PDCCC to hold gala

Published 10:00 am Friday, April 8, 2016

By Wendy Harrison
PDCCC Public Relations Specialist

Paul D. Camp Community College will host a Platform for Change Gala at the college’s Regional Workforce Development Center on Saturday, April 23. Proceeds will benefit the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative, a state level campaign that includes PDCCC.

“The initiative is aimed at helping more people in rural communities to transition into postsecondary education,” said Dr. Renee Felts, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the PDCCC Foundation. “More specifically, we will use funds to support more full-time career coaches in our high schools and incentives for GED recipients to continue their education. Those students will also have career coach support throughout the process.”

High school career coaches provide students guidance and resources in planning, setting goals and selection of community or technical colleges. They also help students understand the financial aid, grant and scholarships processes.

“Giving the students resources to make informed decisions about their future also builds their confidence,” said Felts.

The word “horseshoe” refers to the shape of the area in Virginia if you drew an imaginary line from the Eastern Shore westward across the Southside to Southwest Virginia and up to the Shenandoah Valley, which creates an arch shape representing 75 percent of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s geography. More than half a million people living in the rural horseshoe have less than a high school education.

“This places Virginia in poor ranking nationally despite the success experienced in other parts of Virginia that do not fall within the ‘horseshoe,’” said Dr. Bill Aiken, interim president at PDCCC. “The cost associated with residents who aren’t prepared for the modern workplace affects all Virginians.”

According to former Virginia Governor Gerald Baliles, the level of education one has directly affects one’s earning potential. Increasing the number of people attaining postsecondary education affects “higher earnings, increased tax revenues, reduced entitlements and a more attractive business climate.”

The Platform for Change Gala will also serve as an opportunity to honor former Delegate Samuel Glasscock and former Senator Fred Quayle.

“They have whole heartedly been committed to education in the Commonwealth,” said PDCCC Foundation Board President Herb DeGroft. “They will be honored for their service to Virginia, our localities and to PDCCC as Local Board and Foundation Board members, respectively. We are fortunate to have such distinguished members on our boards.”

A VIP reception with open bar at the ticket price of $125 will begin at 5:30 p.m. An Open Reception with a cash bar at a ticket price of $75 starts at 6:30 p.m. Both receptions will feature music by the Smithfield High Evening Ensemble.

Dinner, catered by Smithfield Station, will follow at 7 p.m. and music will be provided by Strictly Bizzness until 10 p.m. Tickets to the event, sponsored by Smithfield Foods, Dominion and Bank of America, may be purchased at pdc.edu/GALA or by calling 569-6790.