Collaborative Art Show with the Women’s Art Collective & South Mississippi Art League on display at Jones College

ELLISVILLE – A variety of artwork from members of the Women’s Art Collective based in Hattiesburg and the South Mississippi Art League from the coast, will be on display at the Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery on the Jones College Campus in Ellisville through November 18.  The show, “Common Ground IV: Simultaneous Synchronicity” is the collaborative groups’ annual show featuring more than 60 pieces of artwork from the group of 31 artists.

JC Art instructor, Melanie Eubanks (right) with students Tanya Gray (left) and Kelly Davis.

“The annual collaborative show of these two organizations always results in a rich variety of styles and media including oil paintings, acrylic paintings, pastels, etching, mixed media, watercolor, weaving, encaustic, sculpture, and pottery,” said Melanie Eubanks, a Jones College Art instructor, and a member of the Women’s Art Collective. “This is the fourth time that the Women’s Art Collective has shown with the South Mississippi Art League. The location varies each year, but some past shows have been at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center and The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. This is the first time Jones College has hosted a collaborative show with works from both groups.”

Photographer and USM art professor, Carolyn Norton has shown her work in the Jones College art gallery before, but this is the first time as a member of the Women’s Art Collective’s collaborative show.

“Last time, I showed photography but this time I’m showing some etchings, using a new technique. I’m using a digital pencil and archival digital paper and creating pencil drawings or etchings. Because of technology, I can now archive pencil drawing artwork!” said Norton.

One of the biggest benefits of being a member of a group of artists according to Norton, is the feedback. Each artist is invited to be a member based on their artwork and desire to help each other become better artists.

“We’re all good friends who originally met in Betty Press’ studio in 2011 and constructively criticized each other’s work. Getting feedback from other respected artists is my favorite part of belonging to the Women’s Art Collective,” said Norton.

Sumrall artist and member of the Women’s Art Collective, Barbara Ann Carver-Hunt enjoys just having fun with her artist friends and showing the state their best artwork. There’s an advantage to showing the art produced by a group of artists statewide. Additionally, the retired art professor enjoys working with students and encourages them to keep working on their craft.

“I love talking to students,” said Carver-Hunt. “I love telling students to make stuff, lots of it. The good stuff will turn up but if you don’t go to the studio and make it, it won’t turn up.”

At the conclusion of the show, Jones College will host a reception on Friday, November 18, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery. The public is invited to this free event with the opportunity to visit with artists from both groups.

For more information about the JC art show or to arrange a visit to the gallery call 601-477-8401. The Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., and by appointment only on Wednesdays. The gallery is closed during the holidays. If you want to know more about the Jones College Art Department, go to the JC Art Department’s Facebook page, and on Instagram @artatjonescollege.

Jones College announces Homecoming Court 2022

ELLISVILLE – Homecoming on the campus of Jones College in Ellisville will be a celebration of the theme, “Better Together, Homecoming 2022.” Numerous activities, reunions and gatherings are scheduled before the culmination of Homecoming celebrations on Saturday, October 8, 2022. During the football halftime, Queen Amberlyn Holifield of Leakesville, and the entire JC student-elected, 2022 Homecoming Court will be presented. Escorting the ladies will be a Jones College student selected by the student representatives.

Queen, Amberlyn Holifield of Leakesville is a pre-dentistry major. The Jones College sophomore is a graduate of Greene County High School where she participated in the band’s colorguard, HOSA, FBLA and WILDPAT. She was elected as a Greene County High School Homecoming Maid for all four years, and she was a top ten finalist in the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition. At Jones College, Amberlyn is a member of the Bobcat Brigade student ambassadors, Student Government Association, the yearbook staff, and she was a Freshman Homecoming Maid last year. After graduation this May, Amberlynn plans to continue her educational journey in becoming a dentist at the University of Mississippi. Her parents are Mike and Amber Holifield.

Escorting Holifield will be Braden Gray of Stringer. In high school, he was the varsity football kicker all four years, a member of the Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, and an Honors graduate. At Jones, Braden is majoring in kinesiology with plans to attend the University of Mississippi to earn his degree.  His parents are Jody Gray and Lindsey Myers.

