Hundreds of students graduated from East Mississippi Community College”s Golden Triangle campus Friday, better prepared for the next steps on their paths to success.
EMCC “provides opportunities for individuals to take their lives to the next level to achieve the American dream,” EMCC President Dr. Rick Young noted in his opening remarks to the graduates.
And many of the graduates agreed.
“It helps build leadership, teamwork,” Kareem Davis, 20, of New Hope, said of his time at EMCC, where he served as the Student Government Association president, a member of the student body”s judicial council and editor of the school yearbook, among other things. “The curriculum is the same as going to a university, but you get one-on-one (time) with the instructors. And they mentor you.
“A lot of times, people change their majors before deciding exactly what they want to do,” he continued. “With EMCC, you get hands-on training or you can get a mixture of everything. Even if you get a liberal arts degree, you have bases with everything.”
Davis, who was raised by a single parent, plans to take advantage of a tuition guarantee program and now will study accounting at Mississippi University for Women.
MUW entered a tuition-guarantee partnership with EMCC, which allows all Lowndes County students who have completed a two-year degree with a 2.5 GPA at EMCC to attend MUW free of charge.
“Paying for college would be expensive for my mother and being that it”s free really helps out,” he said. “And I think it encourages a lot of students to go that route.
“I will miss the relationships I have built with my instructors, with my classmates (at EMCC),” he added. “I will miss that the most. Once you”ve been there for two years, you get to know everyone on a first-name basis. I will definitely miss the community part of the college. (But) I”m looking
forward to the new experience (of attending MUW), getting to know people, getting into the business program. And I”m just looking forward to what my town has to offer me.”
After graduation from MUW, Davis plans to either work as a certified public accountant or continue educational pursuits.
Danielle Jones, 31, also plans to attend MUW, under the tuition guarantee program.
“They did a lot,” Jones, who will study nursing, said of EMCC”s role in preparing her for the future. “I”ve benefited much from EMCC. They”re good at pushing and encouraging. They believe in success.”
Jones, who lives in Starkville and is unemployed, said the tuition guarantee program is “very helpful” to her.
“(Attending EMCC) gave me a chance to get used to college life and how tough it is, compared to high school,” said Scott Chandler, 19, of Caledonia, noting he plans to earn a bachelor”s degree from Mississippi State University.
Rose McGee, 21, of West Point, also will attend MSU, where she will study social work.
“(EMCC) prepared me to be better and study hard to be prepared for a university,” she said.
“It prepared me to be more organized,” Annaleisa Carr, 21, of Starkville, said of her time at EMCC, after which she plans to study social work at MSU.
“The best advice I can give you (is to) be honest with yourself,” Young told the graduates. Tell the truth. Whatever your ambitions, whatever field you want to enter, get yourself a job. Get a seat at the table, then let hard work, a positive attitude and diligence do the rest.”
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