Young Among Finalists for NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year Award

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

Twenty-seven teachers from across North Carolina have been selected as finalists for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) Beginning Teacher of the Year Award for their dedication, innovation and ability to inspire students to achieve.

Bethany Young of Granville County Schools is a finalist.

One of these talented educators will be named the 2019 NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year. The award will be presented for the first time on December 5, 2019, at the NCCAT Cullowhee Campus.

“We appreciate the enthusiastic response from all over the state for the Beginning Teacher of the Year Award,” said NCCAT Executive Director M. Brock Womble. “These finalists provide a snapshot of the lasting impact great teachers have on our students from the first to the last day they step into a North Carolina public school. We are excited about this opportunity to honor teachers for the important work they do in our state.”

The 2019 NCCAT North Carolina Beginning Teachers of the Year are:

–     Sara Bowen Andrews, Rockingham County Schools

–     Tina Brown, Beaufort County Schools

–     Melissa Canter, Alexander Schools

–     Tria Cope, Randolph County

–     Rebecca Dearien, Craven County

–     Kennedy Dockery, Mount Airy City Schools

–     Victoria Freeman, Gaston County Schools

–     Megan Houchins, Iredell Statesville Schools

–      Cristina Lane, Wake County Public Schools

–      Lara Johnson, Bladen County Schools

–      Sarah Lawrence, Bear Grass Charter School

–      Sydney Paladino, Envision Science Academy Charter

–      Kesli Pinkston, Haywood County Consolidated Schools

–      Robin Kent Pittman, Careret County

–      Damarius Prieto, Cumberland County

–      Allie Reitzell, Newton Conover Schools

–      Elizabeth Riddick, Perquimans County

–      Justine Riddick, The Point College Prep

–      Alaysha Rogers, Halifax County Schools

–      Leanne Rose, Mooresville Graded School District

–      Allison Snyder, Buncombe County

–       Rachel Somerville, Henderson County Public Schools

–       Erin Stewart, Lenoir County

–       Alison Stuart, Catawba County Schools

–       Reba Warren, Pitt County

–       Ziena Walker, Innovative School District

–       Bethany Young, Granville County Schools

The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year process was developed to honor beginning teachers who are the future of education in North Carolina. Information about the program is online at

The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year prizes include:

– $5,000 cash prize

– Participation in a GoGlobal NC trip to Australia in 2020

– Instructional supply funds for the teacher’s school

– $2,000 cash prize to the runner-up

Travel expenses for regional winners to participate in NCCAT professional development and leadership development.

Oxford Preparatory Lower School Announces First Quarter Honor Roll

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-Information courtesy Oxford Preparatory School

Oxford Preparatory Lower School held its first-quarter award ceremony during the last week of October. This year the school is serving students in 5th and 6th grades.

During the award ceremonies, students were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements, as well as for excellence in the arts and music. In addition, four students – Hailey Crowder, Cesar Castillo-Azuara, Zander Boone and Cameron Fauntleroy were recognized as “Rising Griffins,” demonstrating strong leadership and personal responsibility in their daily activities.

The Lower School at Oxford Prep is proud to announce the following students to the honor roll for the 1st Quarter:

5th Grade

A Honor Roll

Tanner Abbott, Grace Allred, Sage Beck, Bristol Bowen, Olivia Burrows, Michael Cox, Lilly Hicks, Allison Martinez-Ramirez, Palynn Nelms, Kaylee Overby, Heidi Strickland, Abagail WIlliamson, Kevin Williford, Parker Wright

A/B Honor Roll

Haroon Alashmaly, Mckenzie Bartlett, Ronald Batchelor, Cason Bedwell, Trinity Blom, Zander Boone, Gracie Brooks, Emma Daniel, Bobby Downey, Katherine Ellis, Ethan Englebright, Alaina Garrett, Jesus Gutierrez-Duran, Piper Hicks, Addison Hoyle, Will Jeffries, Lily Juntunen, Aaron King, Kateyn Lyon, Kylie Marsalone, Abrieanna Peoples, Ayden Pernell, Bryson Preddy, Gabrielle Pugh, Madelyn Reese, Christian Smith, Ashlyn Sturgeon, Landon Tabor, Lila Watkins, Jackson West, Keats Westbrook, Magnus Williford, Bryson Woodlief

6th Grade

A Honor Roll

Hailey Crowder, Kianna Evans, Addyson Faucette, Kaylin Gooch, Elijah Moss, Valentina Ortega-Mora, Tabitha Parker, Bre’Niyah Purnell, Emily Stevens, Susie Stock, Miley Thompson, Hailey Woodlief

A/B Honor Roll

Cesar Castillo-Azuara, Caleb Critcher, Lillian Dingfeld, Jayce Elliott, Anahi Escobar Castaneda, Rileigh Forbes, Abbe Hernandez, Alaina Lovings, Jenna Overby, Solomon Parker, Divya Patel, Dylan Pitcher, Sara Roberson, Harley Jo Stainback, Madison Thomerson, Carley Walthall, Zoey Webber, Alexandria White, Novina Williford

VGCC Grad in Spotlight as N.C. State Announces Expansion of Program  

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

North Carolina State University recently announced a $1,064,000 investment from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to expand the Community College Collaboration (C3) program, which guarantees N.C. State admission to qualified transfer students from several community colleges, including Vance-Granville Community College.

From left, North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Board Chair Robert A. Ingram, VGCC graduate and C3 program participant Ethan Cole, and North Carolina State University Chancellor Dr. Randy Woodson. (VGCC Photo)

Ethan Cole, a Kittrell native who was among the first VGCC students in the program, took part in the ceremony in Raleigh at which this expansion was announced. After graduating from Vance-Granville with an Associate in Science degree, Cole enrolled full-time at N.C. State, where is studying engineering. He provided the introduction for Robert A. Ingram, chair of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Board of Directors, during the ceremony. Cole is also the recipient of a $5,000 North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation STEM Scholarship.

“Supporting the N.C. State C3 program is a perfect fit for the mission of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation,” Ingram stated, according to a news release from the university. “This program will help students transition from a community college to a four-year degree at N.C. State. We believe that our state has one of the best community college systems in the country, and we are excited about this partnership.”

The grant from the foundation will allow N.C. State to expand the program to 150 new students per year, from its current level of 120 students per year. It will also increase the number of eligible community college partners from eight to 10.

Ethan Cole (behind podium) introduces North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Board Chair Robert A. Ingram during a ceremony in Raleigh. (VGCC photo)

“We’re thankful for the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation’s investment in C3, which creates a direct pathway for students from 10 regional community colleges to transfer to N.C. State,” said Martha Harmening, C3’s program director. “N.C. State’s goal of the program is to increase the number of transfer students from rural and low-to-moderate income backgrounds, especially those matriculating into STEM disciplines.”

“We are elated that Ethan has benefitted from the C3 partnership between Vance-Granville and N.C. State,” said Dr. Levy Brown, VGCC’s Vice President of Learning, Student Engagement & Success. “This is a wonderful example of how community colleges and four-year institutions partner to create meaningful pathways for students.”

C3 students receive increased academic support, advising and planning as well as access to online planning tools and specialized activities while they complete their associate’s degree at a community college. These resources help students map their academic plans and connect with university resources, faculty, staff and other C3 students.

Students who may apply for C3 include graduating high school seniors as well as current community college students who have completed less than 30 credit hours of college work.

N.C. State is now accepting C3 applications for Fall 2020 at

For more information, contact VGCC’s Admissions Office at (252) 738-3234.

GCPS Aims to Increase Number of Students Receiving School Breakfast

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

Did You Know?

1 in 5 kids in North Carolina grows up in a family that struggles with hunger.

  • Here’s what that means: In some families, the pantry is completely empty. In others, mom skips dinner a few nights a week so the kids can have something to eat in the evening. In others, families are making impossible decisions between paying the rent and buying groceries.
  • In Granville County, we fed 647,358 lunches but only 300,670 breakfasts for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • When kids aren’t getting the consistent nutrition they need, it’s harder to focus in class. Test scores drop, and students are more likely to miss class time because they’re in the nurse’s office with headaches or stomach aches. Discipline problems rise and attendance levels fall.

The Solution: School Meals

  • One of the most effective ways to make sure hungry kids are getting the nutrition they need is through school meal programs like school breakfast and lunch.
  • When kids eat school breakfast, it means calmer classrooms, better attendance rates and ultimately more time for learning.
  • Yet in North Carolina, school breakfast only reaches 58% of the kids who may need it.
  • One way to make sure more kids are starting their day with breakfast is by serving breakfast after the bell, making it more easily accessible to any child that needs it by overcoming common barriers like late buses, busy morning schedules and stigma.
  • The Granville County Public Schools Child Nutrition Department is working hard to implement alternative ways to get students to eat breakfast.

Two Oxford Prep Fifth Graders Selected for NC Elementary Honors Chorus

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-Information courtesy Oxford Preparatory School

Congratulations to Oxford Preparatory Lower School fifth-graders Abagail Williamson and Lilly Hicks, for being selected as members of the 2019 NC Elementary Honors Chorus. Over 600 fourth – sixth-grade students from across the state auditioned; only 200 were chosen for this auspicious honor.

After four weeks of preparation, Abby and Lilly will travel with their music teacher, Cindy Clark, on November 9 to Winston-Salem to join the other 198 top elementary singers for a day of rehearsal with renowned composer, music educator and choral conductor, Dr. Andrea Ramsey.

On Sunday, November 10, as part of NC Music Educators’ State Conference, the 2019 Elementary Honors Chorus will present a noon concert in Stevens Auditorium of the NC School of the Arts.

Oxford Preparatory Lower School fifth-graders Abagail Williamson and Lilly Hicks were recently selected as members of the 2019 NC Elementary Honors Chorus. (Photo courtesy OPS)

Town Talk 11/04/19: VGCC President Talks Reorganization, Power of Partnerships

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Dr. Rachel Desmarais, president of Vance-Granville Community College, joined WIZS on Monday’s edition of Town Talk to discuss college reorganization, expanded community outreach and enrollment growth.

The recent hiring of Jerry Edmonds as VGCC’s Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Engagement aligns with Desmarais’ mission, as she stated in a previous Town Talk interview, to “leverage the gifts and talents that our people have here in the college to create more short-term workforce training to support our existing companies and to be a recruitment tool for economic development.”

“We did some reorganization in the college to make sure what has been traditionally considered  corporate and continuing education, or non-credit training, was no longer the back door of our college,” said Desmarais. “We believe that needs to be front and center; we need two front doors.”

Edmonds’ background includes his most recent tenures as the Dean of Workforce and Economic Development and Small Business Center Director at Halifax Community College, along with prior leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson and IBM.

His familiarity with Henderson’s economic scene is also a plus, according to Desmarais. “Jerry’s parents moved here in the 80s and kept their family home here. Jerry owns a home in Henderson and is very familiar with local business and industry.”

Desmarais said Edmonds has hit the ground running in his new position by helping the college expand the Business Agriculture program operated through the VGCC Small Business Center.

As part of that expansion, VGCC will be offering CDL-A training for big rig truck driving beginning February 2020. This is part of a series of nine-week programs “designed to get people employed quickly,” according to Desmarais.

In addition to offering more programs at the college, VGCC is also expanding its community outreach endeavors. “VGCC is trying to get out more,” Desmarais said. We’re not expecting people to always come here. We are taking a critical look at how we can also be part of the community. It is something I believe in very passionately.”

Desmarais believes VGCC’s presence at various community events over the spring and summer  led, in part, to the college’s 3.75% increase in enrollment for the fall semester. Such an increase is significant when viewing figures that show a steady decline of enrollment over the past six years, she explained.

A focus on providing tuition-free college classes to local high school students also helped provide an enrollment boost this semester.

“We’ve been very intentional with our K-12 programs. We don’t just educate adults; we also partner with our school systems to offer education to high school students. That’s usually done through Early Colleges – we have one in each of our four counties. We also offer general Career and College Promise classes to any high school student whether they be in public school, charter school, home school or private school. These are wonderful opportunities for high school students to take college classes tuition-free,” said Desmarais.

The college has also been focusing on increasing marketing efforts for its basic law enforcement program, increasing the capacities in the health programs and streamlining the financial aid and admissions process for students.

In looking forward to the 2020 Spring Semester, Desmarais said the college will be expanding hours of operation to better fit the schedules of working students.

In addition to the recent inclusion of office hours on Tuesday evenings, the college will soon open at least one Saturday each month and will include additional sections of evening and weekend classes.

Desmarais also announced that VGCC, in partnership with KARTS serving Vance, Warren, Granville and Franklin counties, will be tackling one of the largest barriers to higher education in the local area – lack of transportation.

“Beginning this spring, we are going to be offering vouchers that the college will be paying for out of grant funds and existing endowment funds. If we run out, we’ll be asking for more people to consider giving to our endowment funds,” said Desmarais. “It’s about partnerships; it’s about leveraging our assets along with other assets in the community.”

Desmarais wants to ensure that lack of transportation and/or funding is no longer an obstacle for those wishing to receive higher education or job training. To ensure funding, in particular, was no longer an obstacle, the college created a “VanGuarantee” program as a way to assist students with money not covered by financial aid.

“If someone wants to come to Vance-Granville, we are going to find a way for them to come whether it is through federal financial aid or scholarship money from our endowment,” Desmarais said. “The VanGuarantee is that we are going to get you here!”

To learn more about the VanGuarantee or Vance-Granville Community College’s programs, please visit the website by clicking here.

To hear Desmarais’ interview in its entirety, please click the play button below. Listen live to WIZS’ Town Talk Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on 1450AM, 100.1 FM or online at

Granville Board of Education to Hold Regular Monthly Meeting

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-Information courtesy Granville County Public Schools


The Granville County Board of Education will meet for a regular board meeting on Monday, November 4, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the Granville County Public Schools Central Office, 101 Delacroix Street, Oxford, North Carolina.

The Board will also meet in a Closed Session with the Board’s attorney in accordance with N.C. General Statute 143.318.11 (a)(6), 143-318.11 (a)(3), 143.318.11 (a)(5) and Section 115C-321 on this evening.

To view the agenda for this meeting, please click here.

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.

Granville Co. Board of Education to Meet on School Improvement Plans

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools


The Granville County Board of Education will meet on Monday, October 28, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the Granville County Public Schools Central Office, 101 Delacroix Street, Oxford, North Carolina.

The purpose of the meeting will be to receive and discuss information regarding School Improvement Plans.

To view the agenda for this meeting, please click here.

Oxford Prep Readies for K-4 Expansion, 2020/2021 Open Enrollment

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-Press Release, Oxford Preparatory School

Applications for new Kindergarten – 12th-grade student enrollments for Oxford Preparatory School’s (OPS) 2020 – 2021 school year will be available at when Open Enrollment begins on December 2, 2019.

OPS is an independent and tuition-free public charter school that is designed to mold students into future leaders through the completion of a rigorous curriculum while focusing on community service and developing an appreciation of the arts.

To be considered for a potential lottery, all applications must be submitted online by Friday, February 28, 2020. If more applications are received than available seats in any grade, a blind public lottery will be held on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

All students choosing to attend OPS will need to confirm enrollment by completing and sending in an enrollment packet by Wednesday, April 1, 2020. After February 28, applications received will be placed at the end of the waiting list as determined by the lottery.

OPS offers a college preparatory curriculum, a variety of competitive middle school and varsity athletic teams, and has a main campus located at 6041 Landis Rd. in Oxford. The school currently operates in a permanent Upper School Building (Grades 7 – 12) and a temporary Lower School Building (Grades 5 & 6) on the main campus.

The school is in the final stages of USDA loan approval for a new permanent lower school facility (K – 6) that will be constructed on the main campus on Landis Rd. in Oxford. However, in the interim, OPS has submitted a request to Granville County Public Schools to operate K – 4  at the former Joe-Toler Oak Hill Elementary School site (8176 NC-96, Oxford, NC 27565), to which shuttle busing will be provided from the main campus on Landis Rd.

This potential agreement, governed by NC Law (§ 115C-218.35. ) would benefit Granville County Public Schools by reducing their operating costs for a closed school building and provide OPS the additional space for the increased enrollment that was approved by the NC State Board of Education in February.

OPS invites families of prospective students to learn more about the unique offerings of the school. All prospective families are invited to the school’s first Winter Wonderland on Saturday, December 7 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event will provide interested families a glimpse into the curriculum and vision of the Lower School while offering children a variety of fun activities coordinated by the school’s Interact Club.

The first information session for families of rising K – 6 students will be held on Tuesday, December 10 at 6 p.m. Afterwards, 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 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. Information about all of these events will be posted on the school’s website –