Jackson State Athletics provides update on start of basketball season and suspension of men’s basketball season

The Green Jays women’s basketball season began on Wednesday, January 27, with a 76-72 win at home against the Columbia State Chargers. While the women had a strong showing at the season opener, the men’s basketball team was absent from the usual two-game lineup.

The Jackson State athletics department notified teams within the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) that the men’s basketball season has been suspended due to the available number of students available to participate. According to Steve Cornelison, JSCC Director of Athletics, the suspension is due to several factors related to the pandemic. “Some student-athletes have opted not to play due to health concerns,” stated Cornelison. “While we take every precaution, we also understand the concerns.”

The JSCC athletic program follows health screening protocols defined by the NCAA tier model. This model requires basketball student-athletes to be tested for the coronavirus two times per week in addition to pre-game screening protocols.

Cornelison states that he is proud of the basketball teams’ accomplishments and looks forward to a time when participation in and attendance at games can return to normal. While spectators are currently not allowed at sporting events, games are being live-streamed on the women’s basketball Facebook page at @JSCCWomensBasketball. He encourages fans to support the women’s team by tuning in to the live-streamed games and sharing their efforts through social media.

For the 2019-2020 season, the men’s basketball program finished the season 21-5 overall, with a 14-4 regular-season record and a second-place finish in the TCCAA. The Green Jays also finished as TCCAA and NJCAA Region VII Tournament Runners-up. Kavion Hancock and Radarious Washington were voted First-Team All-TCCAA. Hancock was also honored as NJCAA First-Team All-American, TCCAA Player of the Year, and TCCAA Offensive Player of the Year. Coach Deron Hines was voted TCCAA Co-Coach of the Year.

Fall 2020 Semester Honor Roll Announced

The Office of Admissions and Records at Jackson State Community College released the honor roll for the Fall 2020 semester. On the honor roll, there were 250 full-time students who achieved a quality point average over 3.00. There were 376 students who made the dean’s list by achieving a quality point average of 3.50 or better.

The administration of Jackson State Community College congratulates its students from the fall semester who achieved honor roll or dean’s list status for the term. The semester and past year have been particularly challenging requiring students to make the necessary adjustments to be successful. Again, congratulations and thank you for your hard work and perseverance.

Honor Roll is reserved for students who are enrolled for twelve (12) or more hours of college-level work (Learning Support excluded) and who complete a semester’s work with a quality point average between 3.00 and 3.49.

Dean’s List is reserved for students who are enrolled for twelve (12) or more hours of college-level work and who complete a semester’s work with a quality point average between 3.50 and 4.00.

Mother of two excels at JSCC, finds life’s calling

When Anna Gonzales Smith graduated as a respiratory therapist from Jackson State Community College last summer, she had no problems finding a job.

For one thing, the married mother of two had the highest score on the first part of her respiratory care state board exam in the program’s 30-year history at Jackson State. She also graduated in the middle of a global pandemic when the need for respiratory therapists is high.

“Anna set lofty but attainable goals for herself and exceeded all of them,” said Christie Ward, assistant professor and clinical director of the respiratory care program. “She worked fulltime, balanced being a wife and also mom of a teenager and elementary-age child, and still maintained excellent grades. She was sought after by hospital employers because of her excellent clinical skills, positive attitude, and her strong work ethic.”

Like the other students in the program, Smith earned her associate of applied science degree in respiratory care over five semesters that included both classroom and clinical education. Besides her family responsibilities, she worked full-time at Fed Ex. She was also voted class president and helped the class raise money to make sure everyone in the class could pay for seminar costs.

“I love being a respiratory therapist,” said Smith, who is 33 years old. “Respiratory therapists treat all ages all over the hospital. We take care of patients in the scariest time of their lives.”

Smith attended Jackson State with financial assistance from the Tennessee Reconnect program for adults seeking a college or technical degree. She has a large extended family but can count on one hand the number of people in her family who have a college degree. She did, however, get her strong work ethic from her family.

A graduate of Milan High School, Smith started her college studies at Jackson State as she sought a degree in nursing. She dropped out of college when life’s “other obligations” got in the way, she said.

After working a few years as a nursing assistant and in admissions for West Tennessee Healthcare, she got a job at Fed Ex when her hospital closed. She was happy in her new career at Fed Ex, but she felt herself being called back into health care, and specifically to respiratory therapy because of family history and her own diagnosis of having asthma when she was a child.

One of her grandmothers has COPD. Another grandmother has tracheal stenosis. Her grandfather had problems getting off of a ventilator after open-heart surgery. Respiratory therapists were instrumental in helping her grandparents get better.

As she watched respiratory therapists wean her grandfather from the ventilator, Smith remembers thinking, “I want to know how I can be that person to help my grandad get off the ventilator. It’s hard to see people you love and care about not being able to breathe.”

She credits the help of her husband, Kyle, her family, and Jackson State for her new career. Today she has two jobs, working at both West Tennessee Healthcare and Henry County Medical Center. She’s called on to relieve overworked respiratory therapists at both hospitals.

“I feel like there is a reason why I am an RT,” Smith said. “I am doing what I should do for the rest of my life.”

She offers encouragement for older students considering college. “It doesn’t matter that I’m 33 years old. I’m a full-time wife and mother, and I am beginning a new career in the middle of a global pandemic. You can do it.”