For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2017

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134


Students, staff and community members celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Laurel Ridge Community College’s Middletown Campus Monday afternoon.

Dr. Helen Long Davenport shared the inspirational story of her journey from dropout to recipient of a doctor of education degree.

Dr. Davenport dreamed of becoming a teacher, but that goal was sidetracked when she had her first baby at 15. After marrying, she was the mother of four by the time she was 20. Still, she managed to go back to high school and earn her diploma.

“In 1970, Lord Fairfax had just opened its doors, and she was one of the first students to enroll,” Dr. Davenport said of herself.

She ended up taking some time off after having her fifth child, but Dr. Davenport soon returned to Laurel Ridge, later transferring to Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music. She continued to attend school even after her husband was diagnosed with a terminal lung condition.  Laurel Ridge COMMEMORATES MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY

Dr. Davenport taught at Frederick Douglass Elementary School for 30 years, and in recent years wrote the book, “The Journey from Dropout to Doctor.” She said achieving her academic goals made her family proud and gave her children a role model.

“Your dream may be your own, but is not yours alone,” Dr. Davenport said. “It stretches far and wide and reaches many others, too. Don’t give up, even if you have to put your dream on hold.”

Also during Monday’s celebration, Andrea Ludwick, associate professor of speech at Laurel Ridge, received the 14th annual Walking King’s Talk Award for her message of tolerance for others.

“Every student that meets her is greeted with warmth and acceptance,” allied health support specialist Kelsey Owens said when presenting Dr. Ludwick with the award. “This very event was Andrea’s event before Student Life began to take the lead.”

The celebration also featured performances by the Laurel Ridge Forensics Team and Madeline Smith, the winner of the October Laurel Ridge’s Got Talent show who performed an original song.


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.