VGCC Awarded Funds for Continuing Education Scholarships

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently received just over $188,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund to help local residents obtain job training. 

The GEER Fund, created as part of the federal CARES Act, will provide scholarships for eligible VGCC continuing education students pursuing short-term workforce training programs within certain pathways that will lead to state or industry-recognized credentials. Students can receive up to $750 in assistance per course. Scholarships can potentially help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, credentialing tests, transportation, or childcare. 

At VGCC, the eligible pathways include the following programs: 

  • Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET), 
  • BioWork Process Technician,
  • Electronic Health Records,
  • EMT-Basic,
  • EMT-Paramedic,
  • Heavy Equipment Operator,
  • Healthcare Billing and Coding,
  • HVAC – Cooling,
  • HVAC – Refrigeration,
  • Introduction to Welding,
  • Nurse Aide, Levels 1 and 2,
  • Phlebotomy,
  • Production Tech, and
  • Truck Driver Training.

VGCC officials may add more programs to the list, based on local workforce needs.

“We are excited about the opportunities that the GEER Fund will open up for many students, especially those who have lost their jobs and suffered financially due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Jerry Edmonds, vice president of Workforce Development and Community Engagement for VGCC. “There are jobs available and many employers need talented workers, so now is a great time to retrain and gain new skills, so that you can prepare for a new career or advance in your chosen field.”

Governor Roy Cooper announced the initial allocations of North Carolina’s GEER Fund in August. At that time, Bill Carver, the interim President of the North Carolina Community College System, said, “North Carolina Community Colleges are uniquely positioned to offer short term workforce preparation to assist in the State’s economic recovery. This funding will be used for targeted programs providing cost-effective, high-quality opportunities for North Carolinians wanting credentials leading to career advancement.” 

For more information, contact Dawn Michelle Tucker, Dean of Continuing Education & College + Career Readiness, at (252) 738-3288 or

Vance County Schools Logo

Vance Co. Board of Education Votes to Remain in Plan C

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-Information courtesy Vance County Schools

On July 17, 2020, the Vance County Board of Education voted to begin the 2020-2021 school year in Plan C, fully remote learning.

It was decided that the Board would revisit the decision at the end of the first nine-weeks to determine the next steps for the district. That decision came on Monday, October 12, 2020, as the Board voted 5 – 2 to remain in Plan C for the remainder of the first semester.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 9, 2020, at 6 p.m.

To stay updated on VCS decisions and announcements, please visit the District’s website or Facebook page.

Granville Vance Public Health Logo

GVPH COVID-19 Update as of 10/5/20


-Information courtesy Granville Vance Public Health

The following is an update for COVID-19 spread and response in Granville and Vance County as of October 5, 2020. Granville Vance Public Health numbers correlate with the NC Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NCEDSS) data.

The county case numbers reported on the NC county map from the NC Department of Health and Human Services may differ from the ones reported locally as they are updated at different times and may change once residence is verified.

Granville County

1,794 positive test results for COVID-19.

Of those 1,794, 1,132 are community-spread cases located across Granville County. Of those 1,132, 1,022 have been released from isolation.

Of those 1,794, 526 cases are affiliated with the prison system in Granville County and 494 of those 526 have been released from isolation.

Of those 1,794, 136 are associated with outbreaks at long-term care facilities including 30 at Murdoch Development Center, two at Central Regional Hospital, one at Brantwood Nursing and Rehab Center and 95 at Universal Health Care.

The outbreak at Granville House is no longer active. Of the 136 cases in long term care facilities in Granville County, 112 have been released from isolation.

11 individuals in Granville County are hospitalized.

There have been a total of 50 deaths in Granville County: five in the community, one associated with Central Regional Hospital, one associated with Murdoch Development Center, 21 associated with Universal Health Care and 22 associated with the Bureau of Prisons Federal Correctional Complex.

Vance County

1,051 positive test results for COVID-19.

Of those 1,051, 926 are community-spread cases located across Vance County. Of those 926, 804 have been released from isolation.

Of those 1,051, 125 are associated with outbreaks at congregate living facilities including 49 cases associated with Kerr Lake Nursing Home.

The outbreaks at Alliance Rehabilitative Care, Senior Citizens Home and Pelican Health nursing home are no longer active.

Of the 125 cases in congregate living facilities in Vance County, 96 have been released from isolation.

12 individuals in Vance County are hospitalized.

