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On July 27, more than 80 people turned out for a groundbreaking ceremony hosted by Forsyth Tech to celebrate the commencement of construction on the college’s new Stokes County Center at 1165 Dodgetown Road in the Meadows community near Walnut Cove. The Center represents the college’s first permanent facility in Stokes County.

On hand to offer remarks were Dr. Gary Green, president of Forsyth Tech; Ed Welch, Chair of Forsyth Tech’s Board of Trustees; Ronda Jones, Chair of the Stokes County Commissioners; and Ann Watts, Director of Stokes County Operations for Forsyth Tech.

Attendees included county commissioners, the county manager, members of the board of education, the school superintendent, representatives from the offices of Senator Richard Burr and Congressman Mark Walker, State Representative Bryan Holloway, members of Forsyth Tech’s Board of Trustees and Foundation Board, as well as students from the Stokes Early College program.

Watts expressed her excitement for the center, saying, “It’s been over 30 years in the making, and I could not be more proud.”

“We are embarking on a new era in Stokes County,” said Jones. “Education is imperative to our economy, and we could not ask for a better place or better people to move this county forward.”

Following the remarks, Green, along with 10 of the invited guests, pushed ceremonial shovels into the ground and tossed dirt to officially mark the groundbreaking of the Stokes County Center.

The new 20,000-square-foot center, which was designed by the architecture firm of Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce, has been designed to meet the educational needs of Stokes County’s growing population. It will offer expanded space for adult and early college students, a lab for the nursing program, facilities for EMT training, and state-of-the-art science and computer labs. Plans are also in place to create within the center an agriculture and agritourism program, tapping into the unique farming opportunities available in Stokes County.

Blue Ridge Enterprises is overseeing construction of the center, which is expected to open in fall 2016.


Several GCS teachers and staff members spent part of their summer in China, gaining new cultural experiences and new ideas for their classrooms.

The teachers each applied for and were accepted into the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Study Abroad program through the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The teachers participated in university courses as well as culture experiences in China in an effort to design curriculum activities in collaboration with Chinese teachers.

“We’re planning to hold a Chinese New Year Festival in our ACES programs,” says Crystal Slade, an ACES program coordinator and one of the educators who went to China. “We’re working with UNCG to bring in some Chinese students to teach our kids Chinese phrases and read Chinese folktales that are similar to stories they’re already familiar with in order to compare the two.”

Slade says she’s also working on other projects to include throughout the year that will expose students to a new culture. They’ll read the book “A School Like Mine,” which looks at different schools around the world and ACES students will make their own posters about their schools; she’ll share pictures and her experiences from her summer; and plans to create a pen-pal partnership with some of the teachers she met overseas.

“In this global economy, it’s important for our students to be exposed to the various cultures around the world,” says Charlos Banks, executive director of student services and character development.

“That’s why our ACES programs are working to expand on topics covered in class and give them a greater understanding of the world around them.” !