Meg Matthews is your Student Body Maid. The Raleigh High School graduate was elected Miss Raleigh High School, Homecoming Queen, and she served as a class officer and Vice President her senior year. She was also a member of the Beta Club, captain of the Tennis team, Captain of the colorguard/rifle auxiliary, co-captain of the varsity Cheer Squad and graduated with Highest Honors. At Jones College you can find Meg dancing on the Touch of Gold and Gold Rush Dance Teams. She is also a member of the SGA, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Meg is majoring in secondary education with plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. Her goal is to be a high school teacher and coach dance. Meg’s parents are Jeremy and Shanna Matthews.

Escorting Mathews will be Tripp Cotton of Natchez, who is majoring in construction management. The Adams County Christian School graduate is keeping busy on campus as a JC football team manager. His parents are Tee Cotton and Katie Beach.

Sara Grace Jackson is your Sophomore Maid. The Florence High School graduate is majoring in elementary education. While in high school, Sara Grace was involved in the FCA, FHS Varsity Coed Cheer Team, Medical Science Academy and she was voted Homecoming Queen and Miss Florence High School. Jackson was honored to be the first recipient of the Laura Clapp Teaching Scholarship. At Jones College, she is active in Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and she is a member of the Bobcat Brigade. Her plans are to continue her education at USM and hopefully teach in her hometown at Florence Elementary School. Jackson’s parents are Kris and Robin Jackson.

Escorting Jackson is Kody McElroy of Brandon. The Simpson County Academy graduate was a member of the Archery team while training as a diesel technician in the vo-tech program. Kody is continuing to expand his welding skills at Jones and plans to earn his welding certifications while pursuing a career in welding. His parents are Ronnie and Kristie McElroy.

Sophomore Maid, Tasjane’ Jones is from Raleigh and is majoring in nursing. In high school, Tasjane’ was the Cheer Captain and a member of the softball and basketball teams, Beta Club and she graduated with Highest Honors. At Jones College, she has been singing with the Gospel Choir and has been on the Honor Roll. Tasjane’ was awarded an NAACP Award twice from the Mississippi NAACP Organization. Her career plans include becoming a nurse practitioner. Jones’ parents are Tod Jones and Stacey Miller.

Her escort will be Travis Blakeney of Raleigh. The physical education major was active at Raleigh High School as a member of the Beta Club, FCA, and the Raleigh Lions Baseball team. At Jones College, Travis is a member of the PTK Honor Society, and he is a manager for the Jones Softball team. Additionally, Blakeney earned the Letter “J” Award and has been on the President’s Honor Roll. His future plans include earning his bachelor’s degree at USM and teaching math and coaching baseball. Travis’ parents are Joe and Dana Blakeney.

Freshman Maid, Jordan Smith lives in Laurel and is a nursing major. At West Jones High School, she was captain of the Swim team her junior and senior years, and she was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Lead team. Jordan’s future plans include becoming a registered nurse. Philip and Stephanie Smith are Jordan’s parents.

Escorting Smith will be Sawyer Griffith of Ellisville. The business major is a graduate of South Jones High School, where he was voted Mr. South Jones, Football Player of the Pine Belt, Most Valuable Player, and Most Outstanding South Jones High School Student. At JC, Griffith is a member of the FCA and is a “red shirt” Bobcat Football player. Sawyer plans to earn his master’s in business administration and pursue a career in investing and real estate. His parents are Greg and Jennifer Griffith.

Aliyah Watts is your Freshman Maid from Sandy Hook, and she is majoring in psychology. She attended West Marion High School and finished high school at the Mississippi School for the Arts in Brookhaven. Watts was active in the choir, Diversity Club, and Interact Club. She also served as chairman of the prom committee, President of the Gospel Choir, Total Praize, Student Body Vice President, and Beta Club Secretary. Aliyah is a member of the Jones College Concert Choir, Gospel Choir and Jones OnStage. Her future plans include studying forensics psychology at the University of South Alabama. Her parents are Chris Watts and Tamara Johnson.

