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Holmes Ridgeland holds practical nursing pinning ceremony

The Holmes Community College Ridgeland Campus held a Pinning Ceremony for the Practical Nursing Class of 2024 on June 27 at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison. Thirteen students were honored. The graduating class included Cortlyn Norris Bardwell of Vicksburg, Alexandria Dominique Cyrus of Madison, Alicia Goldman of Canton, I’Leyah Janae Green of Fayette, Anastasia Kelly Ingram of Madison, Shafreta “Shae” Kelly of Canton, Destiny Janae Malone of Brandon, Kavondra McCauley of Meridian, Megan Brittany Middleton of Florence, Jessica Quarles of Jackson, Hannah Alexus Rigby of Vicksburg, Nikeya Rogers of Byram and Sara Kathryn Self of Madison.
The ceremony began with a processional of the graduates, followed by Self, the class secretary, giving the invocation. Following the prayer, Ridgeland Campus Vice President Dr. Don Burnham welcomed everyone and briefly addressed the graduates. before Cyrus, the class president, shared some remarks.
“We are thankful for our faculty,” Dr. Burnham said. “They care about you and your success. They’ve invested a lot of time in you to help get you where you are today. I applaud them for what they accomplish each year and for the quality of students that you guys turn out to be as a result of their efforts. They have given you the knowledge you need to succeed. You’ve also received family support. They too have invested in your education through time and probably money, and it does take both of those to be successful, as you know. So, let’s take a moment to acknowledge both of these groups and give them a round of applause!
“You’ve been together for months, and you probably know each other better than your own families right now,” Dr. Burnham said. “You’ve cried together, I think; you’ve laughed together, I’m sure of. But you’ve persevered through a difficult program at the college and there’s a reason that it’s difficult. Many of your future decisions will also be difficult and many times, lives will be at stake.
“As you move forward in your careers, remember the following: keep your integrity; do the right thing, even when it’s difficult because it does matter,” Dr. Burnham said. “Also remember that Holmes will always be a part of you, and you take a part of Holmes when you leave here. Keep in touch with us, keep in touch with your instructors, because we’re there for you years down the road. When you need help, call us. We’ll be glad to assist you in any way we can because you are a part of our family.”
Following Dr. Burnham, Cyrus, the class president, shared some remarks.
“It is an honor to stand before you today as we celebrate this significant milestone in our lives,” Cyrus said. “Today we graduate as licensed practical nursing students. The title carries with it immense responsibility, compassion and the promise of making a difference in the world. Reflecting on our journey, I’m reminded of the day when we began to embark on this road together. Our time as students has been nothing short of transformative. Here we are, standing tall and proud, because we dared to dream and worked so tirelessly to turn dreams into reality.
“To our amazing instructors, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Cyrus said. “Through all the fun times, there were times we thought we might drown in a sea of assignments, tests, clinical days and so much more. Thank you, instructors, for always believing in us. Behind each of us also stands a network of support. Family, friends and loved ones have provided encouragement, celebrated our victories and reminded us of the importance of balance in our lives.
“Becoming a practical nurse is about assuming a profound responsibility to care for others with skill, empathy and integrity,” Cyrus said. “Each of us has chosen a path that requires dedication and a commitment to lifelong learning. It is a privilege and an honor to be entrusted to help with the well-being of our patients. Looking ahead I’m filled with optimism about what the future holds.
“We will make positive impacts on the lives of countless individuals,” Cyrus said. “Let us never forget the privilege of being healers, advocates and trusted companions for those in need. As we go forth from this place, let us carry with us the lessons we have learned, the friendships we have formed and the determination that brought us here on day one. Let us continue to support one another. Here’s to us, the future LPNs!”
Following Cyrus’ remarks, nursing instructor Dr. Lakesia Sutton introduced the speaker, Dr. Phyllis Polk Johnson, CEO/executive director of the Mississippi Board of Nursing.
“I want to say, congratulations,” Dr. Johnson said. “As a nurse, you should strive to be above average. Hospitals and doctors’ offices are filled with far too many average nurses. In a world that has experienced its first pandemic in this century, average is not acceptable in our profession. The average nurse plays games on their smartphone when not with a patient. A great nurse moves about and listens for the faintest change of a heartbeat or the soft cry of a scared child or the change in breathing of a labored patient. Average nurses only care about the compensation. Great nurses know that the compensation may not ever be commensurate with their stellar career but their passion pushes them to put on their nurse’s uniform and serve suffering patients.
“Average nurses know what room they are assigned, but they seldom know the patient’s name,” Dr. Johnson continued. “Great nurses know that each patient has a name. The patient is someone’s loved one. Whether you work at a hospital or a doctor’s office or a long-term care facility, please don’t be an average nurse. Go and be a great nurse. Someone’s loved one depends on you.”
After Dr. Johnson’s address, nursing instructor Heather Roberts presented awards. Hannah Rigby was named valedictorian for having the highest GPA in her class, Kavondra McCauley was named salutatorian for having the second highest GPA and Cortlyn Norris Bardwell was named the class historian for having the third highest. Additionally, Alexandria Cyrus was the Outstanding Citizenship Award recipient and Shae Kelly was named Practical Nursing Student of the Year for her excellence in academics and leadership.
After the awards presentation, Dr. Sutton called the students to the stage one-by-one to receive their certificates and pins. Dr. Burnham presented certificates before Roberts pinned each student. Following the pinning, Roberts explained and led the candle lighting before Cyrus, the class president, led the graduates in reciting the Practical Nurse’s Pledge. Finally, Dr. Sutton concluded the program by presenting the Class of 2024 before Ingram, class treasurer, gave the benediction.
For more information about the Holmes Practical Nursing program, contact Career Technical Counselor Jovonna Parker at (601) 605-3355 or
IN THIS PHOTO: Pictured is the Holmes Community College Ridgeland Campus Practical Nursing Class of 2024 with their instructors. Pictured are (front row, left to right) PN Instructor Dr. Lakesia Sutton, Hannah Alexus Rigby, Jessica Quarles, Sara Kathryn Self, Cortlyn Norris Bardwell, Shae Kelly, Alicia Goldman, Alexandria Cyrus, PN Instructor Heather Roberts, (back row, left to right) Nikeya Rogers, Megan Brittany Middleton, Kavondra McCauley, Anastasia Kelly, Destiny Janae Malone, I’Leyah Janae Green and PN Instructor Caley Stogner.
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Inquiries regarding compliance with Title VI, ADEA, and Title IX are coordinated by the Vice President for
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Goodman, MS 39079, Phone: 662-472-9429,

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