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One of VGCC’s Earliest Graduates Establishes Scholarships

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Almost half a century after he enrolled at the school that is now Vance-Granville Community College, Steve McRavin is giving back by establishing a pair of scholarships for today’s students.

Along with his wife, Patti, McRavin recently created annual scholarships through the VGCC Endowment Fund in memory of several of his family members.

Steve McRavin graduated VGCC with his vocational diploma in Automotive Mechanics on August 22, 1971 – the college’s first graduating class for curriculum programs. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

The Allen and Margaret Jones/Lucy Jones Allen Scholarship in Nursing is named for his grandparents and his eldest aunt, Lucy, who was a nurse. In awarding this scholarship, preference will be given to second-year Associate Degree Nursing students and students who are single parents.

Meanwhile, the Howard and Thelma “Kitty” McRavin Memorial Scholarship in Automotive honors the memory of his parents. VGCC will prioritize students in the Automotive Systems Technology, the current name for the program from which McRavin graduated, for this scholarship. In both cases, other eligibility requirements will apply.

Steve McRavin grew up on a small farm in Williamsboro, and took automotive classes at Vance County High School. Upon graduating from high school in 1970, young Steve wanted to continue learning and was excited to learn that the new Vance County Technical Institute would soon start offering automotive mechanics as one of its very first curriculum programs.

That summer, McRavin worked for a local construction company. “By coincidence, one of the jobs I worked on was helping to build the automotive and welding shop at Vance County Technical Institute,” he said. “I knew then for certain that the automotive program was going to be a reality! I got to meet Dr. Greene [the school’s first chief academic officer] when he would come out and look at the progress on the buildings, and I told him I would be enrolling that fall.”

Taking classes on that original campus – the former Maria Parham Hospital building – McRavin studied under the head of the new automotive program, the late Thomas Welch, whom he describes as “a great man.”

McRavin graduated with his vocational diploma in Automotive Mechanics on August 22, 1971, in the school’s first graduating class for curriculum programs. He then worked at the local Firestone until he was drafted in 1972 into the United States Army. He served in military intelligence for the next two decades, much of that time stationed in West Germany.

McRavin continued his education while in the service, obtaining an associate’s degree in automotive technology and a bachelor’s degree in workforce education/development because he knew he wanted to work in education in some way after his military career ended.

He retired at the rank of First Sergeant in 1992 and started working at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington.

Steve McCravin (right) and Patti McCravin (center) receive the President’s Lifetime Circle recognition as part of the South Pudget Sound Foundation. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

Even after all those years, McRavin credited the inspiration for his new career to Mr. Welch. Starting as a lab technician for the SPSCC automotive department, McRavin served in a variety of roles: teaching automotive classes, advising students, and overseeing recruiting. He retired from the college as a full-time administrator but continues to teach there part-time.

McRavin said the new VGCC scholarships are his way of giving back to a school and a community that had helped him. The local community still includes a number of his relatives, and he has returned to visit from time to time. Describing himself as a “country boy from Vance County,” McRavin also wants to inspire today’s youth to take advantage of educational opportunities, as he did. “It’s not where you start – it’s where you end up,” he said. “You never know where you’re going to go.”

He is also not the only member of his family to benefit from the college. “One of my daughters, Gillian McRavin Johnson, graduated in 1991 from the VGCC Associate Degree Nursing program,” McRavin said. “She raves about the program at Vance-Granville to this day.” Currently a registered nurse in the state of Washington, Johnson is working on becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

McRavin’s wife, Patti, has also worked in higher education and non-profit community groups during her career.

Currently residing in Spanaway, Washington, the McRavins said that they both have a passion for higher education, because education changed the course of their lives. They have also established scholarships at South Puget Sound Community College.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vance-Granville Community College, it is extremely gratifying that one of our first alumni, and someone who literally helped build the foundation of our institution, has reached out from across the country to pay forward what he received,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president. “We appreciate Steve and Patti’s service to education and their generous support of our students.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,400 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.

VGCC Inaugurates Seventh President

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College formally welcomed its new leader on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, with an inauguration ceremony for Dr. Rachel M. Desmarais, the college’s seventh president, in the Civic Center on the Main Campus in Vance County. The historic occasion was also part of a series of events held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the community college, which was established in 1969 as Vance County Technical Institute.

