Jones College costume contest winners

ELLISVILLE – Several hundred superheroes, princesses and ghouls came out to have fun at the annual Jones College Treats in the Streets on the JC campus in Ellisville. Kids played games for treats in the booths set up by JC faculty and students as a way to give back to the community. Some children participated in the costume contests for babies through teens, with the winners of the creatively dressed kids receiving a variety of goodies and sweet prizes from the JC Office of Student Affairs.

Jones College students who dressed and impressed the judges, received prizes for their efforts. The top five winners of the Costume Contest for JC students included JC childcare employee, Christina Nixon as the cowgirl, winning the overall top prize. Jones College students from Morton, Meghan Toranno, Tristen Goss and Ghenessy Lopez who dressed as The Lorax, took third place, and from Enterprise, Lainey Parker who dressed as the Balloon Dog, won second place. Honorable Mention went to Maddie Smith of Sumrall who dressed as Barbie in a Box and Mekhiya Bates of Pascagoula who dressed as Steve Harvey.

Treats in the Streets is an annual, free, community event hosted by the Jones College with various student organizations and academic and technical divisions setting up games and offering candy gifts.  

JCJC alumnus & author returns to Laurel for “Author Event”

ELLISVILLE- Jones County native, former New York City resident and current Athens, Georgia resident, Noel Holston will be returning to Laurel as the guest author for the Laurel-Jones County Library’s “Author Event.”  The 1968 Jones County Junior College alumnus is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist and critic, songwriter and photographer, who has recently published his second book, As I Die Laughing: Snapshots of a Southern Childhood. Holston will be sharing some of the stories he wrote about growing up “free-range” in Laurel, Ellisville and the Pendorff community at the Laurel-Jones County Library on Thursday, November 9, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.

“As tickled as I am to have a chance to read chapters from As I Die Laughing to people I grew up with, what I really look forward to is the stories they’re going to tell me. Yarns will be swapped, I’m sure,” said Holston,. “I don’t go home as much as I once did now that my parents and extended family have all passed on, but I still get up that way every couple of years. I did a book signing at the library in Laurel in 2020, when my book, Life After Deaf was newly published. Any time I visit, I see my only sibling, my younger brother, (a JCJC graduate and retired professor at the University of South Alabama) Tim, who lives in Mobile. We drive up to Jones County for the day. It’s sort of a ritual: We visit our folks’ graves to pay respects, go by my grandmother’s old house on 5th Street in Laurel, drive by our family’s house in Pendorff, cruise on down to Ellisville, and eat chili cheeseburgers at Ward’s.”

Holston’s humorous account of his childhood adventures in Jones County with his boyhood friends, family and residents of Jones County in the 1960s, earned him the nickname, the “Mark Twain of Laurel” by reviewers of his new book. Some readers may remember the author’s relatives like his uncle, M.D. “Shorty” Holston who owned a car dealership in Ellisville and his first cousins, David and Dr. James Holston. Other friends he remembers fondly include, Freida Gunn Collins, Jim Clark and Eddie Endom.

“About half of the stories and sketches are things I’ve been telling for years as a ‘stand-up’ storyteller. Pretty sure it will amuse most everybody who came of age in the 1960s and ‘70s,” shared Holston.  

The semi-retired writer’s first book was a memoir called, “Life after Deaf,” which chronicles his efforts to recover from a near total hearing loss in 2010. The book was published in 2019 and continues to sell and make Amazon’s Best Sellers List.

Ironically, the author of now two books and a long-time newspaper columnist at Newsday in New York City, was inspired by his JCJC teacher and campus newspaper/yearbook advisor, Hunter “Mack” Cole to change course and be a writer. Holston was in Cole’s English class his freshman year at JCJC. After finishing the semester, Cole recruited Holston to be the yearbook editor and to write a column for the student produced, Radionian newspaper. His assignment was to write what was “IN” at JC.

