Christiansburg discusses ACCE program

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Photo by Melissa Powell
March is “Youth Art Month,” and Tuesday night, Christiansburg High School art students were honored for the Scholastic Gold Key work. Pictured are: front row (from left), Nicole Diiola, Courtney Caldwell, Danielle Fleenor and Christiansburg Mayor Michael Barber; back row, Eddie Sheffield, Grace Martin, Sydney Honaker and Claire Curry. Students from Christiansburg Elementary School also presented members of the Christiansburg council with art pieces they had completed earlier in the week.

High school graduates in Montgomery County could soon be able to receive free tuition at New River Community College.


Angie Covey, who works with the public-private partnership through the NRCC Educational Foundation, told Christiansburg town council Tuesday night free tuition is important to economic development for our area. The program is called ACCE—Access to Community College Education.

The bottom line, according to Covey, is that every student at county high schools could go to NRCC free of charge, and the NRCC hopes to offer it here in the very near future.

“Many students have been told a college education is out of reach because of the money. It’s not out of reach as you can see in this process,” she said.

The program also gives back to the community. “As part of this free tuition, each students must work or give back 80 hours of community service prior to their first fall semester at New River. So, it also gets students to give back,” Covey said.

The program was started two years ago in Giles County and is now implemented in Radford and Floyd County.

“It has been phenomenal in both those localities,” Covey said.

Eleven students from Narrows High School and 26 from Giles High School have accepted the ACCE funding.

“This program really works and helps high school graduates who might not have the opportunity otherwise,” Covey said.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors has already dedicated $100,000 in their upcoming budget for the program. Covey said the total amount for county students would be nearly $300,000 for the first year. So additional monies would have to be raised through grants, private donations and other funding from local government.

Christiansburg Mayor Michael Barber would not go as far to earmark specific funds for the program, but said he hoped the town could be involved some way in the future.

In other matters, council approved street closures for this year’s Wilderness Trail Festival.

The governmental body also approved a new street name and right-of-way for 1.1 acres of lane off Quin W. Stuart Blvd. The street will be known as John Adams Drive NW.

A new speed limit of 10 miles per hour was also approved for a curve along Carson Drive and Robin Road.