RAYMOND – Joy Rhoads and Anna Hite have been named Hinds Community College’s honorees for the Legislature’s HEADWAE program for 2018.
Rhoads, of Brandon, is a history and geography instructor and coordinator of the Rankin Campus Honors Program. Hite, of Raymond, is a sophomore studying art on the Raymond Campus.
As the faculty honoree for the program, which stands for Higher Education Appreciation Day – Working for Academic Excellence, Rhoads is also the graduation speaker for fall ceremonies on Dec. 15 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Nursing and allied health students will graduate in a ceremony at 8 a.m. Academic and technical graduates will graduate at ceremonies set for 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Rhoads, a 24-year employee of Hinds, holds master’s degrees in geography and history from the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University, respectively. Her bachelor’s degree in history is also from MSU. She has directed the Honors Program since 2016 and is a faculty advisor for the Alpha Omicron Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges in the United States.
“I was exceptionally honored when I spoke to Dr. Muse,” Rhoads said. “The most striking things about it is that it demonstrated the confidence that he and the administration have in me to serve the student body.
“The most humbling experience I’ve had as a teacher was becoming a student again. Just a few years ago, I went back for a second master’s degree. At the time, I was married, had a child, my husband was deployed a lot of the time. I realized then that each time I walk into a classroom and say, ‘Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,’ I’m looking at people who have all kinds of things going on in their lives – good, challenging and the like. The technology we now use in the classroom really can foster the opportunity for students in this day and age to balance all of those demands.”
Hite, a graduate of Central Hinds Academy, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and will be an officer in the organization next semester. She is also vice president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and is a member of the Lendon Players theatre group.
“Being at Hinds has changed me in a couple of ways,” Hite said. “Before coming here, I never felt I was in an environment where I felt able to flourish, shine or feel accepted. Coming here, I felt I was coming home and needed that sense of security to find myself like I have this past year and a half.”
Hite is the recipient of multiple scholarships that have financed her education, including an ACT Presidential Scholarship and one from the Honors Institute at Hinds. After finishing classes in Raymond in May 2018, she plans to pursue art and English and possibly teach one of the subjects.
“I’m looking into being a teacher on a college level,” she said. “I’d love to teach about this exciting new thing I’ve learned how to do. I want to be able to share that with other people and show them how to do it in cool and exciting new ways.”
Rhoads is a member of the National Council for Geographic Education and the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers. While at Hinds, she has been named a Hinds Hero and a Teacher of the Year for the campus PTK chapter and the Mississippi Humanities Council.
HEADWAE was established in 1988 to honor academically talented students and faculty who have made outstanding contributions in promoting academic excellence. The 31st annual program is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.