VGCC Child Care Center Awarded Five Stars

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

The state of North Carolina has once again awarded a five-star license — the highest possible rating — to the Child Care Center at Vance-Granville Community College’s Main Campus.

State evaluations of child care programs are conducted once every three years, explained Melanie Copeland, the manager of the VGCC center. “On a scale of one to 15 points, our program received 14 total points, earning the renewal of our five-star status,” Copeland said. “The five-star rating demonstrates that we provide exceptionally high-quality care and education.”

Above: The staff of the Vance-Granville Community College Child Care Center (on the college’s Main Campus) proudly display the certificate indicating the center’s renewed five-star license. They include, seated, from left, Pam Harris, Melanie Copeland and Kathy Hughes; and standing, from left, Hilda Cordell, Anita Fuller, and Rhonda Pegram. (VGCC Photo)

Since the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education began the current system of star rated licenses for child care centers in 2000, the center on VGCC’s Main Campus has earned the five-star rating in seven consecutive evaluations.

As part of the evaluation process, the Child Care Center was visited by fire and sanitarian inspectors, a state licensing consultant and two state-appointed evaluators. They rated the center in two categories – staff education standards and program standards. The center received a perfect score of 7 points in the area of staff education, 6 points for program standards, and a bonus point because all of its teachers have at least associate’s degrees in early childhood education.

“The strength of our child care center is our staff! The dedication they show day in and day out is what made our success possible. They are the most devoted group of ladies I have ever met. I knew when my two boys were here that this was a remarkable center. I am blessed to work side by side this group every day!” Copeland said.

Copeland pointed out that not only does the center provide outstanding child care, but it also affords an excellent environment for students in Vance-Granville’s Early Childhood Education program to gain practical training.

The VGCC Child Care Center is licensed to accommodate 38 children, toddler to four years old. For more information, parents can call Melanie Copeland at (252) 738-3220.

VGCC Golf Tournament Reaches Historic Milestone During Anniversary Year

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College had many numbers to celebrate at the conclusion of its recent Endowment Fund Golf Tournament: 35 annual tournaments, 50 years of service by the college to the community and more than 1 million dollars raised to date.

In fact, the fundraising total for the 35th tournament, presented this year by CertainTeed of Oxford, was more than $114,000, which will help fund scholarships for deserving students and support the mission of the college. That brought the total amount generated by all VGCC golf tournaments since 1985 over the million-dollar mark for the first time, to approximately $1,101,000.

A total of 148 golfers formed 37 teams to play in either the morning or the afternoon round on May 7 at the Henderson Country Club.

“Strong support from the community is part of the history of this college, dating back to 1969, and this year’s golf tournament was an incredible example of that support,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “On behalf of the students who will benefit, we want to thank all of the golfers and sponsors who made the tournament a success, demonstrating their commitment to higher education and to our region’s economic future.”

At the dinner held to round out the day, players received trophies as they also took home an assortment of door prizes and participated in a silent auction. In keeping with the theme of celebrating VGCC’s half-century history, attendees heard remarks from a member of the college’s first graduating class (who is now a faculty member), Faith Harris, and from a member of its most recent graduating class, Evan O’Geary of Henderson. Both expressed their appreciation to tournament participants.

In the morning round, the Sullins Engineering team of Ben Bryan, Tony Murray, Mike Hill and Scott Dickerson took home the “first net” trophy. The team of Xavier Wortham, Cecil Lockley, Darryl Moss and Robert Newby won “second net.” The “first gross” trophy went to the AAA Gas team of David Thomas, Blair Thomas, Hal Finch and Kyle Holtzman.

In the afternoon round, the Union Bank team of Dicky Flye, Andrew Flye, Hal O’Geary and Jan Fletcher finished with the “first net” score. The Boyd Chevrolet team of Mike Rainey, Russ Boyd, Brian Boyd and Bobby Wilkerson won “second net.” The “first gross” trophy in the afternoon went to the Institutional Interiors team of Tim Hill, Billy Stanton and Mike Baskett.

David Rigsbee took both the longest-drive prize on Hole 1 and the closest-to-the-pin prize on Hole 11 in the morning round.

Blake Montgomery had the longest drive while Heath Davis won the closest-to-the-pin prize in the afternoon round.

Numerous companies and individuals supported the VGCC tournament as sponsors. The afternoon round was sponsored by Altec Industries of Creedmoor.

