PRCC Dental Hygiene program graduates 15
Submitted by loneill on May 2, 2022 - 9:23am
Pearl River Community College’s Dental Hygiene program pinned 15 graduates in a ceremony Thursday at the Dr. Cecil Burt Special Events Room at the Forrest County Campus.
The students included, from left:
Front row – Emilee Ishee of Petal, Leah Shultz of Pass Christian, Megan Disbrow of Raceland, La., Savannah Rea of Slidell, La., Aubrey Moody of Gulfport, Tayler Grant of Perkinston, Kiersten Stanford of Lucedale, and Madison Layton of Magee. Back row – Molly Estep of Gulfport, Denielle Sistrunk of Poplarville, Tiffany Turner of New Orleans, La., Brittany Clancy of Baton Rouge, La., Samantha Ranger of Petal, Blake Driscoll of Bay St. Louis, Rachel Williams of Long Beach,.
Also present were instructors Dr. Frank Turnage, Donna Lund, Charity McCoy, Ellie Primeaux, and Dr. Shana Allen, Department Chairman.
Grant was named the most outstanding dental hygiene student, Rea, the Colgate Star student; Disbrow and Driscoll, the Hu-Friedy Golden Scaler students; Shultz, the Dr. Stanley Hill – Make It Happen award, Layton and Turner, the PRCC Patient Education students; Moody, the MDHA Achievement award; Clancy and Grant, the PRCC Table Clinic awards; Ranger and Williams, the Sigma Phi Alpha Dental Hygiene Honor Society awards; Disbrow, the Dr. Frank Turnage Attitude Award; and Ranger, the Wildcat Way Award.
Department Chairman is Dr. Shana Allen. Instructors are Donna Lunn, Charity McCoy, Ellie Primeaux and Dr. Frank Turnage.
May 2, 2022 - 9:23am
CTAP program helps students pay for tuition at PRCC
Submitted by loneill on May 2, 2022 - 3:58pm
Some Pearl River Community College students who are looking for a way to help cover their tuition are in luck.
PRCC students who are residents of Forrest County, Hancock County or the City of Hattiesburg are eligible for additional help through the County Tuition Assistance Program (CTAP.)
The program is a partnership between PRCC and local counties to provide financial support to cover the cost of regular tuition to attend PRCC. CTAP is made possible through support from County and City Officials from the City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County, and Hancock County.
“The county tuition assistance program has been a great asset to students who need assistance paying for tuition and may not qualify for other programs,” said Director of Business Services Laura Chisolm. “This program has been extremely beneficial to students and helped reduce their student debt.”
CTAP will cover the current cost of tuition per semester for up to a maximum of four consecutive semesters (excluding summer school.) Federal, state, and institutional scholarship aid that is awarded to a student will be applied first. Then CTAP funds will be applied to the remaining tuition balance. Non-tuition related expenses such as fees, supplies, books, and room and board are not covered by CTAP.
HOW TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR CTAP FUNDS
Then the student must apply for state financial aid including MTAG, HELP, MESG, etc. at msfinancialaid.org. The deadline for HELP is March 31 and the other programs have a September 15 deadline. They must also apply for PRCC Foundation Scholarships through RiverGuide by April 1.
Finally, the student must enroll full-time (15 credit hours) at PRCC for the fall semester immediately after graduating high school or earning their high school equivalency certificate. Anyone who entered the military upon graduating high school will be excluded from this enrollment timeline requirement.
Continuation of CTAP assistance requires the student to pass a minimum of 15 hours per semester with a 2.0 GPA. Once eligibility is lost it cannot be reinstated.
May 2, 2022 - 3:58pm
PRCC Middle College students prepare for graduation
Submitted by loneill on May 4, 2022 - 1:35pm
High school students graduating from Middle College at Pearl River Community College participated in a Cord Ceremony Monday night in the Dr. J. Cecil Burt Events Room at the Forrest County Campus.
Thirty-one students received their graduation cords and can also participate in PRCC’s graduation ceremony this Friday in Poplarville.
High school students were enrolled in high school and college courses at the same time.
“Middle College falls under the dual enrollment umbrella at Pearl River Community College,” said Dr. Karen Bond, PRCC’s Director of Dual Enrollment. “Beginning with the fall semester of their junior year, qualifying students take a full load (15 or 16 hours) of dual-credit classes at Pearl River. Then they can graduate from PRCC with an associate’s degree when they finish high school.”
She said high school qualified students from throughout the Pearl River district are either taking their classes online, on the PRCC campuses or at their high school from qualified teachers.
The 2022 Middle College graduates include:
Hattiesburg High School — Lakeria Bruce, Mason Cathey, Trinity Fountain, Zacharie Graham, Christianna Hubbard, Elvin Jackson, Rachel Johnson, Madison Maddox, Justin McCullum, Shania Moss, Alyssa Nunn, Adamari Posadas, SaMya Ruffin, Raynah Travis, Trinity Wilson.
