POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College will offer a summer welding course in Poplarville. The course meets from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, beginning May 15 and ending June 29. Cost is $250. Enrollment requires a completed application, a clean drug screen at the student’s expense and receipt for full payment from the PRCC business office. Applications can be obtained by telephoning Sheila Smith at 601 403-1241 or Cheryl Frierson at 601 403-1113. All three items must be turned in together to Smith at the Career Education Building on Wildcat Drive on the Poplarville campus. The course offers an industry-recognized welding certificate, including applications for 10-hour OSHA certification, basic lift truck operator OSHA certification and AWS structural certification. Students must be 18 by the first day of class and provide welding shield, gloves and cap; steel-toed shoes, long-sleeve shirt, ear plugs and safety glasses. Tuition assistance may be available through the Department of Human Services SNAP Employment and Training Funds. For information on applying for SNAP assistance, contact Sonya Hunt at 601 336-0069 or email@example.com.
POPLARVILLE - A summer pipefitting course will be taught at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville. The course meets from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, beginning May 15 and ending June 29. Cost is $250. The class offers an industry-recognized pipefitting certificate, including applications for 10-hour OSHA certification, basic lift truck operator OSHA certification and NCCER credentials in introductory craft skills and pipefitting levels I and II modules. Enrollment requires a completed application, a clean drug screen at the student’s expense, CRC certificate rated silver or better and receipt for full payment from the PRCC business office. Applications can be obtained by telephoning Sheila Smith at 601 403-1241 or Cheryl Frierson at 601 403-1113. Testing for the CRC is offered free at the Woodall Center, 906 Sullivan Drive, Hattiesburg; 601 554-4646. All four items must be turned in together to Smith at the Career Education Building on Wildcat Drive on the Poplarville campus. Students must be 18 by the first day of class and provide welding shield, gloves and cap; steel-toed shoes, long-sleeve shirt, ear plugs and safety glasses. Tuition assistance may be available through the Department of Human Services SNAP Employment and Training Funds or WIOA funds through the WIN Job Center. For information on applying for tuition assistance, contact Sonya Hunt at 601 336-0069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pearl River Community College color guard won the Gold Medal for its division in the University Regional A category of the Mississippi Indoor Association competition April 1 in Jackson. Guard members are, front row from left, Heather Shows of Kiln, Raven White of d’Iberville, Garyn Miller of Columbia; second row, Morgan Runyan and Courtney Sones, both of Carriere; Brantley Welsh of Petal and Elle McDaniel of Sandy Hook. The squad won the Gold Medal in only its second year of competition. Directors are Kelcey Whitfield Becnel and Zach Hassell.
Tyler McKenzie, 9-year-old brother of Madison Peco of Franklinton, La., throws out the first pitch at the Pearl River Community College Cancer Awareness softball games on April 1. Peco, a PRCC freshman, passed away March 18 after battling leukemia. The game raised funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where she was treated. Watching the first pitch are, from left, Lady Wildcats Kayla Williams of Walker, La., Jackie Shows of Saucier, Coach Leigh White, players Sarah Depperschmidt and Ilyssa Easton, both of Hurley, Krista Robles of Destrehan, La., Peco’s parents Jason and Patsy McKenzie and Chloe McKenzie, 6. PRCC Public Relations photo
POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College will expand its summer adventure camps for elementary and middle school children through a grant from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation. The foundation approved $8,750 to add camps for students through the eighth grade and offer additional topics. The Wildcat Way 2 Adventure camps started in the summer of 2017. “These summer academic day camps will expand the offerings in science, mathematics and technology and offer additional opportunities in art, music, robotics and etiquette,” said Brenda Wells, PRCC director of professional and community development. “Half-day and full-day activities will be offered during June and July.” Dates, cost and registration information will be provided through area news media and social media and on the PRCC website, Wells said. “It is often stated that repetition strengthens learning,” siad Clyde Dease, foundation president. “Therefore, the Wildcat Way 2 Adventure - Kid’s College is about to put this theory to the test. Participants in this summer camp will have an excellent opportunity review and practice many of the math, science, art, writing and leadership concepts learned prior to this camp, and they will be able to learn and explore new opportunities during these academic summer camps.”
