Oxford Preparatory School Chooses 2019 Homecoming Court

-Information courtesy Victoria Bradsher, School Director, Oxford Preparatory School

Oxford Preparatory School (OPS) recently crowned a new homecoming king and queen from amongst representatives of the senior class.

OPS Senior Homecoming court representatives included Camden Ross, daughter of Marc and Jackie Ross from Kittrell; Quincey Burreal, son of Yolanda Burreal also of Kittrell; MacKenzie Pendergrass, daughter of Amanda and Zack Burnette of Henderson; and Luke Overby, son of Tony and Angie Overby from Oxford.

OPS Interact Club President Avery Thomas and Vice-President Ey’Mania Alston crowned the king and queen who are chosen by the entire Griffin student body from the senior class representatives.

For the 2018/2019 school year, OPS Homecoming King is Quincey Burreal. Quincey is a senior who has been accepted to North Carolina Central University and plans to major in Business Administration.

Griffin Homecoming Queen for 2018/2019 is MacKenzie Pendergrass. MacKenzie is a senior who has been accepted to East Carolina University and plans on majoring in Nursing.

Other homecoming court representatives include:


Bryanna Kingsberry from Henderson, granddaughter of Dave and Lynn Nyquist and Ian Simmons, son of DeMarcus and Candace Simmons, also from Henderson.


Emily Faucette, daughter of Alan and Melissa Faucette of Oxford. She is escorted by Codie Johnson, son of Steve and Maggie Johnson of Oxford.


Zoe Holland, daughter of Tracy and Christopher Holland of Oxford and Jackson Edwards, son of Buck and Tina Edwards from Henderson.


Dasana Williams, daughter of Craig and Tammy Williams of Oxford and Elijah Griffin, son of Christina Griffin and Grandson of Floyd and Joane Griffin of Oxford.


Peyton Purnell, daughter of Leah Williamson and Jonathon Purnell of Oxford and Jonathan Gouldman, son of Shannon Currin of Henderson.

Oxford Preparatory School Seniors Quincey Burreal and MacKenzie Pendergrass were crowned homecoming king and queen, respectively, for the 2018/2019 school year. (Photo Credit: OPS)

The Oxford Preparatory School 2018/2019 Homecoming court represents grades 7th – 12th. (Photo Credit: OPS)






Granville County Public Schools to Hold ‘Showcase of Schools’

-Information courtesy Dr. Stan Winborne, Public Information Officer, Granville County Public Schools


We would like to cordially invite you to attend our “Showcase of Schools” on Saturday, January 26 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Granville Central High School. At this special event, every Granville County School will showcase their own exciting and unique academic programming and extra-curricular offerings.

Families will have an opportunity to learn more about our innovative choice program options and be among the first to complete their 2019 Choice Applications. We will have informational booths available with staff from each school on site so that you may get answers to all of your questions about student academic opportunities, educational program themes, transportation services and registration for the upcoming school year.

We hope that you can join us for this exciting event. We look forward to seeing you there!

Joe Toler Elementary to Close This Year; Mary Potter Middle to Follow

-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, January 7, 2019, the Granville County Board of Education approved a motion to close Joe Toler Oak Hill Elementary School at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. This vote passed with a 5-2 vote. At this same meeting, the Board also approved a motion to assign the students who currently attend Mary Potter Middle School to Northern Granville Middle School effective with the 2019-2020 school year. This vote passed with a 5-2 vote.

The Board then approved another motion that Mary Potter Middle School campus would remain an educational facility and data be provided to the Board of Education, by the Superintendent, of all cost options for the location of additional programs and for the Central Office to be housed on the Mary Potter Middle School campus. This vote passed 6-1.

In accordance with these decisions, district staff will begin the process of creating implementation and transition plans. Teams from each school will assist in providing input in determining new attendance zones, staff assignments, academic programs, and parent communications. In addition, staff will begin the process of gathering information for the Board related to the future potential uses of the Mary Potter Middle School facility so it may remain a vibrant part of the community.

For more than a year, board members have been addressing the issue of school reorganization in our district. The state of North Carolina provides essential funding for school districts based on the average daily membership (ADM) of students. With the increase in charter school choices in our region, the enrollment of the school district has decreased over the past several years.  This has caused significant decreases in funding for the school district. At the same time, the number of school buildings has remained the same, with the facility usage percentages dramatically falling at some schools in particular.

