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NC Public Schools’ Reopening Plan to be Announced by July 1

THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY

-Press Release, Office of NC Governor Roy Cooper

To hear further discussion on this press release, please go to WIZS.com and click on today’s Town Talk.

New health guidelines released Monday represent a first step to help North Carolina K-12 public schools find a safe way to open to in-person instruction for the 2020-21 academic year, health and education leaders announced Monday.

The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12) lays out a comprehensive set of baseline health practices that public schools should follow to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for students, staff, and families. In addition to specific requirements, the Toolkit recommends practices that schools should implement to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while allowing in-person teaching to resume.

Governor Roy Cooper, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, and NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen shared the guidance Monday.

“Getting children back to school to learn is a high priority, but they must be able to do so in the safest way possible,” said Governor Cooper. “Every child, family and public school educator in North Carolina deserve strong protection to lower the risk of virus spread.”

Schools are asked to plan for reopening under three scenarios – Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing, Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing, or Plan C: Remote Learning Only. NCDHHS, in consultation with the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction, will announce by July 1 which of the three plans should be implemented for schools to most safely reopen. The remaining plans may be needed if the state’s COVID-19 metrics change over time.

“Opening schools will be possible if we keep working together to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will each need to do our part and practice the 3 Ws – Wear a cloth face covering. Wait six feet apart. Wash your hands frequently. These easy actions will have an outsized impact in keeping viral spread low in order to help get our children back to school,” said Cohen.

The Public Health Toolkit was developed collaboratively by DHHS and DPI with input from a range of stakeholders across the state, including local superintendents, State Board of Education members, the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Council, and members of the Governor’s COVID-19 Education and Nutrition Working Group.

“We are working together to balance the need for all of our children to get back to school – especially children who rely on public schools for their education, health, safety and nutrition – while at the same time proceeding cautiously and deliberately to protect their health and safety,” said Chairman Davis. “I know meeting these public health requirements will take a tremendous effort by our schools – but I also know we are doing the right thing and that our schools will rise to the challenge.”

The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit will be a companion to operational guidance under development by DPI that will offer strategies for how to implement the public health guidance and cover other non-health areas for reopening planning, including scheduling, instructional practice, and staff training.

“Today, North Carolinians have the important first step of returning to schools in the fall with this release of the final health guidance for schools from the NC Department of Health and Human Services,” Superintendent Johnson said. “In addition, the North Carolina education agency has already been leading workgroups, comprised of diverse stakeholders from teachers to school staff to superintendents to other support professionals, to create draft operational strategies that will help our school systems prepare for the fall. We will now seek feedback on the draft operational strategies from other stakeholders across the state to ensure that we best capture the needs of all our schools.”

The StrongSchoolsNC Public Heath Toolkit (K-12) was developed using the most current CDC guidance for schools and includes requirements and recommendations for eight areas: Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure; Cloth Face Coverings; Protecting Vulnerable Populations; Cleaning and Hygiene; Monitoring for Symptoms; Handling Suspected, Presumptive or Confirmed Positive Cases of COVID-19; Communication and Combating Misinformation; Water and Ventilation Systems; Transportation; and Coping and Resilience.

For example, it requires students and others to be screened for illness before entering school and requires floor markings to maintain social distance. It also includes sample screening symptom checklists in English and Spanish, a flow chart protocol for handling suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, and a checklist of infection control supplies schools may need. The Toolkit will be updated as new health guidance is released by the CDC and additional resources are added.

Questions about the StrongSchoolsNC Public Heath Toolkit (K-12) should be directed to StrongSchoolsNC@dhhs.nc.gov (in English or in Spanish).

Warren Co. Board of Education to Hold Virtual Meeting May 12

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-Information courtesy Warren County Schools

The Warren County Board of Education will hold a virtual Board Meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at 6 p.m.

The public can access the meeting via a link on the school district website, warrenk12nc.org, under the Live Feed section. This link will also be posted on social media.

