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Last Modified: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Lt. Gov. Talks of Economy, Love, Learning With VGCC Graduates

May. 13, 2003

The economy in the 21st century has changed, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue told the spring graduating class at Vance-Granville Community College May 13, and she urged them to keep learning to succeed in it.

“The job market of today and tomorrow will be based on brains, not brawn, minds, not muscle,” the state’s second highest elected official said to the class of 390 and hundreds of family members and friends gathered at the commencement exercises by the college’s campus lake.

America’s war on terrorism, North Carolina’s economic problems, an increasingly diverse population and the local impact of international actions all were mentioned as factors that will affect the graduates’ futures. “It requires a new level of understanding of our economic and social institutions,” she said, adding that we must adjust the way we do business, the way we educate our workforce and how we think of the world around us in order to be competitive in the world market.

Perdue, a member of the State Board of Education and the State Board of Community Colleges, spoke of how successful institutions like Vance-Granville Community College are preparing students to meet the changing world and its challenges. She urged the graduates to keep studying, to keep learning.

Although she holds a Ph.D., Perdue told the graduates that she is back in school studying Spanish, “So that I can talk to the people of North Carolina.”

Perdue also emphasized the importance of love, not only loving the people around them, but of finding something to do that they love. “As you think back on your life later and what truly matters to you as a person, it won’t be the degrees, the money you’ve made, your golf handicap or who won the Coca Cola 600,” she said. “You will look back at what you did to make life better, the people you touch, the love you experience, and the joy of a life well lived.”

Lt. Gov. Perdue also picked out several graduates for special recognition. She mentioned Flora Watkins Cates, 60, of Oxford, the oldest member of the VGCC graduating class, who received here associate’s degree in Human Services Technology. She also spoke of mother and daughter graduates, Brenda and Teleza Cobbins of the Williamsboro community of Vance County. Brenda completed the Teacher Associate program, and Teleza the College Transfer program.

While applauding each of these for their unique successes, Perdue said, “And each and every one of you have your own story, and tonight, each of you graduates is the star of your own show and deserve hugs, kisses, applause.

“You tonight, right here in Henderson, are my American Idols,” the lieutenant governor said.

Vance-Granville Community College presented 187 degrees and diplomas in curriculum programs and 173 adult high school diplomas and General Equivalency Diplomas. It was pointed out during the commencement that more than 4,800 persons were enrolled in the college’s 35 curriculum programs in the past year. Also, about 16,000 different people took at least one class at Vance-Granville, which means the college serves about one of every seven people in its service area of Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties, President Robert A. Miller said.

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VGCC Spring Graduation 2003 In Pictures




Two sets of mothers and daughters graduated together from Vance-Granville Community College May 13. Right, Teleza Cobbins and Brenda Cobbins, both of Henderson, shared the special day; Teleza after completing the College Transfer program and Brenda after receiving her diploma in Early Childhood/Teacher Associate. Also, above, Donna Cheek and her daughter, Falin Cheek, both of Durham received their High School Equivalency diplomas (GED) during the ceremonies.




Selena Burwell of Burwell crosses the stage after receiving double degrees (Associates in Applied Science) in Accounting and Business Administration from President Robert A. Miller.


Automotive Technology graduates listen intently as Lt. Gov. Perdue addresses the 34th commencement exercises at VGCC in the college's 34th Commencement Exercises on the main campus at the gazebo on Tuesday, May 13.





Associate Degree Nursing graduates clearly identify themselves in a fun and memorable way, looking forward to the day when they will be registered nurses.



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VGCC Spring 2003 Graduates



Shelley Abdel-Halim Antwanne Arnterio Hooper Jessica Lynne Rodwell
Travis Banks Kimberly Nicole Jackson Juanita Stevenson
John Thomas Carter Nathaniel Ashley Kyle Jennifer Lynne Stone
Donna Denise Cheek Lisa Marie Lynch David Harold Teeters
Falin Nychole Cheek Victoria Manson Phillip Donamechee Terry
Kenney Danielle Cogdill Sheila Richardson Mason Robert Martin Terry
Adam Jermaine Douglas Angelica Maria McCoy Tina Marie Tice
Wykenna Shonté Dumas Ruthie Lee McKnight Jeramie Everett Turner
Catrina Michelle Graham Karmon Cole Parker Victoria Veronica Valdez
Cynthia Burt Hawkins Tanita Montá Pegese Morris Walker, Jr.
Judith Ann Hecht Sherrita Nicole Pope Alicia Joan White
Wayne Leon Hightower Jamika Ann Rice Otha Wimbush, Jr.
Brittany Margaret Hobgood Taneka Diane Richardson Ginger Ann Woodell
Edward Matthew Holland Cherita Reneé Roach Shaquilla Lashanda Yarborough
Beanita Gail Holman-Smith   Lamar Antwan-Trevese Young




