Name of late Northwest Adult Education director added to son’s endowment

The Northwest Mississippi Community College Foundation has announced that the name of William Guy Purdy will be added to The Stephen Purdy Endowed Scholarship, which was established in 2005 by Purdy and his wife Mary to honor their son Stephen’s memory. Guy Purdy died on April 7, 2018. Purdy earned an Associate of Technology Degree from State Tech in Memphis and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology from the University of Memphis. He served in the United States Air Force for four years, spending most of his time in the Philippines and Smyrna, Tennessee. He was an aircraft electrician on the B-52 and later on the C-130 plane. He then worked for 26 years as a power transformer crew leader and customer service representative for Memphis Light Gas and Water (MLGW). Purdy would say that he had only four jobs in his lifetime. He worked at Montesi’s grocery story as a teenager, then the Air Force, then MLGW, and finally Northwest. Purdy started at Northwest in 1995 as a Workforce Development Coordinator, responsible for planning, supervising and implementing workforce training programs for local businesses and industry. After spending six years in that role, he became the director of Adult Basic Education where he served for 16 years. He was recognized as Supervisor of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Adult and Community Educators. As the golf coach at Northwest, he led the Rangers to two national rankings in five of six seasons he coached by the NJCAA and  In the 2015-16 season, Northwest placed in the Top 5 in seven of 14 events. In addition to his wife, Purdy is survived by four children, Will, Christine, Betsy and Chris, and their grandchildren, Sabrina St. Clair, Shawn Martin, Kaitlyn Wenzler, Stephen Anderson, Emerson Anderson, Tanner Anderson, and Ana Kate Purdy.  “The Purdy family have been generous contributors to The Stephen Purdy Endowment, and through these contributions and the generous memorial gifts given in memory of Guy, the endowment has increased from $10,000 to $48,000,” said Sybil Canon, associate vice-president of Development and Special Projects. It was also Purdy’s influence and leadership that led to the establishment of the Al Simmons Adult Basic Education Endowment by the DeSoto Literacy Council. “The Stephen Purdy and William Guy Purdy Endowment is an appropriate legacy for this extraordinary man. In every phase of his life, Guy has helped people to strive for excellence. He worked diligently with the literacy councils in DeSoto and Tate counties, providing a “second chance” to those whose life circumstances had provided little hope for success. Simply put, Guy Purdy truly made a difference in this world, and he will be sorely missed,” Canon said. The scholarship will continue to be awarded to students who are graduates of any DeSoto County high school. For more information, contact Canon at 662-560-1105 or email    

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Free vendor space available at Ranger Bluegrass Festival until July 31

The Northwest Ranger Bluegrass Festival committee is offering free vendor space until July 31 for those local craft makers and artisans who want to show their talents at the upcoming Oct. 13 festival. According to volunteer and activities coordinator Angie Stuart, the committee is looking to get “back to basics” in the arts and crafts area of the festival. “We want people to experience the way things used to be. We are looking to show real hands-on arts and crafts that can be made and shared without the use of electricity or modern-day technology,” Stuart said. Vendor booths are 12 x 12 and if vendors apply for a space before July 31, the committee will issue a $100 voucher to them. “Essentially, they will get free vendor space for that 12 x 12 booth if they apply for it before July 31,” Stuart said. If they need a second booth, it will cost $100, she explained. The festival, which is presented by Gateway Tire, will be held at the Northwest Farm on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. The event is a one-day music festival featuring nationally-recognized, award-winning bluegrass bands. The primary goal of this event is to raise funds for scholarships to benefit Northwest students, while sharing an appreciation of bluegrass music and culture. Tickets are available at Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children/students (ages 6-17) and $30 for a family pass. Festival activities include six performing bands and musicians on the main stage, a bluegrass competition, bluegrass jamming and parking lot picking, a free children’s activity area, food trucks, demonstrations and more. Slated to appear at the festival are Mike Compton and Joe Newberry, Missy Raines and the New Hip, Barefoot Movement, Xaris Waltman, Alice Hasen and Andy Ratliff. For more information about the festival, visit our event page at the Northwest Rangers Facebook page or To apply for a vendor booth, contact Stuart at astuart@northwestms.eduor call 662-562-3494.    

