March 10, 2022 - 12:47pm
Pearl River Community College is once again trending for the Spring 2022 semester. The 10th Day Report has arrived, and PRCC has maintained its place as fourth largest community college in Mississippi. The college has also seen 17 consecutive semesters of outperforming the state headcount average. When comparing Spring 2022 to Spring 2021, PRCC saw an increase of .9 percent to 4,580 students.
PRCC saw a slight 0.1 percent decrease in spring-to-spring credit hours at 59,340.
Providing a variety of courses for students with high caliber instructors is at the core of PRCC’s approach to academics. Whether you’re a student seeking an associate degree before matriculating into a four-year school or a student in Career Technical Education looking to directly enter the workforce, PRCC is constantly aiming to provide the best possible classroom experience.
A big part of growing academics is the continued expansion of eLearning. Along with courses held exclusively online, instructors of traditional classes are embracing the digital. This includes building out their courses in Canvas and then using cameras in the classroom to record each class and allow students to remote into class when needed. They can receive training and assistance with Instructional Technology needs from eLearning.
MAKING COLLEGE AFFORDABLE
One of the tenets of Dr. Breerwood’s presidency is to ensure education at Pearl River Community College is accessible and affordable. As a result, PRCC has maintained the same tuition rate for the last five years while continuing to add services and opportunities for students.
Making college affordable is done in part with scholarships for students in Academic, Allied Health, and Career Technical Education pathways to assist them with their educational goals.
For the 2021-22 school year, PRCC has provided more than $4.5 million in institutional scholarships. This includes academic and service scholarships.
Academic scholarships are based on either the student’s ACT score or successful completion of a CTE program at the high school level with at least a 3.0 GPA. The last four years has seen over 50% growth in the number of CTE scholarships awarded.
Students are also eligible for a variety of service scholarships for students involved in athletic and service endeavors while in college. Service scholarships can be stacked with academic or CTE scholarships. Service endeavors include activities such as The Spirit of the River Band, PRCC Cheer, PRCC Singers, River Navigators, and Resident Assistant.
Additionally, the PRCC Development Foundation has hundreds of scholarships students can qualify for through a simple application. These scholarships total over a million dollars each year and are made possible through the generosity of donors.
PROVIDING EXCELLENT EXPERIENCES
Along with good experiences in the classroom, the college has also engaged in forward thinking that improves the overall experience someone has from the moment they express interest in PRCC.
Both the Business Office and Financial Aid Office have created processes that put student needs first and allow them to complete everything digitally. This includes the ability to view bills, set up payment plan options, and understand when their financial aid awards are readily available.
Along with changes in the traditional administrative offices, PRCC recently opened The Wildcat Hub, a one stop shop for assistance. Their customer service agents are accessible through the chat feature of the PRCC website, from the mail phone number for the college, and from in person interactions in their newly created space inside Crosby Hall.
Since January, they have answered more than 1400 chats and during February handled over 700 phone calls. Their operational hours are expanding to be 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. for Monday through Thursday and then until 4 p.m. on Fridays. Any email inquiries and chat tickets are being answered within 24 hours.
REACHING OUT TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS
PRCC Recruiters are back out in the community more often to make connections with students that may find The River a good fit for their career goals. In February, three days were spent with over 800 students visiting either Allied Health or Career Technical Education programs on the Forrest County and Poplarville campuses.
They are also spending more time on school visits, bringing information about the college to local high schools. This included a big “Pathway to PRCC” day held last November at Hancock High School where students learned about the County Tuition Assistance Program available for all Hancock County residents.
The next big event for prospective students is the second Wildcat Experience to be held on Tuesday, April 12 from 1 – 3 p.m. on The Green of the Centennial Courtyard on the Poplarville Campus. This free event allows juniors and seniors from across south Mississippi to get a taste of life at The River. Tickets to the home baseball game against Hinds that afternoon and the PRCC Wind Ensemble Concert Band performance that evening will be given out to attendees. Interested students need to register at prcc.edu/wildcatexperience.
March 10, 2022 - 3:47pm
Pearl River Community College saw middle and high school students along with their teachers and parents enjoy a day of science fun at the annual regional Science Olympiad. PRCC has been hosting the Gulf South Regional Science Olympiad since 2015 with the 2021 competition done virtually.
“We were really excited to have all these young scientists on campus again,” said PRCC Instructor of Biology and Gulf South Regional Director Robert Maynard. “This collaborative effort showcases the best of science and technology, working with others as a team to achieve a common goal.
“It is also an excellent opportunity for students to visit our campus, so it is also a good marketing tool.”
