VISIONS Welcomes New Class to Campus
Summer Institute Introduces Students to Career and Educational Opportunities
WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College VISIONS Program held its annual Summer Institute last week to introduce a new group of students to career and educational opportunities available to them in their own back yards.
Each June, the VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program welcomes a new group of rising Pitt County seniors. Created in 2004, the program provides participants with the support and guidance they need in order to complete high school, enroll in higher education, and ultimately find employment.
This year’s institute featured a tour of Greenville’s Grady-White Boats, where students received words of encouragement and advice from the company’s president, Kris Carroll. Participants also took part in a variety of hands-on activities and presentations on the PCC campus to become more familiar with the college’s curricula.
The week-long event also included a visit to Lake Kristi near Grimesland, where students participated in character-building exercises as part of world-class water skier and Greenville native Kristi Overton Johnson’s In His Wakes Ministry.
“(Kristi) talked about achieving her dream and encouraged the students to not let anything keep them from achieving their goals in life,” said Marianne Cox, coordinator of PCC’s VISIONS Program. “She challenged students to ‘get off the dock’ and achieve victory.
“… It was amazing to watch students who had never been near the water or even know how to swim find victory in the water. And Kristi and her staff were right in the water to help them.”
Cox, who recently replaced the retiring Debby Gray at the helm of the VISIONS Program, says she hopes the institute will provide participants with valuable information that will guide them through the final year of high school and into college.
Each of this year’s 54 summer institute participants was selected for VISIONS as a high school junior based on a number of criteria, including academic success and family income. Through the program, they receive special mentoring and advising from Cox throughout their final year of high school.
As part of her duties with PCC, Cox monitors each VISIONS student’s high school progress. “I will travel to each school and meet with the students one-on-one and in group settings,” she said. “They can also contact me at PCC.”
Cox also arranges seminars for her students on topics such as goal-setting, the importance of establishing good credit, and the federal financial aid application process.
VISIONS students who complete high school and enroll at PCC continue receiving personal and academic counseling at Pitt in addition to a $1,000-scholarship ($500 per semester). The students can renew their scholarships if they maintain a 2.5 grade point average throughout the first year of college.
Developed by the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation, VISIONS is a collaborative effort between the PCC Foundation, Pitt County Schools and the Greater Greenville Community Foundation.
Eddie Smith, who owns Grady-White Boats, is the VISIONS program’s benefactor. He helped the program get off the ground in an effort to reduce Pitt County’s high school drop-out rate while increasing the number of county students attending college.
There were 27 students in the first VISIONS class, and, as a result of their success, Smith has increased funding over the years to allow additional students into the program.