JCJC New Century Scholars/All-State American Team Representatives Selected

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2012-11-29 16:57:01

ELLISVILLE – Nine Jones County Junior College sophomores were recently nominated for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s New Century Scholars/All-State American Team honors. These students were selected because they maintained a 3.5 to 4.0 GPA, have taken challenging academic courses, have completed a minimum of 36 hours, are busy serving the community and college in various ways and did well in an interview with the scholarship committee. 
The nominees were Kane Edwards, a bio-chemistry major from Richton; Mabry Ely, a secondary education and English major from Raleigh; DePaul Foxworth, a pre-med/biology major from Foxworth; Kristen Hallman, a marketing and management major from Raleigh; Temple Hughs, a sports nutrition major from Hattiesburg; Kimberly Murray, a nursing major from Oak Grove; Kendal Smith, a psychology major from Ellisville; Ben Stevens, a biology major from Ellisville; and Selah Weems, a psychology major from Laurel. Temple Hughs and Selah Weems were chosen from the nine to go on to compete for state titles and scholarships.
“These are nine of our best and brightest students who have high GPAs, multiple academic awards and honors, and are very actively involved in their communities; it was a challenge to narrow the group down to our two nominees. They are all winners and we are extremely proud of their accomplishments. Look for these students to achieve many things in their upcoming careers,” said Dr. Laverne Ulmer, JCJC VP of Institutional Affairs and Assessment.
Weems, a child psychology major and Hughs say they are honored by the committee’s selection. “All of the nominees were very deserving. Through this opportunity, I hope to make my college and family proud,” said Weems.
Soccer player and Presbyterian Christian High School graduate, Hughs has a history of helping kids on and off the soccer field and that is one of the reasons why she was selected for this opportunity, said PTK advisor, Julie Atwood. 
“It was a huge surprise and flattering because I’ve always focused on athletics before I came to Jones and that’s when I realized, ‘student’ comes before ‘athlete,’” said Hughs. “I was so surprised about this nomination because it’s a huge academic honor and I’m representing everyone at Jones…its surreal.”
Hughs spends most of her “free” time giving private soccer lessons, she coaches two, youth soccer teams as well as volunteering at the Salvation Army, being a “Spirit Girl” with Forrest General Hospital, and she is an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, making regular visits to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital. 
“I think it is so important for kids to be around people who can have a good influence on them with morals, and to be able to encourage them while coaching them is important to me. I was blessed with great parents and volunteering is a way to glorify God and to show His love.”
With the realization she may not be playing soccer forever, Hughs discovered a sports related field where she can continue to help people as a sports nutritionist. The Honors College student is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, FCA and was elected as Sophomore Homecoming Maid, while keeping a 3.8 GPA, playing soccer and being the captain both years at Jones, and waitressing in Hattiesburg.
Weems has also spent most of her life serving others with her parents as an example. For the past nine years, she and her sister have continued the family tradition by volunteering at Magnolia Gardens Nursing Home in Laurel, by visiting residents, playing the piano and singing.
“Just spending a little time with the residents, listening to them, telling them about the Lord, playing the piano and singing with them makes them feel cherished. Those visits are important to me because I have grown to love the folks at Magnolia Gardens,” said Weems.
Ultimately, Weems wants to help children by opening a mental health clinic for kids, which also helps the parents. Her career goal was inspired in part as a Sunday school teacher and after developing the summer program, “Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Summer Days,” which provided a fun activity for eight weeks during the summer, for an average of 15 kids.
“My heart hurts for children who have suffered from abuse. Helping kids who have suffered through experiences that most adults couldn’t handle would be my way of doing my part in the world,” Weems said. “Many children are misunderstood and are struggling to adjust due to ADHD, depression or some other mental illness. I want to make a difference for them.”
Besides keeping a perfect GPA, Weems finds time serving as the JCJC Creative Writing Club president, organizing a book drive for the club, she also serves as the PTK journalist, and she is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta math honor society,
The JCJC students will complete an application for the state PTK selection committee describing their volunteer efforts and future goals before the holidays. However, Hughs and Weems will have to wait until next spring at a special ceremony in Jackson to learn how they stacked up against the state’s top students. JCJC president, Dr. Jesse Smith expressed to the nominees, “I am proud of you. I know all of you will be a success and PTK will open many doors for you.”
The USA Today Academic Team program annually recognizes 60 outstanding two-year college students. First, Second, and Third Teams, each consisting of 20 members, are selected from the nominees. The 20 First Team members receive stipends of $2,500 each. All 60 members of the All- USA Academic Team and their colleges receive extensive national recognition through coverage in USA TODAY.


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