC students, which will make a difference for generations to come.”

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–

VGCC hosts Basic Skills Open House on Main Campus

— courtesy VGCC

Vance-Granville Community College will hold an Open House for its Adult Basic Skills department on Tuesday, October 3, from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and later from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., in room 7212 of Building 7 on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County.

“We invite all who did not finish high school to come see and hear how our Adult Basic Skills Department can either help adults gain enough credits to earn a high school diploma or gain enough knowledge to earn a High School Equivalency diploma, which is more commonly known as a GED,” said Greg Nash, who chairs the Adult Basic Skills department at VGCC. “Additionally, we invite all whose native language differs from English to come see and hear how our Adult Basic Skills Department can help adults improve their abilities to speak and read English.”

Adult Basic Skills/Literacy Education programs at VGCC help adults improve their reading, writing and math skills and complete their high school education. Classes are available at all four VGCC campuses and at various community locations. VGCC now offers Adult High School and high school equivalency test preparation online, as well. Either way, instruction is offered free of charge.

Another VGCC program is “Basic Skills Plus,” which allows students seeking a high school diploma or equivalent to co-enroll at the same time in occupational training and employability skills within identified career pathways.

Once students complete either the Adult High School or high school equivalency program, they receive a certificate worth free tuition and fees for one semester of courses in curriculum programs at VGCC, absorbing costs not covered by federal financial aid.

For more information, contact Adult Basic Skills Department Chair Greg Nash at (252) 738-3305.

–VGCC–

VGCC announces free Small Business Summit with holiday focus

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center has scheduled its sixth annual Small Business Summit for Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Lake Gaston Lions Club in Henrico. Entitled “Making the Holidays Pay Off,” the free event is designed to help local businesses plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season with innovative marketing practices.

CenturyLink is the presenting sponsor for the event. Local partners helping VGCC to organize the summit are the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Business representatives and interested members of the community are invited to attend. Registration is now open at tinyurl.com/holiday-summit.

The day starts off with registration and networking with attendees and vendors at 8 a.m. The first hour-long seminar will be “Shop Local — Buy Local — Invest Local to Gain More Business for You and Your Area” at 8:30 a.m. Presenter Martin Brossman will help participants get the most out of a “Shop Local” program, including the use of social media.

“Holiday Event Planning for the Small Business Owner” follows at 9:45 a.m. with Lisa Gingue of Vino Oasi in Stem. Gingue will discuss planning events that attract holiday shoppers.

At 11 a.m., Brossman will present “Take Photos like a Pro to Get More Business with Your Social Media.” This session covers the basics of low-cost photography techniques to attract more customers with social media and web marketing.

The keynote presentation, from noon until 1 p.m., will be “Get Social! Grow Your Business!” with Kristen Baughman and Stacey Price Sprenz, both of Raleigh-based Tabletop Media Group. Baughman, the founder of the agency, and Sprenz, a photographer, will teach attendees how to take their social media to the next level using photos and videos. They will offer a few tips and tricks on how to promote participants’ businesses and unique holiday offerings to media outlets and social influencers in their community. Tabletop Media Group is a boutique agency serving clients in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries.

Lunch will be provided free of charge to the first 100 registered participants by CenturyLink. For more information, contact VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or [email protected].

–VGCC–

VGCC instructor graduates from leadership program

Dr. Kambiz Tahmaseb, a Biology and Chemistry instructor at Vance-Granville Community College, recently graduated from the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP). He is one of approximately 35 community college faculty and staff members from across the state who completed the program this year.

The six-month leadership program, which includes face-to-face instruction at various locations, provides preparation and training to develop future community college leaders. The program is highly experiential in nature, and, this year, participants worked in teams to address challenges at hypothetical community colleges. They became involved in every aspect of those colleges, from naming and branding to strategic planning.

In addition to strengthening their leadership skills, NCCCLP participants learn about the structure and governance of the community college system, enjoy opportunities for networking, and form a diverse pool of qualified educational leaders.

“The major lesson I learned from the program is that leadership is not about being the president of a college, or a company or a nation,” Dr. Tahmaseb said. “Leadership happens in every level of our lives. In the NCCCLP, I learned a lot about myself, and how I interact with others, both in my private life and professional life, and how those interactions affect how I may influence those individuals. The lessons I learned will help me as a husband, father, teacher and colleague.”

A resident of Durham, Tahmaseb earned bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry at Willamette University in Oregon and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science at Wright State University in Ohio. He was also a postdoctoral research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tahmaseb joined the VGCC faculty in 2012 and has taught both face-to-face and online science courses, spending most of his time at the college’s South Campus near Creedmoor. He is also currently serving his second term as the elected vice president of external affairs for the North Carolina Community College Faculty Association.

