McGregor Hall’s Diversity

From gospel music with The Hoppers and local group Unashamed Southern Gospel Quartet, to the Broadway musical The Buddy Holly Story, to the North Carolina Symphony, the new Performing Arts Center McGregor Hall in downtown Henderson has something for everyone.

Its executive director Tommy Deadwyler wants the public to know there will be a great deal of diversity in the performances and artists it has to offer Henderson and the surrounding areas. The new center has a chance to greatly impact our economy here. It’s about putting people in restaurants and hotels and revitalizing downtown Henderson.

Board member Mark Hopper said, “To be able to impact Henderson’s economy with the performing arts is just phenomenal and I’m really excited about that. In fact, I had nine calls in under three hours alone for restaurant recommendations the night of the Buddy Holly Story Musical. It’s quite inspiring that this facility was built on donations alone. Absolutely no city or county money was used whatsoever.”

It isn’t expected that Vance County will be able to support the center alone, but retirees in the southern Virginia Lake Gaston and Kerr Lake areas who drive right past Henderson on the way to Durham could attend a Broadway show for a fraction of the cost. The goal is for McGregor Hall to be a regional facility.

Chairman of the McGregor Hall Board John Wester said, “Most Broadway shows are at least $85 a ticket and that’s on the lower end. Once you add on gas, dinner in Raleigh or Durham, and parking, well it just makes so much more sense to stay right here in your hometown and see a great show for far less money.”

McGregor Hall doesn’t intend on competing with the DPAC in Durham, but it does have some wonderful upcoming performances to offer:

April 9: NC Symphony

April 30:  Vivace, a pop & classical vocal quartet out of Vancouver, Canada

June 18: The Manhattans with NC Music Hall of Famer Gerald Alston & Henderson native Dwight Fields

May 20: The McCartney Years – a Wings Tribute Band

July 7-9: The Henderson Rec Players – Fiddler On the Roof

September 17: Sandi Patty’s Farewell Tour – Contemporary Christian singer and 5 time Grammy Award winner (we are the only theatre in NC to have her!)

The response from the community thus far has been fantastic, and not only does the center have an opportunity for an economic impact on Henderson but has already offered educational opportunities. On March 8, 960 school children from Vance and Granville counties had the opportunity to see the NC Symphony’s performance for kids. Deadwyler said, “I was very impressed by the children’s behavior and the fact that so many of them dressed up for the performance. They were very engaged and excited to see the orchestra perform.”

Reverend Frank Sossamon, who was the Master of Ceremonies on the center’s opening night, echoed this sentiment when he said, “The new Performing Arts Center McGregor Hall is such a breath of fresh air for Henderson. It will allow the community to be exposed to various artists and performances that will challenge our citizens and young people to strive for more through education. We had a great response and large turnout on opening night. It was just a wonderful overwhelming experience.”

Another plus, McGregor Hall Gallery will also have meet and greets with the performers and a cocktail hour before performances.

For rental rates contact Tommy Deadwyler. (The Gallery is also available for rent at a reduced rate for non-profit groups)

For tickets call: 252-598-0662 or purchase online at: (Ticket prices vary according to the show.)

The Box Office is open Tuesday through Friday 1pm to 5pm and two hours before show times.

Staff Writer – WIZS

VGCC holds Summer Term New Student Orientation sessions

 Registration for classes and orientation sessions for new students have begun for the Summer 2016 term at Vance-Granville Community College, which starts Monday, May 23. Students who wish to enroll at VGCC starting in the Fall 2016 semester may also attend one of the orientation sessions for summer.

Attending an orientation session is required for all new students who wish to enroll in any of the college’s curriculum programs, and for students who are returning to VGCC after being away for three or more years. Students must also meet with an advisor or academic/career coach before registering for classes.

To attend an orientation session, a student must sign up in advance by visiting

VGCC now offers orientation in both an online and a traditional face-to-face format. In either format, orientation sessions help students learn where to find resources on campus or online, including how to register for classes through WebAdvisor.

Face-to-face orientation sessions are scheduled at VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County on Tuesday, March 29, at 9 a.m.; Tuesday, April 19, at 9 a.m.; Thursday, April 21, at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, May 10, at 9 a.m.; and Thursday, May 12, at 2 p.m.

At the Franklin County Campus near Louisburg, orientation sessions are scheduled on Tuesday, March 29, at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, April 12, at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, April 19, at 5 p.m.; and Tuesday, May 3, at 9 a.m.

Orientation sessions are scheduled at VGCC’s South Campus, located between Creedmoor and Butner, on Wednesday, April 6, at 9 a.m.; Thursday, April 14, at 2 p.m.; and Wednesday, May 4, at 9 a.m.

Students who want to attend a face-to-face orientation session at the Warren County Campus in Warrenton should call (252) 257-1900 for more information.

