One of the most distinguishing features about the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) is its open door policy. Regardless of one’s social standing, educational background, socioeconomic status, professional or personal ties, this system is one that promises to provide access to a quality education for all.
Dr. W. Dallas Herring, the ‘father’ of the NCCCS had a vision that all North Carolinians should have such an opportunity. Dr. Herring understood quite clearly that for so many, education is the great equalizer; that is, a means through which folks can attain at least some form of upward mobility. It’s simply hard to get ahead in life without an education.
Providing open doors is one thing the NCCCS does incredibly well, especially to those who are historically underserved by postsecondary institutions. PCC prides itself in embracing this tradition, serving students from a wide variety of backgrounds. There is simply something for everyone at the college.
Although PCC truly does provide an open door for all, and clearly goes the extra mile to serve its student body, the college’s administration identified a need to focus on providing an additional level of support to its minority male population. Many years ago, Mr. Jamie Gibbs, Vice President of Student Services along with the late Mr. Fred Brown, a respected Pamlico County fixture had the vision to start a mentoring program years ago that would focus on PCC’s minority male population.
This vision came to fruition this past year through a grant awarded by the NCCCS with the intent on promoting educational equity among male students, with an intent focus on African American and Latino males. With Vice President Gibbs at the helm, and supported by an advisory committee with extensive experience and ties that permeate deeply within the local community, the ‘Men Eliminating Barriers and Creating Opportunities’ (MEBCO, for short) was launched. The program is intended for men who strive to pursue both academic and personal excellence.
Through the grant, the college was able hire a mentoring coach to work one-on-one with program participants. Mr. Keith Sampson meets regularly with each MEBCO student, working to help each participant excel both academically and personally. Since the program’s start, MEBCO students have also gotten the opportunity to take part in a kick-off ceremony, have taken a tour of a nearby UNC system institution, and will be taking part in an upcoming service learning project to serve Pamlico County citizens who face food insecurity.
The college is inviting the local community to an End-of-Year Summit to celebrate MEBCO’s inaugural year. Dr. Nkrumah Lewis (author of “Becoming a Butterfly: From Prison to Ph.D.”), the event’s keynote speaker, will be telling his story of overcoming hurdles to achieve success despite all odds. His message is one of hope in the face of adversity.
The Summit is scheduled for Thursday, April 23rd from 10 am – 1 pm in the Delamar Center. For more information, call 252-249-1851 × 3010. Reserve your spot today! All are welcome.