Adam Booker, Hinds Student

Posts by Category: People Profiles

Adam Booker, Hinds Student
Posted by
22 May

Adam Booker, Hinds Student

Adam Booker

No excuses mindset puts paralyzed student on President’s List at Hinds

By Susan Christensen
Health and Research News Service

The first time Adam Booker went to college, he mostly majored in having fun.

“I thought I was doing good by just getting up and going to class,” he said. “I’d roll out of bed, put on sweatpants, brush my teeth and just make it out the door. It was easy.”

Now, it takes 30 minutes and the help of a certified nurse’s aide to ready Booker for classes at Hinds Community College in Pearl. Yet the 25-year-old quadriplegic is a better student than he ever was as an able-bodied 18-year-old.

“You know what they say … you don’t appreciate something until you’ve lost the opportunity,” said Booker, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a 2006 car crash. “Then, I was not holding myself to the standard I am now.”

Today, Booker has a 4.0 average after completing 31 hours of course work. And that impresses professors like Hamilton Wise, chairman of the biology department at Hinds’ Rankin County campus and Booker’s instructor for Anatomy and Physiology.

“I got a charge out of him being here, working to make something of himself despite the setbacks he has had,” Wise said. “He’s a very good student, one of only two in that A&P section to have an A It is extremely difficult for him to do anything. Yet he isn’t at all inclined to be part of a pity party.”

It’s not that Booker didn’t think about “going crazy” after doctors delivered a grim prognosis. “I’ve kind of been waiting for that reaction,” he said. “I even told my dad I’d like to get mad at somebody and go off the rails. But I guess I don’t have it in me. I think if your reaction will have nothing to do with the outcome – good or bad – why waste your energy?”

While his parents wanted Booker to return to college, he spent much of the first year after his injury watching TV at his dad and stepmom’s house in Ridgeland.

In 2007, he moved to Methodist Specialty Care Center in Flowood, a division of Methodist Rehabilitation Center (MRC) in Jackson. The residential care facility is one of only a few in the nation designed for younger people with severe disabilities. And staff there recognized Booker had the potential to excel. “I had two nurses who stayed on my butt about college,” he said.

“I more or less harassed him,” said Charlene Perez, a licensed practical nurse at the residential center. “I told him about a patient I once had through home health that was injured like him. He ended up going to school. He got married and became a lawyer and a judge. I said there was no reason he should sit up here doing nothing when there were things he could do.”

The good-natured nagging pushed Booker to explore his options, and he started at Hinds’ nearby Rankin campus the spring semester of 2011. “The teachers have been very receptive and accommodating,” he said.

While Methodist has experts who can assist with the adaptive computing needs of center residents, the already tech-savvy Booker didn’t require much help. As he reads, he uses a mouth stick to flip pages. And when papers are due, he relies on software to translate speech into text.

In class, he turns to personal aide Mary Boyd of Madison to take notes and write his answers during tests. “Basically, I’m his arms,” Boyd said. And if the truth be known, he has stolen her heart as well. “I adore the guy,” she said. “He really enjoys what he is learning. He wants to be a psychologist, and I think he has a calling for it.”

Certainly he can empathize with those who have endured great loss and lived with regrets. Booker now wishes he had been more responsible during his freshman year at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. “I had everything going for me, and I was more focused on having a good time,” he said.

Booker had dropped out of school and was working in Lenoir, N.C., on the February night he turned in front of a motorist just topping a hill. “He hit me in the passenger’s side,” Booker said. “I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, and it chunked me about in the car.”

The crash fractured his neck and paralyzed every muscle below the break – including those that control breathing. “I lost all my vitals and crashed dead on the scene,” he said. “I don’t know how they revived me. I crashed again in ICU. When I came back, I had all these people hovering over me screaming in my face.”

Ordinarily, someone with Booker’s injury level would be tethered to a ventilator. But he breathes with the help of an implanted pacemaker that electrically stimulates his diaphragm. “It was experimental at the time,” he said. “I think I was the 26th person to ever get one.”

Even with the less conspicuous breathing system, Booker said he is self-conscious at times. And although his tattooed forearms, trendy shoes and closely-shaven head make him look like many of his peers, he wondered how he would fit in with others his age on campus. “When they first see me coming, I don’t think they see me – just this rolling wheelchair,” he said. “They don’t know how to react, what to say or if I’m all there mentally.”