Clyde Dease, president of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, presents a check for $8.750 to Brenda Wells and Dr. Adam Breerwood for the Pearl River Community College Wildcat Way 2 Adventure - Kid’s College summer academic camps. As PRCC director of professional and community development, Wells is coordinating the camps. Breerwood is vice president for the Poplarville campus and Hancock Center. PRCC Public Relations photo
POPLARVILLE - Pearl River County officials explained the basics of county operations and financing Thursday, April 6, to members of the Poplarville Area Chamber of Commerce at a Lunch and Learn hosted by Pearl River Community College. The presentation was one of a series held recently to give taxpayers information on where their money goes. “We don’t want you kept in the dark,” said District 3 Supervisor Hudson Holliday. “We want you to understand what’s going on.” He took the audience through a brief explanation of county departments, how much money they spend and the source of that money. Much of the waste taxpayers complain about can’t be eliminated, he said. The combined budgets of the sheriff’s department, jail, courts, prosecutors and public defenders eat up about half of the county’s $16.9 million general fund, he said. “Fifty percent of our money goes to bad behavior,” Holliday said. “That’s a waste. We spend $200,000 picking up litter. That’s a waste. But if we didn’t, imagine what our roads and highways would look like.” The county maintains 851 miles of road with local funds only. Of those, 250 miles are rated as fair, poor or very poor. Material costs for county employees to fix them come to about $9 million while the county has $1 million in the budget. “We’ve got to be creative and make the most out of whatever we do,” District 1 Supervisor Donald Hart said. Upkeep of roads, a primary complaint of taxpayers, accounts for a small portion of property tax bills, county administrator Adrian Lumpkin said. “About two tanks of gas is what you pay to drive on 851 miles of roads,” he said. County officials are working to create an economic development entity to attract more business and industry, he said. “We have to embrace that goal as leaders in Pearl River County that we’re going to have to expand and grow,” he said. “We’ve got to figure out how to embrace this.” District 4 Supervisor Farron Moeller also attended. The Lunch and Learn was sponsored by Wells Insurance.
Photo caption: Pearl River County Supervisor Hudson Holliday explains the organization and financing of the county during a Lunch and Learn meeting on April 6 at Pearl River Community College. PRCC Public Relations photo
Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia Moody, Director of Admissions and Records, ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator, and Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5537, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060.
POPLARVILLE - The Pearl River Community College choral department will present its spring concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, at the Brownstone Center for the Arts. The concert will include a mixture of genres and styles performed by the Wildcat Men’s Choir and Belle Cantante Women’s Choir. Both are directed by LaDona Tyson. Admission is $5 for the public and free for PRCC students with ID.
