High school students get preview of PRCC programs

POPLARVILLE – Approximately 350 high school juniors came to Pearl River Community College Tuesday, March 6, to get close looks at career and technical programs offered by the college.The students, who are enrolled in career and technical programs in their home school districts, each visited three of PRCC 22 programs during the first Student Career-Technical Conference.I learned a lot today, said Brandon Swilley, a student at Forrest County Agricultural High School. Im actually hoping to come here.Swilley wants to play football and concentrate on a business career.Wade Nelson of Purvis got his hands a little dirty laying brick in the PRCC brick, block and stonemasonry shop.Ive done a little bit in my first year at vo-tech, he said. Nelson attends the Lamar County Center for Technical Education.Brittany Hall of Bassfield also laid a couple bricks and pulled electrical wire through a conduit in the PRCC electrical technology shop.I want to be an architect because I like drawing, she said. Hall is a building trades student at Jefferson Davis Vocational Center.The event allowed students to see what they would learn if they enrolled in one of PRCC programs after graduation and gave them a chance to familiarize themselves with the campus, said Casey Rawls, PRCC director of recruitment and orientation.Students interested in instrumentation got to see how computers control traffic lights, water pressure monitors and even a blow-out preventer like that blamed for the BP oil spill.PRCC students Derek Gill of Picayune and Chris Wells of Poplarville built a blow-out preventer control panel in a fluid power class. They demonstrated how an operator would push a button to activate the preventer.The button sends a signal that initiates a series of events to close down the well, Wells said.Instrumentation and several other programs operate on block schedules – a single course all day for two weeks followed by a break, then another course for two weeks.They came in here not knowing anything about it, but at the end of two weeks, they were able to build this very complex circuit, instructor Ellie Ratliff said about the students who built the control panel.PRCC career-technical programs include business office systems, computer network support, drafting and design, electronics, health care data, instrumentation, marketing and management, web development, practical nursing, barbering, cosmetology, early childhood education, automotive mechanics, brick, block and stonemasonry; construction management, electrical, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration; precision machining, welding and cutting, commercial truck driving, construction equipment operation and utility lineman.Schools that brought students to the conference were Forrest County Agricultural High School, Hancock County Career Technical Center, Hattiesburg High School, Jefferson Davis Vocational Center, Lamar County Center for Technical Education, Carl Loftin Career and Technical Center (Marion County) and Poplarville High School Career Development Center.For more information about any of the PRCC programs, telephone Rawls at 601 403-1377 or the PRCC Counseling Center at 601 403-1250 or go to

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.