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Special to The Flash
by Tommy Wells, Public Information Officer for Ranger College
STEPHENVILLE – Eastland Memorial Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Gena McCormick knew exactly how the students gathered for the 2015 commencement exercises for the Ranger College LVN program felt as she stood behind the podium and prepared to give her address. A former graduate of the Ranger College LVN program, McCormick promised to keep her speech short, and then urged the largest graduating class in the college’s nursing program history to embrace their place in the medical field by “reaching out and making an impact.”
“It isn’t just a job. It’s not just a career,” said McCormick, who has worked at Eastland Memorial Hospital for more than a decade. “This isn’t just a profession. It is so much more. I encourage you to reach out and make an impact, and not to be afraid to show your tears.”
“The things you can and will do will have such a huge impact on the people you will meet,” she said.
McCormick also urged each student to reach out and find a mentor when they begin work in the field, and then to remember to “pay it forward” later in the careers when they can take a younger nurse under their wing and pass along valuable experience.
“It was something special,” said Darla McDonald, who was one of 79 students that graduated during the Aug. 7 ceremony, which was held in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Cowboy Church of Erath County. An estimated 1,200 people turned out to celebrate the students’ graduation.
Stephenville’s Patsy Inocencio, Lyndsey Monk, Nicole Morgan, Krystal Rivera, Lindsey Rogers, Terri Snelson and Rinda Stewart all received their nursing certificates during the ceremony. Others receiving their certificate were Dublin’s Yozaira Moctezuma, DeLeon’s Naomi Thomas and Hico’s Melissa Brannon and Julie Byington.
During the ceremony, Ranger College Nursing Director Kathy Davis also honored several students for the success, including the top academic performers from each of the college’s four nursing campuses. Nicole Hart finished the course with the top grade point average at the Comanche campus, while Emily Moore (Early), Susan Travis (Ranger) and Terri Snelson (Stephenville) topped their respective campuses.
Moore, a Brownwood resident, was tabbed the top overall GPA finisher with a final mark in excess of 98 percent.
Additionally, Davis also announced the Nursing Students of the Year from each campus. Winning the Comanche campus honors was Lometa’s Melissa Fair. Aeriole Stogner of Cisco was the Student of the Year recipient at the Ranger campus, while Cisco’s DeAnna Black won the Brownwood/Early campus honors. LaTanya Taylor was selected as for Erath County campus accolades.
Bangs’ Esther Dulaney was the recipient of the overall Ranger College Student of the Year award.
Davis praised the class for their efforts during a presentation, saying the group had earned the right to go before the Texas State Medical Board.
“Tonight you have accomplished all your goals,” said Davis, who is a Registered Nurse. “We are proud of you and welcome you into the nursing profession as our colleague.”
Ranger College President Dr. William Campion congratulated each graduate and urged them to continue their education and to boldly march through the new doors their efforts had opened for them.
“This is very special because it marks the opening of new doors in our lives,” he said. “We at Ranger College recognize you for the milestone you have reached and wish you nothing but the best in the future.”
Ranger College is now accepting students for the new Fall semester at all of its nursing campuses. For more information about the nursing program contact Ranger College Nursing Director Kathy Davis at (254) 647-3234.
Highest GPA by campus
Nicole Hart, Comanche campus
Emily Moore, Brownwood/Early campus
Susan Travis, Ranger campus
Terri Snelson, Erath County campus
Students of the Year by campus
Melissa Fair, Comanche campus
DeAnna Black, Brownwood/Early campus
Aeriole Stogner, Ranger campus
LaTanya Taylor, Erath County campus
Student of the Year Award
Graduates are listed by their hometowns