Pearl River Community College

April 2021

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Pearl River Community College receives $1.9 million in Gulf Coast Restoration Funds for Aerospace Academy

Pearl River Community College receives $1.9 million in Gulf Coast Restoration Funds for Aerospace Academy

Pearl River Community College is one step closer to offering more groundbreaking training and educational opportunities in Hancock County through the recent appropriation of $1.9 million in Gulf Coast Restoration Funds for the institution’s Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support provided by district and coastal legislative delegation,” Pearl River President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. "This academy will serve as an economic engine for the entire region. Our goal is to provide premier educational and workforce development opportunities. This investment will provide the financial resources to acquire state-of-the-art equipment that is necessary to train our workforce to compete in a global market."

The allocated money will provide state-of-the-art equipment for the Academy’s career and technical workforce programs. These programs will give the opportunity for Mississippians to gain the skills needed to be more productive and have an improved quality of life. The facility will also provide employers a better trained and educated workforce.

“It has been great working with Pearl River Community College and Stennis International Airport and we look forward to the continued growth of Hancock County,” District 122 Representative Brent Anderson said.

The Academy will be able to meet the ever-changing needs and growth of the technical fields and remain on the forefront of research and innovative technologies. Through partnerships, it will create a center of excellence unique to this region and allow Mississippi to boast a competitive edge that cannot easily be matched.

“I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with Pearl River Community College and the State from the beginning of this new endeavor and partnership between PRCC and the new workforce development center located in Hancock County,” District 46 Senator Philip Moran said.

Added Angie Kothmann, Pearl River Director of Government & Community Relations: “PRCC was very fortunate this legislative session. By receiving this $1.9 million, it will assist in providing career technical and workforce equipment to the Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy. This new state-of-the-art PRCC campus will not only be a game changer for Hancock County and the state of Mississippi, but our entire Gulf Coast region as well.”

District 93 Representative Timmy Ladner has also been supportive of PRCC and the project since its beginning.

FACILITY DETAILS

The Academy located adjacent to Stennis International Airport, Hancock High School and the Stennis Space Center Buffer Zone, will be an estimated 26,000 square feet and represents an expanded presence for PRCC in Hancock County on Fred and Al Key Road. The facility will consist of eight classrooms, five labs, reception area, faculty and staff offices, break room/kitchenette for staff, indoor sitting/vending area for students and an outdoor courtyard sitting area.

The hangar will be an estimated 18,000 square feet and will consist of two classrooms with labs, open hangar area with hands-on lab stations, outdoor covered area for equipment training, lobby with reception area, faculty and staff offices, break room/kitchenette for staff, small vending area for students. The hangar and classroom facility will be an extension of the Academy with hands-on training space as well as state of the art classroom learning environments. Direct runway access will allow for study and testing of operational vehicles with attention given to state-of-the art composites and sheet metal materials. Aviation systems and power plant design, repair and maintenance can be studied, performed and tested in real time on operational equipment. The facility will have direct access to the Stennis International Airport runways, service and fueling facilities. The hangar will offer the following programs: Aviation Maintenance Technology, Unmanned Systems and Precision Manufacturing & Machining Technology.

The Academy will provide state-of-the-art learning spaces for students in the form of computer and video enhanced classrooms along with adjacent hands-on labs and shop spaces. The learning environments will combine computer simulated training with the benefits of hands-on work with the tools and equipment used in the vehicles located in the adjacent PRCC Hangar Facility. It is the intention for this facility to promote learning and skill creation for the workforce training needed to operate and maintain the equipment and vehicles we will use during this century and beyond.

Every classroom and lab will be designed to be multifunctional and versatile to constantly fit the changing needs of the business and industries in this area. Programs listed are the ore offerings to start, but they can be amended at any time.

The Hangar is estimated to be completed in 2022 and the Academy in 2023.

PROGRAM OFFERINGS

The academy will offer diverse educational opportunities including academic, career and technical and workforce programs.

The Academy will offer the following programs: Instrumentation, Industrial Electronics Technology, Practical Nursing, Welding and Cutting Technology, Computer Aided Design and Drafting, Business Management Technology, Academic Courses, Workforce Programs and Adult Education/GED.

