Boys and Girls Clubs

BGC Leader Receives National Award For Honoring Diversity, Equality

Donyell “DJ” Jones, CEO of the local Boys & Girls Club, has received one of the organization’s highest awards for honoring the values of diversity and equality.

Although scheduled to accept the Herman S. Prescott award at the 2020 BGC National Conference, COVID-19 restrictions intervened.

Jones had been at his new job of CEO of the North Central North Carolina Boys & Girls Clubs for a few weeks before the pandemic struck, said Xavier Wortham, chair of the BGCNCNC corporate board. Wortham said Jones has done a great job of navigating the challenges of the pandemic and looks forward to the clubs’ continued success.

“This is a great time for him and even a better time for our club and our children,” Wortham told WIZS News Tuesday. “We’re really excited to have DJ as part of the North Central North Carolina Boys and Girls Club,” he said. “His level of experience and expertise can clearly be seen” by his receiving the Prescott award.

He was nominated for the award by Kimberly Boyd, CEO of the Coastal Plain BGC, Jones said in a statement to WIZS.

“What makes this award so humbling is that my peers and colleagues see something in me that I often overlook,” Jones said in the statement. “I work each day to empower club professionals to achieve their very best through opportunities that will pull out their greatness.”

The BGCNCNC includes clubs in Vance, Granville, Franklin, Warren and Halifax counties. Wortham said Jones has done a wonderful job of shifting focus during the pandemic to make sure staff was “motivated to keep everyone safe and trained and better prepared as we’re coming out of COVID (restrictions).”

The Herman S. Prescott award is presented each year to a member of The Professional Association of BGC “whose service emulates that of one of the Movement’s great visionaries, Herman S. Prescott,” according to information on the BGC website.

Criteria include being “an advocate for the rights and dignity of all and belief in the principles of diversity, equality and empowerment must be the hallmark of their work within the Boys & Girls Club’s Movement.”


VGCC names 239 students to President’s and Dean’s Lists

– press release –

Vance-Granville Community College has announced that 116 students earned President’s List academic honors and another 123 earned Dean’s List academic honors for the spring 2021 semester, which ended in May.

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.

Spring Semester President’s List honorees are listed below by program of study and then by residence.

Accounting & Finance:

Jessica G. Whitley of Louisburg;

Isaac A. Saleh of Oxford.

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology:

David K. Glover of Henderson.

Associate in Arts:

Bryce E. Garrett of Bullock;

Zoila M. Martinez of Creedmoor;

Rebecca G. Currin, Wendy M. Portillo, Aysha Saleh, Jesse C. Sawyer and Anna B. Weaver, all of Henderson;

Zachary G. Biggs of Oxford;

Caitlyn Williams of Youngsville;

Tomas J. Olivares-Beddoes of Zebulon.

Associate in Fine Arts – Visual Arts:

Rachel R. Hughes of Creedmoor;

Larry G. Dupree, III, of Franklinton;

Tyler R. Potter of Youngsville.

Associate in Science:

Christy L. Brogden, Felicia M. Douglas and Sarah K. Elliott, all of Creedmoor;

Terrance J. Gowan of Franklinton;

Heveen N. Issa, Rolando Rosado, Isaac D. Sutton and Macyia A. Waller, all of Louisburg;

Nakira M. Bullock of Macon;

Lindsey R. Burwell, Mark A. Ebrahim, Leah M. Parrott and Nagi A. Saleh, all of Oxford;

Gerardo Lopez-Villa of Roanoke Rapids;

Ethan A. Clausen of Wake Forest;

Victoria L. Dorge of Warrenton;

John E. Moore of Youngsville.

Automotive Systems Technology:

Alan A. Rueda Zepeda of Henderson;

Lucas Overby of Oxford;

Jacob S. Dean of Zebulon.

Bioprocess Technology:

Regina R. Pena of Creedmoor.

