News by Mary Margaret Busby March 9, 2023
Each year, Holmes Community College faculty and staff members select the winners for the prestigious Hall of Fame. This year, the Hall of Fame inductees from the Ridgeland Campus included: Darian Alexandra Blackburn of Vestavia Hills, Alabama; Jaylen Grays of Jackson; Cooper Herrington of Brandon; Charlotte Lamar of Jackson; Elijah Dustin Mangum of Florence; Mikala Alayne McDonald of Byram; Callie Kurth McKinney of Flowood; Makyra Miller of Brandon; Daniel Patrick O’Dell of Madison; Hollyn Grace Oswalt of Clinton; Derrick Lashun Taylor II of Clinton and Garrett Michael Viator of New Iberia, Louisiana.
Darian Alexandra Blackburn
Blackburn, daughter of Donna and David Blackburn, is a mechanical engineering major. She is also a member of the Lady Bulldogs soccer team, where she plays forward. The team’s accolades include selection by United Soccer Coaches as All American, MACCC Champions, Region XXIII Champs, Gulf South District Champs, NJCAA #1 National Seed for the first time in program history and NJCAA National Finalist. Blackburn has also been named the MACCC Offensive Player of the Week. Outside of Holmes, Blackburn serves as a youth soccer coach for Brandon Futbol Club (BFC) and is a certified soccer referee for both Mississippi and Alabama. Upon graduation, Blackburn will attend Illinois University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in physics and mechanical engineering. After that, her goal is to build prosthetics with a biomedical focus.
Grays, son of Rose and J.Z. Grays, is a psychology major. Grays is also a President’s List scholar, vice president of public relations for Phi Theta Kappa and a Student Government Association representative who assisted in founding intramural sports on the Ridgeland Campus. Additionally, he established Student Instagram Takeover. Off campus, he is an active member of Relevant Church and a member of Thursday Night Thrive. As a freshman, Grays was employed at Shoe Station and served as a volunteer for Abraham’s Kitchen. After Holmes, he plans to transfer to Jackson State University or Mississippi State University to pursue his bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Herrington, son of Kelly and Marc Herrington, is a criminal justice major. He is also a defender and recruiter for the Holmes Bulldog soccer team and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Off campus, he is a REC soccer coach, a member of Crossgates Baptist College group and works at Crossgates Pool. He volunteers for Shower Power and a nursing home, as well. Upon graduation from Holmes, Herrington plans to continue his education at the University of Mississippi where he will major in homeland security.
Lamar, daughter of Miriam and Jaime Lamar, is a social work major. She is active on campus as vice president of leadership for Phi Theta Kappa and as a Writing Center tutor. As a freshman, she was a member of the Social Science Club, as well. Lamar was named to the All- Mississippi Team for Phi Theta Kappa and received the Order of the Golden Key Award at the regional conference. Additionally, she assisted in founding intramural sports on the Ridgeland Campus, assisted with the first-ever Turk-a-Thon, is a President’s List Scholar and a Board of Trustees ACT Scholarship recipient. Off campus, she serves at CityHeart Church of Jackson in the children’s ministry and is a middle school tutor in various subjects. Lamar’s plan is to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from Jackson State University or the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a master’s in counseling.
Elijah Dustin Mangum
Mangum, son of Tamara and Dusty Mangum, is a communications/journalism major. He is a reporter for The Growl newspaper staff and a Dean’s List scholar. For The Growl, he produced Holmes’ first video stories. Off campus, Mangum is an intern with Dark Horse Press and an active member of Cleary Baptist Church in Florence. At Cleary Baptist, he volunteers with media and children’s ministries. He has interviewed journalists and public figures for both his Dark Horse Press internship and for his personal YouTube channel, Mangum Studios. Upon graduation from Holmes, he plans to transfer to Mississippi College in the fall of 2023. Mangum hopes to intern and eventually work at WLBT as a reporter after graduating from Mississippi College in 2025.
“All glory of these achievements ultimately belong to God!” Mangum said. “None of these things could have been possible without Him as well as the support from my family, church and journalism mentors.”
Mikala Alayne McDonald
McDonald, daughter of Dixie and Mike McDonald, is an elementary education major. She is also a President’s List Scholar, a member of Phi Theta Kappa and a Dean’s ACT Scholarship recipient. Outside of Holmes, she serves in the children’s ministry at The Pointe Church and is employed as a part-time dog sitter. After graduating from Holmes, McDonald plans to attend Delta State University in the fall of 2023 to obtain her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Her goal is to become a fourth grade teacher after earning her degree.
