Jones College students win tuition & technology at Convocation/Hall of Fame activities

SGA President, Otoniel Duran right) presented Matthew Williams with the Microsoft Surface laptop he won.

ELLISVILLE – A Jones College freshman from Waynesboro, Matthew Williams won tuition for a year and a laptop for attending Convocation and Hall of Fame events on September 12. The nursing major’s name was randomly drawn to win tuition and compete for a Microsoft Surface laptop while attending the Hall of Fame football game against Hinds Community College.  To win the laptop, donated by Coca-Cola, Williams had to win the football throwing competition against Oak Grove’s Ja’Darius Sims, who was also randomly chosen to win a year of tuition.  The computer engineering major came up short against

SGA President, Otoniel Duran (left) presents a check for tuition to Ja’Darius Sims (right).

Williams in the competition but said he is blessed to be chosen to participate in the event.

“Winning tuition will push me to do well in college. I don’t have any scholarships, so this is really a gift from God,” said Sims.

Williams said his parents are happy to have tuition paid for this year. Upon graduation from Jones, Williams plans to get his bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center or Southern Miss.

SGA President, Otoniel Duran presented Cole Mozingo (left) with the Apple Watch he won during Convocation and Hall of Fame activities.

“I didn’t know what to do when they called my name,” said Williams. “Financially, winning the tuition will relieve some stress, however, I hadn’t thrown a football in a long time, so I’m a little surprised to also win that competition.”

Jones College and the Student Government Association also awarded Cole Mozingo of Laurel an Apple Watch, who was randomly chosen during the football game.

Maroon Typhoon’s twirling sisters shine in Jones College’s “dreamy” performance

ELLISVILLE– D’Iberville’s baton twirling sisters, Alyssa and Kayla Webb have been members of the elite, “Dixie Doll Twirlers” team based in Biloxi, for more than 10-years together. As Jones College students, and the feature twirlers for the Maroon Typhoon Marching Band, the Webb sisters are performing together for the first time ever, in the “dreamy” half-time performance called, “What Dreams May Come.”

Feature twirlers, Alyssa (left) and Kayla Webb (right) perform during the half-time show at the Jones College football game, September 5, 2019.

“We never had a routine together, so this is our debut!” said Alyssa Webb. “You don’t see sister twirlers in college performances. It’s very unique and it’s good because we understand each other. We know what we’re both capable of doing and we ‘read’ each other well.”

During their competition days with the Dixie Dolls, the Webb’s traveled throughout the southeastern region collecting trophies from numerous regional, state and local competitions. The team captured 1st place in Nationals and Kayla earned individual 1st place honors in a national competition while they were both at D’Iberville High School. Using their award-winning experience, the Webb sisters incorporated a few of their favorite moves into their Jones College performances on the football field this fall.

“We have a move that looks like a double cartwheel while tossing the baton. We’re also exchanging batons, and twirling fire batons and blades,” said Kayla. “During the pre-game and half-time shows, we perform during the Eurythmics song, ‘Sweet Dreams’ and Van Halen’s, ‘Dream On.’”

Alyssa journeyed to the Ellisville campus first and then convinced Kayla to join her at Jones. “Alyssa had fun here and really liked it at Jones so I thought I would join her,” said Kayla. “A lot of the Dixie Dolls have performed at Jones. I don’t expect that will end.”

Several members of the “Dixie Doll Twirlers” have dazzled Jones audiences over the last 15 years, including Carly Carpenter 2017-19, Autumn Dunnaway 2017-18, Sabrina Sagers 2015-17, Megan Crager 2009-10, Ashleigh Richardson Fulton 2008-10, Ashton Rushing 2008-10, Olivia Purvis Hall 2007-09 and Lauren Byrd 2003-04.

For Alyssa, her last performance may be at the last Jones home football game on October 24.  She plans to graduate in May and work on her bachelor’s degree in accounting at USM. Kayla will spend another year as a Jones Bobcat before heading to the University of South Alabama to pursue a degree in physical therapy. The D’Iberville High School graduates said they plan on enjoying the spotlight for as long as they can twirl the baton, or their careers prevent them from performing.


Jones College announces Homecoming Court 2019

ELLISVILLE–Homecoming on the campus of Jones College in Ellisville is set for Saturday, October 5, with the theme, “Bobcat Revolution.”  Earlier this month, JC students elected its 2019 Homecoming Court with the following ladies representing them during Homecoming festivities.

