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Ridgeland Campus graduates Surgical Technology Class of 2017

Ridgeland Campus graduates Surgical Technology class of 2017

The Ridgeland Campus of Holmes Community College held a Pinning Ceremony for the Surgical Technology class of 2017 on June 28 at Madison United Methodist Church. Six students were honored.

Graduates included: Abby Hammons of Brandon, Whitney Hutchinson of Kosciusko, Mary Margaret Johnson of Vaughan, Bonnie Shelley Malone of French Camp, Lachynna Phillips of Terry and Catina Rosell of Flora.

The ceremony began with a processional of the graduates, followed by an invocation given by Malone. District Director of Career-Technical Education Dr. Amy Whittington welcomed the crowd and addressed the graduates.

"Congratulations graduates," Dr. Whittington said. "You did an excellent job this year and we're excited to have gotten to this point together. While this class may be small in number, it is no reflection on their aptitude or attitude. There were well over 100 people who applied for a seat in this program and we only accept 10 each fall. So, making it into the class was an accomplishment all in itself. Finishing it was very outstanding, so congratulations to you today.

"We also know that they wouldn't have made it to this point without their support systems – their families, spouses, children and other friends and relatives. Last, but definitely not least, I'd like to give a special thanks to our instructor, Shea Coleman. She does an excellent job leading this program. This is our third graduating class in surgical technology on the Ridgeland Campus. She started this class up, got a fantastic accreditation review right out off the bat her first year and does an excellent job. Ms. Coleman has a reputation that proceeds her at the clinical sites which affords us opportunities that these students have had to learn first-hand experience in this industry."

Following Dr. Whittington's welcome, Hutchinson stepped up to introduce the guest speaker, Holmes surgical technology alumna Victoria Deel.

Deel, an alumna of the Holmes Surgical Tech Class of 2016, was class president and has served on the advisory board for two years. Her first position as a surgical technologist was with Merit Health Madison in Canton and she is currently working in the Cath Lab at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson. Deel completed the program and has been working as a surgical tech all while raising three daughters.

"A year ago I was sitting where all of you are now," Deel said, addressing the graduates. "
I remember feeling elated and accomplished, yet sad and sentimental. As you sit here with your classmates, you may be reflecting on this long journey that somehow seemed to fly by. You all have established relationships between yourselves and others, and people you have met through your school and clinicals. I encourage you to keep those relationships. Go into this career eager to work and ready to learn. You've accomplished a huge milestone, but don't let it be the last. To those of you here, friends and family, you can witness the hard work that each one of these ladies put in to achieving this goal. The journey has just begun for these young women and they will now begin their careers.

"Being a surgical technologist is a rewarding job. Very few people get to see what we do on a daily basis. Yes, we work long hours and work with patients in their most vulnerable time. We stand by, guide and assist physicians who may or may not be in the most delightful mood. We try to help the day move smoother and adapt to their daily challenges. We take great measures to ensure that we have everything for surgery. We risk our lives working with the risk of catching diseases. Sadly, sometimes we lose patients as well and have to witness precious people leave this world. We play an important role in the medical world, but one that sometimes goes unnoticed.

"Oh but the blessing it can be though! To have a newborn baby's tiny finger wrap around yours moments after she's come into this world. To see a man with cancer to come in for his third surgery and be amazed by his pleasant attitude. To help a child heal and grow normally. To save and help heal burn victims. I'm often asked how I do what I do. I think it takes special people…people who are able to put others before themselves. People who can handle stress and remain positive despite life's challenges. Sitting before you are six women who fit this category. I'm proud to welcome them into the family of surgical tech alumni at Holmes Community College. Thanks for making us proud! I wish you all the best in your endeavors."

Following Deel's inspiring message, Travia "Shea" Coleman, instructor for the Ridgeland surgical technology program, approached the podium to present awards. Malone was named Valedictorian for having the highest GPA out of all the Ridgeland Campus surgical technology students and Phillips was named Salutatorian for having the second highest.

After the awards were given, Career-Technical Education Counselor Allison DeWeese called the students to the stage one-by-one to receive their certificates and pins. Ridgeland Campus Vice President Dr. Don Burnham and Dr. Whittington presented certificates and Coleman pinned each graduate. Following the pinning, Dr. Burnham addressed the graduates one final time.

"Our faculty here at Holmes cares deeply about the success of our students," Dr. Burnham said. "Our counselors care deeply about the success of our students. And we know that all of you – the parents, spouses, children, and other family members and friends – care about their success, as well. Graduates, you have persevered and succeeded. Your role is very important in the operating room, or wherever you end up working, so always take your job very seriously. Remember to keep your integrity. I'll say it again, always keep your integrity. Remember Holmes Community College, and know that we are here for you. We hope you'll come back to see us. May God bless each of you and may your lives reflect His glory as you move on to the next chapter."

The graduates recited the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) Code of Ethics before Johnson concluded the ceremony with the benediction.

For more information about the Surgical Technology program on the Ridgeland Campus, contact Coleman at (601) 605-3396 or


IN THIS PHOTO: Pictured is the Ridgeland Campus Surgical Technology Class of 2017 with (center) Instructor Shea Coleman. The class consists of: (left to right) Whitney Hutchinson of Kosciusko, Mary Margaret Johnson of Vaughan, Catina Rosell of Flora, Lachynna Phillips of Terry, Bonnie Shelley Malone of French Camp and Abby Hammons of Brandon.


Equal Access/Equal Opportunity
Holmes Community College does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information. Employees, students, applicants for admission or employment, or other participants in Holmes Community College programs or activities who believe they have been discriminated against are entitled to seek relief through the Compliance Officer (662) 472-9429. Written inquiries may be e-mailed to: or sent to: Compliance Office, P.O. Box 369, Goodman, MS 39079.

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