Eight schools brought a total of 10 teams for the event. Middle school teams came from Pearl River County Middle School in Carriere, Oak Grove Middle School in Hattiesburg and St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi. High school teams came from Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood, Parklane Academy in McComb, Pearl River Central High School in Carriere, Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg and St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi.
Each team could consist of up to 15 participants who compete in a variety of events in multiple science disciplines: Life, personal, and social sciences; Earth and space science; Physical Science and Chemistry; Technology and Engineering; and Inquire and Nature of Science. The focus of the events changes each year so that each annual competition is unique.
Some events require core knowledge that is judged through written tests, while others require participants to perform tasks on-site. This year’s non-spectator events for both levels included Anatomy, Disease Detectives, Green Generations, Ornithology, and Write It/Do It. Middle school students could also compete in Crime Busters, Food Science, and Solar System. High school students had the additional options of Astronomy, Chem Lab, and Forensics.
Abby Hammons was a team captain for Oak Grove High School this year and one of the only students from that school who participated in last year’s virtual competition.
“Doing the event virtually last year was really hard,” said Hammons. “This year’s Write It/Do It was also difficult. But being in person is so much better.”
Spectator events incorporated the need for students to build a device ahead of time and bring it on-site for testing.
The Bridge Building Event had student-built bridges put to the test with up to 15kg of weight being placed into an attached bucket. Instead of focusing on the sturdiest bridge, the final judgement was tied to the best weight to performance ratio. This meant that a bridge that was lighter but broke before reaching the maximum added weight could be declared the winner.
Connor McElroy and David Merrell represented St. Patrick’s with their well-constructed bridge. They had the only bridge that did not break under the added weight but placed second as they did not have the best weight to performance ratio.
“We made a great team and had a lot of fun,” said Merrell. “We hope to ‘upgrade’ our efforts this next year.”
Trajectory (high school) and Storm the Castle (middle school) were events focused on the science behind catapults that relies upon the transfer of energy from one item to another.
Vehicles constructed out of items such as CDs for wheels were entered into Mousetrap Vehicles (middle school) and Gravity Vehicle (high school.) The mousetrap vehicles relied upon the release of kinetic energy from the snap of attached mousetraps. The gravity vehicles needed to be released from a tethered spot on a ramp that was also constructed by the teams.
Shivers Gymnasium hosted three different events related to flight. The Wright Stuff and Electric Wright Stuff had students building flying devices within certain parameters that were then launched across the gym floor by the student. Ping Pong Parachute used compressed air to propel the ping pong and attached parachute towards the roof of the gym before it drifted down to the floor. All three competitions had a focus on time aloft.
After a long day of events, attendees gathered for the awards ceremony where the top three students or partner teams for each event were announced. This was followed by the announcement of the overall winners.
For B Division (middle school), third place went to team B-8 from Oak Grove Middle School, second place went to team B-6 from Pearl River County Middle School, and first place went to team B-4 from St. Patrick.
Gulf South Regional B Division First Place Team from St Patrick
For C Division (high school), third place went to team C-5 from Oak Grove High School, second place went to team C-4 from Parkland Academy, and first place went to team C-3 from Northwest Rankin.
Gulf South Regional C Division Third Place Team from Oak Grove High School
Gulf South Regional C Division Second Place Team from Parklane Academy
Gulf South Regional C Division First Place Team from Northwest Rankin High School
Northwest Rankin Team Captain Ben Curry was happy they could come to PRCC for the competition. They normally attend the Southwest Regional one at Copiah-Lincoln Community College which was cancelled for this year.
“Science Olympiad really pushes me to learn new things I like such as astronomy,” said Curry. “It felt good to have the regional experience this year. Everyone here has been so nice, and we’ve enjoyed the beautiful campus.”
The top teams from the regional events qualify to compete at the State Tournament at the University of Southern Mississippi in April. The winners at State are invited to attend the National Science Olympiad.
One of the science teachers had a special surprise of a complimentary ticket to the Mississippi Science Teachers Association Conference to be held in Biloxi this April. Erin Seal from Pearl River County Middle School is in her first year of teaching and was thrilled to receive the ticket.
ABOUT SCIENCE OLYMPIAD
Science Olympiad tournaments have a variety of events that test knowledge of science facts, concepts, processes, skills, and science applications. The main goal of the event is to elevate science education and learning to a level of enthusiasm and support that is normally reserved only for varsity sports programs.
In Mississippi, the regional tournaments allow as many teams from any individual school as the coach wishes to bring. At the state tournament only one team per school may advance. This can be an exact duplicate of a regional team, or a mix/match of the best competitors from the school's regional teams.
The Mississippi Science Olympiad is an official chapter of Science Olympiad, Inc.