But now that he has a few semesters under his belt, Booker said he is beginning to feel more accepted. And he looks forward to the interaction in his current psychology course. “The professor has gotten everyone involved by asking us questions. And I think this might be my first chance to open up to people. They’ll finally hear my story,” he said. Until then, the Cliff’s Notes version is inked on Booker’s left forearm. His tattoo says: Positivity will overcome adversity.

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Tom Kendall, Hinds Leader
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22 May

Tom Kendall, Hinds Leader

Tom Kendall

For Tom Kendall (1985), the new president of the Hinds Community College Foundation board, serving Hinds Community College is more than an opportunity to help the college serve a purpose – it’s a family legacy.

Growing up on a farm in Bolton, Kendall realized the importance of a place like Hinds at an early age.

“My family saw first-hand the importance of Hinds in our community and in our county,” he said. “It is an honor to be continuing my family’s legacy with Hinds.”

The family has a long history of supporting the college by serving in positions of responsibility.

Kendall’s great-grandfather, F.M. Greaves, served as the second-ever Board of Trustees president from 1944-1968, and Kendall’s own father, Ted Kendall III, is also a past Board of Trustees president, serving from 1977-1988.

Both Tom Kendall and his brother, Ted Kendall IV (1979), attended classes at Hinds. Tom Kendall went on to pursue his degrees from Mississippi State University.

The Kendall family sponsors the F.M. Greaves Scholarship and the Gaddis and McLaurin Scholarship. Ted Kendall Agriculture Complex is named after Ted Kendall III and Greaves Residence Hall is named after F.M. Greaves.

For the complete story, see the spring 2012 issue of Hindsight alumni magazine.

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Kyle Williams, Hinds Athlete
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22 May

Kyle Williams, Hinds Athlete

Kyle Williams

Thanks to a solid academic record and a strong right leg, Kyle Williams could have chosen to go just about anywhere after graduating from Pearl High School. Williams, heavily recruited by Hinds Community College coaches, decided to join the Eagles instead.

That decision paid off as Williams, who is transferring to Mississippi State University in the summer to play football, earned all-American status as a kicker for the Eagles in 2011.

“Last year was fun because we made it to the playoffs and helped restore some of the tradition that Coach (Gene) Murphy built at Hinds,” he said.

Williams was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American Honorable Mention team.  He led Hinds in scoring with 70 total points, finishing the season 40-44 on point-after attempts and 10-17 on field goals, including a season-long 45-yarder against East Mississippi Community College in the final game of the season.

Williams was named to the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-Region team in 2011 and was named to the All-State second team as a freshman in 2010.

Williams continued his academic success at Hinds as well.

He was among several Hinds Community College students named “Who’s Who Among Students in American Community and Junior Colleges.” Sophomores are named to this program because of their achievements in academics and leadership qualities shown throughout their two years in community college.

“My time at Hinds helped me decide that I want to major in kinesiology because I wasn’t sure right out of high school,” Williams said.

Williams is the sixth Hinds Community College kicker to be named all-American since 1987. Mike Berry (‘88) kicked for Mississippi College. Jaret Homes (’95) continued his career at Auburn University and played in the National Football League. Scott Westerfield (’97) was a named All-Southeastern Conference in 1999 and 2000 at Mississippi State University. Neal Thomas (’99) left Raymond for Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the University of Alabama. Trey Crum (2000) stayed in-state to kick at Delta State University.

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Jameson Parker, Hinds Student
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22 May

Jameson Parker, Hinds Student

Jameson Parker

At age 25, Jameson Parker had already worked five years in the field of GIS, drafting and telecommunications engineering when he decided to enroll in Hinds Community College’s program on the Raymond Campus.

A Murrah High graduate, Parker became progressively more concerned about the job market as the economy turned downward.

“I didn’t have a degree and feared that when it was time to make cuts, those with a degree would be more secure. That’s when I decided to come to Hinds Community College,” said Parker, a drafting and design technology major.

He had attended a four-year college before he came to Hinds but has found his experience at Hinds “incredible.”

“The majority of my teachers have actually had a previous career in the subjects that they were teaching,” Parker said. “Because of their experience and first-hand knowledge, the education I received was unparalleled. Not only did I learn traditionally through lectures and books, I also learned through in-depth use of the newest technical software and outside hands-on activities.”

