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For Immediate Release


CVCC & YMCA Partner

Catawba Valley Community College and the YMCA of Catawba Valley, Inc. recently kicked off a partnership that gives full-time students individual membership to all three local branches: Valley Connections YMCA in Hickory, Foundation YMCA in downtown Hickory and Shuford YMCA in Conover.

Y membership is part of CVCC’s an ongoing initiative to engage students in a lifetime of learning and health. Student memberships are funded in part by student activity fees. Students pay no additional fees for their Y membership.

According to YMCA officials, this is the first agreement of its kind between a YMCA and a community college.

“We offer great academic opportunities at CVCC, and now our students can take advantage of outstanding health and fitness opportunities at the YMCA,” said CVCC President Dr. Garrett Hinshaw. “We realize that people in this area have lots of choices when it comes to colleges. Y membership is one of many additional benefits of choosing CVCC.”

YMCA membership is part of a bundle of benefits called “Community Connections” that creates a student experience unlike any other community college. Other benefits include access to arts, science, historical, and athletic events as well as opportunities to participate in a wide variety of campus clubs, travel/study and service learning opportunities.

“Many of our students are displaced workers,” Hinshaw added. “We know that a gym membership is not necessarily tops on their list of financial priorities. But their good health is just as important to us as what they learn in class.  This is our way of helping bring balance to their demanding lives.”

Phil DiCasolo, CEO/president of the Catawba Valley YMCA said, “We know that a healthy and physically-fit person is a productive student or employee. Regular daily exercise is important. The YMCA-CVCC partnership now makes it possible.”

Christina Hankovszky was one of an estimated 400 students who signed up by noon Wednesday. She enrolled at the CVCC Multipurpose Complex, one of three locations the Y set up on campus Wednesday from 9:45 a.m. until 12:30 pm. There was such a huge turnout that the Y extended its enrollment through 2 p.m. 

DiCasolo reported that students were already working out at the Y branches by 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Hankovszky was so excited she sought out college president Dr. Garrett Hinshaw to thank him during Wednesday’s kick-off event.

“I’ve always wanted to join the Y but I couldn’t afford it,” said Hankovszky, 24, a college transfer student. “I wanted him to know how much I appreciate this gift.”

The college announced the new membership benefit and kickoff event using many different tools, including social networking. Hankovszky spread the word by forwarding the message to all her Facebook friends.

“A free Y membership is not something students expect,” she added.  “We work hard, and it’s nice to receive a bonus like this. I think it will help us appreciate being a student here even more,” she said.

CVCC is an accredited comprehensive community college serving Catawba and Alexander counties. CVCC enrolls more than 5,500 students in college credit courses and more than 15,000 in short-term, non-credit learning opportunities. It offers programming in Hickory, Newton and Taylorsville and in many community and workplace locations. For more information, visit


The YMCA of Catawba Valley serves more than 21,000 people each year with facilities located throughout Catawba County including the Adrian L. Shuford, Jr. YMCA in Conover; the Hickory Foundation YMCA in downtown Hickory; the Valley Connection YMCA on US Hwy 70 in Hickory; and the Love-N-Care YMCA Child Development Center in Newton. The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization and Catawba County United Way Agency that works to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. Our goal is to never turn anyone away, regardless of their ability to pay. YMCA programs include adult fitness, child care, day camp, before and after school care, aquatics, women’s only programs, group exercise classes such as zumba, yoga, senior programs, teen programs, youth and adult sports and much more.


For more information on the YMCA of Catawba Valley or any YMCA program, please contact the YMCA Association Office at 828-324-9622 or visit us on the web at

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Updated 10.30.2008: Administrator