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Tate County Literacy Council receives Dollar General Grant

The Tate County Literacy Council (TCLC) was recently awarded an $11,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to support adult education/high school equivalency literacy. TCLC works with the Northwest Mississippi Community College Adult Education program where high school equivalency classes to help students obtain their high school diploma and transition into college classes or advance in their current work placement with improved employability skills. The local grant award is part of more than $8.3 million in grants awarded to more than 1,000 schools, nonprofits and organizations across the 44 states that Dollar General serves. “We are excited and honored to have received this generous gift. Our hope is that people in Tate county and the surrounding areas are able to join our classes and receive their high school diploma. The grant will help cover the cost of some testing fees and other related expenses,” said Mary Julia Moore, director of the Tate County Literacy Council. “We are honored to fund literacy and education initiatives, which support our mission of ‘Serving Others’,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO.  “The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is celebrating its 25thanniversary in 2018 and a legacy of helping people improve their lives through literacy and education. Including this grant, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has provided more than $154 million in funding to help more than 10 million people. We believe these programs can have a positive impact on the communities we serve and we look forward to continuing to partner with organizations dedicated to making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans.” The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $154 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 10 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education. For more information on the TCLC or Northwest’s Adult Education program or to sign up for the upcoming August 2018 orientation, contact Moore at 662-560-5223 or email mmoore@northwestms.eduor call Jennifer Williams at 662-562-3450 or email   Pictured:Recently, the Tate County Literacy Council received an $11,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to support adult education and high school equivalency literacy. L-r are student Shannon Diala of Senatobia, Mary Julia Moore, TCLC director; students Tiffany Ray of Strayhorn and Chris Potts of Coldwater; Angie Stuart, secretary/treasurer, TCLC and student Lexus Williams of Independence. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)    

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Northwest receives state award from Mississippi Main Street Association

Northwest Mississippi Community College was recently recognized at the 29thAnnual Mississippi Main Street Association Annual Awards meeting. The college received a “Premier Partner” award for its collaboration with Senatobia Main Street during 2018. Northwest’s Graphic Design Technology students helped rebrand and update the artwork for the Five Star City Festival. “This year Senatobia Main Street reached out to Northwest for help in several ways and was blown away by their enthusiasm. Karla Merritt, the college’s Graphic Design Technology instructor and her students helped us with a complete Five Star City festival rebrand. The students received real life learning experience for the students to learn to deal with sponsors and building a brand as well as being able to showcase their artistic talents. This was a win-win situation for both Northwest and Senatobia Main Street,” said Jamie Sowell, Senatobia Main Street Chamber director. The Premier Partner Award, which recognizes creative joint ventures between the Main Street organization and another local, community entity or entities (public or private) was accepted by Julie Bauer, director of Communications at Northwest. “We are so pleased to have been recognized by Mississippi Main Street for this prestigious award.  Northwest would not exist without the people of our local community, and we are proud to be a part of the exciting things happening in Senatobia right now.  We look forward to strengthening our partnership even more in the future,” said Julie Bauer, director of Communications at Northwest, who accepted the award on behalf of the college. “This is the Mississippi Main Street Association’s most important event of the year," said Ed Gardner, MMSA board president. "It gives us an opportunity to meet with and celebrate the local directors and investors throughout the state that are doing the hard work of making our downtown districts more competitive, successful and sustainable. We are thrilled to honor our economic development and preservation heroes in Mississippi's downtowns." For more information on Northwest, visit the college’s website at and for more information on Senatobia Main Street visit their Facebook page or contact Sowell at jamie@tatecountyms.comor call 662-562-8715.   Pictured: The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities on June 21 at the 29th Annual Awards Luncheon in downtown Jackson. Northwest Mississippi Community College was awarded the Premier Partner award, which recognizes creative joint ventures between the Main Street organization and another local, community public or private entities. Students in the Northwest Graphic Design Technology program helped to rebrand the Five Star City Fest this past year. Left to right are Jamie Sowell, Senatobia Main Street Chamber director, Andrea Drummond, Northwest graphic design technology student, Karla Merritt, Northwest graphic design technology instructor and Julie Bauer, director of Communications at Northwest. (Photo courtesy MMSA)  

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Barbra Welch Manning scholarship established at Northwest

