Oak Grove fends off Jones College’s Bobcat Math League competitors to repeat as Champions  

ELLISVILLE – After battling all day at the Jones College Bobcat Math League playoff competition, the first-seeded Oak Grove Warrior team won the 2018 Championship title for the second time in recent history. It literally came down to the last question in the final round of 30-questions with the second-seeded team, the Presbyterian Christian Bobcats.

“I’m super proud of this team because they worked hard and fought to the end,” said Oak Grove Math Coach, Whitney Necessary. “We lost a lot of seniors so we weren’t sure how we’d do in the playoffs.”

It looked like there would be some upsets in the Championship round when the sixth-seeded team, West Jones knocked off the third-seeded Sacred Heart team in the first round and the fifth-seeded Northeast Jones team blanked the fourth-seeded Wayne County team. In close matches, Oak Grove held off West Jones, 26 to 19 and Presbyterian Christian fended off the Tigers of Northeast Jones, 24 to 19. Sacred Heart finished off the Mustangs of West Jones in the following round, 29 to 17 and Northeast Jones fell to Wayne County, 10-5.

Oak Grove would have to battle against the Wayne County War Eagles twice before getting to the Championship round of the double-elimination competition. Losing in the first round of the semifinals, Oak Grove was uncertain about their fate. Wayne County came out blazing earning 26 points, keeping Oak Grove scoreless and desperate to win. The Warriors tried to regroup during the third-seeded Sacred Heart match against the undefeated Presbyterian Christian team in the semi-final round.

“It was a little intimidating at first but we got in our groove and managed to win,” said Presbyterian Christian freshman, Sam Powell.

It looked bleak for Oak Grove as they saw Wayne County quickly scoring again in the last attempt for both teams to earn a spot in the Championship round.  Wayne County’s Luke Bowles earned the first five points against Oak Grove, with Nicholas Cooksey and Dakota Brewer assisting to put the Warriors up 15 points. Oak Grove sophomore, Ethan Choi answered correctly on the fourth question, helping his sister and senior, Erin Choi to earn two bonus points.  The score remained 15 to 7 until Warriors’ sophomore Tegus Kotikalapudi earned five points on a math question to bring the Oak Grove score to 12.  Wayne County’s Brewer tried to take control earning five more points but Oak Grove’s Ria Patel answered with five-points and the Choi siblings added seven more points on the next question ending the match with Oak Grove ahead, 24 to 20. The War Eagles ended the series in fourth place overall.

In the first match-up between the two Hattiesburg area schools, it appeared Presbyterian Christian had the edge coming into the final round as the only undefeated team in the playoffs. PCS quickly scored 12 points by the ninth round of questions with the Warriors scoreless. However, Oak Grove’s Ethan Choi and Kotikalapudi managed to disrupt the 12 point lead the Bobcats had on the Warriors in the first half of the final match by scoring the team’s first, 7 points.  The momentum continued with the two gaining 10 more points.  In the second half of the final “Super Bowl” round between the Warriors and the Bobcats, Kotikalapudi and Choi were hot on the buzzer with the correct answers in the math and science categories and racked up 22 points and kept PCS from scoring again until late in the half.  Presbyterian Christian’s Matthew Morgan managed to get the next science question correct giving Carson Dorsey and Jackson Polk the opportunity to earn two-points each by correctly answering the bonus questions. The Bobcats earned 21 points and were ready to close the gap when Kotikalapudi took control two questions later. Ethan Choi answered the bonus question correctly surging the Warriors’ score to 29.  Then, answering the next technology question, PCS freshman, Sam Powell scored 5-points correctly giving the Bobcats 26 points. It appeared PCS was going to win the match when Dorsey earned 5 points allowing Polk to score a two-point bonus.  On the 28th question, the score was in favor of PCS, 33 to 29.  The two teams failed to answer the following question leaving it all to be decided by the final question about engineering. Kotikalapudi buzzed in first and correctly answered, ending the match with the Oak Grove Warriors winning by one-point, 34 to 33.

“I’d like to thank Percy Jackson!” exclaimed Kotikalapudi.  “I read the books and watched the movie about Percy Jackson and I remembered the part about Archimedes screw in Greek mythology and that’s how I knew the answer to the last engineering related question. Also, I’d like to thank my fifth-grade Accelerated Reading class because I read a lot of books which helped me today.”

The Oak Grove Warriors captured the title, 2018 JC Bobcat Math League Champions for the second time with the team coming in second place last year and first place in 2016. Oak Grove High School, their coach, and the team earned a total of $3,250 this year, as well as trophies, plaques, medallions and scholarships to Jones for the senior team members. Presbyterian Christian’s last appearance in the finals happened in 2014 and 2013 when they took the title both years. The second place school, coach and team earned a total of $2,725 this year, as well as trophies, plaques, medallions and scholarships to Jones for the senior team members. In 2012, the Bobcats were runner-ups so perhaps this could be the beginning of another series of wins for Presbyterian Christian. Sacred Heart ended the day in third place taking home $2,000. The fourth place Wayne County team and its coach earned $1,525.

