The legacy of Grantham family members graduating from College of The Albemarle began with Donald Grantham who first attended in 1985 while serving in the local branch of the United States Coast Guard. He attended classes on the Elizabeth City campus part time and in May he will be graduating with an Associate in Arts Degree. While earning his degree, Donald excelled in his classes and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Donald reminisces about his time at COA: “There were several subjects that I enjoyed: Western Civilizations with Mr. Etheridge, Chemistry with Mr. Adams, Astronomy with Mr. Younger, Public Speaking with Mr. Deets, and Art and Music Appreciation. Being an older student and going through these courses gave me a greater appreciation for the arts and sciences and has allowed me to be a more knowledgeable individual.”
Donald isn’t the only Grantham family member to attend the college. In fact, his entire household has gone on to become COA alumni.
Prior to Donald attending the college, his wife, Cindy, attended in 1981. She was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Society after her first year. After deciding to take a hiatus from school in order to spend time raising her children, Cindy returned to COA to continue her education in 2010, graduating with an Associate in Arts Degree.
Donald was especially proud of his wife: “I think my favorite memory was when my wife Cindy graduated COA. Cindy delayed finishing her degree earlier in life to raise our two sons. The day Cindy graduated COA was the completion of a goal and I am so proud of her.”
The legacy of pursuing higher education was passed onto the Grantham children. First of the Grantham children to attend COA was their oldest, Douglas. He entered in 2000, graduating the next year with an Associate of Science Degree. From here, Douglas transferred to NC State University and later graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering in 2004 but his education didn’t stop there. He went on to attend John Hopkins University and earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, Douglas accepted a job at the Applied Physics Lab of Johns Hopkins University, where he now works as a programmer and radar engineer. After attending such large prestigious universities, Doug reflected on his time at COA and compared the quality of instruction:
“I found that I received much more personal instruction from teachers at COA. Class sizes were in the range of 30 students, whereas my university class sizes were in the hundreds. Because of the small class size, instructors at COA could really focus on providing personal instruction to their students. At university, there were far too many students for instructors to provide personal connections.”- Douglas Grantham
Doug’s wife, Lisa Byrum Grantham, was the next to attend the college. She entered COA in 2004 as a student in the state-recognized nursing program. She became a member of Phi Theta Kappa and graduated from in 2007 with an Associate Degree in Nursing. She is now working at the Washington-Baltimore Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Lisa was one of the first new graduates to be hired into the maternity ward of the Washington-Baltimore Hospital and went on to pave the way for other new graduates:
Doug speaks highly of his wife’s experience: “When my wife, Lisa, was hired as a maternity nurse, she was the first new graduate to be hired into the maternity ward; most new graduates went to less desirable units within the hospital. However, the staff and managers had so much success with her due to the skills she learned at COA, that they began to hire other new graduates into maternity.”
The most recent family member to attend COA was James Grantham who joined in 2004 and pursued the arts, earning his Associates of Arts in 2006. James transferred from COA to UNC Wilmington where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Film Studies in 2008.
“My favorite course at COA was sailing taught by Jeffrey Carter. Jeff instilled the techniques and knowledge necessary for me to later own a large sail boat with a couple of friends. It was so much fun getting out on the Pasquotank River in the little Catalina Capri sailboats. This is definitely a course COA students should cherish, and the college should be proud to offer.” – James Grantham.
Photo - Left to right: Donald Grantham, James Grantham, Cindy Grantham, Douglas Grantham, Lisa Grantham.