Graduates included: Alisha Bell of Ridgeland, Victoria Deel of Madison, Roshunda Griffin of Jackson, Renee Martin of Madison, Agnes Nierva of Flowood, Rachel Tompkins of Madison, and Jessica Woodruff of Ridgeland.
The ceremony began with a processional of the graduates, followed by an invocation given by Deel. Career-Technical Counselor Allison DeWeese welcomed the crowd and addressed the graduates.
"I know you all became very close over the course of the program, and it is almost bittersweet at the end, but it is also such a happy time. Know that we are so proud of each of you. It's an honor to be here today and celebrate your accomplishments. Director of Career Tech Amy Whittington asked me to share a few statistics with you: in the spring of 2015, 150 people applied for this program. Only ten were accepted, and seven of you are here graduating today. That means you are in the top 5 percent of all students who applied for the surgical technology program. That is incredible!"
Following DeWeese's welcome, Martin stepped up to introduce the guest speaker, Dr. Lee M. Nicols. Dr. Nicols is a surgeon with Central Surgical Associates, PLLC, in Jackson. A graduate of Mississippi Medical Center, he is certified by the American Board of Surgery and possesses a keen interest in laparoscopic procedures. Dr. Nicols and his family reside in the Jackson area, and he enjoys time with his family, hunting, traveling, outdoor activities and spending free time at his farm with his horses and dogs.
"I want to thank you all, especially the students, for allowing me to share this special day with you," said Dr. Nicols, addressing the new graduates. "Surgery is not something to be taken lightly. No matter what the patients go in for, no one comes out of surgery the same as they went in. They are trusting the surgeons, nurses, and surgical techs with their lives and their health.
"As a surgical tech, your role is a very significant role. Not only is it important for the room to be set up properly, but you have to know the steps, the procedures, and your feedback and input is important. I have had surgical techs give me some great input over the years that I have used to improve my patients' quality of life.
"I'm not going to lie to you, this next year is going to be tough...the learning process is not over, and you will have some teams you work with that are more difficult than others. But just keep on learning as much as you can. I wish the best for all of you, and may God bless you all in your future endeavors."
Following Dr. Nicol's inspiring message, Travia "Shea" Coleman, instructor for the Ridgeland surgical technology program, approached the podium to present awards. Nierva was named Valedictorian for having the highest GPA out of all the Ridgeland Campus surgical technology students, and Martin was named Salutatorian for having the second highest.
After the awards were given, Practical Nursing instructor Heather Roberts called the students to the stage one-by-one to receive their certificates and pins. DeWeese presented certificates, and Coleman pinned each graduate.
For more information about the Surgical Technology program on the Ridgeland Campus, contact Coleman at (601) 605-3396 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THIS PHOTO: Pictured are (left to right) Renee Martin of Madison, Roshunda Griffin of Jackson, Agnes Nierva of Flowood, Rachel Tompkins of Madison, guest speaker Dr. Lee Nicols, Victoria Deel of Madison, instructor Travia "Shea" Coleman, Jessie Woodruff of Ridgeland and Alisha Bell of Ridgeland.