SANFORD — Sabrina Smith smiled as she attended her second Continuing Education graduation at Central Carolina Community College in less than six months.
The first time, in June, was her own graduation, where she received a General Educational Development diploma. On Dec. 17, she was back at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center, in Sanford, to celebrate her sister Angela Martin’s receiving a Nursing Assistant-1 Certificate at the Continuing Education Medical Programs graduation.
Smith is now enrolled in the college’s Dental Assisting program. Martin plans to continue her education and get into the college’s Associate Degree Nursing program.
When asked if getting her GED inspired her sister to go back to school, Smith smiled and replied, “It worked.”
Continuing Education medical programs students earned 277 certificates for work completed during the fall semester in the following areas: EKG Technician, Advanced EKG Technician, EKG Monitor Technician, Medical Coding, Medical Coding Review, Health Care Business, Medical Insurance Billing, Optometric Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy, Nursing Assistant-1, NA-1 Refresher Class, and Nursing Assistant-2. Some graduates earned more than one certificate.
Students graduating were from Chatham, Harnett, Lee, Alamance, Cumberland, Moore, Randolph, and Wake counties. Approximately 90 attended the graduation ceremony.
Cindy Ramsey, the college’s director of Continuing Education in Lee County, delivered the graduation address. She told the graduates that education is power and congratulated them on taking the first step to claim that power. She urged them to set their goals high and continue their education, quoting Martin Luther King Jr.: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
“Graduates, you’re sitting here tonight because you took that first step,” Ramsey said. “Where will your staircase lead you?”
Among the graduates was Frank Westfall, of Sanford, who received certificates in Health Care Business, Medical Insurance Billing, and Coding Review. Westfall was laid off from Caterpillar, Inc. on Jan 1, 2009. A week later, he enrolled at Central Carolina Community College.
“I stated looking at the Nursing Assistant-1 program, but it was full,” he said. “My counselor suggested I try the Healthcare Business course. It ended up being a blessing. I think it will open avenues I never thought of. Now, I plan to pursue going into health business and get state-certified in Medical Coding.”
Shawn Graham, of Lillington, received her certificate in Medical Insurance Coding.
“I’m proud of her,” said her husband, Keith Graham, who is a barber in Johnsonville. “She’s a hard worker and went back to school and got her certificate — it’s great.”
Dustin Baker, also of Lillington, earned his NA-1 certificate. He said he wants to work toward getting an associate degree in nursing and possibly specializing in geriatric nursing.
“We are so proud of these graduates,” said college President Bud Marchant. “We hope as they move into the workforce that they’ll be able to accomplish their dreams.”