Matthew Ryan Abbott Krystle Dominique Green Anthony Coneilius Ragland
Salah A. Ashaif Jessica Lynn Hackworth Eugene Joseph Russell
Kevin Michael Bagbey Mark Kasan Harrison Brandon Christopher Ryall
Sharlo Shalice Bailey Shannon Marie Hight Stephanie Joanna Salinas
Lekeshia Lashone Bethea Lashonda Paulette Howzer Megan Leigh Savage
Bianca Chanté Boyd Mari Breanna James Ashley Earnesia Smith
Ashleigh Brooke Branham Reggie Lee Lang Jacquelyn Antonette Smith
Tyrone Lamont Bullock Candra Lynn Lutz William Gary Stamey
Tracy Bernice Carpenter Shekera Nyota McCleave Charles Lemont Tabron
Olivia Marie Chetney Bernadette Elaine Mebane Derrick Quentin Thorpe
Kimberly Ann Cochran Diane Nichole Messer Jamie Lynn Torzok
Towanda Lee Crosson Brendan Ernst Meyer Laura Ashley Tucker
Jeffrey Anthony Currence Rebecca Diane Meyer Thomas Lance Watkins
Catrina Lee Czernecki Benton Andrew Miller Sonnet Aubry Welch
Kimberly Hope Deel Allison Knott Milligan Francesca Nicole Wells
Thomas Lee Dickens III Tanisha Monique Montgomery Tyler Steve Wiggins
Jennifer Ann Dixon Joseph Nalevaiko III LaShaunda Danielle Wilkerson
Niesha Sharron Durham Kathy Ranes Newcomb Marissa Delia Wilkes
Alexis Roberto Fletcher Kelly Renee Norwood Citorrie LeShun Wilkins
Shyla Rose Foss Mikki Shaun Parrish Takeeia Nataya Williams
Robert Polard Franklin Cherlonda Yvette Pearson Justin Robert Woodin
  Laryn Cherí Pratt  




Timothy Paige Henley
Andrew Edward Hielema
Dwight Johnson
James Irving Joyce, Jr.
Trevor Kimbler
Cedric Antwyon McAuley
Randall Keith Midkiff
Antonio Perry
Kirk Richardson
Larry W. Self


Romaro Lashawnshinta Covington
James Elias Henry
Cory Marcel Lewis
Christopher William Pennell


Michael Thomas Ingrassia
Kerry Allan Rutherford


Stacy Renae Freshour
Carol Lorraine Hamlett
Angela Spry Lewis
Charlene Antoinette Perry
William Devon Rhone
David Lamont Richardson
Linda Gayle Thomas


Lou D. Baskerville
Brenda C. Cobbins
Barbara Ann Cozart


Michael Anson Davis


Tewonn Michael Brown
Steven Scot Sharber




Jennifer Long Baird
Selena Burwell
Lisa Wynette Collier
Sandra Cooper Freddie
Shannon Marie Robinson
Debra Antoinette Jones Talley
Marcus Edward Tunstall
Glynnis Ruschelle Wilson


Michelle Lee Averette
Candace Bryant Brown
Tracie Lynn Gerber Carpunky
Karen Hastings Clayton
Laura Elizabeth Covington
LeAnn Milton Cox
Sherry Oakley Daniel
Christy Henderson Dickerson
Sylvia Gayle Fairchild
Julie JoAnn Ferguson
Shelley Renae Fields
Tammy Meador Gallagher
Gloria Marie Goodin
Domenick Lavette Hicks
Amanda Kay Hilliard
April Dawn Horton
Natalie Mureen Hunter
Pamela Denise Johnston
Marchita Rena Magbie
Kippy Anthony Mitchell
Marcia Amatangelo Mitchell
Heather Lee Morton
Kellie Aman Norris
Erica Davis Payne
Amy Lynn Paynter
Leah Williams Pernell
Christopher Nicholas Riggan
Sheila Pope Rooker
Sherry Parrish Shehadeh
Jamie Lynn Spencer
Peggy Harris Spivey
Lynette Collier Tilley
Tina Marie VanBuren
Kimberly Ackerman West
Geneva Johnson Wright


