MTC graduate speaks of fulfilling her father’s wishes

(Bradenton, FL—June 27, 2018)  Cantrell Hall was full as Manatee Technical College graduated 234 students from its East and West campuses on June 26.  The Main Campus graduation was last week, for a total of 506 graduates for spring 2018.

MTC East Campus graduated 184 students from 12 career certificate programs in Dental Assisting, Nursing Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Practical Nursing, Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Fighter, Paramedic, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Optometric Assisting, Pharmacy Technician, and Law Enforcement Academy.

The West Campus graduated 50 students from its GED® Preparation program.

The joint ceremony had two speakers: Dayana Branchedor, graduating from Patient Care Technician at the East Campus, and Julia Hess, who earned a Florida high school diploma through the GED program at the West Campus.

Branchedor, a dual-enrolled high school senior from Southeast, said she chose the Patient Care Technician program because she always loved to help people.  The program, however, was not as easy as she thought it would be.  She was grateful for her instructors and classmates.  “I felt like you all believed in me.”

Hess, a GED student, dropped out of high school after her dad died in 1999.  She had always intended to go back to school, but the years passed by.  She got married and had four children.  “I swear, it all happened overnight!” she laughed.  When her youngest began school and she was home cleaning the house one day, she had a life-changing experience.  She was reading a framed letter—a letter she read every day—that her dad had written of his final wishes for his family, which included going to college.  She said it was as if she was reading it for the first time.  She heard his voice “loud and clear” tell her it was time to go back.  A choked up Hess spoke of trying to hold back her emotions but “the tears just fell; I could not stop crying.”  She enrolled in MTC’s adult education program, passed the GED and earned her Florida diploma.  On July 9, she will know if she is accepted into MTC’s Medical Assisting program.  Some of her fellow graduates dabbed the tears from their eyes.  “I know my future is bright,” she said.  As graduates “all of us have a bright future.”

MTC director Dr. Valerie Viands officiated.  MTC Board of Governors chair John Ziemnicki joined her in addressing the graduates.

Ashley Sabourin, a Dental Assisting grad, gave the Invocation.  East campus assistant director Omar Edwards led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and congratulations.  West campus assistant director Ellen Sage spoke of MTC meeting its mission.  Career counselors Kathleen Matthews, Mark Toler, Amy Gates, and Luisa Betancourt presented the diplomas.