There have been a total of 45 deaths in Vance County: 14 associated with the Pelican Health nursing home outbreak, 12 associated with Kerr Lake Nursing Home, two associated with Senior Citizens Home and 17 in the community. Unfortunately, there has been another death in the community: a 72-year-old male passed away on October 3, 2020.

WIZS Note: There are 122 total known active cases in the Vance County community and 110 in the Granville County community at large at this time (excluding congregate living numbers). One additional COVID-19 related Vance County death and no additional Granville County deaths have been reported in the last seven days,.

Additional Information

The number of those who have been ‘released from isolation’ is determined by the CDC Guidance for discontinuation of isolation for persons with COVID-19.

Please visit GVPH’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard (click here) for tables and graphs that are updated daily.

VCS Stefanie Ayscue

VCS Recognizes Teachers, Principals at Annual Excellence in Education Event


-Press Release and photos, Vance County Schools

Vance County Schools held the annual Excellence in Education event on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. At the event, the District’s Beginning Teacher of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Assistant Principal of the Year and Principal of the Year were announced.

The event was a drive-in recognition at the VCS Administrative Service Center on Graham Avenue, where staff were presented their award in an outdoor ceremony, with social distancing in place and masks required. Dr. Anthony Jackson, VCS Superintendent, along with Assistant Superintendents Dr. Trixie Brooks and Dr. Cindy Bennett, recognized each honoree.

District award winners included:

2020-2021 Assistant Principal of the Year Shannon Bullock

Bullock is the assistant principal of Vance County Middle School and in her 9th year in education, spending every year with Vance County Schools.

A native of Henderson, Bullock shares, “It is with great humility that I serve the families of our community. I will forever embrace the opportunity to uplift all stakeholders of our school community so that all of our students will be adequately prepared for their next endeavors in life. My heart is filled with gratitude to be able to give back to my community.”

Bullock received her Associate’s from Vance-Granville Community College, continuing on with her undergraduate from East Carolina University and graduate degree from High Point University. She is currently working on her doctorate at Liberty University.

2020-2021 Beginning Teacher of the Year Sheneika Campbell

Campell teaches 7th-grade English Language Arts at Vance County Middle School. She has been with Vance County Schools for three years but has been in education for 12 years. Originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Campbell earned her undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of the West Indies.

She shared, “I am a passionate educator who has been called to this profession to effect positive changes and advance the welfare of all in my reach. I am honored and humbled to be recognized as BT for the district. This award has ignited an even stronger commitment to inspire, motivate, and serve the scholars of VCS.”

2020-2021 Principal of the Year Stephanie Ayscue

Ayscue is currently the principal of Advance Academy with 20 years in education. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Stephanie earned her undergraduate degree from Lourdes University, graduate degree from Western Carolina University and Ed.S from Liberty University. She is currently working on her doctorate degree from Liberty University.

Stephanie expressed, “Love and relationships are essential. The Dalai Lama states, ‘When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget their hearts.’ That is what we do at Advance Academy and what I have always tried to do at every school I have been blessed to be part of.”

2020-2021 Teacher of the Year Sara Lilley

Lilley is a 3rd-grade teacher at Clarke Elementary School. Sara shared, “I’m blessed to work with such a wonderful group of educators. It is quite an honor to receive such a distinction when I consider the talent, skill, and experience that daily surrounds me.”

Sara is in her 11th year teaching, all with Vance County Schools at Clarke Elementary. Lilley, originally from Elizabeth City, NC, received her undergraduate degree from Campbell University and her graduate degree from NC State University.

The Principal of the Year Stephanie Ayscue and Teacher of the Year Sara Lilley will now move forward in competing for the regional titles. The North Carolina State Principal of the Year and Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring of 2021 and selected from the regional winners across the state.

Vance County Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson presents the 2020-2021 Assistant Principal of the Year award to Shannon Bullock.

Vance County Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson presents the 2020-2021 Beginning Teacher of the Year award to Sheneika Campbell.

Vance County Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson presents the 2020-2021 Principal of the Year award to Stephanie Ayscue.

2020-2021 Teacher of the Year Sara Lilley, a 3rd-grade teacher at Clarke Elementary School, poses with her awards in front of the district office.

NC Governor Logo

Public Schools Now Able to Implement Plan A for Elementary Schools

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-Press Release, Office of Governor Roy Cooper

After several weeks of stable COVID-19 trends and continued low virus spread in school settings, Governor Roy Cooper today announced that beginning on October 5, North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5).