The programs that will be new to the Hancock location upon its opening are Instrumentation, Aviation Maintenance Technology, Industrial Electronics Technology, Precision Manufacturing & Machining Technology, Computer Aided Design and Drafting, Business Management Technology and Coding Technology.

WILDCAT EXPERIENCE

Pearl River Community College is inviting all prospective students to its Poplarville Campus on April 20 for a fun and informative event “GET ONBOARD: The Wildcat Experience.”

The Wildcat Experience is a chance for future Wildcats to enjoy a free fun event where they can experience college life activities while also getting answers to all their important questions about the onboarding process of becoming a Wildcat. The come-and-go event will be held on PRCC’s Poplarville Campus, 101 Hwy 11 North, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. and is open to any prospective students.

Students can register for the Wildcat Experience by visiting PRCC.EDU/wildcatexperience.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) Instagram](PRCCWILDCATS) and Facebook(@PRCCMKTG).

April 2, 2021 - 9:56am
 
 
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Three Pearl River Students named Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship semifinalists

Three Pearl River Students named Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship semifinalists

Three Pearl River Community College students were recently selected as semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This year’s PRCC semifinalists are Riley Cleveland, Quindalin Harper and Kyle Simpson.

The JKC scholarship is a highly selective scholarship for the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges or universities. Each scholar has access to financial support, college planning support, ongoing advising and the opportunity to connect with a community of fellow scholars.

The Foundation provides up to $40,000 per year to scholarship recipients for up to three years, making it among the largest private scholarships for community college transfer students in the country.

RILEY CLEVELAND

“To be named Jack Kent Cooke semifinalists, has been extremely surreal and exciting,” Cleveland said. “When first choosing to come to Pearl River, I never imagined this for myself. Dr. Terri Ruckel and Dr. Ryan Ruckel saw something within me and pushed me to pursue excellence. I could not have made it without either of them or their heart for my success. I have experienced growth and joy from this experience, and I am beyond thankful for each person who played a role in it.”

Riley Cleveland is a native of Hattiesburg where she attended Oak Grove High School.  Since joining the Wildcat Family, she has been a part of many great organizations. As of her sophomore year, she serves as the President of the William Lewis Honors College at the Forrest County Campus and the Vice President of Service for Beta Tau Gamma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. During her time at The River she has received the Vice-Presidential Scholarship, the Coca Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship, All-USA Academic Team Winner and now Jack Kent Cooke Semifinalist. Cleveland was named the Most Distinguished Chapter Officer for Beta Tau Gamma and she was also the Freshman and Sophomore Maid for the FCC. She was also voted Freshmen Class Favorite. Cleveland has been involved in the William Lewis Honors Research Symposiums where she received third place locally and second place regionally with her presentation titled “Corporal Punishment: Classroom Management or Mental Abuse?”

After graduating from Pearl River with her Associates degree this spring, she plans to transfer to Mississippi State University online to obtain her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. After earning her bachelor's degree, she hopes to get a job being a kindergarten teacher in either a public or private school system. In the future, she may continue her education by going for her Master's degree.

“My time at Pearl River has been nothing short of amazing,” Cleveland said. “Being a part of the Honors College and Phi Theta Kappa has allowed me to make friendships that will last a lifetime, take hold of opportunities that will continue to grow my character, and build connections with instructors that will have my back past my years at Pearl River. I am thankful for my professors for taking time to help my personal growth and will always be grateful for my time at Pearl River Community College.”

QUINDALIN HARPER

“This is such an amazing experience to have made it this far,” Harper said. “To have a chance like this opens doors to so many possibilities. You hear people talk about it, but it does not feel the same as experiencing it.”

Quindalin Harper is from Bassfield where he attended Jefferson Davis County High School. After joining the Wildcat Family, he made a point to involve himself in many on campus organizations and activities. Harper is currently a part of the Student Government Association and the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute. He is also the Phi Theta Kappa Vice President of Planning and logistics. Harper is a Student Peer Leader for The Office of Student Success and Get2College Corp.  

Harper has received an Honors Developmental Scholarship and competed in the Honors Research Symposium. After graduating from Pearl River this spring, he plans on transferring to the University of Mississippi and majoring in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. Long term, he plans to pursue his doctorate degree and endeavors to work in the field of Psychiatry.

"Being here at PRCC is like a being on a river,” Harper said. “At the start, it's tough making your way down the river and then in the middle, you find your paddle which sometimes is a friend or a teacher that really wants to see you succeed. From there you can ride the wave to better things."

