Induction ceremonies Feb. 27 for new members of the Beta Tau Gamma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International honor society at Pearl River Community College Forrest County Center in Hattiesburg were a special occasion for three generations of one family. On this night, sophomore Kyrstan Walker of Purvis was inducted, joining her mom, Stephanie Wheatcroft of Purvis, and her grandmother, Iva Rigby, of Wiggins. Rigby was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa while she was a student at Hinds Community College, where she and Wheatcroft graduated together in 1996. At the time of graduation, she was 56 years olds and I was 26, said Wheatcroft. She continued her education at Mississippi College and then graduated from Jackson State in the school of social work with honors at the age of 60. Wheatcroft returned to William Carey University after 13 years and five children and graduated in 2010 at the age of 40 with a B.S. in psychology and a double minor in biological science and gerontology. She had a 4.0 grade-point average her last three trimesters even though her husband suffered a heart attack five weeks prior to graduation. He recently completed the welding program at PRCC. I had applied for the OTA (Occupational Therapy Assistant) program at Pearl River, but was doubtful of being selected for many reasons including my age, she said. I was thrilled when I was selected for an interview. I received my acceptance letter the Friday before my graduation ceremony at Carey. I began the OTA program in fall 2010. She was inducted to Pi Theta Kappa last spring. At that time my oldest daughter Kaylan was attending PRCC, said Wheatcroft. She worked in the book store on the Hattiesburg campus. In the spring of 2009, Kyrstan began classes at PRCC at the age of 16. In May of 2011, Kaylan and Kyrstan graduated from PRCC together. Kaylan attends Mississippi State University on the pre-engineering track. Kyrstan was accepted to the OTA program last fall. In January, my daughter Kourtney began classes at PRCC as well, said Wheatcroft. My fourth daughter Kristian will be joining her sisters this fall. She expects her five-year old son, Kiahl, who was recently recognized as student of the week at Purvis Elementary, to be a Wildcat one day as well. As for their Phi Theta Kappa pins, Wheatcroft said, My mother decided she would pass her pin to me this past Christmas when she turned 70. We all agreed that on the year that we turn 70 our pin would be passed to the next family member that was involved with Phi Theta Kappa. Turns out last week I had to return my Christmas gift.
Submitted by braswell on March 9, 2012 - 1:11pm