Hundreds earn CCCC medical programs certificates

Dec. 14, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

Pride and hope radiated from the faces of Central Carolina Community College students Thursday as they walked the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center stage to receive their Continuing Education graduation certificates in a wide variety of health care fields.

A thousand of their family members and friends filled the center’s main hall, cheering and sharing in the joy of their graduates’ accomplishments. More than 400 students completed studies for their certificates during the fall semester, with several earning more than one. Approximately 200 attended the graduation ceremony.

“There is always something special about graduation and particularly so at this time of year,” said CCCC President Bud Marchant. “I can’t think of a more special Christmas present for these students and their families than their receiving their certificates and going on into further education or the world of work.”

The graduating students received Continuing Education certificates in Nurse Aide I or II, EKG Technician or EKG Monitor Technician, Central Sterile Processing Technician, Electronic Health Records Specialist, Healthcare Billing and Coding, Sleep Disorders Technician, Mental Health Technician, Phlebotomy Technician and Pharmacy Technician.

In addition, 37 of the students also earned North Carolina Career Readiness Certificates, certifying to prospective employers their workforce skill levels in reading, applied math and locating information.

The majority will stay in their local communities, helping to improve health care service and quality of life. Many will continue their educations to earn more certificates, diplomas or degrees.

Some had overcome great obstacles to achieve their dream of earning their certificates. The audience heard the stories of just three: Tasha Dickerson of Chatham County, Quamesia Drummond of Harnett County and Regina Davis of Lee County. All had earned Nurse Aide I certificates.

Dickerson’s teenage son had a massive stroke in 2010 and she wanted to be able to take care of him. She learned a great deal in the Nurse Aide I program and is able to care for her son in addition to working in home health care. She also plans to continue her education.

“I am a better woman for what I have been through,” she said. “I have higher self-esteem, and I thank you for what I have learned.”

Drummond was unable to attend the graduation due to illness, so Nurse Aide instructor Kim Tew read her remarks, in which she said, “I am overwhelmed with joy at my accomplishment. Reach for the next step, and don’t let anyone or anything discourage you ... .”

Davis was a happy stay-at-home mom of three, until her husband left her and her home went into foreclosure. She decided that it was time to reach for her dream — to go into the medical field.

“Failure was not an option,” she said. “Only you can control your future. With God, all things are possible.”

As their names were called, each student walked across the stage and received a certificate from Marchant, a congratulatory handshake from CCCC trustee Martha Underwood and congratulations from their instructors.

Following the presentation of certificates, Joy McPhail, CCCC’s coordinator for Continuing Education Medical Programs in Lee County, led the graduates in the recitation of the Health Occupations’ Pledge.

Elda Melendez, who received her Nurse Aide I degree, had moved from New Jersey to Holly Springs several months ago and wanted to get into a nursing program.

“I was so nervous, but my sister, Jennifer, told me to go to Central Carolina Community College. She said they have great programs and all the help they can give you, they do. I took my classes at the Harnett Health Sciences Center and found the faculty great. Now, I want to continue to be a regular nurse.”

For more information about Continuing Education medical programs at CCCC, call (919) 545-8044 in Chatham County, (910) 814-8823 in Harnett County or (919) 777-7793 in Lee County. For information on spring continuing education programs, see the schedule online at