Jones graduates 115 during summer commencement exercises

Written By: Kelly Atwood
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Date Submitted: 2012-08-03 13:18:09

Success begins with the mind. Those were words of wisdom 115 graduates received during Jones County Junior College’s summer commencement exercises held August 3. Those were words shared by a national football coach.

JCJC President Jesse Smith introduced coach Ray Perkins as the man who filled the shoes of Coach Bear Bryant and served as
head coach of the NY Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“What you may not have known is he is the head coach of Jones County Junior College,” said Smith. “For him, it’s not about winning football games, it’s more about making a difference in the lives of young men.”

Perkins explained to the students that he’s been blessed to come into contact with great people over the years, and he named several, including George Steinbrenner and Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He pointed out that the students have also had influential people in their lives.

“I commend and applaud all those people that had anything to do with you graduates being here today. I applaud all those people, whether parents, teachers or friends,” he said.

He told the graduates they needed to recognize that what they do with each day is important. He read something Coach Bryant shared in 1983, only a few months before Bryant’s death:

“This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or I can use it for good
but what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it….I want it to be a gain, not a loss. Good, not evil. Success, not failure, in order that I shall not forget the price I have paid for it.”

Perkins then shared a story about two men who were friends and graduated college together. At a 25-year reunion, they realized they were still very much alike, but one was a manager of a company while the other was the president of that company.

“What makes that difference in someone’s life?” Perkins asked. “Whether a person succeeds or fails is almost totally mental and how you use it is determined by your self confidence and the belief that you can accomplish something. Not anyone in the world can tell you that you can’t be successful because you can and you will, but you’ll first be successful in your mind.”

Explaining that self concept is the number one determining factor of success or failure, Perkins quoted 2 Corinthians 10:31 to remind students of the ultimate goal, doing everything for God’s glory.

“I believe God has given us life but it’s up to us to become the best we can be. It’s our choice to do what we want with our lives. We must discover ourselves, develop our own talents and become the best whatever we choose to be.

I want to wish all of you graduates the absolute best luck, but I want to add this, too; you’re going to make your own luck.”

The graduation ceremony was streamed live on
for family and friends unable to attend the event. There were 170 students eligible for graduation with 115 participating. Graduates received an Associate in Arts degree, an Associate in Applied Science degree or a Vocational Certificate.


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