Noted author salutes VGCC Adult Basic Skills graduates


Graduates of Vance-Granville Community College’s Adult Basic Skills programs were encouraged to adopt a can-do attitude and keep learning at their commencement exercises on May 4. The honorees were among those students who have completed either the Adult High School Diploma program or the High School Equivalency program in the past year.

The principal commencement speaker was Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, an award-winning author and Duke University professor who spent part of his childhood in Oxford and now resides in Durham. Tyson recalled that although he now holds a doctoral degree, he did not usually enjoy school as a child.

“I slowly began to withdraw from school,” Tyson said. “I went less and less, and I found other things to do. I dropped out of high school as a junior. I became a construction laborer and then a cook.” But a young woman he was dating, who was in graduate school, told him that he would like college, arguing that it was quite different from high school. “I started at a community college, where I found intellectual excitement and I did well, and then I transferred to UNC-Greensboro,” Tyson said. “I loved college. It was a place where independent thought and passion were rewarded.”

Over time, Tyson discovered more and more educational opportunities that he did not know existed. He encouraged the graduates not to limit themselves but to keep striving for more. “You’re not stuck in some place that your past performance has put you,” Tyson told them. “You can’t let anybody stop you and put you in a box. Keep looking forward and figure it out. There’s a way to do it. It’s not as though, if you took a wrong turn at the beginning, somehow you’re stuck in that groove. You can navigate this, and you can end up doing what God put you here to do.”

The author said he was “thrilled” to witness this “proud and important moment” for the graduating students. “Your education will affect yourself, your children and people who are yet unborn, but it’s not just about advancing yourself, it’s about lifting up everybody,” Tyson said. “Each of us, day to day, doing our own bit, can change the world and have changed the world.”

Speaking on behalf of the graduating students during the ceremony was Spencer Bojan Boyd of Oxford. Boyd completed the Adult High School Diploma program online. A native of Serbia, he was adopted at the age of six by a family in Johnston County, who later moved to Granville County. He was born without a right leg and with a distorted left leg, which was later amputated. “Throughout my journey, my friends and family, particularly my mother, have stuck by my side, supporting me, saying ‘yes, you can,’” Boyd said.

He said his mother’s insistence pushed him forward, so that now, “I am an adult high school graduate – yes, I am. To be clear, I didn’t become a graduate solely on my mother’s belief that I could. I’m an adult high school graduate because Vance-Granville Community College also believes in ‘Yes, you can.’” He said the online program allowed him flexibility and time to focus.

“Through its resources, VGCC has helped me graduate high school and is in the process of helping me into college,” he said. “By extending my education beyond high school, I will be able to discover new doors and opportunities.” Boyd recently enrolled in the College Transfer program at VGCC. He plans to complete two years at the college and then continue his education at a four-year university to study orthotics and prosthetics to help other amputees. “I hope to encourage, support and take care of those who are less fortunate than myself,” Boyd said. “I hope to use the tools that Vance-Granville provided in the future and really get a hold of my purpose in life.”

He concluded, “No matter what obstacle comes your way or how many hardships in life you face, you can turn the idea of ‘this is impossible; I can’t do this’ into ‘Yes, I can, and yes, I have!’ and the fact that I stand before you as a proud graduate is living proof. Mom, yes, I can. VGCC, yes, I can. Henderson, North Carolina, yes, I can. Serbia, yes, I can. The world, yes, I can.”

In welcoming remarks, VGCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Angela Ballentine congratulated the graduates. “You saw an opportunity to improve your life through education, and you seized that opportunity,” she said. Ballentine urged them to continue their education and invited them to meet with college faculty and staff at the conclusion of the ceremony. “This could be the first of many commencement exercises for you,” she said.

Following Tyson’s address, Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of VGCC, praised the graduates and applauded the Basic Skills faculty for preparing students to succeed. “Commencement, as you know, does not mean ‘an ending’ — it means ‘a beginning,’ and that is especially true for this occasion,” she told the graduates. As an extra incentive for graduates to begin their collegiate studies, Williams announced that each would receive a certificate worth free tuition and fees for one semester of courses in curriculum programs at VGCC, absorbing costs not covered by federal financial aid. “This certificate for tuition and fees is our way of saying ‘congratulations’ and ‘keep going,’” the president said.