The Barbra Welch Manning Nursing Endowment was recently established at Northwest Mississippi Community College by Joe Manning, Barbra’s husband of 38 years, and by Joe’s brother, Carl Manning. The scholarship was established in recognition of her contribution to the nursing profession through her actual practice and instruction in several nursing programs, and in appreciation of her life of dedication to her family and her lifelong services as a volunteer. Manning was born on November 16, 1954 in Tishomingo to the late Hellus Greene Welch and Clifford Leroy Welch. Manning was a member of Tishomingo Baptist Church. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Tennessee.  She also became a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner through advanced studies at the University of Tennessee. Manning worked at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the University of Tennessee Department of Pediatrics as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Manning was hired at Northwest in August 1985and retired in 2013. Sheheld the positions of Level Coordinatorof Fundamentals of Nursing, Level CoordinatorofObstetrics/Pediatric Nursing, and Student Navigator. She taught Fundamentals of Nursing, Nursing Pharmacology, Obstetrics, and Pediatric Nursing.  She also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee, the University of Memphis, and Union University. She was active with various animal rescue missions including the Denver Dachshund Rescue and Transport, Kindred Heart Transport, Liberty Transport, and Lou's Labs.  She also volunteered at Hope Sullivan Elementary School in Southaven where she helped children who struggled with reading. “Barbra was a lady who touched many lives with her kind heart and genuine concern for others. She endeared herself to more than 2,500 nursing students during her 25 years as an instructor with the Northwest Nursing Division. In addition, she gained the respect and admiration of not only her colleagues in the Nursing Division but throughout Northwest,” said Dr. Denise Bynum, division director of Nursing. The Barbra Welch Manning Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to second-year nursing students enrolled in the Associate Degree Nursing program who have exhibited a financial need.  It is the goal of this endowment to provide assistance to second-year nursing students who, without this scholarship, might not be able to complete the nursing program. For more information or to donate to the Northwest Foundation, email Marla Kennedy at mkennedy@northwestms.eduor call 662-560-1105 or visit the college’s website at    

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Northwest hosts foreign language regional workshop

Northwest Mississippi Community College hosted the Mississippi Foreign Language Association (MFLA) Regional Workshop on June 21 on its Senatobia campus. High school teachers from Independence, South Panola, Monroe County, Canton, Lewisburg, Oxford and Calhoun City attended the workshop. Presenters at the workshop included Edgar Serrano, Spanish instructor, University of Mississippi; Laura Hall, French and Spanish instructor, Tishomingo County High School; Dr. Elizabeth Harrison, world language instructor and former MFLA executive director, Houston High School; Lori LeVar Pierce, French, German and Latin instructor, Mississippi School for Math and Science; Karla Duran, Spanish instructor, University of Mississippi and Gabriel Garrido, Spanish instructor, University of Mississippi. The workshop covered several topics including using “can do” statements in lesson planning, classroom management, verb conjugation and online tools to practice language. "For several years, Laura Hall, one of our presenters, has coordinated a regional workshop each July at Northeast Mississippi Community College on the Booneville campus for the K-12 World Language teachers in that district. During last November's annual conference of the Mississippi Foreign Language Association, Janet Bunch, Spanish instructor at the DeSoto Center and I agreed that we should offer something similar for our district. We were so pleased to welcome these enthusiastic and appreciative attendees to the central campus," said June Turner, Northwest Spanish instructor. For more information on the foreign language program at Northwest, visit the college’s website at For more information on the MSFLA, visit their website at or their Facebook page. Pictured: Laura Hall, French and Spanish instructor at Tishomingo County High School was one of the presenters at the Mississippi Foreign Language Association (MSFLA) Regional Workshop, hosted by Northwest Mississippi Community College on June 21. Hall presented a session on using “can do” statements to drive lesson planning in the world language classroom. (Photo by Jennifer Corbin)  

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Ranger Bluegrass Committee holds community interest meeting

Len Lawhon, supervisor of grounds at Northwest Mississippi Community College discusses plans for the upcoming Ranger Bluegrass Festival during a community interest meeting on June 28. The festival, which is presented by Gateway Tire, will be held at the Northwest Farm on Saturday, Oct. 13. and will feature well-known bluegrass acts performing on the main stage, a children’s area, bluegrass competition, crafts to promote local artisans and farmers, and food trucks. Volunteers and vendors are still needed. The festival will benefit the Northwest Foundation Scholarship fund. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Angie Stuart at

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Sonia Robbins Young Endowment established at Northwest

