VGCC planning summer Science Camps at two campuses

Vance-Granville Community College will offer a Science Camp for local middle school students this summer at both the college’s Main Campus (in Vance County) and the Franklin County Campus (near Louisburg).

First, the Main Campus camp will be held June 13-17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

A second camp will be held August 1-5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at the Franklin Campus.

Rising sixth, seventh and eighth-graders from Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties are invited to participate in the week-long camp.

Sessions will be taught by faculty members from the VGCC Science Department and other college programs. The VGCC Science Camp program is now in its sixth year. “We will have fun, hands-on activities that involve various sciences and allow campers to explore STEM career fields,” said VGCC Science Department Chair Steve McGrady. “Our outstanding VGCC faculty members collaborate each year to make this a learning experience that is unlike anything available in our four-county area.”

The cost to attend the camp is $125, which includes lunch each day and a camp T-shirt. Sessions will be different at each camp, so students are welcome to attend both camps for a total of $250.

Science Camp is part of series of VGCC Arts & Sciences camps and workshops being held this year to reach out into the community with unique learning activities. A Biotech workshop for high school students took place earlier in the year. In addition, the Teenworks Theater Camp will be held at VGCC’s Main Campus, June 20-24, for rising seventh through twelfth graders.

The deadline to register for either Science Camp is May 20. Parents can now register their campers online at

For more information, contact Steve McGrady at (252) 738-3339 or

— VGCC Press Release —

Andrew Beal

Public Information Officer

Vance-Granville Community College

Pete O’Geary Local Boy Scouts Citizen of the Year

(Cover photo of Grace and Pete O’Geary)

Thursday night in Henderson, James D. “Pete” O’Geary was presented the Lone Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America, the Occoneechee Council.  O’Geary is the recipient of the Citizen of the Year award for 2016.

This recognition was given at the 2016 George Rose Watkins, Sr. Citizen of the Year Award Dinner, May 5, 2016 at the Henderson Country Club.

R.G. “Chick” Young was presented the award in 2015, and the award was established in 2014 and named for and given to Watkins.

The award was given to O’Geary for his dedication and service to the community, because he is a businessman and former owner of Petal Shoppe Florist and Gift Shoppe, because he served on the Henderson City Council for six terms and because he was the Mayor of Henderson for eight consecutive years.

O’Geary was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine recently as well, and he served on various city boards and committees as well as being Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Government.  At the present time, O’Geary serves on the Salvation Army Board of Directors and on the Henderson Planning Board.

At the award dinner, guests were welcomed by Cliff Rogers, immediate past president of the Occoneechee Council.  The flag was presented by Boy Scout Troop 605 from First Presbyterian Church of Henderson.  The invocation was given by Pastor Ralph E. McGowen from West End Baptist Church where O’Geary has been a member for 56 years.

Rogers gave a brief outline of scouting in the council, which covers Vance, Warren, Granville and Franklin counties and the communities of Wendell, Zebulon and Rolesville while serving 559 youth.

McGowen presented a testimonial and spoke of O’Geary’s dedication and many years of service to the church, and he also spoke of O’Geary’s character, integrity and faithfulness in representing this community.

Former City Manager Ray Griffin spoke of O’Geary’s selfless leadership and service to this community, his partnership with the City Council and his great desire to create harmony in the community.

Dr. Steve O’Geary spoke on behalf of his father for his dedication to family, church and community, for the way he loved and connected his family, for the standards set by his father as examples for all to live by and for standing up for what he believes in.

Pete O’Geary thanked the scouts for their support in the community and for their role in shaping lives.  He thanked the scouts and community for supporting him.

John Akerman, scout executive of the Occoneechee Council, ended the dinner with the scoutmaster benediction.

(The award dinner was attended and written up by Susan Rose for WIZS News.)

VGCC Golf Tournament Postponed

Vance-Granville Community College’s 32nd Annual Endowment Fund Golf Tournament, presented by Union Bank, which was scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, 2016, has been postponed due to the forecast of inclement weather.