Vance-Granville Community College formally welcomed its new leader on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, with an inauguration ceremony for Dr. Rachel M. Desmarais, the college’s seventh president, in the Civic Center on the Main Campus in Vance County. (VGCC photo)

Danny Wright, chair of the VGCC Board of Trustees, performed the ceremonial investiture of the president, who has been on the job since earlier this year. In his remarks, Wright said, “We take this opportunity to look back on the rich tradition we have of providing education and training to our community. At the same time, we mark the start of a new era, and consider all the possibilities of the future.”

He then presented Desmarais with a medallion, featuring the college’s seal, to represent the authority of the president’s position.

Making her inaugural address, Desmarais remarked, “Vance-Granville Community College has been shining the light of education and opportunity in Vance, Granville, Franklin, and Warren counties for 50 years. I am proud of this legacy of learning and service. Indeed, I am honored to have been called to this college — to serve these communities. My life’s goal is to ‘make a difference’ in whatever I do. Likewise, I believe this institution has made a difference and will continue to make a difference in people’s lives. As we embark upon the next 50 years of learning and service, we have an opportunity to renew our commitment to being a community educator, convener, and partner.”

Several dignitaries brought greetings on behalf of the state and the four counties served by the college: Peter Hans, the president of the N.C. Community College System; Archie B. Taylor, Jr., chair of the Vance County Board of Commissioners; Dr. Alisa McLean, superintendent of Granville County Schools; Angela L. Harris, Franklin County Manager; and Vincent Jones, Warren County Manager.

VGCC students also played key roles in the event. Tyshii Scarborough, president of the VGCC Student Government Association, gave welcoming remarks, and two recent alumnae of the college, Angelica Bridges and Evan O’Geary, presented musical selections.

Special guests included not only local community leaders but also presidents of several community colleges from across the state.

VGCC President Recognizes Faculty & Staff Member of the Year

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College President Dr. Rachel Desmarais recently presented medallions to honor the college’s faculty and staff members of the year for 2018-19. The medallions are provided by the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) at The University of Texas at Austin as part of its excellence awards program, in which VGCC participates.

Stewart Lyon, honored as the outstanding faculty member, is the Program Head for Bioprocess Technology and was previously a Biology instructor for the college. He has been a VGCC faculty member for the past five-and-a-half years. “Serving at VGCC has been an awesome experience,” Lyon said. “We have a great community of faculty, staff, and students. I’m happy to be able to grow here.”

Blondelle T. Edgerton, the college’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) director, was recognized as the staff member of the year. A Louisburg resident, Edgerton has 24 years of service with VGCC.  “Working at VGCC has been a very rewarding experience, especially seeing our students mature and become successful,” she said.

From left to right: Stewart Lyon, Dr. Rachel Desmarais and Blondelle Edgerton. (VGCC Photo)

VGCC, Charles Boyd Grow Partnership to Drive Workforce Development

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College and Henderson-based Charles Boyd Chevrolet Buick GMC are teaming up to try to meet the demand for more skilled workers in the automotive service field.

According to Tony Crabtree, the service manager for the dealership, VGCC and Charles Boyd have worked together for many years, particularly through the college’s Automotive Systems Technology program. The company is also a longtime supporter of the VGCC Endowment Fund and was a sponsor of the recent 35th annual Golf Tournament. Now, however, the dealership is working for an enhanced partnership, because of the urgent need to build a pipeline of future employees.

Above: A group of VGCC Automotive Systems Technology students toured the Charles Boyd facility earlier this year. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

“Technicians are getting scarce,” Crabtree said. “Automotive is a good field to go into, because the demand is there, so technicians are making great money. VGCC is stepping up to help us get more students interested in this career.”

The strategy being developed now is a formal paid apprenticeship program, in which VGCC Automotive Systems Technology students will work alongside Charles Boyd employees for an extended period of time (perhaps as long as two years) while continuing their studies. Students could, for example, go to class at VGCC in the morning and then work at Charles Boyd every afternoon during a typical week. Crabtree has personal experience with such a program. “I started in this field as an apprentice at age 16 in Durham through a high school program,” he said.

The field of servicing cars and trucks has changed dramatically through Crabtree’s years in the business. “There is so much to learn now. The hard part is not replacing some part of the car, but the biggest thing is diagnosing what’s wrong with it, using computers. Some cars have 50-60 computers on them. And we want to give students the hands-on experience so they can see how complex and rewarding it can be.”