After VGCC Adult Basic Skills department chair Greg Nash announced the candidates for graduation, Dr. Ballentine assisted President Williams in presenting diplomas.


Oxford Prep Teacher named recipient to Fulbright-Hays Program

Ms. Rita Ulrich has been named a recipient of the Fulbright-Hays program for the summer of 2017. She will be studying in Bulgaria. The Fulbright-Hays program to Bulgaria will focus on the nation’s relationship as part of the European Union, N.A.T.O. and the neighboring countries of Turkey and Russia. Over the four weeks, the program will highlight the role that globalization has played in Bulgaria’s development since joining with the E.U.  This study will include the impact that refugee migration into the country has had on the economy, culture, education, and demographics, as well as the results of the “brain drain” of Bulgarians who have left for better opportunities elsewhere.

Ms. Ulrich is the social studies teacher for 7th and 8th grade, as well as psychology teacher to advanced placement students at Oxford Prep. She is a graduate of Florida State University with a double bachelors in social science education and psychology. Ms. Ulrich also has a masters degree in international education from the University of Sydney, Australia. After teaching in both South Korea and China for four years, she returned to the United States two years ago to continue my teaching career at an American school. The reason she applied to the Fulbright-Hays program is to expand my knowledge of the changing dynamics of Eastern Europe, as well as educate myself in how the larger global issues are impacting Bulgaria and surrounding region. Ms. Ulrich states that “It is my goal that the Fulbright program will provide opportunities to connect with the people of Bulgaria who are living through the constant global change in the nation, bringing their varying and diverse experiences back to the classroom. Students who will be enrolled in my A.P. psychology class will then have a chance to analyze how the concepts they learn actually play out in the real world through individual stories and lesson based around these very topics.”

TRAC in Granville County Region – WIZS Live Broadcast

Thursday May 18th from 10 am to 2 pm, tourism-related businesses in Granville County and the surrounding region will have an opportunity to work with Visit North Carolina staff to learn about its research, development and marketing services, and discuss best practices in reaching travelers, the media and increasing tourism visitation and spending. Visit North Carolina’s Tourism Resource Assistance Center (TRAC), a community-based training program designed to help small tourism-related businesses, will be held at Cedar Creek Gallery located on 1150 Fleming Road in Creedmoor.  The gallery offers for sale the work of over 200 of America’s most accomplished craftspeople in a unique, relaxing atmosphere.  For more information about the gallery, log onto  The event will also feature the Baton Rouge Cuisine Food Truck providing authentic, fresh Cajun & Soul food for sale.

Log onto for menu.

There is no charge to attend TRAC, no reservation is required, and there are no PowerPoint presentations. This is a come-when-you-can/stay-as-long-as-you’d-like event opportunity for all tourism-related businesses to meet one-on-one with program managers to discuss better ways to promote their property or event. TRAC brings Visit North Carolina’s program managers to local communities to discuss the nuts and bolts of working with the organization. This invaluable program is designed to help tourism-related businesses engage more fully with programs offered by Visit North Carolina and its partners.

WIZS will broadcast live from the event from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. for interested citizens and business owners that may not have the opportunity to attend.

Representatives from the EDPNC’s BLNC, N.C. Dept. of Commerce, N.C. Dept. of Natural & Cultural Resources, GotToBe NC Agri-Tourism and NC GreenTravel will also be on hand to discuss services they can provide businesses, including strategic planning, assisting with identifying funding sources and serving as liaisons with other local, state and federal agencies. For additional information on this session or to learn more about scheduling a TRAC visit to your community, contact André Nabors at (919) 447-7771.

In addition, Angela Allen, Tourism Director for Granville County will also be in attendance to share with restaurants, retail stores, events and attractions on how she can help drive visitors to Granville and their businesses.  Please feel free to contact her at 919-693-6125 or log onto .

Butner to hold Memorial Day Wreath Ceremony



MAY 29th at 10:00 AM


Please join us for the opportunity to pay tribute and remember our past US Military Service men and women with a Wreath Laying Ceremony.

The event will take place at the Gazebo Park, Town of Butner, on Monday, May 29th beginning at 10:00 AM.

The Ceremony includes keynote speaker Tom Lane, who was the first elected Mayor of Butner (2007-2015).  Also participating are area pastors Reverend Buddy Ritter, Reverend David Richardson; the South Granville Jr. ROTC; and music by the South Granville High School Band.

