http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans Classes begin at Hinds amid excitement for fresh faces, older students
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Classes begin at Hinds amid excitement for fresh faces, older students

In a previous routine, Patricia Martin used to take a load off by pulling a latch on the heavy doors of an 18-wheeler. Those were fairly heavy and involved cross-country driving.

Now, she simply stops in the Eagle’s Nest student lounge on the Raymond Campus to take a load off in between classes.

Patricia Martin, a nursing student at the Raymond campus of Hinds Community College, takes a break in between classes on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Monday was the first day of classes for the fall semester.

Patricia Martin, a nursing student at the Raymond campus of Hinds Community College, takes a break in between classes on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Monday was the first day of classes for the fall semester.

“I used to be a truck driver,” Martin said Monday as classes began for Fall 2015 at each of Hinds Community College’s six campuses. “We used to call road construction barrels ‘schneider eggs’.”

Martin, 44, a Jackson resident and Georgia native, plans to knock out required coursework this semester as she prepares to enter the nursing program, a destination she mapped upon the loss of a child.

“I lost my daughter when she was 23 from complications after her appendix ruptured,” Martin said. “If I can help care for someone as a nurse, whether it be in the ER or directly with patients, I want to do that.”

A tour of Hinds with his high school back in Chicago gave Monte Burks a taste of Hinds’ family-like, relaxed atmosphere clinched his decision to move south for college.

Monte Burks, left, a freshman from Chicago, is shown the way to the Brick Masonry class on Monday by David Hawkins, director of facilities use at the Raymond Campus of Hinds Community College. Monday was the first day of classes for the Fall 2015 semester.

Monte Burks, left, a freshman from Chicago, is shown the way to the Brick Masonry class on Monday by David Hawkins, director of facilities use at the Raymond Campus of Hinds Community College. Monday was the first day of classes for the Fall 2015 semester.

“We went here, we went to Jackson, we went to Alabama, and to Memphis,” Burks said on his way to his first brick masonry class. “I guess it’s just a little slower here, and the number of students to a class was already something I was used to.”

Finding the appropriate classroom turned into a group effort for first-year students Leslie Brunson, of Florence, Mary Graham, of Vicksburg, and Kaylan Johnson, of Jackson – all fresh out of high school.

Mary Graham, left, of Vicksburg, and Leslie Brunson, right, of Florence, consult class schedules at the Raymond Campus of Hinds Community College on Monday, the first day of classes for the Fall 2015 semester. Monday was the first day of classes for the fall semester.

Mary Graham, left, of Vicksburg, and Leslie Brunson, right, of Florence, consult class schedules at the Raymond Campus of Hinds Community College on Monday, the first day of classes for the Fall 2015 semester. Monday was the first day of classes for the fall semester.

“I’ve walked about two to three miles this morning, altogether,” Brunson said.

Hinds staffers directed waves of students to class on the Raymond Campus as the Baptist Student Union provided breakfast plates. Sophomores Michael McKnight, of Brandon, an architectural engineering student in BSU, and Jonathan Stewart, a business student from Jackson, chowed on the goodies provided as part of the organization’s Peace, Love & Pancakes drive.

“I’m seeing a lot of students back this year,” McKnight said. “It’s good, because I worked hard to help do the pancakes.”

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