Sacred Heart’s Ben Dunn earned a laptop from Howard’s Computer as the overall individual with the highest average accuracy rate during the regular season and the title, the Most Outstanding Player.  He is also a member of the All-League team, which recognizes the top scoring individuals during the regular season. Other All-League team members include Erin Choi-Oak Grove, Nicholas Cooksey and Joshua Curry from Wayne County, Maxwell Dobbs-Laurel High School, Grayson Nocera-Presbyterian Christian, Remy Poirrier-Sacred Heart and Sam Powell-Presbyterian Christian.

The Most Outstanding Players from each of the thirteen participating schools were: Columbia Academy,  Warren Parker; Heidelberg HS, Jamicgra Morgan; Laurel HS, Maxwell Dobbs; Northeast Jones HS, Lexi Berlin; Oak Grove, Erin Choi; Perry Central, Shanna Stewart; Presbyterian Christian HS, Grayson Nocera; Quitman HS, Logan Kelly; Raleigh HS, Trace Bowen; Sacred Heart, Ben Dunn; Wayne Academy, Hannah Burke & Ryan Miller; Wayne County HS, Nicholas Cooksey & Joshua Curry, and West Jones HS, Eva Kiparizoska.

Sponsors of the Bobcat Math League at Jones College include the Chisholm Foundation, Corner Market, Jones County EDA, Wayne County Economic Development District and Howard Computers.

Results are posted on the JC Bobcat Math League web page under “Division Standings/Schedules at: http://www.jcjc.edu/bobcatmathleague/  and the Facebook page: Bobcat Math League – Facebook as well as local media outlets. For more information about the Bobcat Math League contact Dr. Jessica Bunch (JC Bobcat Math League Commissioner) at 601-477-5422 or email at jessica.bunch@jcjc.edu.

Gene Haas Foundation grant provides scholarships for Jones College students

ELLISVILLE – A $10,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation has provided each of the five Jones College precision manufacturing and machining student-recipients with a one-thousand dollar tuition scholarship. Receiving the scholarships are Tanner Bryant of Laurel, Jason Williams of Laurel, Christian Daniel of Prentiss, Emmett Searles of Hattiesburg and Troy Leiva, Jr. of Gloster. Jones College’s precision manufacturing and machining instructor, Chase Elmore said the recipients are all outstanding students in the program.

“Each student who applied through the Jones College Foundation had to submit a resume’ to be considered for the scholarship,” said Elmore. “Besides scholarships, some of the grant money will also be used to provide credential testing fees for qualifying students.”

Freshman, Troy Leiva, Jr. said he was thrilled to receive this scholarship.

“It will take care of paying the rest of my tuition so I can complete this program. I am very happy about that!”

This is the second year the Gene Haas Foundation has donated to the program since the partnership began in 2017, providing many opportunities for Jones College students.

“The Gene Haas Foundation along with Haas and Machine Tools LLC has contributed greatly to the program. They have also provided new equipment for us to use in the lab which also serves as Haas’ showroom for business customers and for the company’s ‘Demo Day.’ They also provide maintenance for these high-tech machines and opportunities for our students to meet some of the industry leaders who purchase the machines,” said Elmore.

He added he is optimistic about continuing to receive funds/grants from the Haas Foundation for the precision manufacturing and machining program at Jones and encourages students to take advantage of an incredible opportunity to learn a valuable skill that can also offer tuition assistance for qualifying students. Elmore said job placement in the machining and manufacturing industry is usually at 100-percent. The workforce needs young men and women to lead this nation to provide better manufacturing nationwide.

“We are grateful at Jones to be able to provide an opportunity to train students where there is demand for our graduates. Our partnership with Haas has also allowed us to take our training even further by providing Jones students with experience and training on the newest technology furnished by Haas,” said Elmore.




Jones College students learn how to succeed from Thomas Jackson

ELLISVILLE – While discussing his road to success as an artist, Thomas Jackson shared he was a musician first.  Becoming an artist was a nice surprise for the Hattiesburg resident whose original career plans didn’t go as planned. The Tupelo native said he couldn’t see how art would fit into his career after leaving the graphic design program at USM.

“I didn’t pay attention to teachers because I thought I was the best artist partly because I have been drawing all my life. When I got to USM in 1998, I quit the art career because I didn’t think the teachers knew what they were doing, and focused on my music,” said Jackson. “Oh, how I wished I would’ve listened to them! Classical drawing has helped me with other types of art.”

The guest artist’s work has been on display at Jones College’s Eula Bass Lewis art gallery on the Ellisville campus during the month of October. He shared with students during his “Art Talk” his art was literally discovered by accident. The musician’s artwork became popular because of a friend and Facebook.

“I did an oil pastel drawing of a comic book character for a friend and posted it on Facebook. People started asking me if I could do other characters and it went from there. So I’ve been a part-time professional artist for about five years, doing mostly comic book related stuff, after a twenty-year break,” said Jackson.

