PDCCC and Habitat for Humanity Join Together

Habitat for HumanityThe 2016-2017 HVAC class at Paul D. Camp Community College and the Franklin/Southampton Chapter of Habitat for Humanity joined hands recently.
PDC students installed a complete heat pump system in a home being built for a family in Boykins, Virginia. Their work was under the auspices of Jeff Sarvice, an adjunct instructor at PDC. Sarvice is a licensed heating and air contractor. Hands–on learning is emphasized in technical education at PDCCC according to Richard Baker, the HVAC instructor at the college. Baker added that the students went the whole nine yards in this project.
“With Jeff’s leadership, our students calculated the house load, designed a duct system, developed an equipment and material list, learned what tools were needed, set the equipment, installed the duct system, made electrical mechanical connections, started and tested the system.” Instructor Sarvis stated while the entire class did a good job, two students distinguished themselves in their time and work.
Ryan Rezendes and David Richard “made every session and their experience really showed in their work.” Both students are currently employed with local contractors: Rezendes with Simmons Heating and Cooling and Richard with Power Mechanical.
A local contractor who contributed to this community project was Glenn Rawlings of Rawlings Mechanical who provided essential advice to the students for this project.

Habitat for Humanity


Hardships, faith give PDCCC graduate insight to make a difference in the lives of youth

Kecia TaliaferroBy the age of 12, Kecia Taliaferro had seen more than her fair share of hard times. She had experienced abuse and attempted suicide. Her faith in humanity and God further dwindled after she turned 16.
Although her parents made significant changes to their lives later and tried to encourage her to join them in spreading the word of God and healing others through Jesus Christ as well, Taliaferro was, at that time, at a point of no return. She was a product of her environment, with no self-esteem and no regard for others. She developed an addiction and eventually engaged in behavior that resulted in her arrest.
“I made a conscious decision to turn all of my mess over to Jesus and figured if he was who he said he was, then my feelings of despair would diminish,” she said. “And my life changed.”
Years later, Taliaferro found herself thinking about pursuing postsecondary education at Paul D. Camp Community College at Smithfield each day as she visited the library to research jobs and update her resume. The PDCCC site is located on the second floor of the library.
“I finally stopped wondering, ‘what if,’” she said, “and applied to PDCCC in 2008.” She excelled in her studies at the college, even while holding down one and two jobs at a time. She became a scholarship recipient; student ambassador; recording secretary of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society; a delegate to the Virginia General Assembly; a tutor and a guest speaker at a foundation friend raiser. Although she was forced to drop out of school for a period of time due to a serious illness, she returned full speed and graduated summa cum laude in May 2013 with an associate’s degree in general studies, and certificates in religious studies and general education.
“Because I utilized financial aid and scholarships while at PDCCC, the lower costs of attending community college allowed me to have financial aid available for my first year as a transfer student at a four-year college,” she said.
Taliaferro noted that if it were not for the faculty and staff who cared so much about the students’ success, her time at the community college would have been ‘unremarkable.’
“During my time at PDCCC, I saw many from my past come for associate degrees and GEDs and it warmed my heart to see them trading dysfunctional living for better lives,” she said.
Taliaferro has also earned a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in human services from Bluefield College where she was inducted into the Alpha Chi Honor Society. She is set to graduate in May 2017 with her master’s degree in education in Christian School Administration from Regent University in Virginia Beach.
She has been working for four years at the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast VA, serving as teen director and program leader. She is also in her third year working at Kings Fork Middle School. She currently serves as the in-school suspension coordinator and general education paraprofessional.
At 52, Taliaferro has become a life coach for the children with whom she works at both jobs.
“God has blessed me with a gift to be able to relate to them,” she said. “They know that I relate to them from a place of understanding and wisdom.
“My relationship with these kids are a reflection of my relationship with my Father, God. His love for me is evident in my love for them.”
She accredits her journey that began at PDCCC for opening doors for her and enabling her to give youth the encouragement and support that she did not receive when she was young.
“PDCCC is a beacon of hope in the community and the promise of what we can become,” she said. “I thank God I passed it every day, and praise Him for giving me the courage to walk through the door.”