Other Premier Sponsors included Bridgestone Bandag, Carolina Commonwealth, Charles Boyd Chevrolet Buick GMC, Duke Energy, Durham Coca-Cola, First Citizens Wealth Management, Glen Raven, John Nelms, Jr., M.R. Williams, Novozymes North America, Private Wealth Management of N.C., Robling Medical, Universal Leaf North America U.S., Inc., Vanco Outdoor Equipment and Wester Insurance Agency.

Platinum Sponsors included CenturyLink, Core & Main, Granville County Farm Bureau, Henderson Collegiate, Institutional Interiors, K-Flex, Kilian Engineering, Mast Drug Company, Union Bank and Variety Stores, Inc.

Gold Sponsors included Carolina Sunrock, The Athlete’s Foot, Golden Skillet, Ted’s Catering Service and Winston International.

Green Sponsors included Barnett Real Properties, Inc., Dill Air Controls Products, HG Reynolds Company, Inc., International Paper, May & Place, Newton Instrument Company, Nick & Sons Truck Repair, NT Techno, RFR Metal Fabrication, Vescom, North America, Wake Electric Membership Corp., and Watkins Plumbing.

Fairway Sponsors were Granville Health System and Greystone Concrete Products.

Tee Box Sponsors included Ag Carolina Farm Credit, Ahner Security, BB&T, Banzet, Thompson, Styers & May, Brame Specialty, Carolina Country Snacks, Century 21 Country Knolls Realty, Inc., City Tire, Inc., College Station Food Inc., Comfort Systems USA, Comfort Zone, Cross & Currin Attorneys, Curtis & Joanne Thompson, Dabney Drive Animal Hospital, Dave & Kay Currin, Dave Carver, Drake Dentistry, DDS, PA, Eddie and Debra Ferguson, Encore Tech, Frazco, Inc. Insurance – Real Estate, Fred’s Towing & Transport, Inc., Granville County EDC, Hicks, Wrenn, PLLC, Hight Warehouse, JM White Funeral Home, Mack and Judy Choplin, Marsha J. Nelson, Medical Arts Pharmacy, Morton and Sherman Implement Co., Inc., MPACT Solutions, LLC, One Source Document Solutions, Pete Smith’s Tire and Quick Lube, Phillips Dorsey Thomas Waters & Brafford, P.A., Pino’s Italian Restaurant, Postal Plus Business Center, Riggs-Harrod, Robco Manufacturing/Alumadock Marine Structures, Sherman & Boddie, Inc., Southern Educational Systems, Southern Laundry, Stainback, Satterwhite & Zollicoffer, PLLC, Sunrise Biscuits of Oxford, Thomas Hester, Vance Construction Company, the Vance-Granville Deans, Waste Industries, Whitco Bug Warriors, William L. Stark and Company, and WOW Wash on Wheels.

Other contributions were made by Ace Hardware of Oxford, Bamboo Garden, Barbara Harris, Bob Hubbard/Angus Barn, CDWG, Carolina Country Snacks, Chick-fil-A, City Tire, Deanna Stegall, George’s of Henderson, Ichibar Japanese Restaurant, Institutional Interiors Inc., Nan’s, The Peanut Roaster, Schewels Furniture Company (Henderson), Schewels Furniture Company (Oxford), Stella & Dot, Sunrise Biscuits, Tarheel Vending and Wholesale, Tidal Wave, US Foods, Vance Furniture, Vanco Outdoor Equipment, Robert Winston, ARC3 Gases, Backyard Retreat, Cal Rogers – Events 2 America, Circuit Tech, Dr. Ben Currin, Donald Seifert, Jim Crawford, Judge Henry & Mamie Banks, Lewis Electric of Oxford, Sarah Baskerville, Tru-Green Landscaping, and Walmart Distribution.

Each year, the golf tournament is the major fundraising event for the VGCC Endowment Fund, through which more than 9,400 scholarships have been awarded to students since 1982. Scholarships have been established by individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. For more information, call (252) 738-3409.

