Generosity inspires generations of musicians

ELLISVILLE-Receiving a scholarship often changes a student’s future. Endowing a scholarship can impact generations. Such is the case for retired Dean of Music at Samford University, Dr. Milburn Price and his sister, Nevalyn Price Moore who is a retired professor emeritus of music at Campbellsville University. The former Ellisville residents and Ellisville High School graduates honored their parents, Dr. Shelby M. Price and Neva Trapp Price by endowing a music scholarship in their memory. They came to Awards Day this year for the first time since the scholarship was established in 2006 to meet this year’s recipient.

“Being in tune as a dean of music, scholarships are a good way to honor someone that is close to you, like a family member or someone you appreciate,” said Dr. Milburn Price.

The Prices grew up next to the Jones campus as they attended high school classes when Ellisville High School (formerly Jones County Agricultural High School) was part of the college campus. As high school students, both Milburn and Nevalyn participated in the college’s music department. Milburn sang in the college’s Concert Choir and Quartet and he had the lead role in the college operetta as a high school senior. Nevalyn was the college’s concert choir accompanist.

“Our parents were chaperones for the marching band trips to all of the ball games. We went on every trip including the trip to Los Angeles for the Jr. Rose Bowl game in 1955,” said Nevalyn.

Dr. Shelby M. Price was a science instructor for about 20 years at Jones County Junior College before retiring in 1966. Their mother, Neva was a music teacher at Ellisville Elementary School and the church pianist for First Baptist Church of Ellisville. For several years, Dr. Shelby Price also volunteered as the song leader and choir director for the church. When both parents passed away, Dr. Milburn Price said his sister and their spouses thought endowing a scholarship would be the best way to honor their parents.

“Scholarships are the best ways to support the next generation and we need scholarships and musicians,” said Nevalyn Price Moore. “Continuity and reward for good work were really important to our dad and I think he’d be really, really pleased by establishing a scholarship.”

Milburn added, “Even though our father taught biology, because of his interest in music, when we established the scholarship in our parent’s honor, we thought we should designate it as a music scholarship. We thought that would please both of our parents.”

As retired musicians and instructors, Nevalyn and her husband have five children and six grandkids who are all involved in music. However, the impact of the Price’s parents extends beyond their immediate family to current and past Jones College instructors and students, like Jones College music instructor, and former division chair, Dr. Susan Smith.

“I would sit in the front row at church to watch their mother (Neva Price) play piano because I couldn’t see her when I was really little,” said Smith. “That was the impetus of my music career. I was too young to take piano lessons from Mrs. Price, but my sister Patty had Mrs. Price as an elementary school music teacher.”

Smith eventually studied piano under Martha Tisdale and voice with former, JCJC Fine Arts Division Chair and Choral Director, Dr. Milfred Valentine. Both retired music faculty endowed music scholarships at Jones. Dr. Smith said she proudly followed in the steps of Dr. Valentine serving as Fine Arts Division Chair and hired Martha Tisdale as an adjunct piano instructor. Currently, Smith directs the vocal ensembles, JC Voices and The Bridge, and she teaches music theory, recital class and applied voice. In fact, Smith is teaching Caleb Pearce of Ellisville who is this year’s student recipient of the Dr. Shelby M. Price and Neva Trapp Price Music Scholarship.

“The Prices’ story about endowing a music scholarship really shows me the power of music. How music is a part of life for everyone and how it connects everyone,” said Pearce, who hopes to have a career as a composer, conductor and music educator.

Pearce said his parents inspired him to pursue a career in music. Receiving this specific scholarship, Pearce said, motivates him to pursue his dreams more vigorously.

“This inspires me to push much harder. It reminds me that in my lifetime, I want to make as many lives better, richer, and fuller as I am physically capable of doing through music.”

The impact of one gift, from one family, has resonated across the many generations through music and education with Jones College serving as a catalyst for a unique opportunity to give generously. The Prices are hopeful others will help them to continue a legacy of generosity and music.

