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VGCC’s Psychology Club Completes First Food Drive for ACTS

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-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s Psychology Club recently completed its first food drive. The organization hopes to make this a periodic event.

The Psychology Club collected canned goods and non-perishable items from November 12 to December 13 and received over 489 items, all of which were donated to Area Christians Together in Service (ACTS), which is located in Henderson, N.C.

VGCC students who would like more information about the Psychology Club can contact Sharon O’Geary at (252) 738-3419.

The VGCC Psychology Club poses with items donated during their first food drive before delivering them to Area Christians Together in Service (ACTS) located in Henderson, N.C. Pictured, from left: Sonya Barnes, Norma Martinez, Haley Moore, Alvin Foster, Cody Greene and Sharon O’Geary-Advisor/Psychology Instructor. (VGCC photo)

VGCC Honors 2019 Retirees at Holiday Event

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-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College honored five employees that retired in 2019 at a holiday event held on Thursday, December 12 in the VGCC Civic Center.

Retirees and their years of service to VGCC included Phyllis Bynum, 14 years of service; Faith Harris, 14 years of service; June Kersey, 8 years of service; Tina Moll, 14 years of service and Vickie W. Watkins, 14 years of service.

Fellow VGCC employees spoke on behalf of the retirees and thanked each for their hard work, commitment, and invaluable contributions.

Vance-Granville Community College honored five employees that retired in 2019 at a holiday event held on Thursday, December 12 in the VGCC Civic Center. (Front row, left to right): Phyllis Bynum, VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ph.D., Faith Harris. (Back row, left to right): Tina Moll and Vickie West Watkins. Not pictured, June Kersey. (VGCC photo)

VGCC’s Kenneth Wilson Receives Glen Raven Award

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-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s Kenneth Wilson (Project Manager –  TechHire Grant) won the Glen Raven award on Thursday, December 12, 2019. He was presented with the award by VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ph.D.

VGCC and Glen Raven are longtime partners. The college serves the company by providing training programs for employees on subjects including management, leadership, safety and technical skills such as industrial maintenance.

A strong corporate supporter of VGCC’s Endowment Fund, Glen Raven has endowed scholarships for students as well as awards that recognize faculty and staff excellence.

Vance-Granville Community College’s Kenneth Wilson (Project Manager –  TechHire Grant) won the Glen Raven award on Thursday, December 12, 2019. He was presented with the award by VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ph.D. (VGCC photo)

New VGCC Scholarship Honors Maria Parham Guild Gift Gallery Volunteer

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Volunteers from the Guild Gift Gallery at Maria Parham Health recently presented $25,000 to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund to create a new scholarship. This scholarship — the 14th established by the Guild Gift Gallery in recent years — honors the memory of one of the volunteers, the late Vernell Champion of Henderson.

Champion passed away in November of 2018 at age 76.

In front, from left: Guild Gift Gallery volunteers Claire Catherwood, Tricia Kleczek, Gean Bobbitt, Charlotte Ayscue and Beverly Parrish. In back, from left: VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson with volunteers Fern Ellington, Stephanie Stringer, Pat Ayscue, Shaaron Reynolds, Betty Abbott, Jean Hutchins and Ralph Hutchins. Not pictured: volunteers Shannon Clark, Carol Pegram, Margie Moss, Gail Malone, Jean Norwood, Debra Smiley, Cathy Nowell, Judy Campbell, Sylvia Anderson, Linda Washburn and Anne Bunch. (VGCC photo)

“Vernell was one special lady,” her fellow gift shop volunteer Cathy Robertson remembered. “Vernell was a valuable asset to the Guild Gift Gallery for more than eight years. She was a loyal volunteer, always ready to lend a helping hand anytime, and she was a special friend to all who knew her. She was an active member of Victory Baptist Church and also of South Henderson Pentecostal Church.”

The new gift continues a tradition of the organization’s generous support for education. The volunteer-operated Guild Gift Gallery offers convenience items and gifts as a service to both patients and visitors at the hospital. Profits from sales are used to provide scholarships to people preparing to enter the health care professions.

