VGCC Receives $194K Grant From Duke Energy & Piedmont Natural Gas

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-Press Release, Duke Energy

Vance-Granville Community College today announced a $194,160 investment from Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas. The funds will help connect students with hands-on training and career development opportunities.

The investment will be used to expand apprenticeships in the fields of Mechatronics, Industrial Maintenance and Welding, as part of VGCC’s “Business & Industry Connect” program. The college will be able to purchase new equipment, provide tuition supports for students and implement additional training, including the nationally-known “Tooling U-SME” program.

From Left to Right: Kenneth Wilson, Tanya Evans (district manager, Duke Energy), VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ken Lewis, Eddie Ferguson. (VGCC photo)

“This grant represents a huge boost to our local industry partners and to students who are looking to energize their careers,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “We appreciate the continuing support of Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas because apprenticeships are part of VGCC’s multi-pronged approach to addressing workforce shortages so that our economy can grow.”

“We are proud to partner with Vance-Granville Community College to connect students with apprenticeship and workforce training opportunities,” said Tanya Evans, district manager, Duke Energy. “These students will help meet the growing and evolving needs of the region’s manufacturing industry.”

This grant is part of Duke Energy’s $35 million investment in North Carolina’s Community Colleges’ focus on technical education and support of business and industry. Individual community colleges could apply for funds through the North Carolina Community Foundation and the Foundation for the Carolinas.

Applications were reviewed by a committee of representatives from Duke Energy, NC Community College System and NC Department of Commerce.

VGCC to Offer Enrollment Night on November 19

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College will hold an Enrollment Night on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, from 5 until 7 p.m., at all four of its campuses.

VGCC staff members will be available during those hours to provide information on the enrollment process, academic programs, student support services and financial aid. Advisors will be available to help students register for Spring classes.

Students may visit any campus beginning November 4 to register for Spring Semester. Classes for the Spring 16-week and first 8-week terms start on Monday, January 13, 2020, and a 12-week term starts on Tuesday, February 11.

VGCC’s Main Campus is located at 200 Community College Road, Henderson (Exit 209 on Interstate 85 about midway between Henderson and Oxford).

The Franklin County Campus is located at 8100 N.C. 56., Louisburg (just west of Louisburg).

South Campus is located at 1547 South Campus Drive, Creedmoor (off of N.C. 56, between Creedmoor and Butner).

The Warren County Campus is located at 210 West Ridgeway Street (U.S. 158 Business) in Warrenton.

For more information on enrolling, call (252) 738-3234 or visit any VGCC campus.

VGCC Celebrates 50 Years on Four Campuses

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently brought together students, faculty, staff and community members to mark the 50th anniversary of the college, with festivities on all four of its campuses. The original charter for the college, then known as Vance County Technical Institute, was issued on Sept. 4, 1969.

VGCC Board of Trustees Chair Danny Wright and VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais cut the “birthday cake” on the college’s Main Campus to celebrate the institution’s fiftieth anniversary. (VGCC photo)

During the week of the actual anniversary, celebratory ceremonies featuring speakers and refreshments were held on each campus: the Warren County Campus on Sept. 3, Main Campus (in Vance County) on Sept. 4, South Campus (in Granville County) on Sept. 5, and the Franklin County Campus on Sept. 6.

In addition, Main Campus hosted an anniversary ‘bash’ on Sept. 4 with the band, “Liquid Pleasure,” performing, and food trucks on hand.

“We are grateful to everyone who attended our 50th anniversary events, and to the citizens and businesses who made contributions to support this celebration,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, president of VGCC. “We have reflected on the educational opportunities that this college has provided to Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties, while we have also looked forward to the next 50 years of shining the light of education in service to our communities.”

The “Liquid Pleasure” band performs in front of the gazebo on VGCC’s Main Campus during the 50th anniversary ‘bash.’ (VGCC photo)

Guest speakers at the anniversary events included Vance County Manager Jordan McMillen; Franklin County Manager Angela L. Harris; Devon Suitt, a VGCC alumnus and Granville Early College High School graduate; Zelodis Jay, chair of the Granville County Board of Commissioners; Gary Massenburg, a VGCC alumnus and Warren Early College High School graduate; and Tare “T” Davis, chair of the Warren County Board of Commissioners.

Two VGCC staff members who are also alumni of the college made remarks, as well. Amy O’Geary, director of student success, spoke at Main Campus. “As a graduate and longtime employee, Vance-Granville Community College has been a part of my life for over 30 years,” O’Geary said. “This college guided me in my career path and has allowed me the opportunity to do what I truly love: help students reach their own potential.”

O’Geary recalled that after graduating from VGCC, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “I quickly realized that I was not cut out for a career in sales; however, I can sell one thing,” she said. “I can ‘sell’ Vance-Granville Community College, because I believe in our mission and what we have done for this community for 50 years!”

