Spring Graduation at Paris Junior College

PJC holds 98th spring graduation ceremonies 

Paris Junior College celebrated its 98th Spring graduation at 7 p.m. Friday, May 12 at Noyes Stadium. 

At the opening of the ceremony, Dr. Pam Anglin, PJC president, recognized retiring faculty and staff Shannon Callaway, Jeff Norris, Rita Pringle, Mallie Hood, and Paul May, who together have had 109 years at PJC.

As of Friday, 537 students had applied to graduate this spring, of whom 41 percent are men and 59 percent are women, ranging in age from 17 to 72 years old. They represent 31 different Texas counties, seven states, and Mexico and South Africa. The graduates included 125 dual credit students from 15 high schools in PJC’s five county service area. 

“This has been an extraordinary group of students,” said Anglin, “and it has been wonderful to get to know them and learn of their aspirations.”

Physics faculty member Lee LaRue was presented the Master Teacher Teaching Excellence Award. which includes a $1,000 honorarium, plaque, and medallion. 

According to the nominations by fellow faculty, LaRue spends hours working with students one on one to make sure they have a good grasp of the concepts from his class. He is remembered by many former students as “their best teacher” and delivers complicated subjects such as Calculus 3 and Differential Equations in a manner that builds confidence and understanding.

Next came presentation of the Distinguished Service Award (DSA), the highest student honor given at PJC, presented to a PJC graduate since 1935. It was first given to Louis B. Williams, who later became president of Paris Junior College. The Award recognizes academic achievement and service to PJC and the community and is given to an outstanding graduating student. 

Chosen was Brendan Batchelder, a 2015 graduate of Denver Center for International Studies in Denver, Colorado, is Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, and a member of the Student Government Association, Texas Student Advisory Council, the 2023 All-Texas Academic Team, 2023 All USA Academic Team, All Texas Century Scholar, American Medical Society Student Association Pre-med Transfer Scholarship recipient, 2023 Mr. PJC Nominee and been named twice to the President’s List. He represented PJC in Austin at Community College Day 2023. He plans to transfer to the biomedical sciences program at Texas A&M University, and apply to medical school after that to pursue a dual PhD and MD.

Other DSA nominees included:

Ryan Davis, a 2021 graduate of Midway High School in Waco, is a returning member of the Dragons Baseball Team and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, and Treasurer of the Student Government Association.  He has been named to the President’s List three times. He plans to continue playing baseball at a four-year university and continue studying Criminal Justice.

Celia Hagler, a 2023 Home School graduate of Detroit, is President of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, Vice President of the Student Government Association, and a member of the 2023 All-Texas Academic Team. She has served as the Texas Junior College 

Student Government Association Region 3 Treasurer and been involved in the Criminal Justice Club. She has been a part of winning awards at the state and international levels for research projects. She has been accepted to the Neuroscience program at the University of Southern California with a full ride scholarship.  

Samantha Puente a 2021 graduate of Hebron High School in Plano, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, Publicity Director of the Student Government Association, a two-year member of the PJC Softball Team, a 2023 Miss PJC Nominee and has twice been named to the President’s List. She plans to continue playing softball at a four-year university while pursuing her degree in physical therapy in hopes of working with children and young adults. 

Jacob Thomas, a 2021 graduate of Paris High School, is the Student Government Association President and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year honor society, and a 2023 Mr. PJC Nominee. He represented PJC in Austin at Community College Day 2023. After graduation, he plans to attend the University of North Texas and live long and be happy.

Paris Junior College 2023 Spring Graduation 5-12-23
Paris Junior College 2023 Spring Graduation 5-12-23

Paris Junior College held its spring graduation Friday, May 12, in Noyes Stadium on the PJC Paris campus.

Paris Junior College — located in Paris, Texas, about 100 miles northeast of Dallas — has been a part of the Lamar County community since 1924.

Paris Junior College offers Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degrees, as well as Certificates of Proficiency in technical/workforce fields. The college has expanded its academic curriculum through the years to encourage associate degree and university transfer candidates. Since establishing its first vocational program — jewelry and watchmaking in 1942 — the college has been aggressive in adding technical/workforce programs that will benefit students entering the workforce.

The campus of 54 tree-shaded acres includes 20 major buildings and residence halls and provides students a unique and pleasant environment for learning.

Paris Junior College also operates centers in Sulphur Springs, Texas, and in Greenville, Texas.


To be the educational provider of choice for the region.


Paris Junior College is a comprehensive community college serving the region’s educational and training needs while strengthening the economic, social and cultural life of our diverse community.

Author: Matt Janson

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