HCC Utica Campus donates to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital

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HCC Uca Campus cosmetology class

JANS – “When I came to the Utica Campus as a student in 1984, it was known for helping others and community service,” said Hinds Community College, Utica Campus cosmetology instructor Ouida Theriot. “We are simply continuing that legacy.”

Approximately 30 freshmen and sophomore Utica Campus cosmetology students wanted to do something to help the cancer patients at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson. So, they did; they made wigs. The enthusiasm of the students was so intense until what should have taken two weeks only took one, according to Theriot. “We allowed the students class time to complete the wigs,” Theriot said. “And some of the students were so enthralled about the idea until they worked on the wigs at home.”

Jamessia Davis, be

Jamessia Davis, better known as “Peaches”, is a 10-year old who has been battling Ewing’s Sarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) for the past 6 months or so. She is a member of Greater New Hamilton Grove Baptist Church in Raymond, MS. Jamessia received two wigs and one cap that was donated to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital by Hinds Community College, Utica Campus.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation recently granted Jamessia’s most heart-felt wish, an iPad. Jamessia also received a shopping spree. Her first stop was Justice, a clothing store for young girls.
Other stores Jamessia shopped included Best Buy, Toys R Us, Hibbe Sports, and Wal-Mart.

“Jamessia’s cancer has been upgraded to Stage 4, but she is a true fighter, full of courage and inspiraon,” said Kris Johnson, HCC Utica Campus cosmetology student and Jamessia’s church member. “Jamessia’s favorite
saying is, ‘By His stripes I AM healed!’”

When the cosmetology students decided to do the community service project, there was at least one cosmetology student who was akin to the situation of the patients and their hair loss. So, on that cold, rainy, winter day, cosmetology student Kristi Johnson was more focused and determined than ever to make that trip to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.

When the group arrived, many of the patients were in treatment or were just ending their treatment, which hindered the face-to-face visit.

“We understand the process of chemotherapy and radiation and chose not to visit with the children,” said Ms. Gloria Blackmon, lead cosmetology instructor.

“So, we decided to leave the wigs with Michelle Welch Chambers, social worker at Batson and Utica Campus alumnus. “There was one child however, who was determined to pay us a visit just after her treatment,” said Blackmon.

“It was Jamessia Davis, the child whose inspiration made a difference in all of our lives just by having seen her.

For me, it was a moment of bliss that I will never forget. Jamessia was just elated over the wigs and could not decide on a particular one, so she chose two,” Blackmon concluded and smiled.

“It warmed our hearts seeing the smile on Jamessia’s face knowing what she had experience just moments early,” said Kristi Johnson, a sophomore cosmetology student from Raymond. “Helping others is where I find my greatest pleasure,” Johnson concluded.

“There is something that we all as human beings can do to help someone in need,” said Mrs. Chris Tanner-Watkins, assistant director of career and technical education. “It’s just a matter of caring enough to do it,” she added. “In our area, career and technical education, we are hands on, and the training that our students receive is not selfish in nature; our students are taught the importance of giving back,” Watkins concluded. “Our vice president, Dr. Debra Mays- Jackson, encourages community service, and the wig project was one small act of kindness in an effort to provide service to the community,” Theriot concluded. “That was our way of helping others.”

The Blackmon and Theriot teaching team have a combined record of nearly 35 years of cosmetology teaching experience. Their students have a 90 percent pass rate on the State Cosmetology Board Exam.