KYLE SIMPSON

“This is the second time I have been afforded this honor, and I am hopeful that I will make it past the final cut this time,” Simpson said. “It is not easy to face failure and try again; being designated as a Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholar Semifinalist again has certainly validated the effort I have had to conjure and maintain to move forward. I could not have done this alone; particularly, I must thank Cheri Alder, Dr. Aaryn Purvis, and Dr. Terri Ruckel personally for their endless support and the tireless work they have done on my behalf—even after I was no longer their student. I consider each of them a mentor and I am incredibly grateful to PRCC for bringing us into each other’s lives.”

Kyle Simpson, 30, was born in Orlando, Florida, though they have spent most of their life in Mississippi. They attended Palm Bay High School in Melbourne, Florida; however, they were withdrawn from tenth grade due to familial stressors. Kyle spent most of their 20s working full-time and independently studying the social sciences. During their time at PRCC (Spring 2018-Fall 2019), they have become a member of PRCC Forrest County Center’s William Lewis Honors College, Phi Theta Kappa chapter—Beta Tau Gamma, Mu Alpha Theta chapter, Sigma Kappa Delta chapter, as well as participated in the campus’ History and Humanities, and Travel clubs. In addition to their involvement on campus, Kyle also had the honor of representing PRCC as a member of the International Scholar Laureate Program’s Delegation on Medicine and Science to China during the summer of 2019. Kyle received their Associate of Arts degree with High Honors in December 2019 from PRCC; during their time at PRCC they won both the History and Fine Arts Student of the Year awards and earned two academic publications. Kyle plans to major in psychology upon transferring to university, where they intend to conduct research concerning poverty’s effect on the ability of individuals and cultural cohort groups to process trauma and grief productively. They plan on ultimately achieving a PhD in counseling psychology with an emphasis on grief counseling and poverty studies; their top three choices for transfer are Amherst College, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor—which they have been admitted to. Post-academia, Kyle plans to work on synthesizing emotional health initiatives with economic justice initiatives, locally, nationally, and globally.

“When I enrolled at PRCC, I was not sure what to expect from a community college in southeast Mississippi, but I have been endlessly whelmed by the dedication and quality of PRCC’s faculty,” Simpson said. “As a non-traditional student who thought that academia was never going to be a part of my future, I have been beyond well-served by PRCC. If not for the amazing professors I have had, and built genuine bonds with, my future would not be the beacon of ambition and optimism that it has become. PRCC changed my life, and maybe even saved it. There are not enough words to ever communicate my gratitude fully; I will move forward and do the Wildcat name proud.”

 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats)  Instagram](PRCCWILDCATS) and Facebook(@PRCCMKTG).

April 6, 2021 - 2:23pm
 
Pearl River Alumna awarded prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Pearl River Alumna awarded prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

A Pearl River Community College alumna, Alyssa Necaise, has recently been recognized for her research efforts as a recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. 

Necaise is from Kiln, where she attended Hancock High School. Once she joined the Wildcat Family, she became involved in many on campus organizations. Necaise was a River Navigator, member of Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, a tutor and peer mentor at Student Support Services, a STEM Club member and was President of both the Dr. William Lewis Honors College and the Phi Theta Kappa Iota Mu Chapter. After graduating from PRCC with her Associates Degree, she transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi where she is currently majoring in polymer science and engineering. She received several transfer scholarships including the Chemours Future of Chemistry for Women Scholarship, PRCC Presidential Transfer Scholarship, Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Transfer Scholarship, Phi Theta Kappa Academic Transfer Scholarship and USM Honors Keystone Scholar Scholarship. Necaise now serves as Vice President of both The Polymer Science Association and the student SAMPE chapter at USM while pursuing her honors research thesis focused on optimization of thermal and electrical conductivity of carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites. Necaise would like to continue her career working as an aerospace polymer composites engineer upon graduating. 

“I am thrilled to receive such a prestigious scholarship among such a distinguished group of peers,” Necaise said. “This scholarship means a great deal to me as well as my future. I am completely humbled to be recognized and able to represent first generation college students as well as women in STEM. I attribute any success in my career largely to my roots at PRCC, the excellent chemistry and mathematics department, and, most importantly, the community of supportive staff and professors unique to the River. 