William Junior Amerson
Brian Coleman Baird
Dainmeian Otis Ballard
Jonathan Monroe Baptist
Timothy Gerald Biddix
Timothy Lovell Brooks
Kattie Perry Brown
Selena Burwell
Sara Kathryn Byrd
Euteiko Lavane Chambers
Orenthia James Chesney
Lisa Wynette Collier
Melissa Blanks Faulkner
Sandra Cooper Freddie
Glenn Patton Harris
Janice Darlene Hilton
Andre Tremayne Horne
W. James Hughes
Andrew Jackson, Sr.
Monteith Lamar Johnson
Rachel Christian Jones
Reginald Sydney Jones
Steven G. Jones
David Andrew Krause
Gabriel Lee Leonard
Alvin Lemond Malloy
Ronny William Manning
Michael Tywan Marsh
Geoffrey M. Martin
David Mena, Sr.
Patrick Avery Moffett
Lori Vick Null
Kaneesha Lorraine Person
Randall Lamont Pharr
Glenda Gayle Poindexter
Steven Franklin Rich
Michael Robert Schrauth
Gary Lamont Smith
Adrian Jerome Stephenson
Bryant Granarl Stewart
James Daman Sumpter
Gayle Maxine Harmon Szabo
Debra Antoinette Jones Talley
Kristi Lynn Tingen

James Walden
Jeremy Lee Wallace
John Lee Williams, Jr.
Glynnis Ruschelle Wilson
Sarah Louise Wilson


Jodi Teel Brewer
Mattie Hargrove


Jackie DeZae Anderson
Eliza Mary Galloway
Robert P. Hargrove
Gregory Page Hughes
Sybil Renee Kearney
Brian Michael Massengill
Brenda Turner McGee
Stacey Nicole Moser
Tina Renay Peoples
Natarsha Yvone Richardson
Joan Talley Robinson
Natalie Shea Stainback
Betsey Lue Terry
Daniel Ray Tharrington
Sanya Denise Whitley
Marcy Snow Wright
Fredericka Wynn


Jamie Rebecca Clifton
Lisa Yarborough Mosley
Amanda Lynn Tice
La’wanda Nicole Wilkerson


Katherine Marie Rainey


James Willoughbye Hicks III
William Henry Nicholson
Jeremy Allen Wall
Timothy Wayne White


Flora W. Cates
Karen Burwell Jones
Jacqueline Annette Reese
Ricky DeAngelo Sampson


Ann DeRita Taylor


Stephanie Owens Parrish


Nichole Michelle Affrunti
Wanda Bobbitt Alston
Cynthia Rose Anderson
Suzanne Rudd Carpenter
Albert Tyler Coburn
Jennifer Lynn Davis
Roberta Ann Durham
Jonathan Douglas Gendron
Portia Charmian Hargrove
Laura Gail Hoover
Uiama Jackson
Shawn Ray Latta
Christopher Lee Matthews
Catherine Elizabeth McNamara
Brenda Gill Oakley
John Asa Parham, Jr.
Amy Sue Raynor
Frances Bennett Rogers

Bernice Tressia Royster
Kathryn Ann Terry
Danielle Rae Tippett
Denise Marie Weimer
Christopher Ian Wiggins


Brian Leighton Brooks
Suzanne Rudd Carpenter
Tina Nichole Core
Peter Martin Cruz
Kristen Ellen Edwards
Anthony Virgil Grissom
Sharon Diane Hamm
Timothy Aaron Lovelace
Jason Donald Overby


Heather Marie Carter
Cynthia Ann Cheek


Tammy Cooper
Kelly Renee Edmonds
Brenda Balmer Elliott
Catherine Elizabeth Jackson
Christina Starr Lunsford
Christina Candidan Lynch
Martha Jane Malysz
Sylvia Bea McMillan
Sara Kate Shearin
Valerie Jean Smith
Jeffrey Bruce Weaver
Jacquelina Wilkins


