CPRAM offers scholarships at two/four-year colleges

ELLISVILLE-The College Public Relations Association of Mississippi (CPRAM) is encouraging students interested in the area of communications to apply for one of two scholarships offered to students attending a Mississippi two-year or four-year college. The two, $1,250 scholarships are available for one student, each seeking a university or community college education.

Students applying for the CPRAM scholarship must be majoring in one of the following fields of study: public relations, communications, journalism, advertising, mass communications, political communications, crisis management, graphic design, or any other communications-oriented field of study.  The scholarships could be awarded to a full-time student entering or enrolled at one of the state’s two-year colleges or the state’s four-year colleges.

Scholarship applicants must be in good standing and present three letters of recommendation from individuals connected to his/her academic institution. This includes college advisors, high school teachers/officials, home-school teachers, etc. Students may be recommended by an active CPRAM member.

The applicants must complete in full the scholarship application and have it returned to the scholarship committee no later than Feb. 25, 2022. Applicants also must include a 500-word essay entitled, “With all the changes being made in the field of Communications, what skills do I have to keep up with these changes?”

Students receiving the scholarship can be awarded the scholarship for more than one year, but they must re-apply every year. The scholarship committee reserves the right to make its decision based on need, merit and the number of applicants each year.

CPRAM reserves the right to withdraw this scholarship if a student withdraws from school during the award year, changes his/her major, fails to maintain a 2.0 GPA or other grave instances of misconduct.

The committee will announce the winner(s) during its annual conference held in May 2022. The scholarship will then be awarded for the 2022 fall term.

For more information and to receive an application, contact CPRAM scholarship chairman Steve Diffey at (662) 472-9068 or sdiffey@holmescc.edu, or committee member, Teresa McCreery at (601) 477-4032 or teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu  Applicants can apply online at CPRAM Scholarship Application 2022

Portion of Highway 11 dedicated to former Jones College coach

ELLISVILLE – A section of Highway 11 was dedicated in honor of a longtime Jones College coach on Tuesday morning.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) designated the portion of the highway in the name of Elmer J. Higginbotham during a ceremony held at the Family Life Center of Ellisville’s First Baptist Church.

Several people spoke at the event, including Higginbotham’s daughter, Mary Boleware.

“Jones is where I pretty much grew up,” said Boleware, who teaches Physics at Jones College. “Daddy has always been in the community because everybody knew who he was because he was Coach Higg. We would go to Therrell’s Drug Store on Saturday mornings and get a grilled cheese and a cherry coke. Whether it was at the gas station or the grocery store, everybody knew coach Higg.

“When he retired from coaching, he decided to stay in the community and he really wanted to make a difference for the people of Ellisville. He was not born and raised here, but he loved it and he just wanted to make an impact for the community.”

Higginbotham was a beloved figure at Jones where he coached from 1971-92. He was an assistant football coach from 1971-87 and head football coach from 1988-91. He was also head baseball coach from 1971-88.

While serving as an assistant coach to Sim Cooley, the Bobcats won three state football championships and participated in the playoffs 12 times. He also helped the Bobcats go to the Junior Rose Bowl in 1977.

The section dedicated to Higginbotham runs from the intersection of Highway 11 and Hill Street to one mile south past the entrance to the college. Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King said it was an honor to dedicate this portion of the highway to Higginbotham.

“Dedications like this are one of my great privileges as transportation commissioner,” he said. “You get to learn about a great Mississippian who made our state better in so many ways.

Honoring Coach Higginbotham with this highway dedication is a great testament to the good he did for countless students who he was able to coach throughout his life.

“He was very well-liked and very well known. He was a community inspiration to a lot of people and students that he coached. He was loved by everyone I’ve talked to here today. It’s an honor to be here for this dedication. This lets people know that MDOT does more than just build highways and bridges. We care about people.”

Joey Davis, who was a trainer for the football team as a Jones student in 1979-81, remembers the first time he met Higginbotham.

“It’s an honor to talk about Coach Higg and what he meant to me,” said Davis, who later served as the school’s athletic trainer and taught Western Civilization and other subjects for over 35 years. “From the first time I met him, he was a great friend. I pulled up to the gym on the first day. If you know me, you know generally my truck is filled up with fishing stuff.

