VGCC students inducted into men’s academy


The “Men’s Achievement Academy” (MAA) at Vance-Granville Community College recently held an induction ceremony to welcome new students into the unique program.

The purpose of the academy, which began in 2019, is to provide intentional support to male students that will empower them to accomplish their academic and career goals. The MAA focuses on the pillars of “Brotherhood, Scholarship, Professionalism, Service & Leadership.” Any male student can join the academy.

During the ceremony on Sept. 28, new students were inducted, including Christopher Aninyei, Daniel Arthur, Alarius Garris, Lamar Hargrove, Marcus Johnson, Luis O’Farrill Roman, Rawquan Sneed and James Stewart. Each student was introduced by a VGCC Mentor (a member of the staff or faculty).

In addition, returning students were welcomed back, including Alvin Foster, Brandon Toney and William Woodlief.

Both the president of VGCC, Dr. Rachel Desmarais, and the vice president of Learning, Student Engagement and Success, Dr. Levy Brown, attended the ceremony and offered words of support for the academy.

“The Men’s Achievement Academy is an incredible opportunity for our male students to connect to resources and people that will help them successfully navigate the college experience,” Dr. Brown said. “This type of model has proven to be particularly successful in helping men of color reach their academic and personal goals. A special thanks for Marque Debnam and Jason Snelling for co-leading this effort at the college.”

The special guest speaker for the event was Jason Spriggs, a member of the Henderson City Council.

In addition to one-on-one mentoring, the MAA participants also meet as a group monthly. An October meeting featured a presentation on academic success, and in November, the focus will be on men’s mental health.

“We look to give our ‘mentees’ additional support through our faculty and staff who volunteer their time to offer guidance,” said Jason Snelling, coordinator of the VGCC Academic Success Center. “Our goal is to continue to create a support system at that will help our mentees reach their academic, personal, and professional goals. Regular communication is expected between our mentors and mentees as well attendance to events throughout the academic year. We also hope to increase both retention and completion rates.”

For more information on the Men’s Achievement Academy, contact Jason Snelling at or 252-738-3376.

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