To address this problem, the district has relied on fund balance (the district savings account) over the past four years to cover the budget deficit. This year alone, the district is projected to spend nearly one million dollars more than it is funded. Future projections indicate the district could soon face serious financial problems absent action being taken. School reorganization will save the district significant funds by making more efficient use of our facilities and staffing and will also decrease overall operational expenses. It will also prevent additional deep cuts from our academic programs and personnel who serve our students.

In considering these closures, the Board directed a series of studies and held public hearings to gather information and hear from multiple stakeholders. It is estimated that the closure of these two schools could result in savings for the district of more than $778,000 dollars each year beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, in October of 2018, the Board approved the merger of JF Webb School of Health & Life Sciences with the JF Webb High School beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. It is estimated that this merger will save the district more than $40,000 dollars per year moving forward.

The Board of Education plans to continue its work with efforts to save money and improve academic opportunities for all students.  They will continue to address school reorganization in the coming months and will explore a variety of other options. One study that has already been authorized is the evaluation of the efficient use of facilities related to GC Hawley Middle School and the surrounding elementary schools. Additional considerations may be made as well.

As the board continues to work through these difficult decisions, the administration will still be laser-focused on providing the very best possible opportunities for the students of Granville County.

Oxford Preparatory School’s 6th Graders Make First Semester Honor Roll

-Information courtesy Victoria Bradsher, School Director, Oxford Preparatory School

Oxford Preparatory School’s 6th-grade Griffins continue to excel. The first semester for the 2018-19 school year ended on December 19 and a number of students demonstrated high achievement levels. We are proud to announce the first semester A and A/B Honor Rolls for 6th-grade students.

Students on the A (Directors’ List) and A/B Honor for the semester will participate in an honors recognition ceremony on January 31.

6th Grade – 1st Semester A Honor Roll – Directors’ List

James Boone Allred

Elizabeth Jones

Jacquelin Jose

Marleigh Swanner

Hannah Twisdale

Caleb Watkins

Kennedy Wilkerson

Hunter Wade Woodlief

6th Grade – 1st Semester A/B Honor Roll

Andrew Jordan Adcox

Mary Virginia Bailey

Elizabeth Diane Baker

Ayla Kristine Batchelor

William Christopher Brooks

Emily C. Dail

Starling Davis Faulkner

Kaylee Brianna Gill

Cadence Hoyle

Holden Jones

Jetta Mangum

Sean Osborne

Violet Perry

Brandy Ray

Makala Roberson

Ellie Stock

Pearla Tabor

Sawyer Vaughan

Trevor Weary

Emily Grace Wilkinson

Macie Rae Wilkinson

Oxford Preparatory School Readies for 2019/2020 Enrollment & Expansion

-Information courtesy Andrew Swanner, Executive Director, Oxford Preparatory School

Applications for new 5th – 12th grade student enrollments for the 2019 – 2020 school year have been available at oxfordprep.org since Open Enrollment began on October 29. Oxford Preparatory School (OPS) is an independent and tuition-free public charter school that is designed to mold students into future leaders through completion of a rigorous curriculum while focusing on community service and developing an appreciation of the arts. OPS offers a college preparatory curriculum, a variety of competitive middle school and varsity athletic teams, and is located at 6041 Landis Rd. in Oxford.

To be considered for a potential lottery, all applications must be submitted online by Friday, February 1, 2019. If more applications are received than available seats in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, a blind public lottery will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2019. All students choosing to attend OPS will need to confirm enrollment by completing and sending in an enrollment packet by Friday, March 15, 2019. After February 1, applications received at the end of the waiting list as determined by the lottery.

Oxford Preparatory School invites families of prospective students to learn more about the unique offerings of the school. The final of three information sessions will be held on Saturday, January 19 at 10 a.m. Afterward, tours will be conducted that will allow the opportunity to meet faculty.

In addition, prospective students are invited to spend time visiting the school on the final of three Shadow Days so they can experience our unique school program firsthand. Visiting students accompany OPS student guides through their classes during a four-hour visit. It’s a chance to meet the staff and the students and to get a snapshot view of our engaging college preparatory classes. The final shadow day will take place on Friday, January 18 from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Please call the Oxford Preparatory School office at (919) 690- 0360, or email Office Manager, Karen Brown at [email protected] to make an appointment.

For additional comment, please contact Andrew Swanner, Oxford Preparatory School Executive Director at [email protected] or by calling (919) 690-0360.

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Granville Co. Board of Education to Meet in Closed & Opened Sessions Jan. 7

-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools


The Granville County Board of Education will meet in a Closed Session to consult with the Board attorney and preserve the attorney/client privilege in accordance with N.C. General Statute 143.318.11 (a)(1) and (a)(3) on Monday, January 7, 2019, at 5:30 p.m. at West Oxford Elementary School.

