Jones College selects Vicki Hampton, FNP as 2020 Honor Alumnus

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s 2020 Honor Alumnus, Vicki Hampton, F.N.P. serves the college in her professional role as a South Central Regional Medical Center Family Nurse Practitioner and has been the Director of the Jones College Clinic since 2011. The 1990 JC graduate, Ellisville native and current Petal resident, Hampton also serves the college as the JC COVID-19 Task Force Medical Advisor. For these reasons, along with her numerous contributions to the college and community, Hampton was selected as the 2020 Honor Alumnus said Joel Cain, VP of Advancement and Athletics, and Dean of Students.

“Vicki provides exemplary service to Jones College with her strong leadership characteristics, commitment and influence on our campus community. Her distinguished service is significant and positively impacts our students, faculty and staff. Additionally, she reflects the core values of Jones College and since the pandemic began, she has worked tirelessly to ensure we’re doing everything we can to mitigate the COVID-19 virus,” said Cain.

Because of the CDC and the State Department of Health’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, Hampton will be honored at a private reception at the President’s Home during Homecoming festivities and during the football halftime show on Thursday, November 12. Hampton said she is truly humbled to even be nominated for such an honor.

“I am extremely grateful for this honor,” said Hampton. “My family has a deep love for Jones College, and it will always have a special place in my heart.  My time at Jones provided me with lasting friendships, wonderful memories, and a solid foundation to start my life, and I will forever be grateful.”

While a student at JCJC, Hampton was a member of the Touch of Gold Dance team, A Capella Choir and Concert Choir, and she was selected as a 1988 Freshman Homecoming Maid and 1989 Homecoming Queen. Several months later, the South Jones High School graduate earned the title of Ellisville’s Miss Hospitality. After graduation from Jones, Hampton pursued her bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of Southern Mississippi and worked at Wayne General Hospital. A couple of years later, Hampton said she found herself pursuing another career.

“I was very happy in my career in exercise physiology, but I always knew that God was calling me to be a nurse. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to return to college and pursue nursing, and later advance my career as a Family Nurse Practitioner,” said Hampton. “Becoming a nurse practitioner is one of the best decisions of my life.  It has given me the opportunity to develop relationships with so many wonderful patients, and their families, and it has given me a different perspective about life.  While the work is challenging at times, the rewards outweigh the struggles.”

Hampton began her working relationship at South Central Regional Medical Center in the Critical Care Unit while earning her B.S.N. In 1999, she earned her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and began working at the Community Medical Center in Lucedale. She returned to SCRMC to work at the Ellisville Medical Park, the Laurel Family Clinic and the Ellisville Pediatric Clinic before returning to her alma mater.

When the pandemic began last March, Hampton knew she would be doing more than just seeing sick students and employees at the JC Clinic. She is responsible for enacting and overseeing procedures to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus on campus.

“Jones College has been pro-active in its’ efforts to mitigate the difficulties that Covid-19 presents,” said Hampton. In healthcare, Covid has been a challenge presenting us with many unique opportunities to best serve our patients. While this time has been difficult for all of us, both professionally and personally, I have full confidence that we will get past this and be stronger because of it.”

All faculty, staff and students who don’t “pass” the required health screening upon entering the college’s facilities are contacted by Hampton. She also offers medical and testing advice based on the information provided during the screening. Every day, Hampton prepares a statistical data report for the COVID-19 Task Force to help determine potential cluster outbreaks, while also keeping in contact with local and state health officials. Hampton’s co-worker at the JC Clinic, Kristen Register, NREMT-P said Hampton is the most selfless and caring person whom she is also honored to call a friend.

“Vicki is an awesome person to work with and for, and she is always willing to go beyond what is needed,” said Register. “She is the best partner to have here in the clinic because she works around the clock to compassionately protect our students and campus community. There is no one I would rather be working with and no one more deserving than Vicki to be recognized as Jones College’s 2020 Honor Alumnus.”

In addition to her busy work schedule, Hampton juggles her duties as a wife to her husband of 27 years, Sandy and as a mother to their four children, Anna Catherine, Emma, Avery and Will. She is the daughter of David and Jeannie Howard of Ellisville. Additionally, Hampton is an active member of Carterville Baptist Church and serves on the Petal High School Ministry Team.

