Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus held its 2017 Homecoming Week Oct. 23-29. The theme of the week was Laissez Les Bon temps Rouler! (Let the good times roll!).
The week kicked off with an “All that Jazz” lunch featuring a live New Orleans Jazz ensemble and traditional New Orleans cuisine. Students and staff were treated to a total Mardi Gras experience with lavish décor, food samples and music from the region. Day one of the week continued with a Lip Sync Battle, which allowed students to show off their skills and a late night movie on the lawn.
Other events for the week included a combined Bourbon Street Style Carnival and Health Fair. The carnival welcomed vendors and guests young and old to indulge in New Orleans culture, music and arts. The carnovial even included an appearance from YouTube sensation “Famous Amos.”
The Health Fair welcomed vendors from organizations such as The MS Track Club, MEA Medical Centers and Arrow Nutrition, to name a few. Patrons were offered free health screenings, information on updated medical procedures, flu shots and other resources. Vendors such as Arrow Nutrition felt especially proud to be a part of the festivities.
“We are products of the Utica Campus. We all graduated from here in 1987. This is our first time back in 30 years. It’s such a great feeling for us to be able to be a part of such an amazing time,” said Christopher Griffin, representative for Arrow Nutrition.
One of the week’s most heightened events was the inclusion of motivational speaker and author Alysia Steele. Steele, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, is author of the book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.” The book is a collection of formal portraits and oral histories from church mothers, including civil rights activist Myrlie Evers Williams, widow of slain NAACP leader Medgar Evers.
Steele told tales about the Jim Crow era in Mississippi, including stories about the Civil Rights Movement, voting, sending the first child to college, picking cotton on plantations, fighting to receive an education and the journey women took to have “Mrs.” added next to their names in the telephone book. Steele is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media in Oxford.
The week proceeded with “The Masquerade” Coronation and Crowning of Mr. & Miss Utica Campus. The event gave students the opportunity to experience not only the physical crowning of their elected leaders, but to get a firsthand look at a coronation ceremony, comprised of rituals, taking of special vows, regalia presentations, and acts of homage by their new leader’ subjects. To some students, the event was an introduction to an untapped world. Utica Campus Vice President Tyrone Jackson believes an experience such as the coronation is pertinent to student development.
“The pomp and circumstance surrounding an event such a coronation provides participating students an opportunity to be exposed to a formal event where they can learn and/or enhance their skill set in proper etiquette, attire, dance, etc. This event also provides a social atmosphere and entertainment for the student body and other guests in attendance such as the local community in which we serve. Speaking of community, it’s another conduit to strengthen the “town and gown” relationship. Overall, the ceremony creates memories for all involved,” said Jackson.
Other events for the week included fashion shows, powder puff games, tailgating and ending with a gospel explosion.
Hinds Community College is celebrating its 100th year of Community Inspired Service in 2017. Hinds opened in September 1917 first as an agricultural high school and admitted college students for the first time in 1922, with the first class graduating in 1927. In 1982 Hinds Junior College and Utica Junior College merged, creating the Hinds Community College District. Today, as Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution with six locations. Hinds offers quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.