Sumrall High School — McKenna Albert, Harrison Dye, Dylan Graves, Myles Tate, Caleigh Thompson, Shaelyn Touchstone.
Petal High School — Danielle Duffield, Ariana Foley, Kinlea Robinson, Rachel Russell, Christopher Salguero.
Lumberton High School — Kaitlyn Hendrix, Elizabeth Lee.
Purvis High School — Michael Hedrick, Kamri McLendon.
Oak Grove High School — Norris Taylor.
HOW TO BECOME A MIDDLE COLLEGE STUDENT
Students interested in more information can talk with their high school counselor or reach out to the Office of Dual Enrollment at email@example.com.
They must be entering their junior year of high school.
May 4, 2022 - 1:35pm
2022 Radiologic Technology program graduates
Submitted by loneill on May 6, 2022 - 8:25am
Eighteen graduates of the Radiologic Technology program at Pearl River Community College’s Forrest County Campus received pins Tuesday, May 3, in a ceremony in the Dr. J. Cecil Burt Events Room marking the end of their two years of study.
They included from left: Seated - Gregory Evans of Clinton, Kimberly Holmes of Tylertown, Taylor Daley of Purvis, Lexis Picou of Picayune, Marissa Knight of Tylertown, Karrie McPhail of Bassfield, Rylee Morris of Richton, Courtney Poole of Petal, and Ethan Burge of Poplarville. Standing - Kristie Windham, Clinical Coordinator; Hope Husband, Program Director; Moez Larbi of Gulfport, Taylor Morales of Carriere, Ilyssa-Leigh Easton of Hurley, Quintavious Watkins of Drew, Levi Knight of Bay St. Louis, Jessie Quinn Shoemaker of Lucedale, Katie Wallace of Mendenhall, Jolie Williams of Hurley, Nicholas Farrell of Picayune and Jessica Dobson, Radiology instructor.
Students who received special honors include Daley, who received the Overall Outstanding Achievement and Mississippi Radiologic Society Scholarship; Easton, who received the Radiologic Technologist Choice Award and Outstanding Clinical Achievement Award; Morales, who received the Academic Excellence Award; and Farrell, Knight and Morris, who each received an Academic Achievement Award.
May 6, 2022 - 8:25am
PRCC Nursing Program celebrates Spring 2022 graduates and honors achievements
Submitted by loneill on May 6, 2022 - 1:57pm
Wednesday night, 45 Pearl River Community College students graduated with their Associate Degree of Nursing and were recognized for their achievements. Hundreds of well-wishers including family and friends from near and far gathered in the Ethel Holden Brownstone Center of the Arts for the ADN Pinning Ceremony.
PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood delivered a congratulatory message to the students. He spoke of the challenges faced by this class, the rigor of the program, and the dedication of the faculty and staff.
“Tonight, we have the opportunity to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of our students,” said Breerwood. “They have a servant’s heart and a warrior’s soul. They are resilient, determined and focused on the goal. We couldn’t be more proud of you and your accomplishments.”
Prior to the pinning ceremony, four students were honored with different awards. Bryce Moran (traditional AD program) and Brandy Richardson (LPN to ADN program) were recognized for Academic Excellence. Ericka Madden (traditional ADN program) and Takiyah Williams (LPN to ADN program) were recognized for Dedication to Patient Care. Finally, Emma Smith was acknowledged as the recipient of the Spring 2022 Mississippi School of Nursing Scholarship.
The presentation of pins to the graduates included the reading of dedication cards as they accepted their diploma, lamp, and pin. Several of the graduates received their pin from a family member who is also a graduate of the PRCC ADN program.
Five of the graduates were given cords in recognition of their membership in the Mississippi Organization for Students of ADN (MOSA) for one year of service with at least 50 community service credits. Twenty-one of the graduates earned a medallion having completed two years of service and a minimum of 100 community service credits. This graduating class had the highest number of students receiving a medallion in the chapter’s history. MOSA is the only state chapter for students in the nation with the PRCC chapter participating in numerous educational, recruitment and community activities. Devon Graves served as president.
After lighting their lamps, all registered nurses in the audience were invited to join the graduates in reciting the Nightingale Pledge led by Marion Vilberg. This was followed by a thank you from Katie Taylor on behalf of the cohort. She thanked her fellow classmates, family members and faculty for their support throughout their time in nursing school.
“When we first entered nursing school, we were entering at a difficult time,” said Vilberg. “Our teachers had to embrace a new way of teaching and we had to embrace a new way of learning. Thanks to everyone’s support, we have made it.”
The evening ended with closing thoughts from Dr. Arlene Jones, Director of Nursing Education.
“You have chosen a career that will challenge you,” said Jones. “You will never be bored, and you will have immense responsibility.
“No matter where your future endeavors as a nurse take you, may you always look back with pride and remember that you are a PRCC ADN graduate. And never forget that you are a Wildcat.”
