A longtime educator and community leader will continue to make a difference in the lives of local students, through a new Vance-Granville Community College scholarship established in his memory.
The family of Hubert L. Gooch Jr. of Oxford, who died in March, recently created a new scholarship through the VGCC Endowment Fund. In awarding the Hubert L. Gooch Jr. Memorial Academic Achievement Scholarship, preference will be given to students who are residents of Granville County.
Gooch was a 1953 graduate of G.C. Hawley High School in Creedmoor. He received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from North Carolina A & T State University, and was commissioned a second Lieutenant in the United States Army. By the time he completed his service to his country, Gooch had reached the rank of Captain. After his tour of duty, he earned a master’s degree in Educational Administration from North Carolina Central University. A dedicated educator, Gooch served in the Granville County Schools as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent. After his retirement, he remained active in the community. In 1998, he was appointed to the Granville County Board of Commissioners, was elected to a four-year term in 2000, and re-elected in 2004 and 2008. He received several awards during his life, including Granville County Principal of the Year in 1985 and the Granville County Chamber of Commerce John Penn Citizen of the Year award in 1993.
Gooch was also an active, devoted supporter of Vance-Granville Community College. He served on the VGCC Board of Trustees from 1981 until 1994, and later served for many years on the Endowment Fund board of directors. In memory of his father, he and other family members established the Hubert L. Gooch, Sr. Academic Achievement Scholarship at VGCC in 1990. “VGCC held a very special place in his heart,” his daughter, Katrina Gooch Lawson, recalled. “He knew that many people needed education and retraining, and often did not have the financial means to go back to school.”
Gooch’s wife of 56 years, Geraldine Green Gooch, said that her husband lived by the words of a song: “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.” In creating the scholarship, she reflected that “education is the key to success.” The new scholarship is designed to encourage local residents “to aspire to get a good education, because it cannot be taken from you,” she added. Mrs. Gooch and Lawson are both retired teachers. Mr. and Mrs. Gooch’s other daughters, Annette Gooch and Sheila Bailey, also work in education, while their son, Aubrey Gooch, is a law enforcement officer.
“Through a lifetime of service, Hubert Gooch showed how much he cared about education and about his community,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “This new scholarship will not only help students for years to come, but will also help us honor and remember Mr. Gooch’s leadership and support of Vance-Granville. With this scholarship, we will also celebrate the contributions of the entire Gooch family.”
Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 7,000 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.