Awards presented at the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet

Published 11:02 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Jefferson Davis County Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet Tuesday evening at the Rosenwald Building on the Prentiss Institute campus.

Master of Ceremonies for the banquet was Robert Young. Entertainment was provided by Aiden Young.

The first award of the night was the STAR Student and Teacher awards. The STAR Student must be a senior and have an ACT score of at least 25 with an overall average of 93 or above in selected subjects. The STAR Student selects a STAR Teacher who has made the greatest contribution to the student’s scholastic achievement.

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STAR Student for Prentiss Christian School is Johnathan Flores. Flores scored a 30 on the ACT. He chose Bill Whittington as his STAR Teacher.

There is no STAR Student for Jefferson Davis County High School.

Chamber President Su’brina Mason then announced the names of those receiving Volunteer of the Year. They were Barbara Slater, Willie Davis and Janice Cunningham.

Non-Profit of the Year was presented to the Eureka Arts Club.

Shanell Williamson received the Leadership Award.

Small Business of the Year was presented to Holliman Tax and AK Nutrition, followed by the Large Business of the Year, Mississippi Green Oil.

Citizen of the Year was presented to Jefferson Davis County Emergency Management Director Jocelyn Ragsdale.

Rachel and Vester Thompson and Dwana Rousse received the Entrepreneur Award.

The Ambassador Award was given to Jefferson Davis County High School Senior and JDC Miss Hospitality Ellen Porter.

Save the Children received the Community Service Award.

The final award of the evening, the Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to Prentiss Institute.

Food for the event was provided by Kuntry Time Catering.

Following the awards presentation, guest speaker Mitchell Williams was introduced. Williams is currently serving as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Multi-Area Director for Southeast Mississippi.  He is also the chaplain for the Southern Miss football team.

Prior to being hired with FCA, Williams worked at WDAM-TV for 27 years, serving as sports director for 20 of those years.

“It is humbling to be on these grounds where my grandmother and grandfather used to walk,” said Williams. “My grandmother always talked about how she loved this place. She went to school here and she learned to lead here.”

Williams offered words of encouragement to the young people and discussed the value of the act of commitment.

He believes our best days are ahead. “If the opportunities come, they won’t come without a test to see how truly committed you are to these young people and to the community,” he said.

“Jefferson Davis County has a good spirit, let’s make it a great spirit;  you have a good heart, let’s make it a great heart and you have a gift, and it becomes a great gift if you’re willing to give it away.”