Jones College’s Resource and Referral Center open to the public

ELLISVILLE-After nearly two years of waiting because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Resource and Referral Center at Jones College officially opened to serve the community. The ribbon-cutting and Open House celebration allowed daycare providers and community members to see everything the new Center offers for childcare professionals to family members and college students.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Gina Carr, Director of the Resource and Referral Center at Jones College. “We are thrilled to finally be able to share with the community these much-needed resources. Having the Resource and Referral Center on the campus of Jones College brings awareness to the importance of high-quality early childcare and education in our community.”

The mission of the Resource and Referral Center Network is to provide technical assistance, professional development, including a lending library for childcare providers and families, to support a nurturing learning environment in the home and the classroom. Ultimately, the goal is to promote healthy growth and learning for all children.

“So much happens in a young child’s brain early on. It is so critical that we capitalize on those formable years and that is what this new Center is about. In a perfect world, every kid entering kindergarten would be prepared socially and educationally, but sadly that’s not true. So, that is what this center is about, preparing kids both socially and educationally,” said Jones College Executive Vice President, Chief Academic and Financial Officer, Rick Youngblood.

The Center offers free resources, like books, toys, and educational materials including math and math manipulatives, science and STEM kits, language and literacy kits, curriculum enhancement materials, resource books for parenting and curriculum development and dramatic play items. Also, the Ellison Die Cut machine and lamination services are available for early childcare providers, elementary education students, parents, grandparents, and community members. By offering these resources and services free of charge, it allows providers the opportunity to invest back into their programs. Partnering with families and the community creates stronger families and a stronger community. The Resource and Referral Center also offers technical assistance for directors and classroom teachers and hosts training workshops for families and childcare providers.

“We work in conjunction with a different college throughout the state of Mississippi and come together monthly for training and professional development. We are one large network of resource and referral centers that functions together,” said Carr.

The materials provided in the Center are developmentally appropriate and are available to residents in Clarke, Covington, Greene, Jasper, Jones, Smith and Wayne Counties. Additionally, the new Center offers students in Jones College’s Early Childhood Education Technology program a wealth of resources to enhance not only their educational journey but also their student teaching experience, free of charge.

In addition, the ‘R & R’ Center provides a one-stop-shop for families and childcare providers, which includes assisting families to find and choose childcare settings that meet their children’s needs. Sensory sensitive toys and resources which parents can try out for two weeks to ensure their child benefits from that toy or resource are also available.

“We do believe that what we’re doing here is very special. Everything matters. What we are doing here is focused on education and our community,” said Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith.

Resource and Referral Center Networks are part of a federal law, required in all 50 states and are funded with federal dollars through the Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Early Childhood Care and Development. Jones College’s Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. except when Jones College is closed for holidays. For more information about the JC Resource and Referral Center, call 601-477-4139 or email at,

Jones College presents, “Madrigals & More” at Laurel’s First-Trinity Presbyterian Church

ELLISVILLE –Jones College’s Fine Arts Department invites the public to enjoy an evening of Renaissance music with the JC music department at its annual “Madrigals and More” concert, free of charge. The various small ensembles of JC students and faculty will be performing at First-Trinity Presbyterian Church in Laurel, on Tuesday, October 26, at 7 p.m. This special event spotlights a diverse group of performers, from student ensembles and solos to faculty solos, and faculty-student collaborations, featuring music from composers such as Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Landini and Johann Sebastian Bach, to John Dowland, Thomas Morley, Domenico Cimarosa, and Georg Philipp Telemann, to name a few.

Mackenzie Lacy and Chicago Collins

Concert hosts, JC Voices, under the direction of Dr. Susan A. Smith will perform a variety of selections from the Renaissance period. Additionally, various small vocal groups and solos will be featured throughout the evening including a performance by Assistant Director of Bands and percussion instructor, Dr. Josh Frans. He will add a new dimension to the evening with his performance of the fourth movement of J.S. Bach’s, Sonata No. 1 in G minor for marimba.

Dr. Michael Boyd, JC guitar instructor, will accompany JC students, Chicago Collins of Brookhaven and MacKenzie Lacy of Pass Christian as they sing the beautiful duet, Pur ti miro from Monteverdi’s LIncoronazione di Poppea.

