Photo by: Brad Smith
Four Vicksburg firefighters earned Associate Degrees in Nursing on July 26 in the first of three summer graduation ceremonies at Hinds Community College.
The four – Tavares Hatchett, Stevenson Archie, Jabaris McDaniel and Reginald Galloway – went through the paramedic program at Hinds, three at the same time and one separately, before completing the nursing program together at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus.
“This is everything: Giving back and helping people,” said an elated McDaniel.
Hatchett said his interest in medical began when he first worked at a pharmacy, became a firefighter and then a paramedic. “I liked being a paramedic first,” he said.
Arianna Irby of Raleigh drove 100 miles each day to complete her practical nursing degree at the Nursing Allied Health Center while working at the Pearl MEA clinic. Her husband missed the ceremony because of naval training in Virginia but her parents –along with her three daughters Avery, 5; Ivy, 2 and Emmie, 1 – watched her walk across the stage at Cain-Cochran Hall.
“I have a very understanding boss and a good support system helping me with these three children. That’s how I did it,” she said, referring to her parents and husband Corey.
She plans to return to Hinds in the near future for an Associate Degree in Nursing.
All special speakers for the ceremonies were students receiving degrees.
Canton resident Deanna Sharkey offered the invocation and benediction. She received a degree in practical nursing. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and is a student member of the National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses. At age 33, she plans to start her career in medical-surgical nursing and work toward becoming a registered nurse in the future.
Trent Ard spoke on behalf of classmates. At age 28, he earned an Associate Degree in Nursing. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and a new member of Mississippi Organization of Associate Degree Nursing. He will further his education at the University of Southern Mississippi and wants to work in critical care.
“Although that first test in our first summer semester had me questioning my decision to transition into nursing, I am glad I did, and I am happy that I chose Hinds. Even though I had a 252-mile round trip for each night of class, and questioned my sanity from time to time, Hinds was without a doubt the place for me,” said Ard, who lives in Pine, La. “Hinds has provided me with a wealth of knowledge that I can apply to be that good, competent Hinds nurse we have heard about all year.
“I can say without a doubt that I am ready. I am sure that my fellow soon-to-be practicing RNs agree with me in that Hinds prepares you to … have a successful life-long career in nursing,” he said.
In total, nearly 400 students received a total 476 credentials, meaning some students received more than one credential. Of those, 65 students graduated cum laude with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59; 42 graduated magna cum laude with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.99 and 37 graduated summa cum laude with a grade point average of 4.0.
Students in other programs graduated on July 27. Those with last names beginning with A-L graduated at 10 a.m. and those whose last names begin with M-Z graduated at 2 p.m. All ceremonies were at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus.