Graduates ready to move ahead

HATTIESBURG – Rain fell outside and a few tears of joy fell inside the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center Wednesday when Pearl River Community College held graduation.
Approximately 475 students took part in the annual rite, receiving their diplomas from PRCC President Dr. William Lewis.
The diplomas symbolize the knowledge and skill to be successful in the workplace or in furthering their education, Lewis said.
“Please remember that education is a lifelong process,” he said. “We wish for you the best life has to offer.”
Almost 1,000 students have completed the requirements for an associate in arts degree, an associate in applied science degree or a certificate in proficiency in the year since the 2013 commencement ceremony.
Dr. Eric Clark, executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board, reminded the graduates and their families not only of the importance of education but also encouraged them to be good people.
“I remember when I was taught the Golden Rule,” Clark said. “I was 5 years old and I remember a light bulb going off and thinking, ‘Now that’s a good idea’.”
Like Lewis, Clark stressed the need to make learning a lifelong habit with an additional admonition.
“In my opinion, it’s even more important to be a good person,” he said.
The graduates included 14 Honors Institute students, the second class to complete the program for academically-gifted students. In addition to diplomas, they received Honors Institute certificates.
Many of the graduates, like Lynell Powell of Purvis and Sarah Gibson of Petal, will continue their education. Both will attend William Carey University.
Mitchell Tadlock of Raleigh, who completed the electrical technology program, already signed an employment contract with Ingalls Shipbuilding. But a torn knee ligament means he faces surgery and a delay in going to work.
“They said to call when I can work,”  Tadlock said.
For Priscilla Wellman of Slidell, La., formerly of Picayune, graduation was a day of mixed emotions. She attached glittery gold letters to her cap, reading “This is for you, Daddy, a tribute to her late father, James Nelson, who died when she was three years old.
“I’m the first one in my family to graduate from college,” she said as tears threatened to spill from her eyes. On hand to witness the milestone were her mother, Susan Wellman of Robertsdale, Ala., siblings, and her aunt, Karen Wellman Warner of Pinellas Park, Fla.
Priscilla Wellman  hopes to further her education by enrolling in PRCC’s medical radiologic program at the Forrest County Center.

Mitchell Tadlock of Raleigh watches his cap fly after graduation from Pearl River Community College Wednesday at the Forrest County Mutli Purpose Center. Tadlock didn't let upcoming surgery for a knee injury prevent him from receiving his diploma.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Sarah Gibson of Petal helps Lynell Powell of Purvis with her cap before Pearl River Community College graduation Wednesday at the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center in Hattiesburg. Both are members of Phi Theta Kappa international honor society and will attend William Carey University next year.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Chelsea Gascho of Picayune receives her Honors Institute certificate from Dr. Stephen Black, institute director, during Pearl River Community College graduatuion Wednesday at the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center in Hattiesburg. Looking on are Dr. Eric Clark, exeuctive director of the Mississippi Community College Board, and Frank Ladner of Bay St. Louis, a member of the PRCC Board of Trustees.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Each community college president is asked to bring two (2) wrapped door prizes, minimum value of $50 each. We will have a station set up at the conference for you to drop off the door prizes.

Each community college is asked to provide name tags for their Board members, administration, and staff attending the conference.