As evidenced by the number of graduates inside the coliseum donning a cap and gown, the community college system is alive and well. Close to a thousand students marched toward a diploma from all eight campuses that make up The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College system, a system that works for these students year in and year out.
Chris Melton is the Student Council President for the Perkinston, Jefferson and Jackson County campuses and he says he'll miss the school. "It's close to home, the teachers are very personable with you, the classes are a good size to where they can pay enough attention to you as much or as little attention as you need."
Dr. Willis Lott is the MGCCC President and says, "We celebrate the achievement, the successful completion of 946 students who will receive their degree. We're very excited about celebrating that achievement and their successes.
Jerry Carter earned his diploma from the Jackson County Campus and says, "It was great the instructors were pretty nice, they help you along if you need to be helped, if you didn't need their help, they try to encourage you to get a high G.P.A., basically I just had fun going there."
When the number of graduating students grew too large to hold commencement exercises on the individual campuses, they turned to graduating everyone at the Coliseum in a ceremony that speaks volumes of the community college success, a success that carries them beyond this day.
Dr. Lott says, "We get research every year from the major universities in Mississippi about how well our students do when they transfer to the universities, and our students do as well as or sometimes better than those students who begin their career at a university."
Rachael Bolden earned her 2-year degree from the Perkinston Campus and says, "I believe it's prepared me a lot because it's the same courses that you're going to get at a university but at a cheaper rate, so I chose the community college and I'm glad I did."
Tracey Carter spent some time at the University of South Alabama before returning home to earn her degree from the Jackson County Campus and says, "I went to a college once before and I wasn't able to grow like I have at the Junior College and I wish I had done that before I went to a university."