At the same time, Crabtree said, apprenticeships help students “test-drive” their career. “It would give students a taste of this field and they could find out if it really fits them,” Crabtree said. “It’s a win-win for all parties, the students and us.” Crabtree and his colleagues could train apprentices in the particular way that the dealership operates and could incorporate General Motors’ apprentice training program into the student experience. Training is essential to work as a technician at Charles Boyd, anyway.

“Our goal is quality work, and our technicians have to be trained constantly,” Crabtree said. “There are always new vehicles coming out that we’ve got to learn. I have to meet certifications myself.”

He added that the term “grease monkey” is a relic of the past. “Technicians are respected now,” Crabtree said. “With technology now, you can’t fix a car as a mechanic under the shade tree. And everybody wants their car to run, so there’s always a need.”

Eddie Ellington, the Director of Business Development & Public Relations at Charles Boyd Chevrolet, said that the dealership is fortunate to have Crabtree’s knowledge, experience and professionalism to help collaborate with VGCC. “GM Technicians are held to a higher standard and training,” Ellington said. “When you enter into an apprenticeship, you are learning what we strive for and our goal is that when you’re done, you’ll move right into full-time employment within our company.”

Ellington has a personal connection to the college. “I actually graduated from VGCC myself and transferred to Appalachian State,” he said. “To be just down the interstate from us and to offer the excellent training that Vance-Granville does, we are so thankful for the partnership we have. We’re a full-service General Motors dealership and Vance-Granville is a fully accredited community college. That’s a winning combination.”

Several Charles Boyd employees are products of the community college’s Automotive Systems Technology program. The head of the program, Fred Brewer, worked for Charles Boyd many years ago, and he has recommended graduates to Crabtree.

Charles Boyd has also worked with Brewer on Work-Based Learning opportunities, which typically take the form of internships that last for a single semester. A long-term apprenticeship, however, would be new.

Statewide, apprenticeships have long been associated with manufacturing, but are now found in a wide variety of businesses and trades. As Crabtree put it, “We’ve already got a great partnership with Vance-Granville, and we can only make it better.”

For more information on this partnership, contact Eddie Ferguson at [email protected] or (252) 738-3264. For more information on the VGCC Automotive program, contact Fred Brewer at [email protected] or (252) 738-3204.

VGCC Pins 19 Practical Nursing Graduates

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Nineteen Practical Nursing graduates were honored for their completion of the one-year program at Vance-Granville Community College during a pinning ceremony on July 24 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus.

Upon receiving their diplomas, the graduates are now eligible to sit for the national exam for licensed practical nurses (NCLEX-PN).

Nineteen Practical Nursing graduates were honored for their completion of the one-year program at Vance-Granville Community College during a pinning ceremony on July 24 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus. Front row (L to R): B. Williams, L. Clayton, M. Wanjiku, E. Ogachi, T. Onchiri, M. Casady, S. Mugambi; Second row (L to R): S. Nyambariga, J. Kortor, C. Howarth, S. Wilson, M. Sellers, S. Alston, C. Blakenship; Third row (L to R): S. Hawkins, M. Goedeker, T. Adesina, B. Kilmer. (VGCC photo)

Among the Practical Nursing graduates recognized at the ceremony were Candice Howarth of Bullock; Mary Wanjiku of Cary; Shaquile Hawkins and Sharlett Wilson, both of Creedmoor; Timothy Adesina and Justin Kortor, both of Durham; Stephanie Alston of Henderson; Laveasta Clayton of Knightdale; Megann Casady of Louisburg; Mikayla Sellers of Middleburg; Brittany Williams of Oxford; Marylou Goedeker, Sylvia Mugambi, Stephen Nyambariga, Esther Ogachi and Teresa Onchiri, all of Raleigh; Cindy Blankenship and Suzanne Wiley, both of Wake Forest; and Bryanne Kilmer of Youngsville.

Welcoming remarks were offered by Dr. Levy Brown, VGCC’s vice president of academic affairs; Erica Jastrow, the chair of the college’s Nursing Department; and Candice Howarth, president of the Practical Nursing Class of 2019.

