Ridgeland Campus Practical Nursing students honored

The Holmes Community College Ridgeland Campus held a Pinning Ceremony for the graduating Practical Nursing Class of 2018 on June 21 at Broadmoor Baptist Church of Madison. Pictured are (front, left to right) instructor Dr. Lakesia Sutton, Yolanda Michelle Funchess of Hinds County, Khorschuar Williams of Yazoo County, Kimberly Newman of Yazoo County, Briauna Shelton of Madison County, Kathy Yates of Rankin County, Madison Rhea Autry of Madison County, instructor Heather Roberts, (back row, left to right) Latonia Simmons of Noxubee County, Tiera Mosley of Lauderdale County, Chenequia DeAndra Coleman of Bolivar County and Kristin Nichole Gordon of Rankin County.

The Ridgeland Campus of Holmes Community College held a Pinning Ceremony for the graduating Practical Nursing Class of 2018 on June 21 at Broadmoor Baptist Church of Madison. Ten students were honored during the ceremony.

Graduates included: Madison Rhea Autry of Madison County, Chenequia DeAndra Coleman of Bolivar County, Yolanda Michelle Funchess of Hinds County, Kristin Nichole Gordon of Rankin County, Tiera Mosley of Lauderdale County, Kimberly Newman of Yazoo County, Briauna Shelton of Madison County, Latonia Simmons of Noxubee County, Khorschuar Williams of Yazoo County and Kathy Yates of Rankin County.

The ceremony began with a processional of the Practical Nursing Class of 2018. Gordon, the class treasurer, gave the invocation, followed by a welcome and from Ridgeland Campus Vice President 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. "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!"

Following Dr. Burnham's welcome, Holmes District Director of Career-Technical Education Dr. Amy Whittington addressed the graduates.

"Practical Nursing is not an easy program to get into," Dr. Whittington said. "To complete this program is quite an accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself. Also, don't be a stranger now that you have graduated. Keep in touch with us and let us know if we can ever do anything to help you."

Coleman, the class president, took the podium next and she shared heartfelt remarks about her experience in nursing school at Holmes.

"Successfully getting through nursing school is a lot like baking a cake," Coleman said. "It cannot be done without having the key ingredients to the recipe and you can't enjoy it until it is done. The first ingredient in the recipe to succeed in nursing school is sacrifice. Something worth having never comes easy. We realized if we wanted to make it, some things in our lives would have to be put on hold or given up all together. Unfortunately for us, sleep was one of those things. Fortunately for us, we had instructors there every step of the way reminding us that the ends justified the means and that the temporary sacrifices we made during the duration of the program would result in a lifelong career.

"The next two ingredients in our recipe go hand-in-hand: determination and teamwork. Nursing school is just as tough mentally as it is physically. There were many times in this program where we felt like the challenges we were facing were impossible, but by leaning on and depending on each other, we made it through. We are all very different women from very different walks of life, but we were all their working together to reach a common goal. We were one.

"The last ingredient is good old-fashioned hard work. From day one, our instructors drilled into our heads that what you get out of this program is directly related to what you put in. We witnessed nights turn into mornings studying...we were challenged like never before...pushed beyond our limits. Through perseverance that we never knew existed, we made it. I have to recognize our amazing instructors, Dr. Lakesia Sutton and Mrs. Heather Roberts, and all our friends and family sitting before us here today. You are all the icing on top of our cake and you are what holds everything together and we are so grateful to all of you. I want to encourage all my classmates to always do what's right and know your values. It is my hope and prayer that as we go our separate ways we always remember this time we had together."

Succeeding Coleman, Practical Nursing instructor Dr. Lakesia Sutton introduced the guest speaker, Mississippi Community College Board (MCCB) Director of Career-Technical Education Valeria Williams.

In her role at MCCB, Williams coordinates all postsecondary Career and Technical Education programs, coordinates practical nursing accreditation reviews and serves as a liaison to the Mississippi Department of Education on issues related to CTE. Prior to her current position, she served as division director of compliance and reporting with the Mississippi Department of Education. Williams also served as executive director of the Lower Mississippi Delta Service Corps, Inc., a national direct AmeriCorps program in the Mississippi Delta. She holds a bachelor's and an MBA from Delta State University.

"Some of you may have pursued other majors or even worked in other fields before entering nursing school," Williams said. "The move from the other major or job was a result of you creating a path to pursue your ultimate purpose. The joys and struggles of nursing school were meant to shape you to walk in your divine purpose.

"In a commencement address at a university in California, former First Lady Michelle Obama offered a charge to the graduates. Today, I'd like to give you the same charge. Remember that you are blessed. Remember that in exchange for those blessings, you must give something back. Marian Wright Edelman said, 'Service is the rent that we pay for living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you just do in your spare time. It is the true measure, in fact the only measure, of success. Nursing truly magnifies this quote. My message to you all is to make your mission to start the journey into your professional nursing career thinking about the blessed role you as a nurse will play in serving others."

Following Williams' speech, Practical Nursing instructor Heather Roberts presented awards to the salutatorian, valedictorian and Practical Nursing Student of the Year. Gordon was recognized as salutatorian for having the second highest GPA in her class and Yates was recognized as valedictorian for having the highest GPA. Gordon was also named the 2018 Practical Nursing Student of the Year.

"The Practical Nursing Student of the Year is for a student who shows clinical excellence and academic classroom excellence," Roberts said. "Kristin exemplifies both of these."

After the awards were given, Dr. Sutton called the students to the stage one-by-one to receive their pins, lamps and certificates from Roberts, Dr. Burnham and Dr. Whittington. The graduates then took part in the candle lighting before Yates, the class vice president, led her classmates in reciting the Practical Nurse's Pledge. The ceremony concluded with Autry, 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.

                                       ###

IN THIS PHOTO: The Holmes Community College Ridgeland Campus held a Pinning Ceremony for the graduating Practical Nursing Class of 2018 on June 21 at Broadmoor Baptist Church of Madison. Pictured are (front row, left to right) instructor Dr. Lakesia Sutton, Yolanda Michelle Funchess of Hinds County, Khorschuar Williams of Yazoo County, Kimberly Newman of Yazoo County, Briauna Shelton of Madison County, Kathy Yates of Rankin County, Madison Rhea Autry of Madison County, instructor Heather Roberts, (back row, left to right) Latonia Simmons of Noxubee County, Tiera Mosley of Lauderdale County, Chenequia DeAndra Coleman of Bolivar County and Kristin Nichole Gordon of Rankin County.