POPLARVILLE - Future engineers have been chosen as Mr. and Miss PRCC at Pearl River Community College. Parker Dungan of Columbia and Belle Failla of Picayune were elected by the student body. Both plan on becoming engineers. Class favorites for the Poplarville campus are sophomores Jenna Lee and Austin Watson, both of Picayune, and freshmen Cabrein Bell of Pearlington and Dalton Spiers of Poplarville. Forrest County Center favorites are sophomores Gary Easterling and Alexis Pickens, both of Hattiesburg, and freshmen Hailey Holland of Columbia and Jared Keys of Hattiesburg. Hancock Center class favorites are sophomores Kamri Jones of Bay St. Louis and Juwan Hollins and freshmen Tianna Pierson of Bay St. Louis and Jimmie Toler of Pass Christian. Dungan, 20, is the son of Jeff and Rene Dungan of Columbia. A graduate of Columbia High School, is a pitcher on the Wildcat baseball team and a Fellowship of Christian Athletes worship leader. He plans to become a civil engineer although he has not decided where to continue his education. Failla is the 22-year-old daughter of David and Cindy Failla of Picayune. She is president of the Iota Mu chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Miss PRCC Wildcat 2017 and a member of the Honors Institute, Student Alumni Association and the 2016 homecoming court. A graduate of Mother of Divine Grace, she plans to student mechanical engineering at Mississippi State University. Lee, 20, is the daughter of Kristen Anderson of Picayune and the late Chris Lee. A graduate of Pearl River Central High School, she is president of the Student Government Association, vice president of the Honors Institute and a member of the Student Alumni Association and PTK. She plans to attend Mississippi College to study medical science. Watson, a graduate of Picayune Memorial High School, is majoring in business management and hopes to receive an intership at Stennis Space Center or Elevation Church. He is a member of the PRCC cheerleading squad and FCA. He is the 20-year-old son of Glen and Debbie Miller of Picayune. Bell, 19, is the daughter of Cabrina Bell of Pearlington. A graduate of Hancock High School, she plans to transfer to Alcorn State University to study physical therapy. Spiers, 19, is the son of Hank and Dana Spiers of Poplarville. A graduate of Poplarville High School, he is a member of the Honors Institute, PTK and the Baptist Student Union. He is a business education major. Easterling is a graduate of Hattiesburg High School. The 20-year-old son of Genean and Rodrick Buffaloe of Hattiesburg, he is a member of the Beta Tau Gamma PTK chapter. He plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi to student computer science. Pickens, 19, is the daughter of Pamela and Albert Pickens Jr. of Hattiesburg. A graduate of Oak Grove High School, she is president of the Forrest County Center SGA and was on the 2016 homecoming court. She plans to study forensics at USM. A graduate of Prentiss Christian School, Holland is the 18-year-old daughter of Angela and Marc Holland of Columbia. She is a member of Collegiate DECA, was on the 2016 homecoming court and is a business management technology major. She plans to continue modeling after graduation. Keys, 24, is the son of Michael Keys of Hattiesburg and Cynthia Hope of Melbourne, Fla. A graduate of Oak Grove High School, he is a biochemistry major who plans to transfer to USM after completing his PRCC studies. Jones, 21, is the daughter of Brandi Wyman of Bay St. Louis and Nathaniel Jones of Lucedale. A graduate of Hancock High School, she is president of the Hancock Center SGA, active in community service and was on the 2016 homecoming court. She plans to study psychology at Houston University. Pierson is the 18-year-old daughter of Nathan and Anjelica Pierson of Bay St. Louis. She is vice president of the Hancock Center SGA and a nursing major. She is a graduate of Bay High School. Toler is the son of Jason and Lynn Toler of Baton Rouge. A graduate of Tascosa High School, he is majoring in accounting and plans to attend USM. Hollins, 19, is the son of Tara Kutscherenko of Waveland. A graduate of Hancock High School, he is a member of PTK. He plans to transfer to USM to study sports management after finishing the associate’s degree at PRCC.
Class favorites are, seated from left, Forrest County Center sophomore Alexis Pickens of Hattiesburg, Hancock Center sophomore Kamri Jones of Bay St. Louis, Forrest County Center freshman Hailey Holland of Columbia; standing, Hancock Center freshmen Jimmie Toler of Pass Christian and Tianna Pierson of Bay St. Louis, Forrest County Center sophomore Gary Easterling of Hattiesburg, Poplarville campus freshmen Cabrein Bell of Pearlington and Dalton Spiers of Poplarville, Poplarville campus sophomores Jenna Lee and Austin Watson, both of Picayune.
Belle Failla of Picayune and Parker Dungan of Columbia were elected Miss and Mr. PRCC 2017.
Wayne Halcomb of Poplarville, a student at Pearl River Community College, has received a $1,000 Skills USA scholarship through the Southeastern Construction Owners and Associates Roundtable in partnership with Build Your Future. Halcomb is a student in the MI-BEST program which allows him to study masonry at PRCC while completing his high school equivalency degree. He placed first in state Skills USA competition in masonry.