Business Administration:

Gadiel A. Ogaz of Franklinton;

Vanessa L. Crabtree of Kittrell;

Diane D. Franks of Louisburg;

Natalie L. Qamou of Macon;

Willard D. Edwards, Jr., of Manson;

Kai Z. Doege of Oxford;

English A. Stowe of Ruffin.

College Transfer Pathway:

Christian W. Horton, Daniel B. Hoyle, Isaac C. Watkins and Samuel J. Young, all of Oxford;

Colson A. Benfer and Nicole K. Walston, both of Wake Forest;

Alexander C. Aycock of Youngsville;

Michal Hall of Zebulon.


Maura Surles of Butner;

Yolanda D. Ragland of Henderson;

Dasha R. Frazier of Louisburg;

Megan A. Godsey of Oxford;

Hannah L. Holder of Wake Forest.

Criminal Justice:

Ricardo L. Ellis and Timothy W. Kapp, Jr., both of Creedmoor;

Justin M. Wilson of Durham;

Crystal J. Collins, Eyana L. Hargrove and Daniel S. Watson, all of Henderson;

Donald R. Roberson, Jr., of Kittrell;

Janet R. Leonard and Dylan J. Moore, both of Louisburg;

Hyson W. Ferguson of Manson;

David A. Elliott and Jessica M. Wiles, both of Norlina;

Angela C. Smith of Oxford;

Wyatt D. Mote of Wake Forest;

Devin Y. Steward of Wise.

Early Childhood Education:

Danielle C. Benton of Castalia;

Lastacey D. Burwell and Mary D. Ferguson, both of Kittrell;

Alana D. Fagan and MacKenzie M. Pulley, both of Louisburg;

Elaina M. Pendergrass of Oxford.


Benjamin P. Eales of Raleigh;

Natalie A. Bedard of Wake Forest.

Human Services Technology:

Ronan T. Celia of Creedmoor;

Sabrina J. Krohn of Henderson;

Pattie E. Harrison of Manson.

Human Services Technology/Substance Abuse:

Serena Aycock of Butner;

Toya L. Carter of Creedmoor.

Information Technology:

Megan N. Smith of Louisburg;

Julian W. Causey, III, Nicholas C. Parker and Roberto H. Smith, all of Oxford;

Jason A. Tucker-Hill of Stem.

Mechatronics Engineering Technology:

Larry P. Card of Franklinton.

Medical Assisting:

Victoria Dupree of Franklinton;

Megan A. Stainback of Henderson;

Jaleka L. Alston and Brittany L. Faulkner, both of Warrenton;

Mario J. Gilmore of Zebulon.

Medical Office Administration:

Nancy L. Manzano of Creedmoor;

Bambi F. Coleman of Durham;

Tracy L. Robinson of Oxford;

Juliet R. Thrush of Warrenton.

Office Administration:

Eunice T. Duque and Shirley L. Person, both of Henderson;

Brianna V. Snelling of Youngsville.

Paralegal Technology:

Amanda L. Johnson of Franklinton;

Megan L. Finch of Kittrell;

Sarah H. Borden of Oxford;

Kristin Pressley and Christina M. Vaysse, both of Youngsville.

Pharmacy Technology:

Richard S. Kudayah of Durham.


Starr J. Matthews of Bahama;

Josie M. Roberson of Henderson;

Alexis G. Oothoudt of Louisburg;

Cody M. Greene of Oxford.

Welding Technology:

Ethan D. Hughes of Creedmoor;

Jenae Burk of Wake Forest;

Ryan M. Gilliam of Youngsville.

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

Accounting & Finance:

Jonathan A. Marrow of Henderson;

Aaron W. Rettig of Oxford.

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology:

Ausencio Maldonado-Alvarez of Henderson.

Associate Degree Nursing:

Heidi C. Fields of Zebulon.

