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Emotional ceremony kicks off MGCCC inaugural December fall commencement

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 6:36 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s been a hard couple of years for those in the health care profession. And it’s been hard for those trying to get into it. Thursday was a big “first” for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

“I am so proud of Class of 2021, nursing, any health care profession,” said nursing graduate Macy Wright.

“We are going to change lives. We are heroes. We’re going to have an impact on everyone in the health care field. We did it. We did it during a pandemic. So, I’m so proud of everyone.”

To kick off the inaugural December fall commencement at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on Thursday, the School of Nursing and Health Professions graduated 84 students.

Among them, Alexis Coleman.

“I feel like it’s a great time just so you can kind of test and see, you know, ‘Can I handle this?’ Because it’s going to be like this on the floor challenging. You’re always going to have challenges. And just to know we overcame that, we can do anything when we get on this floor.”

Like Coleman, graduate Wright is ready to enter the field when so many are leaving.

“It does not scare me,” Wright said. “Everyone enjoys a challenge. If you are scared of a challenge, you’ve chosen the wrong degree as far as nursing is concerned. … Nursing as a career as a whole is life-changing. And it’s a good thing. And, I just want to be part of the change.”

And the changing student profile is something the school is ready for with open arms.

“I would say that it’s mostly people that have sort of started a career or a family and they thinking, ‘Oh, wait a minute. I need to do something to support myself,’ " said Dr. Rana Walley, medical laboratory program director for MGCCC. “And, they’re here with us. And we help them do that.”

There were two other ceremonies on Thursday. Altogether, more than 600 students graduated.

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