PRCC''s top scholars include 71-year-old history student

April 26, 2011 - 2:05pm -- braswell

POPLARVILLE - The Outstanding Student in history at Pearl River Community College retired before most of his fellow students were born.Eugene Underwood of Lumberton received the award Tuesday, April 19, during PRCC annual Awards Day on the Poplarville campus.At 71, Underwood has uncovered a dormant interest in history.I went to one of the old separate-but-equal schools that no longer exists, he said. I didnt have any history. Ive just latched on to it. It intrigues me.Underwood is taking Western Civilization II and English Composition I this semester, fitting the classes around his work schedule as a PRCC custodian.He just the perfect student in that he reads his material, he prepares for discussions, he ready for exams, said Dr. Stephen Black, history instructor. He contributes to class discussions, asks meaningful questions. He borrows books and he reads them. He on top of his game.A native of Lumberton, Underwood retired in 1973 as a housekeeping supervisor with the New York Department of Hospitals and returned home. He worked for a number of years as a winder at Cooper Power in Lumberton, then retired again.Five years ago, he returned to the workforce at PRCC.I got kind of tired of sitting around, he said. While working in academic buildings, he soaked up the educational atmosphere.I used to listen at the doors to different teachers, he said.In his spare time, Underwood was handwriting a memoir and decided to take a computer class in hopes of making the writing easier. He didnt do well in the computer class but easily passed the New Testament Survey course he also took that first semester.Since then, he taken Old Testament Survey, psychology, sociology, speech and Western Civilization I.Except for computers, I havent made anything lower than a B, Underwood said. I never thought about education. I graduated in 1956-57. Fifty-three years later, I couldnt believe I was back in school making A.Other awards presented during the annual Awards Day program include:nPhi Theta Kappa 2010 All-Missisisppi Academic Team - Taylor Craven of Oak Grove and Caleb Lott of Poplarville.nMississippi State University Presidential Partnership Scholarship - Joshua Bowman of Poplarville.nCitizenship Award for academic students - Jillian Harris of Kiln and Billy Ward of Foxworth.nCitizenship Award for career-technical students - Summer McLaine of Bay St. Louis.nCitizenship Award for Hancock Center - Kristen Austin of Kiln.Department of Business and Commerce TechnologynAccounting Technology - Tima Coleman of Poplarville.nBusiness and Marketing Management Technology - Katie Davenport of Wiggins.nComputer Networking Technology - Justin Prince of Picayune.nMedical Billing and Coding Technology - Jennifer Lowe of Purvis.nMedical Office Systems Technology - Kayla Hall of Petal.nOffice System Technology - Rebecca Carpenter of Picayune.Department of Fine Arts and CommunicationnDrawing - Jane Beard of Poplarville.nMusic - Dale Beech of Carriere.nPainting - Rowene Lile of Lumberton and Caroline Crosby of Carriere.nPublic Speaking - Riley Rouse of Purvis.nSpecial Studios - Ashlie Miller of Carriere.Department of Health, Physical Education and RecreationnBaseball - Matthew Magee of Petal.nMen Basketball - Phillip Crawford of Mobile, Ala.nWomen Basketball - Kenyatta Epps of Yazoo City.nFootball - Steve McNair Jr. of Oak Grove.nScholar Athletes - Tran Diep of Biloxi and Brandon Duck Bernard of Petal.nMen Soccer - Steven Harris of Poplarville.nWomen Soccer - Jordan Organ of Hattiesburg.nSoftball - Jordan Adams of Saucier.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesnCreative Writing - Jessica Bellamy of Geismar, La., Clara Bridges of Lumberton, Tran Diep of Biloxi, Ken Hall and Jessica Teston, both of Picayune.nCriminal Justice - Rachel Huff of Forest.nEnglish - Jessica Teston of Picayune.nPolitical Science - Matthew Barton of Petal.nPsychology - Emmanuel Adejo of Abuja, Nigeria.nSociology - Brett Russ of Poplarville.nSpanish - William A. Smith of Poplarville.Department of Industrial TechnologynDrafting and Design Technology - Adam Holder of Baton Rouge, La.nElectronics Technology - William B. Rasmussen of Hattiesburg.nInstrumentation Technology - Daniel Schober of Diamondhead.Department of Nursing EducationnNursing I - Lacy Pigeon of Lumberton.nNursing II - Ashley Merritt of Lumberton.nNursing III and IV - Zachary Robinette of Hattiesburg.nNursing V and VI - Chelsey Alexander of Lumberton.nNursing Leadership - Rachel Aultman of Sumrall.nPractical Nursing - Justin Odom of Poplarville.Department of Occupational TrainingnAutomotive Mechanics Technology - Joshua Spence of Picayune.nBarbering - Cedric Watts of Columbia.nBrick, Block and Stonemasonry - Bobby Cooley of Brooklyn.nConstruction Management Technology - Meri Spencer of Bay St. Louis.nEarly Childhood Development Technology - Victoria Edwards of Lumberton.nHeating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Refrigeration Maintenance Technology - Wesley Watson of Bassfield.nPrecision Manufacturing and Machining Technology - Brent B. Secondine of Carriere.nElectrical Technology - Colby Dyess of Columbia.Department of Science, Mathematics and BusinessnAccounting - Charrie Ann Berard of Sumrall.nBiology - Brandon Ladner of Poplarville.nBusiness - Kevin Mederos of Carriere.nComputer Science - Colton Ladner of Kiln.nEngineering - Eric Nilsson of Carriere.nMathematics - Joshua Bowman of Poplarville.nPhysics - Ben Lee of Picayune.Hancock CenternHancock Center Leadership - Christina Thompson of Diamondhead.Student OrganizationsnDECA Outstanding Member - Dakota Dale of Purvis.nPhi Beta Lambda Outstanding Member - Christina M. Dunn of Poplarville.nPhi Theta Kappa Outstanding Member - Joshua Bowman of Poplarville.nSkills USA Outstanding Member - Kelsey Crago.nWho Who Among American Community Colleges 2010-11 - Dale Beech, Haley Jones, Hayleigh McCardle, Sarah Moseley, Chelsea Thomas and Kristina Williams, all of Carriere; Rebecca Carpenter, Marcus Lindsey, Kellie Lumpkin, Jay Magruder, Kate Renae Mitchell and Jordan Vaughan, all of Picayune; Tina Coleman, Joann Guillot, Kimberly McAndrew, Lacey Odom, Kieren Rouse and Spencer Windham, all of Poplarville; Stephen Berry, Ryan Morris and Hannah Pierce, all of Columbia; Robert Boudin, Karen Hancock and Meri Spencer, all of Bay St. Louis; Jessica Hemingway and Andrea Maxwell, both of Hattiesburg; Joshawa Billiott and Jordan Pettigrew, both of Kiln; Leanne Griffith of Prentiss, Kayla Hall of Petal, Katie Davenport of Wiggins, Brad Bennett of Pearlington, Heather McLain of Taylorsville, Courtney Morris of Ocean Springs, Scott Pavlisick of Saucier, Emily Reid of Kokomo, Joshua Shaw of Gulfport, Caleb Soley of Carnes, Taurean Williamson of Waynesboro and Margaret Worrell of Waveland.