The Sullins Engineering team of, from left, Scott Dickerson, Mike Hill, Tony Murray and Ben Bryan took home the “first net” trophy in the morning round of the 35th Annual Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund Golf Tournament at the Henderson Country Club. (VGCC Photo)

The team of, from left, Robert Newby, Cecil Lockley, Xavier Wortham and Darryl Moss won “second net” in the morning round of the 35th Annual Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund Golf Tournament at the Henderson Country Club. (VGCC Photo)

The “first gross” trophy went to the AAA Gas team of, from left, Blair Thomas, David Thomas, Kyle Holtzman and Hal Finch in the morning round of the 35th Annual Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund Golf Tournament at the Henderson Country Club. (VGCC Photo)

The Union Bank team, which included, from left, Dickie Flye, Andrew Flye, Jan Fletcher and Hal O’Geary, finished with the “first net” score in the afternoon round of the 35th Annual Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund Golf Tournament at the Henderson Country Club. (VGCC Photo)

Runner-up in the afternoon round of the 35th Annual Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund Golf Tournament, winning “second net,” was the Boyd Chevrolet team of, from left, Brian Boyd, Bobby Wilkerson, Mike Rainey and Russ Boyd. (VGCC Photo)

The “first gross” trophy in the afternoon went to the Institutional Interiors team of, from left, Macy Foster, Billy Stanton, Mike Baskett and Tim Hill in the afternoon round of the 35th Annual Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund Golf Tournament at the Henderson Country Club. (VGCC Photo)

New VGCC Scholarship Endowed in Memory of Local Couple

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Dr. M.W. Wester, III, and his wife, Sara Wester, of Henderson have endowed a new scholarship at Vance-Granville Community College in memory of Dr. Wester’s parents.

The new Presidential Merit Award-level scholarship honors the legacy of the late Dr. and Mrs. M.W. Wester, Jr., better known as “Wes” and “Dee Dee” to their friends.

The late Dr. M.W. Wester, Jr. and Dee Dee Wester. (Photo contributed by the family)

The Westers met and married at Duke University, while he was a medical student and she was studying physical therapy. After completing school, they returned to his hometown, Henderson, where he opened a family medicine practice. He brought in a partner, Dr. Reg Tucker, and later Dr. Beverly Tucker, Dr. Roddy Drake, Dr. Randolph Mills and Dr. Franklin Mills.

The practice eventually became known as Henderson Family Medicine Clinic and is now Duke Primary Care Henderson. Dr. Wester was always interested in the education of new physicians and served as an adjunct faculty member at Duke and at UNC-Chapel Hill. He brought a number of medical students to the clinic in Henderson to complete their family practice rotations.

Mrs. Wester, born Eleanor Clardy, practiced physical therapy at Maria Parham Hospital for many years. Her hobby, however, was teaching ceramics, china painting and doll making at VGCC. She started teaching when the college was still a technical institute that was housed in the former Maria Parham Hospital in downtown Henderson, and she continued until 2008. Mrs. Wester also served on the VGCC Endowment Fund Board while she was serving as president of the Hospital Guild.

Sara Wester has continued her mother-in-law’s tradition of involvement with VGCC, as a member of the college’s board of trustees since 2004.

The new scholarship will be awarded to a student in a Health Sciences program.

VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson, Endowment Specialist Kay Currin and President Dr. Rachel Desmarais join Sara Wester and Dr. M.W. “Buddy” Wester, III, to celebrate the creation of the new scholarship in memory of Dr. Wester’s parents, during the 35th annual VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament at the Henderson Country Club. (VGCC photo)

“This scholarship is a fitting tribute to the Westers’ lifetime of service and will inspire the students who receive it, as they pursue their own careers serving others through health care,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president. “At the same time, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vance-Granville, we are reminded of the important role of continuing education classes like those taught by Mrs. Wester, which have provided not only skills but also joy to members of the community throughout our history.”

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.

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation Endows Third VGCC Scholarship

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

The Triangle North Healthcare Foundation recently endowed a new scholarship specifically designed to support Vance-Granville Community College Nursing students who are enrolled in a program to complete bachelor’s degrees.

In awarding the “Triangle North Healthcare Foundation RIBN Presidential Scholar Award,” preference will be given to students in the “Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses” (RIBN) program. RIBN students are simultaneously enrolled at the community college and North Carolina A&T State University. They earn associate’s degrees in nursing through VGCC over three years (while also taking A&T courses online) and then continue for one year of additional courses at A&T required for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

From left, Triangle North Healthcare Foundation (TNHF) executive director Val Short, VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais and Arline Richardson, a TNHF board member and chair of its Scholarship Committee, celebrate the creation of the new scholarship. (VGCC photo)

The new endowment marks a continuation of the partnership between the college and the foundation, which has already created two VGCC Academic Achievement Scholarships, one of which is also designed to be awarded to students in the RIBN program. The Presidential Scholar Award is the college’s second-highest scholarship tier.

“Triangle North Healthcare Foundation is pleased to support the RIBN program, which enables a local student to achieve a bachelor’s degree in nursing at a university while remaining in the community,” said Val Short, the Foundation’s executive director.

