Larry Barnes and Betty Jo Faircloth. For more than two decades they were a part of every major decision made on the Sampson Community College campus. They saw SCC grow from being a technical school, later expanding to become the full-on college that we know it as today.
Barnes, who joined the Sampson Community College Board of Trustees in the early nineties, and Faircloth, who came on board in the late eighties, have decided to step down from the SCC board, but not without enjoying memories of the many successes they helped create along the way.
No stranger to the spotlight, Faircloth served on many boards locally, across Sampson County and even statewide. “But Sampson Community College,” she says with a smile on her face, “that’s the one I am most proud of. I have always had a place in my heart for watching these kids, these young adults really, come to SCC, decide what they want to do in life and buckle down and go for it!”
Barnes, a well-known businessman in Sampson County, has also been recognized statewide for his efforts. A recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of North Carolina’s highest honors, Barnes joined the company of many notable recipients such as Dale Earnhardt, Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey.
When asked why Sampson Community College should be an attractive options for students, both are very quick to respond. Noting that the college offers a General Education Development program for those that never finished high school, Continuing Education for those of any age or education level on up to a college transfer program, compensatory education program and, of course, two year degrees, Barnes puts it simply “SCC can take a person from where they are and take them to where they want to be. This college will virtually take in anyone who wants to learn.”
Faircloth notes that SCC is simply a much better option for students coming out of high school, pointing out that students can take their core courses at the college before transferring to a four-year university, they can stay near home with family and friends for an extra two years while deciding a major and that they can save a lot of money in the process or as she says “They can do more with less here.”
Another advantage of SCC, both former board members point out, is that high school students no longer have to wait until a diploma is in hand to begin college life. SCC is now a host campus for Early College — a program that allows high school students to attend SCC for their high school courses while simultaneously taking college level courses for credit. Under this program, students can graduate college faster than in traditional cycles.
Located in a rural area and having the same funding challenges that all community colleges face, it hasn’t been an easy road for Sampson Community College to stay on course and reach the high standards that is set among campus officials, both Barnes and Faircloth believe that new technology that the college consistently brings in and the formation of the Quality Enhancement Plan will both prove to keep SCC strong in future years.
The Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP as it is called, was implemented with the mission to bring students in and offer an unprecedented level of help and evaluation of goals so students can make better decisions about the career paths they want to choose so there are less students who are unsure of what they want to do as it relates to a particular job or to serve a particular role in society. “To help them be the best that they can be,” says Barnes.
“We are proud of this college,” says Faircloth. “The identity of this college with Sampson County…the vital connections between the unemployed here and the businesses in the area…we want to continue to be a major part of the economic success that this county enjoys and grow and expand wherever possible.”
Both Faircloth and Barnes have reassured the college that they are only one phone call away if needed for future guidance or assistance with any decisions that impact the future of SCC.
Dr. Paul Hutchins, the current president of SCC and someone who had the opportunity to work with both former board members, shares his appreciation for their dedication. “On behalf of the students, faculty and staff at Sampson Community College I want to convey our gratitude and appreciation to Betty Jo Faircloth and Larry Barnes for their many years of dedicated service to the college”, says Hutchins. “
Their wisdom, guidance and support have made Sampson Community College a better institution of higher education.”