Ranger College’s first ever emergency medical technician class graduated 13 students Tuesday night, six of which are Stephenville residents.
The graduates from Stephenville are Ivan Murillo, Jason Stewart, Barrett Howard, Jonny Baccus, Shyann Dickson-White and Caisson Montieth.
“The majority of these students plan on going forward in attending the fire academy and getting their paramedic certifications and all of them are looking at working locally and have already been offered jobs locally,” said EMS Program Director Shannan Burch.
The 2019 EMT graduating class range in age from 17-49. The graduates consist of high school students, jailers, firefighters, umpires, plumbers, teachers, oilfield workers, nurse techs and students that had served for 20 years in the military.
“They not only learned how to become EMTs. They learned grief and hope. They learned how to change lives by creating a ripple effect of kindness and self-giving that will forever be felt,” Shannan said.
Enrollment for the next EMT class starting July 8 is already up to 25 students. It’s a certificate course and takes six months to complete.
“It's really taking off. We’re really proud of it,” Shannan added.
Ashley Burch, Shannan’s daughter, is also Ranger College’s 2019 EMT valedictorian. She is from Comanche and graduated high school in 2018.
She started a jewelry business in October 2017 called Lilly Bee’s jewelry to help pay her college tuition.
“I hear all of these horror stories about being in debt for the rest of your life and I knew I couldn’t work a full-time job during school so I was talking to mom and I said, ‘Hey, we should start a jewelry business,’" Ashley said. "It’s kind of fun. I actually love doing it.”
For Ashley’s 18th birthday, Shannan handed the business over to her. In their first year of business, they raised about $20,000.
Ashley said she couldn’t have become the valedictorian without the support of everyone around her.
“I couldn’t do it without the help of all of the other students and my parents. It feels great. It really does," she said.
Ashley has been accepted into the vocational nursing program at Ranger College and plans to continue her education to become a flight nurse.
She also plans to continue her jewelry business.
“Ranger College has meant the world to me. The staff, the faculty, even the students, everyone is helpful,” Ashley said.