76 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI expanded, and county officials were able to hire several key individuals to improve both the county and the high school. By 1921, Pearl River County Agricultural High School began offering freshman college courses, leading the way for other agricultural high schools across the state. The student body by that time was 250 pupils. During the 1925– 26 school year, it became the first public two-year college in Mississippi when it added sophomore classes to the curriculum. The institution was now a member of the first state-funded junior college system in the United States, as the Mississippi legislature established a governing commission in 1928 to control such schools transforming from agricultural high schools across the state. The name of the school changed to Pearl River Junior College. By the 1980s, the junior college became Pearl River Community College, and it has continued to grow its programs. In 2003–04, it received a large bequest from the Ethel Holden Brownstone Estate, which was used to build a new performing arts center. These were also the years in which all four of the men’s athletic teams—soccer, football, basketball, and baseball—won state championships for Pearl River Community College. In 1912, the new Harrison County Agricultural High School at Perkinston was accepting students. This institution would ultimately become Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College after undergoing decades of change and advancement. At that time, African American students were segregated into schools purportedly suited to their educational needs. For example, in 1925, a training school at Wiggins offered African American students such opportunities as gardening, needlework, home economics skills like canning fruit and vegetables, and livestock care. A literary component was a part of the school’s curriculum, and Professor W. P. Locker was the principal. It would not be until after 1954 that racial segregation in public schools was declared unconstitutional across the United States in the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Stone County today has two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. Also in 1921, on the site of McCaughan’s Rosalie, Gulf Park College opened as a college for women. Dr. Richard G. Cox and Col. J. C. Hardy, the founder of the Gulf Coast Military Academy in Gulfport, envisioned a school for women offering a variety of courses. Gulf Park closed in 1971, and the University of Southern Mississippi now owns the campus. Today, graduates of Gulf Park College still hold annual reunions and return to their campus. Hurricane Katrina compromised many of the original buildings on the grounds, but after tremendous preservation efforts, Hardy Hall (1921) and Lloyd Hall (1926) are still flagship buildings on the campus. In 1925, Harrison County Agricultural High School changed its name and expanded its offerings. The school offered first-year junior college work to the students who attended. By 1942, George County became affiliated with the school. At that time, it became Perkinston Junior College. Twenty years later, the name changed yet again to reflect its growth and offerings and was called Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College District. By 1985, the college added two sites—one in Gautier and another in Gulfport called the Jefferson Davis campus. With two more decades of growth and program development, the school became Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC), and in 1996 school administrators added the online MISSISSIPPI POWER Mississippi Power was established at midnight on December 31, 1924. Today, Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE:SO), produces safe, reliable, and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in twenty-three southeast Mississippi counties. The company has earned numerous awards for excellence in storm restoration and recovery efforts in addition to being a leader in reliability, customer service, and safety. For more than ninety years, Mississippi Power has participated in programs and volunteer efforts to help improve the quality of life throughout its service area and the state of Mississippi. Mississippi Power remains a leader in the community and in the state, bringing the latest technology to south Mississippi and providing the power that helps make Mississippi run. PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSISSIPPI POWER