The tournament, held at the Henderson Country Club, has been rescheduled for Monday, May 23, with a rain date of Monday, June 6. Morning and afternoon rounds will begin with shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and at 1 p.m. All event proceeds support the mission of the college, the Endowment Fund and student scholarships.

For more information, contact Kay Currin at or (252) 738-3409.

(Written and Supplied to WIZS News by Andrew Beal, Public Information Officer, VGCC)

VGCC holds Banquet to honor Student-Athletes

Vance-Granville Community College celebrated Vanguard student-athletes at its annual Athletics Banquet, held on April 18 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus.

VGCC Director of Student Activities & Athletics Jeffrey Allen started the event by praising the hard-working students for meeting their academic requirements while also keeping up with a packed schedule of home and away games, and, in many cases, jobs and other responsibilities.

Women’s volleyball coach Christopher Young started the presentations of awards by recognizing his players. He presented the award for “Most Outstanding Player” to Kara Reese of Henderson for the second straight year. Meanwhile, Jesse Edwards of Henderson received the “Vanguard Leadership Excellence” award. Other volleyball team members recognized included Avery Allen, Morgan Carter, Melissa Elliott, Kiyanna Kearney, Caitlyn Robins and Rachel Thomas.

Next, Vanguards men’s basketball head coach DeMarcus Oliver presented awards to members of his team. Raekwon Hall of Raleigh received the “Most Outstanding Player” award. Tyrek Beverly of Oxford received the “Vanguard Leadership Excellence” award. Oliver also recognized players Antonio Adams, Joseph Avery, Hunter Carter, Mycal Elam, Donal Gooch, Dy’quan Marrow, Anthony Mims, Alcyone Moore, Christopher Pernell, Tyquon Reid and Wesley Whitley.

For the first time, members of the “Vanguard Spirit” Pep Squad were also recognized. Tina Ragland, who (along with fellow VGCC staff member Glynnis Wilson) serves as one of the advisers for the squad, presented the “Most Outstanding Team Member” award to Seniqua Turner of Henderson, and the “Vanguard Leadership Excellence” award to Latessa Wilkerson of Henderson. Three other squad members were recognized: Brooklyn Davis, Jakara Steed and Bali Reavis.

Allen recognized three students for their service as support staff for the VGCC athletics program this year: Keyante’ Lindsey, Jasmine Richardson and Angelique Taylor.

In closing remarks, Stacey Carter-Coley, VGCC’s vice president of employee and public relations, congratulated the student-athletes on making “great progress, both on and off the court.” She added, “You are now part of Vance-Granville Vanguards history, and are setting the bar higher for those who come after you…We find inspiration in your determination to achieve professional and personal success.” Carter-Coley thanked the athletes’ family members, coaches and staff for their support.

Current or prospective students interested in participating in VGCC athletics during the 2016-17 year should contact Jeffrey Allen at (252) 738-3405 or

Shop Local: Farmers Market

How often do you buy or even think about buying local? Whether it be from the Farmers Market, a local independently owned restaurant or business, a local artist, or directly from a local farmer, there are many great benefits to buying local goods and services.

Our first focus in this three part series features the Vance County Regional Farmers Market which opened in 2014. Through a series of grants from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund, the N.C. Department of Agriculture Farmland Preservation Fund, and the Vance County Farm Bureau, Henderson was able to build the first indoor heated market. Pete Burgess, who was instrumental in the formation of the Vance County Farmers Market said, “The idea for an indoor Farmers Market started in 2004. At the time farmers needed a source of income other than tobacco. Because it was a Tier 1 county, meaning it was a poor county, The Gold Leaf Foundation did a survey on what Vance County needed money for most. The foundation voted schools first, the rural fire department second, and an indoor Farmers Market third.  The Farm Bureau partnered with the Vance County Extension Service to see what we could do”.

