“Day of Giving” at JC equals opportunities

ELLISVILLE-The first official “Day of Giving” at Jones College was in 2019, as an all-day event on campus to encourage faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends to help grow and continue the mission of the Jones College Foundation, Inc. Three years later, JCJC Foundation’s coordinators believe a “Day of Giving” is even more important and is an opportunity to teach students about the importance of giving.

“The Bobcat Brigade students will be selling bow ties, in honor of Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith who enjoys wearing bow ties. A one-dollar donation to purchase a bow tie will help dress up the Bronze Bobcat in the C.L. Neill Student Center Plaza,” explained Assistant Vice President of the JCJC Foundation, Amie McQueen.  “Students are still in need of scholarships and assistance now more than ever. However, this year, we wanted to offer a fun way for our students to participate in giving.”

Securing the Foundation’s mission to help the college continue to thrive as well as supporting the non-profit as it extends assistance to the college, starts with the faculty and its students. Different departments are “fun-raising” as we join together in a one-day effort to raise funds to help ensure the future of our students and the institution.

“Last year, $71,000 was raised and it made a direct difference in 500 students’ lives with scholarships,” said V.P. of Advancement, Joel Cain. “Donations, large and small, help our students, staff, faculty and the college as a whole and this Day of Giving proved to be the best opportunity for everyone in the community to help its neighbors,” Cain said.

The main purpose of this concerted effort has two goals explained Cain: Build awareness of how the Jones College Foundation serves our students and our communities and second, to show how easy giving can be for our alumni and friends.

“Giving at Jones College directly benefits the students through scholarships, hardship assistance and even classroom and lab modifications. Everything raised is invested back into our students, faculty, staff and community in some way. Whether it’s an education, professional development, or anything vital in helping us carry out our mission, the JCJC Foundation is here to offer assistance.”

Alumni and friends are usually the first sources for assistance and that’s why many university foundations utilize similar giving events to support both large and small needs within their community. However, if you didn’t attend Jones College, many discover Jones touches their life in some way. Whether it’s through the Jones College students working in hospitals helping with your care during their clinicals and as employees after graduation, or the many professionals who become teachers, business owners, pharmacists, musicians, welders, engineers, or inventors, Jones College touches communities throughout the U.S. and the world.

Jones College athletes playing in national and regional competitions are gaining a world perspective from those experiences, while sharing their Jones experiences. The Foundation also supports the Fine Arts and many other departments on campus with various endeavors while enhancing education.

The ‘Day of Giving’ is an opportunity for anyone to help Jones College continue to offer excellence in education and inspire another generation to share the vision Jones College established in 1911. Tax deductible donations can be accepted online at www.jcjc.edu/dayofgiving on Tuesday, November 29, or by phone at 601-477-4145, from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., or by stopping by the JC Alumni and Foundation Office in Jones Hall on the campus of Jones College in Ellisville.

To keep track of the progress and when we reach various goals, follow us on social media at Facebook-JCJC Alumni and Foundation, Instagram (jc_foundation_alumni/) @jc_foundation_alumni/,   Facebook-Jones College, Jones College-Twitter. For more information contact the Jones College Alumni and Foundation Office at 601-477-4145.

PRVEPA’s “Round Up for Education” awards 23 scholarships to JC students 

ELLISVILLE – Twenty-three Jones College students are 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 $11,500 collected from PRVEPA members who rounded up their bills each month was divided amongst the Jones College students who each received a $500 scholarship.

“This scholarship really helped me with the opportunity to stay on campus,” said Patrick Smith, an engineering major from Oak Grove. “It’s convenient living on campus and I think it’s helped me with my grades by staying connected to others on campus. I’ve enjoyed the campus activities too.”

In all, 187 community college students from PRVEPA’s 12 county district received a financial boost this fall, thanks to the generous spirit and support of the Association’s members. For the last ten years, members who signed up for the Round Up for Education Scholars Program round up their bills to the nearest dollar each month, providing scholarships to 2,025 students. Scholarships are available to members who do the round up, as well as for their spouses or dependent children who are enrolled as freshmen in community college each fall.

“The Round Up for Education program is an example of how electric cooperatives, and their members can improve their communities through education,” said PRVEPA CEO/General Manager, Matthew Ware. “Education is vital to improving the future for all of us in south Mississippi.”

Additionally, Will Arinder from the Improve community of Marion County said he’s very appreciative of his scholarship but he’s even more thankful for the technology PRVEPA offers its members.

