UTICA – Classes got under way this week at Hinds Community College, including on the Utica Campus where residence halls were full and classes busy with new and returning students from as far away as Virginia and as near as Utica.

More than 12,000 students have enrolled in classes at Hinds this fall, comparable to enrollment this time last year.

“I am in my last semester and have mixed emotions,” said Olivia Jackson of Crystal Springs, a business office technology major on the Utica Campus, shown at right. “Every experience that I have had on this campus has been one of a teaching experience. I have received a ‘real’ education since enrolling at the Utica Campus, and I feel confident in going out into the ‘real’ world.”

Many students filled the halls for assistance from the special programs, such as Student Support Services, which is only offered at the Utica Campus The program provides day and evening tutorial assistance, counseling, advisement and financial literacy and assistance through grant aid to the 65 students it serves. Additionally, the program provides cultural enrichment activities and trips for the students.

“This year I am competing against a new group of students that are at the top of their game in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs,” said Ranisa Kyles of Edwards, a biology major who plans to become a pediatrician.

“I was one of the 25 students to be accepted into the program last year, and this year a whole new group has emerged. I met some of them this summer during the Learning to Learn Camp, and they are sharp,” she said. “We, the sophomores, are ready for the challenge because we all are just real competitive by nature and welcome any challenge.”

Photo: Cristiana James of Jackson, left, a science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) major, and Olivia Jackson of Crystal Springs, a business office technology major, share in a light moment about the plans for the new school year.

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