Associate in Arts:

Madison Daniel, Kristin L. Dickerson, Leslie G. Moran-Parra and Citlaly Vargas-Arias, all of Creedmoor;

Emma M. Cascino and Kaelin A. Thomas, both of Durham;

Ashleye H. Reagan of Franklinton;

Seth H. Boone, Hannah P. Foster, Yazi Majette, Cecilia Rivera and Shamaria I. Zackery, all of Henderson;

Matthew M. Demeule, Chance S. Hayes and Brandol J. Pahuamba Hernan, all of Louisburg;

Patricia M. Donnell of Norlina;

Sophia B. Williford of Oxford;

Henry J. Pahl and Jonah W. Pahl, both of Raleigh;

Kristin W. Zimmerman of Stem;

Hailey P. Newcomb of Timberlake;

Serenity C. Hester of Wake Forest;

Paul W. Scott of Warrenton.

Associate in General Education – General Science:

Hannah N. Hester of Bullock;

Ariya Thompson of Franklinton;

Cynthia Hernandez and Rielly A. Wortham, both of Henderson;

Sai’vonne Davis of Norlina;

Callie G. Englebright of Oxford;

Chelsea A. Linhardt of Raleigh.

Associate in Science:

Sara R. Burns and Jordan W. Long, both of Franklinton;

Brandon Nunez, Cameron K. Overton and Anna C. Ventura, all of Henderson;

Brenton A. Bullock of Louisburg;

Sha’da Bullock of Manson;

Victor J. Hermida and Anna L. Just, both of Oxford;

Makayla G. Debolt and Jessica R. Harder, both of Stem;

Julia A. Scheurich of Wake Forest;

Bessie L. Alexander and Caitlin M. Pollock, both of Warrenton;

Bryson W. Bridges of Zebulon.

Automotive Systems Technology:

Joshua Antel of Henderson.

Bioprocess Technology:

Katrina E. Watson of Henderson;

Brianna C. Kornegay of Smithfield.

Business Administration:

Hunter P. Barbrey of Creedmoor;

Laura E. Compton and Tekkia C. Cooper, both of Durham;

Jasmine G. Brummitt of Henderson;

Shonetta S. Alston and Hailey D. Privette, both of Oxford;

Latasha R. McWilliams of Roanoke Rapids;

Maggie L. Powell of Spring Hope;

Katlynn C. Price of Zebulon.

College Transfer Pathway:

Christopher Hayes and Trinity L. Swartz, both of Bullock;

Layla Brewer, Jaci D. Crute and Carla Rodriguez, all of Oxford;

Elizabeth P. Engel of Youngsville.


Anna E. Hope of Henderson.

Criminal Justice:

Adam S. Eldridge of Bunn;

Coley C. Campbell of Creedmoor;

Torrance D. Terry of Henderson;

Dakota C. Toms of Landis;

Kenneth L. Richardson of Littleton.

Culinary Arts:

Michael J. Stephens of Henderson;

Maryellen H. Fouts of Kittrell;

Brandon M. Schultek of Louisburg.

Early Childhood Education:

Carsyn P. Swain of Creedmoor;

Lee Christine Bennerson and Antoinette A. Williams, both of Henderson;

Nancy E. Crumpler of Louisburg;

Samantha G. Quick of Oxford;

Lauren N. Keith of Wake Forest.


Lisa M. Lowell of Cary.

Human Services Technology:

Brianna E. Robinson of Warrenton.

Human Services Technology/Substance Abuse:

Heidi M. Kulhawik Angelini of Franklinton;

Jennifer L. Garsky of Oxford.

Information Technology:

Sherif H. Mansour of Creedmoor;

Ariel M. Kearney of Franklinton;

Joshua R. Jones of Goldsboro;

Marvion A. Criddle and Joshua T. Norton, both of Henderson;

Anthony K. Brown of Kittrell;

Sean I. Kemp and Sandy D. Richardson-Hicks, both of Louisburg;

William T. Kittinger of Wake Forest;

Marsha S. Musick of Warrenton.

Information Technology/ Networking & Security Track:

Brendan P. Webb of Oxford.

Information Technology/ Simulation & Game Development Track:

Adrianne M. Young of Wake Forest.

Mechatronics Engineering Technology:

Benjamin E. Sanford of Henderson.

 Medical Assisting:

Juliea D. Harward of Butner;

Alkia R. Johnson of Louisburg;

Lasherra S. Alston of Oxford.