Queen, Jazmin King of Bay Springs is majoring in biology with a pre-med emphasis, with aspirations of becoming an endocrinologist.  The Jones College sophomore is a member of the Bobcat Brigade, a student recruiting organization, Phi Theta Kappa international honor society, the English Honor Society, the Presidential Task Force, the Charles Pickering Honors Institute and the Student Government Association where she serves as Secretary. The Bay Springs High School graduate participated in basketball and track where she was a four-time state qualifier in discus and shot-put. King also cheered for the Bay Springs Bulldogs and earned All-American Cheerleader honors all four years, as well as Cheer Captain her senior year in high school. As President of her class and a 2017 Rural Medical Scholar, King graduated the top of her class with highest honors and she was named Star Student. Her peers voted her to be Miss Bay Springs High School, Most Intellectual and Most Likely to Succeed. After completing her studies at Jones, King plans to attend Mississippi State University and major in English with a minor in Spanish before going to medical school. Mike and Carressia King are her parents.

Escorting King will be W.C. Washington of State Line. The accounting and business administration major is a member of the business organization, Phi Beta Lambda and he participates in intramural sports and he has been a member of the Engineering Club. The Wayne County graduate intends to further his education at the University of Southern Mississippi. Washington’s parents are W.C. and Tammie Washington.

Abby McNeil is your Student Body Maid. The Bay Springs resident is majoring in kinesiology. She is a member of the Student Government Association and the student athletic fan club, “Bleacher Creatures.” She is also an athletic trainer for the football team and the women’s basketball team. At Stringer High School, McNeil graduated in the Top-10 of her class with highest honors and she was a member of the Hall of Fame and a Mississippi Scholar. McNeil’s aspirations include pursuing a career as an athletic trainer after earning her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at USM. Her parents are Chris and Stacey McNeil.

Escorting McNeil is her younger brother, Tate McNeil.  The Stringer High School graduate is a freshman at Jones, majoring in civil engineering. In high school, Tate graduated in the Top-10 of his class with highest honors, as well as being honored as a Mississippi Scholar. At JC, he is a member of the “Bleacher Creatures,” intramural flag football, and he was voted as a Freshman Class Favorite. His future plans include graduating from Jones and earning his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University. His parents are Chris and Stacey McNeil

 Ashley Allen is your Sophomore Maid. The Puckett resident is majoring in kinesiology. She is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Government Association and Phi Theta Kappa honor society. At Puckett High School, Allen was a member of the softball and track teams and she was a member of FCA. She also graduated in the Top-10 of her class. Allen’s aspirations include being a physical therapist after earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology. Her parents are Annette and Billy Allen.

Escorting Allen is Otoniel Duran.  He is originally from La Vega, Dominican Republic but he is currently living in Hattiesburg.  The polymer science and engineering major is a graduate of Presbyterian Christian High School where he graduated with a 4.0 GPA. He also played basketball for the PCS Bobcats and he was voted, Most Likely to Brighten Your Day and Prom King.  At Jones College, Duran is the Student Government Association President, a member of PTK, the Engineering Club, and the Baptist Student Union. He also plays intramural sports and is on the practice squad for the women’s basketball team. Future plans for Duran include earning a bachelor’s and doctoral degree in polymer science at USM. His parents are Antonio Duran and Rosalba Hernandez.

Sophomore Maid, Hallie Meadows lives in Piave and is studying to be an athletic trainer. While at Greene County High School, she played softball and was a cheerleader, earning Hall of Fame honors and graduating in the Top-10 of her class. She was also voted as Miss Greene County High School. At Jones, Meadows is a member of the Concert Choir, and she is a member of the Student Government Association. After graduating from Jones, Meadows will attend USM to earn her bachelor’s degree in athletic training. Chris and Micah Meadows are Hallie’s parents.

Meadow’s escort is Leakesville resident, Brent Dearman who is an electrical technology major. The Greene County High School graduate was active in SkillsUSA, placing 3rd in the state in welding. Additionally, Dearman took 2nd place in a forestry competition hosted by FFA in high school. The sophomore is already getting experience in his career choice working with Universal Services in Leakesville, on the Greene County Center expansion project. After graduating next May, He plans to begin a career in the oilfield as an electrical technician. Bryan and Kim Dearman are his parents.

Freshman Maid, Caidyn Crowder of Ellisville is majoring in biochemistry.  At South Jones High School, Crowder was involved in the South Jones show choir, “Company,” the Drama Department, Smart Club, and the volleyball team.  She was elected as President of the Senior High Beta Club, South Jones High School’s 2018 Most Beautiful, Student Body Maid and “Most Talented.” The Mississippi Scholar represented Jones County in the 2019 Distinguished Young Women state competition. At Jones College, Crowder is a member of the Concert Choir, Jones OnStage and SGA. Her future plans include attending Mississippi State to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and business and then apply for the physician assistant program. She also hopes to continue singing. Caidyn’s parents are Grant and Anita Shawn Crowder.