“PRVEPA’s fiber internet is extremely fast and that’s helped us out a lot! We had the slow satellite internet before, and the fiber internet is a whole different world which helps in school, playing video games and streaming videos. I appreciate the scholarship along with the fiber internet,” said the forestry major.

The more than 52,000 meters served by PRVEPA has provided more than $2 million collected and deposited in an account overseen by the PineBelt Foundation. Ten percent of each year’s funds are set aside in an endowed fund for future use. The remaining money is divided equally between the number of eligible applicants, with 187 students each receiving a $500 scholarship.

“Getting this scholarship pays for school, which feels good. I’m very thankful for this opportunity!” said psychology major, Aliyah Watts of Sandy Hook.

Amazingly, donations under $12 a year from members rounding up their electric bills have enhanced the lives of thousands in the region.

“Sometimes the smallest gestures, like donating 50 cents, can make the biggest impact in our communities,” said Ware. “While it may not seem like your spare change can do much, when combined with the generosity of your fellow Pearl River Valley Electric members, you can help change the life of a fellow member and improve the quality of life in our communities. Working together is the cooperative way and that can make a big difference.”

Scholarship recipients this year include 111 students from PRCC, 41 at MGCCC, and 23 at Jones College with an additional 12 students attending four other state community colleges. Overall, students came from 21 different high schools and homeschool programs. Round Up for Education funds collected after August 1, each year go towards next year’s scholarships. Applications for 2023 scholarships will be available beginning in November.

Jones College’s Christmas Choir Concert benefits Ellen Young Gunn Steinway Project

ELLISVILLE –Jones College’s Collegiate Chorale will be performing selections from the Christmas classic, Messiah with a full orchestra and several alumni as a benefit for the Ellen Young Gunn Steinway Project. The Friday, December 2, concert will begin at 7 p.m. in the M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium with $10 tickets sold at the door.

“The Ellen Young Gunn Steinway Project will allow us to be an all-Steinway school,” said Bruce Smith, Jones College Assistant Dean of the College of Art, Music, and Performance. “What this means for our students at JC is that all of our instruments will be of the highest quality, and they will get the opportunity to play on the finest instruments.  This will help our students be successful and bolster their confidence in many ways.”

Smith believes the Benefit is also a tribute to the piano teacher, Ellen Young Gunn, whose skills enriched the region as she shared her talents with a generation of budding musicians. Part of the evening concert will include two, Jones College piano instructors, Dr. Victoria Johnson and Dr. Theresa Sanchez performing a four-hand piano arrangement of “O Holy Night.” Additionally, other special guests will be performing for a spectacular night to enjoy the Season of Christmas and Ellen Young Gunn’s contributions to the community, along with the future of the music program at Jones College.

For more information about the JC Fine Arts programs or the Ellen Young Gunn Steinway Project call 601-477-4203. Follow Jones College’s School of the Arts, Music, and Performance on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JCJCFineArts and on Twitter.

A “Jones College Christmas” and Tree Lighting event to help Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program

ELLISVILLE – Jones College is inviting the public to celebrate the Christmas Season with the annual Tree Lighting and Salvation Army Toy Drive, on Thursday, December 1. Beginning at 6 p.m., the Christmas Tree Lighting will take place outside on the C.L. Neill Student Center Plaza with Christmas carols and performances from small ensemble groups, the Maroon Typhoon Colorguard and Touch of Gold dancers.

“The annual lighting of the Christmas Tree has been a fun and festive time, and we will continue that tradition again in 2022. This event will feature some of your favorite popular Christmas songs performed by the JC Jazz Band, Jones Onstage, JC Voices, and a few other surprise guests that may include a man from the North Pole!” said Bruce Smith, the Assistant Dean of Jones College School of Art, Music, and Performance

Admission to the special musical performance and Tree Lighting event is a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to the Salvation Army in an effort to bring a bit of Christmas cheer for kids in the Pine Belt.

“We want to stress the purpose of our Christmas production is to provide toys for children who normally may not have much of a Christmas. We hope our local angels will be able to give a Santa filled sled full of gifts with a little help from our audience,” said Smith.

Gift suggestions include toys, sports equipment, board games and plush animals. All the donations will be given to children in our area this Christmas.  Necessities and Christmas gifts are provided for disadvantaged children from infants to age 12, through the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program in Jones, Jasper, Wayne, Clarke, Smith and Simpson counties.

