JSCC Presents Free Community Performance by CORE ENSEMBLE

On Tuesday, October 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Jackson State Community College’s Ayers Auditorium, the Core Ensemble will perform the chamber music theatre work, Los Valientes, The Courageous Ones. Actor David Perez-Ribada will give a theatrical presentation of the lives and passions of Mexican painter Diego Rivera, Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Mexican-American desperado Joaquin Murrieta (Zorro).

Chamber music theatre is a unique performance format created by the Core Ensemble, featuring a marriage of theatrical narrative to chamber music performance.

David Perez-Ribada portrays multiple characters while interacting with the onstage musical trio of cello, piano and percussion. David has performed a wide variety of stage roles throughout the United States, including the World Premiere of Anna in the Tropics. He has appeared on the Fox TV Network as well as in several independent films. David studied acting at Florida International University and now resides in New York City.

This performance by the Core Ensemble is presented as a free community event by the International Education program of Jackson State. Spanish club advisor Mary Wadley states that JSCC is committed to bringing events to West Tennessee that offer area residents an opportunity to experience great music and talent with cultural diversity that is not common to the area.

For more information regarding this performance or other opportunities in international education at JSCC, contact Mary Wadley at 731-424-3520 ext. 50252 or email her at mwadley@jscc.edu.

Bagels and Bluegrass set for October 14 at JSCC

The 16th Anniversary of the Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour is set for Saturday, Oct. 14 at Jackson State Community College. The event includes bicycle road tours varying in length from 14 to 100 miles. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Jackson State scholarship fund and Friends of Chickasaw and Pinson Mounds State Parks.

The routes on the Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour are designed for beginners to advanced riders. There is a 14-mile family fun ride, 32-mile, 62-mile and 100-mile routes. The 100-mile century route will take cyclists through Chickasaw and Pinson Mounds State Parks. For completing this route, cyclists will receive a commemorative patch.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. in the lobby of the Gymnasium at Jackson State. There will be a welcome ceremony beginning at 7:45 a.m. and cyclists will begin the tour at 8 a.m. The fee for the ride is $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. Families can participate together on the 14-mile family fun ride for $35 per family.

The registration fee includes a free breakfast and lunch, t-shirts for the first 100 registrants, and a goody bag. Each registered rider is also eligible for a special door prize drawing. Registration form, maps and more details are available at www.bagelsandbluegrass.tn.org.

For more information about the Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour event go to www.bagelsandbluegrass.tn.org or call 731-616-7474.

Ayers Honored at Dedication of Health Science Building

The opening of the Jim and Janet Ayers Center for Health Sciences at Jackson State Community College “is a perfect marriage between education and health care,” said Janet Ayers at the center’s dedication ceremony Sept. 12.

Both Jim and Janet Ayers praised the work of Jackson State while college officials thanked the Ayers for their commitment to education.

“Jackson State has been near and dear to my heart for many years,” Jim Ayers said. The concept for the Ayers Foundation, which funds college scholarships and projects like the health sciences center, was born at Jackson State, he added.

Jackson State President Dr. Allana Hamilton thanked the Ayers “who do so much for our college, our students, our faculty.”

The dedication ceremony began with a welcome by Dr. Tom Pigg, Dean of Health Sciences and Computer Information Technology, and remarks by Dr. Larry Bailey, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Ginger Hausser, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement with the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Hausser pointed out that before the state adopted the Tennessee Promise that helps high school graduates and adults get a two-year certificate or degree at no cost, there was the “Ayers promise.” The Ayers and the Ayers Foundation sparked a movement across the state, she said.

The Jim and Janet Ayers Center for Health Sciences with its state-of-the art labs, classrooms and teaching equipment, is the new home for seven health programs at Jackson State: EMT-Paramedic, Medical Laboratory Technician, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiography, Respiratory Care Technology and Healthcare Technician.

Jim Ayers started his college scholarship program in Decatur County. He knew that students wanted to attend college, but didn’t know how. Today, the Ayers Foundation is funding scholarships for 1,400 students who are in two-year and four-year colleges and technical schools, said Ayers, who described himself as a first-generation college graduate. About 200 of those students are attending Jackson State.

When the program started, 35 percent of Decatur County high school graduates went on to college or a technical program. Today, that number is 90 percent, he said. “What we do will work.”

At Jackson State, Dr. Hamilton said, “we change lives one student at a time. Mr. and Mrs. Ayers share that same belief, that same philosophy.”

JSCC Celebrates 50 Years with Memories of the Past

Students, teachers, alumni, staff and other members of the Jackson State Community College family gathered for an afternoon of reminiscing, catching up with one another and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jackson State.

A large display of pictures that spanned the college’s history was the focal point of the Sept. 10 gathering in the Student Union Building.

