Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) 2023 Commencement ceremony is May 19, with 159 graduates expected to cross the stage on Friday night, the largest class of the decade. This year’s ceremony includes a keynote speaker that rose to state political prominence in the 2022 election, PCC alumnus and Person County native, NC Representative Ray Jeffers.

Ray was born and raised in Person County, where he also operates the family’s century farm, purchased by his great-grandfather in 1919. The farm produces vegetables, pasture-raised hogs, chickens, and eggs. Jeffers is employed by RAFI-USA, a farm advocacy nonprofit, and became the Farmers of Color Network Director in 2022.

Jeffers was motivated to join the political realm due to his school affiliations (PCC and North Carolina A&T State University) with extracurricular clubs and organizations and his volunteerism. As Person County is his home, he wanted to help ensure that Person County was the best possible place to live and work.

Jeffers served for 12 years as a Person County Commissioner and Chairman of the Board in 2020. In August 2013, he was sworn in as the 97th president of the N.C Association of County Commissioners, the first elected from Person County to serve and the youngest in the Association’s history. In 2022, Jeffers was elected as the District 2 representative of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Graduates will also hear from Brandie Powell, PCC’s 2023 Alumnus of the Year. Powell returned to pursue her degree as an adult learner. At the time, she worked full-time, had two children, and was active in her community. Still, she graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors in 2018 with her Associate in Arts degree. In March, Powell was recognized as Alumnus of the Year, as she has embraced the PCC Alumni Partnership’s motto: Serve, Share, and Support. During the ceremony, Powell will impart words of advice to those transitioning from student to alumni.

PCC’s 2023 Commencement ceremony begins at 7 p.m., on May 19, at the Caswell County Civic Center (536 Main Street in Yanceyville, NC). A live stream will be available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/piedmontcc.

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