KeShon Hicks will be escorting Watts. The music education major from Laurel is a graduate of Northeast Jones High School, where he ran track and was in the show choir. At Jones College, KeShon is a member of the Concert Choir, Collegiate Choir and Jones OnStage. Additionally, he is a lifeguard in Laurel.  KeShon’s future plans include being a Show Choir Director. His parents are Bobby and Kisha King.

The Homecoming Court will also feature the Flower Girl, five-year-old Merritt Cooley of Ellisville. The Crown Bearer is six-year-old Jack Tate from Ellisville.

PICTURE CUTLINE: by Teresa McCreery-Court group with escorts: The Jones College 2022 Homecoming Court is pictured left to right in the front row, Freshman Maid-Jordan Smith of Laurel; Sophomore Maid-Sara Grace Jackson of Florence; Student Body Maid-Meg Matthews of Raleigh; Queen-Amberlyn Holifield of Leakesville; Sophomore Maid-Tasjane’ Jones of Raleigh and Freshman Maid-Aliyah Watts of Sandy Hook. The escorts are pictured left to right in the back row, Sawyer Griffith of Ellisville; Kody McElroy of Brandon; Tripp Cotton of Natchez; Braden Gray of Stringer; Travis Blakeney of Raleigh and KeShon Hicks of Laurel.

Jones College celebrates the “Better Together, Homecoming 2022”

ELLISVILLE – Plans are underway to make Homecoming at Jones College a spectacular event this year with special reunions for the former Mr. & Miss JCJC, the 2002 Baseball Conference Champions, the 50th reunion for the JCJC Class of 1972, and members of the classes of 1960-1965 from Ellisville High School. The weekend of activities will incorporate the Homecoming theme, “Better Together, Homecoming 2022” beginning with a performance from the JC Jazz Band prior to the Jones Got Talent Show on Tuesday, October 4, at 7 p.m. at the C.L. Neill Student Center Plaza. On Wednesday, October 5, at 7 p.m. Jones OnStage will perform on the Student Center Plaza and on Thursday, October 6, at 7:30 p.m., the Homecoming Glow Pep Rally will also be held on the Student Center Plaza. The “glow pep rally” is sponsored by the Student Government Association and will provide glow-necklaces and glow-sticks for everyone in attendance. This event will be canceled if there is inclement weather.

Homecoming Day, Saturday, October 8, the day will be filled with numerous activities and fun for all ages. Events will begin at 9 a.m. with a brunch for alumni and friends on the front lawn of the Terrell Tisdale Library. Members of the Ellisville High School 1960-1965 classes, the JCJC 1972 class, the JCJC 2002 Baseball Conference Championship Team, and the former Mr. & Miss JCJC are invited to register for their gatherings during the brunch.

At 10 a.m. the Homecoming Parade will wind through the streets of Ellisville and the campus beginning at the Terrell Tisdale Library. The parade features floats made by the student body incorporating the theme, as well as the Maroon Typhoon Marching Band, JC cheerleaders, Touch of Gold, and of course, the 2022 Homecoming Queen and her court.

At 11:15 a.m. the public is also invited to join the Jones family for a pep rally following the parade in front of the C.L. Neill Student Center.

At 11:45 a.m. the JCJC Alumni Luncheon will be held in the A.B. Howard Gymnasium.  During this luncheon, the JC Alumni of the Year will be recognized. Additionally, the JC Homecoming Court and the 2022 Mr. and Miss JC students, along with the former Mr. & Miss JCJC’s and the members of the 50th Year Reunion for the Class of 1972. Reservations for the luncheon can be made through the Alumni and Foundation Office at 601-477-4145 or by emailing, or the website:

Before the “Cat Fight” Homecoming Football game, “Tailgating under the Tents” will begin at 12 p.m. The Ellisville High School Reunion for the 1960-65 Classes and the JCJC 2002 Baseball Conference Championship Team Reunion participants are invited to meet at the Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Football Field, near the Tennis Complex.

The Homecoming pre-game festivities will begin at 2:30 p.m. with the marching band’s pre-game show in the Bobcat Football Stadium/Sim Cooley Field. The game against Pearl River Community College will begin at 3 p.m. (NOTE the later start time.)