The North Carolina Community College Leadership Program was created in 1989, under the auspices of the state chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges, to provide an interdisciplinary approach to leadership training through professional development. Graduates have used the skills and connections gained from the program to be more successful leaders in all areas and at all levels in the North Carolina Community College System.

–VGCC–

VGCC to hold Bone Marrow registration events

Vance-Granville Community College, in partnership with the Project Life Movement, is planning a three-day, three-campus bone marrow registration drive in October.

Members of the community are invited to join VGCC students, faculty and staff at one of the events being held on three of the college’s campuses: Tuesday, October 3, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the seminar room (G1131) on South Campus, located between Creedmoor and Butner; Wednesday, October 4, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the student center/lounge in Building 2 on Main Campus in Vance County; and Thursday, October 5, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room on the Franklin County Campus near Louisburg. 

At each event, participants will have their cheek swabbed to provide DNA that will enter a growing bone marrow donor registry. The painless registration process takes only a few minutes, but could save a life if a participant turns out to be a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant. Such treatments are the only hope for many people diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other blood cancers and diseases. Around 60 percent of those in need of a donation currently cannot find a donor match, according to Project Life, a national movement that started with students at Davidson College and has spread to more than 25 other schools. VGCC first held a college-wide bone marrow registration event with Project Life in the fall of 2015.

Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in good health to be on the bone marrow registry.

Taking the lead on this initiative at VGCC are students in the Radiography program.

For more information, contact Radiography Clinical Coordinator/instructor Stacey Soles at (252) 738-3515 or [email protected], or Ann Henegar at (704) 299-6310 or www.projectlifemovement.org.

Anyone who is unable to attend one of the VGCC events but wants to join the bone marrow registry can find more information at www.deletebloodcancer.org.

–VGCC–

VGCC Golden LEAF scholarships Spring/Summer 2017

— news release courtesy of VGCC

A group of students from Vance-Granville Community College recently received scholarships through the Golden LEAF Scholarship program for the North Carolina Community College System. The scholarship program, designed to help North Carolinians attend the state’s community colleges, is funded through a $750,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

The scholarship can be used to assist with tuition, books, fees, supplies, transportation and childcare expenses related to attending classes during the 2016-17 academic year, and industry-recognized credential testing expenses that address skill gaps upon course completion. Eligible students must demonstrate financial need and reside in rural counties that are tobacco-dependent and/or economically distressed. Scholarships for both occupational (continuing education) and curriculum students are available during the fall, spring and summer semesters.

The VGCC students who were awarded Golden LEAF scholarships for the spring 2017 semester, the summer 2017 term, or both (with their respective programs of study), included:

Sally Alston of Louisburg (Associate in Arts);
Jennifer Bauduin of Louisburg (Associate in General Education – General Science);
Sonia Bishop of Stem (Computer Technology Integration – Networking and Security Technologies);
Gloria Chavis of Butner (Human Services Technology/Substance Abuse);
Whitney Cox of Oxford (Radiography);
Taylor Crisp of Warrenton (Associate Degree Nursing);
Catherine Demming of Oxford (Criminal Justice);
Emory Gant-Hawkins of Henderson (Business Administration);
Latosha Hunt of Oxford (Business Administration);

Quiana Miller-Fisher of Henderson (Human Services Technology);
Nahu Palacios of Henderson (Associate in Arts);
Crystal Satterfield of Oxford (Associate Degree Nursing);
Kimberly Vargo of Oxford (Associate in Arts); and
Tiffany Williams of Henderson (Culinary Arts).

“The Golden LEAF Foundation is proud to have awarded over 11,800 Golden LEAF Scholarships to help North Carolinians attend our state’s community colleges,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president. “Our hope is that these scholarships will help build the talent, knowledge and skills of our current and future workforce, which are in demand by industry, especially in the rural areas of our state.”

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,346 grants totaling more than $591 million since its inception. For more information about the foundation, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call (888) 684-8404.

Students interested in applying for a Golden LEAF Scholarship should contact the VGCC Financial Aid Office at (252) 738-3280.

–VGCC–

VGCC invites community to Manufacturing Day

Vance-Granville Community College will hold a “Manufacturing Day” celebration on Thursday, Oct. 5, from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. Job seekers and students are invited to attend and to learn more about manufacturing and related careers.

Local manufacturers and equipment vendors will provide demonstrations and information highlighting their products and their employment opportunities. Attendees will learn about career options in the region’s industries and the technical skills required to succeed in such careers.