Greene County’s Dariyel Johnson is JC’s Most Beautiful 2019

ELLISVILLE –Greene County’s Dariyel Johnson claimed the “Most Beautiful” title at the annual Jones College “Most Beautiful” competition.  The freshman marketing major competed against 24 contestants to win the crown. Winning the title of “Miss Congeniality” was Petal’s Madelyn Pace with Ellisville’s, Caidyn Crowder earning the “Most Photogenic” title. The “Best Essay” was written by Waynesboro’s Gilneshiakee Pope, and the “People’s Choice” award went to Brandon’s Kirby Williams.

The “Top Five” ladies were 4th Alternate, Ruth Odom of Sylva Bay; 3rd Alternate, Caidyn Crowder of Ellisville; 2nd Alternate, Rylee Gavin of Ellisville and 1st Alternate was Karsyn Ulmer of Laurel. The ladies rounding out the Top Ten include A’Lea Rogers of Waynesboro; Madelyn Pace of Petal; Kirby Williams of Brandon; Layne Boykin of Waynesboro and Reagan Todd of Laurel.

The pageant is sponsored by the JC yearbook staff and directed by Dr. Tessa Flowers. Entertainment was by Jones OnStage show choir members and Joe Mauldin on piano.

Photos by Hunter Heath, JC Yearbook.

Jones College’s Concert Choir Christmas Celebration to help Salvation Army Toy Drive

ELLISVILLE –The annual Jones College Christmas Celebration featuring the Concert Choir will offer the audience the opportunity to enjoy the Christmas season musically and through giving this year.  Concert Choir Director, Dr. Joel Dunlap is asking the audience to bring one, new, unwrapped toy to benefit the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Toy Drive as admission to either of the two concerts on Thursday, December 5, or Friday, December 6, at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Laurel.

“We’re happy to help the Salvation Army in their efforts to make Christmas a special time for the kids in the Pine Belt,” said Dunlap.

This year’s theme, “I’ll be Home for Christmas” will be highlighting the popular Christmas songs from World War II such as, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Sleigh Ride.” The concert will also feature well-known Christmas classics such as, “O Holy Night,” “Joy to the World” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”  The concert will conclude with the choir’s signature finale, “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

“This year’s Christmas Concert Celebration will be spectacular! We have such a tremendous group of students in our choir and I am looking forward to sharing the unique theme, ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ with our audience. We also have a superb orchestra and as always, I am delighted that the Laurel Ballet Academy will be joining us. This has been a highly-anticipated event each year and we’re especially proud to be able to assist the Salvation Army this year,” said Dunlap.

Additionally, the concert choir will feature two soloists, Alexandra Arnold and Reagan Arnold. Laurel’s Alexandra Arnold was the Southaven Junior and Senior High School choir director from 2013 until 2016, before moving to Glade Elementary school to teach music and theater for the last three years. Reagan Arnold is a 2017 Jones graduate from Collins and is currently in his last semester at the University of Mississippi. Additionally, he is on scholarship with the St. Andrews United Methodist Chancel Choir under the direction of Dr. Bradley Robinson. At Ole Miss, he is a member of the University Choir and Concert Singers and plans to pursue a graduate degree in vocal performance after completing his B.M.E.

Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services.

Arnold said he is thrilled to rejoin the group at Jones where he had so many “mountaintop musical moments.” One of his favorites while a member of the JC Concert Choir is singing John Rutter’s, “Gloria.”

“Coming back as a guest soloist is a dream fulfilled for me as a vocal performer,” said Arnold, who was also a member of JC Voices and theater productions at Jones.

For more information about Jones College’s Concert Choir contact Dr. Joel Dunlap via email at or the JC Fine Arts Department at 601-477-4203.

