PEARL — Just two years ago, Ronald Humes had dropped out of high school and was seemingly out of options.
Today, he has credential and a job offer in hand – and he feels on top of his world.
“It’s really a dream come true right now,” said Humes, of Vicksburg, among those in academic and technical areas of study who graduated from Hinds Community College Friday, Dec. 16 in ceremonies held at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.
Humes had earned his High School Equivalency certificate this past summer after completing the MI-BEST program at Hinds, a program that combines the high school equivalency curriculum with job training skills. Humes’ career certificate in Welding Technology was just the start of his big day Friday.
“I have a job offer right now where I’d make $32 an hour,” Humes said, surrounded by family and friends.
The college graduated nearly 900 students who received 1,263 degrees and certificates, meaning some graduates received more than one credential. Of that number 554 chose to participate in one of the three ceremonies on Friday.
Among the graduates, nine achieved summa cum laude, a 4.0 grade point average; 46 achieved magna cum laude, 3.6 to 3.99 GPA and 110 achieved cum laude, 3.2 to 3.59.
Jimmy Phillips and Thomas Scoggins graduated Hinds Community College on Friday, Dec. 16 with more than their credentials in hand.
Each has a job offer after completing the Industrial Maintenance program, which prepares students for modern-day manufacturing facilities.
“I’ve got two offers now, in service and technical work,” said Phillips, of Copiah County, who grew up on a cattle farm and, on Friday, earned technical and career certificates in the field. Scoggins, of Richland, whose family owns an industrial equipment business, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree and graduated cum laude.
“I have some offers I’ll be going after, with this degree,” Scoggins said.
Coursework in the program combines previously separate disciplines into a single concept dubbed mechatronics, a multifaceted field of engineering, telecommunications, control and computer engineering.
Keila Adams, of Jackson, grew up with a few family members unable to hear the world around them.
Now, with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Interpreter Technology in hand, Adams will be able to help her and countless others interact with their own loved ones.
“Sign language is a totally different language,” Adams said before walking across the stage as a summa cum laude graduate. “It’s a world not only of language, but of facial expressions.”
Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse noted that many students want to make a better life for them and their families.
“The power of education is that it drives our vision for a better life. And, while the graduates who sit upon this stage today represent a diverse set of circumstances, they are connected by their belief that a community college education is a step up to a broader opportunity to build a better life,” Muse said.
Dr. Bobby Glenn, director of the Veterinary Technology program at Hinds since 1976, spoke to academic and technical graduates on the value of their education in multiple measures.
“Twenty-five percent of first-semester college students do not return for their second semester,” Glenn said. “You did return. And you returned again. And you finished.
“Your degree will open doors that otherwise would not have opened. Wear your degree with pride – you’ve earned it.”