September 22, 2023

Summer Graduation 2023

“As I look out over your class, I’m reminded that you represent a very diverse set of viewpoints and circumstances."
BY: Nathan Moore

RAYMOND – Nearly 400 Hinds Community College students received Nursing and Allied Health degrees, Academic degrees, and Technical and Career degrees and certificates over three summer graduation ceremonies held on the Raymond Campus in Cain-Cochran Hall July 26th and 27th.

“There were 476 certificates and degrees awarded to 370 students,” announced Vice President of Instruction Dr. Sherry Bellmom, who provided the invocation and introduction for each of the ceremonies.

“That means many graduates are earning more than one college credential,” Bellmon said. She said that out of the summer graduates there are 144 graduating with honors – 65 graduated Cum Laude, 42 are Magna Cum Laude, and 37 are Suma Cum Laude.

“As I look out over your class, I’m reminded that you represent a very diverse set of viewpoints and circumstances,” Bellmon said to the graduates, “You are connected, however, by a belief that a community college education is a gateway to building a better life and creating better communities for our future generations. When you leave here today, our hope is that you remember that you are a part of us, part of the collective 100 plus year history of Hinds.”

Bellmon’s words ring true for a couple of working mothers graduating on Thursday, who want to do more than just provide food and shelter for their families. Mothers like Anitra Harris, of Vicksburg, who wanted her children to see their mom become a graduate. And like LaQuandra Ellis, of Raymond, who wanted to show her children that hard work and belief in one’s self is worth investing time and energy, and that it is never too late to do something different with one’s life.

“In 2020 I went through a divorce and came to work at Hinds part-time,” LaQuandra Ellis explained. “I was encouraged by folks here at Hinds to go back to school. And graduating today is truly a blessing. Working here at Hinds is a blessing. They’ve helped me a lot. And they are still helping me. I’m enrolled in the Fall, too.”

Ellis is graduating today with an Associate’s Degree in General Studies but will attend the HBCU-Utica Campus to get a second degree in Childhood Education Technology. She plans to open her own daycare when she is finished, inspired by the lack of quality daycare available to families.

Anitra Harris, 32, was with her mom and aunts and her two young sons. She is graduating with an Associate of Arts Degree in Psychology and starts Jackson State University in the Fall to finish a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

“We should never stop dreaming,” Harris said. “I started college back in 2008, but I had children and life happened, and so now here I am 10 years later finishing my degree. I wanted my children to see their mom become a college graduate because education is everything to me.”