Diane Blalock
LaTacha Monique Evans
Thelma Patricia McClean
Candice Ruth McNew
Susan Waite Roberson
Lottie Moss Stephenson
Tiffany Tennille Williams


Jannine Nicole Blash
Mattie Hargrove
Martha Paschall Kearney
Tafarrah Jacinta Powell


Lynsay Dorothy Miriam Allen
Betty Adcock Barker
Krista Renee Briggs
Amber Dawn Byers
Carrie Elizabeth Denton
Tabitha Grace Ethridge
Adam Dean Harris
Sharon Michelle Harvey
Alma Elizabeth Holtzman
Laura King Holtzmann
Heather Aileen Kilby
Elizabeth Diane Long
Terri Lynn Merritt
Stacey Ann Meza
Cameron Cecille Miller
Carla Renea Noell
Julie Nicole Norwood
Kari Ann Ollila
Amanda Louise Overcash
Jami Renee Patterson
Tammy Stegall Richardson
Deshaun Smith
Cristal Carol Tart
Lauren Leigh Vaughan
Angela Marie Watson
Elisabeth Ann Wessell
Janet Garrett White
Carol Elayne Whitfield


Vanessa Bumpass Dunkins
Steven Ray Ellington, Jr.



Andrea Nicole Blackwell Nathasia Yvonne Lofton Angela Faye Simmons
Tonya Ann Burwell Laura Ann McDonald Christina Maria Thompson
Orenthia James Chesney Jessica Leigh Morris Karri Ellen Wheeler
Teleza Rashida Cobbins Laura Bundy Newton James Maurice Williams
Adam Crandall Copeland Marshall Gary Newton James Crandall Wilson
Teresa Rae Dover Randall Lamont Pharr John Shelton Wilson
Leslie Jo Holland Melinda Elizabeth Pope Thomas André Winstead
Lamesha Tiffany Holmes Phillip Morris Riggan Roderick Tyronda Witherspoon
Kristie Diane Huff Karen Phillips Rollins Maria Hudgins Wright
Michael Dean Kromer Kristi Marie Rowland Richard William Young
Clarence Alfred Lindsey Paul O’Brien Gill Rowland Scottie James Zimmerle


Andrea Nicole Blackwell
Krisitie Diane Huff
Phillip Morris Riggan
James Crandall Wilson
John Shelton Wilson




Text Of Speech By Lt. Governor Purdue

Thank you Chairman Nelms, President Miller, faculty, staff… and most importantly of all, graduating students, proud parents and family… for inviting me to be with you on such a special day.

I have to admit. I thought a long time about what I wanted to say to the approximately 400 students attending the graduation ceremony here today… from those of you still in your teens… to 60 year-young Flora Watkins Cates… who is getting her degree in Human Services Technology.  The only thing I know… and I both give and listen to a lot of graduation speeches… is that all of you want me to keep it brief.  And brief it will be.

When my sons graduated from college… I sat where you parents and grandparents and friends are sitting today.  And I was so happy… so proud…so hopeful for us all… so hopeful for America. And today, I am hopeful for all of you.  The future looks great from up here!

And today as I look at you graduates… just as I did at my son and his friends… I think about how very, very different the times are for all of us.  These are times of tumult. These are times of challenge and courage.  And these are times of rapid change. Our world is not what it was when you started your studies.

We live in an inter-connected world.  Our economy…culture… and social structure are now global. The changes taking place so rapidly in the 21st century have, and will continue to pose, unique challenges:

·        America is fighting an international war on terrorism. A war unlike WWII…Korea… or Vietnam. A war new to America and to our world allies.

·        Our state, too, is fighting a war in a way… an economic war.

·        North Carolina lost more jobs than any other state in the nation over the past couple of years… many of them to poorer countries that pay lower wages. We now struggle to replace jobs in textile, furniture, and tobacco communities.

·        In North Carolina, our population is growing increasingly diverse… ethnically, religiously, and racially.

·        Over 100 languages are spoken in North Carolina’s public schools…community colleges… and universities.

·        Local newspapers… are as apt to have international news as their lead stories…as they are local news.