The county gave roughly $50,000 towards the market and the rest was raised through grants and donations. When asked why the market wasn’t in a more centrally located space closer to downtown Burgess said, “At the time, it was the only land we could afford.” The Vance County Regional Farmers Market is located at 210 Southpark Dr. Henderson. It is just off of South Beckford Drive near the Social Security Office. It is a first class facility with water, rest rooms, electricity, a classroom, on-site parking, and covered sales space.

While shopping at the Farmers Market this past Saturday, April 23, Damon Brown was asked why he shopped there. He said, “I totally believe in supporting farmers, especially local farmers. It’s healthier produce because it’s fresher”. Damon’s mother Elva Small said, “I’ve always shopped at the Farmers Market. I take enough pills for health reasons so I want to make sure I can getVance Co. Regional Farmers Market (front) 042816 the healthiest food possible, and you meet such wonderful people here. My grandparents were farmers, so it also brings back such wonderful memories.”

WIZS News spoke with market manager Tracy Madigan during Saturday’s hustle and bustle. She oversees the vendors and answers questions the public might have while shopping at the market. When asked what is the value of buying locally and supporting farmers and artists at the market she replied, “For starters the taste of locally grown food is so much better. Most of the produce you buy from grocery stores has traveled so far by the time you get it, it’s 3-4 weeks old and from other countries. It’s most likely pumped with water to make it bigger. This takes away so much flavor. Another huge value is that not only do you know where your food comes from, but you’re putting money back into your county and state. You support that farmer, who then buys from another locally sourced business. It’s a cycle and the money stays here.”

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market (side) 042816There are also many vendors at the Farmers Market who organically grow their products. They may not be certified organic because becoming certified is often costly, but customers can always ask vendors what practices they use to grow and raise their produce. It’s becoming increasingly important to people how what they are eating was grown or raised. People want to know if pesticides were used on the produce or if it was grown organically, if they eat animal products they want to know that that animal was raised humanely with no growth hormones or antibiotics pumped into it, and whether or not the produce is grown using Non-GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).

Another shopper on Saturday, Susan James said, “I buy from the Farmers Market because I know and trust many of the vendors. I can ask if their produce is organically grown. In this day and age with so many people getting cancer that is very important to me. Unless it’s marked organic, you can’t always get this level of quality at grocery stores plus the produce here at the Farmers Market is often more affordable. I’m also putting money back into my community.”

Vendors have increased steadily since the market opened in 2014. Madigan said, “Last year we had 35 vendors overall and those numbers will continue to increase as we move into May.” If interested in becoming a vendor, there is an annual $30 fee and a $10 fee on the days that you sell. Sellers must be from Vance, Granville, Warren, or Franklin counties, or Mecklinburg County in Virginia.  Fifty one percent of everything sold must have been produced or made by the seller. Everything must be hand grown or hand made. For more detailed guidelines or an application click here or email

Other great opportunities the Farmers Market provides are classes held throughout the selling season. These classes cover topics on various gardening and yard practices that the general public may want to increase their knowledge on. Some of the classes covered previously were proper mulching, adding native plants to your landscape, and how to grow lavender, just to name a few. This past Monday evening on April 25th, Wayne Rowland, Agricultural and Natural Resources Technician with the NC Cooperative Extension in Vance County, held a class on growing watermelon and cantaloupe successfully.

The center hopes to have cook offs and other special events in the future but it needs more “man-power”. Madigan said, “We would love to have more volunteers as we have a limited budget.” How wonderful it would be if people from all five counties made this a really big community oriented place for families to come, learn, and grow together.

The facility is available for rent and many people have used it for private functions. Vance Granville Community College used it on Thursday, April 21 for a luncheon on Emerging Consumer Markets for the Agricultural Business. Local businesses have rented it for luncheons, dinners, and customer appreciation events.

