Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GCC graduation speaker Lisa Seay went from taking her toddler to nursing classes at Germanna to becoming a vice president at HCA's Spotsylvania Region

Students line up to walk at GCC commencement ceremony Wednesday night at the Fredericksburg Expo Center ...


The Free Lance-Star

Germanna Community College's graduation speaker offered words of advice last night, telling the class of 2009 to find their passion, retain their integrity and respond to opportunities.

Lisa Seay, a Germanna graduate herself, also offered insight-- into the struggles many of the students had endured to reach the finish line.

But the most significant thing Seay may have to offer--at least to some of the graduates--is what many people graduating from college today find is in short supply: a job.

Seay is vice president of development for Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, an HCA hospital slated to open near Cosner's Corner next year.

Among the Germanna students graduating yesterday were dozens with health care training.

More than 70 men and women completed the registered nurse program this spring and received associate degrees. Another 13 received certificates for completing practical nurse training. In addition, 18 earned a certificate for phlebotomy work, five earned a certificate as scrub nurses and one finished nurse-aide training, according to graduation materials provided by the college.

Thirteen earned degrees for dental hygiene.

If the nursing students follow Seay's path, they will go on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees.

"This is one accomplishment in your life," Seay told the graduates assembled at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center last night. "It was not your first, nor will it be your last."

Seay was in her mid-20s with two young children when she began taking classes at Germanna to become a registered nurse.

She remembered studying while her then 2- and 5-year-old boys were sleeping, and even taking them to class on occasion.

That effort launched a career that has included nearly two decades in both clinical and administrative positions in Virginia.

Seay urged the graduates to "create a vision" to guide them through life as they pursue their passion, maintain their integrity and seize opportunity.

Nursing graduate Laura Daniels challenged her classmates to inspire others to pursue their dreams and to view their diplomas as "a map that continues to unfold, a GPS that continues to reset."

Though Seay's and Daniels' messages were well-received, it was Germanna President David Sam who received the most resounding applause--apart from the graduates.

The first came when he volunteered to stay as long as necessary to be sure every family got a photo of their graduate receiving a diploma.

The second came when he uttered words many in the crowd never thought they would hear.

"Congratulations, graduates of 2009."

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972

E-mail: pgould@freelancestar.com

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