Registration for summer classes is set to end on Thursday, May 19. College officials encourage students to apply for admission, attend orientation/advising, and register for classes as early as possible. Course schedules are now available online at

All summer curriculum courses are eight weeks in length and will end on July 25. The VGCC course selection for this summer’s term is more robust than in years past, including a variety of online and on-campus sections.

Summer term offers opportunities for eligible high school seniors to get a head start on college by taking courses through the Career & College Promise (CCP) program. University students may also use the summer to earn transferable credits while they are at home.

The tuition payment deadline is Thursday, May 19, by 5 p.m., if paying in person, or by midnight, if paying online through WebAdvisor.

For more information, contact VGCC at or (252) 738-3330, or visit any campus.

VGCC’s new ‘VanGuarantee’ to help area residents afford higher education

Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of Vance-Granville Community College, announced a major new commitment yesterday to eliminate financial barriers to higher education for residents of Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties.

President Williams said a new need-based scholarship program, called the “VanGuarantee,” is designed to cover tuition, student fees and textbooks for eligible students whose financial needs are unmet by federal financial aid and other means of support. She made the announcement at a meeting of the VGCC Board of Trustees and was joined by school superintendents and members of the boards of education from the four counties served by the college.

VGCC already has a robust, almost 40-year-old Endowment Fund that provides primarily merit-based scholarships.

“The VanGuarantee program enhances our college’s commitment to supporting deserving students, particularly those who demonstrate the greatest financial need, because we do not want the cost of attendance to be a barrier for any student at any stage,” Dr. Williams said. “We want to guarantee that every student in our community who wants to earn a college degree can do so.”

Making the VanGuarantee possible is a $1.6 million bequest to VGCC from the estate of Wilbert A. Edwards. The gift, announced in 2015, is the second largest in the history of the college. A resident of Oxford at the time of his death in 2001, Edwards was a native of Vance County and a decorated World War II fighter pilot. In addition to the VanGuarantee, funds from the Edwards estate are being used for faculty development and for college facilities.

In its scope, the new program is believed to be unique in the North Carolina Community College System. As policymakers and students have expressed growing concerns about the rising cost of college, VGCC joins colleges across the country in creating innovative “promise” or “guarantee” programs to make education more affordable and accessible.

Some colleges have made such commitments only to recent high school graduates, but the VanGuarantee applies to all students in the four counties, reflecting VGCC’s longstanding tradition of helping adults retrain for new careers at any age, Dr. Williams explained. Nevertheless, she encouraged 2016 high school graduates to take advantage of the new opportunity to obtain a debt-free college education.

Among the eligibility requirements for the VanGuarantee, students who reside in the college’s service area must enroll in at least nine credit hours per semester in any VGCC curriculum program. They must first apply for and meet the eligibility requirements for federal and state financial aid programs. Next, they will apply for endowed VGCC scholarships. When students still lack the funds to pay for their education after exhausting those and other sources, the VanGuarantee program will help to fill the gap. That makes the program an example of what is often called a “last-dollar scholarship.”

The VanGuarantee will be available in the fall 2016 semester, which starts in August. All residents of the four counties served by the college, regardless of their age or whether they have attended VGCC before, may benefit if they meet the eligibility criteria. Once enrolled in the VanGuarantee program, students must maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) to continue receiving the scholarship.

For more information on the VanGuarantee, students can visit

Granville County needs your help

In an effort to improve the user experience on the Granville County website, we have partnered with North Star Marketing in Burlington, NC. We are inviting you to participate in a brief online survey that will take approximately 10 to 12 minutes to complete. Your feedback is anonymous, and we value your input as we work to enhance our website.

The survey will close Friday, March 25, at 11:59 p.m.

Please click the link below to access the survey.

Thank you for your participation,

Granville County

Michael S. Felts

Granville County Manager

141 Williamsboro Street

P.O. Box 906

Oxford, North Carolina 27565

Phone:  919-693-5240

Fax:  919-690-1766





AT&T sponsors new VGCC Summer Bridge program

AT&T North Carolina has made a $10,000 contribution to Vance-Granville Community College to support a new student success initiative. For the first time, the college will offer a “Summer Bridge” program this year for incoming first-year students. With AT&T’s sponsorship, the program will be available at no cost to participating students.

“Thanks to the strong support of AT&T North Carolina, in a few months, our faculty and staff will be able to offer some extra help to students to prepare them to succeed as scholars at the college level,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of VGCC.

Robert Doreauk, AT&T’s regional director of external affairs, formally presented the donation in February at a luncheon honoring donors to the college, held at the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford.

“We understand that there is no better way to make a lasting difference in a community than by helping support the education of its young people,” Doreauk said. “Through our signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, we support opportunities to foster skills that will meet the needs of the future workforce while helping all students make their biggest dreams a reality. We appreciate the opportunity to support the Summer Bridge program and are excited about the impact it will have on students’ lives and futures.”