POPLARVILLE - The Symphonic Band at Pearl River Community College will present its spring concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the Brownstone Center for the Arts. The program will include John Philip Sousa’s Washington Post March, Take My Hand, Espana Cani and Bugler’s Holiday. Take My Hand was commissioned by PRCC and composed by Luigi Zaninelli as a tribute to the late Medgar Evers. Dr. Kyle Hill is director of bands, assisted by Mike Bass and Reuben McDowell. Admission to the concert is $5.
POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College honored five outstanding alumni Thursday, April 13, with induction into the PRCC Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame. They are Lamar County educator Carolyn Lott Adams, retired PRCC instructor Dr. James “Jimmy” Barnes of Poplarville, Grenada physician Dr. Thomas Holden, business executive Bill James of Leesburg, Fla., and Slap Ya Mama founder and attorney Tony Walker of Ville Platte, La. The college selected them based on success in their professions after getting their start at Pearl River. PRCC began the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame in 2012 with a secondary purpose of linking them to the PRCC Honors Institute. “We’re going to use you,” said PRCC President Dr. William Lewis before they were inducted. “You’ve become role models for our students. The purpose of this event is far-reaching.” Adams attended Pearl River in 1958-59. She retired from the Lamar County School District after almost 40 years as a teacher and administrator and was elected in November 2016 to the county school board. “This has really touched me,” she said. “It’s been a long time since I first put my foot on the Pearl River campus. I loved it. It set the stage for me for the rest of my life. I have had a passion for education.” Barnes played basketball at Pearl River in 1955-57 and returned to spend 37 years as a science instructor and department chairman. He also served as alderman and mayor in Poplarville. “My graduate work at the University of Southern Mississippi was primarily done based on what I learned at PRC,” Barnes said. As department chair, he served on visiting accreditation teams for the Southern Association of College and Schools. “I wanted to visit other schools in other states and see how we compared,” he said. “I found out PRC was very competitive.” Holden grew up on campus where his parents, Dobie and Earlora Holden, were football coach and instructor, respectively. He played football and tennis in 1956-58 and was charter president of Phi Theta Kappa honor society before becoming an obstetrics-gynecology physician. “I climbed on the roof of every building,” he said of his childhood. “I climbed the water tower. I’m grateful to have lived in that golden era, the ‘50s. I’m honored to be selected as one of the inductees.” James, starting quarterback for the Wildcats in 1954-56, spent his career as an executive in the electric utility industry in Florida and Indiana and teaching as an adjunct college instructor. “I was very humbled to receive an award like this,” James said. “Pearl River set a pattern. I’ve been a big supporter of the community college as the middle stick.” He encouraged the Honors Institute students to learn all their lives. “People graduating from college today have to be thirsty learners ... because the world is changing at a tremendous pace,” he said. Walker also made a mark as the starting quarterback in 1974-76 before returning home to Louisiana and spending 28 years as an assistant district attorney. He also founded Slap Ya Mama, a family business which manufactures Cajun products. “It was 40 years ago that a skinny kid with a lot of curly black hair showed up at Pearl River Junior College,” Walker said. “I settled down and realized that things would have to happen if I wanted to go anywhere in life. It’s a team effort. There’s a lot of members to everybody’s team. Pearl River Junior College was there for me.”
Alumni inducted into the Pearl River Community College 2017 Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame are, seated from left, Grenada physician Dr. Thomas Holden, Lamar County educator Carolyn Lott Adams; standing, business executive Bill James of Leesburg, Fla.; educator Dr. James “Jimmy” Barnes of Poplarville and Slap Ya Mama founder Tony Walker of Ville Platte, La. PRCC Public Relations photo
WAVELAND - Pearl River Community College will offer welding during the summer at the Hancock Center in Waveland. The class will meet from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, beginning May 23 and ending July 27. Classes meet in the Hancock Center welding shop at 454 Highway 90, Waveland. Cost for the course is $250 with $50 due when the application is turned in and the remainder by the first day of class. The class offers an industry recognized certificate in welding, including applications for certifications in 10-hour OSHA and NCER introductory craft skills core curriculum and Level I welding modules. Applications can be obtained by contacting Raymond Jarrell at 228-252-7011. Workforce Investment Act tuition assistance is available through WIN Job Centers. For assistance with WIA, contact Sonya Hunt at 601 403-1101 or 601 336-0069 or email@example.com. Students must be 18 years old by the start of class and must provide welding shield, gloves and hat, steel-toed shoes, safety glasses, ear plugs and a long sleeve shirt.
