CCC hosts first Paramedic graduation ceremony
CLARKSDALE – Coahoma Community College recognized the first graduates of its Paramedic program Thursday during a special graduation ceremony.

CCC hosts first Paramedic graduation ceremony

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green -


Thu Jan 15, 2015

CLARKSDALE – Coahoma Community College recognized the first graduates of its Paramedic program Thursday during a special graduation ceremony.

The ceremony, held at 10 a.m. in the Georgia Lewis Theatre, featured six pioneers who completed the intensive, four-semester certificate program.

Paramedics “bring the emergency room to the patient” by providing advanced life support skills to stabilize patients both on the scene and en route to a hospital. For the past two years, the graduates worked around the clock to complete the program designed to prepare them for careers as paramedics in a variety of healthcare settings and for the National Registry for EMTs testing program leading to national certification.

Loved ones of the graduates looked on proudly during the ceremony as CCC Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) Director Rhett Nelson and Coordinator of EMT Bert Stallings commended graduates for their hard work and dedication.

“It’s a proud day for all of us,” said Nelson. “Sometimes people don’t realize what it takes to establish a new program on a collegiate level, but it takes many hours from dedicated individuals. I would just like to say thank you to the many individuals who put in the time to help us make this program a success.”

“I’m very proud to have you all as my first students,” said Stallings to the graduates. “Don’t just strive to be a mediocre paramedic, continue to go as high as you can.”

The ceremony was highlighted by a keynote address from the Coordinator of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) of the Southaven Fire Department Leslie Duke, NRP.

Duke opened by recalling his journey into the paramedic field, which he said was inspired by watching countless hours of the television series “Emergency!”. He started his EMS career in his early 20s as a volunteer firefighter and continued to build upon his skill and certification level.

“You have just completed your first phase. The next step is to pass the national registry. (When taking the registry) I want you to pull down all the info you have stored that they’ve taught you —it’s up there,” said Duke. “From here your road is endless. You’re in control of your success. After 20-plus years of being in this field, I can honestly say I love what I do. To me, it’s not a job, it’s an adventure.”

He then reiterated the importance of continuing to learn and advance in the field and reminded the graduates of the importance of their future careers.

“EMS is going to consistently change,” he said. “The ‘thank yous’ and ‘good jobs’ are rare in this profession, but there’s no greater feeling than when one person that you assisted in the past comes up and says thank you—the feeling makes up for all the ones that didn’t.”

Duke closed by encouraging the graduates to be passionate, have compassion, keep an open mind and to be all that they can be.

“Remember, your adventure is what you make it,” he said. Nelson and Stallings then presented the graduates with their certificates.

Members of the class included: Michael S. Beach of Cleveland, MS; Brandon L. Bolton of Clarksdale, MS; Christopher T. Crittenden of Clarksdale, MS; Bruce E. Lakes Jr. of Drew, MS; Randy F. Murray of Lula, MS; and Rickey V. Murray of Clarksdale, MS.

Afterwards, the graduates also made a special presentation, presenting Nelson and Stallings with plaques for their unwavering commitment to their students.

CCC’s Dean of Health Sciences Beverly Overton said the new Paramedic program is one of the best kept secrets at CCC.

“When (CCC’s former Vice President of Health Sciences) Dr. Catlette and I were approached about the paramedic program, it was something we had initially never thought about. However, after we did the surveys, the ambulance services wanted Coahoma to start the program and it became a reality,” Overton said. “I appreciate you all and congratulate you on your accomplishment. Tell everybody about Coahoma—we’re a best kept secret. Let everyone know that we’re here, we have these programs, and we work with our students.”

CCC President Dr. Valmadge Towner closed the ceremony by offering his blessings to the graduates and their families and cited the need for highly-trained healthcare workers to improve healthcare in the Mississippi Delta.

“I’m so excited for our graduates and wish them well. I’m also grateful to the instructors. They are some great people who could work anywhere on the planet, but they’ve decided to be here at Coahoma Community College,” said Towner.“For the quality of life in the Delta to sustain itself and increase, we’re going to need good people like these graduates right here.”

To view more photos from the ceremony on CCC’s Facebook page, CLICK HERE.