LOMPOC — Allan Hancock College recently celebrated 133 students who graduated from the college’s nursing and public safety training programs.
The graduating students were honored at safe and socially distanced ceremonies held Dec. 8 through Dec. 11 for Hancock’s law enforcement, custody, emergency medical services, and fire academies as well as the college’s nursing programs. Many of the graduates will move on to work for local public safety agencies and healthcare providers, according to a news release.
“Training public servants is one of the core missions of our college, and that mission has never been more important,” Hancock Superintendent and President Dr. Kevin G. Walthers said in a statement. “These well-trained and highly-skilled graduates will serve as front-line workers, keeping our communities safe and healthy.”
On Dec. 8, eight cadets graduated from the college’s CORE Custody Academy. Most of those graduates will immediately begin working for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office as custody deputies.
On Dec. 9, 16 cadets graduated from Hancock’s Law Enforcement Academy, with graduates moving on to work for police departments in Lompoc and Grover Beach, as well as the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and Atascadero State Hospital.
Another 22 cadets graduated from the college’s EMS program Dec. 10, followed by 21 cadets who graduated from Hancock’s Fire Academy on Dec. 11.
Each graduation was held outside the college’s Public Safety Training Complex in Lompoc. The ceremonies were “contactless” with graduates spaced six feet apart while their family members watched from a distance from inside their vehicles. The careful planning of safe and socially distanced ceremonies reflected the PSTC’s commitment to continuing the rigorous training necessary to train public safety candidates while enacting strict health and safety protocols throughout the training process.
EMS graduate Sabrina Hrabe said the challenges she and her peers faced in 2020 only made them more determined to succeed and complete the program.
“It’s been a wild ride, but we made it to the end safely, more knowledgeable and ready to serve,” she said. “We endured it all; power outages , distance learning and the COVID-19 limitations. But just as we will do in the field of first responding, we learned to adapt and overcome the obstacles placed before us.”
In addition to the public safety graduations, Hancock also celebrated 66 students who graduated from the college’s Registered Nursing and Licensed Vocational Nursing programs on Thursday with a special drive-through ceremony. This year, there were 32 graduates from the RN program and 34 graduates from the LVN program. The ceremony was also live-streamed for the graduates’ friends and family.
“A worldwide pandemic hit, and we were suddenly called to make drastic changes in how we studied, went to clinicals and lived our everyday lives. While the world stopped, we showed great tenacity and continued,” RN Class President Christina Curry said in a statement. “We may have been unsure and (a) little scared, but we never wavered. We persevered through the unknown because we were determined to become the next generation of nurses.”
Videos of all the graduation ceremonies are available on the college’s YouTube channel.
— Mitchell White