Based in Henderson, the Triangle North Healthcare Foundation provides grants to nonprofits organizations, governmental agencies, and schools in Vance, Warren, Granville and Franklin counties. The Foundation also provides scholarships to students in the region who are pursuing health care careers.

“We are grateful for the Triangle North Healthcare Foundation’s partnership with our college to further strengthen the RIBN program,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president. “This scholarship will be a new source of support to help outstanding Nursing students prepare for rewarding careers in health care and meet employers’ need for highly-trained professionals.”

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.

Corbitt Preservation Association Establishes Annual VGCC Scholarship

-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

On behalf of Vance-Granville Community College, Endowment Fund Director Eddie Ferguson recently accepted a check from Mr. Tom Burleson of the Corbitt Preservation Association.

The check is for an annual scholarship to be awarded to a second-year Mechatronics student holding the highest GPA. The scholarship recipient will also receive a one-year membership in the Corbitt Preservation Association.

On behalf of Vance-Granville Community College, Endowment Fund Director Eddie Ferguson (left) recently accepted a check from Mr. Tom Burleson (right) of the Corbitt Preservation Association. The check is for an annual scholarship to be awarded to a second-year Mechatronics student holding the highest GPA. (VGCC photo)

VGCC Graduates 15 Cadets in 108th Basic Law Enforcement Training Class

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Fifteen cadets graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Vance-Granville Community College in a ceremony held May 14 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus. After passing the state certification exam, all are authorized to work in any law enforcement agency in North Carolina.

Above: On front row, from left: graduates Kevin Allen, Taylor Inscoe, Zachary Long and the college’s interim director of Law Enforcement Training/BLET, Glen Boyd; on second row, from left: graduates Maggie Cabiness, Jonathan Kearney, Jeremy Moore, Zachary Workman and Seth Hodge; and on back row, from left: graduates Gina Chappell, Daniel Allen, Michael Bader, Andrew Spitzer, Jake Coleman, Sabrina Hoyle and Emma Britt. (VGCC Photo)

Honored as members of VGCC’s 108th BLET class were: Emma Carey Britt and Andrew Ronald Spitzer, both of Butner Public Safety; Jeremy Dale Moore and Zachary Lance Workman, both of the Granville County Sheriff’s Office; Jake Matthew Coleman and Sabrina Edward Hoyle, both of the Henderson Police Department; Seth Thomas Hodge of the N.C. Division of Parks & Recreation; Daniel Marquis Allen, Michael James Bader and Gina Christine Chappell, all of the Oxford Police Department; Kevin Ward Allen, Taylor Nicole Inscoe and Zachary Thomas Long, all of the Vance County Sheriff’s Office; Maggie Rena Cabiness and Jonathan Shawn Kearney, both of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

The class was exceptional in at least two major ways. First, all 15 cadets who began the program successfully graduated, marking a rare 100-percent completion rate for the rigorous 16 weeks of training. Second, each member of the class was employed by a law enforcement agency by the day of their graduation.

Speaking as leader of the class, Cadet Seth Hodge thanked all the graduates’ family members and friends in attendance for their support. He added that the class had learned a great deal about teamwork. “We as a group of strangers decided on this path together, and we were tasked to complete our first major hurdle in our careers together,” Hodge said. Learning to trust one another, he said the team had then become a family. “And no matter where our lives take us from here, no matter the badge or uniform we wear, I want you to always remember just what we are: family,” he added.

VGCC Campus Police Chief Sean Newton, representing the program’s many instructors, was chosen by the cadets as the keynote speaker for their graduation. He congratulated the cadets on the completion of “a long, hard journey.”

Newton reminded the new law enforcement professionals that they would be taking an “oath of honor” to uphold and protect the Constitution, their community and their agency.

“The first thing you will uphold is the Constitution,” Newton said. “You’re taking an oath to protect the rights of all people of our state and country: the victims of crimes, the general public, and those accused of crimes. In my opinion, there is no greater responsibility than this.”

Second, they will pledge to uphold their community. “I cannot stress enough how important it is to embrace and include the community in your law enforcement efforts,” Newton said. “We’ve seen a reported breakdown between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Some of it is unfortunately true, while some may be exaggerated by social media or certain biases. Regardless of the reason, we must, as members of the law enforcement community, constantly strive to better these relationships.”