Medical Office Administration:

Taylor L. Barham of Franklinton;

Christie K. Matthews, Melanie A. Slaton and Ingrid D. Terry, all of Henderson;

Laci A. Davidson and Spencer T. Huff, both of Oxford.


Jason A. Murphy of Franklinton;

Hannah R. Brummitt, Jill A. Massimiani-Bland, MacKenzie F. Pendergrass and Katie L. Testerman, all of Henderson;

Jessica M. Goodwin, Alexis P. Hobgood and Nilrey Rose, all of Stem;

Kylie M. Blackwell of Timberlake;

Ashley M. Rogers of Youngsville.

Technical Special Student:

Alexis M. Young of Creedmoor.

Welding Technology:

Jose L. Outhouse of Franklinton;

Christopher Queen of Louisburg;

Gustavo Jimenez of Oxford;

Bradley D. Hill of Youngsville.


(Not a paid ad.)

Warren County To Host Five County Beef Tour July 24; Register Now

Warren County will host the Five County Beef Tour on Saturday, July 24. Participants will visit three farms during the tour, according to Matthew Place, agriculture agent for N.C. Cooperative Extension in Warren County.

The 2020 tour was postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The tour will begin at 8 a.m. and will conclude at 2 p.m., following a catered lunch. In addition to the farm owners, participants will have a chance to hear from other guest speakers during the tour.

The event check-in will be from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Warren County Extension Center, 158 Rafters Lane, Warrenton. The first stop will be at Smith Creek Angus, owned by Marty Rooker, followed by a visit to Tom Traylor’s farm and ending up at Sunrise Ridge Farm, owned by Jimmy Harris. Lunch will be provided at the third stop.

Registration is required. Register for the event at

To learn more, contact Place at 252.257.3640 or

Warren County joins Franklin, Vance, Granville and Wake counties to host the beef tour, which showcases cattle producers and their operations.

VGCC’s CDL Class Cranks Out Certified Drivers

In just more than a year, Vance-Granville Community College’s truck driver training class has held three graduations, a fourth class is underway and a fifth is scheduled to begin soon.

The class prepares students to become eligible for a Class A Commercial Driver’s License, which is what drivers need to become truck drivers.

“VGCC continues to be extremely proud of all of our CDL program graduates and their continued success in finding gainful employment in the trucking industry,” said Kyle Burwell, VGCC’s director of occupational extension.

The program includes a combination of classroom instruction, range driving and road driving, and culminates in taking the exams required by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

One of the 14 graduates in the most recent class is Sherell Smothers of Franklinton. According to VGCC, Smothers said she enrolled in the program because she had long dreamed of starting her own small business with multiple commercial vehicles. “My first day on the range, shifting gears, I wanted to give up, but I thank God for my instructors – encouraging me to continue to push forward,” Smothers recalled. “Every day I attended class, I knew that something would be rewarding at the end.” Now, Smothers has her reward. She is now her own “boss,” as owner and operator of Legacy Tranzport, LLC.

The next orientation session on Monday, July 19, at 10 a.m. and all students enrolled in the program must attend this session. The nine-week program will run from Aug. 9 through Oct. 12.

To enroll in the program, students must be at least 18 years old, have a valid North Carolina driver’s license, and be able to read and speak English well enough to take instructions from highway signs, to converse with officials, and to complete the required reports.

The program, certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI), is considered essential to meeting the needs of many companies who need drivers to move goods across the country. Local employers have shown strong support for VGCC’s program and have spoken to students about job opportunities. The college offers the program in collaboration with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI).

For more information on the Truck Driver Training Program, visit or contact Burwell at 252.738.3276 or

(VGCC is an advertising client of WIZS Radio and This is not a paid ad.)

Triangle North Adds Scholarship To VGCC; Local Grant Cycle Open Until June 18

The Triangle North Healthcare Foundation has made a $25,000 donation to create a Presidential Scholar Award at Vance-Granville Community College, which will result in a $1,250 scholarship given to a student each year, beginning in fall 2021. This is the fourth scholarship established at VGCC by TNH.

