ELLISVILLE – Mississippi’s 42nd State Auditor, Shad White will be returning to his home county to be the keynote speaker at both of Jones College’s Spring Commencement Ceremonies on Friday, May 3. The morning ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. for students whose last names begin with the letters “A” through “L” in the A.B. Howard/Bobcat Gymnasium. The second ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. for those students whose last names begin with letters “M” through “Z”. Both ceremonies can be viewed live on the JC web page, http://www.jcjc.edu/, and the Jones College Facebook page. Doors will open in the M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium for overflow seating at 8:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. All guests will be screened for safety purposes with the gymnasium doors closing at 9:55 a.m. and 1:25 p.m., or when capacity is reached.
About 670 students will participate in the ceremonies receiving either, an Associate in Arts degree, Associate in Applied Science degree, a Technical Certificate or a Career Certificate.
Graduates and guests will hear from the Sandersville native who was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant to serve as State Auditor, last July. Previously, White has served as Director of Policy to then, Lt. Governor, Phil Bryant in 2011. He later practiced law in the private sector and served as a special prosecutor in Rankin County. While serving as the Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute, White filed and led cases against public officials when they violated Mississippi’s open government and ethics laws. The Jones County native continues to serve the state as State Auditor with the mission of protecting the public’s trust by verifying the funds provided by taxpayers to state and local governments are used in a legal and efficient manner for their intended purpose.
White said he is looking forward to participating in Jones College’s commencement exercises and hopes to inspire students with his speech, “Leading the Way to Mississippi’s Future.”
“I’m thrilled to participate in this important day for the students and families of Jones College. It’s an honor to be invited to share in this milestone in their lives, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts about the future of our state and some lessons I learned on the road from being a college student to becoming State Auditor,” said White.
The Northeast Jones High School graduate continued his education at the University of Mississippi, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science, where he was selected for the prestigious, national, Truman Scholarship. As a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, White earned his Master’s in economic and social history before earning his Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School. Additionally, White has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
White and his wife, Rina and their daughter, Zara live in Rankin County and are members of St. Richard Church.
ELLISVILLE- Jones College’s Symphonic Band recently performed before 500 middle and high school students from the region at the annual Southeast Mississippi Band Director’s Association’s (SEMBDA) annual band clinic. This annual event kicks off the concert season for the 60 member group which will conclude with a Thursday, April 4, performance at 7 p.m. in the M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium at Jones College.
Next weekend, February 8-9, Jones College will host its own Band Clinic for area middle and high school musicians. The JC Jazz band will be performing while students audition to learn their band assignments.
The JC Band Clinic’s concert will be at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, at Jones College. For more information contact Jones College’s Director of Bands, Dr. Ben Burge at 601-477-4095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jones College Symphonic Band Members
+Scarlett Sandifer, Laurel
Sarah Suttle, Petal
Kemberly Freeman, Ellisville
Lynda Bazor, Perry Central
+Hayley Jackson, Germantown
Bria Sims, Laurel
Lauryn Heidelberg, Laurel
Taylor Gates, Magee
Ariel Smith, Hattiesburg
Breanna Garrard, Hattiesburg
Sidney Lee, Ellisville
Tyrikus Hayes, Quitman
Haleigh Fitzgerald, Pearl
+Baylee Walter, Richland
James Smith, Jr., Hattiesburg
+Joshua Anderson, Greene County
Brandon Pedersen, Petal
Brandi Cooley, George County
Max Burge, Hattiesburg