Pearl River Community College will present its USO Show on Thursday, April 27, featuring the college’s RiverRoad showchoir, JazzCats band and The Voices ensemble. The show is the final production of the 2016-17 year for the Department of Fine Arts and Communication. RiverRoad will perform its USA/Boogie show, including R.O.C.K. in the USA, Livin’ in America and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. The JazzCats will play Jumpin’ at the Woodside, Shiny Stockings, Things Ain’t What They Used to Be and In the Mood. The Voices will sing I’ll Be Seeing You, America the Beautiful and It Don’t Mean a Thing. The JazzCats and The Voices will conclude the show with Smack Dab in the Middle. Michael Bass directs the JazzCats, and LaDona Tyson is director of RiverRoad and The Voices. The show begins at 7 p.m. in the Brownstone Center for the Arts. Admission is $5.
Pearl River Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapters were honored in front of more than 4,000 students and advisors at the PTK International Catalyst Convention April 5-8 in Nashville. The Beta Tau Gamma chapter at the Forrest County Center was recognized as a Top 100 Chapter, competing against more than 1,300 chapters worldwide. Brendan Massey and Alison McIntyre, both Beta Tau Gamma members from Hattiesburg, were recognized in the Parade of Scholars. Massey has received the Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education as well as the Coca-Cola Gold Academic Scholarship earlier this year and McIntyre earned a Coca-Cola Silver Academic Scholarship. Jonathan Morris, advisor for the Iota Mu chapter in Poplarville, received a Paragon Advisor Award. The two chapters also celebrated honors given to PRCC administrators. Dr. William Lewis, president, received the Michael Bennet Lifetime Achievement Award while Dr. Martha Lou Smith, vice president for general education and technology, received the Distinguished Community College Administrator Award. The chapters also were recognized for College Projects which won awards regionally. Beta Tau Gamma placed third at the regional level for A Whole Health Fair for Mind and Body. Iota Mu’s project, Crunch Time Tutoring, was sixth. Attending the convention from the Beta Tau Gamma chapter were Nathan Young, Said Otwane, Rachael Carraro, Brendan Massey, Alison McIntyre, Melissa Novak, Annie Leon, Raechel Zimmerman, Taylor Barefoot, Cole Yates, Shelley Everett and Lorenzo Catlett along with advisors Dr. Doug Donohue, Jennifer Mraz, Dr. Ryan Ruckel and Dr. Terri Ruckel. Iota Mu members at the convention were Skylar Taggart, Travis Stennet, Marella Failla and Belle Failla along with advisors Trevor Hunt, Jonathan Morris, Robin Nix and Lisa Palchak.
Beta Tau Gamma members and advisors at the convention were Nathan Young, Said Otwane, Rachael Carraro, Brendan Massey, Alison McIntyre, Melissa Novak, Annie Leon, Raechel Zimmerman, Taylor Barefoot, Cole Yates, Shelley Everett and Lorenzo Catlett, advisors Dr. Doug Donohue, Jennifer Mraz, Dr. Terri Ruckel and Dr. Ryan Ruckel.
Iota Mu chapter advisors Trevor Hunt, Jonathan Morris and Robin Nix attended the convention along with students Skylar Taggart of Carriere, Travis Stennett of Kiln, Marella Failla and Belle Failla of Picayune and advisor Lisa Palchak.
