CCCC kicks off 50th celebration
Fireworks exploded high above Central Carolina Community College's Emergency Services Training Cen ... (more)
Central Carolina Community College threw its 50th Anniversary kickoff celebration July 23 at the c ... (more)
Officers of the Sanford Police Department impressed visitors with their rappelling skills during C ... (more)
SANFORD - The weather was hot, but the July 23 kickoff celebration of Central Carolina Community College's 50th Anniversary celebration was definitely one of the coolest events to happen in Sanford.
In spite of temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, about 1,500 people flocked to the College's Emergency Services Training Center to enjoy the celebration and, for many, remember what the college has meant to them, their family members, and their communities.
A long line of cars wound its way into the ESTC during the heat of the day and into the evening, filled with adults and children ready for a fun time - and they weren't disappointed. From face painting to fireworks, there was something for everyone.
Young and old listened to great band music from The FOG and Poor Souls, gathered for the exciting rappelling demonstration by officers of the Sanford Police Department and martial arts by Brick City Martial Arts, enjoyed good food at the Taste of the Counties as well as vendors' fare, had fun with the games and activities, and capped it all off by relaxing in the cooler evening air to "ooh" and "aah" at the spectacular fireworks show.
"We decided to celebrate Central Carolina Community College's 50th Anniversary and we wanted to do something inclusive of the community," President Bud Marchant told the crowd during the opening program. "It's been a remarkable 50 years at CCCC and we are glad you're here to celebrate with us."
Among the speakers for the program was R.V. Hight, college trustee and Sanford Herald special sections editor. Hight and his family were in their Sanford home when it was severely damaged by the April 16 tornado that swept through Lee County. He led a moment of silence for Michael Chambers and Michael Hunter, victims of the tornado, and for Officer Eli Colonroche, the Sanford police officer who died recently. Three white doves were then released in their memory.
Hight spoke of the many who volunteered to help with the tornado cleanup, among them groups from CCCC.
"It is that same spirit of community that has helped our college achieve many successes in the last 50 years," he said. "We are a college of helping students to achieve their lifelong dreams of successful careers and of serving others. May our college - just as those who were affected by the tornado - continue to move forward as we look ahead to an even brighter future."
CCCC started as the Lee County Industrial Education Center, which offered its first continuing education class in 1961 and its first curriculum class in 1962 in Lee County. From that small beginning, the institution grew, expanded into Chatham and Harnett counties, and became Central Carolina Community College. It now serves many thousands of curriculum, continuing education, and basic skills students in its three-county service area - and beyond - at three campuses, multiple centers, and via the Internet through distance education.
Bill Milholen, owner of Basic Machinery Co., in Siler City, and current president of the CCCC Foundation, said he started his company 37 years ago and the first thing he did was to get the college to train his workers.
"I've always been a supporter of the college," he said. "It's a fantastic thing to make it to 50 years."
Many of those at the celebration said they had attended CCCC or had family members who had, were currently, or were planning to take classes at the college.
"I'll be starting in the fall," said Hamiet Valladares, of Sanford, as he, his father Gustavo Valladares, and nephew Andres Gomez admired the large display of antique cars and fire engines. "CCCC started as a small college, but it's grown - that's a big accomplishment. It's put Sanford on the map and provides good educational opportunities."
Jessica Daw, of Olivia, and her friends Krystal Allen, of Olivia, and Mary Ortiz, of Pine Bluff, brought their children for a fun day and all were having a great time. Their four children left the indoor Kids' Zone activity area with colorfully painted faces, twisted balloon toys, and caricature drawings of themselves.
"The kids are really enjoying themselves," Daw said with a smile. Then, thinking of what the college has meant to the people in the communities it serves, she added, "If CCCC weren't here, there would be a whole lot of joblessness because people wouldn't have the education to get jobs."
Those were recurring themes during the celebration: lots of fun, but also thinking about the importance of the college to its communities.
It was a particularly touching but happy day for Tommy Mann Jr. His father, Tommy Mann Sr., served on the Lee County Industrial Education Center Advisory Board starting in 1962, and continued to serve the college, including as a trustee, into the 1990s.
"We're really proud of what he and everybody did in starting the college," he said. "I don't know that anyone can put a measure on the amount of goodness the college brings to its communities. Every day, more and more are going to school."
He added that he served 18 years on the Lee County Economic and Development Corporation.
"Without the college, we would never have been as successful in getting industry here," he said. "It's a tremendous asset."
CCCC's 50th celebration will continue during the July 2011-June 2012 academic year, with events planned for Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties.
No state funds were used to pay for this event or future 50th events. Instead, corporate and business donations are providing the funding and prizes, while a small army of volunteers provides the manpower.
"I am so grateful to the 50th Anniversary committee and all of our staff, especially those at the ESTC and college maintenance," said Crystal Smith, the college's Kickoff coordinator. "If I asked anyone to do anything, they did it. We all felt this was a present we could give to our communities for their half-century of support for CCCC."
Those who have contributed financially so far are Anniversary Partners: Coty, Pfizer, Kangaroo Express, and Harnett Health; Anniversary 2011 Club Sponsors: First Bank, Chatham Hospital-UNC Health Care, Central Carolina Hospital, CruiZers Marketplace & Eatery, Central Electric Membership Corporation, Smith's Premium Water & Coffee Service, Tramway Veneers, Frontier Spinning Mills, Imperial Freezer Services, Lee Builder Mart, and Realty World/J.E. Womble & Sons.
Additional donors are Anniversary Supporters: Bright Audiology, Lee County Phone Book, Nelson & Nelson Chiropractic, Walgreens, WLHC-FM, and Triangle Office Equipment; Year-Long Friends: Carolina Eye Associates, Castle Uniforms and Steel and Pipe Corporation; and July 23rd Sponsors: Central Carolina Jaycees, Century 21 Realty, Floral Designs by Eddie, Jones Printing Company, Rodney Wilder, and Zoe the Clown.
For more information about CCCC's 50th Anniversary, visit the college's web site: www.cccc.edu/50years.
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