VGCC Uses Federal Dollars Earmarked To Pay Unpaid Student Bills

Vance-Granville Community College cleared unpaid balances for 261 of its students who attended between Spring 2020 and Summer 2021, to the tune of $153,332.14.

VGCC, like other colleges across the state, applied money from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to provide financial relief to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is important for us to help our students remove barriers that keep them from getting the skills they need to better their work or life situations,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “Leveraging HEERF funds to help students affected by the pandemic to continue their education is just one of those ways. Our students and our communities matter to us!”

Dr. Levy Brown, VGCC’s vice president of learning, student engagement & success, said the college’s business office and financial aid personnel were key players in making this debt forgiveness a reality. “This move speaks to the college’s true commitment to helping students succeed,” Brown said.  “We are glad that our students were able to directly benefit from the HEERF funds and are able to continue their educational and training journey.”

The VGCC admissions and advising teams will work directly with former students affected by this change to help them get re-enrolled at the college and continue pursuing their programs of study. For more information about enrolling or re-enrolling at Vance-Granville, visit


VGCC Joins #CCMonth Celebration

Vance-Granville Community College added its name to the list of community colleges across the country to participate in #CCMonth, a month-long campaign to raise awareness about advantages of attending a community college and how they influence economies, academics and equity.

The campaign, coordinated by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), coincides with April’s designation as Community College Month. It’s a way to showcase that public community colleges are “a uniquely American educational model that was designed to guarantee access to affordable, high-quality higher education for all people,” according to a press release from VGCC’s Director of Communications Chris LaRocca. From nursing programs to trade certifications, community colleges “also serve as an onramp to bachelor’s, master’s and higher-level degrees for many students, and particularly for the most demographically and socioeconomically diverse students,” he stated.

Community college can accommodate adult students who work and go to school at the same time, and also make education accessible for many students who otherwise would not be able to access higher education.

“Community colleges are engines of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said ACCT President and CEO J. Noah Brown. “They give opportunities to all students, and they support all students throughout their educations, whether they attend to attain an associate degree or certificate, intend to transfer on for a bachelor’s or higher degree, or they take one or a few courses to learn a new skill or expand their horizons.”

The campaign is expected to have strong participation from community colleges and their supporters throughout the country.

The Local Skinny! April 15; Small Biz Summit on Agriculture

VGCC to hold Small Business Summit focused on Agriculture

Vance-Granville Community College will present the 9th Annual Small Business Summit, entitled “Ag Alternatives & Legacy Farms,” on Thursday, May 20, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

This event will provide attendees with a day of agriculture education and information sharing, including discussions of niche farming, agritourism and farm modernization, led by a diverse group of successful farmers and business owners. Attendees will also learn about agriculture-related grants and financing options.

The event will be held outside, at Seven Springs Farms and Vineyards (332 Axtell Ridgeway Road, Norlina, NC), and all CDC-recommended social distancing and mask protocols will be followed.

Attendance is free of charge to the first 50 people to register. Lunch is included with registration and will be provided by The Meat Up Spot, a regional food truck (a vegetarian option will be available).

“Agriculture is an important part of our local economy, with many of our small businesses being involved in food and farming, so we are excited to focus on this sector,” said Tanya S. Weary, VGCC’s Dean of Business & Industry Solutions.

Derrick Jackson of Grass Grazed Farm in Durham will serve as the keynote speaker, discussing “A New Farming Model.” Jackson and his wife, Paige, operate a 60-acre farm, where they focus on sustainable pastured livestock, ethical practices and regenerative agriculture.

Other sessions include a panel on “High Tunnel Production,” led by N.C. Cooperative Extension including Dean’s Greens Farm, Rocky Ridge Farms and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; “Land of Opportunity: Heir Property, Startups, and Finding Your Niche” with Patrick Brown of Brown Family Farms/Hempfinity; a session on “Agritourism, Partnerships and Building Community,” featuring Seven Springs Farms & Vineyards and Lake Gaston Outfitters; and a presentation on “Finding Resources: Cost-Share, Grants, and Financing Your Agribusiness.”

The event is hosted by the VGCC Small Business Center, with co-sponsors including Warren County Economic Development, The Meat Up Spot, Sweet Delights, Grass Grazed, and Seven Springs Farms & Vineyards.

The deadline to register is May 10. For more information, contact Small Business Center Director Sheri Jones at

Register Here —

(This text above is a VGCC Press Release.)

Audio of The Local Skinny! for 4-15-21

VGCC Law Enforcement Training Division Receives Reaccreditation

— VGCC Press Release

Vance-Granville Community College’s Law Enforcement training division received word last week that three programs have been reaccredited until May of 2026.

Last month, a field representative from the Criminal Justice Standards Division of the State Department of Justice conducted an audit of Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET), Speed Measuring Instrument Training, and General Instructor Training programs. The audit included a review of program-related files campus facilities, and program equipment to ensure compliance with guidelines set by North Carolina Training and Standards Commission.

