Sonja Arnett, an English instructor on the Goodman Campus, has been named Holmes Community College 2017 Humanities Teacher of the Year. She will deliver her scholarly presentation, "Classroom Theatrics: A Touch of Flavor to Academia," on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium on the Goodman Campus. The lecture is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
The Humanities Teacher Awards recognize the contributions of humanities faculty at each of the state's colleges and universities. Nominations are made by the college or university president or humanities dean.
"When I was told I was chosen as this year's Humanities Teacher of the Year for Holmes, I thought, 'What am I going to say? What am I going to do?' After this initial crisis, however, I started thinking about my daily classroom routine. Every once in a while, I feel it is beneficial to add a little 'spice' to the lesson, a little drama to the routine. So, I am compiling a few of my 'dramatic' lessons to present on Nov. 9. My hope is to demonstrate that drama can help bridge the gap between the often dry lessons of academia (though important) and the sometimes disinterested, easily distracted student population."
A member of the Holmes family since 2006, Arnett serves as an academic adviser, Writing Center tutor and English instructor. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in English from the University of Mississippi and her first teaching position was at Hinds Community College as an adjunct English instructor.
Prior to joining the Holmes faculty, Arnett was employed with Delta Airlines in Jackson from 1994 -2004 as a customer service agent. In that role, she helped people check in, worked at the departure gate and handled baggage service.
"I loved it," Arnett said, "but the job required night/weekend/holiday hours, and I had a young son that I wanted to spend time with at those crucial times, so I returned to teaching."
To transition back into the field of education, she acquired her emergency teaching license and taught 11th grade English for one year at Norwest Rankin High School. In the spring of 2006, Arnett applied to Holmes, joined the English faculty and has never looked back.
"I adore teaching English and I love my students," Arnett said. "I am grateful daily to work in this academic environment and to have the love and support of an extraordinary college president, vice president and academic dean. My colleagues inspire me and are fun to work with. I have the greatest job ever. I plan to retire from here!"
Arnett and her husband, Kenny, have been married for 28 years. They have one teenage son, Kenneth Trey, whom she says is her "greatest gift from the Lord." In addition to teaching and spending time with her family, she also loves taking walks in the country and working the land on her Kubota tractor.
After presenting her lecture this fall, Arnett will be recognized by the Mississippi Humanities Council at the 2018 Public Humanities Awards Reception in February in Jackson.
IN THIS PHOTO: Pictured is Sonja Arnett, an English instructor on the Goodman Campus, who has been named Holmes Community College's 2017 Humanities Teacher of the Year. She will present her lecture at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the Fine Arts Auditorium on the Goodman Campus.