Meridian Star

September 12, 2012

Excellence in Education


The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —      • Courtney Knox has been selected to receive the Eva Mae Gilbert Edwards Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $650 award is funded through the MCC Foundation. Edwards served as the librarian at Meridian Community College for many years.

     Knox, a 2005 graduate of Southeast High School, will enter his second year in the electronics technology program at MCC. He is a participant in Skills USA and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students. Kox plans to continue his education at the University of West Alabama to earn is bachelor’s degree in electronics and telecommunications.

    • Menika T. Howard has been selected to receive the Gerry Wayne Purvis Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $2,000 award was established with the MCC Foundation by Betty Purvis to honor her husband for his service as president of the Foundation Board of Directors and his commitment to education. Mr. Purvis has been named to the College’s Hall of Fame — a recognition of alumni who have distinguished themselves in their vocational field.

     Howard, a 2000 graduate of Greenwood High School, is a fourth-semester student in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at MCC. She is a member of the Health Occupation Students of America. Her plans are to open a wellness clinic that offers several treatment options for a variety of conditions.

    • OXFORD – Maria Pierce, James-David Rumels, Griffen Gardner and Camden Weir, all of Meridian, were among 59 students from around the state who attended one of three sessions of Summer Academy, at the University of Mississippi.

    Summer Academy offered students entering grades 8, 9 and 10 this fall the opportunity to experience college life.

    The three, three-week sessions allowed the students to make new friends and contacts, learn time management, improve study habits and earn high school credit that may count toward high school graduation requirements.

    • Jasmine Burnside recently met all graduation requirements and received her diploma from Neshoba Central High School. Burnside's future plans are to attend East Central Community College.

    • OXFORD – Several local and area students  attended one of two sessions of the 13th annual Lott Summer Leadership Institute at the University of Mississippi. More than 900 students were nominated for the institute this year, and after a rigorous review process, 51 were selected to participate.

     The month-long sessions offer rising high school seniors the opportunity to develop leadership skills and prepare for college. The ideal outcome is for the students to return to their high schools and put their new skills to work for the betterment of their own schools and communities.

     Lott Scholars enroll in Political Science 101: Introduction to American Politics and Speech 102: Fundamentals of Public Speaking. They are given opportunities to mingle with college administrators, student leaders and community leaders, while participating in current event debates, discussions and decision-making activities. They also engage in discussions with leaders in industry and in the nonprofit sector.

     Following completion of their studies at UM, the scholars travel to Washington, D.C., to visit with federal officials, tour the Capitol, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution and other attractions.

     The institute is a partnership between UM’s Lott Leadership Institute and the Division of Outreach's Summer College for High School Students.

    Local and area attendees were: Jenna Smiley, Griffen Gardner, Maria Pierce and Camden Weir, all of Meridian; James-David Rumels of Toomsuba; Rachel May of Collinsville; Brock Mardis of Enterprise; Antajh Boggan of Philadelphia; and Harley Byrd of Beaumont

    • Kelsey Creel and Merry Elizabeth Driver have been selected to receive the Jacob Toney Memorial Scholarships at Meridian Community College. 

    These $2,200 awards are funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by Rebekah Hurley “Ree Ree” Toney of Quitman. This memorial tribute to her son is designated for a student from Clarke County studying in one of the 12 Health Education courses at MCC.

     Creel is a 2012 high honors graduate of Enterprise High School, where she was a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club.  At MCC, Creel is taking general education courses in preparation for acceptance into the Associate Degree Nursing Program.

     Driver is a 2012 graduate of Quitman High School, where she was a member of the Health Occupation Students of America and Quitman High School’s mentoring program. Driver is taking general education courses at MCC in preparation for acceptance into the Surgical Technology Program.

    • Michele Denise Stephens was selected to receive the Earnest Workers Circle

Of the International Order of King’s Daughters and Sons Nursing Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $500 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by the local service organization.

