Pleasanton Express photos by Lisa Luna
New graduates of the Coastal Bend College Vocational Nursing Program were honored at a pinning and candle lighting ceremony on Aug. 16. The class of 20 gathered with their families, friends, CBC staff and administration at the Pleasanton Civic Center.
Vocational NursingProgram Interim Director Loana Hernandez welcomed everyone and Amador Ramirez gave the benediction. Also speaking were Dean of Workforce Training Julia Garcia and CBC President Dr. Beatriz T. Espinoza.
“Success happens here. You are living proof of that,” said Dr. Espinoza.
Graduate Shawn Johnson sang the national anthem.
The keynote speaker was Cecilia Garcia Akers, the daughter of Wanda F. Garcia and surgeon and activist Dr. Hector P. Garcia. Cecilia specializes in Geriatric Orthopedics and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation and is married to Jim Akers, formerly of Pleasanton.
She shared an inspirational message on how her father taught her to take care of patients without judging them. She urged the graduates to remember who helped them get here and also remember the impact they have on health care.
Sometimes patients do not want to listen, Akers said, but as nurses they need to do the best job they can. The nursing field also requires them to act quickly and make crucial decisions in others’ lives.
“It is very important to take care of these patients. It is never an 8-5 job.”
Many of her father’s patients were low-income and did not have insurance. She urged the class to have compassion and improve their lives.
“You will make Coastal Bend College proud. Good luck in your new career and new life,” she said.
Stephanie Guardiola, BSN, RN and Carol Hawkins, RN presented the pins and lamps. The class presented bouquets to the nursing staff and thanked them for assisting former Career Point students who were left without a school when it closed in Oct. 2016.
Nursing graduates are: Selena Acuna, Kiara Adair, Brandie Adame, Vanessa Alaniz, Kayla Canales, Jazmen Chartier, Dalena Croxton, Katrina Cunningham, Shukinna Douglas, Klaryssa Escamilla, Gumecinda Gonzales, Rebecca Gonzales, Ashley Hughes, Shawn Johnson, Jennifer Mejia, April Pruneda, Amy Sanchez, Amanda Trafton, Whitley Van Fleet and Kathryn Vasquez.