Callie Kurth McKinney
McKinney, daughter of Julie and Mike McKinney, is a biological science major. She is a President’s List Scholar and member of the Lady Bulldogs soccer team, where she plays forward. The team’s accomplishments include selection by United Soccer Coaches as All American, MACCC Champions, Region XXIII Champs, Gulf South District Champs, NJCAA #1 National Seed for the first time in program history and NJCAA National Finalist. McKinney was selected as Offensive Player of the Week and named All Region by the United Soccer Coaches Association. Outside of Holmes, she is employed by Trace Nutrition and provides private soccer training when time allows. McKinney plans to accept an offer to play soccer at Louisiana Tech while pursuing a degree in biology. Fulfilling an interest in forensics and the FBI, she would like to entertain potential opportunities there or become a pediatric nurse.
Miller, daughter of Camille Campbell-Ervin and Eric Ervin, is a general college studies major. She is a Dean’s List scholar, member of Phi Theta Kappa and an active Air National Guardsman (172nd Airlift Wing). Miller is a member of Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church and a volunteer dance coach at Gemstone Dance Factory, as well. Upon graduation from Holmes, Miller plans to attend Mississippi University for Women, earn her baccalaureate degree in nursing and then pursue a master’s degree to become a neonatal nurse practitioner.
Daniel Patrick O’Dell
O’Dell, son of Laurie O’Dell and William ODell, is a general college studies major. He is a Dean’s List scholar and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Off campus, he is an assistant Scout Master for Troop 164, which meets at Parkway Hills United Methodist Church. He’s also a media team volunteer for Broadmoor Baptist Church. After Holmes, O’Dell plans to transfer to a university, possibly Belhaven or Millsaps, and earn his bachelor’s degree.
Hollyn Grace Oswalt
Oswalt, daughter of Christi and Edward Oswalt, is a pre-nursing major. She is active on campus as a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the women’s soccer team, where she plays defense. The team’s accolades include selection by United Soccer Coaches as All American, MACCC Champions, Region XXIII Champs, Gulf South District Champs, NJCAA #1 National Seed for the first time in program history and NJCAA National Finalist. Off campus, Oswalt is employed with College Corner PrintShop and Brandon Soccer Tots. She has also volunteered with a local food bank in Jackson. Her plans after Holmes are to attend nursing school and become a labor and delivery nurse.
Derrick Lashun Taylor II
Taylor, son of Shavon Hampton and Derrick Taylor, is a pre-nursing major. He is an active member of The Bridge Church, where he is part of the leadership initiative staff, a member of the youth and adult choir and an employee working with audio/video and social media management. He is also employed with Walmart as an online grocery worker. As a freshman, he was a back of house team member with Chick-fil-A. Upon finishing his degree at Holmes, Taylor plans to attend Mississippi College where he will major in Christian studies.
“I received my calling to ministry full-time as of last semester which encouraged my plan of employment,” Taylor said. “I also plan to allow God to guide me to whatever else He sees as my purpose and obtain Kingdom Wealth. I give all glory, honor and praise to God first! I want to honor my parents for the person I am today. I also want to honor The Bridge Church, Bridge Builders and Bridge Kidz for the Word and life lessons they have taught me to make me the man of God that I am.”
Garrett Michael Viator
Viator, son of Monica and Ernie Turner, is a pre-law/legal studies major. He is active on campus as president of Phi Theta Kappa, vice president of Student Government Association, a reporter for The Growl student newspaper and a member of Social Science Club. Viator is also a President’s List scholar, a Board of Trustees Scholarship recipient and was named to the Phi Theta Kappa All Mississippi Academic Team. On campus, he assisted with the establishment of Ridgeland’s first intramural sports program, and he established awareness to new student activities and organizations. He also conducted academic research and data collection for Phi Theta Kappa. Off campus, Viator is employed as a student-worker at Huffman & Company, CPA, P.A., and is actively involved (and currently seeking membership) at Grace Community Church in Jackson.
IN THIS PHOTO: Pictured are the 2023 Ridgeland Campus Hall of Fame inductees. They are (front row, left to right) Callie Kurth McKinney of Flowood; Hollyn Grace Oswalt of Clinton; Makyra Miller of Brandon; Darian Alexandra Blackburn of Vestavia Hills, Alabama (with Nikki Blackburn in front); (middle row, left to right) Mikala Alayne McDonald of Byram; Jaylen Grays of Jackson; Cooper Herrington of Brandon; Charlotte Lamar of Jackson; (back row, left to right) Elijah Dustin Mangum of Florence; Garrett Michael Viator of New Iberia, Louisiana; Daniel Patrick O’Dell of Madison and Derrick Lashun Taylor II of Clinton.