Take a trip down memory lane

Published 1:50 pm Monday, September 17, 2007

“Pearl River Community College is a college of firsts,” Ron Hague, the director for the PRCC Museum told the newly formed tourism council on Wednesday.

The council is getting organized, and one of the tasks is to get familiarized with the many attractions of Pearl River County.

“Mississippi became the first state in the nation with a funded system of public junior colleges with the passing of the 1928 Bill. It all began right here in Pearl River County,” Hague said.

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A significant first happened in 2004 when PRCC won state championships in all four of the men’s sports.

In 1935, PRCC applied for and was awarded the charter for the nation’s first ROTC program in a junior college. There were high school programs and four-year college programs, but none in the junior colleges.

Hague said he has talked with numerous graduates from those years and pointed out that almost all of them recall PRCC looking more like the Citadel rather than a community college.

“The boys marched to and from class, and to and from town to the movies. The women’s auxiliary unit was just as patriotic as the guys,” he said. “My mom remembered them marching right along with them to class… It’s the people here who are always trying to better themselves.”

Hague began putting the history of the school together and his mother suggested a museum. After about a year, he said he realized PRCC needed a museum. In 2000 he began collecting things and opened the museum in 2001.

What is now in the museum from old annuals to a scoreboard to letters and pictures, and String of Pearls outfits, and much more is the result of five years of collecting.

There is a multimedia room that has an old television camera, several old cameras, a printing press that looks more like a mimeograph machine.

Bits and pieces of Moody Hall have been preserved. It was built in 1926 and was the first to be built for junior college use. It was an auditorium/gym. It is worthy of a trip to see it.