December 15, 2023

Hinds CC Graduate: ‘Shoot Beyond the Stars’

“Hinds has taught me to shoot beyond the stars because only stars soar. I am here today to tell each and every one of you to reach for the stars."
BY: Rhonda Dunaway

PEARL – Hinds Community College graduated nearly 600 students in two fall graduation ceremonies on Dec. 14 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.

The graduates received a total of 879 credentials, with some students receiving more than one credential. 

Among the graduates, 217 students graduated with honors.  

  • 123 graduated cum laude, which means that they have maintained a 3.2 – 3.59 GPA out of 4.0
  • 74 graduated magna cum laude, which means they maintained a 3.60 – 3.99 GPA 
  • 20 graduated summa cum laude, which means they earned a perfect 4.0 GPA.

The speaker for the 2 p.m. ceremony was Chelse McGrew of Hazlehurst, who received an associate degree in Kinesiology. She plans to transfer to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg to get a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and become a physical therapist.

“Hinds has taught me to shoot beyond the stars because only stars soar. I am here today to tell each and every one of you to reach for the stars. Take those stars and shine bright, only you shall dim that light. Life is about to unfold for you in all its forms — love, heartaches, accomplishments, disappointments and testing of faith,” McGrew said.

Offering the invocation and benediction at the 2 p.m. ceremony was Eric Dotson of Kosciusko. He received an Associate Degree in General Studies. He plans to join the Army National Guard after graduation and then transfer to a four-year college. 

In his message to graduates, Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik singled out three things for them to keep in mind: Listen first, speak last; color inside the lines; and be patient.

“It is almost always better to color within the lines – that is, work within the system and strive to make it better from the inside. That does not mean that the system is always right or perfectly just, but any company, institution or nation – just like a large ship with a small rudder – turns slowly, and often because of just a few individuals,” he said. “However, sometimes the ship will not be moved and you may HAVE to color outside the lines. … The bottom line is that you can change the system from within, and it is almost always the straightest road to success.”

About Hinds Community College

Our Mission: Hinds Community College is committed to moving people and communities forward by helping develop their purpose, passion and profession. 

Our Vision: Hinds Community College will be a catalyst to create a competitive economy and a compelling culture for Mississippi. 

Our Values: Hinds Community College aspires to the following IDEALS: Integrity, Diversity, Excellence, Accountability, Leadership, Stewardship. 

To learn more, visit or call 1.800.HindsCC.

Media Inquiries Contact

Rhonda Dunaway
(601) 857-3343