PEARL – Returning to school is a time of self-discovery, new careers and making new friends.
All those are now true for Sherrie Smith and Natasha Jackson, classmates this past year in the Health Information Technology program at Hinds Community College. Each graduated from the college Friday, May 28 with Associate of Applied Science degrees in the field.
“It was just the three of us in the class, so we’re friends now,” said Jackson, 27, of Jackson.
Smith, 49, originally from Greenwood and a mother of two adult children, chose Hinds for the convenience of staying in-state and the program’s solid reputation.
“It was really the only doable option I had to earn my degree,” Smith said. “I had a really good experience here.”
The college conferred 532 credentials to 464 students in two ceremonies at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Nursing and allied health graduates received their degrees at 10 a.m. Academic and career-tech graduates received theirs at 2 p.m.
Among them were Charlotte and Charlene Johnson, twin sisters in life and in school. The sisters, of Clinton, graduated from the Practical Nursing program after already having earned degrees at Jackson State University.
“We’ve done everything together,” Charlotte said. “We’ve always been close.”
Both chose healthcare as a career to be able to continue teaching as well as learning.
“We love helping people,” Charlene said. “We’ve coordinated different programs, we both teach dancing. And we loved Hinds. It was challenging, awesome and we had the best teachers ever.”
Angela Griffin, retired assistant dean for Career and Technical Education at the college, spoke to graduates at both ceremonies.
Griffin told graduates to discover their passion, then follow it no matter what challenges life presents.
“You can Google for a mate or for a career,” Griffin said. “But you can’t Google to find what’s in your heart, the passion that makes you happy.
“You won’t find your passion in money or things. You will find your passion in things that fill you from the inside. It will be grounded in people and in your relationship with people.”
Griffin retired from Hinds in 2017 after 34 years, a tenure that began as a Business Technology instructor at the Jackson Campus-Academic/Technical Center. Griffin went on to chair the Business Technology Department before becoming assistant dean for career-tech.Hinds CC holds summer graduation ceremonies