JCJC New Century Scholars/All-State American Team representatives selected

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2013-11-19 07:52:23

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 nominated by faculty members and then selected by the JCJC Scholarship Committee. They have 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 Kaylie Bradshaw, a pre-medicine major from Ellisville; Patrick Campbell, a pre-dentistry major from Collins; Blake Holifield, an engineering major from Laurel; Linton Koch, an engineering major from Richton; Phillip Martin, an engineering major from Stonewall; Karie Mooney, a public relations major from Seminary; Hannah Pruitt, an English major from Ellisville; Zachary Warren, a history major from Ellisville; and Elizabeth Wright, an engineering major from Gautier. Mooney and Warren were chosen from the nine to go on to compete for state titles and national honors.

“I’m very proud and commend each of you for your hard work volunteering. I appreciate your service. You are the elite of the elite. Now carry the torch to represent what Jones is all about and continue to make this a better place,” JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith said to the group at a special luncheon.

The Scholarship Committee said it was a challenge narrowing down the group to the two nominees from the nearly 5,000 JCJC students. Each of the nine students is eligible for other scholarship opportunities through the PTK sponsored program and have plans to apply for other awards.

Mooney is on the executive council for JCJC’s Baptist Student Union over community missions which involves going to nursing homes weekly, coordinating the Dress the Children project, and she is the fundraising coordinator for events involved within community missions. She is also a member of the American Cancer Society’s executive council and a spokesperson for Camp Rainbow, a summer camp for kids with cancer. Her father was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma seven years before she was diagnosed with WILMS, a renal cancer in her left kidney at age twelve. Mooney said her life changed and her purpose became evident through those experiences.

“I had no symptoms; the four-pound tumor on my kidney I thought, was just fat! I was fine one day and the next day I had trouble walking,” said Mooney. “When I lost my best friend that I met at Camp Rainbow to cancer I asked God why did you take her? She was so out-going and I hid in the shadows. That’s when I realized I was supposed to carry on her message, along with the thousands of kids with cancer, and become more like her.”

Mooney had the kidney removed along with four lymph nodes and 16 rounds of chemotherapy before doctors declared her cancer-free on August 24, 2006. However, she still attends Camp Rainbow, fundraises for the event and remains a vivacious advocate for pediatric cancer patients. Mooney is also working on a new ministry to give care baskets to organ transplant donors and recipients, as a result of JCJC BSU director, Frank Porter’s passion to reach this group after he received a kidney transplant over the summer.

Zack Warren has worked in the Information Technology department at JCJC for the last three years as the work study and inventory manager and serves as the PTK Information Technology officer. However the history major hopes to be a professor at JCJC in the future. Over the summer, he initiated a new organization on campus, “Officium” which is designed to facilitate and supplement the campus’ individual club events.

“I think of it as a wheel or a hub facilitating the relationships between clubs and the events they sponsor.  We can help organize and involve the bulk of our campus resources, giving the student body a voice or a place to offer volunteer opportunities. Everyone is represented whether they are part of another organization or not. It’s athletic, academic, and technical students coming together.”
Warren hopes the new organization will be able to reach different sections on campus in a united effort to assist whenever there is a need, like disaster relief in the community to assisting with campus events. He said, launching a new organization was personal for him.
“I wanted to make an impact and give back to the college that has given me so much. It’s been home to me because my mom has worked here for 35 years. I feel like I’m part of the family and it’s an honor to be able to represent Jones in anything,” said Warren.  

Now the students will furiously work on writing about their volunteer efforts for the PTK selection committee. Mooney and Warren will be honored next spring in Jackson upon the conclusion of the competition. 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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