     Stephens, a 2002 graduate of West Lauderdale High School, is in her third semester of the Associate Degree Nursing Program at MCC. She is a member of the Organization of Student Nurses and the Mississippi Organization of Associate Degree Nursing. Her goal after graduating from MCC is to continue her education and become a nurse practitioner.

    • Jason Daniel Burnside has been selected to receive the Madeline Scott Callahan Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,100 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by the East Mississippi Medical Alliance and Dr. Joel Callahan Sr. This award perpetuates the memory of an outstanding young woman and her “gift of giving.”

    Burnside attended Northeast High School and is a 1999 graduate of the Meridian Community College GED Program. A President’s List scholar, Burnside is a member of the Health Occupation Students of America and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students. He plans to pursue his bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy.

    • Lynnzie Marie Warren has been selected to receive the Miriam Roberson Nursing Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,200 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established in 1989 by Thomas Roberson of Toomsuba as a memorial to his wife.  Mrs. Roberson, a registered nurse, was a 1954 honors graduate of the college. Only top students who have completed the first two semester of the Associate Degree Nursing Program are eligible to receive these awards.

    Warren, a 2007 high honors graduate of East Central High School, is a third-semester nursing student, a member of the Organization of Student Nurses and the Mississippi Organization for Associate Degree Nursing.  Warren plans to pursue a master’s degree in nursing.

    • Sara Elizabeth Burns has been selected to receive the T. H. and Allie Hobgood Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $2,000 award is funded through the MCC Foundation. The purpose of the Hobgood Education Trust Endowment is to continue to provide financial aid to students who are residents of Lauderdale County.

    Burns is a 2012 home schooled graduate with the Meridian Christian Home Educators. Besides being active in sports, she was the team captain of the Meridian Christian Home Educators Relay for Life, a member of the State 4-H Leadership Team, and a member of Teen Republicans. Burns is in the first year of the University Transfer Program at MCC and will be a member of the Baptist Student Union and The Ivy League. She is considering a career in pediatric dentistry or public relations.

    • DECATUR – Teresa L. Houston, Ph.D., was recently selected vice president for Instruction at East Central Community College.

    Houston, who began her new duties on July 1, previously served as associate dean of instruction at East Mississippi Community College on the Mayhew campus.

    Houston began her community college career as an instructor of mathematics at EMCC in August 2000. From 2000-02, she also served Mississippi State University-Starkville in leadership positions in the Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation (MAMP) program as well as the Increasing Minority Access to Graduate Education (IMAGE) Summer Bridge Program.

    Following eight years as an instructor at EMCC’s Mayhew campus, where she also served as Phi Theta Kappa adviser, Houston was named associate dean of instruction at EMCC’s Scooba campus, where her duties included oversight of instruction on the Scooba campus and the daily operations of the College’s Meridian Naval Air Station and Macon sites.

    A graduate of St. Joseph High School, Houston continued her education at MSU-Starkville, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics in 1998; a master of science degree in secondary mathematics education in 2000; and a doctor of philosophy in community college leadership in 2007.

    • DECATUR – Denita Thomas of Noxapater recently began her new duties as dean of healthcare education at East Central Community College.

    Prior to her selection to the administrative position, Thomas served the past four years as a member of the college’s Associate Degree Nursing faculty, where her duties included teaching in the classroom, supervising students in the hospital setting, assisting students with learning in the skills lab, advising students, serving as coordinator for the LPN to RN Bridge program, and coordinating and teaching students in the simulation lab.

    Thomas, who was selected ECCC’s Academic Instructor of the Year in 2011-12, was a member of the college’s first class of ADN graduates in 1996. In addition to serving as an ADN instructor at ECCC, Thomas works as a family practitioner with Quality Hospice in Philadelphia.

    Prior to her employment at the ECCC in 2008, Thomas served as a family nurse practitioner with Neshoba Pediatric Medical Clinic in Philadelphia. She began her nursing career in 1996 with Magna Home Health of Philadelphia and continued at Louisville Group Homes-Hudspeth Center of Louisville.