“We are grateful for the foundation’s longstanding commitment to supporting VGCC,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “This new scholarship will help excellent students who are training for careers in healthcare, and in other rewarding fields.”

TNH Foundation provides support to the community through scholarships and grants to agencies and organizations that strive to improve health and wellness in the four-county area. The deadline for submission of letters of interest is June 18, according to TNH Foundation Executive Director Val Short.

Anyone interested in applying for funding during this grant cycle should contact the foundation at 252.430.8532 or email at  to schedule a meeting.

A regional healthcare grantmaking organization based in Henderson, NC, Triangle North Healthcare Foundation was established in 2011, following the merge of Maria Parham Medical Center and Duke Lifepoint.

The foundation seeks programs and projects that will provide positive results in one or more of the five focus areas: child well-being, chronic disease, mental health and substance use disorders, nutrition and physical activity and reproductive health.

The link to the foundation’s online grant portal is available at the website:

TownTalk: VGCC Adult Learner Program Helps Students Return To School To Complete Degree, Program

Vance-Granville Community College is one of five community colleges across the state selected to participate in a pilot program designed to help students return to school to complete their post-secondary education.

VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais told John C. Rose on Monday’s Town Talk about the Adult Learner program and how myFutureNC and the John M. Belk Endowment are providing support to bring students back to school who left without completing a degree or certificate.

“We’re excited to be a part of this,” Demarais said, adding that the program objective complements VGCC’s vision of being “a catalyst to strengthen communities.” Helping people prepare for fulfilling employment and life-long careers is what VGCC is all about, she said.

The myFutureNC program is a statewide nonprofit organization focused on educational attainment and is the result of cross-sector collaboration between North Carolina leaders in education, business and government.

The adult learner program will work to remove barriers to education. VGCC strives to make education meaningful, but “meaningful is in the eye of the beholder,” she said. “We have to prove that meaning – we’ve got to connect people to careers…to see what they could do to use their strengths, abilities and talents.”

“We’re not getting a pot of money,” she explained. “We are getting so much more than money – we’re getting access to services that have shown they work to move the needle” to improve achievement.

Part of the program will include development of a marketing strategy to help craft the message and then get that message out to the public. One particular data tool will be especially useful, Demarais said. It will be used to identify those former VGCC students who have some college credit but haven’t completed all the requirements to get a degree or certificate.

“We need to call these folks back and … make it easy to help them finish what they started,” she said.

Through the adult learner program, Demarais said she hoped to see some results as early as 2022. “If we can increase the number of people 25 and older to come to college, that’s a leading indicator,” she noted.

It will take some creativity to reach  the 25- to 44-year-old group, who must “be able to juggle work and family life, and school life,” she said. VGCC will have to provide flexible options, making sure that the education is efficient – even shoring up and refreshing knowledge that hasn’t been used in awhile.

The adult learner program will evaluate the credits that students already have completed and determine exactly what is left to complete the course of study and get certificates of completion for programs or degrees.

An additional resource is the Second Chance Scholarship, Demarais noted. Students lose access to federal Pell Grant money if they weren’t successful with previous courses. “The only way to get (access) back is to take a class,” she said. But that takes money, which the student may not have. The Second Chance Scholarship can help.

For so many of these students, “life got in the way,” Demarais said. “We need to make it easy for them to finish what they started.”

(For full broadcast audio and details click play.)


TownTalk: Elder Abuse Awareness

Keeping Older Adults Safe, Protected –

Whether it’s unintentional or purposeful, mistreatment of older adults is serious business. It’s called elder abuse and two local experts discussed the topic with John C. Rose on Thursday’s Town Talk.

Elder Abuse Awareness month is observed, appropriately enough, between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in North Carolina; World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15. In her job as long-term care ombudsman with Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging, Kimberly Hawkins monitors nursing homes and long-term care facilities to make sure residents’ rights are being respected. Most often, she said, residents are satisfied with the care they receive. But when a resident has a complaint, Hawkins said, it is her job “to find out what they want me to do with that information.”

