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.

VGCC Inaugurates Seventh President

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College formally welcomed its new leader on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, with an inauguration ceremony for Dr. Rachel M. Desmarais, the college’s seventh president, in the Civic Center on the Main Campus in Vance County. The historic occasion was also part of a series of events held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the community college, which was established in 1969 as Vance County Technical Institute.

Vance-Granville Community College formally welcomed its new leader on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, with an inauguration ceremony for Dr. Rachel M. Desmarais, the college’s seventh president, in the Civic Center on the Main Campus in Vance County. (VGCC photo)

Danny Wright, chair of the VGCC Board of Trustees, performed the ceremonial investiture of the president, who has been on the job since earlier this year. In his remarks, Wright said, “We take this opportunity to look back on the rich tradition we have of providing education and training to our community. At the same time, we mark the start of a new era, and consider all the possibilities of the future.”

He then presented Desmarais with a medallion, featuring the college’s seal, to represent the authority of the president’s position.

Making her inaugural address, Desmarais remarked, “Vance-Granville Community College has been shining the light of education and opportunity in Vance, Granville, Franklin, and Warren counties for 50 years. I am proud of this legacy of learning and service. Indeed, I am honored to have been called to this college — to serve these communities. My life’s goal is to ‘make a difference’ in whatever I do. Likewise, I believe this institution has made a difference and will continue to make a difference in people’s lives. As we embark upon the next 50 years of learning and service, we have an opportunity to renew our commitment to being a community educator, convener, and partner.”

Several dignitaries brought greetings on behalf of the state and the four counties served by the college: Peter Hans, the president of the N.C. Community College System; Archie B. Taylor, Jr., chair of the Vance County Board of Commissioners; Dr. Alisa McLean, superintendent of Granville County Schools; Angela L. Harris, Franklin County Manager; and Vincent Jones, Warren County Manager.

VGCC students also played key roles in the event. Tyshii Scarborough, president of the VGCC Student Government Association, gave welcoming remarks, and two recent alumnae of the college, Angelica Bridges and Evan O’Geary, presented musical selections.

Special guests included not only local community leaders but also presidents of several community colleges from across the state.

VGCC Welcomes Two New Trustees

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently welcomed a pair of new members to its Board of Trustees.

Deborah M. Butler of Youngsville was appointed to serve on the college’s governing board by the Granville County board of commissioners. Butler is a retired school teacher with 40 years of experience in education.

Dorwin L. Howard of Oxford was appointed to the board by Governor Cooper. Howard served as a teacher and administrator for Granville County Schools, retiring as the system’s superintendent. He currently serves as a pastor at First Cosmopolitan Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Both Butler and Howard were appointed to four-year terms on the VGCC board. Butler succeeds N. Annette P. Myers, while Howard assumes the seat formerly held by Herb Gregory.

The Board of Trustees has 12 voting members, with some appointed by the Governor of North Carolina and some by the county commissioners and the boards of education of Vance and Granville counties.

S. Quon Bridges, an attorney and former District Court Judge, administers the oath of office to Deborah Butler as a new member of the Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees. (VGCC photo)

S. Quon Bridges, an attorney and former District Court Judge, administers the oath of office to Dorwin Howard (center) as a new member of the Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees. (VGCC photo)

VGCC Small Business Center to Offer Free QuickBooks, Financial Classes

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-Information courtesy Sheri Jones, Director, VGCC Small Business Center

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center is offering two free, three hour classes entitled “Quick Start Bookkeeping with QuickBooks.”

The classes will be offered on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at the times and locations as listed below and is being taught by Semone Brisson, an Accountant and QuickBooks Consultant of Brisson’s Accounting out of Salisbury, NC. A description of the classes content is below and registration is required.

If you, your members or someone you know could benefit from these classes, please forward the following information and registration links to them.

The links can also be accessed from our website at


1)  “Quick Start Bookkeeping with QuickBooks”

This informative seminar is geared toward the novice bookkeeper and QuickBooks user. An accountant and QuickBooks consultant will show you how to set up and use QuickBooks desktop software for everyday accounting tasks in the simplest, most efficient way possible for your company or non-profit.

Topics include:

  • Setting up a company file quickly
  • Understanding and designing financial statements
  • How items and classes work
  • When to use receivables, payables and bank feeds
  • What is a “set of books” and how does it work?
  • What bookkeeping practices do I need?

This seminar will benefit both QuickBooks desktop and online users. It is not intended to be a “step-by-step hands-on class” and does not require a book. Questions are welcomed and encouraged.

“Quick Start Bookkeeping with QuickBooks”
Wednesday, July 31 from 6 – 9 p.m.

Kerr Lake Country Club – 600 Hedrick Dr. Henderson, NC 27537

Registration Link:

2) “Understanding Financial Statements”

Maintaining and understanding financial information is critical to running a profitable small business. This three hour seminar helps small business owners focus on using key financial reports to understand and operate their businesses. The seminar also explains how small business owners can use their financial statements to identify potential problems before they become serious threats to the business’ survival.

“Understanding Financial Statements”

Wednesday, July 31 from 1 – 4 p.m.
Vance-Granville Community College, Bldg. 7 – 200 Community College Road Henderson, NC  27536

Registration Link:

Franklin Co. Schools Offering Free Summer Lunches!

-Information courtesy the Franklin County Schools’ Facebook page

Franklin County Schools is offering free summer lunches to students age 5-18, Monday – Thursday through June 27, 2019.

Lunches will be provided from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. inside the Franklinton Middle School cafeteria. The school is located at 3 N. Main St. in Franklinton, NC.