ALPHA DELTA NU HONOR SOCIETY OF NURSING
Earlier in the afternoon, eight nursing graduates were inducted into the Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society of Nursing. The ceremony was held in Malone Chapel. Fall 2021 inductees are Courtney Crosby, Devin Graves, Sydney Howell, Jessica Mixon, Dalton Reeves, Emma Smith – Vice President, Marion Vilberg – Secretary, and Takiyah Williams – President.
Guests attending the induction were given a brief history of the organization and chapter before the Capstone Project presentation. This group elected to focus on educating women about regular self-breast exams including the creation of models to learn how to do one and a door hanger with instructions. The information was passed out at the Women’s Health Symposium in January.
Each inductee was presented with a pin and cords by nursing faculty members Mrs. Rebecca Pullens, Mrs. Brittny Radosta, and Mrs. Jaclyn Smith.
SPRING 2022 ASSOCIATE DEGREE OF NURSING GRADUATES
Shalyn Ard*, Haley Brown, Adrienne Byrd, Michael Celino, III*, Abigail Cleveland**, Courtney Crosby**+, Grant Dement, Kaylyana Duran**, Devin Graves**+, Jeanetta Hayes, Angela Hemba, Sydney Howell**+, Claire Ingram**, Taylor Johnson*, Hannah Kaltvedt, Allison Keefer*, Amber Ladner, Hannah Lods**, Jennifer Lopez, Ericka Madden**, Jessica Mixon**+, Taylor Mizell, Cierra Montegue, Bryce Moran, Karly Moran**, Dalton Mulkey, Kallie Nies, Ann Powell, Tatiyana Randolph, Dalton Reeves**+, Brandy Richardson, Aryss Rose**, Kari Rush**, Renee Saavedra*, Chelsey Schlosser, Emma Smith**+, Kayleigh Smith, Hannah Taylor**, Katie-Lyn Taylor, Marion Vilberg**+, Courtney Waller**, Allison Whitehead, LaGraciea Williams**, Takiyah Williams**+, and Gabriellah Williamson**.
* Mississippi Organization for Students of ADN (MOSA) Cord & Medallion: 1- year member with 50+ community service credits
May 6, 2022 - 1:57pm
Pearl River celebrates graduates for 2021-22
Submitted by loneill on May 6, 2022 - 4:34pm
Pearl River Community College welcomed hundreds of families and friends to Dobie Holden Stadium on the Poplarville campus Friday to celebrate the graduation of more than 600 students.
The morning ceremony awarded degrees to 243 students from Career Technical Education programs including Allied Health and Nursing. The invocation was given by Landun T’rail Hinton of Richton, the National Anthem was sung by Sarah Harrington of Lumberton, and the Benediction was done by Savannah Rea of Slidell, La.
The afternoon ceremony recognized 371 students receiving an Associates in Arts degree. The invocation was given by Patrick Dunkle of Brooklyn, the National Anthem was sung by Mallorie Saucier of Carriere, and the Benediction was done by Charles Byrd of Lumberton.
“We want to tell you how absolutely amazing each of you are,” said PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood. “You have a community of people who believe in you – always believe in yourself.”
Several student groups were honored by Breerwood throughout the ceremonies, asking associated students to stand and.be congratulated. The groups included Phi Theta Kappa, National Technical Honors Society, PRCC Middle College, Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute, and more.
Graduates were also reminded of the Wildcat Way.
“You are asked to walk your journey with pride, to show respect to all you encounter, to always demonstrate what it means to treat others with class, and to carry yourself with character,” said Breerwood. “We encourage you to carry that same philosophy with you as you graduate today.”
Michael M. McNair of Columbia was emotional upon his graduation from the Commercial & Residential Construction Technology program. After years of working construction with a high school degree, he decided to come to PRCC to get a degree and have a new beginning.
“I want to open my own business,” said McNair. “I plan to build spec houses and grow from there.”
Other graduates found the day to be emotional as well. Raynah Travis from Hattiesburg is a student in Middle College. She is graduating with her Associates in Arts before receiving her high school diploma from Hattiesburg High School. In the fall, she plans to attend Texas Southern University to earn a degree in health science.
“Middle College was a big help for me and my family,” said Travis. “This helped take the financial burden off my mom who has sacrificed so much for me. I just know that she, my family, and my friends are proud of me.”
GETTING STARTED AT PRCC
1. Apply for Admissions online and have your transcript sent
Visit PRCC.EDU/Admissions to become a Wildcat today.
Anyone interested in a tour of the Forrest County Campus or Poplarville Campus can reach out to the Office of Recruitment by calling 601-403-1197, emailing recruitment@ prcc.edu, or visiting the webpage Prcc.edu/recruitment.
HALF-PRICE TUITION FOR SUMMER 2022
All that is needed to receive this discount is to register for the classes. The college will adjust the fees for you.
TIKTOK SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST
New and returning students are invited to share their main character energy through a video on TikTok. To be eligible to win, the student must use the hashtags #MainCharacter #MainCharacterEnergy #MainCharacterPRCC and tag PRCC’s official TikTok account @PRCC_Wildcats. Students are encouraged to be creative with their submissions.
