Meridian Star

July 24, 2013


By Ida Brown /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — • Victoria Lynn Garcia of Meridian has recently become recognized as a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda, national leadership and honors organization at Mississippi State University.

    Sigma Alpha Lambda is dedicated to promoting and rewarding academic achievement and providing members with opportunities for community service, personal development and lifelong professional fulfillment.

    • Phelisia Clark of Meridian has been named an All-American Scholar.

    The United States Achievement Academy (USAAA) established the All-American Scholar Award Program to offered deserved recognition to superior students who excel in the academic disciplines. Scholars must earn a 3.3 or higher grade point average. Only scholars selected by a school instructor, counselor or other qualified sponsor are accepted.

    Phelisia, who attends Meridian High School, was nominated for this honor by Vanessa Reed. Her name will appear in the All-American Scholar Yearbook, which is published nationally.

    Phelisia is the daughter of Angela and Parren Clark of Meridian.

    • ATLANTA, Ga. – Cynthia McDonald of Waynesboro, Miss., received a master of divinity degree from Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta at its 168th commencement ceremony in May

    • OXFORD– Three students from Lauderdale County were among some 275 University of Mississippi students who participated in study abroad programs this summer through the UM Study Abroad Office:

    – Julie Covington of Meridian, Spain Spanish in Cádiz

    – Susannah Slimp of Meridian, China, Chinese Flagship Program

    – Katelyn Lee of Bailey, China, Chinese Flagship Program

    The Study Abroad Office offers students a wide variety of options, from summer programs to full-semester or yearlong programs at more than 80 destinations worldwide. Opportunities for experiential learning, such as service learning and internships, are also available. Students may earn UM credit toward their degrees and can apply for financial aid.

    • Taylor Johnson of Toomsuba, was among 19 students enrolled in the five-week summer program at Mississippi State University to encourage high school students to pursue medical careers in rural areas of the state. MSU's Extension Service directed and funded the program with assistance from the State Office of Rural Health at the Mississippi State Department of Health.

    • Meridian Community College alumna Cayla Coleman was tapped to receive the Mississippi Radiological Society Scholarship to continue her studies in pursing her bachelor’s degree in radiological science.

    The Mississippi Radiological Society offer scholarships to the top graduates of Radiologic Technology Programs in Mississippi who exemplify academic excellence, financial need and sound moral character.

    The daughter of Jimmie Coleman and Sheila Speed, Coleman maintained a 3.67 grade point average, based on a 4.0 scale, at MCC and was selected for Who’s Who Among Students in Community and Junior Colleges and the College’s Dean’s List. Her professional affiliations include membership in the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist and Mississippi Society of Radiologic Technologists.

     Coleman plans to continue her education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. She is currently employed with Rush Health Systems.

    • Shawanna Wright of York, Alabama has been selected to receive the Karen Bounds Hamilton Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,000 award is funded through the MCC Foundation by Fred Hamilton of Newton.

     Wright, a 2006 graduate of Elba High School in Alabama, is in the third semester of the MCC Associate Degree Nursing Program. She is a member of the Organization of Student Nurses and the Mississippi Organization of Associate Degree Nursing. Wright is a Salvation Army volunteer and a member of her church choir. Wright plans to pursue a master’s degree in nursing and become a nurse practitioner and, one day, to open her own office practice.

    • Alexis Brown has been selected to receive the Judy Crowson Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,000 award is funded through the MCC. Elizabeth Little established this scholarship in memory of her mother, Judy. Ms. Crowson held educational positions with Hinds County School District, Meridian Community College and Meridian Public School District. Her two passions were traveling and exercising.  Ms. Crowson enjoyed volunteering for the American Red Cross, where she could provide comfort to those in need.

    Brown, a 2013 graduate of West Lauderdale High School, is a starting freshman in the University Transfer Program at MCC. She will be a member of the MCC Ivy League Student Recruiters. Brown works part-time for McPhails food Center. Her future plans include graduating from MCC with an associate’s degree and then continue on to Mississippi State University-Meridian to attain her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

    • Cemetrice L. Spencer and Josie A. Holyfield have been selected to receive the Mae Carroll Thornton Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,300 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by Dr. William L. Thornton Sr. A philanthropist and civic leader, “Dr. Bill” served this community as a general surgeon for over 40 years. He was a Trustee for Meridian Community College and served as president of the MCC Foundation Board of Directors. His gift to the foundation was specifically intended to pay tribute to his wife.

     Spencer, a 1993 graduate of West Lauderdale High School, is in the Associate Degree Nursing Program at MCC and a member of the Organization of Student Nurses. She works for the Lauderdale County Sherriff’s Department. After graduation, Spencer plans to enter the workforce as a registered nurse and work in the Meridian community.

     Holyfield, a 2007 graduate of Southeast Lauderdale High School, is in the Dental Hygiene Program at MCC. A President’s List scholar, Holyfield is a member of the Health Occupation Students of America. After earning her associate’s degree in dental hygiene, she plans to work with pediatrics.

    • DECATUR – Matthew Riley of Walnut Grove was recently selected Personal Development specialist/site coordinator at East Central Community College.

    Riley, who began his new duties on July 1, previously served the college as Community Based Job Training (CBJT) Grant coordinator, a position held since 2010.

    In his new position, Riley is assigned to coordinate day-to-day activities of the ECCC Career Advancement Center (CAC) in Carthage.

    He also owns Riley Consulting Group of Walnut Grove.

    A Leake County native, Riley is a 1991 graduate of South Leake High School and a 1993 graduate of ECCC. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Mississippi Valley State University in 1995. He was a standout basketball player at all three schools and helped lead South Leake and ECCC squads to state championships.

    He is currently enrolled in the Masters of Educational Technology program at Liberty University.

Riley is a member of New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, where he serves as associate minister. He is also an active member of the Leake County community, serving as a motivational speaker and mentor to young men.

    He is married to the former Marie Cherry of Columbia. They have two children, Kymberlie and Matthew.

    • DECATUR – Lucretia Williams of Lena was recently selected director of Workforce Development at East Central Community College.

    Williams, who began her new duties in May, previously served the college as Personal Development specialist, a position held since 2006. She began her employment at EC in 2005 as WIN Job Center Education and Training coordinator.

    Prior to joining the EC Workforce Development staff, Williams served two years as Human Resources supervisor at HiSan, Inc., in Carthage.

    She is also a former Human Resources assistant at Koch Foods and served as an executive assistant/recruiting specialist at B.C. Rogers Food Service, both located in Morton.

    In all, Williams has 19 years of service with area businesses and industries.

    A graduate of South Leake High School, Williams received a bachelor of science degree in 1993 and a master of science degree in workforce education in 2007, both from Mississippi State University in Starkville. She is currently enrolled in the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program at Mississippi State.

    She and her husband, Michael, have two sons, Zachary and Brandon.