The new VGCC scholarship will assist deserving students in programs such as Nursing, Radiography, Medical Assisting and Pharmacy Technology.

“Vance-Granville continues to be grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Guild Gift Gallery,” said Eddie Ferguson, VGCC’s endowment fund director. “We’re honored that we get the opportunity to celebrate the life of Mrs. Champion in this way, by helping students achieve their educational goals for years to come.”

Because the “Vernell Champion/Guild Gift Gallery at Maria Parham Presidential Scholar Award” scholarship is endowed, it will be awarded in perpetuity.

“Mrs. Champion’s legacy of volunteer service will be an inspirational example to students who receive a scholarship in her name, as they prepare to serve in the health care field,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, the president of VGCC. “Thanks to volunteers like Mrs. Champion, the Guild Gift Gallery makes a significant difference in our community by supporting students in their pursuit of rewarding careers.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,700 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, please call (252) 738-3409.

VGCC Receives $194K Grant From Duke Energy & Piedmont Natural Gas

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-Press Release, Duke Energy

Vance-Granville Community College today announced a $194,160 investment from Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas. The funds will help connect students with hands-on training and career development opportunities.

The investment will be used to expand apprenticeships in the fields of Mechatronics, Industrial Maintenance and Welding, as part of VGCC’s “Business & Industry Connect” program. The college will be able to purchase new equipment, provide tuition supports for students and implement additional training, including the nationally-known “Tooling U-SME” program.

From Left to Right: Kenneth Wilson, Tanya Evans (district manager, Duke Energy), VGCC President Rachel Desmarais, Ken Lewis, Eddie Ferguson. (VGCC photo)

“This grant represents a huge boost to our local industry partners and to students who are looking to energize their careers,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “We appreciate the continuing support of Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas because apprenticeships are part of VGCC’s multi-pronged approach to addressing workforce shortages so that our economy can grow.”

“We are proud to partner with Vance-Granville Community College to connect students with apprenticeship and workforce training opportunities,” said Tanya Evans, district manager, Duke Energy. “These students will help meet the growing and evolving needs of the region’s manufacturing industry.”

This grant is part of Duke Energy’s $35 million investment in North Carolina’s Community Colleges’ focus on technical education and support of business and industry. Individual community colleges could apply for funds through the North Carolina Community Foundation and the Foundation for the Carolinas.

Applications were reviewed by a committee of representatives from Duke Energy, NC Community College System and NC Department of Commerce.

Former Early College Student Credits VGCC for Success

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-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College

Oneisha Rebecca Leonard came to Vance-Granville Community College in 2011 as a Granville Early College High School student. “I was a good student, with mostly A’s and B’s, but I was not as focused on school as I should have been until I began taking classes at Vance-Granville,” Leonard recalled.

She said that because of her college classes, “I became more focused on my future.”

Oneisha Leonard, former Granville Early College High School student, is pictured on her May 2019 graduation day from Winston-Salem State University. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

Leonard said that VGCC prepared her for the next level of education by helping her hone not only her academic skills, such as writing papers and doing research but also her time management skills. Eventually, she transferred to Winston-Salem State University.

“Vance-Granville gave me the tools I needed to succeed in college by preparing me for what to expect and what was expected of me,” Leonard said. “My instructors at Vance-Granville were, and still are, some of the best instructors I have ever had.”

She credits her academic experience at VGCC with setting the stage for her to make the dean’s list every semester at the university. She also became a student leader, as a member and chapter president of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society. “I also presented at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference this past November in Birmingham, Alabama, where I gave a presentation on my research on post-colonialism and psychoanalytic theory as it related to western colonization,” Leonard said.

With her VGCC credits and preparation, Leonard was able to graduate a year early from Winston-Salem State University in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Now, she is preparing to attend graduate school. But she still appreciates where her higher education began, saying, “I would like to thank Vance-Granville Community College for all they have done for me, while I attended and after I left.”

