Holmes Ridgeland Campus Practical Nursing students honored

The Ridgeland Campus of Holmes Community College held a Pinning Ceremony for the graduating Practical Nursing Class of 2017 on June 22 at Broadmoor Baptist Church of Madison. Pictured are (front, left to right) practical nursing instructor Dr. Lakesia Sutton, Leah Antici of Brandon, Shanice Horton of Jackson, Danette Harris of Brandon, Darlene Smith of Jackson,  Veronica Rivers of Canton, Holley Goodman of Pelahatchie, practical nursing instructor Heather Roberts, (back, left to right) Director of Career-Technical Education Dr. Amy Whittington, Patrick McCoy of Madison, Carolyn Patterson of Benton, LaShumbe Reed of Jackson, Aliesha Hudson of Yazoo City, Aqila Smith of Madison, Conner Ozborn of Brandon and Ridgeland Campus Vice President Dr. Don Burnham.

The Ridgeland Campus of Holmes Community College held a Pinning Ceremony for the graduating Practical Nursing Class of 2017 on June 22 at Broadmoor Baptist Church of Madison. Twelve students were honored during the ceremony.

Graduates included: Leah Antici of Brandon, Holley Goodman of Pelahatchie, Danette Harris of Brandon, Shanice Horton of Jackson, Aliesha Hudson of Yazoo City, Patrick McCoy of Madison, Conner Ozborn of Pelahatchie, Carolyn Patterson of Benton, LaShumbe Reed of Jackson, Veronica Rivers of Canton, Aqila Smith of Madison and Darlene Smith of Jackson.

The ceremony began with a processional of the Practical Nursing Class of 2017. Goodman, the class vice president, gave the invocation, followed by a welcome and from Vice President of the Ridgeland Campus Dr. Don Burnham.

"You've been together for a year...I'm sure you've cried together, laughed together, you've persevered together," Dr. Burnham said. "Each one of you has chosen a field that will mean life and death on many occasions to somebody. That is the path you've chosen and your work is extremely important. As you move into the medical field, I challenge you, number one, to keep your integrity. You're going to face decisions that you may not want to make, that may be difficult, but you need to do the right thing because at the end of the day, there is a God that you and I will have to answer to one day. We want Him to be able to say, 'Well done, thy good and faithful servant.'

"Remember that Holmes will always be a part of you, and you are a part of our legacy. We are very proud of you and our door is always open. If we can help you in any way when you leave here, let us know. My wish for you is that God will bless each of you and that your lives will reflect His glory as you move on to the next chapter. Congratulations!"

Reed, the class president, shared heartfelt remarks about her experiences in nursing school at Holmes.

"We are going into this profession because we have compassion for those in need," Reed said. "As nurses, we have opportunities to be advocates for the voiceless. We've been together through some of the hardest times in our lives and also the happiest. We've laughed together, developed friendships that will last forever and have grown not only as a class, but as a family. I just want to say that I am so proud of ya'll, I love ya'll and I can't wait to see where life takes each one of us. We've worked so hard for this and should always remember to continue pushing ourselves to the limit.

"We are so thankful to our family and friends who have been a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and sometimes even a guinea pig to practice on when we needed one. We are also so thankful for the encouragement from our wonderful instructors. We could not have accomplished all that we did without your wisdom, knowledge and encouragement."

In the midst of her remarks, Reed paused and Goodman presented their instructors, Heather Roberts and Dr. Lakesia Sutton, with a framed photo as a gift. Following Reed's remarks, Dr. introduced the guest speaker, Holmes Director of Career-Technical Education Dr. Amy Whittington.

Dr. Whittington has been a Career-Tech Education director for the Ridgeland Campus since July 2013 and was formerly an instructor in the Business Office Technology and Business Administration departments. Prior to Holmes, she served as an accountant for Delta State University and for Ivey Mechanical Company. Dr. Whittington holds a bachelor's degree in accounting and an MBA from Delta State University and a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from Mississippi State University. A Holmes alumna, Dr. Whittington earned her associate's from Holmes in 2000, and was an Ambassador and Phi Theta Kappa officer as a student. She and her husband, Frank, have two children: Ian and Ava, and they are active members of Broadmoor Baptist Church.

