As the fall semester wraps up, some Florida Keys Community College students have graduated from program-specific courses while the general commencement is set for Dec. 14.
On Friday, nine students received pins to memorialize their completion of the college's 22-month Nursing and Allied Health program, making them eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination and begin working in health care.
Director of Nursing Nancy Gallagher told the graduates: "Nothing compares to nursing school. You have worked harder, slept less and cried more."
She summed up nursing as a career as "selflessly giving of yourself to others in need. Nursing will always be good to you provided that you never, ever, ever stop learning."
College President Jonathan Gueverra, paraphrasing Nelson Mandela, the Nobel Peace laureate credited with ending apartheid in South Africa and who died Thursday, told the graduates, "Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change society."
The nine graduates are Mikhail Barabanshchikov, Chelsea Broadrick, Natalie Leonard, Kelly McGarry, Norllys Milanes, Melissa Mott, Melissa Roberts, Laura VanSant and Jessica Vasquez.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 26, the college had a double graduation ceremony for students that completed the Basic Law Enforcement Academy and Corrections Academy.
Upon passing their respective state certification exams, the 19 Basic Law Enforcement Academy graduates are eligible to work in that field; same goes for the six Corrections Academy grads.
College spokeswoman Amber Ernst-Leonard said "all graduates of the Corrections Academy have secured employment as detention deputies at one of the three detention centers in the Keys."
Both programs are designed to satisfy training requirements of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission.
On Dec. 14, FKCC will hold its fall commencement ceremony for 17 students who have completed their two-year associate's degrees. That event is at the San Carlos Institute, 516 Duval St., at 6:30 p.m.