Long-time employee Margie Lester recalled how she started as a student in Fall 1969, got a job in the communications department, became the college’s full-time receptionist, and 46 years later, is still working as the college’s receptionist. When she started, she had to master the old phone system with its many cords and jacks as she answered calls and transferred them to the appropriate person.

Clyde Fugate, who spent several years as a college counselor when Jackson State first opened, remembered how the Jackson State Generals got their name. After a contest among students to name the team, Fugate, Dean of Students James Toomey and student Ted Lewis helped narrow the names to two: Trailblazers and Generals. Then President Dr. F.E. Wright and Academic Dean Dr. Walter Nelms made the decision: Generals.

Joy Nelms was also one of the college’s first hires. She taught psychology and was an academic counselor for 35 years. She enjoyed helping students organize activities, she said.

Library Director Scott Cohen arrived at Jackson State in 1972 as the reference librarian. He’s seen the library evolve from a print base to electronic with most documents and even classes available online. The library today provides better access to materials, Cohen said. “We had no idea how the library would evolve.”

Tina Williamson has worked in several positions in her 40 years at the college. She started in the public relations office, working for Mary Craig. She spent many years in the counseling department under her “mentor Genevieve Brooks.” She’s seen plenty of changes, Williamson said. “It was a great place then; it’s even greater now. My life has been Jackson State Community College.”

Besides the large mural display of pictures in the center of the room, Dean of Academic Support Patrick Davis and Admissions Coordinator David Clark also caught the attention of the many people with cameras in the room. Both were wearing the same orange, pink and green plaid shirts.

As they laughed about their choice in clothing that morning, both recalled the days when they were students at Jackson State and how the college was the right option as they began their careers.

Though he made high marks in high school, Davis said, Jackson State was the first place that challenged him. At the time, Clark said, it was his only affordable option. “The experience, the teachers, Jackson State was worth all of the time I put into it,” Clark said.

“Jackson State’s purpose has always been to serve the students of the community,” said Beverly Hardin, who was one of the first faculty members hired by Academic Dean Dr. Walter Nelms. “We’ve done a really good job of that. Jackson State has been a vehicle for people to go to college who would not have gone if it had not been here.”

As young faces blended with older faces and people greeted one another with hugs, the afternoon gathering continued.

For Jackson State’s new president Dr. Allana Hamilton, the event was an opportunity for her to “meet the heritage of the college. This has been a wonderful celebration.”

JSCC experiencing great growth at Paris location

Jackson State Community College’s Paris campus began the Fall 2017 semester with 61 students and 16 courses – a significant growth from when it first opened in January with 21 students.

“This is phenomenal growth for a new higher learning location,” said Patrick Davis, JSCC Dean of Academic Support. The college plans more growth for the spring semester with the expansion of science and mathematics courses, he added.

Davis also praised the support of the Paris and Henry County community, which provided space in the Central Community Service Center for the college to begin operations.

The level of support from our community partners has been and continues to be extraordinary,” said Davis. “We work closely with the city and county mayors as well as the chamber of commerce. We are also meeting with business, industry and healthcare leaders to develop academic programs that will specifically serve the residents of Henry, Weakley, Carroll, and Benton counties.

Dr. Larry Bailey, JSCC Vice President for Academic Affairs, has seen this opportunity as a long time coming for the college to be able to better serve and support the northwest counties of Tennessee.

“The geography of our 14-county service area presents a number of challenges in providing sufficient services to a number of our students,” Bailey said. “Having such resounding support from government and business in Henry County has been a tremendous asset and one that we are resolved to build and grow.”

Jackson State has full-service, off-site centers in Savannah, Lexington and Humboldt. Both Davis and Bailey said that Jackson State is on track to develop the Paris location into a fourth full-service center for the college.

“This is a process with many moving pieces,” said Davis. “The next step will be hiring a full-time coordinator to oversee the operations and develop a strategy for growth. We will continue to explore the types of academic programs that are needed and to recruit and hire the faculty needed to lead the programs.”

The process for developing a new full-service center will take a little time, he added. “The continued involvement and support of local government and business will make this process one that moves more efficiently and quickly.”

Jackson State to be Recognized for Work with Veterans by State of Tennessee

The State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Higher Education Committee (THEC) are recognizing Jackson State Community College for its work with veterans and active military and also awarding Jackson State grant money that will be used to help its student veterans succeed.

Jackson State will officially be designated as a VETS Campus and as the recipient of a Veteran Reconnect Grant in a special ceremony at 11 a.m. Sept. 28 in Room 203 of the Jim Moss Center for Nursing. Speakers at the event will include THEC director Mike Krause, area legislators, Jackson State president Dr. Allana Hamilton and Jackson State student leaders.