Retired welder Glen Smith of Hattiesburg, front right, donated welding equipment, tools and supplies to Pearl River Community College’s welding program on Thursday, April 20. Pictured with him at the PRCC welding shop are Dr. Ed Pinero, career-technical education director, PRCC student and employee Joseph Turner, welding instructors Heath Ladner and Leland Kennedy and Mike Turner, Joseph Turner’s father. Smith’s friendship with the Turners led him to donate the equipment, worth about $3,500, to Pearl River. PRCC Public Relations photo
Welding students from all three campuses of Pearl River Community College take written tests for Ingalls Shipbuilding on Monday, April 24, in Poplarville. The company hired 13 students. PRCC Public Relations photo
The American Association of Women in Community Colleges today named Dr. Jana Causey as one of the organization’s Top 40 under 40. She was presented the award during the AAWCC convention in New Orleans. “Pearl River Community College is extremely proud of this recognition that Dr. Jana Causey has earned from the American Association of Women in Community Colleges,” said Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president. “This award recognizes the next generation of community college leadership from institutions around the country. To be included in this small number of honorees is an outstanding tribute to Dr. Causey and her abilities and is an honor for our institution.” Causey is vice president for PRCC’s Forrest County operations. She was nominated for the honor by Dr. Amanda Parker, assistant vice president for Forrest County Operations, who wrote, “For the past eight years, I have had the privilege to work in the community college setting under the supervision of Dr. Causey. She served as my department chair in which she always encouraged and supported me, but perhaps most importantly, she has served as a mentor throughout my career who has helped mold me into the individual I am today. Dr. Causey strives to be a role model for women in leadership roles. “In a short 11 years, Dr. Causey has moved from the role of biology instructor to vice president. In each position she has demonstrated the dedication and involvement it takes to blossom in the community college setting. As campus vice president, she promotes and encourages faculty and staff. She has high expectations, strong integrity, and works hard every day.” Causey received an associate’s degree from PRCC where she played softball and basketball and was homecoming queen. She earned the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. She began her teaching career at North Forrest High School before coming to PRCC in 2006 as a biology and anatomy and physiology instructor. She served as instructional area coordinator, then department chair for the Forrest County Center science department. She was named assistant vice president for Forrest County Operations in July 2013 and vice president two years later. Causey has received the Alumnus Appreciation Award from Phi Theta Kappa international honor society and has completed the Pine Belt Leadership Program, PRCC Leadership Program and the Mississippi State Community College Leadership Academy. She is a member of several professional organizations. In addition to her professional responsibilities, she coaches youth basketball and softball, teaches a college Sunday school class and has been on the board of the Petal Children’s Taskforce for 15 years. She and her husband, Chris, live in Petal and have two children, Eli and Kate.
Dr. Jana Causey was honored by the American Association of Women in Community Colleges on Monday, April 24, at the national convention in New Orleans. She is shown with Dr. Adam Breerwood, incoming PRCC president, and Dr. William Lewis, president of PRCC.