VGCC Dean of Arts and Sciences Cynthia Young explained that Summer Bridge will be a comprehensive, two-week program with two overarching themes. “The first theme is providing targeted support, supplemental instruction and skill-building to help students accelerate their pathway from developmental education to regular curriculum courses,” Young said.

Most VGCC students take placement tests as part of the admissions process to evaluate their current skills in reading, writing and mathematics. Placement test scores are used for academic advising and correct course placement. Students may be placed in a developmental math course, for example, to build math skills before moving on to more challenging college courses that are required for diploma and degree programs.

“The second theme of the program is college readiness,” Young said. “Students will participate in orientation and meet with faculty from various curriculum programs so that they understand the opportunities that are available to them here at Vance-Granville. In addition, our coaches from the Student Success Center will help students in the program to create academic plans in line with their career goals.” Young said that the program will serve North Carolina residents who are high school or high school equivalency graduates, are entering VGCC for the first time, and have placed into developmental education.

“We are excited about introducing this program,” said Young. “It will give students more tools to be successful.”

The Summer Bridge initiative is being developed as Dr. Williams and other college leaders across the country are increasingly focused on bringing students up to speed quickly, so that they can start their college-level coursework earlier and graduate on schedule. According to a new report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement, 86 percent of students nationwide believe they are academically prepared to succeed in college, but 67 percent test into developmental coursework.

For more information on the Summer Bridge program, contact Cynthia Young at or (252) 738-3424.

VGCC students partner to register bone marrow donors

The SkillsUSA chapter at Vance-Granville Community College recently teamed up with national organizations and a local cancer survivor to find some potential heroes.

The survivor, Whitney Johnson Espinosa of Henderson, who calls her campaign against childhood cancer “Whitney’s Hope,” organized a bone marrow registration drive in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus. She connected with the SkillsUSA student organization through her mother, VGCC Dean of Business & Applied Technologies Angela Gardner-Ragland.

Espinosa was working in concert with three national organizations, “There Goes My Hero,” Delete Blood Cancer and the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, to register new bone marrow donors. “Your college drive is an amazing opportunity to impact the lives of patients around the world who need bone marrow transplants by improving their chances of finding a matching donor,” Kristina Gaddy of There Goes My Hero wrote to Espinosa.

There Goes My Hero was founded by transplant recipient Erik Sauer in 2008, and seeks to provide hope and nourishment to leukemia patients and their families. Since its founding, the organization has added over 10,000 new people to the bone marrow registry.

The event at VGCC registered 30 new donors. Students, faculty, staff and community members signed up and swabbed their cheeks to provide DNA samples. The painless registration process took only a few minutes, but could save a life if a participant turns out to be a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant. Such treatments are the only hope for many people diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other blood cancers and diseases. VGCC held a similar drive in 2015 in partnership with the Project Life Movement and the “Save the Fox” campaign.

The initiative is one of several community service projects that have been conducted under the auspices of the college’s SkillsUSA organization. VGCC recently joined the national partnership of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Students in a variety of VGCC programs are eligible to join SkillsUSA. For more information on SkillsUSA at VGCC, contact Public Services department chair Steve Hargrove at or (252) 738-3467.

For more information on becoming a bone marrow donor, visit or

Granville Sheriff asks for your help

Granville County Sheriff’s Office needs your help in locating Kenneth “Buddy” McIlhenny last known address of Grassy Creek Rd. He has outstanding warrants for Felony Larceny, Obtaining Property by False Pretense and Larceny of a Firearm. If you have information regarding his whereabouts please contact 911 or Granville County Sheriff’s Office at 919-693-3213.

VGCC to host Afternoon Tea class

Vance-Granville Community College will offer a course on the “afternoon tea” party, the tradition that is enjoying a renaissance as fine hotels, inns and tea rooms across the country give guests an opportunity to retreat from the hurried pace of their lives.

The course, called “Let’s Have a Tea Party,” will meet on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 until 4 p.m., starting March 29. The final class and “graduation” ceremony is an actual afternoon tea party planned and facilitated by the students at Magnolia Manor Plantation in Warrenton on April 19, thanks to the generosity of owners Sheila and Larry Carver.

The instructor will be Dr. B.K. McCloud of Oxford, a 2012 graduate of the course and historian for the Old North State Tea Society (ONSTS). McCloud has a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and retired as a full professor of education at North Carolina Central University. She is also a member of the Granville County Historical Society and a docent at the Granville County Museum.

After completing the tea class at VGCC under the instruction of Constance Lue of Oxford, McCloud has continued her education in the world of tea by attending meetings of the ONSTS, frequenting tea rooms, reading, building her personal tea library, and attending classes. In 2013, she attended the International World Tea Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2015, McCloud participated in a tea master-class with international tea expert Jane Pettigrew in London, under the auspices of the U.K. Tea Council. That same year, she received her certification as a Tea and Etiquette Consultant after studying with Bruce and Shelley Richardson in Lexington, Kentucky.

