Submitted by jbraswell on October 19, 2015 – 8:48am
POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College celebrated Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 17, by crowning Queen Michaela Andrews of Foxworth, inducting five athletes into the Sports Hall of Fame and honoring alumni and college supporters.
Unfortunately, the PRCC Wildcats lost a close football game to the Northeast Mississippi Tigers, 26-23.
Activities began Friday night with a reunion marking the 50th anniversary of PRCC’s associate degree nursing program. Among the alumni on hand were three members of the first class – Vivian Smith of Lumberton, Kay Andrews of Cottondale, Ala., and Sandra Atwood of Meridian – and the program’s first director, Charlotte Odom of Picayune.
Homecoming day started with the Sports Hall of Fame inductions of five outstanding stars of yesteryear:
•Demetrius Byrd of Miami, Fla., who caught 87 passes for the Wildcats in 2005-07 and went on to play on the national championship Louisiana State University team.
•Gene Estapa of Houston, a quarterback in 1970-72 who was named to the All-American honorable mention team and continued playing at Southeastern Louisiana University.
•Baleigh Volking Ford of Clinton, a honor society scholar and shortstop on the Lady Wildcat softball teams in 2008-10.
•Frank Harry Jr. of Baton Rouge, La., who was an All-State and All-Region tackle for the Wildcats in 2004-05.
•John Craig Rodriquez of Sugar Land, Texas, who an All-American pitcher in 2004-06 who helped PRCC win its first state baseball champion and went on to play at the University of Mississippi.
PRCC welcomed children to campus with about 80 girls attending the Lil Wildcat Cheer Clinic and hundreds of kids and parents enjoying the Homecoming Carnival outside Dobie Holden Stadium.
Alumni attended the annual luncheon where they were entertained by The Voices ensemble and helped honor alumni, students and supporters. Honorees included:
•The family of the late Mitch Deaver, sports information director for 19 years.
•Sponsors for the Premier Performance events at the Brownstone Center for the Arts.
•Center Ryan Rainey of Gulfport, recipient of the Dobie Holden Memorial Football Scholarship.
•Punter Cody Mikell of Poplarville, recipient of the Keith Daniels Memorial Football Scholarship.
•Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association, recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. The association has donated approximately $250,000 to PRCC students for scholarships through its Round Up for Education program.
•Philip Moran of Kiln, recipient of the Alumnus of the Year Award. Moran was honored for his accomplishments as owner of Philip’s Pest Control and his service as a former member of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors and his current service in the Mississippi Senate.
The honorees also were recognized on the field before the start of the football game.
The Homecoming Court was presented at half-time when Andrews was crowned by PRCC President Dr. William Lewis and presented a bouquet of red roses by Dr. Kyle Hill, director of bands. Andrews plays in the Spirit of the River’s pit ensemble.
Members of the court were sophomore maids Katherine Johnson of Tylertown and Belle Failla of Picayune; Forrest County Center sophomore maid Demayah Johnson of Hattiesburg; Hancock Center maid Maranda Bennett of Pearlington; fresman maids Courtney King of Columbia, Ellen Hall of Purvis and Cassady Compretta of Bay St. Louis and Forrest County Center freshman maid Alexis Pickens of Hattiesburg.
Bayleigh Volking Ford waves as she is introduced as an inductee into the PRCC Sports Hall of Fame. With her are, from left, Foundation director Ernie Lovell, PRCC President Dr. William Lewis, inductees Demetrius Byrd, Gene Estapa, Frank Harry Jr. and John Craig Rodriguez; Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association general manager Randy Wallace, recipient of the Distinguished Service Award; and Alumnus of the Year Philip Moran.
Tuba player Leland Thomas of Carriere sings Safety Dance as part of the Spirit of the River marching band’s halftime show.
Peyton Stephens of Carriere plays Tennesee Walts as Lexie Leleux of Picayune, a String of Pearls dancer, twirls a streamer at halftime.
The 2015 Homecoming Court is, from left, freshman maid Cassady Compretta of Bay St. Louis, Forrest County Center freshman maid Alexis Picens, sophomore maids Katherine Johnson of Tylertown and Belle Failla of Picayune, Queen Michaela Andrews of Foxworth, Hancock Center maid Maranda Bennett, Forrest County Center sophomore maid Demayah Johnson, freshman maids Courtney King of Columbia and Ellen Hall of Purvis.
Three members of the first associate degree nursing class at Pearl River Community College attended the 50th Anniversary Reunion on Oct. 16. Vivian Smith of Lumberton is seated. Standing are Kay Andres of Cottondale, Ala., left, and Sandra Atwood of Meridian.
PRCC Public Relations photo