Help PDCCC help students during one day of giving

Fundraising platform will allow donations to be made online

The Paul D. Camp Community College Foundation hopes to have the help of the community to assist students in realizing their dreams of attending college during a 24-hour fundraiser.
The Give Local 757 allows nonprofits to raise awareness about their organization while also raising money. In addition, the event provides connections with new donors by encouraging a wider audience to engage in the rewards of giving. The event begins at midnight on Tuesday, May 9.
“This is an excellent way to donate and know that the funds will benefit people in the immediate area,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Workforce Development/ Executive Director of the PDCCC Foundation Dr. Renee Felts. “It is an investment. By helping us help our students, they can get jobs in the area, which in turn supports our overall economy.”
The Give Local 757 platform was created by the Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia in 2014 for local nonprofits in the Hampton Roads area. In 2016, the event raised $610,000 for 223 nonprofits in the area, according to its website. The target for this year’s day of giving is $1 million. Along with the Peninsula Community Foundation, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and the United Way are hosting the event.
The Give Local 757 website will officially open for “pre-donations” on Tuesday, April 25th. To make a donation to PDCCC, go to and click the “Donate Now” button.


PDCCC supporter Herb DeGroft honored with 2017 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

Herbert W. DeGroft, center, is congratulated by VCCS Chancellor Dr. Glenn Dubois, left, and PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin at the luncheon in Richmond.
Herbert W. DeGroft of Smithfield was nominated by Paul D. Camp Community College to receive the 12th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. DeGroft was honored recently during a special luncheon ceremony at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond.
“Herbert DeGroft proves himself a devoted supporter for Paul D. Camp Community College time and time again—and has been doing so for three decades,” said PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin. “As a past member of the Local College Board and past president of the College Foundation, he has served tirelessly, taking a genuine interest in assisting and participating in the majority of the college’s events and fundraising activities, namely our Gala and Annual Golf Tournament.
“Herb has also reached into his own pockets on many occasions to ensure that our students have the resources they need to be successful. The College considers itself fortunate for Mr. DeGroft’s friendship and many contributions.”
In his 30 years serving PDCCC, DeGroft began as a member of the Local College board in 1986. He spent two years serving on the Legislative Advocacy committee before joining the Foundation Board in 1996. He served as vice president of the Foundation Board from 2012 to 2014, and as president from 2014 to 2016. He served on numerous committees during this time as well.
He planned and organized PDCCC’s first gala held in April 2016 which raised more than $35,000 for the foundation to help students and has consistently lent those talents to the annual golf tournament fundraiser since its inception in 2004. The activities and events DeGroft attends even include small internal celebrations for colleagues. In addition, he has always been on hand to accompany the students and staff to the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond.
Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, the annual luncheon honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community college,s as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $10 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.
Chancellor Dr. Glenn DuBois expressed his gratitude in his address to the crowd. “You are difference-makers. You are opportunity-creators. We thank you, not just for the dollars donated, but for the standard of leadership you represent. Your example motivates and challenges us all to do more to ensure that opportunity is there for those who come next.”
Keynote speaker John O. “Dubby” Wynne, chairman of GO Virginia and Reinvent Hampton Roads, said he was honored to be a part of the event and he emphasized the generous donations he and others have made are having a positive impact on the communities Virginia’s Community Colleges serve. “In many instances, your gifts are the difference between average or good and excellent in student performance,” he observed.
Wynne also issued an appeal to members of the audience to increase their level of support to help train and educate Virginia’s workforce for economic growth.