Emily Valentine and Hanna Grace Wood

Also accompanying JC Voices on two instrumental and vocal selections will be Assistant Band Director and flute instructor Dr. Lindsey Keay, and piano instructor, Dr. Theresa Sanchez, and Drs. Boyd and Frans. JC students, Emily Valentine of Taylorsville and Hanna Grace Wood of Laurel will perform the stunning Antonio Caldara duet, Benedictus Deus, accompanied by Dr. Sanchez on organ. Darcy Beech of Ellisville, Savannah Greene of Sumrall, and Jalen Poindexter of Jackson will sing the very complex and intriguing trio, Whither Away So Fast, by Thomas Morley.

Darcy Beech, Jalen Pointdexter, and Savannah Greene

The trumpet ensemble, conducted by JC’s new, brass and music instructor, Caleb Owenby, will play a stately fanfare on the newly purchased, “Herald Trumpets.” The audience will also hear performances by Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Boyd, on somewhat rare instruments like the harpsichord and the lute. Additionally, the Flute Choir, Saxophone Ensemble and Brass Ensemble will perform a variety of early music selections, led by instrumental conductors and the Director of Bands, Dr. Ben Burge, Dr. Keay, and Owenby.

Faculty members Drs. Keay, Sanchez, and Boyd will each play solo selections, continuing a long tradition of collaborative performances hosted by JC Voices and Dr. Susan A. Smith. The concert will be narrated by JC voice instructor, Gregory Wascoe.

For more information about “Madrigals and More,” or to find out how to support JC Voices call 601-477-4203.

2021 Members of the Chamber Choir and Madrigal Singers

Conductor, Dr. Susan A. Smith

Accompanist, Dr. Theresa Sanchez

Darcy Beech, Ellisville

Chicago Collins, Brookhaven

Savannah Greene, Sumrall

Madison Lanier, Laurel

Kambri Pippin, Laurel

Jalen Poindexter, Jackson

Mackenzie Lacy, Pass Christian

Anna Leigh Ragsdale, Magee

Jaylon Sims, Raleigh

Jacob Strickland, Ovett

Josiah Raine, Picayune

Emily Valentine, Taylorsville

Hanna Grace Wood, Laurel


A new goal for Jones College’s SGA President equals new opportunities

ELLISVILLE – Soccer is just as much a part of 19-year-old Acacia Rodriguez’s life as breathing. The Clinton resident can’t remember a time when she wasn’t playing the game or kicking a ball. Soccer is also the key to opening the door for her to play for Lady Bobcat Soccer Head Coach, Dolores Deasley, which was not on her radar.

“My goal was to go to the University of West Florida where my high school coach played soccer. Coach Dolores reached out to me my senior year of high school and told me why she thought a JUCO would be right for me,” said Rodriguez. “I knew Coach Dolores was an international player and played for her country of Ireland. She has participated in top-level soccer and I want to do just that. Coach Dolores has the experience and knowledge to get me to the next level.”

The sophomore is well on her way to the “next level.” Rodriguez not only helped the Lady Bobcat Soccer team to a 14-3 record during the 2021 spring season, but she also helped the Bobcats qualify for its first-ever appearance in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Evans, Georgia. Her work paid off by being named to the NJCAA Division II All-Tournament Team and the All-MACCC First Team for the season. Rodriguez soon realized Jones College could equally prepare her to be just as successful transferring to the university and discovering other opportunities.

“I came to this campus with an open mind and a willingness to succeed and Jones has provided nothing but opportunities for me to do so,” said Rodriguez, who is majoring in Sports Management with a goal of playing soccer in Hawaii.

Rodriguez’s success on the soccer field should give Jones College students an idea of her ability to multi-task and use her time wisely. When she decided to run for the office of President of the Student Government Association, she knew it would be challenging to juggle her roles as a student-athlete and keep her 4.0 GPA. Rodriguez said she did not originally plan on leading the largest student organization on campus, but she knew she would be capable of organizing and accomplishing different projects for Jones and the community.

“I was a bit shocked that I won the election as Student Government Association President,” Rodriguez confessed. “I signed up for the ballot because I thought it would give me the opportunity to put myself out there. I am very excited, however for the chance to represent the student body and bring some exciting new projects and ideas to the college.”

