More than 35 students graduated from the Wallace State Community College Respiratory Therapy program and were recognized at a special pinning ceremony on May 9.
Dr. Ken Crow, former chair of the Respiratory Therapy program, served as the guest speaker, addressing students who started the program before his retirement.
“He has helped each of us in becoming a respiratory therapist in some way,” said graduate Daniel Eubanks in his introduction.
“You’re a very special group and I’m very proud of you,” Crow said. “If one word could describe this group of students, it would be tenacity. The quality of being determined to achieve something. And that’s what this group has been.”
Through their time in college he said they’ve had babies, suffered extreme sickness, accidents, grieved deaths of family members and celebrated marriages. “Through it all, you’ve managed to work through your coursework and complete your task, and that’s commendable,” he said.
Crow provided one last lesson to the students, telling them there are two qualities they need carry on to have a successful career in respiratory therapy. “And those two qualities are humility and compassion,” he said.
Humility, he said, will help them deal with difficult people they will deal with in their career. “And when I say difficult people, that’s not necessarily a negative, it’s just the category of things we see in our field of healthcare. Just a little bit of humility will go a long way to taking what you’ve learned clinically and applying it daily in your practice.
“The other is compassion, compassion for those that are unable to breathe. I don’t think there’s any worse situation that a human being can be in than not being able to get their breath. Sometimes we lose that compassion because we get caught up in what we have to do as therapists. Acquiring compassion will go a long way in helping you deal with the situations we deal with every day.”
“I’m very proud of you,” Crow added in his conclusion. “You’ll make a difference in this field.”
After receiving their pins, awards were presented to Tara Jones as the Academic Excellence award winner and Abigail McHenry as the Clinical Excellence Award winner.
Class officers for the Class of 2019 were president, Kaley Larsen; vice-president, Dylan McMahon; secretary, Abigail McHenry; and treasurer, Mireya Pesina.