Graduation for nine students in Cowley College’s paramedic program was held Jan. 10 in the Earle N. Wright Community Room at the school’s main campus in Arkansas City.

Cowley College logoThe program completed the associate of applied science degree requirements for the graduates.

The graduating members of the class are Douglas Apley, Jackye Branscum, Benjamin Call, Jordan Hanika, Nathan Keller, Rebekah Murray, Christa Skinner, Natasha Tetlow and Jessica Whitehead.

The event began when Chris Cannon, EMS program director and Health and Human Services Department chair, issued a welcome.

“It was great to be a part of the graduation, but also kind of bittersweet,” Cannon said. “You get close to these students and they become like family.”

Brandon Russell, chief operations officer of Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, delivered the keynote address to the graduating class.

Russell previously spent 25 years in the emergency medical service (EMS) field, and served as the assistant director and chief operations officer for Butler County EMS.

Cannon and Samantha Troyer, paramedic instructor coordinator at Cowley College, along with Cowley College Vice President of Academic Affairs Harold Arnett, conferred the certificates and presented the honor awards for the class.

Apley was the program honor graduate, Branscum was the Lyle E. Eckhart Award winner and Call was the Dr. Patrick J. McAtee Award recipient.

Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department Lt. Paul Hunter, a part-time instructor in Cowley College’s paramedic program, was presented with an Appreciation Award.

The paramedic students had a 100-percent first time pass rate on their practical boards.

This also is the first class in the 20-year history of the program to have a 100-percent retention rate for the entire program.

“This is spectacular,” Cannon said. “The graduates put in a lot of hard work, and the faculty did a phenomenal job preparing the students to go out and be paramedics in the field.”

Cowley paramedic graduates treat more than 100,000 patients each year.

Cowley currently has three paramedic programs — one at the Allied Health Education Center in Winfield, one in Andover through a partnership with Butler Community College, and an online program through partnerships with Neosho County Community College and Flint Hills Technical College.

All graduates of the Cowley paramedic program were presented with challenge coins to honor their accomplishment.

This information was provided by Cowley College Director of Institutional Communications and Public Relations Rama Peroo.