In his classes Parker has learned to use AutoCAD, a design and engineering software tool used in a wide variety of career fields. “Whether it’s designing new technology, machine parts, homes and/or highways, Hinds Community College gave me the tools I needed to be able to understand and design complex technical drawings of any kind,” he said. “When I talk to potential employers and I tell them I’m student from Hinds Community College, they don’t hesitate to hand me their card and ask that I give them a call.”

Parker singled out three instructors as caring and supportive – Cindy West, Phil Cockrell and Jeff Lewis.

“If I had known about the experience Hinds Community College had to offer when I graduated high school, I would’ve made my mind up to come here right away,” he said.


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Jane Flowers, Hinds Employees
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22 May

Jane Flowers, Hinds Employees

Jane Flowers

Jane Lauderdale Flowers, work-based learning coordinator on the Vicksburg-Warren Campus, came to Hinds as a college student, earned her degrees from both Hinds (1973) and Mississippi State University, returned as an employee and hasn’t looked back since.

“I feel like I am a part of Hinds,” she said. “Not only am I an alumnus, but I have been a member of the faculty on the Vicksburg-Warren Campus for 29 years, and I am still passionate about what I do.”

In 2010 Flowers won the college’s top employee award – the 3E, for Emphasis on Excellence and Enrichment – because of her work on behalf of the college in economic development.

Flowers and her siblings, Bill, Joe and Chris, are first-generation college students and all have strong Hinds connections. “Three of us rode the Hinds school bus from Vicksburg each semester, and my oldest brother drove it for extra money. Our time and investment with studying at Hinds gave my siblings and me the opportunity to have a comfortable life.”

In addition to her administrative duties, Flowers is a part-time instructor, teaching at least one class per semester. Reflecting on her 29-year stint as a Hinds employee, Flowers says that her favorite thing about Hinds is how welcoming the administration has been to her ideas.

“The administration recognized that I had ideas for improvements, and they not only listened, but implemented many of those suggestions. That motivated me to keep trying harder to make the college, and education in general, better for our students. I want to keep encouraging them to excel academically.”

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Tori Still, Lauren & Lindsay Harper, Hinds Athletes
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22 May

Tori Still, Lauren & Lindsay Harper, Hinds Athletes

Tori Still, Lauren Harper & Lindsay Harper,

Lauren and Lindsay Harper, freshman twins from Richland, along with their childhood friend Victoria “Tori” Still of Richland, are dorm-mates at Marshall Hall on the Raymond Campus, play on the softball team together and are all nursing school hopefuls.

Still, who was a Hinds football cheerleader in fall 2011, chose Hinds partially for the opportunity to play softball. She’s a catcher who bats .265.

“It was close to home but not too close and not too far,” she said. “I really like the campus.”

Taking challenging nursing program pre-requisites such as anatomy and physiology allowed Still to debunk one college myth. “Everybody always says when you get to college, the teachers don’t really care. But they’re very helpful with everything,” Still said. “The teachers are very sweet.”

The suite-style rooms at Marshall Hall were an attraction for Lauren Harper. “We came and we saw the campus. We loved the dorm rooms because of the suites. We like how we are all together as a team,” she said.

For her Hinds is the perfect venue. “It’s not too big; it’s not too small. It’s different from high school but it’s a step before you go to university,” said Lauren, who plays first base on the Lady Eagles softball team.

Sister Lindsay Harper echoes her opinion. “I just like the environment here. It’s a way for independence, but it’s not too far away. You can always go home,” she said.

Lindsay Harper, who pitches and plays second base, was attracted to the fact that Hinds has a nursing program.

She agrees with Still about the strength of the Hinds instructors. “We are taking some really hard classes and without them, I don’t think we would have made it. The teachers have helped us a lot,” she said.

“For someone just out of high school, Hinds would be the place to go,” she said.


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Larisa Garner, Hinds Student
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22 May

Larisa Garner, Hinds Student

Larisa Garner

Larissa Stinson Garner of Vicksburg has known for some time she wanted to be in some sort of helping profession. It wasn’t until after she received her first Hinds Community College degree in May 2011 that she finally figure out what she wanted to do – nursing. “I just knew that nursing was for me,” she said.

Garner is finishing her second semester in the Associate Degree Nursing Program at Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center.  She attended the Vicksburg-Warren Campus for her first two years, racking up numerous awards and recognitions.

She is married to Michael Garner, and they have three sons, Joshua, Jacob and Jessie, one of whom is a senior in high school.With all the expenses of raising a family and attending nursing school, Garner is especially grateful that she’ll be receiving the Carla McCulloch Scholarship in fall 2012 to help her finish her last year of nursing school.


