Jones College’s Cosmetology program celebrates graduates

ELLISVILLE – Seventeen cosmetology students from Jones College are inviting friends and family to a special commencement celebration and recognition ceremony on Thursday, August 1, at 5:30 p.m. in the Home and Health Auditorium on the Ellisville campus. Cosmetology instructor, Sylvina Buckley is hosting the ceremony with Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith scheduled to speak at the event. The seventeen students participating in the celebration include Katherine Adams-Purvis; Meghan Aultman-Sumrall; Destenie Cooper-Ellisville; Wyatt Davis-Sumrall; Kaitlyn Donald-Laurel; Corlee Gentry-Collins; Madison Hill-Laurel; Tiannia Johnson-Louisville; Maisen Keyes-Hattiesburg; Jade Mitchell-Petal; Taylor Pittman-Petal; Kirsten Risk-Hattiesburg; Maggie Scott-Hattiesburg; Karah Smith-Hattiesburg; Bailey Thornton-Laurel; Kaitlyn Welborn-Hattiesburg and Tatiana Zamora-Petal.




Jones College’s High School Equivalency commencement ceremony features past graduates as Keynote speakers

ELLISVILLE – On Monday, July 22 at 7 p.m. in the Bush Fine Arts Auditorium, about 50 of the 106 High School Equivalency graduates of Jones College’s program will hear from former graduates as their Keynote speakers.  JC instructors, Brooke Donald-Health Care Assistant; Thomas Johnson-Heating/Air Conditioning and Cody Robertson-Electro-Mechanical Technology will share their experiences in the HSE program and beyond. Those participating in the commencement ceremony and their guests will also hear the journeys of these instructors and how they were able to rise above their circumstances to reach their dreams.

“Like most students who take an alternate path to earn their high school diploma, there are obstacles they have overcome to reach this point in their lives. I hope the inspiring messages from our keynote speakers, that they may also know personally, will encourage our graduates to continue to reach for their dreams,” said Wendy Evans, Jones College’s Director of Integrated Pathways.

Featured speaker, Brooke Donald has been teaching in the Health Care Assistant program at Jones College for the last four years. She received her GED in 2002 and graduated from JCJC with her associate degree in 2010. Ellisville’s Donald completed the Practical Nursing program in 2013 and graduated from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College with her Associate Degree in Nursing in 2017. Determined to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, she enrolled in the program at Delta State University for the fall semester.

Thomas Johnson is native of New Iberia, Louisiana and was raised in Texas. Because of problems he encountered in school, he quit in the seventh grade, which he said was the “worst mistake” he ever made. Upon moving to Mississippi at the age of 16, he started working with his father doing heating and air conditioning repairs. Johnson continued working for 24 years when he decided to pursue a degree in the Heating and Air Conditioning trade. After a lot of hard work and determination Johnson shared, Jones College has changed his life in numerous ways before he began teaching at Jones, three years ago. He hopes to compel others to take a second look at the possibility of reaching their dreams.

Electro-Mechanical Technology instructor at Jones College, Cody Robertson is a 24-year old who has spent most of his life dealing with chronic health issues stemming from a pancreatitis diagnosis when he nine-years-old. As a result, the former Sweetwater community resident was forced to quit in tenth grade, but he pursued his high school equivalency at Jones and is now teaching his favorite topics at the college.

Additionally, the HSE graduates attending the ceremony will learn who the top-scoring students in each of JC’s eight-county district. These students will also receive scholarships to Jones. For more information about the HSE program or the numerous, free adult education programs available at the Jones College Advanced Technology Center, contact the Adult Education department at 601-477-4164, Wendy Evans at 601-477-2228 or email,

All Jones College Associate Degree Nursing May 2019 Graduates pass NCLEX 

ELLISVILLE –All 21 of the 2019 May graduating class from Jones College’s Associate Degree Nursing program have achieved a 100% pass rate on their first attempt on the NCLEX-RN exam according to division chair for A.D.N., Erin Knight, MSN, RN.  She explained all students who graduate from nursing school, whether from a college or a university, take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination in order to practice in the healthcare setting. This was the class’ first attempt on the NCLEX-RN which is quite an accomplishment because the test is comprehensive and rigorous.