“I didn’t know who he is, but he walked up to me and said, ‘Two questions, son. How deep are they? And what color are they biting?’ From then on, I knew I had a friend. Coach Higg was a great coach and teacher. He possessed those attributes that you hear people discuss like integrity, family, loyalty and work ethic. He possessed all of those. He loved his community, he loved his church and he loved Jones Junior College.”

Robert Thomas, a wide receiver from Coffeeville, Alabama, played at Jones in 1988-89. He said Higginbotham was a major influence in his life.

“Coach Higg was more of a father figure to me,” said Thomas, who is now a pastor in Sumrall. “Being here for two years and not having a father in the picture for two years, coaches become your father.

“When he and his wife went on vacation, there was always a fridge that sat outside of their house on their porch with food in it for us. Now, we had to figure out how to cook it, but the food was there. I think that was amazing for somebody to take the time out to think about you while they were absent.”

Thomas said Higginbotham’s love for Ellisville was clear.

“It’s pivotal for kids and athletes and for people to see that you are not only a coach, but you are a part of the community – you live here, you eat here, you shop here,” said Thomas, who credits Higginbotham for helping him to earn a scholarship to Tennessee-Martin. “I think that’s phenomenal to show that his heart was here. His legacy will live on, not just on the highway, but in the lives and in the houses he visited from time to time.”

Higginbotham coached in numerous postseason bowl games and several All-Star teams in football and baseball. The Macon native was a three-sport letterman in high school, participating in football, baseball and basketball.

After graduating from Macon High School in 1962, he earned a football scholarship to East Mississippi Junior College where he became an All-State player. He received his BS degree at Livingston University in Alabama and his ME at the University of Southern Mississippi.

He served as an assistant coach at East Mississippi and was the head coach at Leakesville High School, posting a 13-7 record in 1969-70. He then became offensive line coach at Jones in 1971, where he served until becoming head coach in 1988. He was inducted into the Jones Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Mississippi Community/Junior College Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. He is also a member of the East Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

Higginbotham was an active member and deacon at Ellisville’s First Baptist Church. He was a member of the Ellisville Lions Club and was named Lion of the Year. He was named a Melvin Jones Fellow by Lions Club International. He was a lifetime member of Masonic Lodge #161 and was an active member of the Gideons. After retiring from Jones, he established three businesses in Ellisville.

His wife, Sandra, was an instructor at JCJC and retired in 1995. She passed away in 2015. Both of their daughters, Michele Whittle (Tim) and Mary Boleware (Garland), are JCJC graduates.

His three grandchildren are Tanner Boleware, Hunter Boleware and Brock Walley.

“He passed away 10 years ago and for 10 years to have passed by and for him to still be making such an impact – this room full today tells me a little bit of how he impacted people,” Mary Boleware said. “When I get to drive to work and I see that sign, I’m sure I’ll tear up. I’m sure I’ll grin a few times, but I’m sure I’ll tear up, too.”

Higginbotham died on July 26, 2011.

(Story written by Shawn Wansley, JC SID-Photos by Teresa McCreery, JC Director of PR/Media)

Twenty-nine Jones College Associate Degree Nursing graduates join the workforce

ELLISVILLE- Twenty-nine associate degree nursing graduates from Jones College are ready to join the workforce as they celebrated with a Pinning, Graduation and Lamp Lighting Ceremony. The transition from student to nurse has been especially challenging for this group of nursing graduates said Associate Degree Program Director, Mike Cummings. The constant adjustments made to comply with COVID-19 restrictions during the past two years have prepared these nurses for the “real world” of nursing.

“This class had to endure many more difficult situations, constantly adjusting. We here at Jones understand the value of the support from friends and family because, without it, it would have been more even difficult for these graduates to succeed,” said Cummings. “We’ve thrown a lot to the faculty and students but their resolve to adapt has been exceptional. They worked hard when things got tough and succeeded. Well done and great job!”

Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith told the audience of friends and family at the Nurse Pinning Ceremony that the ability to be adaptable during an unprecedented pandemic is admirable. He continued praising the 2021 class of Associate Degree Nurses for choosing a noble profession.

