Two Jones College graduates from the practical nurse program defied the odds and received their diplomas this week.

For Courtney Catchings of Jackson, it was her fifth attempt to successfully complete the program.

“Every time I started again, people told me to just give up,” said the 27-year-old Catchings. “This time, I had a friend who helped me study for tests and was interested in my success, encouraging me the entire year through the intense program. I also didn’t want to give up my passion for nursing.”

Also defying the odds was Delorse Kirkland of Petal who decided to launch a new and completely different career at age 60. She said she started in nursing school 30 years ago, but “life” happened.

“The whole time in nursing school I struggled,” said Kirkland. “I had a successful career in sales and four kids. I should be retired but this is what God called me to do. It is never too late to start over and make a difference in life.”

Additionally, the Jones College practical nursing faculty honored the graduates who stood out in the class, exhibiting their special qualities. Seminary’s Chertricia Alvarez earned the highest overall average with superior academic performance. The Rising Star Award was given to the student who showed continuous dedication and exceptional growth in the classroom and in the clinical setting. Faculty picked Jhonna Abuyabor of Ellisville for her positive attitude and perseverance, which enriched her nursing knowledge and professionalism. The Florence Nightingale Award was awarded to Mayuri Patel of Hattiesburg for encompassing the qualities of professionalism, integrity, selflessness toward humanity and having a true heart and caring spirit.

For more about the Jones College Practical Nursing program, email program director Teresa McDonald at

Local graduates included:

Jhonna Abuyabor, Ellisville                                                               

Chertricia Alvarez, Moselle                                                                                       

Jacob Anderson, Stringer                                                                   

Tiffany Barnes, Hebron                                                                                 

Danyel Mercier, Laurel                                                                                  

Quindalyn Crosby, Collins                                                                            

Alexis Dykes, Laurel                                                                                     

Erin Edmond, Richton                                                                                               

Mia Frazier, Hebron                                                                                      

Calexis Frost, Waynesboro                                                                

Cheyenne Harris, Heidelberg                                                                                    

Shekeke Heidelberg, Laurel                                                                          

Demarcus Henderson, Waynesboro                                                                           

Kimberley Hodges, Laurel                                                                                        

Victoria Jones Waynesboro                                                                                       

Tina Laster, Bay Springs                                                                                           

Halle Leggett, Collins                                                                                    

Cecil Miller, Waynesboro                                                                                          

Sarita Mills, Ellisville                                                                         Andrea Norris, Taylorsville                                                                                        

Spechelle Russell, Collins                                                                                         

Kimberly Trosclair, Ellisville 

(1) comment

Martha Nowell

Congratulations to all of you!

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