Special former student taking on special job

Posted by Cathy Hayden on Fri, May, 08, 2015 @ 14:05:00 PM

In alumni

After eight plus years, I’ve been at Hinds Community College long enough that I am seeing students I encountered in some form or fashion “making good” in the world. And one fun thing about social media, I can keep up with former students and what they're doing. (I typically don’t accept friend requests until after they graduate.)

One former student that I’m especially partial to is Christi Reynolds. She was a student on The Hindsonian newspaper staff who loved photography. But she turned out to be one of my best reporters, not because she was necessarily the best writer, but because she has some of the best qualities any reporter should have – persistence and curiosity. Plus, she would tackle any assignment I needed her to do. Christi would volunteer for anything and everything, and I would sometimes caution her “You can’t write the entire newspaper. Give someone else a chance.” But she was so dependable it was a temptation to give her every story.

We eventually hired her as a student blogger on our website, which helped her pay for extras for a trip to Bridgwater College in England through our Honors Institute program. She was an enthusiastic and prolific blogger.


What I like most about Christi, however, is her pure heart and eternal optimism. No matter what life hands Christi, pictured above, she always comes up smiling and finding a silver lining to the storm cloud. She feels things keenly but it doesn’t make her afraid to feel.

Christi is from south Rankin County, near where I live, and wound up at my alma mater, Ole Miss, where she is graduating this weekend (May 9) with an education degree. She has accepted a job for this fall teaching special education students in Hinds County schools.

Yes, she will be back in Hinds County, a hop, skip and a jump away from my office. Plus, she will be fulfilling her dream of helping disabled students.

Every year Hinds Community College hosts a field day for special education students in Hinds County schools so they can have a fun day just like all the other kids. The school district sets up all sorts of field day games on our football field, and Mark Stanton, our director of Student Activities, provides student and staff volunteers as well as popcorn and snow cones.


Pictured above are Larina Mason, center, physical therapist for the Hinds County school district and a graduate of Hinds Community College who came up with the idea for the field day in 2010; Jackie Granberry, vice president for Advancement, (Jackie says this is her favorite event of the year) and Mark.

It’s a special time for those who work here to get to spend a day with kids who really appreciate what we can do for them. We are seeing the same kids year after year, only one year older and bigger. This year, I walked over to the gate where the kids were getting off the bus and a little boy I didn’t know propelled himself into my arms for a hug and proceeded to do the same with every adult standing there.

Later on, Tracy Duncan, sports marketing/photographer, (below) showed another little boy how to take a photo. Everyone who works that event comes away with a little bit larger heart because of it.


I’m thrilled to know that next year when we do that event, in all likelihood Ms. Reynolds will be there with her class of students. I don’t think I’ll be able to top that day. It will put the “special” in special education.