Jones College announces Homecoming Court 2020 & celebration changes

ELLISVILLE – Homecoming on the campus of Jones College in Ellisville will look a little different in this year of COVID-19. Most traditions have been altered or canceled to comply with the health and safety guidelines from the CDC and the Mississippi Department of Health. The Homecoming theme, “Shaping the Future” will be depicted in stationary Homecoming floats placed around the Campus Lake. While the Parade, Reunion Brunch and Alumni Luncheon have been canceled, Jones College students were able to elect a Homecoming Court and Mr. & Miss JC. Homecoming will be celebrated on Thursday, November 12, at 7 p.m. with the football game against Co-Lin Community College.

During the half-time show, Mr. JC, Isaac Burns of Lucedale and Miss JC, Dariyel Johnson of Leakesville will be recognized. Additionally, during halftime, Queen Lakyra Walker of Mount Olive and the entire JC student-elected, 2020 Homecoming Court will be presented. Escorting the ladies will be a family member selected by the student representatives. The following ladies were chosen to represent Jones College during Homecoming festivities.

Queen, Lakyra Walker of Mount Olive is majoring in social work with aspirations of becoming a pediatrician. The Jones College sophomore is a graduate of Collins High School where she participated in Beta Club and the PINK Organization. Walker’s college plans include obtaining her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. Erisha Duckworth and Cedric Walker are Lakyra’s parents. Escorting Walker will be her father, Cedric Walker.

Karsyn Ulmer is your Student Body Maid. The Laurel resident is majoring in elementary education. She is a member of the Jones College Concert Choir, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Government Association and Diamond Girls. The West Jones High School graduate was active in FBLA, FCA, First Priority, Show Choir, Best Club and Spanish Club. Ulmer’s future plans include earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi. Her parents are Tommy and Jennifer Ulmer and the late, Marci Ulmer. Escorting Karsyn will be her father, Tommy Ulmer.

 Brinley Bullock is your Sophomore Maid. The Laurel resident is majoring in accounting. At Jones, she is a member of the Bobcat Brigade, the Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and she is a Diamond Girl. The West Jones High School graduate was a member of the Lady Mustangs soccer team and Beta Club. Additionally, Bullock was selected for Hall of Fame, graduated with Honors and was a Mississippi Scholar. Bullock’s aspirations include being a CPA after earning her accounting degree at the University of Mississippi. Her parents are Kelly and Martiel Bullock. Escorting Bullock will be her father, Kelly Bullock.

Sophomore Maid, Kyra Lampley is a Laurel native who now calls Petal her home. Lampley is a member of the Concert Choir, Jones OnStage show choir and she is a writer for the student newspaper the Radionian. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and she has been on the President’s and Dean’s List Honor Roll. The Petal High School graduate earned more than 30 trophies and medals from her four years in Speech and Debate and she graduated in the Top 20 of her class while also a member of the Soundsations show choir and Beta Club. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communications from USM, Lampley wants to pursue a career in broadcast journalism working as a TV news anchor for CNN or NBC news. Sean and Angela Thompson are Lampley’s parents. Her escort will be her brother, Kyle Lampley.

Freshman Maid, Jordan Smith lives in Hattiesburg and is majoring in pre-law.  At Oak Grove High School, Smith was the captain of the Warrior’s volleyball team and soccer team, and a track team member. Smith was also on the Debate team, Key Club, Spanish Club and the Political Awareness Club.  The Jones College Lady Bobcat Soccer player’s future plans include earning her bachelor’s degree in law, go to law school and become a human rights attorney and activist. Smith’s parents are Tameikia and Kasey Smith. Escorting Jordan will be her brother, Kaiden Smith.

Keely Skellion is your Freshman Maid from Ellisville and she is majoring in public relations. The 2020 Ellisville Miss Hospitality is a member of the Bobcat Brigade, Concert Choir and the Student Government Association at Jones College. She graduated from South Jones High School Summa Cum Laude, as a Mississippi Scholar and she was in the Top 20 of her class. Also, Skellion was selected to participate in the Trent Lott Leadership Institute at the University of Mississippi in 2016 and 2019. After finishing her degree at Ole Miss, Skellion wants to work as a social media coordinator for a sports organization. Her parents are Jack and Gala Skellion. Keely will be escorted by her father, Jack Skellion.

Jones College employees honored for service 

ELLISVILLE – Forty-six Jones College faculty and staff members were recently honored for their years of service to the college. Administrators and the JC Foundation held a virtual celebration honoring employees for their service in five-year increments.