Student success program at PDCCC wins first place at statewide conference

Data shows program has been working since its development in 2012

STEPS GroupVice President for Academic and Student Development Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, from left, Co-Program Director Trina Jones, VCCS Chancellor Dr. Glenn DuBois, PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin, College Success Coaches Laura Clark and Dr. Sandra Walker, and Program Specialist Jamie Dodd. Not pictured is Co-Program Director Dr. Alan Harris.
Paul D. Camp Community College’s Students Transitioning through Education Programs Successfully (STEPS) team was awarded a $5,000 first place prize during the Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS) New Horizons Conference 2017 held in Roanoke recently.
All 23 community colleges in the VCCS competed for the Excellence in Education Award based on the theme of “best practices in student success.” The PDCCC team was honored for their project titled, “STEPS: A Research-Based, Evidence-Driven Model for Effectively Serving Underserved Students.”
The team leading this effort is comprised of College Success Coaches Dr. Sandra Walker and Laura Clark, and Program Specialist Jamie Dodd with the support of Vice President for Academic and Student Development Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, and Co-Program Directors Dr. Alan Harris and Trina Jones.
“I would like to express my deep appreciation for their tireless work,” said PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin. “I am also grateful for our faculty, staff and administrators who have supported the success of this award-winning program through their referrals. This is truly an accomplishment of which we can all be proud.”
The program was developed in 2012 in response to the VCCS Chancellor’s College Success Coach Initiative.
“The purpose of this initiative is to increase the number of underserved students who graduate, transfer or earn non-credit credentials,” said Clark. “Researchers attribute low retention rates among underserved students to lack of academic preparedness, limited financial resources, family obligations, and/or social incongruence.”
Among the program data, results have revealed that 70 percent of students maintained a 2.0 grade point average or higher; 134 degrees, diplomas, certificates or other credentials have been earned and more than $235,000 in scholarships have been awarded.
“In addition, three-year average retention rates for fall to spring and fall to fall consistently exceed the VCCS and PDCCC by 7 to 18 percent,” explained Walker.
According to the team, non-academic support was found to be just as important as academic support to first-generation, low-income and ethnic minority students. At the point of entry into STEPS, students must have earned 14 or less credits. The STEPS team was able to take advantage of the college’s small size and make more personal outreach efforts to targeted students.
For more information about the STEPS program at PDCCC, contact Clark in Franklin, 757-569-6780,, or Walker in Suffolk, 757-925-6326,


Number of dual enrollment graduates continues to grow at Paul D. Camp Community College

May commencement will include 95 program or degree completers

Paul D. Camp Community College has experienced a 164 percent increase in the number of dual enrollment students who are graduating with a certificate, career studies certificate (CSC) or an associate’s degree when compared to 2016.
“We’re very excited to see so many high school students who are completing their programs of study this year,” said Dual Enrollment Coordinator Jeanette Pellegrin, “It’s a strong testament to how hard these students work and what great opportunities are offered to them in this program.”
The PDCCC Dual Enrollment Program provides the opportunity for high school students to earn college credits while working toward their high school diploma. This includes completing a degree or certificate if they choose to go that route.
During the 2015-16 academic year, PDCCC graduated 36 dual enrollment students. For the 2016-17 year, the college is expected to see 95 students from the program walk during the May commencement. Sixty-eight of those are on schedule to earn career studies certificates, 10 will be earning General Education Certificates and 17 will earn both Career Studies Certificates and Associate of Arts and Science degrees in General Studies.
“Our partnerships with the high schools are growing because we share the goal of education for skills relevant in today’s workforce,” said Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, vice president for academic and student development.
This concept also aligns with Virginia’s Community Colleges’ goal of “Complete 2021,” a strategic plan that aims to triple credentials awarded annually by 2021. One area of focus in this initiative is preparing graduates for employability in the regional workforce.
In addition to the largest number of dual enrollment students graduating at PDCCC, Franklin High School will have a record number of participants this year, with the following being awarded: 11 Principles of Robotics CSCs; seven Plate Welding CSCs; four General Education Certificates; and four Associates of Arts and Sciences degrees in General Studies.
This will also be the first year that students who attend PDCCC dual enrollment classes at The Pruden Center for Industry and Technology in Suffolk will earn career studies certificates in the fields of Early Childhood Education and Emergency Medical Technician-Basic.
Other dual enrollment graduate awards include students from the following schools:

  • Southampton High School—
    Five Early Childhood Education and Advanced Early Childhood Education CSCs; five General Education Certificates; and three AA&S degrees in General Studies.
  • Lakeland High School—
    Three Early Childhood Education CSCs at Pruden; seven EMT Basic at Pruden; one General Education Certificate; and eight AA&S degrees in General Studies.
  • Nansemond River High School—
    One Early Childhood Education CSC at Pruden; nine EMT Basic CSCs at Pruden; and two AA&S degrees in General Studies.
  • King’s Fork High School—
    One Early Childhood Education CSC at Pruden; seven EMT Basic CSCs at Pruden.
  • Smithfield High School—
    Eight EMT Basic CSCs at Pruden.
  • Windsor High School—
    Five EMT Basic CSCs at Pruden.

Paul D. Camp Community College’s 46th Annual Commencement Exercises will be held Friday, May 12, at the Regional Workforce Development Center in Franklin.
For more information about dual enrollment, contact PDCCC’s Dual Enrollment Coordinator Jeanette Pellegrin at 757-569-6081,, or visit the college’s website at


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