Finally, he said, graduates will swear an oath to the agencies they serve. “I would like to add all law enforcement officers in general to that category,” Newton said. “Always remember, you won’t be the only officer judged by your actions; every other officer in the country will be, too. No other profession is scrutinized as much as law enforcement, and rightfully so.”

The police chief called on graduates to think carefully about the words in their oath and remember them as they start their careers. “How you embrace these words will determine how successful your career will be,” Newton said.

Glen Boyd, interim director of Law Enforcement programs and BLET at VGCC, presented awards to several students. Kevin Allen took home the Academic Achievement Award for having the top grade average in the written tests each cadet must pass. Seth Hodge earned the Physical Fitness Award for scoring highest in the various fitness tests the cadets undergo during physical training. Michael Bader won the “Top Gun” Award for having the highest accuracy score in firearms qualification.

For more information on the BLET program, contact Glen Boyd at [email protected].

VGCC Basic Skills Grads Encouraged to ‘Go Further’

 -Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Graduates of the Adult Basic Skills programs at Vance-Granville Community College received inspirational messages along with their diplomas during commencement exercises on May 2. The students being honored in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County were among those who have completed either the Adult High School Diploma program or the High School Equivalency program in the past year.

The principal commencement speaker for the ceremony was Rev. Dannie T. Williams, chief of human resources with the Franklin County Schools. “I am one of you,” Williams told the graduates because he completed the GED high school equivalency program himself. The 16th of 18 children, the Franklin County native recalled, “I left the high school arena because I had to go to work to provide for my family.”

Rev. Dannie T. Williams, chief of human resources with Franklin County Schools, served as principal commencement speaker at Vance-Granville Community College’s Basic Skills commencement ceremony on May 2, 2019. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

He added, “There were many who told me that a GED wouldn’t carry you anywhere, that a GED was a dead end. Wrong! This is the beginning for you; it was only the beginning for me.”

Williams advised graduates to be lifelong learners. “Don’t be satisfied with this graduation. Go further and keep moving forward. The world is waiting for what you have to offer,” he told the students. “Education will take you places you never dreamed of.” Recalling that, ironically, his high school counselor did not advise him to go to college, Williams went on to complete multiple college degrees, to work in education and serve on the county school board. Most recently, he has completed all required coursework for his doctoral degree (Ed.D.) and is currently working on his dissertation.

He called upon graduates to “be true to yourselves….love yourselves….recognize, appreciate and develop your unique talents.” He also asked them to pass on encouragement. “Be somebody’s coach,” Williams said. “As you have reached this milestone in your life, reach back to somebody else and say, ‘I’ve done it, you can do it, too.’ Coach them into being in the next graduating class at Vance-Granville Community College.”

Speaking on behalf of the graduating students was Rev. Roberta Egerton of Louisburg. She completed her High School Equivalency earlier this year after attending classes on VGCC’s Franklin County Campus.

“I have been striving for this goal for 30 years, but my family came first and then I became a foster mother,” Egerton told the audience. “Afterward, I had setbacks and sickness but I overcame, and by overcoming, I stand before you today as a proud woman of 76 years old. No matter what life may bring your way, I want you to know that you can overcome any obstacle, because I stand here as a living witness today, saying ‘never give up,’ but continue in your education.”

She is now enrolled in the Nurse Aide program at the college and plans to eventually obtain an Associate’s Degree in Nursing.

“There is nothing impossible if you want to reach your goal,” she advised her fellow graduates. “You have to maintain, to stay focused and be committed. Apply the wisdom and knowledge that you have been taught at VGCC.”

As an extra incentive for graduates to begin their collegiate studies, each received a certificate worth free tuition and fees for one semester of courses in curriculum programs or continuing education courses at VGCC, absorbing costs not covered by federal financial aid.


Keyara Shanell Moncur of Apex;

Carly Jean Minor of Butner;

Tre’Sean Quintez Clark of Chapel Hill;

Mishak Rodriguez Brown, Jr., Tinajha Al’more Davis, Cheyenne S. Days, Davionne Omneatte Dunlap, Donte L. January, Jainay Cishara Richardson, Imani Jabre Staton, Deja Nicole Stokes and Deshawna Shanyah Welcome, all of Charlotte;

Israel Tramell Melvin of Clinton;

Elijah Bowling of Creedmoor;

Kyana Yeshema Humbert and Taneesha Nicole Kirk, both of Fayetteville;

David Nathaniel Dunn, Joseph Thomas Dunn and Ryan C. Morris, all of Franklinton;