“I was supposed to suggest stuff that was ‘happ’nin’ at the school and elsewhere or what struck my fancy. My output included a review of The Beatles’ then new, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album and columns about the blues music revival that was underway, the impact of the murder of Martin Luther King and silly stuff such as trying to calculate whether all the cigarette butts tossed on campus grounds would eventually bury the school. To my shock, I won a state student journalism prize for some sample columns Mr. Cole submitted without telling me!” said Holston.

The JCJC 1968 graduate never thought about being a writer before this chance encounter with Cole. He enjoyed “playing with words” but believed like his parents, that he should pursue a practical career, so he earned a finance degree at USM and then his MBA degree.

“The game changer was editing the USM yearbook, The Southerner, which was a paid position I got thanks to my JC Lair yearbook experience. I oversaw the 1970 and 1971 yearbooks which led to an invitation to a summer program at Harvard for students involved in campus publications. The encouragement I received there for my writing led me to seek a journalism job rather than something in banking or corporate management. My folks felt like I had run off and joined the circus, but I never regretted my choice. I got paid to write a popular culture, news, politics and social issues column for almost four decades, kind of like my ‘IN JC’ column but on a national scale.”

Noel Holston, 1968 JCJC Yearbook

In 1972, Holston was hired by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper as a general assignment reporter. He later became a contributor and editor of its Sunday magazine a year later, and then was asked to be the paper’s TV-Radio columnist. Occasionally, he wrote about music, movies, theater, food, and visual art, but TV became his “meal ticket.” In 1986, Holston worked in Minneapolis and then New York, in 2000.

At Newsday, he reviewed TV shows, commented on the industry and the electronic media’s impact on society, as well as interviewed and profiled dozens of entertainment and news personalities.

“It was great fun, and it was great training for the writing I’m doing now,” said Holston. 

Currently, Noel lives in Georgia with his wife, singer-songwriter, Marty Winkler and they have two sons, a stepdaughter, and a couple of grandchildren.

Jones College’s JC Voices performing at Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

ELLISVILLE- Jones College’s select vocal ensemble, JC Voices will be performing for the first time at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, on Thursday, November 9, at 6 p.m.  The vocal performance entitled, “Original Design” is a concert filled with the message of hope in today’s worldly challenges. Choral Director, Dr. Imgyu Kang said many are still dealing with the impact of the Covid pandemic and music is a way to offer peace in the darkness.

“This world seems to be getting darker and darker with war and hunger. I believe that we were originally designed and created with blessings of joy and love to share with one another, and I hope that this concert can be a time for restoration. I hope this music will be a light in all the darkness in the world today and that it can unite us in the face of such division,” said Kang.

Some of the vocal selections performed by the 25-member ensemble include music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, along with contemporary, hymnal and spiritual songs. Additionally, as a South Korean immigrant who has been living in the U.S. for 25 years, Dr. Kang will be sharing a Korean folk song he and his wife, Sungsil arranged called, “Arirang” which mixes the melody of the American religious hymn, “Amazing Grace” with the Korean folk song, “Arirang.”

Jones College JC Voices Fall 2023

Trinity Amason, Mize

Kimberly Arevalo, Pearl 

Marvertrius Arrington, Waynesboro

Karoline Ayres, Heidelberg

Daniel Baldwin, Meridian

Hannah Byrd, State Line

Walker Dear, Florence

Jessie Deare, Sumrall

Silas Ensign, Laurel

Caleb Griffin, Meridian

Hope Houston, Laurel

Irish Horne, Petal

Anna Grace Jolly, Laurel

Samantha Jordan, Mobile, AL

Dwight McClendon, Hattiesburg

Micah McSwain, Laurel

Danielle Parker, Laurel

Morgan Prestage, Morton

Karina Ross, Slidell, LA

Madeline Russell, Columbia

Marcus Sims, Laurel

Kyllee Sumrall, Laurel

Zoe Vanderslice, Stringer

Skylar White, Laurel

Lillian Wilson, Laurel

Jones College students select Mr. & Miss JC

ELLISVILLE –Jaythan Comegys of Laurel and Taylor Garretson of Leakesville were recently voted as Mr. and Miss JC by their peers. The sophomores competed for the titles to represent Jones College students and are considered to be the best representation of the student body. They will be recognized during Homecoming activities on Saturday, October 28, 2023.

