VGCC surpasses $6 million in grant funding with new initiative

Vance-Granville Community College’s Grants Office has now surpassed $6 million in funding to support students, the VGCC Board of Trustees was informed on Monday night, Jan. 23, at its regular bimonthly meeting on Main Campus.

In its brief four-year history, the Grants Office has secured 37 grants totaling $6,053,883, according to Dr. Ken Lewis, Vance-Granville’s vice president of institutional research and technology.

Among the largest grants, $1,757,299 from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program is the single largest competitive grant award received in the history of the college. TAACCCT supports the development of innovative training programs for advanced manufacturing careers. The college started its Mechatronics program and expanded its Welding program through the grant.

The Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training Alliance (AMSTA) with the four public school systems in the college’s coverage area was created with a $1.2 million grant from the North Carolina Education and Workforce Innovation Fund. In addition, $460,000 has been awarded to the Training Alliance by the Golden LEAF Foundation, along with grants of $245,923 and $237,757 from the Duke Energy Foundation to purchase state-of-the-art equipment.

And, most recently, VGCC was awarded nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to launch the North Carolina TechHire Program to train students in information technology and advanced manufacturing programs.


In addition to the TechHire grant, Dr. Lewis said the most recent awards include:

  • A pair of Male Mentoring Success Initiative grants over two years, totaling $34,000, to help students stay in school and on track to graduate or transfer to a four-year university;
  • A Wake Electric grant of $3,000 to fund classroom technology;
  • An NC Works Career Coach grant of $17,000 in partnership with the Granville and Warren County school systems to promote college attendance and Career & College Promise (CCP) classes in the high schools;
  • A Perkins grant, $181,000, supporting the college’s Business and Applied Technologies and Health Sciences curriculum programs;
  • A Library Services and Technology Act planning grant of $23,000 for space utilization upgrades;
  • A Cannon Foundation grant of $150,000 to complete renovation of Main Campus Building 10;
  • A National Summer Transportation Institute grant from the Federal Highway Administration, $37,000, allowing high school students in Warren County to learn more about career opportunities in transportation-related industries; and
  • A Taste of Industry grant of $10,000 from the North Carolina Community College System to support AMSTA in conjunction with Granville County Schools.


The grants update was included in the report of the Curriculum Committee, chaired by Barbara Cates Harris. In the committee’s reports, Dr. Angela Ballentine, the college’s vice president of academic affairs, also updated the board on the annual Continuing Education and Basic Skills visitation report.

Building Improvements

The board approved recommendations of the Building Committee, chaired by Trustee Donald Seifert, ranking in priority order the firms to design and oversee exterior masonry repairs and restoration as well as HVAC replacements and fire alarm system installations. Both Main Campus projects will be funded by the Connect NC bonds approved by state voters in March 2016.

At an estimated cost of $1 million, the college plans to restore, structurally repair and waterproof building masonry roof lines, walls and building bridges that have deteriorated over time because of the penetration of water/moisture into and through the building structures. REI Engineers of Raleigh was chosen as the highest ranked firm for the masonry project.

The primary focus of the HVAC/fire alarm project, estimated to cost $4.1 million, is to replace existing deteriorated heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with new systems that provide greater stability, control and energy efficiency, and to replace existing fire alarm systems with new addressable systems that meet state code compliance. Engineered Designs, Inc., of Cary was selected as the highest ranked firm for the project.

VGCC is receiving $7.6 million from the $2 billion Connect NC Public Improvement Bond package. Funds may be used for the repair and renovation of facilities to meet the educational needs of students and/or the construction of new facilities to expand programs and services.

Other Action

In other action:

  • The board approved Mid-Year Amendments to the 2016-2017 Budget. The adjustments were necessary to account for $1,664,312 in carryover funds from the previous year and grant funding.
  • Trustee Sara Wester, chair of the Personnel Committee, reported on new employees and resignations.
  • Trustee Opie Frazier, chair of the Investment Committee, reported a gain on the college’s investments now being managed by First Citizens Wealth Management.
  • Dr. Stelfanie Williams, VGCC’s president, updated the trustees on activities since the board last met in November. She also announced the dates of upcoming events: a Valentine’s Day Luncheon sponsored by the college’s Culinary Arts program, Feb. 16; a North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees Law and Legislative Seminar in Raleigh, March 29-31; the fifth annual Dinner Theater, April 27-28, in the Civic Center on Main Campus; the annual VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament, May 2, at the Henderson Country Club; and Commencement, May 12, at the gazebo on Main Campus.