Tyequan KyAngelo Davenport of Greensboro;

Dysheka V. Baker of Greenville;

Amber Lynn Abbott, Zermaine Bianca Alston , Jasmine Jeanae Johnson, Alexis Simone Miller, Kaitlyn Ann Parrish, Alicia Monae Pointer and Quaneisha Wortham, all of Henderson;

Ladajah Rashaye Mebane of High Point;

Ty’shon D. Stokes of Hollister;

Aliyah Shonte Cabbagestalk and Amaru M. Golden, both of Hope Mills;

Arkeivious Lavar Alston of Kittrell;

Kera Cherisse Brindle of Lexington;

Trinity Janae Frazier and Karla Rebollar, both of Louisburg;

Paytyn Justice Abbott, Takiera Money Mayo and Jessica Pearson, all of Macon;

Daeaz Jacoby Holloway-Baine of Matthews;

Christian Miguel Avalos, Ivori Samon Christian and Lakeisha Monshe’ Henderson, all of Norlina;

Erin L. Banks, Bailee Michelle Barker, Jazmine Samone Brame, Jacob Lee Edmonson, Michael Austin Skiff and Darian Jaiole Yates, all of Oxford;

Erine Eliel Reed and Samuel Brian Teague, both of Raleigh;

Marcedia Rosand Warren of Roanoke Rapids;

D’Lang Williams of Salisbury;

Taj Andrew Young of Sophia;

Tayla Rae Bowen of Stem;

Joshua Lee Nelson of Thomasville;

Micah Dillon Breeden and Yerania Reyes Novas, both of Wake Forest;

Paige Cheyanne Brown, Tianna Laynia Burt, Enijah Marquel Henderson, Shea’ Moneak Jones, Alicia Lafonda Lewis, Adraya Michelle Lewis Love, Zachary Allyn Sampson, Abigail Loren Short, Anna Townes and Alexis Miracle Young, all of Warrenton;

Jarek Damonte Burwell and Sarah Elizabeth Dale, both of Youngsville;

Michael Lamont Williams of Zebulon.



Autumn Brea Finch – Gilliam of Castalia;

Tony Dale Arnold, Malisa Jensen, Willard Abram Lewis and Hunter Cameron Sparrow, all of Creedmoor;

Araceli Palacios of Durham;

Karena Allen, Kristofer Erak Bryant, Jeremy Croskey and Alyssia Lyn Pugsley, all of Franklinton;

Johnnie Ray Berry, Jr., Desmond Antwann Davis, Rondarious Malick Keith, James Allen Neal, Donnie Ray Travis and Nathan Wills, all of Henderson;

Shakayla Tatiyana Burnett of Kittrell;

Araceli Alejo-Benítez, Linda Lee Crudup, Roberta Flagg Egerton and Kira L. Tant, all of Louisburg;

Lucas Logan Matthews and Kaleigh Yvonne Overby, both of Norlina;

Drew A. Johnson and Cesar Lorenzo Vazquez, both of Oxford;

Jessica Marie King and Joel Wayne Poe, both of Stem;

Mariah Lashelle Alston, Alhaarith Ibn-Faruq Abdul Haqq and Kempton Louise Robertson, all of Warrenton;

Emily Rose Gaeta and Andrew Hillman, both of Youngsville;

Harley Raven Brantley of Zebulon.

VGCC Pins 2019 Associate Degree Nursing Graduates

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recognized 37 students who graduated this spring from the Associate Degree Nursing program with a pinning ceremony in the college’s Civic Center on May 8.

Among those honored with distinctive nursing pins at the ceremonies were nine who graduated through the LPN to ADN Transition Program, which helps Licensed Practical Nurses to continue their education and then become Registered Nurses. Those graduates were: Lakeisha Scott of Bullock; Catherine Bullock of Butner; Lilian Schleifer of Cary; Christine Atieno of Durham; Frances Beddingfield, Joseane Buckley, Teresa Coley and Wanda Davis, all of Oxford; and Leslie Judd of Raleigh.

