The 92nd paramedic class, one of the largest ever with 30 graduates, received their certificates on January 17th, in front of a packed auditorium of family, friends and loved ones at Crafton Hills College. “Each graduating class has a personality, and this class is very outgoing, highspirited, and supportive of each other,” said field coordinator and Professor Amanda Ward. “They take amazing interest in helping each other out. As paramedics they will be caring for people, and they are already doing it now in the classroom, in supporting each other.”
Paramedic graduate speaker, Justin Acosta, expressed his thoughts about the importance
of their individual
support systems as students and now as professionals. Acosta thanked his friends, family, preceptor, and his wife saying, “people may call us their heroes but it’s all of you that we call our heroes.” He reminded the graduates
of how the program broke them down so that the instructors could rebuild
them to be better, stronger and faster.
The 92nd paramedic class presented Crafton President, Dr. Kevin Horan, a plaque as a gift to the college. The paramedic graduates gave guest speaker Henry Vasquez a rare standing ovation following his comments during the ceremony. Henry Vasquez is a long-time skills instructor at CHC and paramedic. “He’s humble, approachable and there is something about his teaching style that students can identify with and that resonates with them,” said Amanda Ward. “The graduates appreciated that Henry really gets what they do.” Henry physically faced the 30 new paramedics while he spoke and provided them feedback, tools and tips that they can take and use as they move forward in their new career.
Medical Director Dr. Phong Nguyen spoke about being amazed by the transformation of
students through the program. Nguyen presented the graduates with his version of the
song, “ You Raise Me Up” before presenting
the new paramedics with their awards and certificates.
Amanda Ward noted that there was standing room only in the auditorium, ”We are seeing a trend of investment by our stakeholders- by the folks who took them in their internships, the agencies, and their preceptors who take them in the final phase of the program.” The paramedic program is a challenging, rigorous program that takes a year to complete- often while students have families and full time jobs. Amanda said, “This is a magical group of people.”