A few projects the new SGA President wants to incorporate include more healthy living activities like bike races, walk-a-thons, and marathons around the city of Ellisville.

“I also want to bring back the social environment lost because of Covid-19. I would like to orchestrate different activities that would bring students and teachers out of their classrooms and dorms and socialize again,” she said.

Rodriguez was first introduced to Student Council in junior high school. Getting involved in huge projects around the community, allowed her to get to know more people. When she came to Jones College, she knew she wanted to get involved in campus activities on a larger scale. Rodriguez offers this advice for anyone not sure of the best way to succeed in college and life.

“Get out there! Everyone is friendly and ready to accept you with open arms. There is always a way to become involved! Another big thing that helps, treat everyone you meet with respect and that respect will be reciprocated.”

Jones College associate degree nursing students inducted into Alpha Delta Nu

ELLISVILLE –Jones College sophomore associate degree nursing students, Jamie Boleware-Collins, Hannah Bynum-Mendenhall, Anthony Daniels-Hattiesburg, Alyssa Mobbs-Hattiesburg, Callie Shows-Ellisville and Jeshaiah Stephens-Ellisville were inducted into the Nursing Honor Society, Alpha Delta Nu.  Requirements for induction into the Nursing Honor Society include having a “B” average in all nursing courses with no repeats, completing a capstone project prior to graduation and demonstrating conduct on campus and in clinical areas which reflect integrity and professionalism.

“The Jones nursing faculty were vital to our success. They nurtured us like our mothers while pushing us towards being the best nurses,” said Anthony Daniels.

Family, friends and students gathered for the induction ceremony to recognize the achievements of the five students.

Jones College celebrates retiring 2020 & 2021 employees

ELLISVILLE – Jones College held its annual “Retirement Tea” for 12 employees who retired in 2020 and the eight employees who are retiring this year. When combined, these 20 employees provided 459.5 years of service to JC, with some having additional years of service working at other educational institutions.

This year’s retirees include Ronald Bishop who has taught Social Science courses and served as the Division Chair for the department over his 32 years at Jones College. Lee Graham served in the Alumni and Foundation Office as Assistant Vice President for 18 years. For the last 15 years, Juanita Jefcoat worked for Workforce College as a Test Administrator at the Advanced Technology Center. Jeff Keeton has taught Forestry Technology for more than 26 years and served as Division Chair. Erin Knight also served the college for more than 26 years as Associate Degree Nursing Division Chair and instructor. Sonja McCaskill leaves Jones College after five years of teaching in the Social Science department. Tim Rayner is retiring after spending 28 years as a math instructor. Cheryl Windam has spent the last 25 years serving the college as an English instructor and Humanities Division Chair.

Retiring last May after 25 years, was Patricia Brownlee who worked in the Campus Housing department. Social Science instructor, Jacqueline Canizaro retired after 12 years. Joseph Davis served the college for 35 years as a Social Science and athletic trainer/instructor. After retiring as Athletic Director, Katie Herrington is also retiring as a physical education instructor after 32 years. Tim Ishee retired from teaching Agriculture Science after 34 years. Stan Lewis leaves Jones College with more than 17 years as an Electrical Technology instructor along with Randy Purdum, who spent 25 years also teaching Electrical Technology. Marilyn Long retired from the Duplicating Office after 22 years. David Lowery taught English courses for 18 years. After 29 years, Milton Newell retired from the Maintenance Department. Emily Phillips leaves the Associate Degree Nursing division as an instructor for 14 years. Winnie Walters ended her career as an instructor in Adult Education after 20 years.

Picture Cutline 20 and 21 retirees group – Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith and employees gathered to congratulate retiring employees from 2020 and 2021. These employees have served in various roles at the college and were honored at the annual Jones Retirement Tea. Pictured left to right seated are, Winnie Walters, Emily Phillips, Lee Graham, Erin Knight, Katie Herrington, Cheryl Windham, Jaqueline Canizaro, Sonja McCaskill and Marilyn Long.  Pictured standing in the back, left to right are Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith, Randy Purdum, David Lowery, Stan Lewis, Jeff Keeton, Joseph Davis, Milton Newell, Tim Rayner, Tim Ishee, and Ronald Bishop.