She was working two jobs while going to school full time, but has had to stop working for now. “With nursing school, it’s pretty much all consuming,” she said.

The scholarship was created by the McCulloch family in memory of their daughter Carla, a Simpson Academy graduate who was a Hinds nursing student at the time of her death in an April 1991 accident. The award is made annually to a second semester nursing student who demonstrates the caring and enthusiasm for nursing that Carla embodied.

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Anna Sanders, Hinds Student
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22 May

Anna Sanders, Hinds Student

Anna Sanders

At age 28, Anna Sanders says she was “truly petrified to be a college student” at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus two years ago.

As a teenager, Anna became a mom with two sons and has lost one child to cancer. In her two years at Hinds she married her best friend.

Despite the changes in her life and the struggles she’s experienced, “I knew that I had to walk through the doors of Hinds in order to put my life where I felt it needed to be for myself and my family,” she said.

She graduates May 11 with a degree in business office technology. “As I walk across the stage, I will reflect on the great memories and skills that have been acquired while at Hinds. I will also be giving a final salute of gratitude to the ones who gave me their endless support. I say thank you from the depths of my being.”

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David Yewell, Hinds Alumnus
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22 May

David Yewell, Hinds Alumnus

David Yewell

It was in the produce section of a Kentucky A&P grocery store that David Yewell’s life was changed forever.

Yewell (1962), a past member of the Hinds Community College Foundation board, worked at the store sorting produce.

In fall 1960, he was just a few days removed from high school graduation from Owensboro High School in Kentucky when a local man who had an eye for talent and an interest in helping students further their academic careers approached Yewell.

Donald “Quack” Butler asked Yewell, a standout high school basketball player, if he wanted to go to college. After Yewell replied it wasn’t financially possible, Butler told him to expect a phone call from Hinds Junior College basketball coach Troy Ricks. Two days later he and his father began the ride down to Raymond.

“It was a trip that opened a completely new world to me and changed my life forever,” Yewell said. “I fell in love with Raymond immediately. It felt like home after a few days.”

Yewell flourished during his two years in Raymond. He became interested in learning, studying and writing, all fostered by an “attentive, truly loving faculty, one of whom was Ricks.”

“I have a great appreciation for Hinds Community College and especially Coach Ricks for the opportunity they gave me to play basketball,” Yewell said. “I would not be where I am today, I’m sure of it.”

Yewell has been practicing law for more than 40 years. He currently counsels clients through Yewell Law, LLC, in Owensboro, KY. Yewell received his associates degree from Hinds, his bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

For the complete story, see the spring 2012 issue of Hindsight alumni magazine.

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Trina Williams, Hinds Student
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22 May

Trina Williams, Hinds Student

Trina Williams

Trina Runia Williams of Jackson got her children raised and watched her husband graduate from Hinds Community College in December.

Now it’s her turn to shine in the early childhood education program on the Utica Campus. She’ll graduate with her associate’s degree in May.

“I have always had a passion for children and after raising my two daughters and putting them through college, the time has finally come for me to do what I had always wanted to do,” Williams said.

As a part of her service to the community and a show of affection to her discipline, Williams volunteers 10 hours a week at Gertrude Ellis Head Start Program in Byram.

“My love of children and the way they think are what keeps me going,” said Williams, who is also a joint business owner of Woods of Williams Custom Cabinet Company LLC in Raymond.

Williams, a sophomore, has been selected to the Phi Theta Kappa All Mississippi Academic Team and recently received the 3E Award – Emphasis on Excellence and Enrichment – which is one of the highest student achievement recognitions awarded by Hinds Community College.

Out of 1,500 nominations for the Phi Theta Kappa All Mississippi Academic Team, only two students were chosen to represent each campus of the state’s 15 community colleges. Williams was among that elite group to be chosen.

She has worked with peer educators, a student mentoring group; serves as treasurer of the Alpha Beta Xi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa; and is a member of Who’s Who Among American Community College Students. Upon graduating in May 2012, Williams plans to continue her education at Jackson State University and major in elementary education.

“Getting our college degrees has been a dream come true for my husband and me,” Williams said. “My husband finished his drafting program from the Raymond Campus this past December, and I will be graduating this May. How wonderful is that!”

She and her husband, Robert, have two adult daughters, Natasha Williams of Long Beach, Calif., and Stacey Williams of Hattiesburg.

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