“I could not have asked for a better experience before transferring to USM.” 

From an estimated pool of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1,256 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 438 academic institutions to compete for the 2021 Goldwater scholarships. Of students who reported, 198 of the Scholars are men, 207 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Fifty-one Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 291 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 68 are majoring in engineering. Many of the Scholars have published their research in leading professional journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats)  Instagram](PRCCWILDCATS) and Facebook(@PRCCMKTG).

April 7, 2021 - 8:59am
 
 
PRCC presents lightning-fast Greek mythology comedy

PRCC presents lightning-fast Greek mythology comedy

Pearl River Community College’s theater program treated Ethel Holden Brownstone Center audience members to a dizzying and delightful presentation of The Iliad, The Odyssey and all of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less Thursday night. 

With the clock ticking in front of everyone’s eyes, the cast literally runs through all of Greek mythology. Students kept the audience's laughter alive as they brought mythological characters onto the red carpet and a dating show. The lightning-fast scene changes kept everyone on their toes. The hysterical results of 99 minutes of hard work by PRCC’s theatre program is sure to last long after the curtain closes. 

“The students did great,” Instructor of Speech and Theater Christopher Flynn said. “They still had seven minutes left so we made it under time, which was important. Two nights ago, we had five seconds left so they’ve progressed very well. We look forward to seeing more people here Friday night.” 

The clock ticking away on screens at the front of the stage added fun and excitement for not only the audience but the actors as well. 

“This was the first time we’ve had the chance to have a live audience all year so the fact that we got to do it was awesome,” cast member Maggie Gressett said. “I hope we get a little closer to the time (Friday) night to add a little bit more adrenaline to the performance. I’m sad we only get to perform two nights but I’m still very happy that we get to perform at all.”

The cast is comprised of Elijah Brittain, of Picayune; Colby Buras of Chalmette, LA; Miranda Dickson, of Hurley; Gresset, of Lake; Canaan Logan, of Poplarville; Cullin Rogers, of Purvis; Hayley Thibodeaux, of Carriere; Jeremiah Quiroz, of Picayune and Jessica Helgerson, of Picayune. Set Designer is Jax Wright and Costume Designer Caroline Flynn. 

The play originally premiered at the Studio Theatre in Orlando, Florida on March 2, 2007. It was produced by the Jester Theater Company, a local professional theater company that specializes in only producing comedies. It was directed by Jay Hopkins.

Tickets for Pearl River’s second presentation of The Iliad, The Odyssey and all of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less are still available for Friday April 9 at 7 p.m. and can be purchased for $5 by calling 601-403-1180 or at the door.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

April 9, 2021 - 12:10pm
 
 
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PRCC students gain experience on job

PRCC students gain experience on job

Pearl River Community College students Brandon Fleming, Rashan Foxworth and Grayson McDonnell are doing internships this semester they hope will lead to good jobs after they graduate.

They are interning at Wesley Merit Health, thanks to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

All three are sophomores in the Biomedical Equipment Repair Technology department at PRCC’s Forrest County Center. They are working as biomedical equipment repair technicians, getting hands-on experience diagnosing and repairing electronic hospital equipment.

“Internships are key to students getting their foot in the door with employment by obtaining real industry experience upon graduation,” said PRCC instructor Sam McNease.

“It's difficult for students to find employment straight out of school, so being equipped with this experience gives them an advantage when they start applying for jobs at the entry level.”

Fleming, 25, is a graduate of Bay High School in Bay St. Louis. He would like to work for a national company as a Bio-Med Technician.

“What excites me about Pearl River has been meeting new people and learning new subjects and skills for my future,” he said. “I have been able to learn new skills that I can use on the job.”

Foxworth, 47, attended East Marion High School and lives in Columbia. His goal is to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree in the electronics field.

“At this stage in my life, I am very excited to continue my education in a field that I am very passionate about,” said Foxworth. 

McDonnell, 26, attended St. Martin High School in Ocean Springs.  He is a Phi Theta Kappa student and member of the National Technical Honor Society. His goal is to find a career, buy a home and start a family.

“I get excited about being a PRCC student,” said McDonnell. “I know how much our instructors care about our success, and they will do everything in their power to help us. 