For more information, call the Jones College of Art, Music and Performance Office at 601-477-4203 or follow Jones College Art, Music and Performance Facebook Page and Twitter. For more information about the Angel Tree project, go to https://salvationarmyalm.org/

Jones College students protect trees with cutting edge, GPR “vision”

ELLISVILLE – Jones College forestry and horticulture students had the unique opportunity to get a hands-on lesson using cutting edge technology called, “Ground Penetrating Radar.”  Fulgham Tree Preservation Inc. owner and president, David Fulgham and board-certified master arborist, Loren Erickson introduced about 30 students to the newest version of the ground penetrating radar (GPR) system which detects roots to help determine the overall health of the tree.

“We take the radar and map out the roots, detecting roots and their location and depth. Then, we put it on a map that we can use to create data for that tree. We can then use it to scan the trunk to look for wood density, cavities, and decay as well as hollow spots in the tree. We use it primarily for tree risk assessment,” said Fulgham.

After the completion of construction work near some live oak trees on campus, Fulgham and Erickson were called to determine if the trees were affected. The GPR system is helping the campus landscaping crew and students preserve the beautiful, landmark live oak trees. Past methods used to assess the health of a tree were more invasive and could possibly cause more damage to the tree.

“This method has taken 20 years of development to refine so it can be used in sand and clay, and then filter the data. In this situation, a college or university may not want to buy the equipment or software, and then train someone. It’s easier to hire or collaborate with us to collect the data and develop a plan to remediate the tree,” said Fulgham.

That’s also part of the reason why Fulgham wanted to expose the Jones College students to the GPR system. There are numerous applications for this technology in a wide variety of fields within forestry and horticulture and in other related industries. With a booming business, he needs more foresters and horticulturists.

“A lot of people think forestry is only about managing forests,” said Jones College instructor Bennett Burris. “This high-tech equipment shows students how you can manage a single tree to help preserve the trees’ natural beauty, and historical landmarks, like the Friendship Oak on the USM campus in Long Beach, as well as the live oaks on 5th Avenue in Laurel. These urban forestry settings and these trees mean a lot to people. Foresters and arborists help to preserve their health. This is another career path option.”

In general, foresters conserve and manage our natural resources in an urban setting to the open spaces in national parks. Tupelo’s Annaleise Carroll said she plans to utilize this experience when she becomes a Park Ranger.

“National Parks don’t have a lot of staff so knowing what’s wrong with our trees, and how to treat them along with knowing the age of the trees in the national parks would be very beneficial,” explained Carroll. “I also think it’s really cool that we’ve had x-ray technology for humans and animals, along with this type of radar technology in meteorology. I’m glad to see the technology is being applied and expanded to more of nature.”

Knowledge about how GPR can be utilized is also beneficial for the horticultural students who plan on working as landscapers, like Sumrall’s Dakota Smith. He plans to take over his father’s landscaping business after finishing his bachelor’s degree at Mississippi State University.

“As a landscaper I really appreciate learning about this new technology too. I’ve never seen anything like this, and it should help me better advise our customers on the available options we have in preserving trees,” said Smith.

Jones College horticulture instructor, Wendy Wilkerson said understanding that the growth and health of the tree starts with a healthy root system. Knowing what effects changes in a tree’s health and how it is changing the tree, is vital in our industry.

“As landscape professionals, the students are exposed to many situations where the home or property owners would like to maintain older trees to extend the life expectancy in the landscape and for sentimental reasons, they want to keep the trees. I’m glad our students were able to see how this system works and how to help preserve a healthy landscape overall,” said Wilkerson. “We appreciate our industry partners exposing our students to the newest technology and techniques.”

Without the technology, Fulgham explained they would have to air excavate the area to remove the soil without damaging the roots. However, that messy method didn’t always prove to be as beneficial.

“Previous methods, before the ground penetrating radar, could be stressful for the roots because you’re exposing them to daylight which further stresses them. Seeing the roots without ‘daylighting’ the roots help to preserve the overall health of the tree,” Fulgham explained.

JC freshman forestry student from Brookhaven, Jacob Livingston said he is confident the GPR system will be a helpful option for his future clients.

“Technology has come a long way and it’s continually getting better. When I see trees in distress, I will now be able to offer this non-invasive option, so we won’t have to cut into the tree, further harming the tree,” said Livingston.

Damaged roots or other types of distress in trees is not always evident immediately. Erickson said it can take several years, depending on the size of the tree, before the effects of a tree’s damaged roots will be noticed. The ground penetrating radar is one way to prevent further damage and preserve the health of trees.