VGCC to Offer Open House at All Four Campuses

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College will hold an Open House on Saturday, April 6, 2019, from 9 a.m. until noon, at all four of its campuses.

VGCC staff members and faculty will be available during those hours to provide information on the enrollment process, academic programs and student support services. Visitors will also be able to take campus tours.

The Summer 2019 term begins May 20, while the Fall 2019 semester starts on August 19.

Prospective students are encouraged to pre-register for Open House (and select the campus they plan to visit) at

VGCC’s Main Campus is located at 200 Community College Road, Henderson (Exit 209 on Interstate 85, about midway between Henderson and Oxford).

The Franklin County Campus is located at 8100 N.C. 56., Louisburg (just west of Louisburg).

South Campus is located at 1547 South Campus Drive, Creedmoor (off of N.C. 56, between Creedmoor and Butner).

The Warren County Campus is located at 210 West Ridgeway Street (U.S. 158 Business) in Warrenton.

For more information on enrolling, call (252) 738-3234 or visit any campus.

DNA Analysis Subject of Upcoming Thornton Library Program

-Press Release, Granville County Government

On March 30, genealogist Shannon Christmas is scheduled for a discussion of DNA testing and how it relates to family genealogy. The 2 p.m. program will be held at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford.

Christmas is experienced in the field of genealogy, specializing in Colonial America as well as African-American ancestry in Virginia and the Carolinas. He has a special interest in “harnessing the power” of DNA to verify and extend ancestral lineage.

“African-American genealogy remains a challenging jigsaw puzzle where half of the pieces seem irrevocably lost,” Christmas has written in a blog about family history. “Advances in genetics and internet technology have unearthed some of the long-buried pieces of our especially fractured history.”

On March 30, genealogist Shannon Christmas is scheduled for a discussion of DNA testing and how it relates to family genealogy. The 2 p.m. program will be held at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford. (Photo courtesy Granville Co. Govt.)

Christmas has used DNA analysis along with traditional genealogical methods to trace his own family tree. His research has led him to a Warren County plantation, where DNA was used to verify bloodlines and connect him with relatives he never knew. The genealogist also has ties to the Yancey family of Granville County.

Today Christmas provides information to others through videos and programs to assist in family research projects. He currently serves as a 23andMe Ancestry Ambassador and is administrator of the Captain Thomas Graves of Jamestown Autosomal DNA project.

He is also co-administrator of the Hemings-Jefferson-Wayles-Eppes DNA project and a blogger of “Through the Trees,” a guide to tools and technology that aid in genealogical research.

His presentation, “Family History Now: How to Master DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy,” is free and open to the public. Those in attendance can register for a free DNA kit in a drawing that will be held during the program.

For more information, contact Ashley Wilson, Adult Services Librarian or Mark Pace, North Carolina Room Specialist at 919-693-1121. The Richard H. Thornton Library is one of four branches of the Granville County Library System and is located at 210 Main Street in Oxford.

Oxford Preparatory School Announces 3rd Quarter Honor Roll for 6th Grade

-Information courtesy Oxford Preparatory School

The third quarter for Oxford Preparatory School ended on Thursday, March 7, 2019. OPS is pleased to announce that the following 6th-grade students mastered their academic content with excellence and, as a result, have been named to either the A or A/B Honor Roll.

6th Grade A Honor Roll

James Allred, Cadence Hoyle, Elizabeth Jones, Jacquelin Jose, Brandy Ray, Marleigh Swanner, Hannah Twisdale and Hunter Woodlief.

6th Grade A/B Honor Roll

Andrew Adcox, Mary Bailey, Elizabeth Baker, Ayla Batchelor, Emily Dail, Davis Faulkner, Luke Harris, Gage Hobgood, Jetta Mangum, Ma’Kayla Neal, Sean Osborne, Ellie Stock, Caleb Watkins, Trevor Weary, Kennedy Wilkerson, Emily Wilkinson and Macie Wilkinson.

Oxford’s Personnel Committee to Discuss Health Insurance Renewal

-Information courtesy Cynthia Bowen, City Clerk, City of Oxford

The Personnel Committee for the Oxford Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 10 a.m. The meeting will be held in the 1st Floor Training Room of City Hall, 300 Williamsboro Street in Oxford.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss health insurance renewal.