Honored for having the most service years in 2019, was Dr. Ronald Bishop for completing 30 years of teaching at Jones College. The JCJC and William Carey College alumnus earned a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as an M.A. in philosophy from USM. After working in a couple of churches, Bishop pursued his life’s dream of teaching by starting his career at the Louisiana Correctional Institution in Angie, Louisiana before teaching at William Carey and USM. For more than three decades, Bishop has been teaching philosophy and religion at Jones and has served as the Social Science Division Chair for 10 years and the Dean of the Charles Pickering Honors College for three years.

“I have had the pleasure of not only teaching nearly 20,000 students in my career, but I have also had the opportunity to work closely with students as an advisor for Phi Theta Kappa and the Honors College. Also, Stephanie Green and I started the Philosophy Club at Jones and have enjoyed giving students opportunities for travel and community service,” said Bishop.

“I am happy to have had the chance to help young people learn to think more critically and discover the practical wisdom in the pages of the Bible for three decades.  Ecclesiastes says, ‘It is God’s gift to man, that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his work.’ I have been fortunate for almost 32 years to be able to eat, pay my bills, and have a job that brings me much pleasure and satisfaction. I have not enjoyed every job I have had, but teaching has been an integral part of who I am, and I do not recall ever waking up even one day during those years dreading to go to work.  Even in high school, I considered being a teacher.”

The Rainey Community native has been honored with the Lamplighter Award in 2009, the Mississippi Humanities Council’s Teacher of the Year in 2010, and the 2014 Faculty Recognition Award. In May, Bishop said he will retire from Jones College, but he will continue teaching.

“I would not retire at all, but the time comes when you have to make some prudent decisions about the future as well as make way for younger teachers to have jobs. I look forward to traveling with my wife, Debbie, and spending some extended time in different places around the country, something I cannot do if I have a real job. I plan to continue teaching people to fly at my flight school, Big Dawg Aviation, at the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport and do all I can to make some happy times for my three grandchildren. It is hard to believe my career has come and gone, but it gives me great satisfaction to think that I invested my life in the lives of my students and in the life of this great institution,” said Bishop.

Also honored were six employees for serving the college for 25 years:

Arlena Sullivan-Business instructor;  Bob Stevens-Math instructor; Jeff Keeton-Forestry instructor; Melanie Eubanks-Art instructor;  Dr. Jesse Smith-President of the College and Melinda English-Environmental Safety.

Eight JC employees were recognized for their 20 years of service: Dr. Samuel Jones-Assistant to the President;  Sandi Flynt-Business instructor; Greg Butler-Advanced Technology Center Dean; Mark Easley-Student Affairs; Johnny Worrell-Environmental Safety; Malcolm Rowzee-Transportation and Special Projects; Dusty Holifield-Business instructor and  Deborah Cooley-Practical Nursing instructor.

Celebrating 15 years of employment at JC were Julie Atwood-Instructional Affairs; LeAnne Nixon-Workforce College; Jessica Martin-Business Office Accounting; Dr. Susan Smith-Fine Arts instructor and  Benji Sessums-EMT/Paramedic instructor.

Five JC employees were recognized for their 10 years of service including Ravel Anderson-Environmental Safety; Shelby Hanna-Industrial Services; Eric Shows-Science Division Chair/instructor; Michelle Gaddy-Student Accounts; and Chris Kirtland-Baseball Coach.

After five years of employment at Jones, these 21 employees were honored for their service: Randa Carr-Grounds; Chantra Parker-Health and Human Services; Teresa McDonald-Practical Nursing; Shan Cargile-Maintenance; Steven Zugg-Welding instructor; Dr. Jennifer Bruton-Fine Arts Division Chair; Clint McMullan-Web Administrator; Dr. Lindsey Keay-Assistant Director of Bands; Tamara Parrish-Admissions Counselor; Misty Dickens-Admissions Counselor; Dr. Joel Dunlap-Choral Director; Aaron Huff-Info Technology; Luke Hammonds-Human Resources; Tracey Parker-Pharmacy Technology instructor; Deidre Maddox-Admissions Counselor; Johnathan McEwen-EMT instructor; Eric Williams-EMT instructor; Margaret Pearson-Radiology instructor; Ethan Wimberly-Welding instructor and Doug Messemore-Campus Operations.