If you would like to make public comments, please click on the link below and complete the form by 3 p.m. on May 12, 2020. The comments will be read at the meeting. https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSd68ouW99Pu7Ra6i…/viewform…

Warren Co. Schools Accepting Pre-K & Kindergarten Applications

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-Information courtesy Warren County Schools

Warren County Schools is now accepting applications for Pre-K and Kindergarten for the 2020- 2021 school year.

To register, parents may pick up an application packet from the school in the attendance zone of their residence. Applications will be accepted April 28 through May 12, 2020, from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Completed applications can be returned to the school or the Central Office.

To be considered for 2020-2021 Warren County Pre-K programs, a child must be four (4) years old on or before August 31, 2020.

For Kindergarten, a child must be five (5) years old on or before August 31, 2020.

If you have additional questions, please contact Ms. Monica Click at 252-257-3184.

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NC Public School Students Not Returning to Classroom This School Year

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-Press Release, Office of Governor Roy Cooper

Governor Roy Cooper today announced that North Carolina K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Cooper was joined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and the Chair of the State Board of Education Eric Davis for the announcement.

“School buildings will stay closed to students for this school year, but school isn’t over,” said Governor Cooper. “The decision to finish the year by remote learning was not made lightly, but it is the right thing to do to protect our students, teachers and communities. This is a difficult time for many children and parents, and I am grateful for all the educators, administrators, support staff and parents who have gone the extra mile to keep children learning.”

Cooper underscored the needs for schools to continue to provide school nutrition programs now and into the summer, and to be looking ahead and planning for when it is safe to re-convene schools in person. This includes how to get students back on track, especially those who have not been able to access remote learning or were already behind when schools closed to in-person instruction.

To help students without home internet access online learning opportunities, Cooper today announced a partnership to equip more school buses with Wi-Fi. School buses with Wi-Fi will travel to areas that lack internet so students can turn in assignments, download materials, and connect with teachers. AT&T is providing 100 hot spots, Duke Energy Foundation is providing 80, and additional partners are expected to join the effort.

State public health officials are developing safety guidelines for schools to follow when classes are able to convene in person, as well as guidance for summer camps and other groups that use school facilities.

BUDGET

Cooper also released a recommended budget plan to invest $1.4 billion in emergency funds to help North Carolina respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for this proposal would come predominantly from the state’s share of the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and would be appropriated by the North Carolina General Assembly in its upcoming session.

The budget package is intended to fund immediate needs in three main areas:

  • Public health and safety
  • Continuity of operations for education and other state government services
  • Assistance to small businesses and local governments.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every North Carolinian. This emergency funding proposal makes strong investments in public health, schools, local governments and small businesses to respond to this unprecedented crisis,” said Cooper.

Governor Cooper and State Budget Director Charlie Perusse worked with state agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders to identify what immediate COVID-related needs were unmet by existing federal and commercial assistance to build a budget proposal that is responsive and responsible.

Key investments from this proposal include:

  • $75 million to support testing, tracing and trends analysis as well as have the Personal Protective Equipment needed to help North Carolina move into Phase 1 of easing restrictions;
  • $78 million for school nutrition to continue to serve as many as 500,000 meals a day to children who depend on these meals to meet basic nutrition needs typically met in school;
  • $75 million for rural and underserved communities and health care providers that are particularly hard hit by COVID-19;
  • $243 million for public schools to enhance remote learning and get ready for the next school year in a “new normal.” Funds are a joint request from DPI and the State Board of Education.
  • $52 million to the UNC system and private colleges to help with remote learning and COVID-19 impacts;
  • $300 million to assist local governments, distributed based partially on population and partially on acute need.

“We know that people are hurting, businesses are struggling, and local governments are facing severe shortages. That’s why we have to act now to get resources in the hands of people and organizations that provide vital support,” said Cooper.

Governor Cooper and State Budget Director Charlie Perusse have been in discussions with leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly for several weeks to develop a consensus COVID-19 budget package that can be approved swiftly when the legislature returns next week. Elements of this package have already been announced as having consensus support, including a significant investment in an already operating bridge loan program for small businesses through the Golden L.E.A.F. Foundation.