Emerald Meadows, Richton
John Harrison, Laurel
+Blake Pryor, Laurel
Caitlyn Holifield, Laurel
+Sydney Herrington, Enterprise
+Ryan Nowell, Ellisville
Logan Donald, Ellisville
Matthew Dodd, Petal
Hunter Gammill, Hattiesburg
Nicholas May, Mendenhall
Michael Brown, Laurel
Daniel Easley, Petal
+Jorge Castillo, Ellisville
Haley Young, Vancleave
Lauren Flynt, Soso
Chrissi Millwood, Brandon
+Brandon Broome, Sumrall
Bryce Cooper, Wayne County
Hayden Brewer, Wayne County
Clay Whitt, Vancleave
Linda Echenique, Laurel
Cameron Graves, Petal
+Bethany Miller, Ellisville
+Buster Jarrell, Ellisville
Amouri Jones, Laurel
Miracle Smith, Quitman
+Cooper Mangum, Morton
Nathan Terry, Hattiesburg
Caitlyn Robinson, Richton
Keith Briggs, Ocean Springs
Amanda Flynn, Petal
Austin Lee, Purvis
Clouzell Leggett, Oak Grove
Elizabeth Morrison, Long Beach
Mackenzie Parish, Hattiesburg
Mary Helen Sherman, Pass Christian
Amy Spears, Seminary
Sage Touchstone, Hattiesburg
Derrick Williams, Laurel
Matthew Haight, Mobile, AL
ELLISVILLE- Jones College’s theater production of “Hairspray” is taking audiences back to the ’60s when the beehive and the flipped-bob hairdo’s were popular and social problems erupted. Star-struck teenybopper, Traci Turnblad, played by Kassidy Chandler of Laurel, takes the audience on an adventure to see her dream of dancing on a TV show and dating the popular heartthrob, Link Larkin, played by James Bilbo of Ellisville, come to life. Along the way, Traci is exposed to a world with racial tensions and change on the horizon. While poking fun at the stereotypes of the era, JC’s production of “Hairspray” with its catchy tunes and clever lyrics features a talented cast of more than 35 students, a live orchestra and a couple of seasoned pros. “Hairspray” is produced and directed by JC theater instructor, Jennifer Bruton, and she is assisted by musical performer, Bruce Smith.
“We chose “Hairspray” because we wanted something familiar, fresh and really fun! This is a high-energy show with a big and very diverse cast. The students made our casting decisions very difficult since over 60 of them auditioned! The administration has been incredibly encouraging and we’re receiving additional support from across the campus, from set construction to styling wigs!” said Bruton.
This year, an additional performance includes opening night on Thursday, February 28, at 7 p.m. The cast will perform two shows on Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 and at 7 p.m. The final performance of “Hairspray” will be Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 p.m. in the M. P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium on the JC campus in Ellisville. Tickets are $5 for children 17 and under and $10 for adults with free admission for JC students and faculty with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased at the door. The movie version was rated PG, however parents should use their discretion for children younger than middle school. For more information, please contact Jennifer Bruton at 601-477-2675 or email her at, email@example.com.
The Broadway musical “Hairspray” is based on the John Waters movie and is a winner of eight Tony awards. Set in Baltimore in the early 1960s, “Hairspray” challenges the audience to see all the characters as equals regardless of race, size, or gender. While at the WZZT-TV studios, host Corny Collins played by the seasoned performer, Bruce Smith of Ellisville and Motormouth Maybelle, played by JC student, Denise McAddo of Bay Springs, spin the tunes that all the hippest kids are dancing to.
“I am so excited to be involved with Jones College Fine Arts,” said Bruce Smith who graduated from Jones in 1990 and performed in both of the college’s musicals. “The experience helped me prepare for a career in music and I am so excited to see this same thing happen for the students now. Jones was such a wonderful launching pad to prepare me.”
Also, joining the student cast is former JC Theater and USM graduate, Harlan Mapp of Hattiesburg as Traci’s mother, Edna Turnblad.
“The role of Edna has always been on my list of roles I would love to play simply because it’s so offbeat and different. She’s a big woman and loads of fun!” said Mapp. “Most importantly, I get the chance to interact with students who are in the same place I was just three years ago. I hope I can impact their theatrical lives like Joe Vanzandt did for me when he joined the cast of ‘Smoke on the Mountain’ when I was at JC.”
