Quintavious Anderson knew college was the right place for him after high school, but he wasn’t sure what to do once he got there.
Anderson, 22, of Jackson, made it out of high school cleanly enough, but found himself in disarray academically and personally after a few semesters at Hinds Community College.
“I got out of Provine High School (in Jackson), then took classes at Utica Campus for a while before I lost my mama,” Anderson said. “I lived with my five siblings, my grandmother and grandfather. I’ve tried my best to take care them. I still love my mama, even to this day.”
Dependent on rides to school, then the loss of his grandfather, the amiable Anderson also had a class schedule that was all over the map and without direction. He was in Nita Burchfield’s Legal Environment in Business class and noticed he was always about 15 minutes late to class. She began asking questions.
“The more I asked, the sadder I got – but then I just got more determined,” Burchfield said. “He was really a shy person, always kept his head down. But, his answers were always honest.”
Without realizing it, Anderson’s gentle, friendly demeanor won him friends in places that helped him wisely manage his financial aid and class schedule, his self-presentation skills and, as he’ll do this month, earn a Technical Certificate in Hinds’ Meat Merchandising program.
He is among 1,358 earning credentials from the college this month. Of those, 187 are graduating cum laude, 97 are graduating magna cum laude and 120 are graduating summa cum laude.
“Since I’ve been at Hinds, I can speak to people better and I guess I’m more friendly,” he said, adding his achievements mean something special in light of losing two close family members during his time in college. “I feel like I’m making my mama proud.”
He’s made his teachers proud, too, mainly by showing uncommon focus through trying times.
“Quin has come out of his shell a lot since he’s been in our program,” said Chad Davis, an instructor in Meat Merchandising. “He has shown a hard-working attitude and is also one of the most kindhearted people I have ever met, and we love him for that.”
With a credential in hand, Anderson’s current job in foodservice can now be built into a career in one of a number of related areas to food processing.
“At first, I’d want to get on at a grocery store. Whether you like it or not, you’ve got start small when you don’t have any type of income. You can expand after that. But, you also have to stay applied and dedicated to what you’re doing with hard work. I think my degree will take me far.”