“This plan is a first step, and while it may not have all that North Carolina needs moving forward, I present it in the spirit of compromise and consensus so that we can get relief to families fast,” said Cooper.

Find a slideshow summary of the budget recommendation.

Read more about the full budget recommendation money report and provision list

Warren Co. Schools Postpones Pre-K, Kindergarten Registration

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-Information courtesy Warren County Schools

Governor Roy Cooper has closed all NC public schools until May 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all Pre-K and Kindergarten registration events for Warren County Schools are postponed until further notice.

Updates and rescheduled dates will be posted on the WCS website after the reopening of school.

Pre-K teachers and staff will be available to assist with the application process at that time. Pre-K applications and required documents can be accessed on the WCS website under “Documents.”

Warren County Schools Announces Dates for Kindergarten Registration

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-Information courtesy Warren County Schools

Warren County Schools will hold Kindergarten registration sessions for the 2020-21 school year during the month of April. A child must be 5 years old by August 31, 2020, to register for Kindergarten.

Registration Dates:

Mariam Boyd Elementary: Tuesday, April 21

Vaughan Elementary: Thursday, April 23

Northside K-8: Wednesday, April 29

Registration times are 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. and 1 until 5 p.m. on the date specified for each school.

To register, please take your child and the following required documents to the school in the attendance zone of your residence.

Required Documentation:

  • Official Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Immunization Record
  • Proof of Residence
  • Parent’s Photo ID

ALL applications must be completed prior to registration. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Monica Click Pre-K Coordinator for Warren County Schools. She can be reached at 252-257-3184, extension 2330 or by email at mclick@warrenk12nc.org.

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VGCC Names 273 Students to President’s and Dean’s Lists

THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College has announced that 117 students earned President’s List academic honors and another 156 earned Dean’s List academic honors for the fall 2019 semester, which ended in December.

The President’s List recognizes students who achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) while carrying a “full load” (of at least 12 credit hours) in 100-level or higher curriculum courses. To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student had to earn a GPA that was at least 3.5 but less than 4.0, and have no grade lower than “B,” while carrying a “full load” of such courses.

Fall Semester President’s List honorees are listed below by program of study and then by residence. The Dean’s List follows the President’s List.

Accounting & Finance:

Andres-Manuel Mata Espino of Creedmoor;

Aaron  W. Rettig of Oxford.

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology:

Jeremy M. Johnson of Manson;

Alexander J. Quintana of Youngsville.

Associate in Arts:

Crystal D. Clayton of Butner;

Tanaura R. Harrison and Cintly Vargas-Arias, both of Creedmoor;

Emma M. Cascino of Durham;

Randi A. Bowen and Cassidy A. Holmes, both of Franklinton;

Alejandro Duran, Emani’ D. Foster, Jorge Alberto M. Gomez, Aaliyah S. Jackson, Isaiah A. Johen, Josiah Jones, Caroline A. Nutt and Sarah R. Parish, all of Henderson;

Ashley E. Bolling and Rebekah L. Varker, both of Kittrell;

Brianna C. Pressey and Sara G. Woodard, both of Louisburg;

Spencer B. Boyd, Kai Z. Doege, Erica L. Evitts, Stephanie Gomez Palacios, Matthew P. Henderson and

Calli S. Massey, all of Oxford;

Grayson B. Williams of Rougemont;

Ronnie Brodie, Jr., of Wake Forest.

Associate in Fine Arts – Visual Arts:

Rachel R. Hughes of Creedmoor.

Associate in General Education – General Science:

Anahi Galvan of Butner;

Genevieve N. Mua of Creedmoor;

Cody M. Greene of Oxford.

Associate in Science:

Janis D. Terry of Bullock;

Jeremy J. Medley and Akoya M. Penny-Campbell, both of Creedmoor;

Isaac D. Sutton of Louisburg;

Rewees A. Ebrahim of Oxford;

Zion T. Page of Raleigh;

Naomi L. Campbell of Wake Forest;

John E. Moore of Youngsville.

