2020 Nursing Graduates

June 13, 2020

Congratulations to the Ridgecrest/IWV Graduates!

  • Yohaley Avitia-Pimentel
  • Shelby Beem
  • Mercy Benson
  • Madison Biddlingmeier
  • Mariah Castleberry
  • Tericka Ellison
  • Audra Elroy
  • Stephanie Flores
  • Brittany Hish
  • Kylee Kallberg
  • Jennifer Martinez
  • Rebecca Zirger

Congratulations to the Kern River Valley Graduates!

  • Melanie Gillespie
  • Karen Hall
  • Caitlin Kaser
  • Stephanie Kriedel
  • Breanna Luker
  • Cherish McKinney
  • Krysti Mooney
  • Cicily Sadler
  • Aubrey Sanchez
  • Ashley Underwood

Student Speaker: Cherish McKinney

Cherish McKinney

Well I thought I would be standing in front of my professors, classmates, and all of our friends and family giving this speech, however, as we all know that was not possible. Our graduation was cancelled due to COVID-19, but that doesn't mean that we didn't accomplish something great because we did. Also, think about it this way guys, would we really have fully understood what a pandemic is by learning about it in our lecture? Probably not as well as we do now. Now that we are living through and graduating a nursing program during one!

Anyways, we did it guys! 11 classes, 44 units, 18 months, and 1,662 intense hours. Waking up some times as early as 4 am to drive to Ridgecrest for clinicals, staying late after class to work on our group projects, and endless hours of studying. Did I mention our last month of the program we had to move to online classes, zoom meetings, and our clinicals in the skills lab just so we could complete our mandated hours to finish, but also maintain the social distancing order in place. As if a nursing program isn't stressful enough! Am I right guys? Oh and how can I forget the excessive amount of care plans we have done! Here's one for you! Stress * R/T being a nursing student * AEB sleep deprivation, impaired memory, disturbed energy field, and lack of social interaction.

We are now graduating from Cerro Coso Community College as vocational nurses at a time that our health care system needs us the most to help serve and protect our communities. This journey has been so amazing, and I'm thankful it was with such an amazing group of girls!

This is a major step in our nursing careers, one that should be recognized for its immense significance! Everything we have been working so hard for is finally going to be worth it. However, this is not our end goal we all plan on continuing on and becoming registered nurses. And I have so much faith we will all make it and become amazing nurses. Shelly will come after us if we don't!!!

I read this quote that really stuck with me: "They are strong, yet passionate. They often walk with determination, yet they have the gentlest touch. They are educators as they are always willing to teach and share their knowledge. They are good listeners and always seem to be there when you need them. THEY ARE NURSES!"

I think I'm speaking for all of us as I send our greatest thanks to Matthew Wanta, Shelly Tannehill, Donna Bianco, and Valerie Wells for teaching us and sculpting us into the women and nurses we are today. We would also like to thank Kern Valley Health Care District and Ridgecrest Regional hospital for allowing us to do our long clinical hours in your facilities, and our biggest thanks to our friends and families for standing by us and supporting us on our journey!