‘It feels good to help people’
Fifteen newly certified nursing assistants accepted the torch passed down from veterans of the trade.
At Southern Vance High School on Tuesday, students from the nursing assistant program graduated after taking three specialized science classes and completing 40 hours of training in a retirement home.
The ceremony marked the program’s first graduating class. Graduates were adorned with pins and handed certificates of completion.
The students in the program are seniors who can use the training to pursue an education in health-related fields.
“It kind of gives us a head start over everybody else,” said senior Deja Hargrove.
Senior Cordecia Southerland said the program reaffirmed her interest in nursing.
“This gave me an idea of what I should look for, and after doing all this, I think it was really good for me,” she said.
Senior Lakira Baskerville said she plans to enter community college before transferring to a four-year university where she hopes to train to become a nurse.
She said she is pursuing nursing because the work is hard but rewarding.
“It feels good to help people and know they enjoy it, too,” she said.
Willa Clark, district director of career and technical education, said the new Vance Medical Academy, which started in the fall, revamps the current nursing assistant program.
“We have restructured the two programs (which are Health Sciences and Trade & Industrial Education –Public Safety), so that courses are taken in a specific sequence and work-based learning opportunities are included,” she said in an email. “This approach allows for students to not only master the theory, but they can also practice what they have learned in controlled and real-life settings.”
The medical academy gives students an opportunity to take classes at Vance-Granville Community College and earn nursing assistant and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification by the time they graduate.
Southerland, who plans to enter the Air Force after graduation, said she is glad to close one chapter of her education as she moves on to the next.
“It’s a relief, honestly,” she said. “After all this, we worked really hard for it.”
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