Automotive Systems Technology:

Cameron M. Pierce of Creedmoor;

David D. Bragg and Larry G. Dupree, III, both of Franklinton;

Alec L. Moran of Henderson;

James H. Pope of Norlina;

Cesar L. Vazquez of Oxford;

Xavier Durham of Warrenton.

Bioprocess Technology:

Adrine L. Pettaway of Henderson.

Business Administration:

Gadiel A. Ogaz of Franklinton;

Alejandra Ponce, Grady A. Rollins and Crystal D. Wilkins, all of Henderson;

Timothy H. Powell of Louisburg.

College Transfer Pathway:

David B. Foster of Castalia;

Sophia J. Metcalf of Franklinton;

Jillian Hanchey of Louisburg;

Nancy A. Nasher of Manson;

Kaleigh V. Booker of Norlina;

Lana E. Horton of Oxford;

Jacob A. Comer of Rougemont;

Chase A. Tuttle of Wake Forest;

Evan M. Corsar of Youngsville;

Micah D. Hall of Zebulon.

Cosmetology:

Brandi N. Mitchell of Franklinton;

Megan N. Henderson of Henderson;

Madison L. Adams and Leslie B. May, both of Louisburg;

Edna J. Johnson of Raleigh;

Hannah L. Carpenter of Wake Forest;

Brittaney J. Kilmer of Youngsville.

Criminal Justice:

Ricardo L. Ellis of Creedmoor;

Alexis R. Lincoln of Franklinton;

Natasha A. Alston of Henderson;

Jessica M. Wiles of Norlina;

Wyatt D. Mote of Wake Forest.

Culinary Arts:

Cassidy A. Young of Franklinton;

Noah O. Hendrick of Oxford.

Early Childhood Education:

Emily S. Bickerstaff of Raleigh.

Electronics Engineering Technology:

Dakota L. Hodnett of Oxford.

Human Services Technology/Substance Abuse:

Noah D. Yeargin of Oxford.

Information Technology:

Joshua R. Jones of Butner;

Douglas Boulia of Creedmoor;

Matthew J. Stein of Franklinton;

Mario D. Silver of Havelock;

David B. Ayscue, Jr., Marvion A. Criddle and Mary L. Mosny, all of Henderson;

Alexander N. Long of Kittrell;

Allen T. Jones and Katelynn A. Ray, both of Louisburg;

Julian W. Causey, III, and Nicholas C. Parker, both of Oxford;

Amanda S. Aiken of Rougemont;

Marsha S. Musick of Warrenton.

Mechatronics Engineering Technology:

Derek K. Gay of Franklinton;

Triston L. Tilley of Stem.

Medical Office Administration:

Keishla M. Garcia and Erika Portillo, both of Creedmoor;

Bambi F. Coleman of Durham;

Desiree Annis of Franklinton;

Melanie A. Slaton of Henderson;

Savannah K. Alford and Elizabeth L. Wiggins, both of Louisburg;

Lisha T. Harris of Oxford;

Rebecca Lynam of Youngsville.

Office Administration:

Mia N. Wireman of Clayton.

Paralegal Technology:

Rachel G. Roberson of Franklinton;

Emari N. Ragland of Henderson;

Megan L. Finch of Kittrell;

Brandol J. Pahuamba Hernandez of Louisburg.

Radiography:

Kacie L. Gann of Durham;

Michelle A. Matthews of Henderson;

Kimberly Henderson of Raleigh.

Supply Chain Management:

Mariana G. Mitchell of Franklinton.

Welding Technology:

Hunter A. Norwood of Henderson.

 

Fall Semester Dean’s List honorees are listed below by program of study and then by residence:

 

Accounting & Finance:

Daequan L. Oakley of Oxford.

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology:

Isaac A. Saleh of Oxford;

Tyler R. Holsonback of Stem.