Fortunately, your education at Vance-Granville Community College has uniquely prepared you to meet the challenges in the new world order. Many of you came to Vance-Granville straight from high school… or took some time off after high school… some of you plan to transfer directly to a university. Many of you came back… for re-training or re-tooling… to work in a different industry.

And while many of you will stay in school and pursue a higher degree… many of you are now faced with the important transition from college to the job market. But as you all will come to realize… some sooner… some later… the 21st century economy demands skills and a knowledge base…different than the past 100 years.

The job market of today and tomorrow… will be based on brains… not  brawn.  Minds… not muscles. It require a new level of understanding… of our economic and social institutions. With tools like the Internet…multi-national companies market in local economies… and local businesses can market internationally.

As has become apparent… in both positive and negative ways… what goes on in one part of the world… readily affects the institutions in another. This provides a new series of changes and challenges… that previous generations of students did not face.

To meet the changes and challenges in the new world… and to maintain our competitiveness in the world market… we must adjust the way we do business… the way we educate and re-educate our workforce… and our students… and how we think of the world around us.

It is more important now than ever… that college graduates become better equipped to compete in this 21st economy… and to also have an understanding of … and sensitivity towards… those who will sit next to them in the classroom… eat next to them in the restaurant… and work next to them in the business place.

Today’s more successful institutions of post-secondary learning… places like Vance-Granville Community College… prepare students to meet the changing world by surrounding students with diverse people… ideas… and other opportunities to interact with various cultures.

And that is why I am so proud of each of you tonight. I know you are ready to work… live…learn… and love… in a world that looks much different than when I received my diplomas.

I understand… and I am greatly encouraged… that over 35 curriculum programs are represented today… including the unique certificate awarded from the Professional Truck Driving Institute. I read about Susan and Danny Sides… who came all the way from Alaska… to get this certificate from Vance-Granville.

I know your training and education here at Vance-Granville has prepared you to work with people of various backgrounds… and relate current events in North Carolina and the world… to your own life and career.

I am encouraged by students like Brenda and Teleza Cobbins … a mother-daughter dynamic duo who are graduating here today.  After graduating from high school… Brenda married and began to travel the world as a military wife and mother. Upon returning home, she began work at a company in Creedmoor… where she stayed 12 years until she was caught in a downsizing in 1999.

Her daughters… Teleza and Kendra… encouraged her to enroll at Vance-Granville Community College.  Now, after first attending UNC-Greensboro… Teleza is here at VGCC … closer to home and family… and has finished classes that will allow her to enter at North Carolina A&T in the Fall.

Today, I’m honored to recognize Brenda Cobbins… graduating from the Teacher Associate Program… and Teleza Cobbins… graduating with her Associate in Arts degree… and having completed the College Transfer program.

Both Brenda and Teleza credit the enthusiasm of the instructors and the outstanding education… for helping them learn… grow… and succeed.

Wow! What a story! And each and every one of you has your own story … perhaps very different from the Cobbins family… but very important to you.  And tonight, each of you graduates is the star of your own show… and deserves hugs, kisses, applause — and money would be nice.

You tonight… right here in Henderson… are myAmerican Idols.

And now, as I end… I have some wishes for you… and some “I want you” – typical of a woman… isn’t it?

I want you to be good to yourselves and others.  I also want you to take time… regardless of who you are or what you do… to give back to others.  Be involved in something that makes life better for others: the church… a school… a ball team… even politics.  It doesn’t matter what… but I bet with all my heart… God expects that from each of us.

So be optimistic… and have the resolve to make a positive difference in the world around you.

I wish for each of you a deep and abiding sense of hope… and belief in yourselves... that you can do anything and be anything.  Your world is limited only by you.

You will be working hard for many years to come… working hard or harder than you ever have before. Chances are… you may even spend more time at work than at home. So do something you love… and love those around you… family, friends, and your community.

Take care of yourself… and those you love.

At the end of the day… and it will surely come… as you think back on your life and what truly matters to you as a person… it won’t be the degrees… the money you’ve made… your golf handicap… or who won the Coca Cola 600.  You will look back at what you did to make life better… the people you touch… the love you experience… the joy of a life well lived.

I am so very proud of you … and I wish you only the best.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of one of the most significant days of your life.  My congratulations to the 2003 graduates of Vance-Granville Community College! 

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