    Thomas holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Southern Mississippi. She recently completed the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy in Jackson.

    • Cemetrice Latonya Spencer has been selected to receive the State Farm Companies Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,300 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by contributions from area State Farm Insurance agents. State Farm Company matched each gift. Agent Gary Eldridge, now retired, initiated this cooperative effort. Meridian agents Percy Bland, Charles Garrett, Bobby Graham (retired), Chris McDonald, Jerry Townsend (retired), Charles D. Smith (retired), Pamela Deitz (retired) and Quitman agents Cindy Belcher and Robert Donald, helped to build this endowment.

    Spencer, a 1993 graduate of West Lauderdale High School, is in her first semester in the Associate Degree Nursing Program at MCC. She works full time for the Lauderdale County Sherriff’s Department. Her plans are to work toward a becoming a registered nurse.

    • Michael A. Williams has been selected to receive the Wilbur C. Winstead Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,300 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by the Winstead Family. Winstead, one of the earliest licensed brokers in the state, and his wife, Thellis, have served this area as realtors for more than 40 years. Over that time, they contributed to the betterment of this community by serving on numerous boards and committees.

    Williams, a 1970 graduate of Clarkdale Attendance Center, is currently in the Construction Trades Program at MCC. He is a member of VICA, Skills USA Industrial Club of America. He plans to continue his education in the Industrial Technology Division of Meridian Community College

    • Amy Elizabeth Sprayberry has been selected to receive the Emily Louise McDonald Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,350 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by McDonald’s brother the Rev. Forrest Mobley of Destin, Fla. McDonald devoted more than 30 years to the nursing profession in Meridian. She was director of the Matty Herse School of Nursing when she retired.

    Sprayberry, a 1993 graduate of Mt. Olive Attendance Center, is a third-semester nursing student. She is a member of the Organization of Student Nurses and the Mississippi Organization for Associate Degree Nursing. Sprayberry plans to pursue a master’s degree in nursing

    • Cameron Maxwell has been selected to receive the James C. and Garnett S. Wilbourn Family Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,400 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by Mrs. Wilbourn. It was Mrs. Wilbourn’s desire to help deserving students achieve their highest potential through education.

    Maxwell is a 2012 graduate of Northeast Lauderdale High School, where he was a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, (JROTC) and on the soccer team. Maxwell is taking prep courses for the Associate Degree Nursing Program and plans to become a nurse practitioner.

    • Brettany Waltman has been selected to receive the John and Ann Johnson Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,300 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by the Johnson’s. Mr. Johnson served as business manager for the college for 23 years; Mrs. Johnson taught in the Lauderdale County School System for 14 years. Recipients are chosen from students who are graduates of a Lauderdale County school.

    Waltman is a 2012 salutatorian graduate of Clarkdale High School, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society and Senior Class president. Waltman is active in Jones Chapel Active Youth group and is very committed in serving her community. Her goal is to complete a bachelor’s degree in business with a major in accounting.

    • Paige Elizabeth Davis has been selected to receive the Kathleen Newby McDaniel Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,600 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by The McDaniel Family. A corporate officer, McDaniel was a devoted member of Highland Baptist Church, where she taught an adult Sunday School class for many years.

    Paige, a 2012 honors graduate of West Lauderdale High School, is in the University Transfer program.  In high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society and Senior Class Officer. Her career plans are to attend the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi.

    • Ashley Nichol Brashier has been selected to receive the Jo and George Rea Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $900 award is funded through the MCC Foundation by the Rea Family. Mr. and Mrs. Rea were actively involved in civic activities in the community throughout their lives. They were faithful parishioners of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and were long time supporters of the MCC Foundation and the College.

    Brashier, a 2009 honors graduate of Russell Christian Academy, is a Dean’s List scholar. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students. Brashier is in the University Transfer Program studying accounting. She plans to pursue a bachelor of arts degree in accounting from Mississippi State University and become a certified public accountant.