Above: members of the 2019 Associate Degree Nursing class at Vance-Granville Community College who received their nursing pins on May 8 included, on front row, from left: Ashton Hobgood, Lakeisha Scott, Rachel Munson, Chelsea Ray; Frances Beddingfield, Emily Padgett and Katie Lee; second row, from left: Michelle Madison, Abigayle Edwards, Rhonda Williamson, Catherine Bullock, Hellen Mbuya, Wanda Davis and Melissa Ramos; third row, from left: Joseane Buckley, Keyona Bullock, Ashley Flynn, Vanna Farrar, Teresa Coley, Tuesday Mathews, Jessica Honhart and Maritza Vazquez; fourth row, from left: Leslie Judd, Phylicia Wimbush, Allison Stell, Shanae Rhoades, Takera Green, Angela Talam and Caitlin Pernell; back row, from left: Kaylin Gibson, Moses Onchonga, Tyler Thorp, Ashley Sawyer, James Temple, Brandon Smith and Christine Atieno; not pictured: Lilian Schleifer. (VGCC Photo)

The graduates who took courses in the traditional five-semester sequence included: Tuesday Mathews of Angier; James Temple and Rhonda Williamson, both of Bullock; Emily Padgett of Butner; Kaylin Gibson of Creedmoor; Takera Green and Moses Onchonga, both of Durham; Vanna Farrar and Ashley Sawyer, both of Franklinton; Katie Lee, Allison Stell, Tyler Thorp and Phylicia Wimbush, all of Henderson;

Keyona Bullock, Jessica Honhart, Rachel Munson, Caitlin Pernell and Chelsea Ray, all of Louisburg;

Ashton Hobgood, Hellen Mbuya and Shanae Rhoades, all of Oxford; Abigayle Edwards, Angela Talam and Maritza Vazquez, all of Raleigh; Michelle Madison of Selma; Ashley Flynn and Brandon Smith, both of Wake Forest; and Melissa Ramos of Warrenton.

Welcoming remarks for the ceremony were offered by Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC President; Dr. Anna Seaman, Associate Degree Nursing Program Head; and Ashton Hobgood, president of the graduating class of 2019.

Academic honors were presented to graduates who completed the program with at least a 3.5 grade point average: Angela Talam, and Tyler Thorp, who was recognized for having the highest GPA in the class.

Cords were presented to students who participated as members of the National Student Nurses Association, which sponsors community service projects and professional development. These students included Bullock, Coley, Davis, Farrar, Flynn, Gibson, Hobgood, Honhart, Mathews, Munson, Padgett, Pernell, Ray, Rhoades, Sawyer, Smith, Stell, Talam and Thorp.

Instructor Brande McIlroy described the significance of the nursing pin. The unique green and gold pin identifies each nurse as a VGCC graduate and indicates that the graduate has the training and competence to serve as a professional nurse. During the ceremony, graduates were pinned by Dr. Anna Seaman and received lamps from instructor Patsy Pegram. Meanwhile, Nursing Department Chair Erica Jastrow read their biographies.

After all graduates had received pins, the lights in the Civic Center were lowered, and instructor Crystal Senter led students in reciting the “Nursing Pledge” by lamplight.

VGCC Honors Radiography Graduates at Pinning Ceremony 

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Twenty-two new graduates of Vance-Granville Community College’s two-year Radiography program were honored in a May 6 pinning ceremony in the college’s Civic Center.

The Radiography Class of 2019 included Frantz Alexis, Jr., of Chapel Hill; Shanice D. Alleyne, Karene Anderson, Matthew Battistel, Kristen Bowman, Starsha M. Hargrove and Dwayne Huneycutt, all of Creedmoor; Allison Weaver Wiggins of Franklinton; Samantha Pierce and Paige Snider, both of Garner; Brooklyn Rooker and Ashley Bobbitt Ward, both of Henderson; Angela Basili of Hillsborough; Shayla A. Cash and Dulce Santillan, both of Louisburg; Megan Irene Proctor of Macon; Crystal Sorrell and Megan Whitman, both of Oxford; Rubi Judith Coyote Baizabal, Celeste Evans and Treva Gordan, all of Roxboro; and Marina Rombout of Stem.

Above: members of the 2019 Radiography graduating class at Vance-Granville Community College who received their pins May 6 included, on the front row, from left: Marina Rombout, Megan Whitman, Angela Basili, Shanice Alleyne, Shayla Cash, Treva Gordan and Brooklyn Rooker; second row, from left: Ashley Ward, Paige Snider, Samantha Pierce, Dulce Santillan, Crystal Sorrell and Rubi Coyote; third row, from left: Karene Anderson, Matthew Battistel, Dwayne Huneycutt, Allison Wiggins and Kristen Bowman; back row, from left: Megan Proctor, Starsha Hargrove, Frantz Alexis and Celeste Evans. (VGCC Photo)

Angela M. Thomas, the Dean of Health Sciences/ Interim Program Head for Radiography, presided over the ceremony. She encouraged students to “love what you do or you will not give it your best; enhance your passion for giving and dream bigger than Disney World.” The ceremony featured live entertainment by Detroit Yancey, an Oxford native, who sang “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Lewis Daughtry, Jr., one of the instructors for the program. He advised the students, “Do not think future opportunities are going to stop and wait for you. You must be ready.”