Escorting Crowder is Peyton Griffin a music major from Ellisville. The South Jones High School graduate was active in Showchoir, Drama, Beta Club, First Priority and FCA. Griffin was voted as Most Talented and was a Senior Class Favorite. The Mississippi Scholar graduated with Honors and is a member of the Hall of Fame. At Jones, he is a member of the Concert Choir, Jones OnStage and SGA. Griffin’s future plans include earning a degree in music education to be a choir director after pursuing a career performing. Brad and Keri Griffin are his parents.

Dariyel Johnson is your Freshman Maid from Leakesville. She is majoring in marketing and musical theater. The Greene County High School graduate was active in cheer, soccer, volleyball, marching band, Theatre Club, WILDPAT, Hall of Fame member, and Beta Club where she served as the 2018-19 Senior Beta Club State Vice President. Johnson was voted as Miss Greene County High School and she represented her hometown in the Miss Hospitality competition. At Jones, she was elected as Freshman Class President and she is a member of the Bobcat Brigade recruiting organization, SGA, and Concert Choir. At the University of Mississippi, Johnson will be majoring in the integrated marketing program. Her parents are Darryl and Latrina Johnson.

Johnson’s escort is her twin brother, Da’Rell Johnson.   The Greene County High School graduate was on the varsity basketball team, Beta Club and WILDPAT. The 2019 Hall of Fame member plans to transfer to the University of Mississippi after graduating from Jones.  Darryl and Latrina Johnson are his parents.

The Jones College Homecoming Court will also have represented as the flower girl, Greenly Massey Flowers, the daughter of Austin and Tessa Flowers of Ellisville. The five-year-old is in pre-kindergarten at Jones College’s Early Learning Center. Beau Brewer, the 2019 Homecoming Court crown bearer is a first-grader at Pecan Park Elementary School in Ocean Springs.  The six-year-old is the son of Callie and Ron Brewer.  For details about Homecoming events and activities check out the Jones College website: or the news page, Jones College celebrates Homecoming 2019

Jones College’s Bobcat Math League begins 8th season

ELLISVILLE – Perennial top contenders have a couple of new teams to challenge them in Jones College’s Bobcat Math League competition this fall. As the competition begins its 8th season, Raymond and Petal High Schools have joined the STEM-based contest initiated by the Jones College Math Department.  BML Commissioner, Dr. Jessica Bunch said the new teams will add another level of excitement as they challenge themselves and their competitors for five-weeks of competition.

“We’re looking forward to a great season of competition with returning teams chomping at the bit and new teams vying for a stake in the standings as they gain their footing in the competition. We are thrilled with how high school students are furthering their STEM knowledge and how eager and willing they are to help each other advance their knowledge by practicing and taking part in the Bobcat Math League,” said Bunch.

The high schools have been divided into three divisions, Science, Technology and Engineering. In the first week of competition, Petal High School wasted no time in establishing a dominant presence.  The Panthers trounced on its first competitor, the Raleigh Lions in a brutal “cat fight” within the Science Division, as Petal handily won, 71 to 26, over Raleigh. The Panthers lead its division while the Lions lick their wounds in last place in the Science Division.  Sacred Heart nearly lost to the other newcomers, the Raymond High School Rangers in a close battle. The Crusaders overcame the Rangers, 48 to 42 to take second place in the division with Raymond in fourth place.  Sacred Heart team member, Abby Farris said she’s excited to be facing new teams this season.

“The addition of new teams has already proved to be more challenging, but it is a challenge we are eager to face.  Despite having lost a few seniors, we have a strong team this year with eight returning members and seven promising new members, and an experienced, new coach. I have no doubt we will continue to perform as strongly as ever,” said Farris.

Familiar foes in the Bobcat Math League, West Jones and South Jones began the season in a cross-county rivalry. The Mustangs of West Jones managed to keep the South Jones Braves at bay to land in third place in the division with a, 37 to 28, win over the Braves, who are in fifth place in the division.

Defending 2018 BML Champions, the Oak Grove Warriors managed to take the lead in the Engineering Division by destroying the Columbia Academy Cougars, 80 to 14. The win puts Oak Grove in first place in their division and Columbia Academy ends up in third place. The Warriors proved their team would not be easily defeated this year as Oak Grove Math Coach, Whitney Necessary explained they have a mix of experience and new faces this year.

