Pearl River Community College students step out as role models for the community

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 17, 2016

The PRCC Fellowship of Christian Athletes treated 145 special needs students from the Pearl River Central, Picayune and Poplarville schools to a Christmas party. Submitted Photo

The PRCC Fellowship of Christian Athletes treated 145 special needs students from the Pearl River Central, Picayune and Poplarville schools to a Christmas party.
Submitted Photo

The spirit of service is ringing at Pearl River Community College as the fall semester comes to a close, with students living the philosophy of the ‘Wildcat Way.’
Pride, respect, class and character are four qualities faculty and staff at PRCC promote to mold students into community leaders, Vice President Dr. Adam Breerwood said.
Reaching out to local elementary schools is one way students and athletes at PRCC are giving back by reading to children in classrooms to encourage a love of learning and attendance.
“You never know how much you’re going to change a child’s life,” Delana Harris, director of recruitment at marketing, said. “Our coaches have been really good at saying ‘if you want to be like this athlete, you’re going to have to get good grades.’”
By having college students encourage young children to read, it shows the younger generation that reading is a skill they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, Harris said.
“It creates that love of reading…to see that these guys who are 6-foot-4 are still students and they’re still learning,” she said.
Without realizing it, younger students begin to emulate these athletes, who are making a special connection, Breerwood said.
“They get as much, if not more, out of it as elementary students,” he said.
These outreach and volunteer efforts are part of a larger plan for the college to be more evident and prevalent in our community, Breerwood said.
College athletes in particular have an enormous amount of responsibility to represent the college, he said, and have done so without complaint.
The culture on campus has changed between smaller groups around campus, athletic teams and choral groups, he said.
“I think it’s directly related to [volunteerism], the continued development of Fellowship of Christian Athletes program has broken down some barriers,” Breerwood said.
The college boasts being the home for a diverse background of students, some who have always needed the help of generous individuals and some who have never been exposed to the world of volunteerism.
“I think it has a tremendous impact, maybe now they understand,” Breerwood said. “All of our students, regardless of whether or not they realize it, they are examples. Maybe that night when that student gets home, they pick up a book and read it because that all-star athlete at Pearl River did it.”
Breerwood said he believes colleges have the responsibility to not only educate students academically, but also socially, morally, ethically and spiritually, or at the very least expose them to it.
Volunteering in the community, and the six counties where PRCC has a campus, provides a sense of pride to those areas, Scotty Fletcher, PRCC women’s basketball coach, said.
He feels that by providing these opportunities to the students, awareness about he struggles of life is gained. At the same time, the students become aware that people see the efforts they are putting forth to better the community.
“You can promote great things because people are watching,” Fletcher said.
Recently, Fletcher said the basketball team sponsored Operation Christmas Joy, where special needs students were invited to a Christmas party at the college gym.

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About Julia Arenstam

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