Jones College Concert Choir Members 2019

Sarah Acosta, Hattiesburg

Olivia Adkins, Laurel

Zailen  Allen, Liberty

Keara Altman, Quitman

Carolyn Barlow, Laurel

Sharityn Beasley, Mississippi

Erin Biglane, Ellisville

Layne  Boykin , Waynesboro

Mckay Lee Bray, Leakesville

Vincent Brown, Moselle

Sarah Brownlee, Laurel

Desi Brunty, Laurel

Hannah Byrd, Laurel

Zikeya Byrd, Saraland, AL

Patrick Callen, Laurel

Coriana Carmichael, Laurel

Ka’Lisha Carter, Waynesboro

Krimel Chandler, Liberty

Jada Clark, Waynesboro

Ebony Cole, Laurel

Chicago Collins, Brookhaven

Erica Cooley, Waynesboro

Jalen Cooley, Quitman

Caidyn Crowder, Ellisville

Alexander Dailey, Buckatunna

Faith De Castro, Tamuning, Guam

Lydia Dees, Ellisville

Brittani Dozier, Laurel

Seth Estes, Ellisville

Ty Evans, Laurel

Lexie Floyd, Quitman

Christen Ford, Ellisville

Kaneisha Fortenberry, Laurel

Haley Gable, Laurel

Alyssa Garick, Laurel

Shedrick George, Laurel

Allison Gibson, Lucedale

Cortland Goff, Ellisville

Peyton Griffin, Ellisville

Rasheed Griffin, Jackson

Haley Guy, Laurel

Kayla Hannah, Byram

Hunter Heath, Ellisville

Hannah Henderson, Millry, AL

Rondaisha Henry, Bay Springs

Khalil Herron, Laurel

Mackenzie Hoffman, Laurel

Madison Hoffman, Laurel

Haley Holifield, Laurel

Chandon Johns, Ellisville

Dariyel Johnson, Leakesville

Tiannia Johnson, Louisville

Rayshawn Johnson, Laurel

Jourdon Joshua, Laurel

Lacoby Keys, Moselle

Peyton King, Petal

Kyra Lampley, Petal

Jada Lee, Sumrall

Shara Lee- McSwain, Sumrall

Janna Lewis, Enterprise

Madeline Lott, Columbia

Kelsey Malone, Richton

Kaylee Manning, Laurel

Hunter Mason, Laurel

Clairrease McClendon, Ellisville

Bryce McDonald, Richton

Kamryn McGee, Hattiesburg

Anna-Claire McKellar, Vicksburg

Sarah McMillan, Millry, AL

Luke McMurphy, Leakesville

Hallie Meadows, Piave

Makaila Mims, Laurel

Eden Murphy, Petal

Chelsea Musgrove, Soso

D’vonte Myers , Louin

Stuyuncey Nobles, Laurel

Caleb Pearce, Ellisville

Jalin Phillips, Waynesboro

Olivia Pippin, Laurel

Zyion Pittman, Soso

Mackenzie Rolison, Long Beach

Avyana Russell, Hattiesburg

Larsen Sanford, Seminary

Connor Shivers, Lena

Titan Singer, Long Beach

Josarah Slover, Laurel

Savanah Smith, Raleigh

Tellas Smith, Laurel

James Smith, Hattiesburg

Alex Snowdy, Madison

Jenna Sumrall, Laurel

Janna Swanner, Taylorsville

Rebecca Taylor, Magee

Shaylee Thames, Petal

Jesse Thomas, Smithdale

Michael Thompson, Laurel

Reagan Todd, Laurel

Karsyn Ulmer, Laurel

Bonner Welch, Moselle

Jasmine Wells, Mendenhall

Morgan Westmoreland, Laurel

Charles Zickus, Ellisville

Camp Shelby enlists help from Jones College students 

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s automotive technology students are working with the Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby in its first-ever partnership with a community/junior college.  Students are conducting inspections and repairing historic vehicles like the Hotchkiss/Willy’s Jeep used in WWII and in the Korean War.

“We are honored for the opportunity to have our talented faculty and students assist with a project that has a direct benefit to our country,” said Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith.

