Soon-to-be graduates of Rend Lake College’s Radiologic Technology program celebrated their upcoming commencement and board examination with a Pinning Ceremony this afternoon in the Student Center.
The Radiologic Technology Class of 2017 is, FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT, Morgan Wirtes of Buckner, Lakenzie Blankenship of Mt. Vernon, Club Vice President Shannon Browning of West Frankfort, Club Secretary Kacee Roberts of Ewing, Alisha Lamb of Omaha, and Courtney Cohoon of Bluford; MIDDLE ROW, Club Treasurer Jordan Lodge of Pinckneyville, Charlene Boyd of McLeansboro, Devon Morris of Benton, Kassie Spencer of Benton, Emily Green of Tamaroa, Club President David Brad Garrett of Benton, Bailey Hosick of Norris City, and Elexis Brown of Marion; BACK ROW, Jessica Singleton of Mt. Vernon, Ashley Sheffler of Herrin, and Hayley Kaufman of McLeansboro.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)
The students were surrounded by friends and family as program faculty offered words of encouragement and praise. Opening the ceremony was Program Director Holly Heisner who commended the 17 students for their dedication through a trying year.
“There have been many things they’ve had to overcome in the past two years,” said Heisner. “They’ve had to overcome a curriculum change in the middle of the year. We had a change in our X-ray phantom. We had changes in class times. I know for many of you, you wouldn’t be here without the support of your family.”
Student speaker and club president David Brad Garrett of Benton added onto Heisner’s speech as he spoke to the other 16 students in the program. He focused on the students’ cooperation with one another to get through the program together, as well as thanked family and friends for their support.
“Today I look out at the first two rows, at the ladies I’ve spent the last two years with, and together we made it through the final stretch of the program. I started this program not knowing a thing about X-rays and now when I go home, no one has any idea what I’m talking about. But it’s not like that when I’m here,” said Garrett. “I can talk about my day with these ladies, because they’re going through the same things I am. We’re all here for the same reason and we’ve all learned from everyone, one way or another, and that makes all of us better students, and better techs. Everyone here today is extremely proud of what they’ve achieved.”
He continued, “My goal when I started this program was to graduate and find a job. I didn’t even consider I could do more after college. There’s so much more to life than taking X-rays. Don’t let your sense of security cloud your dreams. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. There’s so much more to learn and all of us have the potential to do great things. Remember that what comes first in life is your happiness, and wherever that happiness takes you, just remember that it started with a really rad group of 17 people.”
Several special student awards and recognitions followed Garrett’s speech. Decided on by Heisner, Robinson and two part-time faculty Lyndsey Epplin and Josh Wilkerson, the awards were for students who went above and beyond, both in the classroom and at clinicals. Devon Morris of Benton was named the 2017 Most Outstanding Radiologic Technology student. McLeansboro’s Hayley Kaufman was named the 2017 Most Improved Radiologic Technology student.
Most Outstanding student Devon Morris of Benton
Most Improved student Hayley Kaufman of McLeansboro
Seven other students were honored for their attendance. Two students had perfect attendance for two years in both the classroom and clinical setting: Charlene Boyd of McLeansboro and Elexis Brown of Marion. In the classroom, David B. Garrett of Benton, Bailey Hosick of Norris City and Kassie Spencer of Benton had perfect attendance. West Frankfort’s Shannon Browning and Buckner’s Morgan Wirtes had perfect attendance to their clinicals, which ended with over 1,300 hours.
Perfect Attendance in Class & Clincal: Charlene Boyd of McLeansboro, LEFT, and Elexis Brown of Marion.
Perfect Attendance in Class: David Brad Garrett of Benton, LEFT, Bailey Hosick of Norris City, CENTER, and Kassie Spencer of Benton.
Perfect Attendance in Clinicals: Morgan Wirtes of Buckner, LEFT, and Shannon Browning of West Frankfort.
After the pinning, Clinical Coordinator Bria Robinson echoed Heisner’s earlier words about overcoming obstacles throughout the two-year program in her closing address. She offered words of advice and ended with a quote by cinematographer Conrad Hall.
“I felt it would be appropriate to end with some reminders. Be kind, even when it’s hard. Remember how you felt as a student. Shield your patient and yourself. And always remember your exposure indicator numbers,” said Robinson. “I searched and searched for a quote to summarize this class. I landed on this one by Conrad Hall. ‘On this journey, you will always be a student, never a master, so don’t strive to be the best, but always strive to move on’. Thank you, and congratulations class of 2017.”
Students and their friends and family, and RLC faculty, staff and administrators enjoyed punch and cake following the ceremony. A prayer during the pinning was led by student Jessica Singleton of Mt. Vernon.