Fuller, TCCAA Hall of Fame inductee, honored on home court

Paula Fuller, who played basketball at Jackson State from 1979 to 1981 and later coached the Lady Generals, was elected to the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Fuller was honored at a ceremony in the Jackson State Gymnasium on Feb. 23. The event was between the women’s and men’s basketball games.

“It was a total surprise,” Fuller said of learning about her election to the hall of fame. “It’s an awesome honor. You play ball all your life that you’re able to, and you do it because you have a love of the game. But you don’t think about your accomplishments, and being noticed for your play; it’s a tremendous honor.”

Fuller led the Lady Generals to a national third-place finish in 1981. She went on to Memphis State University and helped the Lady Tigers reach the Sweet 16 in the 1982 NCAA women’s basketball tournament. In 1983, Fuller and the Lady Tigers finished runner-up in the National Women’s Invitational Tournament.

As a player, she said she enjoyed traveling and experiencing different cultures. She also enjoyed the camaraderie with her teammates.

“The experience was extremely valuable, and the relationships that were established were ones that were lifelong,” she said.

After her playing days, she eventually returned to Jackson State and coached the Lady Generals. It was a different experience being on the other side of the ball she said, and she enjoyed coaching the players and watching as they matured into college student-athletes.

“Helping them understand what it means to be a team and seeing them exemplify the same attitude on and off the court was always rewarding,” she said.

Air Force musicians to perform at Jackson State Community College

The USAF Band of Mid-America’s Liberty Winds will present a concert at Jackson State Community College in the McWherter Center’s Ayers Auditorium, 2046 North Parkway, Jackson TN on Thursday, March 14 at 6:30 pm. Admission to the concert is free and tickets are not required.

Presented in partnership with the Jackson State Community College, this is a family-friendly, all-ages event.

The members of Liberty Winds frequently perform for military ceremonies as well as community events and concerts for all ages. This ensemble also reaches out to support music students providing concerts and clinics in an educational environment. These professional musicians honor and inspire our military and civilian audiences by presenting a wide range of musical literature from traditional classical repertoire to marches and light pop in a concert setting.

Mother of five begins new chapter of life at JSCC

Tonya Mutter started her quest for an occupational therapy assistant degree at Jackson State Community in June 2018. She knew that she needed an education so she could get a job that paid enough to support her family and to help her save for retirement.

“I was tired of struggling,” said Mutter, who has five children ages 12, 14, 16, 18 and 22.

She and her husband were doing fine, she said, until he died in a car accident in 2008. Since then, Mutter has tried to support her family on low-paying and part-time jobs that included being a pre-kindergarten assistant, school bus driver and working on a farm harvesting and packing produce.

Her ticket back to school was the Tennessee Reconnect program that provides free tuition to adults who have a high school diploma and are seeking a two-year associate degree or post-secondary certification.

Mutter’s story of her struggle and her return to school also caught the attention of the Jackson Area Business and Professional Women who plan to award Mutter the Margaret Faulkner Scholarship this year during the Sterling Awards ceremony April 2.

“We were so impressed with Tonya’s determination to get her degree and take care of her family that we increased the scholarship to $2,000,” said Jacque Hillman, Jackson Area BPW president and Scholarship Chair. The organization is also promoting Mutter to other groups, including the Business and Professional Women of Tennessee, who have scholarship opportunities for women who return to college.

Mutter was still deciding what career she wanted when her first child was born premature with cerebral palsy. She put aside her own plans to take care of him.

In an essay she wrote to earn the Jackson BPW scholarship, she said:

“While I gave up on my dreams of attending college, my husband was able to complete his education for machine, tool, and die. We were a happy couple, working together to raise our children – the idea that our story would not end ‘happily ever after’ had not occurred to me. Then I found myself raising five children as a widow. In the blink of an eye, my financial situation spiraled downward to a point where providing necessities are difficult. I now use my income from two and three different jobs to pay for food and clothing essentials. I often reflect on this statement from Zig Ziglar, ‘We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new beginning.'”

Mutter decided to work in health care as an occupational therapy assistant because she wants a career that helps others. “My son’s medical needs, along with my own, have impressed upon me a great desire to help others recover from disabilities and inspire them to enjoy life as much as possible,” she wrote in her essay.

“I can make decent money as an occupational therapy assistant and I don’t have to go to school as long,” said Mutter, who is enjoying her Jackson State classes. She feels her degree will lead to a job that also allows her to invest in her retirement. Because of her son’s cerebral palsy, she added, “It will never be just me. I want to provide the best I can for him – and for the rest of my family.”