All those interested are invited to attend.

C.G. Credle Third Grader Wins Second Annual GCPS District Spelling Bee

-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

Joel Jiljo Jose, a third grader from C. G. Credle Elementary, won the Second Annual District Spelling Bee sponsored by Granville County Schools on March 14, 2019.

Over 100 supporters crowded the multipurpose hall at Tar River Elementary School for the Bee. When the curtain opened at 6:30 p.m., nine School Spelling Bee winners were seated on stage ready to compete for the District Championship and a chance to attend the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland.

GCS Superintendent Dr. Alisa McLean warmly welcomed everyone, and Dr. Tonya Thomas, Director of Student Services for GCS, introduced the officials and the contestants. Dr. Michael Myrick, also from GCS, Diane Garrison, retired principal, and Cathy Frizzle, community volunteer, served as judges. Amy Lue, Student Data Manager, was the Moderator; and retired educator, Dana King, served as Word Master.

Joel Jiljo Jose (pictured in front with trophy), a third grader from C. G. Credle Elementary, won the Second Annual District Spelling Bee sponsored by Granville County Schools on March 14, 2019. (Photo courtesy GCPS)

One contestant, Cayden Middleton, was unable to be there to represent Butner-Stem. The other nine students stood while being introduced: Joel Jose, C. G. Credle; Lillyanne Johnson, Creedmoor; Alissa Kurtzke, Falls Lake Academy; Natalie Ollila, Granville Academy; Ethan Fleming Winfield, Mt. Energy; Maria Rigsbee, Stovall-Shaw; Addison Preddy, Tar River; Dacari Burrell, West Oxford; and Finn Jones, Wilton.

Mrs. Lue then reviewed the rules. Each round of the Bee consisted of students having a turn to spell different words. The Bee began with a practice round, in which an incorrect word was not counted. The official Bee started next with Round One. If a child missed a word he/she would leave the stage at the end of the round to sit in a designated section of the audience until it was time to return to the stage for the award ceremony.

Students in grades 3, 4, and 5, from public schools, charter schools, or home schools were eligible to compete this year if they or their school enrolled with the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The competitors had already won a spelling bee to qualify for this District Bee. They had six weeks to prepare for it by studying a list of 1,150 words from the Scripps guide called, “Spell It!” It was evident they had engaged in serious studying because everyone was still on stage at the end of Round One!

The randomly selected words increased in difficulty as the Bee progressed. Competitors missed such words as “crimson,” “electoral,” and “zenith.” By the time a stretch break was called at the end of Round Four, there were four students remaining. The audience was practically holding their breaths so as not to distract the concentration of the great minds on stage!

The winner of the Bee had to spell two words correctly in two consecutive rounds. Four students were still in the Bee in Round Six. Two missed the words, “grabble,” and “bambino.”  Now the contest was between Credle’s Joel and Wilton’s Finn. They went back and forth for several more rounds.

Joel’s winning words were “cummerbund,” and “sumo.”  He beamed in excitement as the audience broke into applause, and he was declared the District Bee Winner! In addition to the trophy, he received prizes from Merriam Webster, Encyclopedia Britannica, and a 2019 United States Mint Proof Set. Joel hopes to attend a state university and possibly become an engineer or a pharmacist in the future.

All the contestants returned to their stage seats, and their families had a chance to take pictures of them receiving a medal from Dr. McLean and Dr. Thomas. The group posed with their awards on the steps of the stage with the officials standing behind them and Joel in front holding the big trophy.

The students and their families enjoyed the chance to meet and greet their supporters at a formal reception afterward. The Beta Pi Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, International, donated and served cake, punch, fruit, and cheese. The cake was decorated with alphabet letters written in icing, and goodie bags for the contestants contained alphabet-shaped cookies.

As the evening drew to a close, many comments were heard from both children and parents about how much they enjoyed the competition and hope to compete again next year – and that’s perhaps the best way to spell success for this annual event!

National Social Worker Month: Recognizing Those With ‘A Need to Serve’

-Press Release, Granville County Government

National Professional Social Worker Month is celebrated each year in March. It’s an opportunity to spotlight the profession and the contributions social workers make every day.