“We are a young team with a lot of new faces.  We only have two returning team members with any significant playing experience. However, we have a few seniors that I expect to lead the team and I also think we’ll have some younger members step up as key players.  We are grateful to Jones College for organizing and hosting this competition each year!”

Presbyterian Christian 2019 Math Team

Perhaps surprising themselves, the runner-up 2018 BML Champions, the Presbyterian Bobcats annihilated the Perry Central Bulldogs in a merciless matchup. The Bobcats easily outscored the Bulldogs, 68 to 2, placing PCS in second place in the Engineering Division.

In the Technology Division, the Quitman Panthers played a close match with the Wayne County War Eagles who lost by one point.  Quitman won the match, 48 to 47, to lead the division with Wayne County taking third place in the division. The Northeast Jones Tigers also proved they are in the hunt for a return to play-off competition as they defeated the Wayne Academy Jaguars, 44 to 25.

Overall in the individual competition, Oak Grove’s William Mitchell and Presbyterian Christian’s Grayson Nocera tied for first place as the BML’s Most Outstanding Players with a 70 percent accuracy rate during the first week of matches. Eight other students tied for second place with a 60 percent accuracy rate.

Next week, Sacred Heart will discover just how tough the Petal Panthers are in their battle for the top spot in the Science Division.  Raleigh and West Jones will face each other, and the Raymond Rangers will have another chance to prove their prowess against the South Jones Braves.  Engineering Division leader, the Oak Grove Warriors will face the Technology Division’s second-place team, the Northeast Jones Tigers, while Presbyterian Christian will also cross divisions to meet Wayne County.  Perry Central and Wayne Academy square-off while Columbia Academy will take on Technology Division leader, the Quitman Panthers.

Results are posted on the JC Bobcat Math League web page under “Division Standings/Schedules at  and the Facebook page: Bobcat Math League – Facebook as well as local media outlets. For more information about the Bobcat Math League contact Dr. Jessica Bunch (JC Bobcat Math League Commissioner) at 601-477-5422 or email at

Jones College selects Honor Alumni; Tim Lawrence, Brittney Pickering, Earl Reynolds and Reggie Smith

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s 2019 Honor Alumni are leaders in their area of expertise and have served the college and their communities with their talents. Jones County natives, senior vice president and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Tim Lawrence, owner and operator of Chick-fil-A in Laurel, Brittney Pickering and member of The Gaither Vocal Band, Reggie Smith, join Collins native, the president and chief operating officer of Chaparral Energy, Earl Reynolds as JC’s 2019 Honor Alumni. The four will be honored at the annual JCJC Alumni Luncheon on Homecoming Saturday, October 5, at 11:30 a.m. in the A.B. Howard Gymnasium. Reservations for the luncheon can be made through the Alumni and Foundation Office at 601-477-4145 or by emailing

“These four individuals are all outstanding in their own unique way.  I think the diversity of the group is one of the things that makes them special. They have all excelled in their chosen fields of endeavor!” said VP of Advancement and Executive Director of the JCJC Foundation Inc., Charlie Garretson.

Tim Lawrence

Lawrence is a graduate of R.H. Watkins High School, a 1973 graduate of Jones County Junior College and Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi. However, Lawrence said in all of his educational experience, Jones was the most important to him.

“The two years I spent at Jones allowed me time to mature, save money and make friends. I also benefited greatly from the encouragement and motivation provided by the JC faculty, all of which helped to ensure success at MSU and Ole Miss,” said Lawrence. “Coming back to JCJC, I’ve noticed a lot has changed with modern buildings, a beautifully landscaped campus and a larger more diverse student population.  I am also amazed at the scope of educational opportunities that have changed…. JCJC was great when I was here but it’s best days are still ahead!”

In 1976, Lawrence moved to Jackson and served as an assistant to the State Treasurer and later as director of the Mississippi Treasury Bond Division from 1980-1985. For the past 33 years, he has been in the investment business.  Additionally, Lawrence has served as JCJC Alumni Association President in 2001-2002, and the JCJC Foundation Board of Directors from 1999-2008.  As Foundation Board President from 2001-2007, he was involved throughout the entire process of the first JCJC Foundation major gifts campaign, “Reaching New Heights,” as well as a strong supporter of the Foundation sponsored, Economic and Technology Symposium.

His wife Beverly volunteers at Northminister Baptist Church in Jackson’s Wider Net Ministry. Tim is also actively involved in his church and has served as the MSU College of Business Senior Executive Advisory Board, the boards of Mississippi Science Network and the Community Stewpot, and the advisory council of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Of all his success, Lawrence counts his family as his greatest achievement as a father of three children who with their spouses, have post-graduate degrees and were tops in their class in law, business, finance and engineering.

