HATTIESBURG – Family and friends packed the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center Tuesday, May 15, to see 525 students become graduates of Pearl River Community College.The graduates received associate degrees or certificates of proficiency from Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president, who reminded them their education has not come to an end.Please do not forget that education is a life-long process, he said.Slightly more than 900 students completed their PRCC studies in the past year but not all chose to walk across the stage.I feel better now, said a beaming Chasity Hawthorne of Petal, minutes after the ceremony came to an end with the traditional tossing of caps into the air. She plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi to major in education.Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves was the graduation speaker.Youve worked hard for this moment, Reeves told the graduates. You are receiving a degree from one of the best community colleges in the nation.PRCC has been selected to compete, along with 119 other two-year colleges, for the prestigious $1 million Aspen Prize.Mississippi future hinges on job creation and improving the level of education, Reeves said.Each of you is a prime example of attaining that goal, he said. Community colleges are invaluable to the economic development team. Community colleges are the backbone of our economic development effort. Mississippi relies on community colleges to adapt to changing workforce needs.Along with praise for the graduates, Reeves reminded them to get involved where ever the future takes them.You have learned the skills to excel in the workplace and in the classroom, he said. You have a responsibility to make a difference in your community.
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