Law Enforcement Training Coordinator, Glen Boyd, said, “Our training and administrative staff work tirelessly to maintain the integrity and proper documentation of our programs. We would like to thank our partner agencies for trusting us to provide training for their agency.”

VGCC’s Law Enforcement Training program has been providing training at all levels for over 40 years. The program partners with and serves law enforcement and corrections agencies in Granville, Vance, Franklin and Warren counties.

For more information about VGCC law enforcement­­ programs please visit or contact Glen Boyd, Coordinator of Law Enforcement Training, at or Trudy Hargrove, Administrative Assistant, at

Sheri Jones VGCC

VGCC celebrates Entrepreneurship Week

— courtesy of Vance Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College is celebrating National Entrepreneurship Week (Feb. 13-20, 2021) with a variety of virtual events for the community.

National Entrepreneurship Week (NEW), established by the United States Congress in 2006, is a celebration of small businesses, innovators, and creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life and drive economic vitality. “NEW is a time to celebrate, to be inspired and to get motivated to do what you love,” said VGCC Dean of Business & Industry Solutions Tanya Weary, who is coordinating the observance along with VGCC Small Business Center Director Sheri Jones.

VGCC’s online events kick off on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 9 a.m. with a video posted to the VGCC Facebook page (, entitled “What is Entrepreneurship?” followed on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 9 a.m. with another video posted on the Facebook page, called “Do What You Love!”

On Monday, Feb. 15 at noon, VGCC will present a lively, one-hour seminar, entitled “Give It to the People: Your Brand, Your Voice, Your Business,” with instructor Chisa D. Pennix-Brown, the CEO of Lady Bizness. Attendees will learn how to empower their brand, enhance their voice and increase their business. There will be opportunities to ask questions of the presenter. Registration in advance is required through

The next day, Tuesday, Feb. 16, at noon, the community is invited to “Lunch with an Entrepreneur – Learn the Failures and Successes of Starting a Business,” with Jason Shearin, a seasoned entrepreneur and owner of Lake Gaston Coffee in Littleton. Shearin will lead a discussion on what it takes to own your own business and will take questions from participants. Registration in advance is required through

Dean Tanya Weary will lead a webinar, “Business Plan 101,” on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at noon. She will explain how one of the most important tasks in starting a new business or growing an existing business is the business plan. Registration in advance is required through

On Thursday, Feb. 18, at 9 a.m., the college will showcase one of its recent alumni, Greg Kelly, who graduated from the VGCC Truck Driver Training (CDL) program, on VGCC’s Facebook page.

On Friday, Feb. 19, at 9 a.m., the community can attend a virtual “StartUp Crawl” in order to learn about, and take a virtual tour of, a pair of local business incubators: Frontier Warren and the Creedmoor Business Center. This will be accessed on the VGCC Facebook page.

The series concludes on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 9 a.m., with a session called “Taking the Initiative.” This video, posted to the VGCC Facebook page, is designed for people who have ideas for small businesses and are ready to take the next steps. Sheri Jones, director of VGCC’s Small Business Center, will discuss what these aspiring entrepreneurs need to do.

The Small Business Center has a variety of resources to support entrepreneurs through education and training. For more information on the Small Business Center, contact Sheri Jones at or (252) 738-3240.

For more information about National Entrepreneurship Week, contact Tanya Weary at, visit and follow the VGCC Facebook page (


VGCC Nursing Faculty and Students help Granville Health COVID Vaccine Drive Thru Clinic

Nursing students at Vance-Granville Community College had the opportunity to help during recent COVID-19 vaccination events in the area. Dr. Anna Seaman, program head for the Associate Degree in Nursing at VGCC, along with others in the nursing program, helped at the vaccine drive-through at Granville Health Systems last weekend. Senior students got to help administer the vaccines; junior students and VGCC faculty supported in other ways.

Brande McILroy, simulation coordinator for the nursing program at the community college, also participated, according to information from Chris LaRocca in the VGCC  communications department. The event took place on Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, Jan. 16.

More than 2,000 people got vaccinated during the two-day event. While senior students actually help administer the shots, other faculty members and junior nursing students provided support in other areas, LaRocca stated, from gathering paperwork and documentation from clients to monitoring patients after they got the shot to make sure they had no adverse reactions.

The faculty and students plan to help with future events at Granville Health as well as other health care facilities in the service area.

Wheeler honored for leadership at VGCC

Cecilia Wheeler, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Vance-Granville Community College, recently received the President’s Excellence in Leadership Award, presented by the college president, Dr. Rachel Desmarais.

This honor is one of VGCC’s three Glen Raven Excellence in Teaching and Leadership Awards. Glen Raven, Inc., the custom fabrics manufacturer with a facility in Warren County, is a longtime partner and supporter of the college. In addition to sponsoring annual stipends to recognize excellence among VGCC instructors and staff members, Glen Raven has endowed several scholarships for students.

“Dean Wheeler is an exceptional leader for our School of Arts and Sciences, the largest division within credit instruction at VGCC,” Dr. Desmarais said. “She brings a flexible strength to her leadership position. She is known as a ‘problem-solver’ to students and a project leader to her colleagues. Dean Wheeler exemplifies bridge-building, truth-telling, dedication to the College mission, and true humility.”