He encouraged Jones students to develop a style that will stand out among artists. Working with oil pastels, Jackson discovered he can work in layers, cutting out patterns in the paint and making the portrait more interesting. However, he was intimidated initially, trying to make “art” for a living because he felt everyone was “light-years” ahead of him technically.

“I may not be as good technically, but stylistically I can make it. I stand out. I experiment with my subject, like one day I over exaggerated the hair on Wonder Woman. I try things all the time,” said Jackson.

His unique style is especially appealing to Jones student, Ali Wittneber.  The Gulfport sophomore is especially interested in Jackson’s comic book style art.

“It’s refreshing to see an actual artist that is doing comic book and fantasy paintings and not the classical art.”

Caleb Broadhead, a sophomore from Sandersville also likes the comic book art and noted he could see signs of classical drawing in Jackson’s characters.

“It’s his own style and he’s making a living at it. I’m inspired by that.  His work is not so far out, or over the top. It’s inspiring,” said Broadhead. “Comic book art involves a lot of fine lines and it takes patience and talent. It’s interesting.”

Besides sharing stylistic tips as an artist, Jackson also offered business advice. While social media helped Jackson’s art career take off, he cautioned students to always be professional on social media and in public.

“People need to perceive you as an artist. Don’t complain on social media or act anything but professional. Use social media as a vehicle to show your art. You don’t have to wait either. You can show your work now,” encouraged Jackson.

For more information about the JC art show contact the gallery at 601-477-4148 or visit the gallery which is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  The gallery is closed for lunch daily from 11:30 until noon.  If you want to know more about the JCJC Fine Arts Department check out the JCJC Fine Arts Facebook page at JCJCFineArts.


PRVEPA’s “Round Up for Education” awards 50 scholarships to JC students

ELLISVILLE – Since the inception of the, “Round Up for Education” Scholarship program through Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association, more than 1,250 students in the region received scholarships to a Mississippi Community/Junior College.  This year, a total of 250 students from throughout the PRVEPA’s 12-county service area received a $725 scholarship, including 50 Jones College students.  These freshmen college students are benefitting from the electric service provider’s Association member-consumers who round up their bills to fund the scholarships.

“Members working together to achieve a common goal is a unique hallmark of cooperative organizations, and I am proud of the positive response we’ve received on this effort,” said PRVEPA General Manager, Randy Wallace.  “We believe education is vital to improving the future for all of us in south Mississippi, and the Round Up program was designed to encourage more young people to further their education.”

Jones nursing major, Katelyn Toney said she’s very grateful for the scholarship.  With divorced parents, receiving a financial boost from PRVEPA’s members is a huge relief.

“It helps a lot with paying tuition and books.  I also work at a pharmacy in Purvis but these scholarships take a little pressure off of my family and me.”

The generosity of the thousands of members who voluntarily pay a few cents more on their electric bill has conceivably changed the lives of more than one-thousand students over the years like Tanner Boleware.  He is a graduate of Presbyterian Christian High School who has plans to be a civil engineer and transfer to Mississippi State after graduating from Jones College. He is also working to help pay for college and said his parents are thrilled to have scholarships to help financially.

“Every little bit helps!” said Boleware.  “We appreciate everyone who participates in this scholarship program to help college students reach their goals.”

Over the last six years, 261-JC students received a financial boost from the support of the 49,000 meters served by PRVEPA. When the program was established in 2012, PRVEPA Manager of Members Services, Kurt Brautigam said they really hoped it would be beneficial and have some success. However, it turned out to be even better than they expected. Money collected for the scholarship program is deposited in an account overseen by the Greater Pine Belt Community 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. The only requirement to receive a PRVEPA scholarship is to be a current participating association member in the Round Up program. All of the scholarship funds collected after August 1, each year go towards the next year’s scholarships. Applications for 2019 scholarships are available now.

2018 Community College Scholars Program (250 Students)

Community Colleges Students

Pearl River     144

Jones                50

Gulf Coast       46

Southwest          3

Co-Lin                   2

Northwest MS   1

Coahoma            1

Meridian              1

Holmes                 1

Northeast MS     1

Jones College costume contest winners

ELLISVILLE – The nice weather brought out about one-thousand princesses, superheroes, goblins and ghouls to have fun at the annual Jones College Treats in the Streets on the JC campus.  Hundreds of kids participated in the costume contests for babies and teens, with the winners of the creatively dressed kids receiving a variety of goodies and sweet prizes from the JCJC Office of Student Affairs.

College students who dressed the best were also given cash prizes for their efforts.  Winning the first place prize was Lexus Jackson of Laurel dressed as DJ Marshmallow. The second place winners were the Cheetah Girls played by Baili Meadows of Richton; Mackenzie Jordan of Laurel; Sydney Whigham of Millry, Alabama and Kate Broom of Laurel. The third place winner was Jordan Cochran of Lucedale as “The Last Air Bender.”

Treats in the Streets is an annual, free, community event that is hosted by the JCJC Student Government Association and the city of Ellisville.