“Our Nursing program goes all the way back to 1970, almost to the founding of this great institution, of which we are celebrating 50 years of existence this year,” said Dr. Brown. “Now we are proud to add to that history the Practical Nursing Class of 2019, a diverse group of students from several towns in our region.” While many members of the class have chosen specific nursing specialties for their careers, many also plan to continue their education, he said.  He encouraged the graduates to “aspire, accelerate and achieve in every walk of life.”

“With success comes great responsibility,” Jastrow noted in her remarks. “The work that these graduates did a year ago was work for their future selves that are here graduating today. I hope that others are inspired by your success to begin working toward their future selves. We at VGCC would love to have the opportunity to work with others to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.”

VGCC Welcomes Two New Trustees

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently welcomed a pair of new members to its Board of Trustees.

Deborah M. Butler of Youngsville was appointed to serve on the college’s governing board by the Granville County board of commissioners. Butler is a retired school teacher with 40 years of experience in education.

Dorwin L. Howard of Oxford was appointed to the board by Governor Cooper. Howard served as a teacher and administrator for Granville County Schools, retiring as the system’s superintendent. He currently serves as a pastor at First Cosmopolitan Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Both Butler and Howard were appointed to four-year terms on the VGCC board. Butler succeeds N. Annette P. Myers, while Howard assumes the seat formerly held by Herb Gregory.

The Board of Trustees has 12 voting members, with some appointed by the Governor of North Carolina and some by the county commissioners and the boards of education of Vance and Granville counties.

S. Quon Bridges, an attorney and former District Court Judge, administers the oath of office to Deborah Butler as a new member of the Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees. (VGCC photo)

S. Quon Bridges, an attorney and former District Court Judge, administers the oath of office to Dorwin Howard (center) as a new member of the Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees. (VGCC photo)

State Cabinet Secretary Visits VGCC

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College welcomed a member of Governor Roy Cooper’s cabinet, Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders, to the college’s Main Campus on July 18.

During her visit, Secretary Sanders discussed the recently-released “Status of Women in North Carolina Health & Wellness” report, commissioned by the Council for Women & Youth Involvement. The Council is a division of the Department of Administration.

Vance-Granville Community College welcomed a member of Governor Roy Cooper’s cabinet, Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders, to the college’s Main Campus on July 18. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

The report is the second in a series of four publications that provide data and policy recommendations to improve the status of North Carolina women in several key areas. The first report in the series, “The Status of Women in North Carolina: Employment & Earnings,” was released in 2018. The third report will focus on factors related to women’s economic security and economic opportunity, and the fourth on women’s political participation.

The series aims to serve as a resource that may be used to make data-driven decisions about how to shape public policies, prioritize investments, and set programmatic goals to improve the lives of women and families.

Governor Cooper appointed Sanders as Secretary of the N.C. Department of Administration on January 12, 2017. A native of Belhaven, N.C., Sanders brings to the Cooper administration experience in both management and leadership. She is a seasoned pharmaceutical and biotechnology executive who has held the role as vice president of manufacturing and general manager of Biogen’s largest and most advanced manufacturing facility in Research Triangle Park.

Sanders holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from N.C. State University and a Master of Health Administration from Pfeiffer University. As a native North Carolinian, wife and mother of twin daughters, she is passionate about improving the status of women in the state. Some of her work includes creating a Women’s Innovation Network at Biogen.

As Sanders puts it, “Improving the status of women in North Carolina is not just a woman’s issue. This is a family, poverty and economic issue.”

High School Students Explore Medical Science at VGCC South Campus

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College has once again partnered with the Wake Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to offer a “Mini-Medical School” camp for high school students. The week-long camp was recently held at VGCC’s South Campus, located between Butner and Creedmoor.

Students used computer simulations and hands-on lab activities to learn about topics that included anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, cardiology, epidemiology, medical genetics and genomics. The course was taught primarily by Becky Brady, a registered nurse and chemical engineer.

Faculty members from VGCC programs that prepare students for health-related careers gave students information about academic pathways and employment prospects.

VGCC has partnered with Wake AHEC since 2014 on Mini-Med School camps. Based in Raleigh, Wake AHEC serves nine counties: Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Lee, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren. 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.

NC AHEC’s mission is to meet the state’s health workforce needs and to provide education 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.