    • Pamela Michelle Nicholas has been selected to receive the Joyce Morrison Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,400 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by a bequest from the estate of Morrison. Her three children, Susan King, Jan Cooper and Dr. Ken Morrison, supported the endowment through additional gifts. Morrison was an alumna and long-time patron of the college. It was her desire to help others achieve their personal goals through education.

    Nicholas, a 2000 graduate of Northeast Lauderdale High School, is a third- semester nursing student. She is a member of the Organization of Student Nurses and the Mississippi Organization for Associate Degree Nursing. After graduating from MCC, Nicholas plans to attend Mississippi University for Women to attain her bachelor’s degree in nursing and continue on to get her master’s degree in women’s health.

    • Anna Kanellos has been selected to receive the Leonard Corydon Barrell Family Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $3,000 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established Meridianite Betsy Barrell Weems in memory of her parents, Leonard Corydon Barrell Sr. and Betsy Roach Barrell, and her brother, Leonard “Bud” Barrell, Jr. A lifelong resident of Meridian, Weems was devoted to her church and supported various charitable organizations in the community and state. Because of her love and concern for nature, she designated this award go to a student pursuing a career in a field that would advance the care of the natural landscape of the earth.

    Kanellos, a 2012 graduate of Meridian High School, is in the University Transfer Program at MCC. She is a member of the National Audubon Society and her hobbies include wildlife photography and volunteering for St. Patrick Catholic Church and Children’s Sunday School at United Methodist Church. Kanellos’ career plans include receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in environmental research.

    • William G. Hill has been selected to receive the Key Brothers Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $900 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established from the proceeds of the Key Brothers Air show in 1985. Al and Fred Key were Meridian aviators who pioneered in-flight refueling. With the exception of space flights, their endurance record of 1935 is still intact.

    Hill, a 2012 graduate of West Lauderdale High School, is a University Transfer student. He is on MCC’s baseball team and a volunteer at Camp Eagle Ridge. Hill plans on continuing his education at the University of Mississippi and major in team sport physical therapy.

    • Kimberly Michelle Duncan has been selected to receive the Meridian Exchange Club/Bo Russell Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College.  This $1,400 award is funded through the MCC Foundation by the local civic organization.

    Duncan, a 2011 graduate of Southeast Lauderdale High School, is enrolled in courses in preparation for the Associate Degree Nursing Program at MCC. Her goal is to become a registered nurse and work in pediatrics.         

    • Nathan Mitchell Bryan has been selected to receive the Linda and Billy Howard Technology Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $1,200 award is funded through the MCC Foundation by the Mr. and Mrs. Howard of Laurel. The owners of Howard Industries want to support the college and also encourage students to pursue a career in computer technology.

    Bryan is a 2008 graduate of Madison Central High School. He is an active member of the Phi Beta Lambda, a postsecondary division of Future Business Leaders of America and competed in the state competition. His career plan is to work in computer network design and security.    

    • Sherri Ann McClure has been selected to receive the Mae Carroll Thornton Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $2,000 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by Dr. William L. Thornton Sr. A philanthropist and civic leader, Dr. Thornton served this community as a general surgeon for more than 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.

    McClure is a 1988 graduate of Gulfport High School.  At MCC, she is in the Physical Therapy Program. McClure graduated with highest honors from the University Transfer Program. She plans a career as a physical therapy assistant and work in outpatient care.

    • Megan Charee Lee has been selected to receive the Margaret Reed Dulaney Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $2,000 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established from memorials made by friends and family at the time of her death. Dulaney is remembered for her philanthropy and her love of the arts. She was always at the forefront in any project that benefited Meridian and Lauderdale County.

    Lee, is a 2010 graduate of Clarkdale Attendance Center, where she was president of the Future Farmers of America. She is now is an active FFA Alumni member. Lee is in the University Transfer Program at MCC, with plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy.