SMPDD establishes new JCJC scholarship

Written By: Teresa McCreery
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Date Submitted: 2015-05-19 14:33:26

ELLISVILLE –The newly established scholarship by the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District, Inc. was awarded after Jones County Junior College’s May commencement ceremony to ten JCJC students.  The largest and most diversified regional planning and development entity in the United States, endowed $100,000 to provide $750 scholarships to the following incoming sophomore students: Covington County’s Nolan Kyle Stapleton and Paris Ramon Edwards; Greene County’s Tyshayla Mimbes and James Christopher Turner; Jones County’s Matt Ishee and Zachary Biglane; Perry County’s Samuel Lee Hinton and Lacey Kaitlyn Feduccia; Wayne County’s Justin Hutto and Shakela Leggett. These five counties are part of the SMPDD’s 15-county district.
“On behalf of the SMPDD Board of Directors we are thrilled to be able to offer these scholarships to this group of future leaders in our communities. One of our main goals at SMPDD is to look for educational opportunities for our citizens,” said Leonard Bentz, Executive Director of the SMPDD. He added, “Each year, this scholarship will be awarded to two students from each of the five counties with one student in an academic program and one student in a skills related program who meets the full-time status and cumulative GPA requirements.”

The Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District, through the leadership of the local officials comprising its Board of Directors and through the synergy of its staff, assists 38 municipal governments within its 15-county district of Covington, Forrest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Stone and Wayne Counties. Since its beginning in 1967, SMPDD has continually evolved to meet the needs, discover opportunities and anticipate the trends challenging the economic vitality, environmental integrity, and overall quality of life enjoyed in South Mississippi, which includes offering assistance to future leaders.

Jones County Supervisor, Johnny Burnett said he is glad to be a part of this new scholarship opportunity for some of his constituents. “I appreciate the opportunity to be able to give to the children in our area because they are our future.”

JCJC forestry major, Samuel Hinton said he feels honored to be one of the first recipients of this newly established scholarship. “It will help a lot!” said Hinton. “It is going to be great not to have to worry about paying for all of my college expenses.”

Hinton’s future plans include transferring to Mississippi State University after graduating next May from Jones and work with his family’s timber management company. 

JCJC VP of Advancement and the Executive Director of the JCJC Foundation, Charlie Garretson said scholarships are one way to extend and perpetuate the legacy of a company and its community. “We appreciate every donation we receive to assist students and their families with funding college expenses. This scholarship endowment will also help two incoming freshmen this inaugural year, which have not yet been identified.”

According to the District’s web site, it perceives its function as “a change agent to add value to the information and resources it possesses.” True to its mission, JCJC officials and students are already seeing the positive effects changing the future of ten JCJC students with this new SMPDD Scholarship.

The District consists of 15 counties including the following counties and cities within the county: Covington County: Collins, Mount Olive, Seminary; Forrest County: Hattiesburg, Petal; George County: Lucedale; Greene County: Leakesville, McLain, State Line; Hancock County: Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead, Waveland; Harrison County: Biloxi, D’Iberville, Gulfport , Long Beach, Pass Christian; Jackson County: Gautier, Ocean Springs, Moss Point, Pascagoula; Jefferson Davis County: Bassfield, Prentiss; Jones County: Ellisville, Laurel, Sandersville, Soso; Lamar County: Hattiesburg, Lumberton, Purvis, Sumrall; Marion County: Columbia; Pearl River County: Picayune, Poplarville; Perry County: Beaumont, New Augusta, Richton; Stone County: Wiggins; Wayne County: Waynesboro.


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