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VISIONS Holds Annual Summer Institute

New Program Participants Explore Career and Educational Options

By Rob Goldberg Jr.
PCC Media Relations Director

PCC VISIONS students and staff pose for a group photo in front of the Grady-White Boats sign after touring the boat manufacturer's Greenville plant.

• PHOTO GALLERY

WINTERVILLE—High school students in the VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program at Pitt Community College completed a whirlwind tour last week to gain a better understanding of career and educational possibilities available to them locally.

Each June, VISIONS welcomes a group of rising Pitt County seniors to campus for the annual Summer Institute. The four-day program combines visits to local businesses and organizations with on-campus tours and presentations that help the newcomers become familiar with PCC curricula and support services.

“The Summer Institute is an opportunity for us to show our newest participants the importance of a college education and the real possibility for career success right here in Pitt County,” said Marianne Cox, PCC Director of VISIONS & HORIZONS. “It is also a chance for us to let them know the expectations that we have for them in the months ahead and that we’re going to support them along the way.”

The week began with a visit to Greenville’s Grady-White Boats, which is owned by VISIONS benefactor Eddie Smith. There, the students toured the boat manufacturing facility and received sage advice for success from Grady-White Boats President Kris Carroll.

“We always start out at Grady-White, so the students know right away that someone from their community cares enough about their success to financially support a program that will help them reach their educational goals,” Cox said.

On campus, students completed the “True Colors” career assessment to identify personal strengths and weakness and explore career options that would fit them best. They also participated in a number of hands-on activities to learn more about the programs PCC offers.

“We wanted the students to experience the kind of hands-on instruction they can receive at PCC once they graduate from high school,” said Rebecca Warren, PCC VISIONS High School Coordinator. “They really seemed to enjoy the activities throughout the week, whether it was operating sonography equipment or taking a turn behind the wheel of a law enforcement driving simulator.”

Started in 2004 to help reduce Pitt County’s drop-out rate while increasing the number of county students attending college, VISIONS is the result of a partnership between the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation, the PCC Foundation, Pitt County Schools and the Greater Greenville Community Foundation.

Each year, the program provides a select group of Pitt County high school students with the direction and support they need in order to obtain diplomas and move on to higher education. All 54 of this year’s Summer Institute participants were selected for VISIONS during their junior year of high school, based on several criteria, including academic success and family income. The students will continue to receive special mentoring and advising through the program throughout their final year of high school.

Cox noted that in the 10 years since VISIONS began, nearly 100 percent of its participants have completed high school. Those who have gone on to enroll at PCC have received scholarships and personal and academic counseling at the college.


06/24/2014