Editorial: Next step will challenge our graduates

May. 09, 2013 @ 05:59 PM

From the humble beginnings, through great changes and with significant accomplishments, Vance-Granville Community College remains an unchallenged resource in educational opportunity for the region.

Tonight, weather permitting, graduates will again turn tassels in a scenic setting by the gazebo. And this year there’s a twist.

The first class of the Vance County Early College High School will also be there. They will pick up associate’s degrees, and in two weeks their high school diplomas.

That’s a long way from 1969, when Vance County Technical Institute was founded by the N.C. General Assembly. Working in various locations at the start, the institution arrived on Chestnut Street in the former Maria Parham Hospital building in 1970 with offerings of extension classes.

It was modest curriculum, but enormous potential both for graduates and the institution.

With Vance and Granville counties supporting construction of a new campus in the 1970s, the main campus as we know it today was opened in 1976 within weeks of gaining its community college status. The current name was taken, and eventual growth placed campuses in Granville, Warren and Franklin counties.

Full circle, one might say, of starting in multiple locations, coming into one, and expanding again.

This group tonight is not only historic with 13th-year high school seniors mixed in, it is as challenged as any group of graduates since the school’s inception. Just a quick purview of current events will yield an assortment of variables meeting these graduates head-on.

Whether their next assignment requires they be job ready after tonight, or they move along to another institution of higher learning to finish their educational degree process, they enter with a safety net that might not catch them. Graduates are more plentiful than ever, and not all are able to find jobs, whether coming from the community colleges, four-year universities or even graduate schools.

But they are better prepared. They are entering with the invaluable asset of a college degree. And they should enter with confidence, having pursued a field of study with a job goal in mind.

We believe they are going to do well. Their paths won’t necessarily be easy, but if they were, everyone could do it.

That makes graduates special. And we wish them the best.