Laurel Ridge TRIO graduates celebrate successes

For Immediate Release:
May 10, 2017

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


The fifth annual TRIO graduate celebration dinner was held Tuesday at Laurel Ridge’s Middletown Campus. TRIO Student Support Services are available for students whose parents haven’t earned a bachelor’s degree, who are low-income, or who have a documented disability.

TRIO students receive one-on-one advising and tutoring, free printing services, extra help in filling out financial aid documentation, additional assistance with transferring to a four-year college or university and financial literacy training. The federally funded program serves about 160 Laurel Ridge students each year. It has been offered at Laurel Ridge’s Middletown Campus since 2001.

There are 29 TRIO students in Laurel Ridge’s Class of 2017, which is celebrating commencement at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13 at Skyline High School in Front Royal. 

“Each one of our graduates has worked extremely hard to be where they are today,” TRIO Support Services Director Sarah Williams said during Tuesday’s ceremony. “We’re so proud of every single student who comes through our door.”

Winchester Public Schools Director of Elementary Education Dr. Nan Bryant spoke to the graduates.

“I’m a first-generation college graduate,” she said. “My parents would love to have gone to college, but they just didn’t feel the path was there for them.”

There were three roles people in her life played for her that helped her move forward and end up obtaining her doctorate, Bryant said. Her mother was a dreamer, who made the dream of going to college seem attainable; teachers and a guidance counselor who acted as path builders; and a principal who acted as a general contractor as Bryant navigated the process of being a full-time school administrator, a mother and a doctoral student.

Bryant encouraged the TRIO graduates to play those roles in others’ lives, too.

Also during Tuesday’s celebration, TRIO Scholar awards were given to those who had GPAs of 3.6 or higher. Alexis Stiles, who graduated from Skyline High School two years ago at age 16, was named the Outstanding TRIO Graduate. 


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— 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 (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

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.