The second annual PRIDE awards were presented as the Male Mentoring Success Initiative (MMSI) at Vance-Granville Community College recently held a ceremony to recognize outstanding students who have excelled in the program.
The ceremony, held May 3 at VGCC’s South Campus, began with welcoming remarks from the dean of that campus, Cecilia Wheeler. “Being involved in this program shows that you are leaders,” Wheeler told the students.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Male Mentoring PRIDE awards. As Anthony Pope, co-coordinator for the MMSI, explained, PRIDE stands for “Pin Recognizing Individuals Demonstrating Excellence.” Each honored student received a lapel pin and a certificate.
For their longevity being active in the program, Anthonie Mycal Elam of Warrenton and Jerry Pierce Jr. of Stem received the PRIDE Awards for Tenure.
PRIDE Awards for Engagement went to Johnathan Williamson of Oxford and Christopher Blue of Henderson for being active in the program and bringing in other students.
PRIDE Awards for Athletic Excellence went to three members of the Vanguards men’s basketball team, Christopher Pernell and NiQuan Cousins, both of Raleigh, and TyQuon Reid of Goldsboro.
Blue, Reid and Williamson also received PRIDE Awards for Leadership.
PRIDE Awards for Scholarship were presented to Williamson, Cody Boylorn and Tyler Boylorn, both of Franklinton, Osvaldo Hernandez of Stem, Brian Restrepo and David Restrepo, both of Youngsville, Hadden Justice of Louisburg, and Francis Scotland of Oxford.
The event also featured by remarks by several students. Justice said he was enrolled in Automotive Systems Technology and became involved in the MMSI after finding out that the group would be taking a trip that included a tour of UNC-Charlotte. Taking the tour helped him decide to transfer to that university in the fall to study Motorsports Engineering after completing his VGCC diploma. Likewise, Scotland said that the MMSI trip gave him a closer look at UNC-Charlotte, where he may be continuing his education in engineering to the master’s level. Scotland recently graduated from the college with both an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science. He thanked Pope, Academic Skills Center Coordinator Jason Snelling, and the college generally for their support.
Former VGCC student mentee Harold Ragland, who is now a student at North Carolina Central University, returned to speak to the mentoring initiative’s current participants. “Be your own person, and be a leader in the community,” Ragland urged them.
Williamson, a Radiography student who has mentored some of the younger students in the program, said he appreciated the “opportunities for networking and learning” in the MMSI. “Some of the things you get here at VGCC you don’t get at the bigger universities, like the individual help and commitment,” Williamson noted. “We’ve learned in the mentoring program to represent ourselves and our school well.”
Several special guests who had participated in the MMSI speakers’ series during the year offered words of congratulations and encouragement to the students. These included former Harlem Globetrotter James “Twiggy” Sanders, attorney Roderick Allison (who also presented a solo on the trumpet), and attorney and former N.C. District Court Judge Quon Bridges.
In addition to the PRIDE awards, Anthony Pope presented a certificate to every student who actively participated in the program this year. In closing remarks, VGCC Dean of Enrollment & Outreach Jeffrey Allen thanked Pope and co-coordinator Michael Farmer for their efforts to support students.
Supported by a grant from the North Carolina Community College System, the MMSI at VGCC works to help male students stay in school and on track to graduate or transfer to a four-year university. For more information on the mentoring initiative, contact Anthony Pope at email@example.com or (252) 738-3395.
Above: Seated, from left, PRIDE award recipients Christopher Pernell of Raleigh, Christopher Blue of Henderson, Cody Boylorn of Franklinton, Tyler Boylorn of Franklinton, Brian Restrepo of Youngsville, Osvaldo Hernandez of Stem and Jerry Pierce Jr. of Stem; and standing, from left, co-coordinators Michael Farmer and Anthony Pope with PRIDE award recipients David Restrepo of Youngsville, NiQuan Cousins of Raleigh, Francis Scotland of Oxford, Hadden Justice of Louisburg, TyQuon Reid of Goldsboro and Johnathan Williamson of Oxford; not pictured: award recipients Anthonie Mycal Elam of Warrenton, Joshua Horton of Franklinton and Willie Fields of Oxford. (VGCC photo)
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