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Roanoke Valley Early College now open at HCC

Staff of the Roanoke Valley Early College (RVEC) held a ribbon cutting Aug. 10 to open the school and kick off the new school year. The RVEC is located on the campus of Halifax Community College.


A few years ago, HCC and the Roanoke Valley Business Education Partnership in collaboration with local school districts were awarded a grant to develop plans for the creation of an Early College high school program. Now, the RVEC has become a reality.


The RVEC is a five- to six-year program. Seventh and eighth grade students will matriculate through a rigorous curriculum and have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, an associate’s degree and/or two years of transferable credits to a four-year college or university.


RVEC Principal Monica Smith-Woofter explained that the school’s goal is to expand the limits of achievement for students who may have previously underestimated their knowledge, skills and ability to successfully access the many opportunities in society. Sixty-five students from Halifax, Northampton and Warren counties have been selected to attend the school this year. RVEC was among the last of the Early College cohorts to be funded by the legislature.


“We’re looking forward to, maybe four or five years down the road, when we will be handing out the high school diploma and the associate degree at the same time,” said HCC President, Dr. Ervin V. Griffin, Sr. of the RVEC. Others in attendance at the event included Senator Edward Jones, Weldon School Superintendent Dr. Elie Bracy III, Chairman of the HCC Board of Trustees and Vice Chair of the Weldon School Board Dr. Stanley Edwards, board members from Weldon City Schools and HCC trustees.


Early College High Schools ensure that all students remain in school and are college ready and that schools are accountable for student achievement. They serve as an effective bridge between the high school and institutions of higher learning to improve graduation rates and to increase the number of underserved youth who will graduate with a high school diploma and two years of transferable credit or an associate’s degree.


Learn and Earn Early College High Schools are supported by the NC New Schools Project and are members of a state-wide effort under the guidelines and support of the NC Department of Public Instruction and other NC New Schools Project partners. Former Governor Mike Easley launched the Learn and Earn Early College High School Initiative in September 2004. All high school reform operates under the umbrella of the NC 21st Century High School Initiative.

Dr. Elie Bracy III, left, and Dr. Ervin V. Griffin, Sr. cut the ribbon for the opening of the Roanoke Valley Early College. (photo by HCC staff Howard Bethany)