“From my internship experience, I have learned and improved my time experience, communication and teamwork skills.”

Deloris Butler, PRCC WIN Case Manager, believes these internships are a large plus for PRCC students.

“This internship program gives students the opportunity to practice their skills in a real-world environment, build their professional network, and connect with prospective employers,” she said. 

“These internships offer critical skills that contribute to the success of our graduates,” said Dr. James David Collum, Dean of Career and Technical Education at the Forrest County Center. “No lab or classroom can fully emulate the experience of participating in an internship.” 

The PRCC WIOA Internship program is funded by a grant from the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District (SMPDD). Interns are selected by instructors and paid through the grant.

If your organization is interested in participating in the PRCC Internship program, please contact Deloris Butler at 601-584-1946 for more information.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats)  Instagram](PRCCWILDCATS) and Facebook(@PRCCMKTG).

April 12, 2021 - 8:07am
 
2020-21 PRCC Lifetime Hall of Fame Inductees Honored

2020-21 PRCC Lifetime Hall of Fame Inductees Honored

Pearl River Community College honored five outstanding alumni Monday with induction into the PRCC Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame.

The inductees include Douglas Daniels, Dr. John Grant, Major General Hudson Holliday, Dr. Charles Pigott and Jim Walt. 

The college selected them based on success in their professions after getting their start at Pearl River. PRCC began the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame in 2012.

“Let me thank you for serving as an example for our past current and future students,” Pearl River President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “Our roles as educators have never been more challenging or more important. Your legacy and commitment to your craft motivates us to be better educators and embrace the challenges we may face, to find solutions in the face of adversity and to remove the barriers that impede education for our current and future students. Your service provides an example of excellence that will transcend your local community and will serve as a testament to the thousands of Pearl River Community College students who will one day reside around this great nation and even around the globe. Your impact on our college and the lives of our students is immeasurable.” 

DOUGLAS DANIELS 

“It means the world to him to be honored like this,” Douglas Daniel’s son Bryan Daniels said. “Dad’s memories of his time studying here at Pearl River, working on the farm, playing under Coach W. Holton, those are just special lifelong memories to him. He’s lived here in Poplarville ever since and I think his involvement in the college and the friendships he’s had with people here have been so meaningful to him and to be honored like this is really special.”

Daniels first attended classes on campus at Pearl River Community College in 1948 as a 15-year-old junior at Poplarville High School, playing his first full season of football as a halfback and linebacker. Following his senior season with PHS, he played under Coach Dobie Holden for two years at Pearl River, as a halfback, safety and quarterback. 

Daniels was named to the All-State First Team as quarterback and was awarded the J.J. Holcomb Most Outstanding Athlete Award both at PHS and PRC. He would later be inducted into the Pearl River Community College Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Community and Junior College Sports Hall of Fame. 

Daniels was recruited by multiple universities including Southeastern Louisiana University, where he continued playing the positions he had played at PRC, helping SLU win the Gulf States co-championship both of his seasons there. After receiving his BS in mathematics, he joined the army in 1954. 

While stationed in Germany, he played baseball and football for the 12th infantry. His football team was the only undefeated team in Europe in 1955, and Daniels was selected as the Northern European All-Conference First-Team quarterback. 

Building on his background in athletics, Daniels accepted the position of Head Coach and mathematics instructor at Poplarville High School in 1956, coaching football, baseball and teaching five math classes daily. The 1957 and 1959 PHS baseball teams won the DeSoto Conference Championship. In 1959, he was named “Coach of the Year” when Poplarville celebrated their first undefeated/untied football season. 

Daniels obtained a Master’s degree and AAA certification toward his Doctorate at USM, and in 1966, he became District Director of Guidance, a position he held until his retirement in 1995. During his tenure he received one of Mississippi’s three “Most Outstanding Counselors” awards presented by USM. 

In addition to his success and investment in athletics and education, Daniels spent his summers during his college and coaching years managing the Poplarville Community Center serving as a lifeguard, supervising a little league program and coaching a youth baseball team. He also served as president of the North Pearl River County Chamber of Commerce and served on the Hancock Bank Pearl River County Advisory Board of Directors for 22 years. He was named Poplarville’s “Citizen of the Year” in 1979. 

“My dad loves athletics,” Bryan Daniels said. “It taught him a commitment to education but also that character that had developed in him on and off the field really made him into the person he is and he’s really thankful for that.”