McCloud’s students will learn about the history of tea; the difference between an afternoon tea party, a royal tea party and “High Tea”; and the proper way to make the best pot of tea. They will have tastings of a wide variety of teas (black, white, green, Oolongs and herbal) at each class meeting. Beyond the specifics of teas, students will consider qualities of grace, civility and etiquette. Participants might use what they learn to hold their own tea parties for children as well as their adult friends. Afternoon Tea also can be a way to raise funds for churches and clubs.

The cost of the course is $60 for four class sessions, plus $20 for the final tea at Magnolia Manor. Students will receive a valuable resource manual with recipes for tea time, tips on flower arranging, and a section on etiquette.

The deadline to register for this class is March 26. Prospective students can register online at or in person at Main Campus, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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

VGCC installs first officers for SkillsUSA chapter

The Vance-Granville Community College chapter of the national SkillsUSA organization, established only a few months ago, now has its first official student leaders.

On Feb. 29, four students signed their contracts and took their oaths as chapter officers. They included President Benjamin Layton of Kittrell (a Criminal Justice Technology student), Secretary/Treasurer Ashley Allen of Henderson (Office Administration), Reporter Harold Todd of Oxford (Criminal Justice Technology) and Parliamentarian Daniel Johnson of Louisburg (Paralegal Technology).

Performing the installation was Steve Hargrove, who chairs the Public Services department at VGCC and serves as lead advisor for the chapter. VGCC Paralegal Technology program head Antoinette Dickens, Office Administration program head Christal Thomas, Office Administration instructor Candy Parker, Medical Office Administration instructor Hollie Garrett and Business & Applied Technologies administrative assistant Kimberly Elliott also serve as advisors. Other faculty members are also helping to support and advise various committees for the organization.

At the installation ceremony, Hargrove played a video message that was recorded specifically for the historic occasion by Peyton Holland, the executive director of SkillsUSA North Carolina.

In closing remarks, VGCC Business Technologies department chair Spring Tucker thanked the students for taking on their new leadership roles.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA chapters help students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations excel. Founded in 1965 as V.I.C.A. (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America), SkillsUSA has served nearly 12 million members in its 50-year history. Today, the organization has more than 360,000 students and instructors as members nationwide.

Among the benefits to VGCC students are opportunities to participate in competitions at the local, state and national levels, which are designed by industry experts and showcase the nation’s top career and technical education students. The chapter also provides students with opportunities for leadership, professional development, community service and social activities.

VGCC will soon send a delegation to the 50th annual SkillsUSA North Carolina State Leadership and Skills Conference, which will be held in Greensboro on April 19-21. Over 2,500 students, instructors, industry members, and volunteers will be on hand for the largest showcase of career and technical education in the state.

For more information on SkillsUSA at VGCC, contact Public Services department chair Steve Hargrove at or (252) 738-3467.

Tobacco Trust Fund awards grant to VGCC

The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has awarded a $25,000 grant to Vance-Granville Community College to support students in a pair of training programs.

The grant, for a project entitled “Cultivating and Growing Agricultural Communities,” will help cover the cost of tuition and other fees for eligible students in the “NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship” and “Heavy Equipment Operator” courses offered by VGCC. Grant funding will also support instructional staff, marketing and supplies related to the programs.

VGCC has offered the Agricultural Entrepreneurship program at various locations, most recently at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market and the Granville County Expo & Convention Center. Heavy Equipment Operator training is held at VGCC’s Warren County Campus.

While this is the first grant of its kind awarded to VGCC, the college has previously received grants from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission as part of “Project Skill-UP.” As in those previous grants, the commission’s goal is to help individuals and communities adversely affected by the decline of tobacco-related employment in the region.

“We appreciate that the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission chose to support our agricultural efforts to help adults in our service area to gain new skills and in some cases, to start new careers or businesses,” said Kyle Burwell, VGCC’s coordinator of Human Resources Development.

The seven-week NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship course is designed specifically to help local farmers and budding entrepreneurs succeed in developing profitable, environmentally-sound small farms or agricultural businesses.

One of VGCC’s newest programs, Heavy Equipment Operator training takes approximately 13 weeks to complete. During the course, students gain a general understanding of the requirements necessary to operate equipment such as a motor grader, a four-wheel drive loader and backhoe, which are used both in construction and in agriculture.

Students receiving grant funding must meet certain eligibility requirements and must be residents of Vance, Granville, Franklin or Warren counties. Each student can receive up to $250.

For more information on receiving assistance and the opportunities available at VGCC, contact Kyle Burwell at or (252) 738-3276.

For more information on the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, visit