In her role as advocate, Hawkins said, she sometimes needs to refer a complaint to the Department of Social Services. Deloris Cooke works in Granville County’s DSS adult protective services division. Cooke said she fields referrals from folks like Hawkins and from the community at-large.

Such a referral can come from anywhere in community, Cooke said. “Anyone has the right to call in and share any type of concern for an elderly person” – anyone over the age of 18, actually, who is disabled. It’s up to DSS personnel to determine if an allegation meets the criteria to be evaluated.

Even if a case of abuse, exploitation, neglect or self-neglect is not substantiated, Cooke said a visit to the home is in order to make sure the adult is ok. Such a “self-report” visit is one way to make sure that individuals and families know about resources that can help.

Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, abuse, neglect or exploitation of an elderly person is something that she works to prevent. Through the evaluation, she can “determine what is the situation, what has caused this and how we can resolve it,” Cooke said.

Sometimes an older person living alone can’t get to the pharmacy to pick up medications or prepare meals – that’s self-neglect.

An example of caretaker neglect could be a care recipient being left alone while the family member providing care is at work; and then there are the scammers, who prey on vulnerable older adults to cheat them out of money.

Cooke said the APS reports can be made anonymously; “we cannot and will not divulge (the name of the reporter) unless it is court-ordered,” she said. So often, the reports come from individuals who care about the well-being of the older adult. DSS has up to 45 days to complete its evaluation of the situation, and they provide the reporter with basic findings once the investigation is complete.

“Our primary job is to make sure the adult is safe,” Cooke said. Often, providing resources and putting a plan in place to keep the adult safe, is sufficient. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to file a petition to the court to have the person removed.

Hawkins said she works with a different complaint process, and sometimes she must refer a long-term care facility complaint to DSS. And, of course, she informs the facility that a complaint has been lodged. But with nursing homes, she sends referrals to the state’s department of health and human resources – with the consent of the resident or that person’s legal guardian.

“Most of the time, it’s a lack of communication,” Hawkins said of complaints she receives. High staff turnover could contribute to complaints, as well as staff that feel overworked and overwhelmed.

“We offer trainings to facilities on resident rights and appropriate actions,” Hawkins said. “Getting new information helps a lot.” She also does activities with residents – like a residents’ rights BINGO game – to raise awareness.

Events in the five-county region are having events in the next couple of weeks to observe elder abuse awareness; contact your county’s Senior Center to learn details. In Vance County, Hawkins and colleague Austin Caton will present a program on family caregiver support at the Vance County Senior Center on June 17; other counties will have contactless, drive-through events to share information about elder abuse awareness.

To learn more, contact Hawkins at 252.436.2050 or toll-free at 866.506.6223; contact Cooke at 919.693.1511.

For complete details and audio click play.

The Local Skinny! Vance Unemployment Third Worst in NC

While the unemployment rates in Vance and Warren counties improved in the last month and drastically improved in the last year, both remain about the worst in North Carolina.

Vance County improved from a rate of 7.6% in March to 7.2% in April but remains 98th out of North Carolina’s 100 counties. That’s the third worst.

Warren County improved from 7.2% in March to 7.0% in April, giving Warren the fourth worst in the state at 97 out of 100 counties.

Speaking in general or round figures, the rates in both Vance and Warren are about half what they were in April of 2020, soon after the pandemic started.

Granville County’s unemployment rate is 3.6%, and that lands Granville County at the ninth best in the state.

Franklin County is in the middle of the pack at 4.2%.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reports as well that the number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in April by 4,935 to 4,757,583. Those unemployed decreased by 11,269 to 217,379. Since April 2020, the number of workers employed statewide increased 710,828, while those unemployed decreased 395,936.

For the audio and additional details, click play.

Area Extension Offices To Offer Pesticide Recertification Opportunities In June

Warren, Vance and Granville counties are hosting a couple of virtual pesticide recertification sessions in June.

