GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WKRG) – Hundreds of seniors, mostly from George County High School, flocked to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College George County Center on Thursday to learn about its programs.

The college hopes the second-annual Bulldog Day held in Lucedale will contribute to the trend of year-over-year enrollment growth for the George County Center.

“We have such a great relationship with George County High School and we wanted to do something for their seniors,” said Dr. Lisa Rhodes, the center’s administrative dean. “My number one goal is to grow enrollment but I also see it as an opportunity to educate the community about what we do here.”

High school students toured the center while MGCCC staff presented different opportunities in George County like agricultural science, apprentice lineman, cosmetology, electrical and welding.

Most of the center’s students come as recent graduates from George County High, although some come from across the Gulf Coast and Pine Belt or out-of-state.

The seniors’ ticket to the free activities, lunch, t-shirt and tour was to apply to MGCCC. The center staff went to GCHS last month to help the entire class submit enrollment applications.

Many attended last year’s inaugural Bulldog Day in George Co. excited to have been accepted. Some had not previously considered enrolling at MGCCC but did so after touring, Rhodes said.

“I want to encourage the ones that are already coming and welcome them to the bulldog family. I want the ones that aren’t coming to know what we’ve got to offer and I want the ones that are undecided to come here. And maybe some of the ones that aren’t planning to enroll here, I want to change their minds,” Rhodes said.

MGCCC’s total enrollment includes an average of 650 George County residents, about 5% of all students, studying at one of its 10 campuses annually.

Every senior that is accepted to the college will be invited to orientation over the next few months to consider what program they are interested in and start enrolling in classes.

The George County Center will welcome more groups of students from multiple high schools in the spring for Agricultural Science and Career Technical Education events.