NC Community College Educators Attend Regional Seminar at VGCC

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently hosted a regional seminar for educators from a number of North Carolina community colleges on the subject of “active learning.” The event was presented through a partnership with the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) at The University of Texas at Austin and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE).

Earlier this year, VGCC was one of just 10 colleges across the country that were selected to host one of these credit-bearing regional seminars, which support faculty use of evidence-based teaching practices.

“It was great to see talented faculty members expanding their knowledge to enhance teaching, learning and the student experience,” remarked VGCC Vice President of Learning, Student Engagement & Success Dr. Levy Brown.

Laurie Pendleton, the Executive Director of Assessment at ACUE, served as the presenter for the training. “I really enjoyed helping faculty at Vance-Granville Community College and colleges throughout the area engage in learning to fine-tune their use of active learning strategies,” said Pendleton, a veteran teacher and professional development specialist.

Active learning is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process, with activities that emphasize interaction, participation and critical thinking.

“It is always exciting to work with faculty who are so invested in the success of their students, and I look forward to hearing how the participants bring these research-based practices back to their students,” Pendleton added. “Vance-Granville Community College was an exceptional host, and both NISOD and ACUE appreciate their careful planning, participation and support throughout the day.”

Petra Kohlmann, Partnership Director for ACUE, also participated in the seminar at VGCC. “It was a pleasure to be with faculty at Vance-Granville Community College, as well as ACUE and NISOD colleagues, as we learned together about ways to engage students in large classes through active learning techniques,” Kohlmann said. “Being part of a ‘classroom of instructors’ is always an invigorating experience, and I look forward to more opportunities to share ACUE’s research-backed teaching practices with Vance-Granville.”

Edward J. Leach, the Executive Director of NISOD, thanked VGCC faculty and staff for their help co-hosting the event. “VGCC has raised the bar when it comes to providing an excellent learning experience for Seminar participants!” Leach said.

Retired VGCC Faculty Member, Wife Establish Scholarship

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Wesley and Sheila Smith of Kittrell recently established a new scholarship for students at Vance-Granville Community College.

Wesley Smith has a longstanding association with VGCC. He graduated from the college’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology (often called HVAC) program in 1988. Several years later, Smith returned to become an instructor and head of the same program. “I was a good fit for the job,” he recalled – so good, in fact, that he remained in that position for 27 years, before retiring from VGCC in 2018.

Left to right: Kay Currin, Sheila Smith, Wesley Smith, Dr. Rachel Desmarais, Eddie Ferguson. (VGCC photo)

Now, Smith and his wife have created the “Wesley E. and Sheila K. Smith Academic Achievement Scholarship,” which will be awarded each year to a worthy student. Preference will be given to students in the HVAC program who meet certain academic requirements.

“I want to help students because this is a great career and the HVAC technician can make a good income,” Mr. Smith said.

“Wesley Smith spent decades educating, inspiring and supporting students while preparing them for their careers, and now, he is continuing his outstanding legacy of service through this scholarship,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president. “We thank Wes and Sheila for their generosity, which will help students complete the training they need for good jobs in our community.”

VGCC Endowment Fund Director Eddie Ferguson added, “Dedicated, caring faculty members like Wes have helped make our college a special community over the past five decades, which makes it fitting that he and Sheila have created a scholarship during our 50th anniversary year, which will reward excellent students for years to come.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,700 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.

Additions to VGCC Building Will Enhance Public Safety Training

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recently marked the completion of the second phase of renovation and construction work on Main Campus Building 10, providing additional instructional capacity for the Law Enforcement Training, Fire/Rescue and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) programs. That represents the culmination of a complete overhaul of the 16,000-square-foot building, a former commercial structure that the college purchased in 2010.

Pictured: Steve Barney, Head instructor for EMS programs at VGCC, in the EMS Lab. (VGCC photo)

Building 10 is located on Poplar Creek Road in Vance County, across the street from the rest of the college’s Main Campus. The first phase of its renovation was completed in 2016, providing new space to train public safety professionals and other students. Now, the newly completed area of the building allows participants to benefit from cutting-edge practical simulation training.