Devon Suitt speaks during a celebration of VGCC’s 50th anniversary at the college’s South Campus. He is currently a social work investigator and a graduate student at North Carolina Central University. (VGCC photo)

Julie Jones, the college’s distance education coordinator, spoke at the Franklin Campus. That was where she first became a student, as a single mother who had recently lost her job due to company downsizing. At the time, Jones had been out of school for 17 years.

“The counselor at the time saw that I was anxious about starting back to school,” she recalled. “She was very encouraging and got me set up with my program of study and first classes. That is when I took my first computer course and knew I wanted a career working in I.T. My first computer instructor had enough confidence in my ability to do well that he asked me to apply for the part-time position of Open Computer Lab Technician. I started to believe in myself and gained the confidence that I could actually make it through college.”

Julie Jones (standing) speaks during a celebration of VGCC’s fiftieth anniversary held at the college’s Franklin County Campus. Seated, from left, are VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC Board of Trustees Chair Danny Wright, VGCC Franklin County Campus Dean Bobbie Jo May and Franklin County Manager Angela Harris. (VGCC photo)

Jones excelled in her academics and, after graduation, became a full-time employee in the campus computer lab. She would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree, as well.

“What I found at VGCC was a home and a supportive family,” Jones said. “Without the encouragement I found along the way, I would not be where I am today.”

The September events capped off a series of activities throughout the year that helped celebrate 50 years of excellence, including a Dinner Theater in April; the 35th annual Endowment Fund Golf Tournament in May, commencement exercises for VGCC’s 50th graduating class in May, and the formal inauguration of President Desmarais in August.


VGCC Gearing Up for Medical Assistants Recognition Week Celebration

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

The Vance-Granville Community College Medical Assisting Program is gearing up to celebrate Medical Assistants Recognition Week, October 21 – 25, 2019, as designated by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Medical assistants across the country will be recognized during this special week and honored on Medical Assistants Recognition Day, October 23, 2019.

In celebration of Medical Assistants Recognition Week, the Vance-Granville Community College Medical Assisting Program has planned the following special events and activities:

MED Mini Health Fair to be held at Vance-Granville Community College’s Franklin Campus Student Lounge, 8100 NC 56 Hwy, Louisburg, NC on Monday, October 21, 2019, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

“Medical Assistants are at the heart of healthcare and we support our community,” says Tonia Boyd, Vance-Granville Medical Assisting Class President of the 2020 graduating class.

Medical assisting is an allied health profession whose practitioners function as members of the health care delivery team and perform administrative and clinical procedures. With their unique versatility, medical assistants are proving to be the allied health professional of choice for this decade and beyond. Medical assisting is one of the nation’s careers growing much faster than average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The American Association of Medical Assistants is the only organization devoted exclusively to serving the professional interests and educational needs of all medical assistants. The association provides numerous services that help medical assistants put their careers on a successful and rewarding track and keep them there.

VGCC Experiences Enrollment Growth

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College received welcome news as it celebrated its 50th anniversary recently: an increase in enrollment over the same time last year. As of the beginning of the fall semester in August, VGCC had 3,073 students enrolled in curriculum programs. That represented a 3.7% increase compared to the beginning of the fall 2018 semester when enrollment stood at 2,963.

VGCC Board of Trustees Chair Danny Wright and President Rachel Desmarais, Ph.D. cut the cake at VGCC’s 50th celebration. (VGCC photo)

A significant source of the increase was enrollment by high school students in college programs, either through Early College High Schools or other Career & College Promise pathways. There were 15% more of those students enrolled than there were at the beginning of fall 2018.

“We are pleased that an increasing number of students are participating in our high-quality education and training programs, which are preparing them to achieve their career goals,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, president of VGCC. “For 50 years, Vance-Granville Community College has been providing opportunities for education and training, with the strong support of the community. Thanks to that support, we continue to serve as an accessible, innovative, student-centered higher education partner for our region.”

Established in 1969, VGCC offers more than 40 curriculum programs, in which students work toward certificates, diplomas and degrees.

Area residents and businesses can also take advantage of a variety of Continuing Education opportunities, as well as the High School Equivalency and Adult High School Diploma programs.

High school students can also get a step ahead by starting their college education early with VGCC courses.

The college has four campuses – one each in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties – and offers online programs, as well.

For more information, visit

Franklin County Schools Closed Thursday

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-Information courtesy Franklin County Schools

Due to the unpredictability of Hurricane Dorian, and out of an abundance of caution, all Franklin County Schools will be closed on Thursday, September 5, 2019, for students and staff.

All school-related events, activities, athletics and rentals are canceled on Thursday.