According to Joe Tartamella, Supervisor for Adult Services, Foster Care and Adoptions for the Granville County Department of Social Services, local social workers provide services to meet the needs of community members who want and need assistance, including those who may not yet know how to ask for or accept help from anyone.

More than 80 social workers are trained and on hand to work directly with Granville County residents or to provide referrals to those who may be facing issues of substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, parent/caretaker neglect, dependency, exploitation, mental health issues and economic hardships. Of all the workers in DSS, there are 10 in Child Support Services, 20 in Direct Services, 51 in Economic Benefits/Income Maintenance and the rest in administrative and support positions.

The Granville County Department of Social Services, located at 410 W. Spring St. in Oxford, NC, employs over 80 social workers to assist with issues ranging from substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, parent/caretaker neglect, dependency, exploitation, mental health issues and economic hardships. (Photo courtesy Granville Co. Govt.)

“Our social workers are the front line, boots-on-the-ground-type people,” Tartamella explains, “and requests for assistance are made every day. For most all that seek our services, we are generally their last hope in their journey to survive.”

With a goal to “enhance the quality of life in the community through programs and services to help the vulnerable, the aged, the young, the sick and the economically disadvantaged,” the Granville County Department of Social Services exists to serve local individuals and families.

From government aid to assistance for low-income households, disabled individuals, seniors and dependent children, social workers provide services that include medical, financial, nutritional and emergency assistance, as well as help with daycare costs, the coordination of transportation services and the investigation of fraudulent practices.

Assistance begins at the reception desk of the Granville County Department of Social Services, which is where the initial contact often begins.

“Every other department depends on them to link the people asking for assistance to the right people to serve them,” Tartamella explains. From there, daily work includes accessing the situation, developing plans to assist and working with families to meet their goals/objectives.

Many of the Social Services staff are office-based, serving Granville County citizens in need of public assistance programs such as Medicaid, Work First, Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps and SNAP) as well as energy programs, child care referrals, child support services, emergency assistance or other programs and services that are available to eligible Granville County residents.

Other social workers may work either in the office or in the field to provide assistance through Child Welfare Services or through the Adult Services unit.

The Child Welfare Services Unit accepts and responds to reports of child abuse, neglect and dependency, evaluating levels of risk to children through assessments and investigations. Appropriate action is then taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the child through In-Home Treatment (case management and skill development services) or by providing out-of-home foster care services, with a goal to establish a permanent living arrangement for the children. Options considered include re-unification with parents, custody or guardianship arrangements, or adoption.

The Adult Services unit locates, coordinates and monitors services to provide preventative, supportive and/or protective services to adults and families needing assistance in learning to function efficiently and independently. These services include Adult Protective Services, Daycare and Day Health Services, Adult Placement Services, Guardianship Services, Representative Payee Services, Case Management and In-Home Aide Services. The goal is to provide the tools needed to ensure efficiency and independent living in their own environment and in the community.

The Granville County Department of Social Services also works in conjunction with social workers from Granville Medical Center, all three Granville County Senior Centers, the Harold Sherman Adult Day program, adult and family care homes, Granville County schools, home health agencies and the many clinical social workers in the mental health system.

“We wear many hats,” Tartamella explains, “and often work long hours to make sure we serve our clients.”

For those who may need assistance with blind and visually impaired challenges, the DHHS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired has a social worker who is available on-site at Granville County DSS two days per week.

Anyone wishing to pursue a career as a social worker is reminded that this profession is for people who are called to serve. What is most needed, Tartamella says, is a desire to help others succeed.

“To be in a service profession,” he says, “you have to have a love and respect for human dignity, as well as compassion and the ability to use it. You also have to be ready and able to set and enforce hard lines of accountability. You have to be a dedicated soul.”

The Granville County Department of Social Services is located at 410 West Spring Street in Oxford and is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about the Granville County Department of Social Services and the role of social workers in our community, visit

NC Farmers, Supporters to Attend Agriculture Awareness Event

-Press Release, NCDA&CS

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hosting Ag Awareness Day. Farmers, agribusiness leaders and Ag supporters will attend to show their support for North Carolina’s No. 1 industry and to thank legislators for passing the $240 million Hurricane Florence Ag Disaster Relief package. Participants will meet with legislators and attend a program in Bicentennial Plaza.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Bicentennial Plaza, Raleigh (between the Agriculture Building and the N.C. Museum of History)

*8:30 a.m. – Buses will depart the fairgrounds bringing Ag Awareness Day participants downtown.

