Edgecombe CC Collecting Bikes for Students

(PIctured) Ralph Willis rides to classes at Edgecombe Community College on a bicycle that was donated to the college. (Photo Courtesy Edgecombe CC)

(NEWS RELEASE) When Kim Hampton asked her coworkers at Edgecombe Community College for a little help, she said she expected few responses.

Instead, what she got made her realize there’s no shortage of kindness on her campus.

“Transportation for students is our No. 1 problem,” says Hampton, the college’s counselor/student support specialist. “Nine out of 10 students who come to me ask for help with transportation.

“We have a lot of students who walk to school.”

In August, Hampton sent out an email to employees asking for bicycle donations to make it easier for some students to get to classes.

“I expected maybe one; I received three,” she says.

The bikes needed minor repairs, but Hampton didn’t have to worry about that either. Al Carroll, chair/instructor of Automotive Systems Technology, and his students jumped at the chance to help, she says.

One bike was missing a seat, so a student donated one. “Out of the goodness of their hearts, they said they’d take care of the bikes,” Hampton explains. “They really didn’t have time for it, but it was wonderful for those students to do something for other students. They were proud to fix the bikes.”

Jaime Raya, a 23-year-old student who attends classes on Edgecombe Community College’s Rocky Mount campus, received one of the donated bikes.

“Sometimes, I didn’t have the funds to ride the bus, and I’ve had to ask for a ride or for someone to loan me money to get to school,” Raya says. “I’ve even had to walk about 45 minutes to get to class. But, I had to do it, so I am very thankful for the bike.”

Hampton said Raya and Ralph Willis both received bikes this year, and the third bike soon will be ready for another student to ride.

“The students who received the bikes were overjoyed and really, really excited,” Hampton says.

The college offers Tar River Transit bus tokens to students who need transportation to classes, but offering them a bike instead gives them more flexibility and freedom. “It makes it easier for them to get to school,” Hampton says. “And I would rather give them the means than bus tokens.”

She hopes to get more donated bicycles in order to provide additional students with a dependable ride.

Anyone who would like to donate bikes to the college can contact Hampton at 823-5166, ext. 259, or hamptonk@edgecombe.edu.

Edgecombe Community College expanding Wine Education

Inez Ribustello, co-owner of On the Square restaurant and wine store in Tarboro, will teach an evening course on Wine Fundamentals at Edgecombe Community College beginning October 1.

(NEWS RELEASE) After a successful three-part series on wine appreciation over the summer, Edgecombe Community College is offering a six-week fall course on the fundamentals of wine.

“The first one was basic 101 for wine,” says Inez Ribustello, co-owner of On the Square restaurant and wine store in Tarboro. “This time, we’re going to go much more in depth.

Ribustello is a nationally recognized sommelier who spent years in New York as beverage director for a pair of prestigious restaurants – Windows on the World in the World Trade Center and the Blue Fin in the W Hotel-Times Square. “During this class, we’re going to go into each country. We’ll break out maps and go into the sub-regions of wine. It will be more educational.”

Wine Fundamentals begins October 1 and continues each Tuesday through November 5. The cost is $70 for the class, plus $15 per session.

The college’s first class on wine appreciation, which was held in June, focused primarily on pairing wine and food. It featured three instructors, including Ribustello.

Trudy Lynn, ECC’s director of special programs, explains, “We wanted to see if there was enough interest in that three-week class for this six-week program.”

The wine appreciation classes averaged about 60 students each week. “We were thrilled to death,” Ribustello says. “People underestimate this area. There are a lot of people who love to travel and who love good food and wine.”

She will be the only instructor for Wine Fundamentals, and she plans on taking students on a round-the-world wine tour, starting in France, Italy, and Spain and ending in the United States.

“We dedicate an entire class to American wines, including North Carolina wines,” Ribustello says. “North Carolina wines have made tremendous leaps and bounds, and it’s always good to drink local.”

Diane LeFiles, who has enjoyed several wine appreciation dinners at Ribustello’s On The Square restaurant, attended the college’s first wine class. She’s already signed up for the next one.