A new EMS lab will allow VGCC to provide training that was not previously available, using state-of-the-art equipment that gives students opportunities to participate in real-life scenarios. The lab will be used for EMT-Basic through EMT-Paramedic students, to include continuing education classes. Enhanced manikins in the lab provide immediate feedback to EMS personnel, so they can improve their skills. The equipment allows the instructor to input changes to various types of feedback from the manikins to the students, for maximum training flexibility.

In addition, the completion of Phase II includes a driving simulator that helps prepare police, fire and EMS students for safe emergency vehicle operations in a controlled environment. Finally, a firearms simulator provides 21st – century scenarios for officers to practice all forms of de-escalation techniques and all levels of the use of force. Both simulators help current officers improve their driving and firearms skills.

Pictured: Delton Farmer, VGCC Program Head -Business, in a car simulator. (VGCC photo)

“We are so very excited about the new space and equipment that allows us to better serve our fire, rescue, emergency services and law enforcement students and community agencies,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president. “Vance-Granville is proud to be able to provide this resource as we continue to meet the region’s demand for jobs in these areas.”

VGCC Board of Trustees member Doris Terry Williams added, “We are very fortunate to have this state-of-the-art expansion to our campus and the opportunity it provides for first-class training of area law enforcement officers and first responders.”

The H.G. Reynolds Company began renovation of this 3,200-square-foot portion of the building in 2018. In addition to the renovation, parking lot space was expanded.

A grant from the Cannon Foundation and funds from the statewide Connect NC bond (approved by North Carolina voters in 2016) supported the project.

Vance-Granville Community College Band to Present Winter Concert

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

On Monday, December 2, 2019, the Vance-Granville Community College Band will present its Winter Concert at 7:30 p.m. in McGregor Hall in downtown Henderson, NC. The concert is free to the public and will last about an hour.

Brian Miller, the conductor of the band, commented that the band is playing classics of band literature. “All of our music is good, solid, traditional band music,” said Miller. “We will open with Sousa’s ‘Manhattan Beach March’ and will close with his ‘Century of Progress March.'”

On Monday, December 2, 2019, the Vance-Granville Community College Band will present its Winter Concert at 7:30 p.m. in McGregor Hall in downtown Henderson, NC. The concert is free to the public and will last about an hour. (VGCC photo)

“No band concert is complete without Sousa, for Sousa is the greatest band composer of all time. His music has a universal and timeless appeal,” commented Miller.

In addition to the Sousa marches, the band will perform some light classics that include a transcription of Shostakovich’s “Waltz No. 2,” and themes from Wagner’s “Tannhauser,” incidentally considered by Sousa to be the greatest operatic composition of all time.

A chief focus of the concert, of course, is seasonal holiday music. Claire Ramsey will read “The Night Before Christmas” with a special band accompaniment. Audience members will hear such traditional favorites as “Blue Christmas,” “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” and a medley entitled “Christmas Around The World.”

The Old Vanguard Woodwind Quartet will perform in the middle of the concert and will have some special Beatles transcriptions that the audience will recognize and appreciate.

“Band concerts are very old-fashioned and traditional,” said Miller. “What a great way to start the Christmas season! We are pleased to present this wonderful music in the middle of historic downtown Henderson. McGregor Hall is such a terrific performance venue. We are so fortunate to have such a facility in Henderson.”

Miller, in addition to conducting duties for the Vance-Granville Community College Band, teaches online Music Appreciation courses for Vance-Granville. He is the band director and assistant administrator for Crosscreek Charter School in Louisburg and plays the pipe organ at Louisburg Baptist Church.

Prior to coming to Crosscreek and Vance-Granville, Miller was the longtime director of the Louisburg High School band program.

“Please tell everybody you know about our concert,” concluded Miller. “It will be fast-paced, interesting, and should leave you humming favorite tunes. The VGCC Band strives to be ambassadors of music in our multi-county service area. It is our pleasure to present this beautiful traditional music to the public.”

For more information, contact band director Brian D. Miller at 919-496-5877 or by email: [email protected]