Terra Gilbert, a graduate of BSCTCs respiratory therapy program, gives family members a flower as a symbol of her appreciation during the colleges respiratory therapy pinning ceremony held on Thursday, May 8 in the Gearheart Auditorium.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College held a pinning ceremony for its respiratory therapy program Thursday, May 8, in the Gearheart Auditorium on its Prestonsburg campus.

Dr. George D. Edwards, president and CEO of BSCTC, said students in programs like respiratory therapy tend to be a close-knit group. He went on to add that he and Dr. Nancy B. Johnson, provost at BSCTC, recently had lunch with the graduating class. During his conversation with graduates, he learned there were six first-generation college students.

Respiratory Therapy students undoubtedly have a special bond, Dr. Edwards told the graduates. Some of you will move on, move away and even drift apart, but your contributions to society will be great.

Dr. Johnson added: Students build a great comradery among one another. I believe this is a part of the success of our program.

Amanda Hollyfield, Amber Hall and Trevor Robinson were recipients of the Academic Achievement award. All three students were also nominated for the Lambda Beta Society, a national honors society for respiratory care professionals. Robinson was also the recipient of the Outstanding Therapist award as voted by his classmates. The Outstanding Program Graduate award went to Brittany Maines, who had the highest cumulative grade-point average among all graduates. She was also nominated for the Lambda Beta Society.

Amber Hall was the recipient of the Program Excellence award for the highest grade-point average in respiratory care courses. Daniel Thacker earned the Outstanding Clinical Skills award, and Veronica Carnes and Tracy Spence were recipients of the Clinical Skills award.

Felicia Dotson-Meade read the poem The Power of One, and her classmate Jordan Witten told fellow graduates that they did what they were expected to do.

We are graduating with degrees that will hopefully open a lot of doors, said Witten. This will lead us to the lives we want and deserve.

Dr. Edwards concluded his remarks with an excerpt from Dr. Seuss Oh, the Places Youll Go.

Congratulations! Today is your day. Youre off to Great Places! Youre off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. Youre on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go. Youll look up and down streets. Look em over with care. About some you will say, I don't choose to go there. With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, youre too smart to go down any not-so-good street, said Dr. Edwards. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed. Kid, youll move mountains.

This years respiratory graduates are: Katlyn Back, Brooke Boyd, Veronica Carnes, Joey Collins, Felicia Dotson-Meade, Terra Gilbert, Amber Hall, Eric Hannah, Amanda Hollyfield, Brittney Maines, Trevor Robinson, Tracy Spence, Aaron Taylor, Daniel Thacker and Jordan Witten.

To learn more about the Respiratory Therapy program at BSCTC, contact Skeens at (606) 788- 2822 or email