“I want to learn more about wine,” LeFiles says. “The first class was a lot of fun. People in class had similar interests, and we made new friends.

“My husband and I enjoy good food, and we enjoy good wine. We want to learn how to put the two together in the company of good friends.”

Lynn says about a dozen people have pre-registered for the fall wine course, and most of them were enrolled in the summer series. She says the college hopes that this will evolve into a regular offering – possibly expanding to beer and other beverage appreciation classes.

“This is something we’d like to do every semester,” Lynn adds.

To pre-register or for more information about the Wine Fundamentals class that begins October 1, contact Lynn at lynnt@edgecombe.edu or 823-5166, ext. 220, or Brittany Harrelson at harrelsonb@edgecombe.eduor 823-5166, ext. 293.

ECC’s Cooper Wins National Public Speaking Award

(NEWS RELEASE) A new student club at Edgecombe Community College has quickly shot to the top of the national spotlight: one of its members has won a national public speaking award.

Edgecombe Community College business administration student Andre Cooper (left) and ECC President Dr. Deborah Lamm display Cooper’s national award for public speaking.

Andre Cooper, a second-year business administration student at ECC, received top honors at the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, over the summer.

He competed in the public speaking challenge with a speech titled “Dream Big.”

Cooper is making his own dreams come true. A full-time warehouseman at MBM Corporation and Rocky Mount resident, he set his sights several years ago on higher education.

“I need to do better,” he says he told himself. “ECC believed in me, I started believing in myself, and next May I’ll graduate with a degree in business administration.”

Cooper also is president of the ECC Student Government Association this year. On the final day of fall registration in August, he spent the morning meeting students and encouraging them to take advantage of their opportunities at ECC.

He plans to continue his education at East Carolina University to major in business and minor in political science.

“Dreams do come true if you work hard. It’s not what the naysayers say that defines us; it’s the work we put in. Dream big – that’s my motto,” he says.

With a membership of 250,000 students and advisers, FBLA-PBL is the largest business career student organization in the world.

Dan Hazlett, North Carolina PBL president, noted that this was a major accomplishment for Edgecombe Community College, especially considering this was the college’s first time competing at the national level.

Gov. Pat McCrory also took notice. On August 22, he wrote a letter to Cooper congratulating him on his national award. “This accomplishment was the result of your hard work and dedication to being an excellent student,” the governor wrote. “Your commitment to these values is an example for your fellow students to follow.”

“I can’t tell you how proud we are of Andre,” says Dr. Johnica Ellis-Kiser, ECC business administration/accounting program chair. “He is a very bright, ambitious student with a passion for learning and for helping others.  “He works hard, and I have no doubt he will accomplish great things.”

ECC student Brandy Ham also competed at the FBLA-PBL national conference in the area of retail management.

She and Cooper agree that they are proud to have represented Edgecombe at the national leadership conference. They also expressed their gratitude for the support and preparation provided to them.

Shooting & Hunting Sports Management added to Edgecombe CC Curriculum

(NEWS RELEASE) Thursday, August 22, fall classes will begin at Edgecombe Community College.

A new and improved ID system is in place, staff have been busy conducting placement tests and student orientations, and faculty are making final preparations to return to the classroom to help a new cohort of students meet their educational goals.

Michael Horner modifies a 1930s-era rifle during the popular evening gunsmithing class offered through ECC’s Division of Corporate and Community Development. The college’s new Shooting and Hunting Sports Management program is offered as a concentration in the Business Administration program and combines business and shooting sports principles.

Among the college’s 100+ programs is a new offering this fall: Shooting and Hunting Sports Management.

Hunting is big business in North Carolina, accounting for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in retail sales and wages in the state.

ECC is the first community college east of Greensboro to offer a shooting and hunting program. Only two other community colleges in North Carolina – Montgomery and Tri-County – have similar programs.

Offered as a concentration in Business Administration, Shooting and Hunting Sports Management teaches students how to manage a sports shooting business, such as a gun shop, hunt club, or shooting range.