To be eligible, you must have an admissions application on file at PRCC and live in one of our six county districts (Forrest, Hancock, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Marion and Pearl River.)
Winners will be selected and notified on Wednesday, June 1.
May 6, 2022 - 4:34pm
PRCC OTA students receive pins
Submitted by loneill on May 9, 2022 - 3:12pm
Twenty students received pins Thursday, May 5, signifying completion of the Pearl River Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant program at the Forrest County Campus in Hattiesburg. The ceremony took place in the Lowery Woodall Advanced Technology Center.
The alphabetical list of students included:
Holli Ard of Poplarville, Elizabeth “Libby” Burgess of Quitman, Marisa Cameron of Sumrall, Taylor Chandler of Richton, Hollie Courington of Saraland, Ala., Peyton C. Czerwonka of Hattiesburg, Haylee Davis of Picayune, Tylesha Davis of Brandon, Destiny Hatten of Hattiesburg, Madison Johnson of Brookhaven, Logan Kersh of Hattiesburg, Aubree Lee of Picayune, Alex May of Gulfport, Conner Puckett of Purvis, Hannah Russell of Carriere, Amber Smith of Poplarville, Carly Smith of Poplarville, Allie Terrell of McComb, Cameron Walley of Richton and Irina Yoder of Kokomo.
OTA special award winners included: Tylesha Davis, the Clinical Award of Excellence; Courington, the Outstanding OTA Student Award; Czerwonka, the MSOTA Outstanding Leadership Award; and Walley and Yoder, the OTA Scholastic Achievement Awards.
Tim Pulver is OTA department chair and Michelle Haynes the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.
May 9, 2022 - 3:12pm
PRCC honors alumni and community partners at 2022 Alumni Awards Ceremony
Submitted by loneill on May 13, 2022 - 12:10pm
Photo: Pearl River Community College Award Recipients 2022; left to right Brian Maxie, Kevin Hedgepeth, Hannah Davis Aucoin, Dr. James Sones, Jr., and Steven Dick from Mississippi Power
Alumni with their family and friends, community partners, as well as current faculty and staff of Pearl River Community College gathered Thursday evening to honor this year’s recipients of Alumni Awards. The evening was hosted by the Alumni Association and Development Foundation at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg.
During the ceremony, individuals and one organization were recognized for both personal and professional achievement while also displaying the values of PRCC.
Young Alumnus of the Year: Hannah Davis Aucoin
The Distinguished Service Award and Outstanding Partnership awards do not have a requirement that the recipient must have attended PRCC for at least one semester. The other three awards do.
Mark Wallace, a PRCC Foundation Board member, served as Master of Ceremonies and PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood greeted attendees prior to the awards being given. Both shared how nice it was to gather in person after the last two years to celebrate those who are dedicated supporters of the college.
Delana Harris ended the evening by congratulating the honorees again and thanking those individuals and companies who support the Foundation.
“I am thankful for everyone in this room as we all play a role in continuing to ensure that the words family, community, and home remain forever a part of who we are at Pearl River Community College,” said Harris.
Nominations for the 2023 Alumni Awards are open at prcc.edu/alumni-awards. More information about each award is available on that page.
Find all photos taken that evening on the PRCC Foundation & Alumni Association Facebook page.
Aucoin is a native of Poplarville. She graduated from Poplarville High School in 2004 with honors, completing the IHL and CDC courses. She attended Pearl River Community College for the 2004-2005 school year and then returned for the Cosmetology program for the 2012-2013 school year. She represented the school in the National SkillsUSA cosmetology competition in Kansas City, Missouri, after winning at the state level in Jackson.
“The program at PRCC gave me the education and foundation to build my career,” said Davis Aucoin.
After finishing that program and working as a cosmetologist for six years, she opened H & Co. Salon in 2019 located in Poplarville. This came after a time of sacrifice, dedication, hard lessons learned, tears, and most importantly, growth. The salon was voted one of the Top Bridal Salons in Mississippi Magazine’s Best of Weddings Edition for 2021.
She is married to Rian Davis Aucoin, MLS. Her parents, Rita Molina, Arthur Molina, and Ronald Davis, still reside in Poplarville.
Davis Aucoin has a heart for helping others as evidenced by her generosity. She has donated more than $1,000 in salon services to the Pearl River County SPCA to aid in the adoption of animals, taken in large amounts of donations for victims of hurricanes Laura and Ida (and every disaster nearby), and delivered donations taken in for Hurricane Ida to Houma, Louisiana.
She has an open invitation for cosmetology students to job shadow in the salon at any time, free of charge. And, in 2021 H & Co. Salon awarded their first scholarship to an incoming PRCC student in cosmetology. The scholarship is currently $1,000, enough to help cover the purchase of the kit all students need.