The first session is scheduled for 10 a.m. on June 10 and the second is scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 14, according to information from Matthew Place, with Warren County Cooperative Extension.

The meetings will be held via Zoom, but Place said participants can make arrangements to watch the webinars from their county’s extension offices if access to a computer or the internet is a problem.
The following category credits will be included with the June 10 class: D, L, N and X
The following category credits will be included with the June 14th class: A, B, D, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, T, X.

Registration is required. Visit to register.

If you have any questions or would like to reserve a spot to watch the classes at the Warren County Center, call Place at 252.257.3640 or email at

VGCC Graduates 47 With Associates Degree In Nursing

Vance-Granville Community College held a virtual pinning ceremony on May 14 at 6 p.m. for the associate degree nursing Class of 2021. The ceremony celebrated the 47 graduates of the program. Family and friends were able to join in the virtual event to see the graduates receiving their pins and marking their graduation.

The ceremony was opened by Ugur Celimli, VGCC’s interim department chair of nursing.  Dr. Levy Brown, vice president of learning, student engagement, & success, gave welcoming remarks, along with Dr. Anna Seaman, associate degree nursing program head; and ADN Class of 2021 President Cortney Ragan. Seaman noted that 2020 and 2021 presented challenges for nurses and nursing students that no one could have imagined, but he commended them for their perseverance.

Nursing instructor Jamie Davis presented cords to students who participated in the VGCC Student Nurses Association, a chapter of the National Student Nurses Association. She also recognized those students graduating with honors (a GPA of 3.5 or higher): Joel Nyamohanga, Cortney Ragan, Steven Pierce, Alicia Moussa, Jolina Chiong, James Ogidi, Diana Orina, Rebekah Edwards, and Kirstie Koski. Mary Wanjiku and Susan Zenker were recognized as the two graduates with the highest GPA.

Brande McILroy shared the story of the VGCC nursing pin.  The graduates were then pinned by a person of their choosing at home.  Seaman shared where the students plan to work or their area of interest in nursing, plans for continuing education, as well as appreciation to family, friends, and the faculty for their support during their time in school. After this time, the graduates recited the nursing pledge (written by Beverly Hansen O’Malley, RN) with Vanessa Ramseur, Nursing Instructor. Dr. Anna Seaman presented the class as official graduates of the Associate Degree Nursing Class of 2021. Even though the ceremony was not able to be held on campus in the Civic Center as traditionally held, the graduates remarked that it was still a meaningful and memorable way to mark the end of their journey. The ADN students were excited to have President Rachel Desmarais and other VGCC employees in attendance virtually.

Following is a list of all graduates and where they live: Karla Garcia Cervantes and Karlee Michalina, both of Butner; Emely Aguaviva Reyes of Clayton; Jessica Haskins, Sarah Riley and Sharlett Wilson, all of Creedmoor; Cara Blalock, Justin Kortor and Chris Trotman, all of Durham; Natasha Alston, Kati Hand, Stephen Nyambariga and Esther Ogachi, all of Franklinton; Kelsie Park of Fuquay Varina; Montrella Alston of Garner; Jolina Anne Chiong, Rebekah Edwards, Adrienne Pegram, Steven Pierce, Jaslin Renteria, Ashley Speed, Chelsea Troutman and April Zuniga-Trejo, all of Henderson; Jaysia Brown and Peninah Mburu, both of Knightdale; Cortney Ragan and Leslie Mata Ruiz, both of Louisburg; Cindy Blankenship, Dianne Davis, Wyatt Holley and Monique Watson, all of Oxford; Kirstie Koski, Alicia Moussa, James Ogidi, Angela Okpara, Diana Orina and Mary Wanjiku, all of Raleigh; McKenzie Howerton of Rougemont; Rocio Crews of Stem; Jessica Black and Susan Zenker, both of Wake Forest; Tiffany Eddie, Shaquile Hawkins, Amy Matthews and Georgina Vanegas Reyes, all of Warrenton; Pamela Rucker of Youngsville; and Joel Nyamohanga of Zebulon.