JCJC HEADWAE recipients honored in Jackson
Written By: Rebecca Patrick
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2016-02-24 13:31:35
ELLISVILLE – Two people from very different areas of campus were selected as Jones County Junior College’s, 2015-16 Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence representatives. Music instructor Meri Newell and secondary mathematics education major Faith Anderson represented the college at the annual event held in Jackson earlier this month.
Each of the state’s institutions of higher education chooses an instructor and a student every year for this prestigious award. Honorees are then recognized by both houses of the Mississippi Legislature and treated to a luncheon in their honor.
“I am shocked and honored to be named this year’s HEADWAE faculty recipient,” said Newell who resides in Petal. “There are so many incredible teachers and mentors on this campus that would have been deserving of this award. Teaching is still such a joy; no two days are ever alike, and I learn something new all the time.”
Anderson, a sophomore from Seminary, was also surprised when she learned of her selection.
“When I received the email saying that I had been selected, I was very excited and immediately told my friends and family,” Anderson said. “As the week progressed, and I was congratulated by my peers and teachers, I realized that it was truly a blessing to be selected for this honor.”
Newell joined the JCJC faculty in 1989 after teaching in high schools and middle schools in Alabama and North Carolina for more than nine years. She earned her bachelor’s of science degree in music education and her bachelor’s of arts degree in applied music with minors in English and history from Elon University in North Carolina. She later earned her master’s of music education degree at the University of Southern Mississippi and did post graduate work there, as well.
She is a member of numerous professional organizations including Music Teachers National Association, National Flute Association, Mississippi Junior-Community College Band Directors Association and Phi Delta Kappa Educational Honor Society.
At Jones, Newell has taught music appreciation, music for elementary teachers, flute, clarinet, saxophone and oboe lessons and also served as assistant band director for 18 years.
“I love watching instrumentalists gain skills and confidence in their abilities,” she said. “One of the most rewarding experiences in teaching music is seeing a student perform something successfully that they never believed they could achieve. The miracle happens every semester, and I never get tired of it. I also love watching music appreciation students discover that they actually like some of the music outside of their own comfort zone.”
Some of Newell’s fondest memories of working with the JCJC band program involve the Maroon Typhoon performances in the 1996 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. and the 1997 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
“All five miles of the Rose Parade have grandstands that are packed with people cheering you on, and you are looking at mountains in the distance as you are marching down Colorado Boulevard,” she recalled. “The Macy’s Parade was special because I went to the parade as a teenager from New Jersey and never dreamed that I would be a part of a band staff marching in the parade with a 252-member college band. I still get chills thinking about it.”
Anderson, the daughter of Tracy West of Rawls Springs and Joe Anderson of Brooklyn, is very active on the JCJC campus. She is a member of the Charles Pickering Honors Institute and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Anderson represents the math department on the Student Government Association Senate. She tutors in the math lab and has volunteered with Treats in the Streets, Jones County Heart Walk, Loblolly Festival, ICE-Voter Registration and the JCJC Blood Drive.
Majoring in mathematics education is something Anderson has wanted to do for quite some time.
“I have always known that I wanted to teach because I love being around kids and helping my classmates with their schoolwork,” she explained. “When I realized I had a knack for math, I decided that I wanted to teach a higher level math in order to use my intelligence and love for math to change students’ perspectives about subjects such as algebra and calculus.”
As for the future, Anderson plans to earn her bachelor’s degree and “learn the ropes” of teaching by starting her career as a high school teacher in Mississippi.
“After I become more comfortable with what I learn in a high school, I plan to go back to school and obtain a master’s degree in order to work in a junior college,” she said. “Then, possibly continue on in order to obtain my Ph.D.”
Like all college students, Anderson has occasionally questioned whether or not she is in the right major. However, this experience has helped her feel confident in her choice.
“Being recommended by the math division chair for the HEADWAE honor, gave me the assurance I needed that I am on the right track,” she said.
HEADWAE recipients have been selected by their respective colleges and celebrated by the state legislature for 28 years.