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is set for Monday, March 20, on the Main Campus.

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Kerr-Vance Academy Students watch Presidential Inauguration

The fifth and sixth grades at Kerr-Vance Academy took time out today from their regular classes to watch the television broadcast of the Presidential Oath of Office and the Inaugural Address.

Language Arts teacher Anne Almand planned the lesson and said,  “This is the first Inauguration that our students have been old enough to experience with an understanding of the significance of this event.  As part of their study of the governmental structure of the United States, they have discussed the elements of the election process, and they have been witness to this controversial time in our American history.  So that the students can feel a part of today’s ceremony, they have memorized the Oath of Office to repeat as administered to the new President.

As a class, our students are aware of the message of excitement and hope that Mr. Trump has communicated to the nation in his challenge to ‘Make America Great, Again.”

(From Headmaster Frank Wiggins)

VGCC Vanguards upset JV Tar Heels with 106-100 victory

The Vance-Granville Community College Vanguards men’s basketball team achieved one of the most stunning upsets in program history on Jan. 18, defeating the University of North Carolina junior varsity team by a score of 106-100 at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

This was VGCC’s second trip to Chapel Hill and the team’s first win over the JV Tar Heels, who were undefeated this season before the contest.

Henderson-based radio station WIZS 1450 AM provided live coverage of the game, just as in the first meeting of the two programs in 2016. “In what was going to be an incredible experience in and of itself for the VGCC Vanguards, they came out more ready to play than the Tar Heels,” reflected Kevin Bullock, who called the game for WIZS. “The Vance-Granville locker room was electric before the game, while the UNC JV locker room was all but silent.”

The Vanguards got off to a strong start, trading leads with the Tar Heels and settling on a 51-51 tie at the half. The back-and-forth continued through the second half toward a nail-biter of a conclusion. After taking a five-point lead and then falling behind by as many as five in the second half, the Vanguards fought back to tie the Heels with two minutes to go.

With 20 seconds left on the clock, the Vanguards pulled away from a 100-100 tie and never looked back, making four straight free throws to seal the victory.

Key to VGCC’s win was a balanced offense that featured six players scoring in double figures: NiQuan Cousins (30 points), TyQuon Reid (22), Chris Pernell (16), Jaylen Jones (11), Calvin Malik Manley (11) and Kenneth Finley, Jr. (10). Cousins was also the Vanguards’ leading rebounder (14). He leads the nation in rebounds per game (14.5) for NJCAA Division II. Cousins recorded three assists and three blocks, as well. Manley contributed seven rebounds to the winning effort. Jones led in steals (4).

The Tar Heels were led in scoring by Lucas Bouknight of Greensboro, with 21 points. An article in the student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, concluded that the JV “basketball team wasn’t just outplayed — UNC was outworked.” The article quoted Hubert Davis, the former Tar Heel guard and 12-year NBA veteran who coaches the JV squad, as saying, “Congratulations to Vance-Granville Community College. They earned it….I just felt like the entire game they were the tougher team. They were the team that worked the hardest, that wanted it more.”

Bullock, the WIZS sportscaster, concluded that “Carolina was hampered by poor free throw shooting and live ball turnovers. Vance-Granville was able to capitalize on those opportunities and shot the ball better than they had all season. It was the UNC JV team’s fourth game in nine days, which allowed the Vanguards to get out and run on Carolina and wear them down in the second half. NiQuan Cousins, Jaylen Jones, TyQuon Reid and the rest of the Vanguards will never forget the day they went to Chapel Hill and beat the Tar Heels.”

VGCC’s next home game is set for Saturday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m., when the Vanguards face a conference opponent, Guilford Tech Community College, at Aycock Recreation Center in Henderson. Admission is free.