The Granville County Board of Education will also meet for a regular board meeting on Monday, January 7, 2019, at 6 p.m. at West Oxford Elementary School, 412 Ivey Day Rd, Oxford, NC. Please note the change of location for this regular board meeting.

To find a copy of the agenda for the meeting, click here. The agenda for January 7 includes a Closed Session to discuss confidential personnel matters and preserve the attorney/client privilege in accordance with N.C. General Statute 143.318.11 (a)(6), 143.318.11 (a)(5) and 115C-321.

Dywanda Pettaway

Clerk to Board of Education

VGCC’s Welding Technology Program at Franklin Earns Vanguard Cup

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s interim president, Dr. Gordon Burns, has honored a team of faculty members in the Welding Technology program at the Franklin Campus by awarding them the “Vanguard Cup” for excellence in education.

The department became the fourth recipients of the cup, an honor created by the President’s Office to recognize “exceptional team performance toward the college mission, vision and strategic plan.” The Vanguard Cup is awarded to a department that meets or exceeds the targets on improvement strategies designed to further department or instructional goals, Dr. Burns said in making the presentation on Thursday, Dec. 13, at a college event in the Civic Center.

Above: Members of the VGCC Welding Department faculty pose with the “Vanguard Cup,” awarded to the Welding program at Franklin Campus for educational excellence by Dr. Gordon Burns, interim president of the college. From left are Dr. Burns; Rusty Pace, program head/instructor for Welding Technology; Allen Tharrington, instructor for Welding at Franklin Campus; and Luke Gravel, instructor for Welding at Main Campus. (VGCC photo)

Rusty Pace, program head and instructor for Welding, and Allen Tharrington and Luke Gravel, instructors, were honored for the Franklin Campus achieving a student course success rate of 100 percent, the president noted.

“The Welding program at the Franklin Campus achieved this superior student course success rate by advancing student skill development through increased repetition and by working more closely with local employers,” said Dr. Burns. “The local employers provided student tours of their respective campuses, served as guest lecturers and hired program graduates.”

In addition to the cup, the department receives up to $10,000 for use on equipment, professional development, adjunct instructors, or other approved purposes for state funds, as well as a luncheon for the area.

Runners-up for the cup were announced as the Math Department faculty who increased the student success rate of Math 171 students by 8 percent by offering supplemental instruction and maintaining performance rates in Math 172; and the Accounting/Business Administration/Entrepreneurship faculty who increased retention rates by connecting with students during registration periods and over the summer

VGCC offers degree, diploma and certificate programs in Welding Technology. In addition to the classes at Franklin, classes are offered on the Main Campus in Vance County. For more information, contact Rusty Pace at (252) 738-3375 or [email protected]

VGCC Apprentice at Frigi-Temp Places Third in State Fair Contest

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Cyrus Jover of Henderson, the first participant in Vance-Granville Community College’s new apprenticeship partnership with Frigi-Temp of Youngsville, took third place in the North Carolina State Fair HVAC Apprenticeship Competition in October.

“I’m extremely proud of Cyrus and the way he represented the Frig-Temp team,” said Cory Thornton, chief operating officer of the commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company.

Jover joined the apprenticeship program earlier this year. Already enrolled in the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology program at VGCC, he had worked in the HVAC field for almost four years before he became an apprentice, but only in residential installation.

Cyrus Jover of Henderson, a VGCC student who participates in the VGCC apprenticeship program through Frigi-Temp of Youngsville, placed third in the 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R Contest at the N.C. State Fair in October. In the photo above, Jover is being tested on his brazing skill level and safety precautions during one section of the day-long competition. Event organizers gave instructions and then, as shown in the background of the photo, judged students on how well they soldered while also observing their steps to follow good safety measures. (Photo Credit: VGCC)

The 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R (Heating, Ventilation/Air Conditioning – Refrigeration) Contest was open to the first 20 applicants, registered in a program recognized by the N.C. Department of Commerce, who have completed less than 8,000 hours of training. Eight apprentices participated and six were awarded prizes. Third place awarded a prize of $175 out of a total of $1,325 in prizes to the top finishers. The top three finishers received extra prizes with Jover winning a tool bag, hand tools, and a drill set in addition.

The contest was designed to promote interest among apprentices in the skilled construction trades, according to the NC State Fair organizers. “This contest dramatizes a ‘job training program’ through which ApprenticeshipNC has assisted voluntary efforts of industry to meet their needs for skilled workers,” apprenticeship director Kathryn Castelloes said. “These skilled craftworkers have contributed significantly to the economic growth of North Carolina.”