Plan A continues to include important safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom.

“We are able to open this option because most North Carolinians have doubled down on our safety and prevention measures and stabilized our numbers,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “North Carolinians are doing the hard work to improve our numbers and trends. Many people are wearing masks, keeping social distance and being careful to protect others as well as themselves. We have shown that listening to the science works. And I’m proud of our resolve.”

As the Governor announced in July, every district will continue to have the flexibility to select Plan A, B or C based on their unique needs. In addition, districts should still provide an option for families to select all remote learning for their students. Read the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit to learn more about the requirements under each plan.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shared an update on North Carolina’s data trends. Dr. Cohen explained that North Carolina has seen a sustained leveling or decrease of key metrics.

“Our trends show that we are on the right track. It’s up to all of us to protect our progress. Our individual actions like those 3 Ws will help keep our school doors open.,” said Secretary Cohen.

Dr. Cohen also explained that as schools have opened, the current science shows that younger children are less likely to become infected, have symptoms, experience severe disease or spread the virus.

“It’s great news today that we are a step closer to providing the option of in-person learning to families who want their children to return to school,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. “While the Governor, the State Board of Education, and I have our differences, I join with them today to encourage local school board members to take advantage of this change and open all schools safely. I thank the many parents and teachers across North Carolina who have been vocal advocates on this important issue.”

“For the past six months, superintendents, principals, teachers and local BOE have worked diligently to care for the safety of our students and staff while educating our children. While we are anxious to return all students, we know that teachers, principals, and students need a gradual transition over the next three months. I ask our parents to remain patient, knowing that we are moving as quickly as is safely possible. And I ask our teachers to continue to assist our students by supporting this deliberate, thoughtful transition,” said Eric Davis, Chairman of the State Board of Education.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is declining.

Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is declining.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is declining.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is declining.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:

Laboratory Testing

  • Access to testing has expanded. No-cost testing events are being deployed across the state and testing turnaround times have improved.

Tracing Capability

  • Contact tracers continue to be hired to bolster the efforts of local health departments. A new exposure notification app will be launched soon.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable
VCS and Dr. Cathcart

Local Organizations Donate Combined $10,000 to Public School Foundation


-Press Release and photos, Vance County Public School Foundation

The Vance County Public School Foundation (VCPSF) was developed to partner with and support Vance County Schools (VCS). As the 2020-2021 school year is underway, VCS is excited to share that the VCPSF, along with community and business partnerships, are stepping in to make a difference!

Dr. Cathcart and the Henderson Optimist Club have collectively donated $3,500 to add additional WiFi devices in the district. This added connectivity will ensure VCS students are able to receive instruction and access resources, even during remote learning.

The Rotary Club of Henderson, along with members Thomas Hester, Archie Taylor, Anthony Jackson, Brad Baldwin, and George Watkins, have donated a combined $1,500 to further add headsets for students to utilize with technology devices.

VCS is also working with various churches, businesses and organizations to put together Arts and Rec kits for elementary age students. These kits will contain items to support the curriculum in both the arts and physical education. The project was jumpstarted with a $5,000 grant from Walmart Distribution and is being supplemented by donations from various businesses, churches and organizations within our community.

VCS continues to be grateful for all that the community has invested into Vance County Schools and the Vance County Public School Foundation. We look forward to continuing to make our community Vance County Proud!

VCS Arts & Rec Kits

Vance Co. Schools Seeks Donations for Elementary Arts & Rec Kits

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-Information courtesy Vance County Schools

The Vance County Public School Foundation and Vance County Schools are creating Arts & Rec Kits for elementary school students.

With 2,500 elementary school students in the district, VCS is seeking donations from businesses, churches and organizations to make these kits possible. Even if you only have 25 of an item, every little bit will help. Kits will not be identical, but they will make a difference.

Donations can include items such as stress balls, hacky sacks, small squishy balls, colored pencils, crayons, markers, jump ropes, frisbees, construction paper, glue sticks, drawstring bags and water bottles.

If you can assist, please contact Aarika Sandlin at (252) 492-2127 or email

Donations may be dropped off at 1724 Graham Avenue in Henderson by September 25.

To make a monetary donation to this project, please make checks payable to Vance County Public School Foundation, PO Box 2956 Henderson, NC 27536. In the Memo Line, please write Arts & Rec Project.