The Sonia Robbins Young Endowed Scholarship was recently established at Northwest Mississippi Community College by her husband, Les Young, and by Community Discount Pharmacy in recognition of her excellent career in pharmacy and of her dedication to her family. Young and her husband have three children, Tice Young married to Holly, Dr. Jenny Young Shutt married to Spence, and Marc Young. They have five grandchildren, Ticer ,Elizabeth and Thomas Young and Handley and Whitten Shutt. Even before becoming a student at Northwest in 1977, Young grew up on the Senatobia campus as the daughter of the legendary basketball coach, Coach Kenneth (Cat) Robbins. After becoming a student, she excelled in all of her endeavors. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and she was named to Who’s Who in American Junior Colleges and the Hall of Fame. She was also a member of the Science Club and SNEA. Her fellow students elected her as president of her freshman and sophomore classes, as Class Favorite, as a Beauty, and as a member of the Homecoming Court. She served as captain of the Ranger Cheer Squad during her freshman and sophomore   years. Following two years as a Pre-Pharmacy major, Sonia transferred to the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, where she graduated in 1981. Young has been practicing pharmacy for 36 years and owned Community Discount Pharmacy for 15 of those years. Young and her family are active members of Senatobia United Methodist Church. She and her brothers, Dr. Kenny Robbins and Dr. Mark Robbins, established a scholarship honoring Coach Robbins in 2001. “As I have received information for several years about the recipients of my dad’s scholarship, I understand just how a scholarship helps students. I am so grateful to Les for giving me such a beautiful honor. It will be a great blessing to know that future pharmacists who begin their higher education journey will be provided scholarship assistance through this scholarship,” Young said. Sybil Canon, associate vice president of Development and Special Projects at Northwest believes that this endowment is well-deserved. “Sonia has demonstrated her love for Northwest already through her dad’s scholarship, and she has brought honor to her profession and exhibited immense love and dedication to her family. We are very pleased that The Sonia Robbins Young Endowment will be helping students for generations to come,” Canon said. For more information on the Northwest Foundation, email Canon at srcanon@northwestms.eduor call 662-560-1112.  

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  Northwest first in state to have officially recognized QM course

Northwest Mississippi Community College has become the first community college in the state to have an online course officially recognized as a Quality Matters (QM) course, according to Phyllis Johnson, dean of eLearning. Northwest’s History I course, taught by Trent Booker is the course that gained the designation. In addition to the history course, Intermediate Mathematics, which is taught by Marcus Perkins, also gained the QM course designation, according to Johnson. “Both of these men are eLearning coordinators and are setting a great example to Northwest,” Johnson said. She added that Booker was named Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC) Instructor of the Year in March. “Quality Matters (QM),” is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to define and maintain quality assurance in online learning. According to the QM website, the organization began with a small group of colleagues in theMarylandOnline, Inc.(MOL) consortium who were trying to solve a common problem among institutions: how do we measure and guarantee the quality of a course? In 2003 MOL outlined how the Quality Matters program could create a scalable process for course quality assurance, and applied for a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant enabled QM to develop a rubric of course design standards and create a replicable peer-review process that would train and empower faculty to evaluate courses against these standards, provide guidance for improving the quality of courses, and certify the quality of online and blended college courses across institutions. Northwest announced its membership in QM in February of last year. “When a student takes a Northwest online class, we want that student to know that they will be getting a course designed to give them a quality learning experience. Students will find clear expectations and guidance to ensure they are off to a good start, content that is purposeful, and activities that are interactive and varied. Opportunities for students to measure their own learning will be found throughout the course, as well as technology that serves to facilitate the learning experience.,” Johnson said. “Online faculty are being taught the best practices of online education based on QM, and when they commit their courses to a QM review, they are supported by peer feedback in an open and collegial continuous improvement process. Institutions with students enrolled in a QM-Certified course have made a choice to provide quality designed courses based on researched and supported standards and published best practices,” she added. For more information on Northwest’s eLearning program, visit the college’s website at Click on campuses and select eLearning. To learn more about Quality Matters, visit their website at      

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DeSoto Center Respiratory Therapy program holds first pinning

The Respiratory Therapy program at Northwest Mississippi Community College’s DeSoto Center recently held its first pinning ceremony for the class of 2018 on May 9. Those receiving pins were (l-r) Jenny Burkett of Oxford, Kelsi Grady of Nesbit, Mallory Holmes of Southaven, Kristen Hays Willingham of Olive Branch, Morgan Moore of Hickory Flat, Tarika Renfroe of Coldwater, James Matheson and Jacqueline Wilson of Southaven, Karena Dunlap of Horn Lake, Victoria Smith of Senatobia, Nicole Underhill of Southaven, Leticia Lipsey of Horn Lake and Sonia Schmidt of Nesbit. (Photo submitted)

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