Upon arrival of the first vehicle, Jones College instructor, Barry Bradshaw and his students did a basic check of the various systems and took note of any issues. Looking over the jeep, students were surprised to see some of the original parts.

“I think this partnership will give our students a greater appreciation for newer technology, as well as for what some of their family members might have driven or worked on if they served during WWII, the Korean or Vietnam Wars, or any other conflicts.  Some of our students are interested in off-road vehicles and this will allow them to work on that type of vehicle,” said Bradshaw.

For more information about the Jones College’s Automotive program contact Barry Bradshaw by email at or by phone at 601-477-4246.


PRVEPA’s “Round Up for Education” awards 26 scholarships to JC students 

ELLISVILLE – Twenty-six Jones College students were able to continue their college education with tuition assistance from Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s “Round Up for Education” scholarship program.  A check for $13,000 collected from PRVEPA members who rounded up their bills each month was divided amongst the Jones College students to receive a $500 scholarship.

“I live on campus which means I pay for the dorm and I have to pay for a meal ticket besides tuition,” said Christina Payton, a veterinarian science major from Oak Grove. “This scholarship helps with the expenses.”

PRVEPA Manager of Members Services, Kurt Brautigam said 214 community college students throughout the PRVEPA’s 12-county service area have received a financial boost from the generosity of its members who have more than 50,000 meters. The $500 scholarships are available to any PRVEPA members who are recent high school graduates who want to attend a community college in Mississippi.

“From dimes, nickels and pennies, our members have been changing the lives of nearly 1,500 students who have received financial assistance through the program over seven years. More than $1.4 million has been collected and deposited in an account overseen by the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation. I’m amazed and appreciate what our members are doing to help improve the lives of these students in our communities,” said Brautigam.

Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith has seen how a college education can change the future of a student, which affects everyone in a community. Statistics from a study commissioned by Mississippi State University proves the value of a community college education.

“Any additional financial assistance our students receive to help them earn a degree impacts everyone in the community. According to this study, a student earns an additional $224 in wages and salaries and $30.61 of additional tax revenue if they finish one college credit hour. On average, 8,876 community college graduates enter the workforce in Mississippi, generating approximately $522 million in total wages or salaries. We are all grateful for PRVEPA’s members support,” said Smith.

Freshman Jones bio-chemistry major, Amanda Bozeman of Foxworth said she is amazed at the generosity of the PRVEPA’s members who see the value of a college education and are willing to chip in to help.

“This is an amazing program and organization because a lot of people don’t have this opportunity and these members give (scholarships) to us for being a member. It really means a lot to me and I appreciate their assistance,” said Bozeman.

To ensure the program continues to be viable in the future, PRVEPA General Manager, Randy Wallace said they have decided to increase the endowment deposit this year.

“In previous years, ten percent of the annual funds collected have been set aside in an endowed fund for future use and the remaining money was divided equally between the applicants. This year, in order to bolster the endowment and help ensure the program’s viability well into the future, each recipient received $500 and more was deposited in the endowment.”

When the program was established in 2012, PRVEPA officials hoped the “Round Up for Education” scholarship program would be beneficial and have some success. However, it has turned out to be even better than they expected. The only requirement to receive a PRVEPA scholarship is to be a current participating association member in the Round Up program. All scholarship funds collected after August 1 each year goes toward the next year’s scholarships. Applications for 2020 scholarships are available now.

2019 Community College Scholars Program (214 Students) 

Community Colleges Students 

Pearl River     127

Gulf Coast        44

Jones                26

Hinds                  5

Southwest          4

Holmes               2

Coahoma            1

Co-Lin                1

Delta                  1

East Central       1

East MS             1

Meridian            1


High School Recipients 

Stone                           42

Oak Grove                  34

Forrest Co. AHS         27

Sumrall                       19

Purvis                         19

West Marion               18

Columbia                    9

East Marion                 9

Columbia Academy    9

Lamar Christian           7

Others                         21