EMT graduates on the stage of the SFSC University Center Auditorium.

On May 2, South Florida State College graduated 10 emergency medical technicians during an evening ceremony in the SFSC University Center Auditorium on the Highlands Campus in Avon Park.

Earning EMT certificates after four months of evening classes were Gerald Watson, Joseph Rey, Arianna Quesada, Leonardo Montano, Marlen Meza, Kody Littles, Paul Kidwell, Frans Jansen, Cali Gumpel, and Kylie Casey. (Pictured above, from left to right.)

“You have all worked diligently since starting the program in January and you rightly should be proud of your accomplishments,” said Richard Shepard, EMT instructor. “In the lecture, the lab, and in your field practicums, you have all excelled.”

Shepard singled out three graduates for their achievements. Meza received an award for highest grade point average, Jansen earned the top honor for best lab performance, and Watson was tapped for the “Most Heart” award for his passion and determination.

Upon completing the program, graduates are eligible to take the Florida EMT State Board examination.

Before Steven Ashworth, SFSC’s director of Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science Programs, awarded the graduates their certificates of completion, the students heard a send-off message from one of their peers.

“We have acquired the knowledge of what to do in an emergency situation,” said Montano, one of the 10 graduates. “To learn those skills, we have sacrificed family and personal time to attend class and study for exams, riding many hours in ambulances, taking care of patients, and now we’re ready to move on to careers as EMTs.”

“Now let’s congratulate ourselves,” Montano shouted, as he thrust his arms into the air to the applause of his fellow students, their families, and well-wishers on hand for the ceremony.

EMTs function as part of an emergency rescue and transportation team by responding to emergency calls, assessing scenes of accidents, setting priorities for treating patients, and providing prehospital emergency care.

For more information about SFSC’s EMT program and other Emergency Medical Services programs, call 863-784-7272.