Dustin Atkinson, bottom far left, and Shannon Pendergrass, bottom far right, are instructors for East Mississippi Community College’s Lion Academy, which helps prepare high school students to take college courses. Atkinson and Pendergrass are pictured here with Lion Academy graduates during a June 27 ceremony on EMCC’s Scooba campus.

July 3, 2019

Eighteen Kemper County High School students who graduated from East Mississippi Community College’s Lion Academy were awarded certificates of completion in a June 27 ceremony in the college’s F.R. Young Student Union on the Scooba campus.

EMCC and Kemper County High School partnered to create the Lion Academy, a pilot program designed to ready students for dual enrollment at the college.

Last year, 11 students who comprised the Lion Academy’s inaugural class completed the four-week intensive course. The purpose of the Lion Academy is to offer classroom instruction and individual assistance to high school juniors and seniors prior to their enrollment in English Composition I and College Algebra.

“The Lion Academy is still fairly new but we have had great results so far and we hope to continue to grow the program,” EMCC Associate Dean of Instruction James Rush said. “The partnership between EMCC and Kemper County High School helps us evaluate the needs of incoming students and provide them the skills they need to successfully transition into college-level courses.”East Mississippi Community College Lion Academy graduate Sage Love, at left, is presented a certificate of completion by EMCC Associate Dean of Instruction James Rush.

EMCC instructor Dustin Atkinson taught the math course for the academy and instructor Shannon Pendergrass taught the students English.

The Lion Academy will be offered again next summer and EMCC staff are exploring ways to offer the program during the regular semesters. Rush said there are plans to expand the program to include students at other high schools in EMCC’s district.

Students who completed the 2019 Lion Academy are: Jaliyah Bennamon, DeAnthony Bennett, Jeremy Buie, JaQuaisha Clark, Ke’Mya Cole, Sha’dardenique Darden, Shadaria Darden, Jamiah Gibbs, AlKeydra Gordon, Dyamond Hicks, Quhleahka Ivy, Thermon Johnson, Kaylee Little, Sage Love, Tremya Rush, Nichelle Scott, Chantel Stringfellow, and Makenlee Wright.