A Pearl River Community College student is the second in three years to win the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship. Rachael Carraro is one of 55 scholars nationwide to achieve this $40,000 per year award to further her education. Make no mistake: To meet Carraro, who just turned 21 and is about to graduate from PRCC in May, you could never imagine the route she has taken while growing up in Hattiesburg. Poised and well-spoken, Carraro was a homeschool student, self-taught in many aspects. She is far removed from two perceived disadvantages of homeschooling, undeveloped social skills and inferior academic experience. “When I first got (to PRCC’s Forrest County Center), I was very introverted,” said Carraro. “I never had to interact with so many people at one time. People would notice me off by myself. They thought I was this girl who walked around campus and studied all the time.” Eventually, that changed. She became involved in many campus activities. At the top of the list is serving as president of the PRCC Honors Institute, vice president of the Student Government Association, and president of the social science club. While traveling with fellow students on the way to the Phi Theta Kappa convention in Nashville, Tenn., last month, one of her instructors, Dr. Ryan Ruckel, called her with the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship news. “I started screaming in the van,” she said. “I wanted to get out and jump on the highway. When we got to the hotel, I was jumping up and down. I did not realize it was worth $40,000. I was really happy in the moment. When I called my dad, he was so happy. He kept asking me, ‘How much money is this worth’?” Carraro, whose dad is a general contractor and mom serves as homemaker and tutor, is one of five girls and three boys. She is second oldest in a group that ranges from 22 down to 7, six of whom are being homeschooled today. Up until two months ago, she shared a room with her 7-year-old sister. They all went to public school some, except Rachael, who was homeschooled all the way through. The stigma of homeschooling was never a problem. “When I first got here, it was different,” she said. “I never had that kind of experience of people actually coming up to talk to me and not knowing anything about me. A lot of my friends did not realize I was homeschooled.” The transformation was not without its challenges. “After I finished middle school, I bought my own books online with a credit card,” she said. “I made my own lesson plans. I did not want to attend public schools. I heard about some of their experiences and I did not want to be a part of that. “When I got (to PRCC), I had to watch somebody teach me. I had to learn from books. I did not know what a syllabus was.” Carraro was 17 when she graduated from high school and unsure about her career path. She worked for a year at a retail store in Hattiesburg and did an internship in Kansas City with a Christian organization for six months. “That gave me time to think about what I wanted to do with my life,” she said. She chose to attend PRCC in 2015, unsure exactly what to major in. “I went from dental hygiene to architectural engineering to aerospace engineering,” she said. “I want to design planes, to be the person in the lab who experiments on engines and builds 3-D models. Both of my granddads worked on planes. One was an airplane mechanic in the Air Force, and the other one made jet engines. I just thought it was so fascinating.” Carraro’s accomplishments at PRCC are myriad. Dean’s list and president’s list, vice president of Phi Theta Kappa, Beta Tau Chapter; vice president of the History and Humanities Club, Who’s Who scholar, recognized as international scholar laurate scholar and much more. “Rachael is driven to success in everything that she does,” said Dr. Terri Ruckel, one of her instructors and advisor. “Whether she is performing at a BSU lunch in front of a hundred students or tutoring one classmate in algebra, Rachael gives her all. She has been a great student and a joy to watch as she has grown from a somewhat introverted girl into a confident young woman.” Said Carraro, “It was the Ruckels who encouraged me to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship. They coached me through it. It took me three months to do the paperwork. I had to get a homeschool transcript. I tutored my dad to help me write one.” Added Dr. Ruckel, “Rachel wrote for months to polish her application, going through multiple drafts with me in my office. She wanted her application to be perfect, and obviously, it was just what the evaluators were looking for.” Carraro is not sure where her future lies. She is looking at aerospace engineering programs at Mississippi State University, Purdue, Georgia Tech, MIT and others. She credits PRCC with her success and that of fellow students. “Everybody at PRCC has been so nice to me, starting with the admissions office,” she said. “I would not trade my experience at PRCC for anything.” PHOTO CAPTION: Pearl River Community College student Rachael Carraro (standing) looks over her class work with advisor Dr. Terri Ruckel.
Pearl River Community College student Annie Leon of Hattiesburg was a top 20 finalist at DECA’s International Career Development Conference April 26-29 in Anaheim, Calif. Leon competed in the sales management meeting category and qualified for the ICDC competition by placing first at the DECA state convention. She is a business management technology student at PRCC’s Forrest County Center. “Colleges from all over the United States, Canada, China and Mexico were present at ICDC,” said Katie Ball, DECA advisor and alumnus. “Having Annie make it past the preliminary round of competition is a huge accomplishment. The conference is filled with thousands of college students from all over the globe. Just knowing that one of our Pearl River students made it on stage should make everyone proud.”
Katie Ball, Pearl River Community College instructor and DECA advisor, left, and student Annie Leon of Hattiesburg attended the DECA International Career Development Conference where Leon placed in the top 20 in sales management meeting competition.