Tracy Turnblad is played by Laurel’s Kassidy Chandler, who is debuting on the Jones stage, however, she is a familiar face to audiences attending productions at West Jones High School and the Laurel Little Theatre. The musical, “Hairspray” drew her back to performing Chandler explained.
“This is one of my favorite musicals of all time because it is a really fun show with a great message. After taking some time off from performing, I began to really miss it. When I found out the musical was going to be ‘Hairspray’ I knew this was the show I wanted to get back into performing in musical theater,” Chandler said.
Also new to the Jones stage is Columbia’s, Lane Smith. The freshman has performed in several musicals at Columbia High School and couldn’t pass up the chance to play Tracy’s dad, Wilbur Turnblad.
“I haven’t had many challenges figuring out Wilber Turnblad. He is a very loving father and husband to Tracy and Edna and wants nothing more than to provide for his family. I am so honored to get to portray this loyal, lovable character who I can really relate to,” said Smith.
A couple of regulars on the Jones College stage, Davonzell Moncrief of Montrose and Kendra Stevison of Lucedale, have important roles in the musical. Moncrief plays Seaweed Stubbs, the African American boy who teaches Tracy some dance moves to help her reach her dream. He also begins dating Tracy’s friend, Penny Pingleton played by Stevison, which sparks a little conflict.
“Seaweed, who is probably the most controversial character in this production because of his race and his relationship with the young ingénue Penny Pingleton, is very similar to me. We share many characteristics except he is a dancer and I am not! The dancing is probably the most difficult part for me but I do get to do a few splits on stage and after much practice, I am discovering I do have a few moves!” said Moncrief.
Another pivotal character, Velma Von Tussle, portrayed by freshman, Lauren Hankins of Laurel, is the villainess of the musical. She is the racist producer of The Corny Collins Show and attempts to keep Tracy from integrating and dancing on the show.
“To portray Velma, I had to keep in mind that she is a character that everyone hates. She is very intimidating and she’s not a redeemable character, but usually, the ‘villain’ roles are the most fun to play!” said Hankins, who has been performing at the Laurel Little Theater and Encore Performing Arts Theater since she was five-years-old. “Velma is racist and that’s definitely something I don’t believe in. I have to remember that it was a different time and that it’s all acting.”
In addition to the many singers, dancers and musicians performing live, Bruton said many audience members often don’t realize that none of it can happen without an incredible amount of work behind the scenes.
“We want our students to know that the entertainment industry is a great career path for Jones College graduates. Theatres need welders, electricians, sound engineers, costume designers, and a host of other talented people; not just actors and singers,” Bruton explained.
For a look at rehearsal pictures, find the Facebook page, Jones College Musical Theatre, and the hashtag, #YouCantStoptheBobcats.
