PEARL – A typical 7-year-old girl would have been discovering coloring books and learning her “times tables” in school.
Instead, Brittany Thompson had the added challenge of managing Type I diabetes. Having earned what she needs to enter nursing school, the Utica native plans to draw on the care and advice she received years ago as she charts her career.
“The experience has made me want to go into nursing,” Thompson said, all smiles on Thursday with her mother, Jeanette Thompson, outside the main auditorium at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. “It made me want to give of myself.”
Hinds Community College conferred 443 degrees and certificates to 304 graduates in two ceremonies at the 75,000-square-foot multipurpose facility.
Of the total number of graduates, 23 are graduating summa cum laude, which is a perfect 4.0 grade point average; 42 are graduating magna cum laude, which is a 3.60 to 3.99 grade point average and 73 are graduating cum laude, which is a 3.20 to 3.59 grade point average.
For Angela Wilson, being a mom and mentor to her 4-year-old son, Christian, who is disabled, eventually built up the energy to make a career switch. The Jackson hairdresser wants to trade her hairbrush for a medical chart with the help of the career certificate she earned in occupational therapy.
“I want to get my specialization in pediatric disabilities,” Wilson said.
Michael Thompson, of Vicksburg, was among those who graduated cum laude, with an associate’s in general studies. It’s the start of a career switch from hairdressing to working in the mental health field.
“I’m going to Ole Miss to take advantage of my certification in the field,” Thompson said.
Dr. Lynn Weathersby, president of the Hinds Community College Board of Trustees and superintendent of Rankin County School District, spoke to the academic and career-tech graduates at Thursday’s afternoon session.
“Be ambitious,” Weathersby told graduates. “Successful people have enthusiasm, commitment, pride and they don’t make excuses. Anyone can come up with an excuse for why they haven’t made it. Those who want to succeed don’t make excuses.”