Vance County High's Jeffrey Ayscue taking senior year in stride

Oct. 1—This program is made possible through the support of Mako Medical Labs, Prim Development and Residential, and the Vance County Public School Foundation.

HENDERSON — With the real world knocking, senior year can be a difficult time for high school students when it comes to planning for the future.

Not for Vance County High School senior Jeffrey Ayscue, the latest Student Spotlight recipient.

Jeffrey had his longterm plans set for the most part before the fall semester even commenced, as Vance County High Senior Principal Angela Cusaac observed in the school's "senior class sit-downs" over summer break.

"He knew that he wanted this year to be the best year yet," Cusaac said. "He's ready to graduate because he wants to work with his dad."

Exhibiting a lunch-pail mentality, Jeffrey's gravitation towards practical know-how comes from his dad Robert Ayscue among other men in their family tree.

Jeffrey's favorite class is carpentry, something he might like to pursue at Vance-Granville Community College, all in an effort to follow in the footsteps of his father, who describes himself as a jack of all trades, currently working in the field of grading and hauling.

"My granddaddy told me long ago if you don't know how to do a little bit of everything," Robert said, "you won't ever make it."

The values of courtesy and respect were instilled in Robert and he has sought to teach Jeffrey the same lessons.

"Well, you've done a good job," Jeffrey's Vance County High teacher Benji Nelson told Jeffrey's parents, "because those two things, he does well."

The operative word for Robert and Russi Fawn in describing their son earning Spotlight recognition: proud.

Nelson said he couldn't think of a more deserving student than Jeffrey and similarly, Cusaac didn't hesitate to think of his name as a senior class representative.

"Jeffrey is so ambitious," Cusaac said. "Goals are set. He's concisely meeting those goals. He's excelling academically. He's not afraid to talk about where his opportunities are, where the deficits are that he might experience, such as reading. So instead of giving up, he continues to push through and excel, and ask for help.

"But then those things he loves, like math, he takes those and incorporates those into other classes like carpentry."

Royal Grantham's carpentry class, held at Vance County High, is one of the places Jeffrey shines most.

Jeffrey said one of the aspects he enjoys about carpentry is being able to offer a helping hand.

In the carpentry shop, students have been working recently on birdhouses and corn hole boards, and there's a tiny home project on the horizon.

Once, Nelson tried to assist Jeffrey with painting. "He said, 'Oh Mr. Nelson, leave me alone. Leave me alone. I know what I'm doing.' "

Nelson and Jeffrey have that sort of buddy relationship, giving each other a hard time in good fun.

Nelson said if you can't get along with Jeffrey, you can't get along with anyone. He's just one of those students.

"He makes the day go by," Nelson said. "When you're having a bad day, he changes that. Not only for me, but for his classmates. And he can kind of sense when somebody's not in a good mood and he tries to cheer them up."

"As an educator," Nelson continued, "what you want in a student is what you get out of Jeffrey."