The Rockingham County Education Foundation (RCEF) was formed in 2008 by a group of concerned citizens in response to a changing economic and educational environment within Rockingham County. The group, comprised of local business persons, educators, relators, and local government officials wanted to heighten the profile of public education in our community. The group’s vision was to increase the county’s educational attainment levels to rank among the top five rural counties in North Carolina, and in doing so, attract the interests of businesses wishing to locate in rural areas of North Carolina.
The Rockingham County Education Foundation quickly realized that, for many students, financial considerations put secondary education out of their reach. Understanding this, board members began investigating programs that were having a positive educational impact. The search for best practices led to the Patrick County VA School System, as well as UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2008, two “College Access Providers” began working within the four Rockingham County High Schools to assist students in exploring careers, researching colleges and technical training options, completing applications, waivers, financial aid forms and more. The Foundation also funded SAT practice and training sessions.
From small beginnings, the Foundation has expanded upon the Carolina College Advising Corps and has increased its focus on early childhood education, workforce development, and teacher assistance programs.