POPLARVILLE - Former Pearl River Community College baseball star and coach Jay Artigues was inducted into the Mississippi Community and Junior College Sports Hall of Fame during ceremonies on April 25 in Jackson. Artigues’ accomplishments in either capacity were outstanding. During his playing time (1988-89), he copped All-MACJC and All-Region XXIII first-team honors his sophomore season. He batted .414 and .416 his freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively, which are two of the highest batting averages in school history. He went on to play two seasons at Belhaven College, where he graduated in 1992 with a business administration degree. As PRCC’s head coach (2002-05), his record was 168-51. In his first season, Artigues led the Wildcats to a then school-record 42 wins and a berth in the 2002 JuCo World Series in Millington, Tenn. In his final season, he led the Wildcats, who began the season ranked No. 7 in Division II, to a 46-12 record and a No. 1 ranking in the final JuCo National regular-season poll. Artigues began his coaching career at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., and also worked at St. Louis High School in Lake Charles, La., St. Thomas Aquinas High in Hammond, La., and the University of New Orleans as an assistant. Artigues, a native of Bay St. Louis, then served as head coach at Bossier Parish Community College (107-57) before returning to PRCC in 2001. Following his time at PRCC, Artigues chalked up a successful stint as head baseball coach at Southeastern Louisiana. He joined the Southeastern athletics staff in 2005, serving eight seasons as the university's 15th head baseball coach, compiling a 276-188 win-loss record, and earning the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Co-Coach of the Year Award in 2010. During his tenure, the Lions excelled on and off the field. In addition to leading the Lions to consecutive Southland Conference Tournament championship games, Artigues has overseen a program that has consistently posted team grade point averages over 3.0. In October 2013, he was named the school’s Director of Athletics, a position he holds today. Jay and his wife Rachel are the parents of two sons, Christopher and Casey.
POPLARVILLE - Elementary and middle school students can learn and have fun at the same time at one or more of the Wildcat Way to Adventure Kids’ College camps at Pearl River Community College. PRCC is offering eight camps in June and July. Registration deadline for all is Thursday, May 11 and seating for all camps is limited. To register, contact Brenda Wells at 601 403-1420 or 601 403-1379 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Details about the camps are: •See You in the Funny Papers! Crash course in storyboard comic illustrations. 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 7. Seal Hall Room 111. Entering grades 7-9. $20. •Library Adventure. 8 a.m.-10 a.m. June 9 for girls. I Know I Can explores limitless opportunities. Entering grades 1 and 2. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. June 9 for boys. Legos! explores boys’ creative sides. Entering grades 1 and 2. Garvin Johnston Library. $5. •Robotics I: Mindstorms Adventure. Hands-on teamwork to build a LEGO robot and learn basic programming steps. 8:30-11:30 a.m. June 12-15, Science Building Room 127. Entering grades 3-5. $85. •Etiquette Explosion. Develop good manners, including thoughtfulness, communication skills, table manners and writing thank you notes through fun, crafts and activities. 8:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. June 15. Olivia Bender Cafeteria. Entering grades 1-6. $40. •Learn to Be a Citizen Scientist. Sample water from pond and running stream, contrast readings. Look for signs of animals and bugs near both locations and learn how data is used. 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., June 26. Science Building auditorium. Entering grade 6-8. $10. •Dot and Dash Robotics. Learn basic coding to make robots move and interact with light and sound. 8:30-11:30 a.m. June 27-29. Science Building Room 127. Entering grades 1 and 2. $50. •Astro Camp! Next Generation to Mars: Full STEAM Ahead. Part of NASA’s Out of School-time Learning (NOSL) network to engage in science, technology, engineering and math activities, including aeronautics, technology, engineering design with coding and robotics, solar and Earth systems and more. 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. June 27-30. Science Building auditorium. Entering grades 4-6. $50. •Adventures in Art. Experiment with watercolors and gravity washes. 9-11 a.m. July 10 for entering grades 1-3; 1-3 p.m. July 10 for entering grades 4-6. Moody Hall Room 319. $10.