So you see, there are numerous reasons to get involved with your local Farmers Market wherever you are. Farmers Market patron Maggie Peck leaves us with this statement, “Buying local is a way to give back, a way to be responsible. It’s good for the farmers, it’s good for you, and it’s good for the planet. Plus, you meet the most interesting and wonderful people here.”

Market Hours: Saturdays- 7:30 am – 1:00pm and starting May 4th Wednesdays 7:30 am- Noon

To donate or volunteer click here or email

WIZS staff writer

Award named in honor of VGCC Vice President Graham

A new award has been named in honor of Vance-Granville Community College Vice President of Finance and Operations Steven Graham by the Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing. The association has established an award for outstanding candidates seeking to become Certified Local Government Purchasing Officers, and has named it the “Steven C. Graham Achievement Award” in recognition of Graham’s commitment to developing current and future government purchasing professionals. He was instrumental in developing a training program for purchasing officers with the UNC School of Government.

The Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing (CAGP), organized in 1953, is a group of state and local government employees in North and South Carolina whose duties consist of purchasing and contracting of public goods and services. The CAGP is an affiliate of the North Carolina League of Municipalities and a chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP). Since 1986, the CAGP has offered a voluntary certification program for governmental purchasing officers called the Certified Local Government Purchasing Officer (CLGPO) that requires completion of core courses and the passing of a certification examination administered by the UNC School of Government. The purpose of the certification program is to recognize achievement of an established level of competency and proficiency among purchasing officials.

“I obtained my CLGPO designation in 2004,” Graham recalled. “At the time, there was no formalized instruction to assist in prepping for the exam, and the pass rate for the exam was only 40%. After obtaining my certification, I decided to develop a course that could be taught to future governmental purchasing officers seeking this designation. Through sponsorship from the CAGP and the UNC School of Government, I founded and developed the CLGPO Examination Review Course in 2005, which I have taught for the past 12 years. Since offering this course, the pass rate for the exam has increased to 80%.”

In recognition and appreciation of his service and his significant contributions to the success of CLGPO examination candidates, the CLGPO Committee established the Steven C. Graham Achievement Award, which will be presented annually to the certification examination candidate who achieves the highest passing score. The first annual award was presented on March 8, 2016, at the CAGP Spring Conference in Wilmington, N.C., to Julia Vosnock, Procurement Manager with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. “Julia was a student of mine and the first candidate to ever receive a perfect score on the examination,” Graham said.

“We congratulate Steve Graham on this well-deserved recognition for his leadership in supporting education, training and excellence in public service,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of VGCC. “As our colleague and a VGCC alumnus, it is fitting that the award bearing his name will recognize professional development and achievement.”

A resident of Oxford, Graham joined VGCC in 2013 after serving as Finance Officer for the Vance County school system. Prior to joining Vance County Schools as purchasing and distribution manager in 2000, Graham worked in banking in the Henderson and Hillsborough areas. Graham graduated from VGCC with an Associate in Arts degree in 1986 and then transferred to N.C. State University, where he completed degrees in Accounting and Business Management. He is currently completing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration, one of the top programs in the United States in public management and administration.

In 2005, Graham also earned the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) designation of Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.), which is recognized globally by industry and government as the top level of competency in professional purchasing. He continues to serve as a Guest Lecturer at the UNC School of Government, teaching public purchasing and contracting laws and practice.

As VGCC Vice President of Finance and Operations, Graham leads a division that includes the Business Office, the Bookstore, the Endowment office, the Civic Center, Plant Operations, and purchasing.

VGCC Students inducted into Honor Society

Vance-Granville Community College recognized 55 students who were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for students of two-year colleges, on April 19 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus. VGCC students honored with induction into Phi Theta Kappa must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 (3.75 for part-time students) in associate degree curriculum programs and have completed at least 12 credit hours toward their degrees.