“As a young adult in my early 20’s I felt lost and struggled to find my place and purpose,” said Davis Aucoin. “I struggled financially which was a major cause of depression and constant stress. Something had to change, so at 26 years old, I enrolled in the cosmetology program at PRCC.
“Being in a position to give while doing something I love, was my purpose. I’ve been able to give new stylists a place to begin their careers, I am able to grow my industry by assisting students with their education and I am able to serve my community and those around me when there is a need. Ten years after beginning this journey, life has come full circle. I had nothing, not even a purpose, but now I have more than I deserve and I’m able to give to others.”
Hedgepeth is a native of Picayune. He graduated from Picayune Memorial High School before attending PRCC from 1984-1986 in the electrical engineering program. While a student at The River, he was active in intramural sports and was a member of the Student Council.
After a year at Mississippi State University, he returned to Pearl River to earn his nursing degree. He then earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2016.
Hedgepeth worked for 33 years as a nurse, spending 25 years at Ochsner NorthShore. For the past three years, he has worked at Highland Community Hospital as Director of Acute Care Services.
He is married to Christy Sylvest Hedgepeth who also attended PRCC. They have four children. Drew, Devin, and Dalton have all attended PRCC for at least two years before matriculating into Mississippi State University for engineering degrees. Katie Anne is a sophomore at Picayune Memorial High School and plans to attend PRCC upon graduation.
“I have been a supporter of academics and athletics since attending,” said Hedgepeth. “I always encourage students in area to attend PRCC to get the basic foundation of their education as well as CTE program.”
Hedgepeth is active in his community including his role as Deacon/Music Ministry Band Member at First Baptist Church in Picayune (2004-Present), Vice-President/Board Member of Picayune Youth Athletic Association/Coach/Umpire (1997-2018), Board Member of Pearl River County 4-H (1997-2012), Pearl River County Economic Development Charter Board Member (2018-2021), and Picayune Chamber of Commerce Board member – Secretary/Treasurer (2021); Vice-President (2022.)
“This award is definitely one of the greatest honors in my educational/professional career,” said Hedgepeth. “The education my family and I have received and continue to receive has helped pave the way for successful careers as well as allowing us to give back to our communities and others.
“I don’t feel I did anything to deserve this award but am truly honored and thankful. Our family will continue to support and promote PRCC in as many ways as possible. RRR!”
Maxie graduated from North Forrest High School before attending Pearl River Community College to earn an Associate in Arts with an emphasis in accounting. He earned a football scholarship in 1982 and played during the 1982 and ‘83 seasons. However, he decided to leave school to work with his dad in the construction business in January 1984. Maxie finally realized what his parents tried to explain to him all along — he needed to get his education — and returned to PRCC in January of 1987; he graduated that following December.
“Pearl River is where what I call my ‘Adult life’ began,” said Maxie. “I will never forget my days here playing ball and making memories of a lifetime.
“I also knew that when I made my mind up to return and finish my education that I wanted to return to PRCC and get my first degree there. They gave me my first opportunity with a football scholarship and I wanted to fulfill that commitment they made in me.”
After PRCC, Maxie attended The University of Southern Mississippi, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Accounting in 1989. Then he furthered his education with a Healthcare Management Certificate from The University of Michigan, Ross School of Business.
During his last two years of college, Maxie began serving as the first Ambassador (Patient Transporter) at Forrest General. He has stayed with Forrest General for over 28 years and is now the Regional Administrator for all of their regional healthcare facilities, both owned and leased. These facilities include Highland Community Hospital in Picayune, Mississippi, Pearl River Community Hospital & Nursing Home in Poplarville, Mississippi, Perry County General Hospital in Richton, Mississippi, Walthall General Hospital in Tylertown, Mississippi, Marion General Hospital in Columbia, Mississippi and Jeff Davis Community Hospital & Extended Care Facility in Prentiss, Mississippi. Four of these facilities reside in PRCC’s District.
“The fact that I can say I started as a Patient Transporter and worked my way to the Administrative Table is something that makes me very proud,” said Maxie.
Maxie resides in Poplarville with his wife Connie who is also a PRCC graduate and has owned Carver Realty in Poplarville for the last 25 years. Between them, they have four children (Kyle Maxie, Seth Maxie, Mary Beth Carver Matthews, and Seth Carver) and seven grandchildren. Kyle also attended PRCC and played baseball; He was drafted by the New York Mets while a member of the PRCC baseball team. Seth and Mary Beth also attended PRCC.
Maxie serves on the Pearl River County Alumni Chapter of The Pearl River Alumni Foundation. During the last two years, he has assisted with making sure that PRCC students and staff had COVID testing when needed and helped advise the campus with COVID precautions. He also helped coordinate Forrest Health providing telehealth services for PRCC students.
Other associations include the Mississippi Hospital Association, MHA Solutions, Inc. Board of Directors, Southeast Mississippi Air Ambulance District Board Member, Member of the Southeast Mississippi Trauma Care Region.
“I am very honored and humbled to be receiving this award,” said Maxie. “I know there are many people out there who are just as worthy and honestly probably more deserving than me. But this is a very proud moment for me.