Daniels and his wife, Phyllis, who was a business instructor at PRCC for 36 years, have been married 53 years and have three children, 16 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Daniels was unable to attend the event. His son Bryan Daniels accepted the award on his behalf. 

JOHN GRANT

“It’s easily one of the greatest honors I’ve had,” Grant said. “It’s hard to put into words but Pearl River Community College has meant so much to me in so many different ways, almost all my life, and to be honored this way is one I really appreciate. It’s a tremendous honor.”

Grant, Jr. was born in Tupelo but has been a lifelong resident of Poplarville since childhood.

Grant is a graduate of Poplarville High School and Pearl River Community College before continuing his education at the University of Mississippi where he received his Bachelor of Science in Physics. He received both his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Science Education with emphases in Physics and Earth Sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Grant served a total of forty-three years in public education in Mississippi. From 1968 to 1971 he taught Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics at Harrison Central High School and then at Poplarville High School from 1971 to 1979. During this time, he was also head baseball coach at HCHS. He was selected Star Teacher five times and was recognized as an Outstanding High School Physics Teacher by Mississippi Association of Physicists.

Grant returned to Pearl River as an instructor from 1979 to 2000 during which time he taught Physics, Mathematics and Engineering Mechanics. He took on the role of Chairman of the Department of Mathematical Sciences in 1990 and held that position until 2000 when he transitioned into the position of Dean of Academic Affairs. He then accepted the role of Vice President for Instruction in 2003 and continued until 2011 when he retired. He continues to operate the PRCC astronomical observatory and to serve on the PRCC Institutional Review Board.

During his career, Grant was also an Adjunct Instructor of Physics, Astronomy and Science Education at the University of Southern Mississippi. He also was a part of a NASA Faculty Fellowship at Stennis Space Center working with geographic information systems in 1995 and 1996.

Grant has been an active part of his community in various ways throughout the years. He is a member, Deacon and past Chairman of Deacons of the First Baptist Church of Poplarville and has sung in the choir for many years. He served as an Alderman of the City of Poplarville for five terms. He was Commissioner for over thirty years and currently is Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Pearl River County Soil and Water Conservation District. Grant is a member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Poplarville and currently serves as Club Historian. Grant is also a member of and Photographer for the Poplarville Historical Preservation Society.

“Pearl River is a huge part of my life in so many different ways,” Grand said. “I can’t really measure how much this means to me. Of course it’s changed so much through the years, but in other ways it hasn’t changed at all. It’s still people doing what they do and doing it very well.”

Grant and his wife, the former Gwen Gandy, are the parents of two children, Arthur Brennan Grant and Mary Jessica Perry. He is also a proud grandfather of two boys.

HUDSON HOLLIDAY 

“It’s just such an honor,” Holliday said. “I wasn’t expecting this. When I was in school here I wasn’t necessarily a stand out academically or a sports star. I’m just proof that a regular country boy can make it.”

Holliday is a graduate of Poplarville High School, Pearl River Community College, The University of Southern Mississippi and the prestigious United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Shortly after graduating from USM and completing basic training in the Mississippi Army National Guard, Hudson joined the Boeing Company, working on the Saturn Program. By the end of the program, he was the Administrative Assistant to the Manager of Industrial Engineering and Production Control. Having deep roots in south Mississippi, he elected not to pursue a career with Boeing, but rather return home and establish Holliday Real Estate in 1975. In addition to his real estate business, he founded and operated Holliday Air Service (a crop-dusting service), became a licensed home builder, developed subdivisions and operated a cattle farm. Working with others, he owned and operated a sheet metal contracting business, two ready mix concrete plants and a large wetland mitigation bank. 

Holliday’s military career began in 1965 when he joined the local 1065th Transportation Company, Mississippi Army National Guard. After attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant, he attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, graduating as a Second Lieutenant in 1971. During his career, he commanded two companies, a battalion and a brigade. He served as Assistant Adjutant General before returning to command the 184the Transportation Brigade as a Brigadier General. Holliday is credited with bringing about force structure changes that resulted in the 184th becoming one of the largest logistical units in the entire army. Holliday retired in September of 2004 with over 38 years of continuous service. He was promoted to Major General upon retirement and was inducted into the Fort Benning, OCS Hall of fame. 