Graduates are prepared to work in large retail sporting centers, private shooting sports businesses, and shooting sports equipment manufacturers.

For those who may not have the time to commit to completing a two-year degree program but want to learn more about the industry, ECC offers a one-year diploma and an 18-hour certificate in Shooting and Hunting Sports Management. About half of the classes are business-related.

New and returning Collision Repair and Refinishing students will be excited to see a gleaming new building when they begin classes on the Tarboro campus.

Cramped space and outdated equipment have been replaced by a 7,000-square-foot facility that features a larger frame rack, a computerized measuring system, more vehicle lifts, a dustless sanding system, and a compartmentalized sandblaster.

Among other improvements, the expansion will enable classes to have three cars on lifts instead of one.

Collision Repair and Refinishing is a long-standing popular program at ECC. The outlook for job seekers remains strong; experts predict that the number of jobs in autobody repair will increase by 19 percent this decade.

At Edgecombe, programs are developed with an eye toward industry needs. In manufacturing, for example, the local need for highly skilled workers is immediate.

According to the college’s faculty in manufacturing programs, about 60 openings can’t be filled in Edgecombe County due to a lack of training. It is not uncommon for ECC students to receive job offers before they complete the Manufacturing Technology program.

Final registration is August 20-21, and fall classes begin August 22. Contact the college at 823-5166,admissions@edgecombe.edu, or go to www.edgecombe.edu.

Edgecombe CC offering “Caregiver College”

(NEWS RELEASE) Nearly a third of the adult population in the United States provides care for someone who is ill, disabled, or aged, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving.

That’s nearly 66 million people.

For the third straight year, Edgecombe Community College is holding a Caregiver College, a one-day seminar designed to provide skills and training to caregivers.

“We target anyone who takes care of someone else,” says Trudy Lynn, director of special programs at Edgecombe Community College. “It’s not a program that targets just the elderly.”

Melanie Bunn, a dementia training specialist with Alzheimers North Carolina, is one of two scheduled guest speakers at the program, which is slated for Wednesday, August 21, on the college’s Tarboro campus.

“She will be talking about a wide range of issues that deal with dementia,” Lynn says of Bunn. Nearly 15 million people care for someone with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

In addition, the program will feature Adam Dixon, a Vidant Edgecombe Hospital pharmacist, who will discuss reading and understanding prescription medication labels.

“He’ll also talk about the importance of reading labels on over-the-counter medications because caregivers need to understand the interactions between those and prescription medications,” Lynn says.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. on August 21 in the Fleming Building, and the program runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided by Vidant Edgecombe Hospital. The cost of the program is $70.

Bunn will speak in the morning, and Dixon will cover the afternoon class. Both sessions will include question and answer discussions.

For the past two years, organizers have drawn up to 65 people to each seminar. The focus varies each year. Last year, speakers talked about the importance of caregivers taking care of themselves to avoid burnout.

Lynn believes the Caregiver College provides Eastern North Carolina residents a chance to get insight from health care professionals who are experts in dealing with issues related to the ill, disabled, or aged.

“The more knowledge you have of the symptoms and signs of dementia, the better you will be able to help your loved one or patient,” Lynn says. “But again, this program targets anyone who takes care of anyone else.”

For more information, contact Lynn at 823-5166, ext. 220, orlynnt@edgecombe.edu, or Brittany Harrelson at 823-5166, ext. 293, or harrelsonb@edgecombe.edu.

Edgecombe CC announces First Class of Fuller Scholars


Roger and Gaile Taylor, who established the Dr. Hartwell H. Fuller Jr. Endowed Merit Scholarship last fall at Edgecombe Community College, are shown with the first scholarship recipients. Seated from left are Sarah Grady, Roger Taylor, and Amber Hyman. Standing are Karen Andrus, ECC Foundation; William and Angie Grady; Tempie Fuller; Gaile Taylor; Elizabeth Hyman; and ECC President Dr. Deborah Lamm.

Edgecombe Community College recently announced the first class of recipients of their new Dr. Hartwell H. Fuller Jr. Endowed Merit Scholarships.