A program of the North Carolina Community College System, ApprenticeshipNC seeks to “ensure the state has an innovative, relevant, effective and efficient workforce development system that develops adaptable, work ready, skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of works and businesses to achieve and sustain economic prosperity,” NCCCS says on its website.

Jover’s entry into the competition came at the suggestion of NCCCS staff, Thornton said. “Cyrus was signed up for the event even before he knew about it,” Thornton added, noting that it was a great experience for Jover and the company.

“I was very nervous going in because I had never competed in a contest like this,” Jover said. “You do not know how skilled your competitors are because they are strangers. You have no idea what to expect from them or the contest. I was also nervous because I knew that Vance-Granville and Frigi-Temp were depending on me to represent them well.”

“Despite the pressure and nerves,” he added, “the competition was a fun learning experience because it shows you how you rank when up against your peers. It also shows you how much more there is to learn so that you can be the best.” Thornton added that the contest began at 8 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m.

Cory Thornton, chief operating officer for Frigi-Temp in Youngsville, left, celebrates with Cyrus Jover, a student in the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology program at VGCC who is also an apprentice with Frig-Temp. Jover placed third in the 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R Contest at the N.C. State Fair in October. (Photo Credit: VGCC)

“If I could hire five more team members just like him I would do so in an instant,” Thornton said. ”His drive to become a professional, his humility, his work ethic and the way that he chooses to work as a true team player is something I truly admire about him. I am humbled that I get to work at Frigi-Temp alongside Cyrus and many others just like him.”

Jover is originally from the Philippines, where he earned a college degree in Biology before coming to the United States seven years ago, at age 20. Here, he found that the HVAC field had numerous job openings. He enrolled at VGCC, first as a part-time and then a full-time student. Now, he is done with almost all of his classwork and spends most of his time working at Frigi-Temp. He sometimes works a full 40 hours per week at the company while continuing his studies.

Thornton said the apprenticeship program is going very well while “still in its infancy.” “We have high hopes for the future and look forward to hiring several more apprentices over the next year,” he said.

As for next year’s competition at the State Fair, Thornton says Frigi-Temp will be ready for another round. “We weren’t able to coach Cyrus prior to the event and, with this being the first time, none of us any idea what to expect,” he said. “He did an excellent job by placing in third and next year we are looking forward to him taking first place.”

Michael Whittemore, program head for Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration at VGCC, shared in Thornton’s excitement about Jover’s accomplishment. “Cyrus is exactly as Cory describes him. He is an excellent student and he makes Vance-Granville proud, not only for this contest but also for the professional manner in which he performs as an apprentice at Frigi-Temp,” he said.

Students interested in enrolling in the program can contact Whittemore at [email protected] or (252) 738-3214.

Employers who are interested in partnering with VGCC on apprenticeships are encouraged to contact Ken Wilson, project manager for VGCC’s TechHire grant program, at [email protected] or (252) 738-3259.

State Board of Community Colleges Approves Appointment of Dr. Desmarais

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

The State Board of Community Colleges has approved the appointment of Dr. Rachel Desmarais as president of Vance-Granville Community College.

She will begin her tenure as the seventh president in the college’s history on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, according to Danny W. Wright, chair of the VGCC Board of Trustees. The action of the State Board came at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at the North Carolina Community College System offices in Raleigh.

Currently the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, Dr. Desmarais was selected for her new position by the VGCC trustees on Dec. 5. She was among nearly 90 applicants for the post.

The new president succeeds Dr. Stelfanie Williams who left in August to become the vice president for Durham affairs at Duke University. Dr. Gordon Burns, retired president of Wilkes Community College, is serving as interim president for VGCC until Dr. Desmarais takes office.

The State Board of Community Colleges has approved the appointment of Dr. Rachel Desmarais as president of Vance-Granville Community College. She will begin her tenure as the seventh president in the college’s history on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

Granville Board to Hold Special Meeting on School Closure/Consolidations

-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools


The Granville County Public School’s Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Thursday, December 20, 2018, at 5:30 p.m., at the Central Service Building, 101 Delacroix Street, Oxford, NC.

The purpose of the meeting is for the Board to deliberate and discuss the information gathered through study and public hearings on the school district budget shortfall and possible closure of Joe Toler – Oak Hill Elementary School and the consolidation of Mary Potter Middle School and Northern Granville Middle School.