The Wallace State Community College Diagnostic Medical Sonography Class of 2017 includes, from left to right, front row: Courtney Jones, Joy Calloway, Neeki McNeely, Erica Barnhouse; second row: : Taylor Shewbart, Courtney Summers; third row: Jessica Batson, Erica Roberson, Payton Chittam; fourth row: Lyndsey Lunn, Ashley Acker, Katie Smith; fifth row: : Jeri Todd, Gloria Delaney, LaShauna McBride, Amber Loftis; top row: Ashton Adderhold, Makayla Ray, Katelyn Bunt, Brooke McMoy.

The Wallace State Community College Diagnostic Medical Sonography Class of 2017 includes, from left to right, front row: Courtney Jones, Joy Calloway, Neeki McNeely, Erica Barnhouse; second row: Taylor Shewbart, Courtney Summers; third row: Jessica Batson, Erica Roberson, Payton Chittam; fourth row: Lyndsey Lunn, Ashley Acker, Katie Smith; fifth row: Jeri Todd, Gloria Delaney, LaShauna McBride, Amber Loftis; top row: Ashton Adderhold, Makayla Ray, Katelyn Bunt, Brooke McMoy.

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The Wallace State Community College Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) program presented pins and diplomas to 20 students graduating from the program this semester. The ceremony marked the completion of a year and a half of effort to earn their diploma. Three-fourths of the students have already passed one or more registry exams certifying them as registered diagnostic medical sonographers.

Two students received special recognition, with Katelyn Bunt of Ragland earning the program’s first Program Valedictorian award and Jeri Todd of Gardendale received the Sonography Clinical Excellence Award.

April Sutherland, director of the DMS program noted how much growth the group had experienced since starting the program a year ago last August. The students have grown in knowledge, in endurance, in patience, in empathy and in compassion.

“I’ve watched friendships grow as you’ve studied for tests, as you’ve celebrated wins, dealt with losses – we’ve had a few of those,” Sutherland said. “Just as you’ve gone through life outside the classroom together, I know there are friendships that have started here that will last forever.”

Sutherland issued a challenge to the students. “Never stop growing,” she said. “Take as many registries as they will let you take, scan as many patients as you can possibly scan, because it makes you better for the next patient.” She added that such experience also makes for more marketable employees with greater earnings potential.

Class president Neeki McNeely of Gurley recounted meeting a patient during her clinical experience who shared with her a quote she said she would never forget. “She said, ‘I once heard Oprah say that people have to find what sparks a light inside themselves so they can illuminate the world.’

“That is what all 20 of us can agree on,” McNeely said. “We are a bright light stepping into a rewarding and demanding occupation. I challenge us to continue to be that five to 20 years from now, to be a very bright light in a dim world.”

Members of the graduating class include: Ashley Acker and Gloria Delaney from Madison; Ashton Adderhold of Tuscumbia; Erica Barnhouse of Decatur; Jessica Batson and Amber Loftis of Pell City; Katelyn Bunt of Ragland; Joy Calloway of Fultondale; Payton Chittam and Katie Smith of Athens; Courtney Jones of Muscle Shoals; Lyndsey Lunn and Makalya Ray of Moulton; LaShauna McBride of Pisgah; Brooke McMoy of Huntsville; Neeki McNeely of Gurley; Erica Roberson of Double Springs;; Taylor Shewbart of Meridianville; Courtney Summers of Bridgeport; and Jeri Todd of Gardendale.