“This is actually the first individual award I’ve received in relation to my professional career. The fact that it’s coming from Pearl River and recognizes my service to both the school and my community means a lot to me. I’ve always tried to be a good servant to the people and hopefully this honor shows that I may have been doing something right.”
Now in its 97th year of operations, Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, produces safe, reliable and affordable energy for more than 191,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power was a recent recipient of the Community Partner Impact Award from the Center for Energy Workforce Development for its innovative and ongoing efforts to build a diverse workforce. With nearly 160 megawatts of approved solar energy capacity, Mississippi Power is the largest partner in providing renewable energy in the state of Mississippi. The company strives to be a great corporate citizen through economic development, community readiness and workforce development. Partnerships that improve southeast Mississippi, like the one we have with Pearl River Community College, are how Mississippi Power works every day to make southeast Mississippi an incredible place to call home.
Mississippi Power’s Heritage Scholarships are awarded to students at five community colleges in the company’s service territory. The scholarships are for students interested in technical careers in the energy industry, including lineman, automotive mechanic, electric service and more. Since the beginning of this program, over $18,000 in scholarships have been awarded to PRCC students.
In addition to scholarship programming, Mississippi Power offers numerous internship and cooperative learning opportunities. Allowing students to learn and practice training is essential to their success and growth. Often participants in these programs find employment within the Mississippi Power Company upon completion. Together, Mississippi Power Company and Pearl River Community College are meeting skills labor and workforce needs to ensure sustainable growth within our local communities and state.
Earlier this year, Chase Lewis, a Heritage Scholarship recipient and PRCC graduate, began his career at Mississippi Power as an apprentice electrician. While he was a student at PRCC, Lewis accepted an internship at the company in substation construction before earning a full-time job offer upon his graduation.
Mississippi Power Company also encourages early education and career exploration. Founding the “Girls in STEM” program and “Pathways to Possibilities” allows future Wildcats to experience the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics before arriving at college. The encouragement to learn, explore and participate through interactive activities guarantees the next generation of lineman, engineers and leaders to remain vibrant and strong.
Steven B. Dick, Community Affairs & Corporate Giving Manager, accepted the award on behalf of Mississippi Power.
“We are here because we want to make sure that we help train today and tomorrow's workforce so we can continue to compete regionally and at the state level,” said Dick. “Thank you, Pearl River Community College, for allowing us to be a partner.”
Dr. James C. Sones, Jr.
Sones first came to Pearl River Community College as a student, graduating in 1960 with a focus on agriculture. During his time at The River, Sones was a member of the Mississippi Army National Guard and was sent to Fort Polk, Louisiana, for a year of active duty attending Mississippi State University to earn a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in agricultural education in 1963.
The next decade had him teaching as a Vocational Agriculture Instructor at East Central High School in Hurley and then George County High School in Lucedale. During that time, he also completed a Master's Degree in Agriculture from Mississippi State.
Sones then returned to PRCC as the initial supervisor of the Manpower Development Training Center in Hattiesburg from 1970 – 1972 before moving into the role of director of the newly formed Hancock County Vocational-Technical Center from 1972 – 1977. While working at PRCC, he continued his studies in adult education at the University of Southern Mississippi. For the 1977 – 1978 school year, he took a leave of absence to complete a PhD in Administration and Supervision of Vocational Education at Colorado State University at Fort Collins, Colorado.
Upon his return, he assumed the role of initial director of the Lamar County Vocational-Technical Center for just over a year. Sones was then moved into his final role at PRCC as the Dean of Vocational-Technical Affairs with the responsibility of supervising multiple area vocational-technical centers.
During that time, he was instrumental in the completion of the Technology Center (1989) in Poplarville and the Allied Health Center (1992) on the Forrest County Campus. He was also part of the team working to get 10 different programs nationally accredited.
Outside of PRCC, he was an active member of the Rotary Club of Poplarville and served on the evaluation team for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
At retirement in 2002, he had a 32-year tenure with PRCC. His selfless work to make PRCC the best community college possible was recognized when he was named the 2001-2002 Mississippi Association of Career and Technical Educators Postsecondary Administrator of the Year.
Living out his retirement in McNeill, Sones continues to give back to others. His love of agriculture is reflected in his continued service to the Pearl River County Soil and Water Association which he has done for over 30 years. He also works with the Farm Service Agency covering Pearl River, Hancock, Harrison and Stone counties to assist producers of various agricultural commodities.
His family also has ties to PRCC. His wife, Celecia, was in the first graduating class for the Associate Degree of Nursing (RN) program and worked at PRCC as the college nurse for over 20 years. Their children, James Aaron and Susan, both attended PRCC; their two grandchildren, Leighton and Courtney, also attended Pearl River.
“I am humbled and honored to be receiving this award,” said Sones. “For a long time, PRCC was a big part of my life. Being recognized is only possible thanks to all the people I was associated with during my time here.
