VGCC Student-Athletes get a Jump Start
Aug. 22, 2014
Vance-Granville Community College recently held a two-day series of workshops for student-athletes, just before the beginning of the fall semester. Called “Jump Start,” the primary focus of the program was on helping each student succeed in academics and in their future careers. Players and coaches from the Vanguards men’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams participated in the workshops, which were organized by Director of Student Activities and Athletics Jasmine Hightower.
Kicking off the first day, VGCC Academic Skills Center Coordinator Jason Snelling and Assistant Coordinator Tim MacNeil discussed study skills and their department’s online and traditional tutoring services. VGCC Psychology instructor Peter Metzner drew upon his own experience as a high school and college swimmer as he offered advice to students on how to train their minds and visualize what they intend to achieve in the classroom and in life. “What makes you successful as an athlete -- especially your level of discipline -- can also make you successful as a student,” Metzner said. VGCC Academic & Career Pathways Advisor Anthony Pope conducted a session on time management. Finally, VGCC Carpentry program head/instructor Keith Tunstall offered student-athletes words of wisdom and inspiration regarding responsibility and making good decisions about achieving educational goals.
Special guests on the second day of the “Jump Start” included Ric Yarbrough and Cameron Keith, alumni of the VGCC basketball program, who offered their perspectives on transferring to four-year schools. Yarbrough, who graduated from Bunn High School, transferred from VGCC to North Carolina Wesleyan College after coaches at the NCAA Division III school saw him play for the Vanguards. He became a key contributor to the Battling Bishops as they won the USA South conference championship, and received the Moe Bauer Sportsmanship Award from NCWC. Yarbrough currently coaches for Crossroads Christian School in Henderson and for an AAU team. Meanwhile, his VGCC teammate Keith, who had been a standout at Franklinton High School, had the ability to play at the four-year level, but chose instead to attend North Carolina State University and pursue a degree in sports management. Now, he is interning with the VGCC Athletics department. Both former players emphasized the importance of academics as they addressed the current Vanguards.
Another guest speaker was Terri Hedrick, public information officer for Vance County Schools, who was there to discuss opportunities for the students to volunteer as mentors and tutors for local schoolchildren. “Let the kids know that you’re a student-athlete,” Hedrick advised the Vanguards. “They know that takes extra responsibility, and they look up to athletes as role models.” At VGCC, all student-athletes are required to participate in community service projects. Hedrick said that volunteer service is also a positive experience for students and a resume builder as they transfer to the four-year university level.
Phil Moses, co-owner of Raleigh-based “Your Best Shot” Leadership Academy, made a presentation to student-athletes entitled “Off and Running: Setting Yourself Up for Success.” The former executive director of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes at North Carolina State University, Moses has over 25 years of experience on the academic side of Division I intercollegiate athletics. He encouraged student-athletes to network -- as he put it, “to build your team” -- and to use the resources and support services of the community college. “Determine what’s next for you, and make decisions consistent with your goals,” Moses also reminded the players. “It’s not just about continuing your playing career, because this experience can take you anywhere.”
Other sessions featured discussions on responsible use of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook; the Regroup communication system; personality styles; and a presentation on financial aid and money management skills with VGCC Assistant Director of Financial Aid Jeremy Lambert.
Above: From left, former VGCC basketball players Ric Yarbrough and Cameron Keith address current student-athletes during the “Jump Start” program. (VGCC photo)