Winners of the Middle School Essay Contest will present their writings and military vehicles will be on display.

The address for Gazebo Park is 416, Central Avenue, Butner, NC.

In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at Soldiers Memorial Sports Arena.

Help patients, honor loved ones by donating blood with the Red Cross

DURHAM, N.C. (May 17, 2017) – Before busy summer schedules set in, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to roll up a sleeve to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients in need.

Donors of all blood types are needed now to help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving cancer treatment.

Kenneth Reed gives blood in his son’s honor. When Trace was 8 days old, he underwent heart surgery and received blood transfusions. “It’s the least I can do. If it wasn’t for donors, he wouldn’t be here with us today,” said Reed. “I don’t call it donating blood; I call it donating life.”

Giving blood is an easy and thoughtful way to honor a loved one who has relied on blood products, to follow in the example of a family member who gives regularly or to simply help others.

As a thank you, those who come out to donate May 26-30 will receive a Red Cross-branded visor, while supplies last. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can then also visit to enter to win one of three grand prize packages for four to Knott’s Berry Farm in California or Cedar Point in Ohio.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:



5/26/2017: 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Creedmoor United Methodist Church, 214 Park Avenue


6/15/2017: 12 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Union Bank & Trust Company, 108 College Street




5/29/2017: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., National Guard Armory, 605 Burlington Rd




6/16/2017: 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Maria Parham Health, John T. Church Building, 566 Ruin Creek Rd

Henderson Students Dominate Inaugural Oxford Prep Graduation Marshal List

Marshals who will serve at the first Oxford Preparatory Commencement ceremony honoring the class of 2017 have been announced. Marshals are chosen from the sophomore and junior class. Students chosen from either class must have a weighted GPA above 4.25. The chief marshal will be chosen from the junior representatives and will be announced at the May 26th awards ceremony. Marshals for the 2016-2017 year are:

Layla Alashmli, junior from Henderson, NC

Megan Ayscue, junior from Oxford, NC

Alex Bare, sophomore from Creedmoor, NC

Andrew Crumpler, junior from Henderson, NC

Jason Corbett, sophomore from Henderson, NC

Andrew (Whitt) Daniel, junior from Henderson, NC

Zach Ellington, sophomore from Henderson, NC

Shawn Matthews, sophomore from Oxford, NC

Mira Patel, sophomore from Henderson, NC

Catherine Stallsmith, junior from Oxford, NC

Madeline Stallsmith, junior from Oxford, NC

Jackson Vaughan, junior from Henderson, NC

Jacinthia Wiliams, junior from Henderson, NC

Oxford Alive After 5 Postponed

Due to the weather predictions and uncertainty, a decision has been made to POSTPONE tomorrow night’s ALIVE AFTER FIVE until Thursday, June 29th.

Please know that this decision was made after careful consideration for the band, concession vendors, sponsors, volunteers, law enforcement — everyone we can think of!

The Chamber appreciates everyone’s support and understanding!  We will look forward to the June 29th event!

Ginnie Currin

Executive Director

Granville County Chamber of Commerce

Two VGCC campuses to host Mini-Medical School summer camps

High school students from throughout the region are invited to learn about health sciences and careers in medicine by participating in the 2017 “Mini-Medical School” Summer Camp, conducted by the Wake Area Health Education Center (AHEC) in partnership with Vance-Granville Community College.

The intensive, week-long day camp is being offered twice: June 12-16, at VGCC’s South Campus, located between Butner and Creedmoor, and July 24-28, at VGCC’s Franklin County Campus, just outside Louisburg. At either location, students will be on campus from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

This will be VGCC’s fourth summer hosting a Mini-Medical School, which uses computational science (computer simulation) and hands-on activities to study key aspects of medicine. Topics include anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, cardiology, epidemiology, medical genetics and genomics. Becky Brady, a registered nurse and chemical engineer, will serve as the lead instructor.

Participants will not only learn about training for careers in the medical field, but they will also have opportunities to become certified in CPR and Youth Mental Health First Aid (for students aged 16 and over) during the course of the camp.

Campers will be able to learn more about VGCC programs that prepare students for medical careers, including Histotechnology, Nursing, Medical Assisting, Radiography, Pharmacy Technology, Human Services Technology, Emergency Medical Services and Occupational Healthcare.

