Vance-Granville Community College held a pinning ceremony for its 2015 Medical Assisting program graduates on Aug. 7 at the college’s Franklin County Campus in Louisburg, where the program is conducted.
As VGCC’s program is nationally accredited, graduates are now eligible to sit for the American Association of Medical Assistants’ (AAMA) certification examination to become Certified Medical Assistants.
The 15 graduates being honored included Courtney Pearce of Clayton; Tabitha Winstead of Creedmoor; Morgan Hudgins of Franklinton; Kourtney Cockrell, Jennifer Crews, Joyce Ellis, Melissa Norwood, Dominique Richardson and Angela Whirley, all of Henderson; Jessica Yarbrough of Kittrell; Ashlee Danielle Dement Neal of Louisburg; Melissa Tucker of Norlina; Whitney Kelsey of Oxford; and Kaylah Norris and Kevin Rumsey, both of Stem.
Program head/instructor Donna Gardner served as the mistress of ceremonies. Kaylah Norris provided brief welcoming remarks and the invocation. Franklin County Campus Dean Bobbie Jo May also made welcoming remarks, congratulating the students and thanking their supportive families and friends who had gathered to celebrate the graduates’ success. May praised the “family” of VGCC faculty and staff for “educating, inspiring and supporting the Medical Assisting Class of 2015.”
A member of the class, Joyce Ellis, was the keynote speaker. Ellis said that she and other students had overcome adversity to achieve their goals and complete the program. “Each of us has a story to tell, but the most important part of our story is that we made it!” Ellis said. “You are never too old to make a change in your life. Don’t be afraid, because fear robs us of pleasures and accomplishments in our lives.” She concluded by focusing on empathy, a quality that is important to medical assistants in their careers.
Gardner presented each graduate with his or her pin, signifying that each had successfully completed the course of study and was prepared to enter the Medical Assisting profession, which is one of America’s fastest-growing careers.
Kevin Rumsey received the academic achievement award for achieving the highest grade point average in the class. Dean May noted that Rumsey’s accomplishments were even more impressive since, for part of his time in the program, he was deployed overseas, serving as a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Instructor Patrice Allen led students in reciting the creed of the American Association of Medical Assistants. Dr. Angela Ballentine, VGCC’s vice president of academic and student affairs, rounded out the ceremony with concluding remarks. “You have wisely chosen a profession in which you can make a difference in the lives of patients, and in which there are many career opportunities,” Ballentine told the class. She encouraged all graduates to maintain high standards as professionals and to become lifelong learners.
Student Angela Whirley gave the benediction and final reflections. “Some of us are fresh out of high school, while for others, it’s been a while,” Whirley said of the graduates. “All of us dreamed of going to college and getting a job. Some of us had to put those dreams on hold, but we continued to wonder, ‘what if?’ What if we found the courage to take our dreams out of storage and pursue them? Today, we have our answer. We are now health professionals and so much more.” She presented Gardner and Allen with gifts of appreciation from the class.
With their one-year diplomas in hand, many graduates are continuing their education to complete the two-year associate degree in Medical Assisting. For more information about Medical Assisting, call the Franklin Campus at (919) 496-1567.