As advisors for VGCC’s PTK chapter, instructors Dan Miller, Isaac Talley and Maureen Walters conducted the ceremony. Walters, the head advisor, told the new inductees and their families and friends in attendance that since VGCC’s chapter of PTK, “Alpha Sigma Chi,” was chartered in 1991, more than 1,900 students have been selected for induction. She said that while scholarship is the first aim of PTK, the society also encourages fellowship, leadership development and service to others, and she noted that the letters Phi Theta Kappa stand for the Greek words for “Wisdom,” “Aspiration” and “Purity.”

The ceremony featured remarks from a student, Dianna DeWeese of Creedmoor, who serves as chapter president. DeWeese lauded the chapter’s new inductees on their hard work and the wise choices they had made that led to their academic success. “Scholarship is more than just getting good grades,” DeWeese said. “It is a lifelong love of learning.”

Serving as guest speaker for the ceremony was Jackie Sergent, the mayor of Oxford and retired Health Education Supervisor for the Granville-Vance District Health Department. Sergent congratulated the college on the 25th anniversary of its Phi Theta Kappa chapter and remarked that “we are blessed to have Vance-Granville Community College in our area.” She added her words of congratulations to the honored students on their success, which was “not only in your achievements but in the journey you took to get here,” she said. “Our personal growth depends more upon the struggle than the reward.” Sergent noted that many students juggle jobs and other responsibilities in addition to their studies. “Because of your academic excellence, you are in a position to continue on the path to being a leader in your community,” the mayor told the students.

This year’s inductees into the Alpha Sigma Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa are:


From Franklin County

Ashleigh Ray of Bunn;

Jasmine Blacknall, Anita Fuller, Pamela Swanson, Benjamin Taylor and Heather Taylor, all of Franklinton;

Adair Avila Soria, Cassidy Hinkle, H’Kera Ktul, Allison Leonard, Kelly Persinger and Kevin Tart, all of Louisburg;

Katrina Hodges, Stephanie Hommel, Lisa Sullivan and Christopher Worner, all of Youngsville.


From Granville County

Kaleb Williamson of Bullock;

William Unger of Butner;

Dylan Breedlove and Anna Tilley, both of Creedmoor;

Loren McCuiston of Franklinton;

Kristy Ball, Pamela Barker, Angelica Bridges, Schnail Bynum-Daniel, Doris Cable, Amy Greene, Ashley McEntee, Lane Phipps, Meghan Rossi and Thomas Thompson, all of Oxford;

Randy Bullock and Kevin Rumsey, both of Stem.


From Vance County

Donnie Ayscue, Jennifer Burns, Mary Elberson, Emory Gant-Hawkins, Harli Sams, Jakayla Thorpe and Hayya Wright, all of Henderson.


From Warren County

Marshella Ashby and Pamela Campbell, both of Littleton;

Shawn Miles of Manson;

Joseph Lambertz and Melissa Tucker, both of Norlina;

Meri Blake and Jamisha Twitty, both of Warrenton.


From Wake County

Lauren Dorn, Lori Eitel and Haley Watkins, all of Wake Forest;

Donna Pearce of Zebulon.


From other counties

Trevor Houston and Jessica Huffman, both of Durham;

Maria Govea and James Lea, both of Roxboro.

VGCC to offer Private Pilot Ground School

Vance-Granville Community College will soon offer a course that prepares area residents to take flight with a private pilot’s license.

The Private Pilot Ground School is scheduled to be held on VGCC’s South Campus, located between Creedmoor and Butner, on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 until 9:30 p.m., May 18 through July 27. In this course, students gain the knowledge they will need to take the FAA private pilot written exam, under FAA-certified flight instructors from Blue Line Aviation. Students who complete the course will also receive a discount on an introductory flight lesson with Blue Line.

The instructor, Blue Line Aviation president Charles “Trey” Walters of Wake Forest, has deep connections to VGCC, even though this is his first time teaching the course in partnership with the college. His grandmother, Reba Walters, was a VGCC Nursing instructor. His father, Ray Walters (who is also a longtime pilot), taught business classes at VGCC after retiring from SAS in Cary.