Participants are set to include Altec of Creedmoor, Boise Cascade of Roxboro, Glen Raven of Norlina, Mars Petcare of Henderson, CertainTeed of Oxford and Carolina Sunrock of Butner, among others.

Representatives of VGCC technical programs, including those that provide education and training related to advanced manufacturing, will also be on hand. These include curriculum programs in Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Automotive Systems Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, Mechatronics Engineering Technology and Welding Technology. VGCC’s Admissions and Financial Aid departments will also have representatives there. Attendees will also be able to learn about the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), a four-year program that leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at a community college and paid, on-the-job training at a participating employer.

Event organizers hope to develop a pipeline of highly trained and skilled employees. “VGCC and industry partners are working together to address the skills gap, connect with future generations, and educate them about the outstanding opportunities that manufacturing careers can provide,” said Ken Wilson, project manager for the TechHire grant at VGCC, which supports advanced manufacturing training and information technology training.

The VGCC event is one of many across the country celebrating National Manufacturing Day (also known as “MFG Day”). The annual observance was established by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

For more information, contact VGCC Academic & Career Coach Tiffani Polk at [email protected] or (252) 738-3291.

VGCC names six students to summer President’s and Dean’s Lists

— courtesy VGCC

Vance-Granville Community College has announced that three students earned President’s List academic honors and another three earned Dean’s List academic honors for the summer term that ended in July.

The President’s List recognizes students who achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) while carrying a “full load” (of at least 12 credit hours) in 100-level or higher curriculum courses. To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student had to earn a GPA that was at least 3.5 but less than 4.0, and have no grade lower than “B,” while carrying a “full load” of such courses.

Summer President’s List honorees are:

Fredesvinda C. Euceda-Colindres of Creedmoor (Human Services Technology);

Christopher J. Hurt of Creedmoor (Associate in Arts); and

Leslie A. Leake of Kittrell (Technical Special Student).

Summer Dean’s List honorees are:

Matthew A. Fuller of Rougemont (Associate in General Education – General Science);

Griselle M. Garcia of Franklinton (Business Administration); and

Isom Hodges of Oxford (Early Childhood Education).

–VGCC–

Five VGCC Students Participate in Signing Ceremony for Apprenticeship Program

Five students from Vance-Granville Community College were among a dozen who committed to participate in the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP) at a signing ceremony in Wake Forest on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

The students are now apprentices with eight industries in Granville, Franklin and Wake counties as they finish high school and earn their associate’s degrees at either VGCC or Wake Technical Community College. VGCC students Baylor Chapple and Sebastian Hughes, both of Louisburg, will be working at CaptiveAire in Youngsville, Xavier Durham of Warrenton with Dill Air Controls Products LLC in Oxford, and Zach Willey of Raleigh and Micah Peters of Youngsville with Revlon Inc. of Oxford.

Working through Wake Tech, the signees and the other companies were: Spencer Downing, Accu-Fab Inc. of Raleigh; Ben Elkins and Rhett Keaton, Bühler Aeroglide Corp. of Cary; Daniel Benson, Schmalz Inc. of Raleigh; Brennan Burns and Reily Rhoades, Schunk Intec Inc. of Morrisville; and Nathaniel “Nate” Corl, Superior Tooling of Wake Forest.

Parents of the apprentices and employers from the participating industries joined the students on stage for the signing ceremony as each made a commitment to follow the program. 

“We are grateful to NCTAP for providing the leadership to foster the collaboration between public and private partners that makes this effort successful,” VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams shared with the students, their parents, industry representatives and guests at the dinner and ceremony in the Wake Forest Renaissance Center.

“Apprenticeship is a proven strategy to close the skills gap and meet the workforce needs of industries while at the same time making education more affordable for promising young students,” Dr. Williams added. “To our apprentices, the benefits of this wonderful program are nothing short of life-changing, and that’s why we are so excited to be an educational partner for NCTAP.”

“To our new apprentices, I want to extend congratulations and a warm Vanguard welcome, on behalf of Vance-Granville,” Dr. Williams added. “You are truly ‘Vanguards,’ because you are leaders and pioneers, and you will lead the way for many more apprentices in the future. You will also develop into leaders for your industries.”

NCTAP is a partnership that seeks to provide new opportunities for local students and to prepare a skilled workforce. Typically starting in the junior year of high school, NCTAP is a four-year program that leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at the community college and paid, on-the-job training at the participating employer. Eligible students’ tuition is covered by a waiver from the state of North Carolina. After they graduate from high school, students in the program will be employed full-time by the company.