Wake AHEC serves nine counties in central North Carolina from its office in Raleigh: Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Lee, Person, Vance, Wake, and Warren counties. AHECs are located throughout North Carolina and are affiliated with the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Medicine. The mission of the statewide AHEC Program is to meet the state’s health and health workforce needs. NC AHEC provides educational programs and services that bridge academic institutions and communities to improve the health of the people of North Carolina with a focus on underserved populations.

The registration fee for the camp is $200, which includes materials, CPR and Youth Mental Health

First Aid Certifications, catered lunches and snacks.

For more information and to register, visit or contact Heather Schafer at [email protected] or 919-350-0468.



Oxford Prep Claims First Varsity Baseball Conference Championship

With the regular season over, the Griffins finished 14-10 overall and 11-1 in conference play, clinching their very first baseball conference championship.  The Griffins took another step forward in the young program’s history.  Last year, in the first season of varsity play the team finished 12-12 overall and 3rd in the conference.  The Griffins will likely earn a 4 seed in the Mideast Pod of the 2017 NCHSAA 1A Baseball Playoffs, where they will host a home playoff game on Wednesday against an opponent TBD.

Some of the highlights this year include a victory over Northern Vance, beating conference rivals Louisburg and Granville Central in the same week clinching the conference championship, and earning the right to host the first home playoff game in program history.  The Griffins were led by Senior Garrett Reaves with 6 pitching wins, Junior Trey Reese with 3 pitching wins and hitting .380, Freshman Ben Hester hitting .383 with 3 HRs on the year, and Senior Timari Perry hitting .356.

GCPS Passes Budget, Includes $2.78 million in Budget Cuts

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

For Immediate Release

On Thursday, April 27, the Granville County Board of Education approved the budget for the 2017-2018 school year.  This year’s budget process was particularly difficult as the Board faced both increased costs and projected decreased revenues, which made necessary substantial cuts in personnel and program expenditures.  As a result, this budget includes more than $2.78 million dollars in total cuts from the previous year’s budget.

Specific areas where these cuts have been made include a reduction of the leadership positions in Central Services, including the elimination of two director positions and that of the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Operations, which will be made vacant by the retirement of Dr. Gillespie after July 1, 2017.  The following positions and job duties will be reorganized as a result of these changes:


Staff Member Current Position Title New Position Title and Responsibilities Effective July 1, 2017
Betty Crute Pre-K Coordinator Retired
Nancy Russell Principal, Creedmoor Elementary School Pre-K Coordinator
Ann Grey Newcomb Director of Professional Development Principal, Creedmoor Elementary School
Helen Lindsey Principal, CIL School Guidance Counselor
Calvin Timberlake Director of Innovative Services Principal, CIL

District Athletic Director

Driver’s Education Coordinator


Dr. Tonya Thomas Director of Middle Schools & AIG Director of Professional Development,

Student Services, &

AIG Services

Beth Cook Director of Testing & Accountability, The Arts Director of Testing & Accountability,

The Arts &

Community & Volunteer Coordinator


Dr. Lela Baldwin Director of Elementary Education,

Federal Programs &

Afterschool Programs

Director of Elementary Education,

Federal Programs,

Afterschool Programs &

McKinney-Vento Coordinator


Dr. Stan Winborne Director of High Schools, CTE & Public Information Officer Director of Secondary Schools (6-12),

Career and Technical Education &

Public Information Officer

Dr. Vanessa Wrenn Director of Instructional Technology Director of Instructional Technology &

District Webmaster

Russell Dixon Student Information Coordinator &

District Webmaster

Student Information Coordinator &

Student Transfer Coordinator



Additional cuts will be made in funding for Technology, Granville Online, teacher substitutes, and Central Services general expense items.  Projected reductions in student enrollment will also result in an accompanying reduction of the allotment for teacher assistants, teachers, custodians, guidance counselors, clerical positions and assistant principals.  No specific positions have been identified as the department of Human Resources will seek to accommodate these cuts through attrition first.

Superintendent Howard and Board Chair Dr. Tom Houlihan issued a joint statement, saying “This budget proposal is the result of conscientious steps taken by the Board and administration to provide human and material resources needed while at the same time reducing our dependence on fund balance.  For four years the school district has made significant budget cuts in an effort to be financially responsible, particularly with declining student enrollment and the fiscal limitations that are brought on by negative state and national budget changes.”