Rubi Judith Coyote Baizabal gave an address in response on behalf of her classmates. A Dean’s List student and Phi Theta Kappa inductee, she has served as one of her program’s representatives in the VGCC Student Government Association.

“Remember, do not bury your failures, let them inspire you,” Baizabal told her fellow students.

Lindsay Hinkle from the VA Medical Center in Durham was chosen by the graduating students to receive the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) Certificate of Excellence for Clinical Educators. The students voted for Tabitha Owens from EmergeOrtho William Penn Plaza in Durham as the top technologist at the clinical sites in which they received their 900 hours of practical training, while the Clinical Affiliate Award of Excellence went to the EmergeOrtho William Penn Plaza in Durham.

Receiving the JRCERT Certificate of Excellence for Students was Megan Whitman, who also received the VGCC Radiography Academic Award. In a first-ever tie, the VGCC Radiography Clinical Excellence Award was presented to two students, Megan Proctor and Brooklyn Rooker.

Instructor Anthony Twisdale shared the history of the Radiographer’s Pin before he and Angela Thomas awarded the pins to each graduate. Thomas led the graduates in reciting the Radiographer’s Pledge as the ceremonies concluded.

New VGCC President to Address Graduates as College Celebrates 50 Years

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Dr. Rachel Desmarais, who earlier this year became the seventh president of Vance-Granville Community College, will serve as the principal commencement speaker for the college’s graduation exercises on Friday, May 10, 2019. As VGCC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Desmarais follows in the footsteps of the school’s first president, Dr. Donald Mohorn, who was the commencement speaker at the first such ceremony, back in 1970.

Dr. Rachel Desmarais, who earlier this year became the seventh president of Vance-Granville Community College, will serve as the principal commencement speaker for the college’s graduation exercises on Friday, May 10, 2019. (VGCC Photo)

Jose Angel De Leon of Henderson, president of the VGCC Student Government Association, will be the student speaker.

Nearly 500 students are scheduled to be honored during ceremonies beginning at 6 p.m. at the gazebo by the lake on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. For those unable to attend the event in person, VGCC will broadcast a live video feed from the ceremony online on its YouTube channel (

The VGCC Board of Trustees selected Dr. Desmarais to become the college president in December 2018, while she was serving as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Forsyth Technical Community College.

Once a student at Forsyth Tech, Desmarais became an adjunct instructor at the community college from 1996 to 1999 while also working in the private sector. She joined Forsyth Tech full-time in 2002 and served in a variety of academic and administrative roles over the next 16 years.

Jose Angel De Leon of Henderson, president of the VGCC Student Government Association, will be the student speaker. (VGCC Photo)

Desmarais earned her doctorate of philosophy in instructional design and technology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., in 2015 after getting her master’s of science in information technology management from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2003. She earned a bachelor of music degree in voice performance from Mars Hill College in 1992.

She was also among fewer than 40 aspiring and emerging community college presidents nationwide who were chosen for the Aspen Institute Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence in 2017-2018.

De Leon is graduating from VGCC with a degree in Criminal Justice Technology. A graduate of Norlina Christian School, he has earned Dean’s List and President’s List honors at the college and has been inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

De Leon plans to continue his education at North Carolina Central University, where he will complete a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. His long-term plan is to earn his Ph.D. in criminal justice or criminology and become a college professor.

Students serving as graduation marshals will be Caroline Williamson of Bullock; Ebony Cotton of Franklinton; Hannah Edwards, Evin Swilley, April Zuniga-Trejo and Leslie Zuniga-Trejo, all of Henderson; Gricel Arroyo of Louisburg; Miranda Brown of Oxford; Rana Alashmali of Timberlake; and Ronnie Brodie, Jr., of Wake Forest.


April Zuniga-Trejo of Henderson

Caroline Williamson of Bullock

Ebony Cotton of Franklinton

Evin Swilley of Henderson

Gricel Arroyo of Louisburg

Hannah Edwards of Henderson

Leslie Zuniga-Trejo of Henderson

Miranda Brown of Oxford

Rana Alashmali – Timberlake

Ronnie Brodie, Jr., of Wake Forest