Vance-Granville Community College will hold commencement exercises dedicated exclusively to new graduates of Adult Basic Skills programs on Thursday, May 5. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County.
Those being honored at the ceremony will include students who have completed either the Adult High School Diploma program or the High School Equivalency program in the past year.
Melissa Elliott, a member of the Henderson City Council and a graduate of VGCC, will serve as the guest speaker. While working for the N.C. Department of Correction, Elliott first enrolled at VGCC to complete her high school equivalency diploma. She continued her education by enrolling in the Criminal Justice program in order to take her public service career to the next level. She graduated in 2009 with her associate degree and went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Saint Augustine’s University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Hidden Manna Bible College. She recently graduated with a master’s in public administration from Strayer University. Elliott is a former member of the advisory committee for VGCC’s Basic Law Enforcement Training and Criminal Justice programs.
Elliott has served in many positions in the criminal justice field, including Correctional Officer, Correctional Case Manager, Gang Intel Unit, 911 Dispatcher and, most recently, the Gang Officer for the Vance County Sheriff’s Office. She was honored for “outstanding community service” by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for her work educating the community about gang culture in 2010. The Warren County Gang Assessment Steering Committee also honored Elliott with an Outstanding Community Service Award as a Gang Specialist for participating in the county’s Gang Assessment. Elliott is the founder of a non-profit organization, “Gang Free, Inc.” She was elected to a four-year term on the Henderson City Council in 2015.
Speaking on behalf of the graduating students during the ceremony will be Melissa Pearce of Franklinton. She completed the High School Equivalency program in March 2016, after taking classes at VGCC’s Franklin County Campus. Pearce has enrolled in the Early Childhood Education curriculum program at VGCC, starting in the upcoming summer term. Her goal is to complete that program and ultimately to be a day care center director. A Fayetteville native, Pearce is the married mother of three boys.