This is a news release from Jones County Junior College
A prestigious honor was recently bestowed upon Jones County Junior College business faculty member and business division chairperson, Rick Bedwell and JCJC sophomore, Bridgette Wagner of Biloxi. They are two of 72 outstanding students and faculty members from 34 Mississippi public and private universities and community colleges receiving special recognition from the Mississippi Legislature. They have been selected as JCJC's HEADWAE recipients. The 27th annual Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) honors a faculty and student representative from each of Mississippi's higher institutions as a reward for their excellence in education. The honorees are invited to the State Capitol and will be acknowledged in each chamber of the Legislature. The day concludes with a luncheon, thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors, where each student and faculty honoree is recognized for their accomplishments.
"I am honored to be selected for this recognition! To receive recognition for something I love and get to do every day is great! However, the greatest reward I get from what I do every day is to hear and witness the success of my former students as they further their academic careers and enter the work force!" said Bedwell.
Some of his success as a business instructor may be attributed to being an entrepreneur before going back to school to change careers. The Petal resident started out working in the automotive industry as the general manager for Auto Alignment Inc., in Hattiesburg in 1976. He became the body shop manager for Ryan motors a year later and then the parts department manager for Vardaman Buick Honda in 1982. He graduated from JCJC in 1992 with numerous honors like being a PTK Gold Key recipient, PTK Regional Most Distinguished Student and the PTK President along with Who's Who and Hall of Fame honors. During his more than 16 years teaching at Jones, he has also owned and still operates Rick's Rehab. Bedwell spends his free time restoring and repurposing antiques and furniture as well as being the advisor for the Southern Christian Student Center at USM. He is a member of the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants and a member of the Teachers of Accounting at Two-Year Colleges organization.
Biloxi native Bridgette Wagner is a sophomore chemical engineering major with aspirations to retire to the coast to work. Moving to Ellisville included the opportunity to continue her softball career. The D'Iberville High School graduate plays left outfielder and was on the State Championship JCJC team that also finished the season second in the nation. Juggling academics and the demands of being an athlete also taught her something else being away from home.
"I think being away from home has helped me mature and grow as an independent person. I have enjoyed the teachers and classes; each teacher has showed me kindness and has challenged me in the classroom every semester," said Wagner. "I am happy to know that my teachers have recognized my hard work this past year to recommend me for these honors."
Wagner was also chosen to be one of only five freshmen selected to be a Tullos Scholar and was most recently named to the JCJC Hall of Fame. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was nominated as one of seven students to be an Academic All-American finalist. Wagner also volunteers with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and other community service projects. She said she is looking forward to her first visit to Jackson for the HEADWAE honor.
"I have never been to the Capitol in Jackson. I am really looking forward to seeing the city as well as meeting the legislators of our state. I feel blessed to be recognized in such a prestigious way by the state legislators. I also feel very privileged to have been chosen by the Jones faculty to represent JCJC," said Wagner.