SANFORD - Meredith Repko kept her promise.
Several years ago, she and her son Corey made an agreement. Repko always wanted to go back to school in the medical field but, over the years, that desire stayed on the back burner while she took care of her family. Then she and Corey made an agreement: She would enroll in college when he did.
In 2009, at the age of 19, Corey was killed in a tragic hit-and-run accident. It was devastating, but also motivated Repko.
“I promised Corey that I would go back to school as we had planned,” she said.
On May 18, Repko, a Lee County resident, was part of Central Carolina Community College’s Continuing Education Department’s Medical Programs graduation. She walked across the stage at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center and received not just one, but three certificates: EKG Technician, Advanced EKG, and Nursing Assistant I.
After the graduation, Repko brushed away a few tears that wanted to come because Corey wasn’t there to celebrate with her, but there was a big smile too: she had kept her promise. She plans to continue her education with the fall semester, after her two younger children are back in school.
The Continuing Education Department awards hundreds of certificates in medical programs each year, with most of the graduates going into the local workforce. Approximately 125 students completed certificate work during the spring semester. At the May 18 graduation, certificates were awarded in EKG Technician, Advanced EKG, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy, Nursing Assistant I and II, Medication Technician, and Medical Office. About 50 program students attended the graduation.
Victoria Kottcamp got a jump-start on her career plans at the college, receiving her Nursing Assistant I certificate. She has another graduation scheduled on June 9 — from Lee County High School.
“It’s been one of my dreams to become a registered nurse,” the teenager said with a big smile, “so I started early at CCCC. I’m going to get my LPN, then my RN, and become a pediatric nurse.”
Warren Burns, of Harnett County, also received his NA-1 certificate. A difficult challenge led him to pursue a nursing career. In 2004, he lost both his mother and his father to cancer. He was their primary care giver at home.
“In caring for them, I realized I loved nursing and helping people,” he said. “The NA-1 is my first step — I’m going to go on at CCCC and get my LPN and my RN.”
Being male in a female-dominated field doesn’t deter Burns at all.
“Without a doubt, there are great opportunities in nursing for men,” he said with enthusiasm.
James Womack, the college’s Human Resources Development coordinator and an instructor at the college, delivered the graduation address.
“Every student at Central Carolina Community College is expected to set a standard of personal excellence,” he told the students. “You did it well. To succeed, one must have eager aspirations toward greater things. This is what you have shown your family and friends tonight.”
CCCC President Bud Marchant presented the program certificates and Judy Farmer, Continuing Education Health Programs coordinator in Lee County, pinned a nursing assistant pin on each of the NA graduates.
Following the presentations, Cindy Ramsey, CCCC director of Continuing Education in Lee County, announced that the phlebotomy graduates had already taken their national certification examination and every student had passed it, bringing a round of applause from the audience.
In closing the graduation exercises, Phyllis Huff, director of Continuing Education, urged the students to continue their education, quoting philosopher Blaise Pascal: “Our achievements of today are but the sum total of our thoughts of yesterday… you will be tomorrow where the thoughts of today take you.”
That resonated with the graduates. They exited the exercises proud of what they had achieved, already thinking of the future and determined that their thoughts would lead them to success and service.