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Orientation to Help VISIONS Students Succeed

WINTERVILLE—Students in Pitt Community College’s VISIONS program took part in a special orientation session this month to help them prepare for the jump to higher education this fall.

Held on campus July 11-12, the program included campus tours and workshops that covered everything from time management and note-taking skills to student responsibilities and instructor expectations. Students even participated in a mock class during the two-day program.

Jasmin Spain, PCC’s VISIONS College Program Coordinator, said he organized orientation in order to give students additional tools for college success.

“I want the students I work with to be prepared and ready when classes begin Aug. 17, but I cannot have those expectations if I do not educate them of what their challenges will be and to let them know of the support services available on campus to help them succeed,” he said.

Spain said student engagement was a major focus throughout orientation. “I am a firm believer in the relationship between student success and student involvement,” he said, adding that he invited key student development services personnel to speak about the correlation and opportunities for students to participate in campus programs and activities.

Students also took part in a workshop on career readiness. Spain said VISIONS participants will be required to take Career Readiness Certificate testing at PCC in August to help them determine their workplace skills.

Spain said the “icing on the cake” was a presentation by PCC’s Don Joyner, who encouraged students to take responsibility for their success.

“Don utilized Arthur Chickering’s ‘Seven Vectors of Development’ in a manner in which our students could relate, presenting real life issues that are bound to take place while they are in college but also educating them on how to handle these issues,” Spain said. “Don’s participation was exactly what these students needed in what could be a life-changing experience for them when they step foot on this campus next month.”

Spain said he expects the information students received during VISIONS orientation will go a long way toward helping them become successful in higher education.

“I anticipate nothing but positive results from these students based on the knowledge and wisdom imparted to them by PCC employees,” he said. “I was very pleased with the participation and outcome of this orientation, and I have already begun working on the planning phase of next year’s orientation.”

Created in 2004, VISIONS provides participants with the support and guidance they need in order to complete high school, enroll in higher education, complete a program of study and ultimately find employment. The program was developed by the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation in conjunction with the PCC Foundation, Pitt County Schools and the Greater Greenville Community Foundation.

Eddie Smith, who owns Grady-White Boats, is the program’s benefactor. He helped VISIONS get off the ground as a way to reduce Pitt County’s high school drop-out rate and increase the number of county students attending college.

VISIONS participants who complete high school and enroll at PCC receive personal and academic counseling at the college in addition to a $1,000-scholarship ($500 per semester). The students can renew their scholarships if they maintain a 2.3 grade point average throughout the first year of college.