“There’s no greater profession than nursing because it impacts lives, many lives. Everyone has been impacted at some point in your life by a nurse and if not, you will be. We expect great things from you,” continued Smith. “You’ll see so many emotions and you’ll enrich some many lives like you’ve never imagined.”

Several students willingly choose to serve their class as officers. Germecca Bolton of Laurel-President, Courtney Boothe of Heidelberg-Vice President, Bobbi Gamble of Petal-Treasurer, Anna Grace King of Ellisville-Secretary, Breanna Boyles of Brookhaven-Chaplain, and Abby Lillie of Raleigh-Activities. Additionally, five students were selected to join the honor society for associate degree nursing students, Alpha Delta Nu. The following students have maintained a “B” average every semester and were inducted into the Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society for the Fall 2021 graduating class: Jamie Parker of Stringer, Bobbi Gamble of Petal, Alexander Ducksworth of Petal, Abby Lillie of Raleigh, and Courtney Boothe of Heidelberg.

The nursing school tradition, the Lighting of the Lamp concluded the special Pinning and Graduation Ceremony. This ceremony is a symbol of the passing on of knowledge from nursing faculty to graduates after receiving their official Nurse Pin with a Maltese Cross. For more information about the Associate Degree Nursing program at Jones College check out the website, https://www.jcjc.edu/programs/adn/

Associate Degree Nursing Fall 2021 Graduates

Ondranna Barnes- Mt. Olive

Germecca Bolton- Laurel

Courtney Boothe- Heidelberg

Breanna Boyles- Brookhaven

Christina Breazeale- Ellisville

Layken Carney- Columbia

Alec Culbertson- Ellisville

Kayla Daley- Laurel

Alexander Ducksworth- Petal

Morgan Freeman- Waynesboro

Bobbi Gamble- Petal

Kelsey Hamilton- Raleigh

Kris Hudson- Clara

Josh Kemp -Hattiesburg

Rachel Kendrick – Hattiesburg

Anna Grace King – Ellisville

Tori Kitchens Lott- Richton

Abby Lillie- Raleigh

Bryce McMullan Landrum-Soso

Payton Nelsen-Lucedale

Ashlea Odom Carlton- Petal

Jamie Parker-Stringer

Terra Pitts- Laurel

Katie Runnels Shows- Mt. Olive

Jamal Sampson- Hattiesburg

Kanai Spiney- Hattiesburg

Legend Waldrup- Laurel

Alainna Wells- Hattiesburg

Laken Windham- Heidelberg

Jones College’s 36 practical nursing graduates enter profession when most needed

ELLISVILLE – Thirty-six new, Practical Nursing graduates from Jones College are entering nursing when the profession needs them the most. The Pinning Ceremony at Jones celebrated the accomplishments of this group of nursing graduates as they begin their professional journey in nursing. Career and Technical Dean, Rod Tolbert praised the nurses for accepting the challenge of becoming part of the solution.

“When this class began nursing school, the Covid-19 pandemic was at its height. Most people were running the other way, but these courageous and noble students answered the call to a challenging situation. Thank you for your commitment to the health and well-being of others,” said Tolbert.

Raleigh’s Reagan Revette, one of the newest, practical nursing graduates said she was working in a nursing home as a therapy technician when she was inspired by the nurses she worked beside during the pandemic, prompting her to join the profession.

“The nurses had such an incredible impact on the Covid patients. I wanted to help patients like the nurses I witnessed in the nursing home, so I started the nursing program at Jones. I learned so much and I loved my experience here at Jones,” said Revette who plans to continue her education.

Jones College’s Director of the Practical Nursing Program, Amy Myers said this year’s nursing graduates were challenged during their education and will most likely continue to be challenged in their careers.

“They have completed nursing school during a stressful time in our history. They’ve persevered to successfully complete a fast and rigorous program during a pandemic. They have proved to be capable of great things. We faculty members celebrate their accomplishments because seeing nursing students achieve their goals and succeed is one of our proudest moments as instructors,” said Myers.