At halftime, the Homecoming Court will be presented with the crowning of the 2022 Homecoming Queen, Amberlyn Holifield. Also, during halftime, the 2022 Alumni of the Year will be recognized. The festivities will end with a performance by the Maroon Typhoon and Touch of Gold. For more information call the Foundation and Alumni Office at 477-4049 or email                                                                                                          

Jones College holds community-wide Blood Drive

ELLISVILLE – Jones College is hosting a community-wide blood drive, Monday through Wednesday, September 19-21, in the D.O. Thoms Physical Education Building. Jones College students with classes in the Industrial Services Building were able to give blood on Monday with Vitalant’s Blood Mobile conveniently located in the parking lot. On Tuesday and Wednesday, donations will be collected in the P.E. Building from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Vitalant Phlebotomist, Buddy Murphy prepares Grace Odom of Laurel for her blood donation.

“Our overall goal for the week is 82 units of blood,” said Benji Sessums, Jones College Blood Drive Coordinator and EMT instructor. “Currently, Vitalant says we are in one of the worst blood shortages we’ve had in the area. With the holiday season fast approaching we’re hoping more people will donate and exceed our goal.”

One way to encourage everyone on the JC campus to give, a competition between faculty, staff and students has been initiated. However, Sessums said the community is welcome to donate along with the JC community and “pick” sides in the friendly competition. Door prizes will be available all three days for donors during random drawings.

“Vitalant suggested that we promote Wednesday as a faculty/staff versus student giving day. Anyone can give on all the days, but since Wednesday was not officially a class day for most students and faculty, we wanted to encourage folks to use the day out of class to come and give. We also thought this would be a good day for the community to be encouraged to give,” said Sessums.

Vitalant strongly encourages blood donors to make and keep appointments to give blood but walk-ins are welcome. Scheduling appointments can be made through the website, with JC1 Being the Blood Drive Code.

Jones College receives AWS Welding Workforce Grant 

ELLISVILLE – Jones College was one of eleven educational institutions and the only Mississippi school to receive a $25,000 grant from the American Welding Society’s Foundation. The grant was awarded with the intention of these institutions making improvements, investing in capital items such as welding or metalworking equipment or purchase/upgrade computers or computer-based training systems.

Welding is critical to the American  manufacturing, construction, and energy infrastructure. A skilled welder is a vital component in rebuilding the American workforce. Monica Pfarr, Executive Director of the American Welding Society Foundation said, “We applaud the dedication Jones County Junior College has demonstrated in expanding their welding education programs and facilities, their commitment to the welding industry, and cultivating the next generation of welding technicians and professionals through education is inspiring.”

Rod Tolbert, Dean of Career and Technical Education

As a professional welder and the Jones College’s Dean of Career and Technical Education, Rod Tolbert said the additional welding equipment will provide additional opportunities for students to get hands-on-training, minimizing down time waiting in the shop.

“This grant will allow the welding program to be more efficient in the flow of work through the shop, as well as giving students the opportunity to utilize the latest equipment available,” said Tolbert. “The workforce gap for trained welders is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade. Jones College is here to close that gap by increasing student recruitment, graduates and supplying the welding industry with skilled welders.”

Purchasing three, multi-process welder machines, wire feeders for the machines and two plasma cutters is expected to help mitigate the welding workforce demand by offering more students the opportunity to become skilled welders. This state-of-the-art equipment, along with the updated welding machines and the additional plasma cutters are critical to the manufacturing industry are vital components to rebuilding the American workforce according to Tolbert.

“Typically, Jones College’s welding programs have about 40-50 students complete the program with most being employed upon graduation. The additional equipment purchased with the AWS Foundation Grant will enable JC to enroll up to 120 students in all three pathways,” said Tolbert.

JC Welding instructor, Billy Clark and student, Darla Williams of Waynesboro.

Jones College offers day and night classes and three, degree options for welding students including a two-semester career certificate, a three-semester technical welding certificate, and a four-semester associate in applied science degree. Additionally, there are Welding Certificate options and specialized industry training through Workforce College. For more information about Jones College’s welding programs click on these two websites or