“With having a family full of Jones alumni, it feels so incredible to continue on the legacy of being a Bobcat. Having the opportunity to have been chosen by my peers to represent Jones College is truly one of the greatest honors I have ever received because of the impact that this school has had on my life. Jones has been and will always be home for me no matter where I go in life,” said Garretson.

The 2023 Miss Hospitality of Leakesville and the 2022 Distinguished Young Woman of Greene County graduated from Greene County High School, third in her class while being a High School Dance Team Captain and being a part of the Center Stage Dance Competition Team. At Jones College, Garretson has been a member of the Bobcat Brigade student Ambassadors, Student Government Association, Philosophy Club, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and a writer for the Lair Yearbook, as well as captain of the Touch of Gold Dance Team. Last year, the Bobcat Broadcast anchor/reporter earned first place honors from the Mississippi Press Association for the Best Use of Video. Her future plans include earning a broadcast meteorology degree from Mississippi State University. Her parents are Ron and Vicky Garretson.

Computer Science major, Jaythan Comegys participated in Beta Club, Key Club and student council at Laurel High School. At Jones College, he is a member of the Bobcat Broadcast team, FBLA and an officer for the Bobcat Brigade. He plans to become a web developer after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi.

“It is my honor to represent Jones College as Mr. JC and inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and to dream big. I did not get here alone and ever since I started college, I have had an amazing community to help me achieve my dreams,” said Comegys.

His parents are Shemica McGill and Stacy Comegys, and Demetra Comegys and Leo McGill.

Jones College students discover colorful artist, Chatham Kemp

ELLISVILLE – During Jones College’s “Art Talk” with Hattiesburg artist and William Carey University Associate Professor of Art and Department Chair, Chatham Kemp, Jones College art students and guests discovered why she focuses on the use of color in her oil paintings. A collection of Kemp’s large oil paintings influenced by tropical environments and other colorful locations, are currently on display at the Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery on the Jones College campus in Ellisville.

“Color is powerful because it’s emotional. I think when we look at color it has a different effect on us than just looking at a drawing, so I hope the work feels joyful and alive. Also, I’ve been kind of interested in flirting with the line between the heat in the paintings feeling comfortable or feeling like the south or a tropical environment, or the heat feeling a little bit uncomfortable or a little bit inconvenient, so I think the exhibit is interesting for that reason,” said Kemp.

Jones College students pictured left to right, Ella Young of Laurel, Lillian Hall of Ellisville, Anna Bufkin of Greene County and Atlas Hembree of Meridian, discussed various aspects of creating art with William Carey University Associate Professor of Art and Department Chair, Chatham Kemp.

Jones College students, Atlas Hembree of Meridian, Ella Young of Laurel, Lillian Hall of Ellisville, and Anna Bufkin of Greene County discussed different aspects of art and design with Kemp prior to the Art Talk with a larger group of art majors and guests. She also offered the opportunities available to art students in the William Carey University art program which has been growing over the past 12 years. Additionally, Kemp offered some advice to the young artists still learning about the various options to market their artwork.

“It’s hard to make a living as an artist so you have to learn the business side, the marketing side and become an entrepreneur. Teaching is also a great way of making a living, along with graphic design but you have to be a self-starter. We teach you how to solve problems on a high level in terms of visual problems in painting and drawing classes which also apply to your life and career. So, don’t get discouraged if you’re not making your way; ask experienced artists for advice,” Kemp offered.

The large and colorful oil paintings by Kemp will be on display in the Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery until October 20. For more information about upcoming JC art shows 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, or the JC Art Department’s social media: Facebook page, and on Instagram @artatjonescollege.