Brittney Pickering

Brittney Pickering is a fourth-generation Laurel native and is the daughter of entrepreneurs, Phill and Judy Wells. The Chick-fil-A owner and operator began her career in the public as the 2001 Laurel Miss Hospitality. The West Jones High School graduate began her sales career at Kim’s Toyota selling cars her senior year and her freshman year at Jones. At JCJC, she was selected as a 2001 freshman maid and the 2002 Homecoming Queen. Before graduating from Jones, she started a diamond business she operated for seven years while earning her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing in 2005 from USM.

Before her journey with Chick-fil-A, Pickering worked for Wright Medical in orthopedic sales for three years.  As the training director for two years, Pickering commuted from Laurel to Madison before seizing the opportunity to become the owner/operator of Chick-fil-A at the Turtle Creek Mall location in 2010. Two years later, she was able to manage the Sawmill Square Mall location before realizing her 10-year goal of opening a free-standing restaurant on 16th Avenue in Laurel, in 2017.  Recognizing her accomplishments, Chick-fil-A named her the 2016 recipient of the company’s coveted Symbol of Success Award and Champions Club.

Additionally, Pickering serves the community as a board of trustee’s member for Saint John’s Day School, West Jones Elementary School PTO member and Title-One Committee member. At First Baptist Church of Laurel, she serves on various committees, and at JC, she is a member of the advisory board for the culinary arts program. Brittney and her high school sweetheart, Stan Pickering have been married for 16 years and have three children.

“I am extremely humbled and excited to be named one of Jones College’s Honor Alumni this year. It means a lot to be honored by the college that has given me such a solid foundation for my career as well as my personal life.  For that, I will be eternally grateful,” said Pickering.

Collins High School graduate, Earl Reynolds played football for Coach Sim Cooley and the two, state championship teams before graduating with honors in 1980. At Mississippi State, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum engineering and later, Reynolds earned a Master of Science in petroleum engineering from the University of Houston in 1993.

Earl Reynolds

He joined Superior Oil in Lafayette, Louisiana, as a production engineer before eventually moving into leadership positions with Mobil Oil in 1988.  Two years later, he joined Burlington Resources as General Manager in London, England. While in the United Kingdom, he established an operational office and recruited a team while leading the execution of a major offshore sub-sea development. This development of the oil industry led to his role as senior vice president of strategic development for Devon Energy. Reynolds joined Chaparral Energy in 2011, as an executive vice president and chief operating officer and the company’s president in 2014, and its chief executive officer in 2017.  The New York Stock Exchange publicly traded independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In addition to his career, Reynolds has served on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations in Houston and Oklahoma City.  He currently sits on the board of directors for the Oklahoma City YMCA and the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma.  In 2013, he was named as a Distinguished Fellow of the Mississippi State University Bagley College of Engineering.  He and his wife, Deborah, have five children and one grandson.

Reggie Smith

Honor Alumnus, Reggie Smith is most famous for his singing career, although he also played football at JC in 1983-1984.  The current Nashville resident is a member of the Grammy Award-winning, Hall of Fame vocal group, The Gaither Vocal Band. Before he joined the Vocal Band in 2017, Smith was a featured vocalist on the Gaither Homecoming TV show and tour for more than fifteen years, with more than 100 million recordings sold around the world.  He and his wife, Ladye Love have been part of the Gaither Homecoming family for more than a decade as back-up singers and as a vocal duet featured at concerts and recordings. As a soloist and duet partner with his wife, Smith has performed in prestigious venues such as the Super Bowl, New York’s famed Carnegie Hall and the Kremlin in Moscow.

His smooth, tenor voice has earned him international recognition with performances with Billy Graham crusades to Disney’s “The Lion King” soundtrack to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Smith has performed in more than 20 countries and has complemented some of the top talents in both country and gospel music, including Dolly Parton, George Jones, Darius Rucker, Josh Turner and Faith Hill.  Reggie’s first solo project, “Collection” debuted in May 2018.

Beyond his singing talent, Smith has also produced recordings for a multitude of top artists including Michael Martin Murphy.  Additionally, he has produced music for more than 25 years for Jones OnStage show choir at JC. While a student at JC, Smith earned scholarships for his football and singing talent at Jones. After graduating in 1984, he earned a degree in music from the University of Mississippi, where he has also completed work toward his master’s degree in vocal performance.