"Let me start by saying congratulations to you guys, what an awesome accomplishment," Dr. Whittington said. "You've done it! Just when you thought your tests were over, I do have one more question for you. Do you know who you are? So when I ask you that question your thought might have been your name, that you're a nurse, your other job titles. But let me tell you a little bit more about who you are that you may not know.

"Last spring over 250 people applied for your spot in the practical nursing program on the Holmes Ridgeland Campus. Of those, 30 were selected for admission and began the program in August. So, you are the top 4 percent of all those who applied and the top third in your class. That is quite an accomplishment.

"Always remember that your name means so much more than the letters in it. It has a deeper meaning. It's your character, your values and how people perceive you. Be very intentional about building your character and preserving it. It will follow you your entire life. Be intentional with your actions and your words. Be intentional with your demeanor and your attitude. It takes time and effort, it is hard work, but it will pay tremendous rewards in the end. So we've established that you know your name, you know your profession and now you are also a proud graduate of Holmes Community College. Don't forget that, because we won't forget you.

"But who are you? Why is it important for a nurse to know who he or she is? You can't serve others until you know who you are; that's the only way to be a true servant. You have chosen a profession where you will be serving a lot of people. I commend you for that choice and that's an awesome responsibility. You are all going to be great!

"Each day you wake up you get to decide who you'll be. Will you be kind and compassionate? Will you share a smile with those whose path you cross? Will you be honest? Be intentional about every choice you make throughout the day. Stand firm in who you are. Forgive yourself when you're not perfect. Take a breath. Wipe the slate clean and start over again the next day. My prayer for you today, graduates, is that you will know who you are, that you will love who God made you to be and that you will seek to help others see how great they can be too."

Succeeding Dr. Whittington's speech, practical nursing instructor Heather Roberts presented the Nightingale Award to Aqila Smith.

"The Nightingale Award is given for clinical excellence," Roberts said. "When we go to the clinicals and they are actually taking care of patients, they have hands-on skills that they perform and they interact with the patients. Clinical excellence means that this student did something in the clinical setting that made them stand out."

Next, Roberts presented the Practical Nursing Student of the Year award and the salutatorian certificate to Reed.

"The Practical Nursing Student of the Year is for clinical excellence and academic classroom excellence," Roberts said. "Also, our salutatorian has the second highest GPA overall for the entire year in the practical nursing program."

Finally, Darlene Smith was named valedictorian for having the highest GPA in her class.

"Our last award for today had the highest overall GPA in the practical nursing class," Roberts said.

After the awards were given, Dr. Sutton called the students to the stage one-by-one to receive their pins and lamps from Roberts, Dr. Burnham and Dr. Whittington. The graduates then took part in the candle lighting before Antici, the class treasurer, led her classmates in reciting the Practical Nurse's Pledge. The ceremony concluded with [Aqila] Smith, class secretary, giving the benediction.

For more information about the Practical Nursing program on the Ridgeland Campus, contact Dr. Sutton at (601) 605-3321 or lsutton@holmescc.edu., or Roberts at (601) 605-3334 or hroberts@holmescc.edu.

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IN THIS PHOTO:

The Ridgeland Campus of Holmes Community College held a Pinning Ceremony for the graduating Practical Nursing Class of 2017 on June 22 at Broadmoor Baptist Church of Madison. Pictured are (front, left to right) practical nursing instructor Dr. Lakesia Sutton, Leah Antici of Brandon, Shanice Horton of Jackson, Danette Harris of Brandon, Darlene Smith of Jackson,  Veronica Rivers of Canton, Holley Goodman of Pelahatchie, practical nursing instructor Heather Roberts, (back, left to right) Director of Career-Technical Education Dr. Amy Whittington, Patrick McCoy of Madison, Carolyn Patterson of Benton, LaShumbe Reed of Jackson, Aliesha Hudson of Yazoo City, Aqila Smith of Madison, Conner Ozborn of Brandon and Ridgeland Campus Vice President Dr. Don Burnham.