A resident of Oxford, Wheeler has worked at VGCC for more than 30 years. She joined the college as assistant coordinator for VGCC’s South Campus in Granville County in 1989. In later years, she served as leader for that campus, as, progressively, its coordinator, director and dean. In 2018, Wheeler assumed her current role, in which she leads more than 40 full-time and adjunct faculty members in eight curriculum programs, offered on all four of VGCC’s campuses. For many years, she was an adjunct instructor herself, teaching courses such as American History and Southern Culture.

Wheeler holds a master’s degree in History from Appalachian State University and a bachelor’s degree in History from Mars Hill College. She is also a graduate of the N.C. Community College System Leadership Institute, conducted at N.C. State University.

Wheeler is also the current president of the Granville County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive this award,” Wheeler said. “I am very fortunate to work with very talented and dedicated faculty, staff and colleagues to help our students achieve their dreams and our communities to grow.”

VGCC Press Release

TownTalk 1-19-21: MLK Virtual Celebration VGCC Jan 26

The public is invited to join a virtual panel discussion next week that will focus on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event will be hosted by the Vance-Granville Community College Men’s Achievement Academy, with the support of Rho Beta Lambda of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., according to Dr. Jeffrey Allen, VGCC Dean of Student Retention and Success.

Allen appeared on Tuesday’s Town Talk with John C. Rose and gave details about the upcoming event, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Visit to find a link to register for the Zoom panel discussion.

“We feel like we have assembled a great wealth of knowledge to discuss the life and legacy of Dr. King,” he said during an interview recorded earlier Tuesday morning.

Panelists include Dr. Jim Harper, Chair of the History Department at North Carolina Central University; Dr. Doris T. Williams, retired professor and VGCC Board of Trustees member; Rev. Dr. William T. Ramey, retired educator, pastor and VGCC Board of Trustees member; Judge Adam Keith, Vance County District Court judge; and Sara Bell, instructor of Humanities at VGCC. N.C. Rep. G.K. Butterfield also will give remarks, Allen said.

Although honoring the legacy of the slain Civil Rights leader is a large part of what the panel will discuss, he expects that the panelists also will challenge the attendees, “really pushing them to live the legacy of Dr. King,” he said. “The whole goal is we want to be informative, we want to empower people; and the other piece is we want to inspire people to continue to bring change,” he added.

Click play for Dr. Jeffrey Allen on TownTalk.  Story continues below…

Empowering people to unite and to be a force for change are ideals King strived for, Allen said. “It’s our job now as citizens to carry his legacy, moving forward, so we can continue to fight the fight for civil rights for all,” he added.

Servant leadership is another of King’s ideals that Allen wants to emphasize.

“This is a great opportunity for us just to remind ourselves of his legacy of social justice and service to others and civil rights for all…(to) refresh our memory to go out and be empowered and inspired to do great things in our community,” Allen said.

This graphic and the cover graphic courtesy of VGCC.

Students in the Men’s Achievement Academy at VGCC experience servant leadership, Allen noted. The mentoring program is in its second year and, although it targets first-year students and minority males, it is open to any male who wants to be a part of the program.

The feedback so far has been positive, he said. “They love the program, they love participating, even in this virtual environment, they really appreciate the support that their mentors have given them during this pandemic,” Allen said.

Allen and his team plan and support a variety of initiatives, all designed to support students be successful in college. They oversee tutoring, academic advising and academic support, as well as counseling, student activities and athletics. “The college has done an excellent job…to support students and we’re continuously working and looking at thing that support student achievement.,” he said.

Register for the event at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Allen at

(This is not a paid advertisement.)

Vance-Granville Community College continues to “cultivate” new Agri-Tech program

— press release

Vance-Granville Community College continues to “cultivate” new programs for the Spring semester.  The Sustainable Agri-Tech program will grow one’s knowledge in the agricultural field and prepare students for occupations in a wide variety of jobs in agriculture (both production and value-added) with a range of skills and knowledge.

The program addresses agricultural concepts, skills, and techniques that are required by the agriculture industry. Upon completion, students would have explored sustainable and organic methods, plant, soil and animal science, field management, equipment maintenance and basic computer skills and marketing techniques.

Class begins on February 22, 2021 at 6:00 PM.  Kelly Dixon will be leading this hybrid class at our Warren Campus.  The 96-hour program is made up of only 30 hours in the classroom and 66 hours online.  Cost is $188.25.  Tuition assistance is available to those who meet eligibility guidelines.  Space is limited.

For more information, please visit our webpage:

(This is not sponsored content.)

Local News Audio

WIZS Noon News Audio 01-06-21: VGCC; Property Tax; Farmers Market; Weather

The WIZS Noon News Audio with stories including:

  • Registration Deadline for VGCC Spring Classes
  • Property Tax Deadline
  • Vance County Regional Farmers Market Advisory Committee Meeting
  • Police News
  • Weather/Snow