POPLARVILLE - Students in the second graduating class of the Honors Institute at Pearl River Community College received medallions in a ceremony Thursday, May 1, in Poplarville.
The Honors Institute gives intellectually-gifted students the benefits of small, specialized classes along with field trips and an internship partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency at Stennis Space Center. Dr. Stephen Black directs the institute.
Fourteen Honors Institute students at the Forrest County Center and the Poplarville campus will be graduating on May 14.
“I was really shy,” said Sonya Conerly, a Forrest County Agricultural High School graduate. “I didn’t feel like my opinion mattered. The small classes helped me find my voice and that’s an incredible thing.”
Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president, told the students that they have helped make the Honors Institute a greater success than envisioned.
“When we began this effort a couple years ago, I’ll tell you we had a selfish interest - we thought it would help us attract some special students,” Lewis said. “We have taken some giant steps to make this a reality. We hope that you have been served well.”
Lewis and graduate Trevor Creighton of Hattiesburg praised the faculty who teach Honors courses.
“What makes our Honors Institute so exceptional is the instructors,” Creighton said. “It is the faculty who labor beyond expectations.”
The small classes provide an enhanced setting for learning, said graduate Chelsea Gascho of Picayune.
“The thing I value most about the institute is the environment, being surrounded by people who value learning as much as I do,” she said.
In addition to Conerly, Creighton and Gascho, graduates are Sarah Krock and Stephen Perry, both of Hattiesburg; D’Shanal W. Fowler and Nigel H. Simmons, both of Picayune; Marcus R. Petty and Shassidy L. Ramshur, both of Columbia; Hollie A. Chester of Lumberton, Natalee Baggett Dukes of Sumrall, Branden D. Edenfield of Diamondhead, Rachel C. Fowler of Purvis and Sarah A. Silver of Perkinston.
Pearl River Community College awarded medallions to Honors Institute graduates on Thursday, May 1. They are, front from left, Nigel H. Simmons of Picayune, Shassidy L. Ramshur of Columbia, Chelsea E. Gascho of Picayune, Hollie A. Chester of Lumberton, Sarah A. Silver of Perkinston, Sonya Conerly of Hattiesburg; back row, Marcus R. Petty of Columbia, Stephen Perry, Trevor Creighton and Sarah Krock, all of Hattiesburg; and Brandon D. Edenfield of Diamondhed. Not pictured are Natalee Baggett Dukes of Sumrall, D’Shanal W. Fowler of Picayune and Rachel C. Fowler of Purvis.