When Hurricane Katrina devastated south Mississippi, Holliday was called on to help organize the recovery effort. He secured the first two tanker loads of fuel into Poplarville, personally guaranteed payment for the 18,000 gallons of fuel and specified that it was for use by the general public. General Holliday was elected to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors in 2008 and served for four years before qualifying to run for Governor. He lost his bid for Governor, but did win Pearl River County where he was well known. He was re-elected Supervisor in 2015 and again in 2019. He is currently serving his third term as District Three Supervisor. 

The list of accomplishments of the Board of Supervisors during his tenure are many and include: rebuilding of Chimney Square in Picayune, hard surfacing all existing gravel roads, construction of a criminal justice center in Millard, securing three emergency shelters, renovating the Main Courthouse courtroom, and construction of the recently completed 40,000 square foot Courthouse Annex. He also worked to reopen the Poplarville Hospital emergency room, expand the fairground facilities, add a walking tract and constructed a pavilion at the Poplarville Park, establish a County Court, streamline land use regulations and establish an Economic Development Commission. 

“Pearl River is such an asset to this community,” Holliday said. “It’s able to attract businesses, train the workforce and retrain people and give people the opportunity to make a living. I’ve been to other schools but Pearl River has always been home.”

He is married to the former Joan Paulette Kirkland and they have three children: Bradley, Heather and Michael. They also have three grandchildren: Zack, Elizabeth and Gunner. Hudson and Paulette will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary later this year. 

Holliday is a life-long member of the First United Methodist Church in Poplarville where he has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Finance Chairman. He is presently serving his 26th year on the Hancock Whitney Bank advisory board. His hobbies include restoring old cars, flying airplanes and riding his Harley.

CHARLES PIGOTT

“I was really surprised and humbled,” Pigott said. “I was like ‘wait a minute, I’m not done yet,’ so I was very surprised and very honored to have this award.”

Pigott, M.D., F.A.C.S., grew up on a farm near Picayune, MS. He attended Picayune Public Schools and earned a football scholarship to Pearl River Community College playing on the Wildcat football team in 1975 and 1976. During that time, he was named Permanent Team Captain of the 1976 State Championship Wildcats along with gaining All-State and All-Star Honors. 

Following that, he attended Delta State University on a football scholarship where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biology in 1980. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in 1985. He continued his training at the University of Mississippi Medical Center completing his surgical internship and residency from 1985-1990. 

In 1990, Pigott joined the Surgery Clinic of Tupelo and began his surgery practice at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1991. While on staff at North Mississippi Medical Center, he served as Chair of the Medical Staff and as Chair of the Credentials Committee. He has been Co-director of the Trauma Service at NMMC since 1999. He was appointed to the initial Mississippi Trauma Advisory Committee in 1999 by Governor Haley Barbour and helped with the inception and creation of the Mississippi Trauma System. He continues as a clinical instructor in Surgery of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine Surgical Residency Program. He is also a member of the American College of Surgeons, Fellow of James D. Hardy Society and a member of Mississippi State Medical Association. Pigott was inducted into the Pearl River Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. He served as the medical director of the North Mississippi Trauma Region from 2010-2020 and currently still serves on the Mississippi Trauma System Performance Improvement Committee. 

“I started to come to Pearl River when I was three years old to watch my older brother play football and for a long time my goal in life was to play football. I was able to continue my education here and make lifelong friends. It was a good place to grow up.”

He continues his practice today as a General and Acute Care Trauma Surgeon at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, MS and Hamilton, AL. Pigott is married to Jessica Dillashaw Pigott of Tupelo. They have five children including Greg Pigott, a teacher in the Madison County school district; Katie Hood, a teacher in Nashville City School district; Peyton Pigott, a student at Mississippi State University; Marley Pigott, a student at University of Mississippi and Meri Parker Pigott, a student at Saltillo High School in Saltillo, Mississippi. In his free time, Dr. Pigott enjoys fishing, boating, duck hunting and the outdoors.

JIM WALT

“This means a whole lot to me,” Walt said. “Back in the early 80’s when I attended Pearl River, it gave me the foundation of the success of why I’m here today. I am very humbled to receive this award tonight.”