“Most of all, I recognize that we all worked together for the students like others did for me. They are the reason why we are here.”
May 13, 2022 - 12:10pm
PRCC’s Hanna Lambert awarded prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship
Submitted by loneill on May 13, 2022 - 2:15pm
Recently graduated from Pear River Community College, Hanna Lambert was overwhelmed and filled with excitement and joy upon learning she was selected as a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar. Lambert becomes the eighth recipient from PRCC in the past eight years.
“Being a Cooke Scholar means the world to me,” said Lambert. “I can attend my dream school without placing a burden on my mom’s shoulders or incurring a lot of debt. I will be forever grateful to have school covered.”
The Richton native found out about the honor Wednesday morning during a surprise Zoom interview with PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood and Dean of the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute on the Forrest County Campus Dr. Ryan Ruckel.
“You are not only representing yourself and your family. You are representing our institution for the long haul. This is something they can never take away from you,” said Breerwood. “You will be cemented into the legacy of Pearl River. … This is a really big deal.”
The prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is awarded to the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges or universities. The award covers a significant portion of their educational expenses, including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees.
This year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation received more than 1,200 applications from 332 community colleges for the highly competitive scholarship. There are 100 Cooke Scholars from 42 states from the 440 students who were named as semifinalists.
Awardees can receive up to $55,000 per year for two to three years at a four-year accredited undergraduate school for any area of study. Beyond the financial help to complete their bachelor's degree, Cooke Scholars also receive comprehensive advisement to guide them through the transition to a four-year college and preparation for a career, opportunities for internship, study abroad, graduate school funding, and access to a network of Cooke Scholars and Alumni.
“With the visionary support of our administration, we have built an opportunity engine that makes it possible for us to educate the whole person,” said Ruckel. “She had the opportunities through the Honors Institute and our close ties to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, service and research projects, and the Honors Symposium, which in turn helped her become Student Government President.
“Hanna recognized the value of these opportunities, overcame her shyness, and flourished as a result. We could see she would be an excellent JKC candidate, so Dr. Terri Smith Ruckel worked extensively with her for a year to develop the strongest possible application. We are so very, very proud of her, but we’re especially proud of her willingness to try challenging things and then always to see things through. She will be successful all her life because of those character qualities.”
As a student on PRCC’s Forrest County Campus, she has been an active member of the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute, the Beta Tau Gamma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and the Science Club. This year, she has served as the President of the Student Government Association.
“Before I came to PRCC, I was rather shy,” said Lambert. “My time here has been amazing. I became a member of the Honors Institute then started taking chances and opportunities as a student that have changed my life.”
She completed her Associates in Arts degree with a STEM pathway. She plans to attend Mississippi State University in the fall. Her goal is to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Lambert sees that this will also benefit the community once her education is completed.
“I want to help animals,” said Lambert. “My community will benefit from my caring for their animals.”
Trevor Creighton (2014): Columbia, Creative Writing (plus $200,000 JKC Graduate Scholarship to Harvard in Higher Education administration)
Rachael Carraro (2017): Mississippi State, Landscape Architecture
Said Otwane (2018): Columbia University, Computer Engineering (plus $200,000 JKC Graduate Scholarship; currently undecided)
Savannah Barnes (2020): Ole Miss, Multi-disciplinary Studied, Korean, TESOL
Riley Cleveland (2021): Mississippi State, Elementary Education
Kyle Simpson (2021): University of Michigan, Psychology
Quindalin Harper (2021): Ole Miss, Psychology (Psychiatric Medicine)
Hanna Lambert (2022): Mississippi State, Veterinary Science
May 13, 2022 - 2:15pm
Pearl River administrators advocate for community college students
Submitted by loneill on May 17, 2022 - 4:22pm
Jeff Long, Vice President for Poplarville Campus and Student Services, and Dr. Jennifer Seal, Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research, represented Pearl River Community College among 29 Mississippi community college administrators who recently completed the Community College Policy Fellows Program (CPFP). The program culminated in the Washington, D.C. Legislative Summit where they advocated on behalf of community college students.
The Community College Policy Fellows Program is a 20-month professional development initiative sponsored by the Mississippi Community College Board and directed by AdvocacyBuild, LLC. The curriculum focuses on four national program pillars: policy, leadership, networking, and advocacy.
“Pearl River Community College utilizes all available platforms to better serve our students,” PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “We were honored for two of our vice presidents to represent the College and our students at the national level.”
The 2022 CPFP cohort focused on two policy issues: (1) short-term Pell eligibility for short-term training programs and (2) broadband expansion throughout the State. Currently, to qualify for Pell Grants, a program must be 600 clock hours. Eligibility for shorter-term programs should be established, with safeguards to ensure that only high-quality programs receive support. Community colleges serve all Mississippi students, including those in areas without adequate broadband capacity. Supporting these initiatives will eliminate access barriers for students and enhance equal access to higher education.
