JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Jones County Junior College has a new way of honoring graduating students who are either veterans or are currently serving in the armed forces.
They are encouraged to wear military honor cords with their caps and gowns.
The cords are red, white and blue.
13 students wore the cords for the first time Friday during the school's 90th annual Commencement exercises at the A.B. Howard Gymnasium.
"They've made great sacrifices for our country, basic training, advanced individual training, giving up of their time, some have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, so they've done a lot," said Crystel Hinton, VA certifying official for Jones County Junior College.
"It's always an honor, especially when you're doing something for the first time," said Marcus Ferguson, one of the graduates who wore the honor cord.
He is a specialist with the Mississippi Army National Guard.
"I'm glad we got that honor today," he said.
"It's always good to get recognition and I really do appreciate what they're doing for us here," said Madison Deloach, another graduate who wore the honor cord.
He is a business major who served for five years in the U.S. Marines.
About 650 students participated in Friday's ceremonies.
School administrators said it was the largest commencement in school history.
Featured speaker for both events was Sid Salter, journalist, chief communications officer and director of the Office of Public Affairs at Mississippi State University.