Walt graduated from Hattiesburg High School in 1980. After this he began his higher education at the University of Southern Mississippi but after one year received a call from Ned Eades, head coach at Pearl River Community College, to play baseball. In the fall of 1981 he started a most memorable two years of college at Pearl River. After leaving Pearl River he continued his higher education journey at USM and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Administration. 

“Once I came to Pearl River, it was like a family,” Walt said. “Just about every event that you went to everybody went to like athletics, college functions even picnics. You got to know everybody which was much different than what I experienced going to a major university.”

In 1989 Jim joined Valley Services as a Food Service Director managing a college account. Walt progressed upwards through various management positions to become Valley’s Director of Operations for its Dining Services Division in 1995. 

Walt’s commitment to genuine customer service and efficient operations led to his promotion to Senior Vice President of Dining and Health Services in 2000 and he eventually took on the role of President/CEO and Stakeholder of Valley in 2004. 

Walt stretched Valley beyond its southern presence to operate over 250 accounts within twenty-one states. Valley’s distinct senior nutrition division also filled the need to feed the growing aging population. During this time Valley launched its Traditions Meals Solutions Brand to serve elderly in their homes. In 2012 Walt also played a key role in Valley’s merger with TrustHouse Services Group. 

After almost 30 years of dedication to Valley Services, Walt decided to retire in 2018 to enjoy traveling outdoors and spend more time with his family. 

He has basically had only one job throughout his career and will never forget that without that call to attend Pearl River in 1981 none of this would have been possible.

Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute students were given the opportunity to interview the honorees about their lives, studies and accomplishments before the ceremony and also helped during the event.  

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

April 13, 2021 - 4:16pm
 
PRCC students benefit from NTHS membership in many ways

PRCC students benefit from NTHS membership in many ways

Pearl River Community College Forrest County Center’s students who serve in the National Technical Honors Society have found in their participation, a path to success.

NTHS honors the achievements of top career technical students, provides scholarships to encourage the pursuit of higher education, and cultivates excellence in today’s highly competitive, skilled workforce. For over 30 years, NTHS has been the acknowledged leader in the recognition of outstanding student achievement in career and technical education.

“Being an active member of an honor society helps students build skills in leadership, social, and charitable roles,” said Sam McNease, PRCC Industrial Technology instructor and a NTHS advisor.

“In addition to membership benefits, students get to meet new people and network with leaders, add value to their resumes, and be active in community involvement. We just volunteered to help hide Easter eggs for an event organized by the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. Activities like this add to the college experience for students as well.”

The National Technical Honor Society currently serves over 100,000 active members and nearly 2 million alumni since its inception in 1984.

Current officers in the NTHS at the Forrest County Center include:

President - Alex Province of Hattiesburg; Vice President - Austin Chace Nickey of Choctaw; Secretary - Kari Maddison Nickey of Hattiesburg; Treasurer - Harrison Wilson of Petal; Event Coordinator - Samantha Ranger of Hattiesburg; and Historian - Josh Shaw of Hattiesburg.

Province, 31, is a sophomore student in Electronics Engineering Technology. He also serves as a Phi Theta Kappa vice president, vice president of Sigmas Kappa Delta English Honor Society and a member of the Dr. William Lewis Honors Society.

“What excites me about being a student at PRCC is all the opportunities afforded students with the many programs and the class variety,” said Province. “Also it’s the hands-on approach by all the faculty in helping students. I would have never thought a community college would have things like this to offer.”

Austin Nickey, 24, a graduate of Choctaw Central and Electronics Engineering Technology student, agrees. 

“Pearl River offers the opportunity to expand my horizon with the many career paths and the instructors that go above and beyond,” he said.

Wilson, 19, a graduate of Petal High School and Electronics Engineering Technology student, adds, “What excites me about being here is being granted the opportunity to receive an excellent education and make many exciting memories along the way.”

Kari Nickey, 20, attended Oak Grove High School and plans to pursue an engineering career. She is an Electronics Engineering Technology student, as is Shaw, 22, who earned his GED from PRCC. 

Ranger, 39, is a student in the Dental Hygiene program at PRCC.

The National Technical Honor Society currently serves over 100,000 active members and nearly 2 million alumni since its inception in 1984.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats)  Instagram](PRCCWILDCATS) and Facebook(@PRCCMKTG).

April 14, 2021 - 3:15pm
 
 
 
 
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