VCS Meal Box Pick-Up

Vance Co. Schools Continues Free Meal Boxes Through October

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-Information courtesy Vance County Schools

Vance County Schools will offer free meal boxes for drive-thru style pick-up every Monday in September and October from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Boxes will be distributed at Vance County Middle School located at 293 Warrenton Road in Henderson.

The weekly meal boxes will contain five breakfasts, five lunches and milk containers.

VCS Walmart Grant

Walmart Provides $5,000 Grants to Vance County Schools, Public School Foundation


-Information and photo courtesy Vance County Schools

Walmart recently awarded a $5,000 grant to Vance County Schools (VCS) and a $5,000 grant to the Vance County Public School Foundation (VCPSF). The grants were provided upon the recommendation of the local Walmart Distribution Center/Transportation Office after its review of the needs in Vance County.

The Vance County Schools grant will provide opportunities to all students within the school district as art teachers are outfitted with document cameras for their classrooms. Mr. Markoch, Vance County Schools Director of Fine Arts, shares that “these devices will provide our students with increased technology as an additional resource for bringing instruction to students and modeling projects at all grade levels, both while we are teaching virtually and later when we are back together in our buildings. This will expand classroom accessibility for all of our students.”

Grant presented to Dr. Trixie Brooks, VCS Assistant Superintendent; Aarika Sandlin, VCS Public Information Officer; and Andrew Markoch, VCS Director of Fine Arts, during a Check Presentation Ceremony at Walmart Distribution Center in Henderson, NC.

The Vance County Public School Foundation grant will help create Arts and Rec toolkits for elementary-aged students. Each kit will contain various items for students to utilize at home, allowing them greater access to areas of the arts and physical

VCPSF is partnering with local businesses, churches and organizations to maximize the efforts of this program. Aarika Sandlin, Public Information Officer for Vance County Schools, shares “whether students are receiving instruction at home or in the classroom, access to resources is one of the keys to success for students. This grant, along with partnerships throughout our community, makes it possible for us to provide our families with Arts and Rec toolkits, and, for that, we are extremely grateful.”

Vance County Schools Logo

Vance County Schools Surpasses State Graduation Rate


-Press Release, Vance County Schools

Vance County Schools has surpassed the state graduation rate once again, while also posting the highest graduation rate in the history of the district.

We are pleased to report that our 2019-2020 graduation rate is 90.3%, compared to the state graduation rate of 87.6%. This represents an increase of 3.6% over the 2018-2019 4-year graduation rate of 86.7%. Seven years ago, Vance County Schools’ posted a graduation rate of 64.9% — the lowest in the state. We have improved our graduation rate by over 25% during that time, now surpassing the state graduation rate.

For the 2019-2020 year, Vance County Schools met or exceeded the state average in 8 of the 9 measurable subgroups. Those exceeding the state average included male, female, black, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, English learner, and student with disabilities. The state and our district both measured greater than 95% for Academically and Intellectually Gifted students.

Our Superintendent, Dr. Anthony Jackson, is beginning his sixth year leading Vance County Schools. With each passing year, our graduation rate is improving. “This is a tremendous accomplishment for our district. As our graduation rate continues to climb, it gives certainty that the strategies and programs we have in place are preparing our students for their future. It also reiterates that when we work together, progress is possible.”

Our district continues to make progress, bringing innovative programs, partnering with our students and families, and personalizing education options for our students. We have robust fine arts programs at every school in our district. Additionally, we offer an alternative pathway for grades 6-12, a K-5 year-round STEAM Academy, our 6-8 STEM Early High School, an Early College High School, and new this year, an entirely virtual K-12 school. With 16 schools in our district, we are working hard to ensure our students have a learning environment that fits what they are seeking.

We continue to extend our program offerings to our students, providing a variety of opportunities for them within our schools. We offer Career and Technical Education programs, providing 13 career pathways for our students. Our Early College has been named one of the Best High Schools in America and our district continues to thrive with digital convergence through Modern Teacher, having been recently recognized nationally for the progress in the strategic planning process.

The programs and digital resources available for our students, the personalized education available through school options, the relationships being built between our staff and families, and the efforts of our community partnering with us, continue to be at the forefront of our students’ success.

We are extremely proud of our district and all that has been accomplished. We still have room to grow and Dr. Jackson emphasizes that “we will not be satisfied until all of our students graduate on time; the stakes are too high to accept otherwise.”