Just by its nature, graduation is a special occasion; one that brings families together. Meridian Community College’s commencement held Friday proved just that.
This ceremony also spotlighted family connections, especially in the medical arena.
Two brothers, Tyler and Ben Thompson, came back to their community college alma mater Friday to see their brother, Will, get his associate of applied science degree in nursing during the commencement.
Tyler is a certified registered nurse assistant student at Union University who will be graduating in July 2019. Ben is a medical student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and will begin his studies in August 2019.
The three are the sons of Pam and Michael Thompson, both who are MCC employees. Pam is an Associate Degree Nursing instructor; Michael is dean of Academic Affairs who also teaches science classes.
“Since my mother is a nurse and my father has a strong background in science, I was easily influenced to pursue a degree that encompassed both of their specialties,” said Tyler. He hopes on completing his last year school at Union University and graduating with a doctorate in nurse anesthesia. “I wanted to do something in my career that is challenging, interested and makes a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis,” Tyler said.
Not entirely certain of his future plans, Ben is sure that the next seven to 10 years will be packed with a lot of school and training as he begins his medical studies. He’s interested in internal medicine or pediatrics. “Medicine appealed to me because you never stop learning as new information and innovative procedures are published,” he said.
For Will, he’ll work in the cardiac care unit and continue his studies to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing. “And I am considering certified registered nurse anesthetist school,” Will added, as he’s following in family members’ footsteps in the health field. “Over the years, I have observed the satisfaction they have received from their service,” he said. Plus, “Tyler had given me the idea of nursing.”
They all credit MCC as giving them an advantage. “MCC allow me to attain my goal without graduating in a great deal of debt,” Tyler said. Both Ben and Will attended MCC during high school. “It allowed ed to get the majority of my core requirements done, which opened my last two years of college to be filled with major-specific courses,” Ben said. Taking dual credit classes while in high school allowed Will to get accepted to nursing school a semester early.
Cousins Chaiydreanna LeFlore and Da'Leshia Leflore both love helping people and that’s why they decided to enter the field of nursing. Their other cousin, Tierra Henry, shares the sentiment.
“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” said Chaiydreanna, as she waited for Meridian Community College’s Practical Nursing Program pinning ceremony on Friday to begin. Chaiydreanna is a resident of Philadelphia who wanted to come to MCC to study in the Practical Nursing Program because “it is a very challenging school and I like challenges. The instructors are very willing to help,” she said.
Her Carthage cousin, Da'Leshia, came to MCC because she wanted a chance. “I had looked at the (school’s) graduation rate and it was over 80 percent so that made me want to come to MCC. I wanted to learn something and be able to graduate,” she said. Da'Leshia’s efforts paid off. During the College’s graduation ceremonies, she was recognized as a member of the College’ Circle of Excellence which salutes graduates on scholarship, leadership, spirit and service.
The two plan to gain a year of nursing experience and return to the College to pursue their associate degrees such their cousin, Tierra, did. A resident of Clinton, Tierra received her Associate Degree in Nursing from MCC on Friday. “I did encourage them. I told them to definitely come to MCC,” Terria said.
Chaiydreanna aspires to become a nurse practitioner and open her own clinic; Da'Leshia wants to become a nurse educator.
Another benefit the Practical Nursing Program cousins received: they became closer because they studied together.