On front row, from left: Tanisha Shetty of Green Hope High School; Darlene Villarroel-Lopez of Wake Forest High School; Abigail Gorman of Green Hope High School; Alexis Duncan of Regan High School; Jenna Curry of Granville Early College High School; Alhanna Cancel-Roman of Wake Forest High School; Kaylee Huff of Granville Early College High School; Shreya Gandi of Enloe High School; and Pooja Shah of Wake Early College of Health & Science; On back row, from left: lead instructor Becky Brady; Anushka Mandalapu of Wake Early College Health & Science; Nijaha Alston of Granville Academy; William Sharp of Leesville Road High School; Ashleigh Kiger of Mt. Tabor High School; Seth Jones of Granville Central High School; Brandon Bowling of South Granville High School; Brooke Bowling of South Granville High School; Lacey Blackley of South Granville High School; and Andre Hargrove of Granville Central High School. (VGCC photo)

DOA Secretary to Present Report on Women’s Health at VGCC

-Press Release, State of North Carolina Department of Administration

DOA Secretary to Present Report on Women’s Health and Wellness at Vance-Granville Community College

When: Thursday, July 18, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Who: NC Department of Administration with Vance-Granville Community College

What: Presentation on a new report on Women’s Health & Wellness in NC

Where: Vance-Granville Community College (main campus), 200 Community College Road, Henderson, NC (Civic Center Building 9, Seminar Room #1)

Key speakers: NC Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders

Report Highlights:              

  • North Carolina ranks 11th highest in infant mortality and 9th highest in stroke mortality among women – and the problem is even worse in rural counties.
  • North Carolina’s mortality rates for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and breast cancer, among other diseases, have decreased since the 2013 report.
  • In North Carolina, more than one-third of women (35 percent) have experienced at least one type of intimate partner violence (IPV) and more than 35 percent of North Carolina women report having experienced some form of aggression or control by an intimate partner.
  • There are wide disparities in North Carolina women’s disease mortality rates by race and ethnicity. The heart disease rate among Black women in North Carolina is more than three times higher than the rate of Hispanic women, the racial and ethnic group with the lowest rate. Black women also have a rate of breast cancer mortality that is more than three times higher than the rate for Hispanic women.

VGCC Small Business Center to Offer Free QuickBooks, Financial Classes

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-Information courtesy Sheri Jones, Director, VGCC Small Business Center

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center is offering two free, three hour classes entitled “Quick Start Bookkeeping with QuickBooks.”

The classes will be offered on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at the times and locations as listed below and is being taught by Semone Brisson, an Accountant and QuickBooks Consultant of Brisson’s Accounting out of Salisbury, NC. A description of the classes content is below and registration is required.

If you, your members or someone you know could benefit from these classes, please forward the following information and registration links to them.

The links can also be accessed from our website at https://www.vgcc.edu/coned/small-business-center/#schedules.

CLASS DESCRIPTION

1)  “Quick Start Bookkeeping with QuickBooks”

This informative seminar is geared toward the novice bookkeeper and QuickBooks user. An accountant and QuickBooks consultant will show you how to set up and use QuickBooks desktop software for everyday accounting tasks in the simplest, most efficient way possible for your company or non-profit.

Topics include:

  • Setting up a company file quickly
  • Understanding and designing financial statements
  • How items and classes work
  • When to use receivables, payables and bank feeds
  • What is a “set of books” and how does it work?
  • What bookkeeping practices do I need?

This seminar will benefit both QuickBooks desktop and online users. It is not intended to be a “step-by-step hands-on class” and does not require a book. Questions are welcomed and encouraged.

“Quick Start Bookkeeping with QuickBooks”
Wednesday, July 31 from 6 – 9 p.m.

Kerr Lake Country Club – 600 Hedrick Dr. Henderson, NC 27537

Registration Link:  https://www.ncsbc.net/workshop.aspx?ekey=530390033

2) “Understanding Financial Statements”

Maintaining and understanding financial information is critical to running a profitable small business. This three hour seminar helps small business owners focus on using key financial reports to understand and operate their businesses. The seminar also explains how small business owners can use their financial statements to identify potential problems before they become serious threats to the business’ survival.

“Understanding Financial Statements”

Wednesday, July 31 from 1 – 4 p.m.
Vance-Granville Community College, Bldg. 7 – 200 Community College Road Henderson, NC  27536

Registration Link:  https://www.ncsbc.net/workshop.aspx?ekey=530390035