Jackson State is one of 22 institutions in Tennessee to be named a VETS Campus in recognition of the school’s services and resources to student veterans. Currently, Jackson State provides services to over 200 students who have previously served or are serving in the armed forces and their dependents. The VETS Campus designation is part of the Tennessee Veterans Education Transition Support Act of 2014. Campuses that meet the requirement must prioritize outreach to veterans and create an environment in which veteran students have resources to thrive.

Established by the Tennessee General Assembly, the Veteran Reconnect Grant provides funding for the development of new programs to promote the success of student veterans. Jackson State, one of 13 institutions in Tennessee to receive the grant, will receive $44,500 beginning this fall. The grant is awarded through THEC as recognition of the school’s potential to enhance services and resources to student veterans.

Over the next 18 months, THEC will work collaboratively with the institutions who receive the grant to ensure that prospective and incoming student veterans have easy, clear access to information on how their training equates to academic credit.

“Each of these designations from the state of Tennessee and THEC are tremendous honors for our institution, and to receive them together is even more special,” Dr. Hamilton said. “Jackson State is greatly committed to the success of our student veterans, active duty military students and their dependents through dedicated staff, space and resources on campus. Opportunities such as the Veteran Reconnect grant allow us to improve our services to these students even further.”

Alumni Profile: Monte Jones

Jackson State Community College is a family tradition for 1983 alumnus Monte Jones, who attended the school while he decided which career path to follow.

Jones, president of Commercial Bank & Trust, enrolled after high school. He worked as a night manager at a grocery store and wanted to keep his job as he gauged the next steps of his education. The classes at Jackson State were flexible, he said, allowing him to attend school during the morning and work at night.

“It helps you decide what you want to be and get a taste of college life,” Jones said. It’s a good learning environment, and it gives you a chance to get your education started.”

It provides students with a good education, and they can live at home, he said. And the classes sizes are small compared to larger schools in the area.

“I developed relationships and friendships with teachers that still last today,” Jones said. “I learned a lot from them.”

After his associate degree in 1983, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Union University and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Memphis.

He’s been a banker for more than 30 years and president of Commercial Bank & Trust for the past 10 years. And, he continues to champion the school. His two daughters also have Jackson State degrees.

“I am proud to say I am an alumnus of Jackson State Community College,” Jones said. “You just can’t beat the value of a great education at a low cost. My daughters and I started our education on a solid foundation and have gone on to successfully pursue further degrees. Jackson State is a great school and a proud tradition in our family.”

JSCC to celebrate 50-year milestone

The beginning of the fall semester this year marks 50 years since classes were first offered on the Jackson State Community College campus. To commemorate this milestone, a reception will be held on the main campus in the Student Center Monday, September 11 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“This will be a time to focus on the tremendous impact that the college has had in the lives of our students as well as in the communities we serve,” said Dr. Allana Hamilton, JSCC president. “We look forward to seeing former students, faculty and staff at this momentous event in our history.”

Jackson State registered its first students in September, 1967 and began classes in October with an enrollment of 655. Since that time, the college has grown to an enrollment of nearly 5,000 on 4 full-service campuses. A site in Paris is currently offering classes with plans of becoming JSCC’s fifth campus.

“This is a great time for alumni and former staff to come back and reconnect,” stated John McCommon, public relations and marketing director. “Also, this is a transformative time in the history of the college with new buildings being built, new programs being offered, and new leadership to carry us forward into the next 50 years. Everyone at Jackson State is really proud of our legacy in the community and even more excited for what the future holds.”

In addition to the reception, photos and documents will be on display that recount the past 50 years of the college. This will also be an opportunity for those who haven’t been on campus in a while to see the changes that have taken place. Those who have never been to Jackson State are also invited to come to the event.

The campus has really blossomed over the past several years, McCommon stated. “We are very excited to have everyone come to see their community college.”

Joy Ike Returns to Jackson State for Free Concert

Joy Ike will return to Jackson State Community College for a free community concert. The concert will be held in the college’s Ayers Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12. The performance is sponsored by the international studies program of the college and is free and open to the public.

The Nigerian-born singer-songwriter’s voice and writing style have drawn comparisons to female musicians such as Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, and Fiona Apple. But her percussive piano-playing and soaring vocals give homage to her African upbringing.

Ike has spent the past 9 years playing thousands of shows across the country. She has shared the stage and opened for Jeffrey Gaines, Sara Groves, Seth Glier, Cody Chesnutt, Allen Troussaint, Tyrone Wells, and many others.

A write-up on NPR’s All Things Considered says “The depth of subjects she tackles in her poetic lyrics are perfectly complemented by a unique blend of neo-soul, with just the right dash of pop…a truly compelling act to watch in person, with the ability to create an intimate setting in locations big and small.”

For more information regarding this performance or other opportunities in international education at JSCC, contact Mary Wadley at 731-424-3520 ext. 50252 or email her at mwadley@jscc.edu.