POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College student Debra Thompson of Carriere and instructor Laura Berry of Petal will be honored Feb. 28 during annual Higher Education Appreciation Day_Working for Academic Excellence events in Jackson.Thompson, 41, is a general studies sophomore working toward a dental hygiene career. She plans to attend the University of Southern Missisisppi with the goal of earning a master degree in biology.At Pearl River, she is president of the Iota Mu chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, a Student Support Services tutor, a member of the Honors Leadership Forum and a Dean List student. She also has been selected as one of PRCC nominees to the PTK All-Mississippi Academic Team.Thompson has a passion for learning and encouraging other students to value the doors an education can open for them, PTK advisor Stephanie Lee said.Thompson has two children - Zachary, 16, and Alexandra, 9. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Huye II of Picayune.Berry has taught speech at the community college level for 22 years - at PRCC since 2000 and at Meridian Community College the previous 10 years. She holds the bachelor and master degrees from USM and is a member of the Mississippi Communication Association.She and her husband, USM baseball coach Scott Berry, are the parents of two children - Garren, 17, and Kathryn, 8.Laura Berry exemplifies a passion toward learning that demonstrates her desire to see all students succeed both in subject matter and beyond the walls of academia, said Dr. Martha Lou Smith, PRCC vice president for general education and technology services. She understands that meaningful education is an approach that involves the whole student. In addition, her can_do, positive attitude is an example from which we can all benefit.HEADWAE was established in 1987 by the Mississippi Legislature to recognize outstanding students and faculty in Mississippi colleges and universities. The honorees will be welcomed by the lieutenant governor, recognized by both the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Senate and recognized by name at a luncheon attended by institution leaders, corporate sponsors, and legislators.