Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College was represented at the annual HEADWAE (Higher Education Appreciation Day-Working for Academic Excellence) program in Jackson on Feb. 18 by instructor Stacey N. Goudy Payton and student Robert Buntyn.
Payton is currently in her tenth year as a full time instructor in the Language Arts Department on the Perkinston Campus. She teaches Beginning and Intermediate English, Composition I and II, World Literature I and II, and Survey of African American Literature. She has a total of 25 years of service in higher education. “Nothing is more gratifying than for administrators to reward excellence shown in the classroom and name me 2014 HEADWAE honoree for the college,” she said. “Now, that I have this beautiful symbol of distinction, the red marble apple with its golden leaf, I’m called to the responsibility to not only maintain standards of excellence, but to find innovative ways to compel students to meet those standards. This award is the highlight and most memorable moment of my career.”
Buntyn is a sophomore who plans on majoring in pre-medicine and eventually becoming an oncologist. A student at the Jefferson Davis Campus, he is a member of both the Phi Theta Kappa chapter there, where he is vice president of Service and in the Honors College. He is also the regional vice president for Phi Theta Kappa in Mississippi and Louisiana. “The HEADWAE event was a wonderful opportunity to talk with MGCCC vice presidents and president and to hear speeches by former governor William Winter and Gov. Phil Bryant,” Buntyn said. “I am honored that I was chosen for the award and to have the occasion to participate in something that promotes higher education in our state.”
Each February, the state Legislature, along with the Mississippi Association of Colleges, recognizes an outstanding faculty member and student from each of the state’s community colleges and universities during the HEADWAE program. This year, all honorees visited the state Capitol and attended the HEADWAE awards luncheon as part of the day’s activities.