“We are proud of our students for accomplishing this great milestone! It is a testament of our students, who work hard, and to our faculty, who make sure our students receive the training necessary to help them be successful in nursing school, on the NCLEX-RN exam, and to be able to move out into the surrounding communities and areas to practice as safe, competent and caring nurses. Having those qualified nurses in our surrounding communities, state, as well as those states around us, will make a direct impact on the health of patients,” said Knight.

The Jones College Associate Degree Nursing program has proven to be a high-quality program with graduates from the fall 2018 class achieving a first-time pass rate of 93.2 percent. For more information about the Jones College Associate Degree Nursing program call the department at 601-477-4019.

Four from JC graduate from the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy

Mandy Pearson and Teresa McDonald

ELLISVILLE –Four Jones College administration and faculty members were part of the 10th class of the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy.  JC’s Assistant Vice President of Instructional Affairs, Julie Atwood; Director of Practical Nursing, Teresa McDonald, MSN, R.N.; Radiography Program Director, Mandy Pearson M.S. R. T. (R) and former Adult Education Director, Michael Yarbrough graduated with 34 additional members of the MCCLA in May. These graduates are the state’s answer to preparing for the leadership needs of the community colleges according to the program’s coordinator, Dr. Howell Garner. Pearson said she’s grateful to the state and Dr. Garner for this type of training.

“I appreciate the dedication of Dr. Howell Garner to the development of leaders in the college system. This has been a wonderful experience collaborating and building relationships with community college professionals from across the state of Mississippi. Through this experience, I have gained valuable knowledge and skills from experienced leaders to apply as I grow and develop in my profession,” said Pearson.

The MCCLA program provides an internal look at how the Community College system in Mississippi has developed into a world-class educational system. College president’s offer their insight, experiences and advice in an open forum to prepare these future educational leaders. The professional development training for leadership roles ensures the continuity of competent leaders for Mississippi’s higher education needs.  All 15 of the state’s community colleges and several universities send at least two candidates to the year-long program where leaders meet for three, two day-long sessions. Participants are also required to read seven books and work with a group on a research project.

“There were many important things I learned from this experience; however, I consider one of the most important to be, ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’ from the book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,’ written by Dr. Stephen Covey. This method aids in producing healthy communication between parties,” said Pearson.

Besides the knowledge gained during the last year from the state’s educational leaders, McDonald said she also appreciates the new network of friendships.

“This was a great experience with phenomenal leadership and knowledge from Dr. Garner, Dr. Smith and other college presidents across the state. We had the opportunity to cultivate professional relationships and friendships with other educational leaders in the state. I feel this was an invaluable experience and it has enhanced my role as a leader for our institution,” said McDonald.

Julie Atwood (center)

Additionally, Atwood said the MCCLA is an invaluable opportunity for everyone working in the community college system.

“Not only did I develop a deeper understanding of the rich history of Mississippi’s system of community and junior colleges, but also the readings and discussions allowed me to view leadership from a much broader perspective. The program taught me more about leadership and it gave me great insight on how I can apply that personally at Jones College,” said Atwood.

Graduates of MCCLA’s professional and leadership training can earn up to nine-college graduate credits in the Education Leadership program at Mississippi State University, which is also a sponsor of the MCCLA.  Other colleges and universities also accept these credits in their doctoral programs. The Academy was designed and implemented by the Mississippi Community College Foundation with support from the Stennis Institute of Government at MSU as a method of addressing the need for a leadership succession plan. Jones’ newest students, Claire Ishee, admissions counselor and Bobcat Brigade sponsor and EMT and director of the paramedic program and healthcare simulation, Benji Sessums MS NREMT-P, CC-EMTP, began the program in June.


JC’s physical plant representatives attend MSPMA conference

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s physical plant director and Mississippi School Plant Management Association Board member, Joe Everett recently attended the MSPMA state conference in Flowood. The organization of about 500 maintenance, housekeeping, grounds, health, transportation and safety operations, energy management and environmental stewardship employees from pre-school, elementary and secondary levels as well as community and senior colleges and universities, met to exchange ideas on best practices and challenges.  Members heard from Pearl River Community College President, Dr. Adam Breerwood as their keynote speaker. They also learned about their purpose through this professional development opportunity for school plant management personnel through proper management practices related to school operations and maintenance. Representatives also attending from Jones College were Michael Bradshaw-assistant to the president for facilities management and from the maintenance department, Jason Bonner, Milton Newell and Mike Tisdale.