Cast of Hairspray 1-19
Tracy Turnblad – Kassidy Chandler, Laurel
Edna Turnblad- Special Guest-Harlan Mapp
Wilbur Turnblad – Lane Smith, Columbia
Penny Pingleton – Kendra Stevison, Lucedale
Purdy Pingleton/mom – Kalyn Bales, Stringer
Link Larkin – James Bilbo, Ellisville
Corny Collins-Special Guest- Bruce Smith
Seaweed J Stubbs – Davonzell Moncrief, Montrose
Little Inez – Avyana Russell, Houston, TX
Motormouth Maybelle – Denise McAdoo, Bay Springs
Motormouth Ensemble – Lacoby Keys, Moselle
Motormouth Ensemble – Zyion Pittman, Soso
Motormouth Ensemble – James “Mikey” Smith, Hattiesburg
Motormouth Ensemble – Derrick Williams, Laurel
Motormouth Ensemble – Nathaniel Gamblin, Waynesboro
Dynamite, Shayna – Keara Altman, Quitman
Dynamite, Kamilah – Auddsey Dantzler, Hattiesburg
Dynamite, Judine – Reagan Dukes, Laurel
Mr. Pinky/IQ – Jorge Castillo, Ellisville
Velma Von Tussle – Lauren Hankins, Laurel
Amber von Tussle – Addison Nelms, Brandon
Stooie & Seaweed Understudy – Khalil Herron, Laurel
Cindy & Little Inez Understudy – Jada Abraham, Brandon
Brenda – Coco Caldwell, Laurel
Duane – Krimel Chandler, Liberty
Gilbert – DeMoyndre Morgan, Houston, TX
Lorraine – KaLisha Carter, Waynesboro
Louann – Kamryn McGee, Hattiesburg
Shelley – Shaylee Thames, Petal
Spritzer – Caleb Pearce, Ellisville
Tammy – Sydney James, Waynesboro
Council/extra – Ella Barker, Hattiesburg
Council/extra – Jordan Butler, Ellisville
Beatnik/extra Pinkie – Layne Boykin, Waynesboro
Guard/flasher/Hotdog Vendor – Joshua Anderson, Leakesville
Pinkie/extra/matron – Lexie Floyd, Quitman
Principal/Bum – Matthew Haight, Mobile, AL
Gym teacher/Old lady – Emily Howard, Hattiesburg
ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s Office of Student Affairs will be hosting its annual Black History Leadership program on Tuesday, February 12, at 10 a.m. in the JC Fine Arts Auditorium. The public is invited to attend this free event to hear featured guest speaker and COO of the Mississippi Economic Council, Cathy Northington. She will speak on this year’s event theme, “Leading to Make a Difference.”
“I believe Cathy is a perfect example of taking challenges and adversity in life and turning them into something positive. Everyone needs to be reminded of the gifts, skills and talents that they’ve been blessed with and to use them to help others around them. Leaders like Cathy are definitely making a difference in our communities and I thought that her story and experience would be a great reminder for our campus community,” said coordinator of the event and Jones College’s assistant to the president for corporate training, Dr. Samuel Jones.
Before being named the Chief Operating Officer for the state’s largest broad-based business organization, Northington served the MEC as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. She began at the MEC more than fifteen years ago as a part-time employee and has continued to work her way up by managing a variety of key projects and programs. Since 2007, she has directed the nations’ second-oldest leadership program, Leadership Mississippi. Northington and her team also manage the MEC’s three major meetings: The MEC Annual Meeting, the MEC Hobnob Mississippi and the MEC Capital Day, which hosts more than 1,500 business and community leaders, and elected officials.
The Jackson native studied marketing at Mississippi College and is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, an intensive four-year nonprofit leadership training program conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the University of Georgia. Northington also enjoys giving back to the community through her volunteer work as a member of the Junior League of Jackson, United Way of the Capital Area and American Heart Association’s Circle of Red. A mother of three, Northington is also a member of the Madison Ridgeland Rotary Club and a board member of the R.E.A.L. Christian Foundation.
Some of the honors Northington has received include being chosen as the Our Mississippi Magazine 2018’s Business Women of the Year, the Women’s Fund 2018 Business Woman of the Year, the 2017 Young Gifted and Empowered Leader of the Year, Savvy Magazine’s 2016 Leader of the Year, a 2012 recipient of the Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 award, and she was a member of the Mississippi Business Journal’s 50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi for 2014.
ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s Workforce College is offering a welding day class at the Whitehead Advanced Technology Center in Ellisville in January. The course will meet Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., beginning Monday, January 22, 2019, through Friday, March 29, 2019.
This 8-week welding class will cover welding safety, Oxyfuel cutting, basic metal preparation, weld quality, SMAW (stick welding), steel prep and basic fabrication. A workforce certificate will be issued to successful students upon completion of the course. The cost of the class is $350. Students are responsible for their own personal protective equipment. Financial assistance may be available to qualified students.
To register and pay for the welding class please come to the Whitehead Advanced Technology Center or call 601-477-4114 to register and to pay for the cost of the class with a credit card.