JSCC to host CMT event on campus

Jackson State Community College along with TCAT-Jackson will host the CMT Empowering Education Tour on its main campus in Ayers Auditorium at 6 p.m. on April 4. The focus for the event will be placed on bringing non-traditional students back to continue their education through the Tennessee Reconnect program. Current and former students will be featured at the event along with the opportunities available for prospective students.

Country Music Television (CMT), in an effort to increase the number of work-ready residents in the state, has joined forces with TBR – The College System of Tennessee, for a free multi-city concert tour targeting rural areas of the state. The goal of the tour is to encourage Tennesseans to pursue higher education. The tour will begin on April 3 and travel to four Community Colleges across the state.

The partnership was announced last fall at the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Presidents’ Meeting in Nashville and aims to encourage more Tennesseans to attend college – whether to earn an academic degree or a technical or occupational degree or certificate – paving their way to successful careers that will benefit themselves and their families. CMT’s “Empowering Education” initiative offers four community colleges across the state the opportunity to receive additional support at a local level, including a free concert at each stop featuring CMT’s Next Women of Country, Courtney Cole.

“As someone who graduated from college in Tennessee, I am thrilled to be working with CMT and TBR to spread the message of the potential education has to change your life,” said Cole. “I can’t wait to tour the state, put on a really fun show, and encourage people to follow their dreams.”

JSCC, Murray State University sign MOU

Representatives from Jackson State Community College and Murray State University met at the Paris City Hall Monday, February 18 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The MOU establishes a partnership that will offer students a structured, guaranteed pathway for transferring to MSU by providing a seamless and guaranteed transition from a JSCC associate degree program to an MSU bachelor’s degree program.

Present for the signing were Dr. Allana Hamilton, President, JSCC, Dr. Larry Bailey, VP of Academic Affairs, JSCC, Dr. Robert Jackson, Interim President, Murray State University, and Dr. Mark Arant, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, Murray State University.

The partnership between the two institutions will provide an opportunity for students to save money and avoid costly student loans by enrolling for their first two years at a community college with lower tuition and fees and the ability to take advantage of state incentives available such as Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect.

Jackson State began offering classes at the Central Community Service Center on Jones Bend Road in January 2017. Since that time, total enrollment for the Paris location has grown to approximately 80 with a full-time site coordinator being hired in August 2018.

“We are excited about this partnership,” said Dr. Allana Hamilton, JSCC president. “This agreement further reinforces Jackson State’s commitment by providing greater access to higher education in the counties in North West Tennessee.”

“Providing strategic pathways to educational fulfillment while furthering career development opportunities for individuals in our region is critical,” said Dr. Bob Jackson, Murray State University Interim President. “This partnership with Jackson State Community College will do just that as we look forward to this collaboration between both institutions impacting many students.”

Fuller, TCCAA Hall of Fame inductee, to be honored on home court

Paula Fuller, who played basketball at Jackson State from 1979 to 1981 and later coached the Lady Generals, was elected to the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Fuller will be honored at a ceremony in the Jackson State Gymnasium on Feb. 23. The event will be between the women’s basketball game, which is scheduled for 2 p.m., and the men’s basketball game, which is scheduled for 4 p.m.

“It was a total surprise,” Fuller said of learning about her election to the hall of fame. “It’s an awesome honor. You play ball all your life that you’re able to, and you do it because you have a love of the game. But you don’t think about your accomplishments, and being noticed for your play; it’s a tremendous honor.”

Fuller led the Lady Generals to a national third-place finish in 1981. She went on to Memphis State University and helped the Lady Tigers reach the Sweet 16 in the 1982 NCAA women’s basketball tournament. In 1983, Fuller and the Lady Tigers finished runner-up in the National Women’s Invitational Tournament.

As a player, she said she enjoyed traveling and experiencing different cultures. She also enjoyed the camaraderie with her teammates.

“The experience was extremely valuable, and the relationships that were established were ones that were lifelong,” she said.

After her playing days, she eventually returned to Jackson State and coached the Lady Generals. It was a different experience being on the other side of the ball she said, and she enjoyed coaching the players and watching as they matured into college student-athletes.

“Helping them understand what it means to be a team and seeing them exemplify the same attitude on and off the court was always rewarding,” she said.

Fuller’s basketball days are behind her, but she has remained at Jackson State supporting the now Greenjays teams and serves as a recruitment coordinator. “It’s a wonderful place to work,” she said.

Since her election to the Hall of Fame, she said she has felt support from every area of campus, which has been a humbling experience that has warmed her heart. Jackson State, she said, is a family environment.

“The atmosphere is that if one wins, we all win.”