FCS will send out additional updates as necessary. Please monitor the District website, social media and your local news outlets.

Be safe!

VGCC Holds Convocation to Start New Academic Year

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently held its annual fall convocation to bring faculty and staff together for a kick-off to the new academic year.

Much of the event focused on a discussion of student success. Special guests for the convocation were representatives of “Achieving the Dream” (ATD), a national education reform organization designed to assist community colleges with improving student success. VGCC joined the ATD network of colleges in 2018.

ATD Leadership Coach Dr. Joanne Bashford and ATD Data Coach Dr. Linda Hagedorn presented information about the college’s progress in moving the needle on student success in the past six months.

VGCC Director of Planning & Research Julie Hicks and English faculty member Frankie Frink provided their colleagues with updates on key data points and forms of support to address the needs of students who are food insecure, respectively.

VGCC’s participation in Achieving the Dream and the leadership of Dr. Rachel Desmarais, who became college president earlier this year, have caused the college to place a greater emphasis on data related to teaching and learning, and equitable student outcomes for all.

Approximately 44 VGCC faculty and staff members serve on one of four ATD teams: the Core, Data, Communications, and Strategies teams. These teams will continue to work collaboratively throughout the fall semester to develop an Action Plan derived from the feedback and planning that took place during the fall convocation. This ATD Action Plan will be connected to the VGCC Strategic Plan.

“Convocation provided an opportunity for all new and returning faculty to learn more about the latest with ATD and provide feedback,” said Dr. Levy Brown, the college’s vice president of Learning, Student Engagement & Success. “We are committed to equitable student outcomes, which ultimately impact student success.”

The event also included the opportunity to recognize VGCC employees who have recently hit milestones by completing five, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years of service.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of Vance-Granville Community College’s service to the community, we celebrate the dedicated people who have made the college a wonderful place to work and learn, while we also look ahead to the future through the Achieving the Dream program,” said Dr. Desmarais.

VGCC Holds Convocation, Recognizes Employees’ Years of Service

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-Information and photos courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College held Convocation on Friday, August 16, 2019, at the Main Campus in Henderson.

Faculty and staff with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service were recognized and are pictured below.

5 Years of Service (front row, seated, left to right) Dr. Erica Fleming, Julie Hicks, Erin Folz (second row, left to right) Leslie Hurt, Stacey Soles, Victoria Whited, April Rossi, Melanie Copeland, Faith Harris, Stephen Barney (third row, left to right) Stewart Lyon, Isaac Talley, Robert Newby, Gregory Wilson, Steven Graham, Luther Curtis, Wallace Evans, Ken Wilson, Mike Brodie.

10 Years of Service (front row, left to right) Frankie Frink, Veta Pierce-Cappetta, MaryBeth Vick (back row, left to right) Sean Newton, Lyndon Hall.

15 Years of Service (left to right) Rusty Pace, Dr. Tracey Carter, Lisa Edwards.

20 Years of Service (seated, left to right) Julie Jones, Wille Mae Foster-Hill, Jennifer Allen (standing) Craig Saunders.

25 Years of Service (left to right) Susan Cease, Donna Gill, Tomeka Carter.

30 Years of Service Larraine Abbott.

Franklin County Schools Appoints New CTE, Alternative Programs Directors

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-Information courtesy Franklin County Schools

Dr. Danyelle Parker

Franklin County Schools is proud to announce the hiring of a veteran school administrator as the new Executive Director of Secondary and Career & Technical Education (CTE).

Dr. Danyelle Parker has served as CTE Program Manager for Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools since 2016. In addition to her district office experience, she has school administration experience as a middle school principal and high school principal, as well as assistant principal.

Dr. Parker began her career in education as a middle school business education teacher and later a high school business education teacher. She has 22 years of combined experience as a CTE teacher and school administrator during which time she worked in Nash-Rocky Mount Schools, Wake County Public Schools, Yadkin County Schools and Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.

“Dr. Parker’s expertise in career and technical education will help ensure that all of our students are career-ready and college prepared by designing innovative and engaging learning opportunities,” said Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, Superintendent of Franklin County Schools.

Parker earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Winston-Salem State University, a master of education degree from East Carolina University (ECU), a master of school administration degree from North Carolina State University, an educational specialist (EdS) degree in administration and supervision from ECU, and a doctorate of education from Gardner-Webb University.

Cleo Evans

Franklin County Schools is also proud to announce that a veteran alternative learning administrator has been hired as its new Director of Alternative Programs.

Cleo Evans, of Rocky Mount, will be responsible for implementing and maintaining alternative student programs and services in accordance with District and State of North Carolina objectives. The director serves as the administrator of Vine Academy in Franklinton.

