New EMT’s greet the world

Published 6:02 pm Saturday, August 8, 2009

AHOSKIE — Roanoke-Chowan Community College is seeing much success with their accelerated Emergency Medical Technician Basic program.

On Wednesday, 21 students received certificates for completing the course in a graduation ceremony in the Jernigan Auditorium on the campus.

Since its inception last year, the number of students completing the accelerated course has tripled and surpassed the average retention rate.

While R-CCC has offered an EMT program for years, the accelerated seven-week course came about when Hertford County Commissioner Dupont Davis urged the community college’s president, Dr. Ralph Soney, to help meet a challenge in the county—the need for EMTs.

“We, by faith, launched a seven-week program,” said Soney.

Soney noted how rigorous the course is as the typical EMT course takes seven months to complete. Though the state exam (EMT candidates must pass this in order to earn state certification) requires the students to have a 70 average in order to pass the course, RCCC requires an 80 percent to pass. The course is taught by EMT Instructor William Babb.

“What you have here is some very, very smart people,” Soney said about the students.

R-CCC Senior Dean of Workforce and Student Development A.J. Tyson Jr. said 22 individuals enrolled and 21 completed the course. Those numbers are up considerably in comparison to the previous class where 10 individuals enrolled and five completed the course.

Last year’s class reflected the typical retention rate of 50 percent for EMT courses, according to Tyson. However, this year’s class surpassed that rate at 95.5 percent.

Tyson said that rate is the highest in the region. He recalled speaking with this year’s class before the start of the course.

“I told you it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough, but you can do it,” he said while addressing the graduates during the ceremony. “Guess what? You did it.”

Commissioner Davis, who was the guest speaker for the graduation ceremony, spoke about how gracious R-CCC and Soney were about the EMT accelerated course and securing the Employment Security Commission Office in the county.

“I can’t say enough about the community college,” he said to the audience. “The college is so important for changes in your community.”

In a later interview, Davis said the retention rate was due to the quality work R-CCC was doing.

“They’ve done a fantastic job,” he said. “We have good leadership here.”

Davis also thanked Walter Dorsey with the Mid East Commission for his assistance on getting the accelerated program up and running.