“Apprenticeships are not exactly what people think they are,” said Marc Bertoncino of Bühler Aeroglide, chairman of NCTAP and master of ceremonies for the event. “This is a very beneficial program for the companies. This is a very beneficial program for young people starting their careers.”

Dr. Stephen Scott, president of Wake Tech, cited the importance of apprenticeships, internships and cooperative education in “bridging the skills gap,” adding, “Parents, we want to tell you that your kids are going to have a job for the next couple of years. They are going to graduate from either Wake Tech or Vance-Granville Community College. And they will have a good paying job and zero debt when they come out (of college). They will have the opportunity to further their education even beyond where this program takes them. So that is a win-win for everyone in this room.”

Bertoncino praised N.C. Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, for his help in getting legislation changed to boost the apprenticeship program. Whereas companies previously had to pay the state to have an apprentice, Barefoot helped enact legislation that now has the state providing reimbursement for tuition.

“There are apprenticeship programs across the state of North Carolina, but this particular group (NCTAP) has played a really important part in where apprenticeships are today,” Barefoot said. “This continued growth and expansion reaching into new communities will ensure that NCTAP remains the model apprenticeship program for the State of North Carolina.” He added, “Apprenticeships are the key to a successful future for the manufacturing industry of our state.”

Also speaking were Kathryn Castelloes, apprenticeship director for the N.C. Department of Commerce, and Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones. Robbie Earnhardt, owner of Wake Forest-based Superior Tooling and former chairman of the apprenticeship program, was recognized by Bertoncino for his vision, leadership and passion in guiding and promoting NCTAP. In attendance also were representatives of the offices of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC.

Representing VGCC’s NCTAP participating industries were Chris Clough and Cindy Walsh of CaptiveAire, Stephen Tsotsoros and Vanessia Alvarado of Dill Air Controls, Sean Anderson and Pat McKinney of Revlon, and Shaler Chewning of Glen Raven in Norlina. The latest industry to join NCTAP, Glen Raven will be taking its first interns in the coming year. Also present from the VGCC TechHire program were Ken Wilson, project manager, and Tiffani Polk, academic and career coach.

All schools participating in NCTAP can send students to the educational partner institution that best meets the needs of the industrial partner, Wilson said.

VGCC scholarship endowed by family in memory of parents

A new Vance-Granville Community College scholarship has been endowed in memory of Robert and Elizabeth Williford by their children. The Willifords were well-known as the longtime owners and operators of the Oxford Ace Hardware store. Their four children, Elizabeth Dale Williford of Indian Beach/Salter Path, Rob Williford II of Oxford, Dot Williford Wilson of Chapel Hill and John Williford of Oxford, along with Rob’s wife, Lori, and John’s wife, Teresa, recently gathered at VGCC to celebrate the creation of the new scholarship.

The Robert T. “Buster” and Elizabeth Brent Williford Memorial Scholarship will be awarded at the Presidential Merit Award level. In awarding the new scholarship, preference will be given to students from Granville County and to those who are enrolled in VGCC’s Accounting and Business Administration programs.

Buster Williford died in 2011, and his wife, also known as “Betty B,” in 2013. Both were Granville County natives and members of Oxford United Methodist Church.

The Williford children remembered their father as intelligent and “self-taught,” but lacking much formal education. “Daddy didn’t go to college,” Rob Williford said. “Education was important to him, in part because of his lack of it. He always told his children to get an education because it’s something nobody can take away from you.” Dale Williford likewise recalled that her father always instructed his children and grandchildren, “Think, think, think.” After rising to become vice president of McCracken Oil in Henderson, Williford went into a new business venture by purchasing the Oxford Ace Hardware store from a neighbor in 1974. John and Rob Williford bought the store from their parents in 2001. The business is a longtime supporter of the VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament and is the oldest continuously-operating Ace Hardware store in North Carolina.

“Betty B,” born Elizabeth Brent Mayes, attended Greensboro College for one year. She became her husband’s constant companion in life and in business, as the co-owner of the store and creator of its “Bridal and Gift Shoppe” section. Her children recalled that she was an excellent bookkeeper and that their parents formed “a great team.” “They worked hard, but they put family first,” said Dot Williford. “Momma supported and worked closely with Daddy. She was always right there beside him.”

“I think that our parents would be proud of us for helping people to further their education,” Rob Williford added.

“We are thankful to the Williford family for supporting VGCC students through this scholarship that honors the legacy of a remarkable couple who were active in the community while raising four children and growing a landmark local business,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “The scholarship will help students for years to come who are gaining the education they need to achieve success in business.”

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–