May 15, 2024

Siblings Graduate from New Hinds CC Partnership

“This is a very important moment in my life,” said Kevis Johnson. “I’ve set a new standard in my home, for my kids and that means so much to me,…
BY: Rhonda Dunaway

Pearl—Siblings Kenya, 28, and Kevis Johnson, 44, both of Jackson, have a new start in life after their May 9 graduation from Hinds Community College.

The two nontraditional students were among those participating in a new pilot program funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through the city of Jackson.

“I feel so blessed. I didn’t think I was going to make it sometimes, but my faith and my family have helped me through it,” said Kenya Johnson.

She and her brother received their Technical Certificates in Electro-Mechanical Technology. They explained that they are employed by JXN Water, one the day shift and one the night shift. They said the special training received at Hinds means they can apply for better, higher paying positions.

“This is a very important moment in my life,” said Kevis Johnson. “I’ve set a new standard in my home, for my kids and that means so much to me, and I’m proud that my kids can see me succeed.”

They received tuition, books and toolkits for two semesters of study. The goal of the program is to enroll citizens in educational and workforce training that would result in employment. The city reached out to the Jackson Resource Center (JRC), a non-profit in Jackson dedicated to transforming lives for the better, and they reached out to people in workforce development at Hinds Community College.

Graduating siblings at Hinds Community College ceremonies, May 9, in the Clyde Muse Center are, from left, brother Kevis Johnson and sister Kenya Johnson, both of Jackson, and their classmate Cheryl Keeler, also of Jackson. (Hinds Community College/Malcolm Morrow)

Electro-Mechanical Instructor Frederick Jefferson was like a proud father as he visited with several of the graduates and their families at the ceremony.

“We condensed a 16-week course down to an eight-week course. Those students had to buckle down and dig in deep, and let me promise you, it wasn’t easy, because we really pushed them to the limit. And would you believe these students succeeded and asked for more?” Jefferson said.

Jefferson said he and the other electro-mechanical instructors did more than just teach them technical skills.

“We teach them a lot of soft skills, too, like how to get ready for an interview, how to deal with the public and co-workers, how to deal with a boss, how to network for success, things like that. These guys are coming to us and telling us the program has really changed their lives. Nothing makes me feel prouder than seeing our students succeed,” Jefferson said.

At the graduation ceremonies the student speakers have been chosen by their peers and teachers and is based on leadership qualities and academic success.

Weldon Grizzell, 19, of Jackson, said the invocation and benediction at the 10 a.m. ceremonies. He earned an Associate Degree in Agribusiness at the Raymond Campus. After Hinds he plans to study Agribusiness with a concentration in policy and law at Mississippi State University.

Speaking on behalf of the students was Hayley Lambert, 21, of Puckett. She earned an associate degree in Interpreter Training Technology. Lambert spoke to her peers about building solid foundations for their lives.

“We have planted our roots in the college community, forming connections, friendships, and mentorships that will support us in the future,” Lambert said.

Over four ceremonies on May 8, 9, and 10, Hinds awarded 1,270 degrees and certificates to 972 graduates, which means that many graduates earned more than one community college credential.

In total, 260 students graduated cum laude with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59; 152 graduated magna cum laude with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.99 and 36 graduated summa cum laude with a grade point average of 4.0.

About Hinds Community College

Hinds offers affordable, comprehensive educational opportunities across six campus locations and has nearly 500 academic classes guaranteed to transfer to a university, over 65 career and technical program options and an extensive array of online courses. Applications for general admissions are currently being accepted. Prospective students are encouraged to apply and explore enrollment steps at

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 IDEALSIntegrity, Diversity, Excellence, Accountability, Leadership, Stewardship.

To learn more, visit or call 1.800.HindsCC.