James Proctor Sr. had seen the world in 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy, but hadn’t seen a classroom in about that long until he enrolled at Hinds Community College.
“It was a big adjustment coming back, plus I’ve been taking care of my own dad at home,” said Proctor, of Brandon, among more than 1,200 graduating from the college over three days of ceremonies.
His son, James Jr., fresh out of high school, fully expected to hit the books to make his own way. Father and son graduated together on Friday with other academic and technical students, James Sr. with a career certificate in Carpentry and James Jr. with one in Automotive Collision Repair.
“I just found something I enjoy to do,” James Jr. said. “Once you get the gist of it, you’re fine.”
Kennicia Collins gathered with family and friends with newly-earned credentials in hand and a chance to relax after a job well done.
“I want to go into social work and attend Jackson State University,” said Collins, of Jackson, holding her career certificate in Early Childhood Education and posing for photos.
Shemekia Champion, of Flora, found some time to reflect before Friday’s ceremony for academic and technical graduates, mainly on what she’ll enjoy most with her technical certificate in hospitality and culinary arts.
“I love to cook, mainly stuffed pork chops – and some shrimp and grits,” Champion said.
This semester’s graduates will receive more than 1,500 certificates and degrees since some graduates will receive more than one credential.
Of the total number of graduates, 127 are graduating summa cum laude, which is a perfect 4.0 grade point average; 130 are graduating magna cum laude, which is a 3.60 to 3.99 grade point average and 238 are graduating cum laude, which is a 3.20 to 3.59 grade point average.
Hinds County Board of Supervisors President Darrel McQuirter was the speaker for the Friday ceremony. McQuirter represents District 2 on the county board.
The Clinton native received an Associate degree in management from Hinds Junior College in 1983 before earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Mississippi College in 1985.
“You are at a different step in your life right now,” McQuirter told the graduating class. “I want to encourage and remind you this is just another step in your future and in your career. It’s to prepare you for the next part of your life.
“Steps are not designed for you to live on, build a house on or stay there. Steps are there to move you to a different level. Rest if you must – but don’t you quit.”
On Sunday May 15, about 100 students will graduate at J.D. Boyd Gymnasium on the Utica Campus at a 2 p.m. ceremony. Jackson State University President Dr. Carolyn Meyers is the speaker.