LFCC highlights achievements in Page during fifth annual Evening with the Stars

Page News and Courier

STANLEY, June 22 ― Educators, supporters, students and alumni gathered last Thursday to celebrate the past 11 years of Lord Fairfax Community College's presence in Page ― and to look to the college's future potential in the county.

Since opening its doors on Luray's North Hawksbill Street in 2006, the LFCC Luray-Page County Center has grown from 103 student enrollments to 455 enrollments in the past year, LFCC President Cheryl Thompson-Stacy told a crowd of about 200 gathered at Stanley's the Pavilion at Shenandoah Woods for Thursday's fifth annual Evening with the Stars event.

In May, 67 Page County residents graduated from LFCC, taking advantage in full or in part of the local center without having to make the trek to the college's Middletown or Fauquier campuses.

Thanks to a partnership with the local school system that ranks as LFCC's “most active” within the eight areas in its service region, Thompson-Stacy continued, 417 of Page County's high school juniors and seniors during the 2016-17 school year took advantage of dual enrollment classes.

Of those, 32 local seniors earned an associate's degree or college credential before walking across the stages at Luray or Page County High School to earn their high school diploma.

Other 2016-17 highlights include workforce training programs that were provided to 12 Page County businesses; 42 county residents who are currently employed by the college; and a distance learning partnership with Old Dominion University that allows students to earn a bachelor's or master's degree at LFCC's Luray-Page Center.

“We're grateful to have the Center on Hawksbill Street, however it's never been an ideal space for a college ― plus, our needs have changed over the years,” said Thompson-Stacy, noting that the Luray annex building is currently on the market. “Our dream is to have a permanent home in Page County, and tonight we celebrate one enormous step closer to achieving that dream.”

In recognition of that step, LFCC officials on Thursday announced the inception of a $1,000 scholarship to be given in honor of the Jenkins Family each year to a Page County student.

In February, the LFCC Educational Foundation announced that the Baker Development Partnership, LLC, donated 6.3 acres in the Luray Landing Development, behind the Luray Walmart, for the purpose of building a permanent home for the Luray-Page County Center.

The Partnership includes Page County residents Russell Jenkins and his son Rodney Jenkins of Warrenton-based General Excavation Inc.

LFCC officials also recognized representatives from Luray's Marlow Ford, who presented a $5,000 check that was raised through a recent “Drive for your School” event.

Those and other funds raised on Thursday will be earmarked for a Page County building fund. To help spur that fund, Jim and Brenda Wells of Page County challenged event-goers on Thursday, pledging to match the first $6,000 raised during the event.

Since launching Evening with the Stars in 2013, the event has raised more than $100,000 for the LFCC's Luray-Page County Center and for local scholarships and programs. Proceeds raised during last year's event funded more than $16,000 in scholarships awarded to 11 Page County students, according to LFCC Foundation staff member Bev Butterfield.

“Stories of student success are always such an inspiration, and that's what keeps me motivated to do what I do, Butterfield said.

The evening culminated in presentations by three current and former students, who reflected on their time at LFCC's Luray-Page County Center and how that time has impacted their lives.

Those stories, said LFCC Foundation Board member Dave Slye, “tell a true story of the power of education in a rural community, allowing students of all ages to follow dreams and fulfill career goals.”

“Truly the best measures of our success is what our students accomplish,” said Slye.

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