PEARL – Justice Munn is a third-generation member of his family’s business, Munn Enterprises, but found himself at a crossroads just a year ago in his young, adult life.

His skills as a mechanic were being tested mightily by the evolving technology of today’s diesel engines. “You can’t even diagnose today’s engines without a computer,” Munn said.

Justice Munn (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“I’m a mechanic and I wanted to return to school for better pay and a chance to open my own shop,” said Munn, of Sumrall, as he prepared to earn career and technical certificates from Hinds Community College during graduation ceremonies held Dec. 15 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.

Being in the Diesel Equipment Technology program helped him hone his skills and opened doors to earning further credentials down the road – all the while setting him up to earn more money now.

“I enjoyed it at Hinds,” he said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Hinds Community College graduated more than 1,000 students in the three ceremonies.

“The power of education is that it drives our vision for a better life. And, while the graduates who sit upon this stage today represent a diverse set of circumstances, they are connected by their belief that a community college education is a step up to a broader opportunity to build a better life and to contribute to the communities in which we live,” said Hinds president Dr. Clyde Muse in his address to graduates.

Student diplomas this year included a gold seal celebrating the college’s 100th anniversary.

Among the graduates, 129 achieved summa cum laude, a 4.0 grade point average; 74 achieved magna cum laude, a 3.6 to 3.99 GPA and 21 achieved cum laude, 3.2 to 3.59.

Lychanda Brown, left, and Jennifer Burnett (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

The spirit of achievement also reached Hinds faculty who returned to the classroom to build skills.

“In cosmetology, we have to market ourselves anyway,” said Lychanda Brown, of Raymond, an instructor of Cosmetology at the Utica Campus. Brown earned an Associate of Applied Science in marketing, as well as career and technical certificates.

For Jennifer Burnett, a custodian on the Utica Campus, it was a chance to get into computer programming, in which she earned a career certificate. “It was time to move on up,” Burnett said.

Speaking to academic and career and technical education graduates was Joy Rhoads, a history and geography instructor at the Rankin Campus and coordinator of the campus’ Honors Institute.

Rhoads told graduates to be open to all the challenges life might bring after graduation, using her own experience as a master’s student as an example.

“I realized, very quickly, that being Joy the student was a vastly different experience than being Ms. Rhoads the instructor,” Rhoads said. “Discerning how to effectively balance my family, my job, and my schoolwork was another challenge to an already challenging degree path. It truly was an epiphany – my light bulb moment – when I understood that all my students face many of these very things and more. So, when you are navigating what comes next, be open to being humbled.”

From left, Ashlyn Cole, Tomaz Buckley and Crisanthony Frazier, all of whom earned degrees Dec. 15 with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program (Hinds Community College/April Garon)
LaKendra Cork, right, of Louise, prepares for graduation ceremonies Dec. 15 at Hinds Community College. Cork earned an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)










From left, Meagan Frey and Tia Fortenberry,
both of whom completed the Paralegal Technology program (Hinds Community College/April Garon)
Jonathan Graham was among more than 1,000 who graduated Dec. 15 from Hinds Community College. Graham earned an Associate of Applied Science degree and was part of the M2M program at Hinds. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)










From left, Jason Holman, Taylor Houston and Cortland Hay, all of whom earned credentials after completing computer technology programs at the college (Hinds Community College/April Garon)
Bethany C. Johnson, center, of Vicksburg, was among more than 1,000 who graduated from Hinds Community College in ceremonies held Dec. 15. She earned an Associate of Arts degree in Veterinary Technology. With her, from left, is her boyfriend Douglas Vice, her sister Ashley Johnson, her mother Beverly Johnson, her brother-in-law Richard Berryman, her father Jimmy Johnson and sister Jamie Johnson. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)












From left, Madison Spell, of Raymond, and Martha McPhail, of Kosciusko (Hinds Community College/April Garon)
From left, Rico West and Richard Newell, both of Jackson and earned credentials in Welding Technology (Hinds Community College/April Garon)









From left, Secrett Winters and Denitta White, both of Jackson and earned degrees in Business Technology (Hinds Community College/April Garon)



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