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PRCC Honors Institute students recognized

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The following is a news release from Pearl River Community College:

The first Pearl River Community College students to graduate from the Honors Institute were honored with a Medallion Ceremony on April 29.

Family and friends of Honors Institute students on both the Poplarville and Forrest County Center campuses were invited to commemorate their upcoming graduation on May 15.

"I want you to know how very proud we are of these students and what they've accomplished," said PRCC President Dr. William Lewis. "These are the cream of the crop."

The Honors Institute was created in 2011 under the direction of Dr. Stephen Black to provide intensive and innovative classes for academically-advanced students.

"This is our first graduating class," Black said. "We're very proud of that."

White Hall is being renovated as headquarters for the institute in part with a $120,000 grant from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation for furnishings in the Honors Institute Library. A portion of the grant will also support the Honors Institute Lyceum speaker series.

Through the institute, PRCC students have the opportunity for internships with the Gulf of Mexico Program of the Environmental Protection Agency at Stennis Space Center. Sofia Tent of Carriere and Kevin Grzenia of Hattiesburg completed the first two internships.

"I learned so much," Tent said. "I highly recommend it for any student, not just science majors."

The Honors Institute also is the first community college to participate in Mississippi's REACH (Research and Education to Advance Conservation and Habitat) program, which showcases farmer conservation practices that work well for both agriculture and the environment. The partnership is expected to be in full swing by fall semester with the first course in a new environmental science curriculum.

Two Honors students will be able to take advantage of study abroad programs later this year through a $6,600 grant received recently from a donor who wants to remain anonymous.

In addition to Tent, the first PRCC Honors Institute graduates are Chastitie Polk and Noel Bennett, both of Sumrall; Will Walley and Elizabeth Gomez, both of Picayune; Shelby Sattler of Kiln, Nick Aube and Sean Stasny, both of Poplarville; Kevin Grzenia and Karina Hernandez, both of Hattiesburg;  Rachel Raynes of Purvis and Allison McDaniel of Columbia.