Associate in Arts:

Amir L. Branch, Caden C. Colvin, Kayleigh N. Redmond, Megan M. Smith and Brennon M. Warren, all of Creedmoor;

Tanecia Leathers and Kathleen T. Zoldos, both of Durham;

Kimberly Ross of Franklinton;

Wafa A. Alazab, Taylor V. Cavanaugh, Kimberley M. Coghill, Hannah P. Foster, Micaela C. Harrah, Sierra McBurrough, Kristyn M. Medlin, Faith A. Orr, Josie M. Roberson, Nychelle M. Robinson, William A. Strickland, Alondra M. Torres-Ornelas, Leslie Zuniga  Trejo, Cristian J. Ventura, Anna B. Weaver, Haley L. Williams, Autumn N. Wortham, Brian Ramirez, Damion Harris, Jester Williams and Viviana Hernandez, all of Henderson;

Paul V. Rogerson of Littleton;

Cameryn A. Bostic, Jeremiah Calamaco, Kasey M. Nida, Kaleb M. Pulley and Christian A. Saroza, all of Louisburg;

Spencer T. Huff, Bree Kromah, Magaly D. Martinez and Erin P. Whitt, all of Oxford;

Mariana G. Alonzo and Gabriella M. Fuentes Wilson, both of Stem;

Kaitlyn E. Hopkins of Wake Forest;

Kayla W. Hargrove of Warrenton;

Angelica N. Montano of Wendell;

Sonia Gonzalez of Youngsville;

Tomas J. Olivares-Beddoes of Zebulon.

Associate in Fine Arts – Visual Arts:

Brandon K. Lewter of Franklinton;

Tyler R. Potter of Youngsville.

Associate in General Education – General Science:

Richard S. Kudayah of Durham;

Alexis N. Brown-Fincher of Henderson;

Kayla D. Stancil of Oxford;

Jaleka L. Alston of Warrenton.

Associate in Science:

Garret L. Deane and Timothy D. Hunter, both of Creedmoor;

Paola N. Contreras Escalera and Nidia K. McBride, both of Garner;

Safa A. Alazab of Henderson;

Nancy J. Alvarez Lopez, Jason Avila-Soria, Madeline R. Beck, Heveen N. Issa and Miguel M. Magana, all of Louisburg;

Sha’da Bullock of Manson;

Abigail D. Dickerson of Oxford;

Jordan A. Gilmore of Wake Forest;

Cheyenne M. Carroll of Warrenton;

Malorie R. Stasiewicz of Youngsville;

Bryson W. Bridges of Zebulon.

Automotive Systems Technology:

Josiah R. Yarborough of Henderson.

Business Administration:

Katlyn M. Hunt, Lainey G. Neal and Christopher L. Pulley, all of Henderson;

Jennifer S. Crabtree and Vanessa L. Crabtree, both of Kittrell;

Breanna L. Lewis of Oxford.

College Transfer Pathway:

Alexis N. Simmons of Henderson;

Alexander H. Rote of Kittrell;

Anthony D. Goreman, Abbie L. Mann and Kamarion E. Moore, all of Oxford;

Ava E. Stoddard of Rolesville.

Cosmetology:

Mia P. Ellis of Creedmoor;

Carter E. Gilliam of Franklinton;

Shakyla M. Cathey, Skylar N. Mulhollen and Ce’Anna K. Willis, all of Henderson;

Cannon G. Bigham of Louisburg;

Logan B. Breedlove and Victoria L. Hackett, both of Oxford;

Samantha J. Tackema of Wake Forest;

Megan L. Sandell of Winston Salem.

Criminal Justice:

Carly J. Minor of Butner;

Courtney A. Glenn of Oxford;

Mikayla Pendergrass of Stem;

Joshua R. Martus of Wake Forest.

Culinary Arts:

Michael J. Stephens and Kali B. Wiggs, both of Henderson;

Karsen O. Garrett of Youngsville.

Early Childhood Education:

Nancy E. Crumpler of Louisburg;

Chermella E. Durham and Catherine A. Mendell, both of Oxford.

Electrical Systems Technology:

Timothy L. Reid of Creedmoor.