Trey Walters took VGCC criminal justice courses through a dual-enrollment program while in high school. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He also served in the Civil Air Patrol, and was awarded the Billy Mitchell Award for becoming a cadet officer. During his career in the Air Force Reserve, Walters was a member of the Security Forces, which included duties in the military police with some air base defense functions. He served a six month deployment to Iraq.

Walters continued taking online courses at VGCC while serving in the Air Force, even while in Iraq. When his tour of duty ended, he went back to classes at the Main Campus, became a Raleigh police officer and then completed his VGCC Criminal Justice degree after taking additional online courses.

Simultaneously, Walters continued to work on pilot training. He started flight training when he was 13. His first solo flight was on his 16th birthday, and he obtained his private pilot license when he was 17. He flew recreationally until 2011, when he decided to get more advanced certifications. Walters earned his Commercial Pilot license, Flight Instructor license, Instrument Instructor license, Commercial Multi-Engine license, and multi-engine instructor licenses in 2012.

In August of 2012, he founded Blue Line Aviation with his wife, Kelsey. The business grew rapidly, leading Walters to resign from the Raleigh Police Department to work there full-time in early 2013. Walters also rejoined the Civil Air Patrol in 2014. Currently, he serves as a Captain in the Raleigh Unit. He volunteers as a search and rescue mission pilot, instructor pilot and check pilot. “I believe that using our resources to give back and make a positive difference in the world is one of our most important duties as Americans,” Walters said. He is excited about the new venture with VGCC.

“There is a huge demand for pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and training for drone operators. Through our partnership, we can build the programs and infrastructure to fill those jobs by veterans and members of the local community,” he said.

The cost of the Private Pilot Ground School, including all materials, is $280.

“We are excited about having a private pilot ground school here at VGCC, which is advantageously located near several airports,” said VGCC Personal Enrichment Coordinator Gail Clark. “Our partnership with Blue Line Aviation gives us the opportunity to offer this program and help students move to the next level with a team.”

The deadline to register for this class is May 17. Prospective students can register online at or in person at Main Campus (in Henderson), Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, contact Gail Clark at (252) 738-3385 or

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up with Java Dave’s

Java Dave’s Coffee and Internet Cafe and WIZS have teamed up for another new contest. Every Monday morning, Java Dave’s and WIZS will be traveling to a local business to reward employees for working hard (and showing up on time). Java Dave’s Coffee and Internet Cafe will supply free coffee and some type of treat, and WIZS will bring t-shirts.

The second Java Dave’s Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up winner was Vance-Granville Community College‘s South Campus. Students and staff were treated to free coffee and Java Dave’s signature chocolate chip cookies.

Who knows where Java Dave and WIZS will be next week.

To nominate your business just submit and email to, and who knows, Java Dave and WIZS might get your Monday off to a good start!

Granville Chamber to host 3rd annual golf tournament

The Granville County Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 3rd Annual Golf Tournament Thursday, June 9th, at Henderson Country Club, 300 Country Club Drive, Henderson.  Registration will begin at 12 noon, with a 1:00 pm shotgun start for the 4-man Captain’s Choice tournament.

Corporate sponsorships of $450 offer a hole sponsorship and a 4-man team.  Hole sponsors are $100, and individual players pay $100 to play.  All players receive 18 holes of golf w/cart, dinner and concessions.  Mulligans and tee busters will be $10 per player.

There will be contests for 50/50 raffle, closest to the pin challenge, longest drive and hole-in-one shootout.  Prizes and participant goodie bags are being provided by local Chamber members. Volunteers are needed throughout the afternoon of June 9th, beginning at 12 noon.  Time slots are 12 noon ‘til 2:30 pm and 2:30 ‘til 5 pm.  Come enjoy the afternoon with golfers, Henderson Country Club staff and other Chamber volunteers for this, the third annual event.

Please contact the Chamber to play in the tournament or to volunteer – Toni Anne at 919.528.4994, or Wanda at 919.693.6125,