“We are excited to welcome Ms. Evans to her new leadership position,” said Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, Superintendent of Franklin County Schools. “Her passion and commitment to the success of all students made her a clear choice for the position. This passion and commitment will translate into her new role, which has the ultimate goal of promoting a supportive environment with high expectations for students who participate in alternative programming.”

Evans has been the Hope Alternative Learning Administrator for Edgecombe County Schools since 2014. She has also served as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, member of the North Carolina Alternative Learning Board and Vice President of the North Carolina Association of Alternative Learning. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, as well as a master of education degree from Cambridge College in Chesapeake, VA.

The Director of Alternative Programs position will allow Evans to build upon her previous experiences to create a culture in which every student will learn and experience success that will prepare them for the world beyond the classroom.

One of VGCC’s Earliest Graduates Establishes Scholarships

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Almost half a century after he enrolled at the school that is now Vance-Granville Community College, Steve McRavin is giving back by establishing a pair of scholarships for today’s students.

Along with his wife, Patti, McRavin recently created annual scholarships through the VGCC Endowment Fund in memory of several of his family members.

Steve McRavin graduated VGCC with his vocational diploma in Automotive Mechanics on August 22, 1971 – the college’s first graduating class for curriculum programs. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

The Allen and Margaret Jones/Lucy Jones Allen Scholarship in Nursing is named for his grandparents and his eldest aunt, Lucy, who was a nurse. In awarding this scholarship, preference will be given to second-year Associate Degree Nursing students and students who are single parents.

Meanwhile, the Howard and Thelma “Kitty” McRavin Memorial Scholarship in Automotive honors the memory of his parents. VGCC will prioritize students in the Automotive Systems Technology, the current name for the program from which McRavin graduated, for this scholarship. In both cases, other eligibility requirements will apply.

Steve McRavin grew up on a small farm in Williamsboro, and took automotive classes at Vance County High School. Upon graduating from high school in 1970, young Steve wanted to continue learning and was excited to learn that the new Vance County Technical Institute would soon start offering automotive mechanics as one of its very first curriculum programs.

That summer, McRavin worked for a local construction company. “By coincidence, one of the jobs I worked on was helping to build the automotive and welding shop at Vance County Technical Institute,” he said. “I knew then for certain that the automotive program was going to be a reality! I got to meet Dr. Greene [the school’s first chief academic officer] when he would come out and look at the progress on the buildings, and I told him I would be enrolling that fall.”

Taking classes on that original campus – the former Maria Parham Hospital building – McRavin studied under the head of the new automotive program, the late Thomas Welch, whom he describes as “a great man.”

McRavin graduated with his vocational diploma in Automotive Mechanics on August 22, 1971, in the school’s first graduating class for curriculum programs. He then worked at the local Firestone until he was drafted in 1972 into the United States Army. He served in military intelligence for the next two decades, much of that time stationed in West Germany.

McRavin continued his education while in the service, obtaining an associate’s degree in automotive technology and a bachelor’s degree in workforce education/development because he knew he wanted to work in education in some way after his military career ended.

He retired at the rank of First Sergeant in 1992 and started working at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington.

Steve McCravin (right) and Patti McCravin (center) receive the President’s Lifetime Circle recognition as part of the South Pudget Sound Foundation. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

Even after all those years, McRavin credited the inspiration for his new career to Mr. Welch. Starting as a lab technician for the SPSCC automotive department, McRavin served in a variety of roles: teaching automotive classes, advising students, and overseeing recruiting. He retired from the college as a full-time administrator but continues to teach there part-time.

McRavin said the new VGCC scholarships are his way of giving back to a school and a community that had helped him. The local community still includes a number of his relatives, and he has returned to visit from time to time. Describing himself as a “country boy from Vance County,” McRavin also wants to inspire today’s youth to take advantage of educational opportunities, as he did. “It’s not where you start – it’s where you end up,” he said. “You never know where you’re going to go.”

He is also not the only member of his family to benefit from the college. “One of my daughters, Gillian McRavin Johnson, graduated in 1991 from the VGCC Associate Degree Nursing program,” McRavin said. “She raves about the program at Vance-Granville to this day.” Currently a registered nurse in the state of Washington, Johnson is working on becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

McRavin’s wife, Patti, has also worked in higher education and non-profit community groups during her career.

Currently residing in Spanaway, Washington, the McRavins said that they both have a passion for higher education, because education changed the course of their lives. They have also established scholarships at South Puget Sound Community College.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vance-Granville Community College, it is extremely gratifying that one of our first alumni, and someone who literally helped build the foundation of our institution, has reached out from across the country to pay forward what he received,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president. “We appreciate Steve and Patti’s service to education and their generous support of our students.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,400 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, call (252) 738-3409.