Histotechnology:

Marianna Coppola of Fayetteville;

Nigoria B. Alston of Henderson

Joshua D. Manson of Louisburg;

Benjamin P. Eales of Raleigh;

Summer M. O’Brien of Roxboro.

Human Services Technology:

Ruth A. Terry of Oxford;

Rachel H. Allen of Stem.

Human Services Technology/Substance Abuse:

Heidi M. Kulhawik Angelini of Franklinton;

Tara E. Brame of Henderson;

Tiffiney Whitt of Roxboro.

Information Technology:

Malcolm J. Jones of Butner;

Janie M. Evans, Joshua T. Norton, Marquita L. Perry and Elizabeth H. Wonsetler, all of Henderson;

Emily Durling and Roderick A. Lewis, both of Oxford.

Mechatronics Engineering Technology:

Herbert H. Davis of Henderson.

Medical Assisting:

Yemika E. Hernandez of Creedmoor.

Medical Office Administration:

Yamileth D. Portillo of Creedmoor;

Ashley A. Hedgepeth, Christie K. Matthews, Maryjo M. Parks and Denise M. Woodard, all of Henderson;

Paola Rebollar of Louisburg;

Chassity A. Evans of Middleburg;

Kasey V. Evans and Felicia B. Fuller, both of Oxford;

Brooke W. Nowell of Roxboro.

Office Administration:

Kimberly C. Cagney of Creedmoor.

Paralegal Technology:

Guadalupe Z. Mata of Henderson;

June J. Terry of Louisburg;

Carol L. Coleman of Morrisville.

Pharmacy Technology:

Candace Wallace of Butner.

Radiography:

Lauren A. Stephenson and Yvonne A. Stills, both of Creedmoor;

Michael A. Leslie of Durham;

Matthew S. Denton, Heidy M. Morosumi and Amber D. Peoples, all of Henderson;

Carly M. West of Littleton;

Tanena S. Sims of Mebane;

Jennifer M. Banning and Sabrina E. Bedard, both of Wake Forest;

Jesslyn E. Bader of Youngsville;

Maria J. Perry of Zebulon.

Welding Technology:

Noah W. Pearce of Franklinton;

Branson P. Hight and Justin H. Ranes, both of Henderson;

William M. Balash and Benjamin H. Branch, both of Oxford.

From High School Dropout to First-Generation College Graduate, Through VGCC

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

“I was 16, and I was done.” That is how Samantha Huffman recalls thinking back in 2004. She was “done” with education, in her mind. Feeling depressed and awkward at her high school, Huffman dropped out. “I had nothing to look forward to when it came to school, so what was the point?” she said. “It’s not like I was going to go to college. I couldn’t afford it. No one in my family had made it through high school, much less gone further.”

Samantha Huffman poses in her cap and gown at Meredith College. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

Sixteen years later, Huffman actually has gone further, with a pair of college degrees to her name, thanks to her experience at Vance-Granville Community College.

The story of how she went from high school dropout to college graduate essentially starts with a tragedy, Huffman said. “In 2011, my world was turned upside down,” she reflected. “I lost my best friend, who was also my cousin and my confidant, in a car accident where she was hit head-on and killed instantly. She believed in me and pushed me to do better. At that moment, I made a promise in her memory to change.”

The sort of change she intended to make required education in order to obtain more than what she called “dead-end” jobs. One day in 2012, Huffman heard that Vance-Granville Community College offered night and online class options to prepare for the GED High School Equivalency diploma. “I went, signed up, and took the pre-test,” she said. “I passed the pre-test, and the teacher looked me dead in my eyes and asked me what in the world I was doing there. I did not test like a person with only a 10th-grade education.”

With a level of natural ability that surprised her, Huffman quickly completed her studies and obtained her high school diploma by passing the required test. “My first thought was, ‘Well, that was easy,’” she recalled. “I almost immediately signed up for college classes at VGCC.”

She took her time because she was working two jobs and raising a child while going to school. Finally, in 2016, she graduated from VGCC with an Associate in Arts degree, as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and a senator in the Student Government Association.