*9 – 11 a.m. – Participants will meet with their legislators.

*11:30 a.m. – Ag Awareness Day program begins in Bicentennial Plaza, including the following speakers:

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, Gov. Roy Cooper, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, Speaker Tim Moore, Senator Brent Jackson, Representative Jimmy Dixon, Senator Dan Blue, Representative John Bell, Senator Don Davis, Representative Brian Turner and NCSU Dean Richard Linton.

*All times are approximate.

VGCC Presents 7th Annual Dinner Theater: ‘Company’ by Stephen Sondheim

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

“Company” by Stephen Sondheim

Tickets for Seventh Annual Dinner Theater will go on sale March 25!

Check out the details below of what promises to be an evening of fun, food and fellowship in the great Vance-Granville Drama and Culinary Arts tradition and get your tickets at The event, once again involving the collaboration of the VGCC Drama and Culinary Arts departments, is scheduled for the evenings of Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26, 2019, in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. each evening.

Sondheim’s musical is a sophisticated and honest look at modern adult relationships.

From musical theatre’s most renowned composer, “Company” is largely regarded as a trailblazer of the dark-comedy, modern-musical genre and the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Lyrics and Best Book.

On the night of his 35th birthday, confirmed bachelor Robert contemplates his unmarried state. Over the course of a series of dinners, drinks and even a wedding, his friends – “those good and crazy people [his] married friends” – explain the pros and cons of taking on a spouse. The habitually single Robert is forced to question his adamant retention of bachelorhood during a hilarious array of interactions.

“Company” features a brilliantly brisk and energetic score containing many of Stephen Sondheim’s best-known songs. The strength of the piece lies in its vivid yet real characters, meaning impressive technical aspects aren’t necessary to convey the story. It can be told as effectively with a cavalcade of automated set pieces as it can with a chair or two. Every audience member will see reflections of themselves in at least one of the characters onstage.

Betsy Henderson, VGCC’s Department Chair/Instructor of Humanities and Fine Arts, is the director of the play.

Tickets are $30 and are scheduled to go on sale on March 25. Audience members will be able to choose the table and specific seats they want at the same time that they buy their tickets online. Patrons are encouraged to purchase their tickets early in order to have the best chance of getting the seats they want for this year’s show.

For more information, visit

Local Chambers of Commerce to Host Administrative Professionals Luncheon

— Information courtesy Granville County Chamber of Commerce | Ginnie Currin, Executive Director ~ 919-693-6125 ~ [email protected]

The Granville County Chamber of Commerce, together with Franklin, Warren and Vance Chambers are sponsoring the annual Administrative Professionals Luncheon.

This year’s event is being held Wednesday, April 24 at noon at Thorndale Oaks, 105 West Quailridge Road in Oxford. We are honored to have Vance-Granville Community College’s new President, Dr. Rachel Desmarais, as our guest speaker for the luncheon.

Business owners and administrators are encouraged to treat their administrative professionals to lunch, networking and an opportunity to meet Dr. Desmarais in observance of Administrative Professionals’ Day.

Lunch reservations are required ~ $20 per guest by April 18 to either of the Chamber’s offices – 919.693.6125, [email protected] or 919.528.4994, [email protected].

Get Slimed for a Good Cause at FGV Smart Start’s ‘Slime Walk’

-Information and flyer courtesy Christan Paylor, Professional Development Coordinator, FGV Smart Start

Franklin-Granville-Vance Smart Start will hold a “Slime Walk” on Saturday, April 6, 2019, at Franklinton High School – 910 Cedar Creek Rd. in Franklinton, NC.

Event registration begins at 9:30 a.m.; walk takes place from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The pre-registration deadline has passed, but registration will be allowed the day of the walk.

Bring out a group, walk for children and have fun!

For more information, please contact FGV Smart Start at (252) 433-9110, ext. 224.