Vance-Granville Community College held a pinning ceremony for its 2017 Medical Assisting program graduates on Aug. 4 at the college’s Franklin County Campus in Louisburg, where the program is conducted. As VGCC’s program is nationally accredited, the graduates are now eligible to sit for the American Association of Medical Assistants’ (AAMA) certification examination to become Certified Medical Assistants.
The ten graduates being honored included Melissa Bridges of Creedmoor; Dajané Johnson of Henderson; Michelle Beckwith of Kittrell; Melissa Barreto, Shantel Blacknall, Laketa Bumpers and Stephanie Kearney, all of Louisburg; Courtney Clark of Raleigh; Kiara Fogg of Warrenton; and Mirna Lopez Aguirre of Youngsville.
Instructor Patrice Allen served as the mistress of ceremonies. Student Stephanie Kearney provided the invocation. Franklin County Campus Dean Bobbie Jo May made welcoming remarks, congratulating what she called “an outstanding group of students” and thanking their supportive families and friends who had gathered to celebrate the graduates’ success.
Renita P. Timberlake, a graduate of the VGCC Medical Assisting program who is now director of patient access for Granville Health System, served as the guest speaker. She is also a pastor at Good Shepherd Ministries of Oxford.
“Today marks a great achievement in your life,” Timberlake told the graduates. “You made it! Tomorrow and the days ahead will begin a new journey for you. Now is the time that you can build upon the education and training you have received here at Vance-Granville Community College. I believe that you are prepared for whatever lies before you.” Timberlake said she was “a living testimony” to the program’s preparation. She recalled that, years ago, she started working at the front desk at a medical office and read a newspaper article about the new Medical Assisting program being offered by VGCC.
Timberlake enrolled at the college, graduated in 2000 and returned to the same doctor’s office but with her new credentials. She took on additional responsibilities and was eventually promoted to office manager. Four years ago, she advanced to the position she currently holds at GHS. “You, too, can go higher and soar in medical assisting,” Timberlake said to this year’s graduates. “Medical assistants, as you know, we are the heart of health care. The thing I like most about medical assistants is that we are multi-taskers,” performing administrative, clinical and laboratory procedures. She encouraged the graduating students to exemplify “excellence, compassion and commitment.”
Allen presented each graduate with her pin, signifying that each had successfully completed the course of study and was prepared to enter the growing Medical Assisting profession. As they were pinned, VGCC Dean of Health Sciences Angela Thomas read reflections from the graduates about their educational experiences and their career aspirations. Allen then led students in reciting the creed of the American Association of Medical Assistants. VGCC Academic & Career Coach Anthony Pope read an original poem that he had written just for the occasion, entitled “Unleash the Power of your Soul.”
Dr. Levy Brown, VGCC’s interim vice president of academic affairs, rounded out the ceremony with concluding remarks. “I wish you all the best as you enter a rewarding profession of service, and as you meet a critical need for Medical Assistants in our community and beyond,” Brown told the class of 2017. “You have wisely chosen a profession in which you will make a difference in the lives of patients, and in which there are a variety of career opportunities for you to develop and grow. To maximize your opportunities, you must continue your education. No matter what academic or career pathway you take, I know that you will continue to succeed and make us proud as VGCC alumni.”
Steve Bridges, father of graduate Melissa Bridges, gave the benediction.
With their one-year diplomas in hand, many graduates are continuing their education to complete the two-year associate degree in Medical Assisting. For more information about Medical Assisting, call the Franklin Campus at (919) 496-1567.
Above: Seated, from left: graduating Medical Assisting students Melissa Barreto, Shantel Blacknall, Kiara Fogg and Courtney Clark; standing, from left: students Mirna Lopez Aguirre, Melissa Bridges, Michelle Beckwith, Dajané Johnson, Stephanie Kearney and instructor Patrice Allen; not pictured: Laketa Bumpers. (VGCC photo)
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