POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College student Raechel Zimmerman is breathing a little easier today after winning the 2016 PRCC Tuition Giveaway contest, a full year of free tuition.
Zimmerman, 25, a sophomore, attends the Forrest County Center in Hattiesburg. She is a member of the Honors College and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society. She recently attended the Honors Institute at Wake Forest, N.C., with fellow PRCC students and
advisor Dr. Ryan Ruckel.
“I am really excited to get my tuition taken care of,” said Zimmerman, a single mom with a 5-year-old son, Joshua, who begins kindergarten this fall. “I had previously attended PRCC back in 2011, but I had to take time off from school due to family. I fully plan on using this money to help further my education.
“I have so many big dreams, big aspirations for myself.”
One of them is to major in chemical engineering and eventually transfer to Mississippi State University after PRCC.
“I have always had a deep love for chemistry and calculus, and I think this major will help me make best use of those skills,” she said.
Zimmerman was selected as the winner of the sixth annual Tuition Giveaway contest, a promotion PRCC held in conjunction with Hattiesburg Coca-Cola United and radio stations SL-100 and Wild 106.3.
Live radio promotions, featuring free soft drinks and t-shirts, were held to advertise the contest in Hattiesburg, Oak Grove, Columbia, Petal, Purvis, Sumrall and Poplarville.
Contestants had to tell their story through online submissions.
“I crave and desire knowledge,” Zimmerman wrote. “I emphatically believe that I have the potential to revolutionize the world, given the proper opportunity… My goal is to obtain my degree in chemical engineering, so that I might not only satisfy my dreams, but also fulfill my duty as a mother.
“With this scholarship, I will perpetuate my success with PRCC and the honors programs with which I am so graciously involved. Parenthood has taught me that the future of our children is everything. I implore you to aid in my endeavor of establishing a satisfactory life for my son, so that one day he, too, has the chance to improve the world.”
Zimmerman is the daughter of Mark Zimmerman of Lumberton, and Jennifer and Roger Touchstone of Baxterville. Her mom attended PRCC and danced with the school’s String of Pearls.
She credits two of her PRCC instructors, Drs. Terri and Ryan Ruckel, with keeping her on the right path.
“They are two of the most beautiful souls on this planet,” she said. “They are so encouraging with every student they come into contact with. They want you to succeed. Everyone in the Honors and PTK programs are like a close-knit family.”
The Tuition Giveaway contest has grown in popularity each year.
“We had many student applicants who have had to overcome challenges and adversities,” said Chuck Abadie, public relations director at PRCC. “We have more and more submissions each year. Picking a winner was very difficult.”
Russ Hendley, on premise sales manager for Hattiesburg Coca-Cola United, said he was thrilled with Zimmerman’s selection.
“The entire Hattiesburg Coca-Cola United Sales staff would like to congratulate Raechel,” said Hendley. “In the year of Coca-Cola’s Share a Song Campaign, we are so pleased to again partner with our friends at Pearl River Community College on what has become a tradition in our area to award a very deserving young person with a chance to continue their education. To quote a Share A Coke song, ‘Celebrate the Good Times with Coca-Cola and PRCC’.”
Pearl River Community College student Raechel Zimmerman of Purvis won the sixth annual PRCC Tuition Giveaway contest, a promotion held in conjunction with Hattiesburg Coca-Cola and radio stations SL-100 and Wild 106.3. Pictured are, from left, Chris Dunkley, sales center manager, Hattiesburg Coca-Cola; WILD 106.3 radio personality Devin “Big Daddy” Cole, 2015 Tuition Contest winner Lela Flowers of Columbia, 2016 Tuition Contest winner Raechel Zimmerman of Purvis, Russ Hendley, on premise sales manager for Hattiesburg Coca-Cola United; Ramey’s manager Austin White, SL-100 radio personality Sherri Marengo, and Hattiesburg Coca-Cola United’s Earl Hayes, key account developer; Jeff Bryant, Coca-Cola special events department, and Brad Stephens, sales operation manager.
PRCC Public Relations photo