While in Washington, D.C., April 3-6, the Fellows met with members of the Mississippi congressional delegations including Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker, and U.S. House members Michael Guest, Trent Kelly, and Steven Palazzo. The CPFP members also met with the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, the U.S. Department of Education staff, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Office. Prior to meeting with the delegates, the Fellows were briefed on policy issues by the Association of Community College Trustees, the American Association of Community Colleges, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
“The CPFP is an outstanding program that helped educate me on issues such as federal and state legislation, and how the advocacy process works between our system and law-making,” Long said. “I am grateful to all those involved in providing such a program, including Pearl River Community College and their support, plus Dr. Ed Davis and Tyson Elbert for their hard work making the program successful for its fellows.”
Added Dr. Seal: “At Pearl River Community College, we advocate for students on a daily basis in a wide variety of areas. Working with the Community College Policy Fellows Program, afforded us the opportunity to champion the efforts of all Mississippi community colleges on a national platform while strengthening relationships with elected officials and their colleagues.”
May 17, 2022 - 4:22pm
PRCC offering Sonography program this fall
Submitted by loneill on May 18, 2022 - 1:37pm
In a year’s time, you can be prepared to take on a Diagnostic Medical Sonography career, starting this fall semester at Pearl River Community College’s Forrest County Campus.
Sonography will begin in August and run for 12 months. Only 15 students will be accepted into the program.
Classes will run during the day, Monday through Thursday. The median annual income is $56,534 at the state level.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of organs, masses, fluid collections, and vascular structures within the human body. Sonography is user dependent, requiring competent and highly skilled professionals to be a part of the integral health care system.
“Pearl River has worked hard to add and expand programs that both align to the needs of local healthcare providers and provide high-paying skills for the people in our district,” said Dr. James David Collum, Dean of Career and Technical Education at the Forrest County Campus.
“The fact that our healthcare providers request new programs and more graduates, speaks to the value they see in our faculty and students.”
To apply to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, a student must have graduated from a JCERT Radiologic Technology program (must include Radiographic Physics and Medical Terminology component, could be built into Fundamental of Radiography or approved by the Program Director) or an A.A.S. degree in a Health Science & Nursing or an allied health program with an acute patient care component approved by the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Director.
Some additional pre-requisites include:
-Verification of RTR credential by the first Diagnostic Medical Sonography class.
-Prerequisites for the first Diagnostic Medical Sonography course: College Algebra, Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II with labs, English Composition I and II, Public Speaking or Interpersonal Communication, Humanities/Fine Arts Elective, and a Social/Behavioral Science Elective.
All prerequisite courses must be completed with a “C” or above by the first Diagnostic Medical Sonography clinical.
Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President for Forrest County Campus, Allied Health and Nursing Programs, says PRCC is answering the call to a Healthcare shortage by implementing this new program.
“Many healthcare providers are sending people out of state to get this much needed training and we need to meet their needs by providing this service right here in the Pine Belt,” said Dr. Causey. “Our goal is to listen to our community needs and then provide training that builds and produces top notch services. We want healthcare to be the absolute best for the people in South Mississippi.”
PRCC is only the second community college in Mississippi to offer this program.
For information about the Sonography program, call 601-554-5505, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit the Forrest County Campus on U.S. 49 South.
To apply, go to: http://www.prcc.edu/academics/plans/health-nursing/sonography/apply
Article written by Chuck Abadie.
May 18, 2022 - 1:37pm
PRCC student Leah Schultz receives $1000 scholarship
Submitted by loneill on May 20, 2022 - 9:01am
Pearl River Community College student Leah Schultz of Pass Christian was recently awarded a $1,000 Scholarship from the National Technical Honor Society.
Schultz, 22, was one of 250 outstanding NTHS members to receive the Jon H. Poteat Scholarship based on their ability to consistently exemplify the seven attributes of NTHS – Skill, Honesty, Service, Responsibility, Scholarship, Citizenship, and Leadership.
She recently graduated from the Dental Hygiene program and has accepted a position at a dental clinic in her hometown.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity,” said Schultz. “PRCC has been a great family to be a part of during my time here.”
Schultz, who graduated from Pass Christian High School, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the National Technical Honor Society during her time at PRCC.
“Leah was always dependable, got along with all of her classmates,” said Donna Lunn, one of Schultz’s Dental Hygiene instructors.
“She was awarded the Stan Hill, Make it Happen Award for getting the job done in clinic. She was always early to clinic and went out of her way to stay busy. Leah excelled academically as well as clinically. She had a great rapport with her patients.”
Since 1984, NTHS has been the honor society for Career and Technical Education (CTE), serving high schools, career centers, community & technical colleges, and universities. Recognizing more than 50,000 new members annually, NTHS exists to advocate for and empower all students to pursue the technical and academic skills needed to build their careers and a skilled global workforce.
PRCC student Leah Schultz (left) is pictured with Sam McNease, PRCC Industrial Technology instructor and a National Technical Honor Society advisor.
May 20, 2022 - 9:01am