Eighteen new graduates of Jefferson State’s Respiratory Therapy program celebrated their accomplishments with family, friends and each other—virtually—during an online ceremony Dec. 17.
“As you reflect on your time in the program, we must acknowledge that 2020 has been one of the most difficult years of your life,” Respiratory Therapy Program Director Jabril Cooper Diamond said during the virtual ceremony. “You’re [in your last year] in college, and suddenly the Covid pandemic hits and changes everything: the way you attend classes, the amount of time you spend in clinicals, the amount of time you spend with your family and friends. Everything was affected.
“Then tragedy came. In September, you lost your program director, Ms. JoAnna McCarver. Ms. McCarver was one of the best educators and clinicians that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. I know that she is proud of each of you, and I can hear her saying, ‘Keep going.’ Please remember the lessons she taught you—not only about respiratory therapy but also life.
“Although there were trials, you have turned them into triumph and have made it to graduation day…The real work begins now as you prepare to take your board exams, enter the workforce and change lives.”
Other faculty members and students addressed the graduates during the ceremony.
“Finish strong,” Director of Clinical Education David Trott urged the graduates. “You’ve got to believe in yourself. Maintain your servant’s heart. Be patient, and be a patient advocate.”
“You’ve come down a long hard road,” Jennifer Chesser said. “You’ve had a lot of obstacles put in your way and every single one of you has overcome this semester, and I just want to encourage you to keep on reaching and keep on pushing. Don’t let that motivation end.”
The memory of McCarver and her contributions was prevalent during the ceremony.
“She was very special to us…her work ethic and dedication to this field inspired us all, and I know she would be proud of us today,” graduate Connie McCay said.
“This program has been anything but ordinary,” fellow student April Payne added. “It’s not only taught us what we need to know to sustain and save lives, it has also taught us valuable skills that we will need to be respiratory therapists—skills that you don’t typically learn in a classroom.”
After the comments from students and faculty members, the graduates were pinned by family and friends live on a virtual conference.
The Respiratory Therapy program is offered at Jefferson State’s Shelby-Hoover Campus and is housed at the Judy M. Merritt Health Sciences Building.
The Associate in Applied Science Degree in Respiratory Therapy is a 76-semester credit hour program that includes general education classes, respiratory therapy classes and clinical activities.
Learn more about the program at JeffersonState.edu/RT.
The graduates are:
- Gina Bresler
- Landon Cochran
- Tracy Davis
- Derek Dixon
- Allyson Floyd
- Mathew Gallet
- Jonette Gober
- Cali Killian
- Connie McCay
- Anthony Mitchell
- April Payne
- Margaret Poston
- Miya Robinson
- Yvonne Sigei
- Anna Snyder
- Lyric Tillman
- Lorrie Washburn
- Brittany Willis