Soon, Huffman transferred her community college credits into Meredith College, with approximately half her tuition covered by scholarships. In December of 2018, she graduated from the four-year college with a bachelor’s degree in English. Now, she works full-time in a job in which she uses her communication skills to create marketing and promotional materials to increase her company’s client base.

“For anyone who thinks school is too hard or takes too much of a commitment, I urge you to walk into any VGCC campus and talk to an advisor,” Huffman said. “They will coach you, mentor you, comfort you, and guide you through schooling that anyone can do and help you achieve any goal you set your mind to completing.”

NC Community College Educators Attend Regional Seminar at VGCC

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently hosted a regional seminar for educators from a number of North Carolina community colleges on the subject of “active learning.” The event was presented through a partnership with the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) at The University of Texas at Austin and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE).

Earlier this year, VGCC was one of just 10 colleges across the country that were selected to host one of these credit-bearing regional seminars, which support faculty use of evidence-based teaching practices.

“It was great to see talented faculty members expanding their knowledge to enhance teaching, learning and the student experience,” remarked VGCC Vice President of Learning, Student Engagement & Success Dr. Levy Brown.

Laurie Pendleton, the Executive Director of Assessment at ACUE, served as the presenter for the training. “I really enjoyed helping faculty at Vance-Granville Community College and colleges throughout the area engage in learning to fine-tune their use of active learning strategies,” said Pendleton, a veteran teacher and professional development specialist.

Active learning is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process, with activities that emphasize interaction, participation and critical thinking.

“It is always exciting to work with faculty who are so invested in the success of their students, and I look forward to hearing how the participants bring these research-based practices back to their students,” Pendleton added. “Vance-Granville Community College was an exceptional host, and both NISOD and ACUE appreciate their careful planning, participation and support throughout the day.”

Petra Kohlmann, Partnership Director for ACUE, also participated in the seminar at VGCC. “It was a pleasure to be with faculty at Vance-Granville Community College, as well as ACUE and NISOD colleagues, as we learned together about ways to engage students in large classes through active learning techniques,” Kohlmann said. “Being part of a ‘classroom of instructors’ is always an invigorating experience, and I look forward to more opportunities to share ACUE’s research-backed teaching practices with Vance-Granville.”

Edward J. Leach, the Executive Director of NISOD, thanked VGCC faculty and staff for their help co-hosting the event. “VGCC has raised the bar when it comes to providing an excellent learning experience for Seminar participants!” Leach said.

Retired VGCC Faculty Member, Wife Establish Scholarship

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Wesley and Sheila Smith of Kittrell recently established a new scholarship for students at Vance-Granville Community College.

Wesley Smith has a longstanding association with VGCC. He graduated from the college’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology (often called HVAC) program in 1988. Several years later, Smith returned to become an instructor and head of the same program. “I was a good fit for the job,” he recalled – so good, in fact, that he remained in that position for 27 years, before retiring from VGCC in 2018.

Left to right: Kay Currin, Sheila Smith, Wesley Smith, Dr. Rachel Desmarais, Eddie Ferguson. (VGCC photo)

Now, Smith and his wife have created the “Wesley E. and Sheila K. Smith Academic Achievement Scholarship,” which will be awarded each year to a worthy student. Preference will be given to students in the HVAC program who meet certain academic requirements.

“I want to help students because this is a great career and the HVAC technician can make a good income,” Mr. Smith said.

“Wesley Smith spent decades educating, inspiring and supporting students while preparing them for their careers, and now, he is continuing his outstanding legacy of service through this scholarship,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president. “We thank Wes and Sheila for their generosity, which will help students complete the training they need for good jobs in our community.”

VGCC Endowment Fund Director Eddie Ferguson added, “Dedicated, caring faculty members like Wes have helped make our college a special community over the past five decades, which makes it fitting that he and Sheila have created a scholarship during our 50th anniversary year, which will reward excellent students for years to come.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,700 scholarships to students since 1982.

Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education.

For more information, call (252) 738-3409.