Each honored employee was given a special item designed for each level of achievement: 5 years-small plaque; 10 years-large plaque; 15 years-clock; 20 years-small acrylic trophy; 25 years-medium acrylic trophy and 30 years-large acrylic trophy.

JC holds Pinning Ceremony for A.D. Nursing grads

ELLISVILLE – The May 2020 graduates of Jones College’s Associate Degree Nursing program received their diplomas, but they camback to get something COVID-19 guidelines did not allow in May. At a small “contactless” ceremony with class members who opted to attend, Jones College administrators and A.D. Nursing faculty welcomed 12 graduates who wanted to participate in a nursing tradition, the Pinning Ceremony. Jones College nurse graduates, Mallory Malone-Richton, Destiny Ponder-Collins, Matthew Brown-Ellisville, Allie Rae Harvey-Hattiesburg, Carter Jones-Ellisville, Nicole Keys-Collins, Mary Caitlin-Lawler-Hattiesburg, Brynden Long-Ellisville, Garrett McAdory-Lucedale, Ashton Roberts-Mt. Olive, Allyson Smith-Hattiesburg and Hannah Williamson-Sumrall also participated in the time-honored lamp lighting ceremony honoring the founder of nursing, Florence Nightingale.

Service dog becomes 1st canine member of the JC Maroon Typhoon Marching Band

ELLISVILLE – In a year that is anything but normal, the Jones College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band has welcomed its first known service dog member this fall. Laurie, the three-year-old Golden Retriever is baritone saxophone player, Sara-Beth McKellar’s service dog. The Vicksburg native was diagnosed with epilepsy as a sophomore in high school after her first seizure. McKellar was preparing to lift the barbell during a powerlifting competition when she passed out and began seizing. She started taking medication for epilepsy to try to control the seizures, but they were happening almost weekly.

“It always seemed to happen at the most inconvenient time,” said McKellar. “I fell down the bleachers and herniated a disc, and I had a seizure in the bathroom and somehow locked the door,” said McKellar. “My mom (Kiely) is a nurse and she was very relieved when we got Laurie, especially when I decided to come to Jones for college.”

Having her sister, Anna Claire on campus her freshman year helped to ease mom’s concerns. Last April, the family decided to launch a fundraising campaign to get a service dog, for additional reassurance. The day before McKellar’s birthday, the family drove to Madison, Virginia to pick up Laurie from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers. This life-saving addition to the family has changed Sara Beth by providing her more independence.

“I’m a pretty shy person and the last thing I wanted was to draw more attention, especially after having seizures,” said McKellar.  “Having Laurie has certainly attracted more attention; however, she has also helped me to become more sociable and independent.”

McKellar is also happy to report she has been seizure-free since adopting Laurie six-months ago. There have been a couple of close calls she admits, but Laurie was there ready to help.

“I have learned to take more breaks while working on the computer,” said McKellar. “Hopefully, I will grow out of the seizures like my dad, who inspires me, too.” Sara Beth’s father is Dr. Jason McKellar, the principal for the Academy of Innovation in Vicksburg.

Also inspired by Sara Beth and Laurie, is Director of Bands at Jones College, Dr. Ben Burge. This is the first time in his 21 years of teaching that he recalls having a service dog in the marching band. Laurie is also reportedly the first canine in the Maroon Typhoon Marching Band’s history.

“I’m grateful Sara Beth has Laurie to provide that very special service. The puppy has added a lot of smiles to the band! She is adorable. However, we know we must let her work and not disturb her, but after practice, Laurie gets some love from band members,” said Burge. “We gladly welcome our first ‘marching’ service dog and Sara Beth. We are glad they are both members of the Maroon Typhoon Marching Band!”

Sara Beth said her freshman year in the Maroon Typhoon was a lot different than this year with COVID-19 and social distancing protocols. Yet, her sophomore year has been special because of Laurie.

“Thankfully, Laurie enjoys band too. She does not like Walmart!” said McKellar. “I also hope as people who are intrigued by Laurie and want to get to know her, they will also want to get to know her handler and learn how Laurie provides medical help, protection and loves her ‘person’ while continually working.”

The Maroon Typhoon Marching Band’s next performance will be Thursday, October 29, during the home football game where the Bobcats host the Wildcats of Pearl River Community College.