The scholarships honor the work and memory of the late Dr. Fuller, who worked at Edgecombe Community College from 1968 to 2004, including 10 years as the institution’s President.

The scholarships, benefiting recent graduates of high schools in Edgecombe County, were endowed last fall by Roger and Gaile Taylor of Rocky Mount.

Two students per year will receive scholarships equivalent to the full cost of an associate degree, including funding for tuition, books and a laptop computer. The Taylor’s gift represents the largest contribution made to Edgecombe Community College for the purpose of scholarships.

“Hartwell would be very pleased with these scholarship recipients,” said Roger Taylor, who owns the Rocky Mount-based financial services firm Roger G. Taylor & Associates. “I’m glad they decided to stay local. They’d be great anywhere they go.”

The first recipients were Sarah E. Grady of Tarboro and Amber M. Hyman of Leggett.

Grady received a scholarship for the College Transfer Program, valued at $6,000:

Grady, who graduated from Tarboro High School, earned a GPA of 4.656 while taking honors classes and participating in the girls’ tennis team, swim team, Interact Club, and National Honor Society. She is active in the youth group at St. James United Methodist Church and has participated in several mission trips.

Grady has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten.  She plans to pursue a college transfer degree at Edgecombe and continue her studies at East Carolina University to obtain a degree in library science.

Grady is the daughter of William and Angie Grady. “She loves to read; she loves books,” says Angie Grady.

Hyman received a Health Sciences Scholarship worth approximately $9,000:

A graduate of North Edgecombe High School, she earned a GPA of 3.75 while participating in Health Occupation Students of America and Tobacco Reality Unfiltered, organizations she joined in the ninth grade. She also served as a tutor during and after school.

Hyman is active in church and with the Leggett Volunteer Fire Department. She is certified in first aid and CPR and is in the process of being certified as a CNAI. She plans to study radiography at Edgecombe.

She is the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Hyman. “We’re so excited,” says Elizabeth Hyman. “This scholarship is a blessing, an answer to a prayer.” 



PNC grants benefit City, Down East Partnership, Community Colleges

This past Tuesday, PNC Bank announced awarding $500,000 in grants to several local agencies and the City of Rocky Mount for community initiatives.

From PNC’s Press Release:

“These grants reflect our belief that PNC will only be as strong as the communities where we conduct business,” said Paula Fryland, PNC regional president, Eastern Carolinas. “Raleigh and Rocky Mount are key to PNC’s expansion in the Southeast. We continue to hire, make investments and grow in Eastern Carolina.”

Several local projects and initiatives will receive grants totaling $500,000, matching what PNC will be contributing to a joint initiative in Raleigh:

In Rocky Mount, PNC’s efforts focus on economic development, workforce training, early childhood education and a new exhibit to honor the bank’s local history. Grant recipients include:

  • City of Rocky Mount to fund a market feasibility study for a potential downtown events center, to determine if it can be an economic engine able to drive traffic to, and spur retail development in, downtown Rocky Mount.
  • Nash Community College (NCC) to fund a “Workplace Skill-Up” program, which offers displaced or unemployed workers in the area an opportunity to develop career readiness and workplace skills most needed by employers in the region. NCC also will offer an “Introduction to the Financial Services Industry” course to teach specific skills for PNC positions in the area.
  • Turning Point Workforce Development Board, in collaboration with Edgecombe Community College (ECC) and NCC, to create a “Workforce Simulation Lab”, a facility that will simulate workplace settings to teach employer-preferred skill sets for low-income and hard-to-employ citizens in the area. NCC and ECC will work together to promote these programs.
  • The Down East Partnership for Children will introduce PNC Grow Up Great through a grant to improve its public park and playground. The project, “PNC Grow Up Great at the Discovery Park” will feature a natural, outdoor-learning environment for children.

PNC will also be funding a special historic project in Rocky Mount as part of a national corporate initiative.

The PNC Legacy Project will honor, document and preserve the history of predecessor banks, the employees who guided them and the communities they served.  The project will go on display at Rocky Mount’s Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences later this year.