Abby Jordan with Rod Tolbert
Ashley Harrison with Alexis Cook

Three students were honored for their accomplishments during the three-semester program. Reagan Revette of Raleigh earned the Academic Excellence Award for having the highest academic average. The Rising Star Award was presented to Abby Jordan of Taylorsville for her continuous dedication and growth in the classroom and clinical setting, and her positive attitude and perseverance which enriched her professionalism and nursing knowledge. Alexis Cook of Stringer was honored to receive the Florence Nightingale Award amongst the full-time practical nursing program graduates by Jones College faculty who believe she exhibits the qualities of the founder of nursing, with her professionalism, integrity, and selfless attitude.

The Pinning and Graduation Ceremony ended with the traditional “Lamp Lighting” inspired by the founder of nursing, Florence Nightingale who carried a lamp to help wounded soldiers during the Crimean War in 1854. For more information about the Practical Nursing Program, check out the website: https://www.jcjc.edu/programs/practicalnursing/

Practical Nursing Graduates December 2021

Maleah Marie Barnes, CollinsBridgette Boleware, Petal

Shawna Nicole Breland, George County

Elizabeth Carr, Pearl River County

Alexis Cook, Stringer

Summer Davis, Laurel

Breana Deem, Poplarville

Peyton Ford, Moselle

Marvin Fuller, Monticello 

Rene Fuller, Puckett 

ShaQwanna Gandy, Quitman 

Molly Elmore Graves, Seminary/Brandon

Destiny Nicole Hooks, Ellisville 

Kristen Hunt, Leakesville

Jone’t Johnson, Wayne County

Tawiana Jones, Heidelberg

Abby Jordan, Taylorsville

Ta’Kyra Lampton, Columbia

Lauryn Paige Loper, Waynesboro

Debra Magee, Collins

Madyson Mann, Laurel

Emily Matherne, Purvis

Ladeidra Rhodes McDuffie, Monticello

Logan Miller, Wayne County

Briana Jean Nix, Moselle

Sarah Amanda Phelps, Ellisville

Latonya McCullum Poole, Prentiss

Gilneshiakee Pope, Wayne County

Reagan Danielle Revette, Raleigh

Trista Shoemake, Purvis

Taylor Stauffer, Laurel

Chelsea LaRose Vaxter, Carthage

Lauren Waites, Waynesboro

Dakota Lobrano Wallace, Hattiesburg

Amy Waters, Ellisville

Karea M Welch, Hattiesburg

“A Jones College Christmas” event helps Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program

ELLISVILLE – There was an overwhelming response from the public attending Jones College’s Christmas events. Several hundred new, unwrapped toys were collected for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program as admission to Jones College’s Christmas program. The partnership between Jones College’s College of the Arts, Music and Performance, and the Salvation Army has brought smiles to thousands of children over the decades. Major Raymond Pruitt of the Laurel Salvation Army was impressed by the student’s performance and overjoyed by the generosity of those donating to the Angel Tree program.

“For 83 years, the Salvation Army has been serving the Laurel area and that can only happen with the support of the community. It is wonderful to see the young people join the ‘army’ of volunteers helping others,” said Pruitt.

Performing in the Jones College Christmas event included the JC Concert Choir, Jazz Band, JC Voices, Jones OnStage, Percussion Ensemble, Touch of Gold Dance Team, Music Industry students, along with a special appearance from Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith who sang a duet with his son, Conner. Additionally, Santa Claus greeted guests and student volunteers from Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Wyatt Reid, Logan Carr, Will Hendry, Abigail Davis, Cali Le, Aeronney Berry, Ariel Loper, Madison Hosey, Mary Parker, Lejaylyn Nutall, Angela Boyd and Kayla White, served as Santa and the Salvation Army’s helpers by gathering gifts for the Toy Drive.

JC Assistant Dean of the College of the Arts, Music and Performance, Bruce Smith said he was glad to be able to celebrate Christmas in a big way this year. Last year, the semester ended before Thanksgiving.

“I would like to thank the community for giving so generously to The Salvation Army Angel Tree Campaign and supporting Jones College. The students and faculty involved in the performance were pleased to have such a wonderful audience full of friends, young and old enjoying an entertaining show,” said Smith.