Zach Scruggs

Scruggs Encourages Health Science Short-Term Program Graduates to Continue Lifelong Learning

Executive director of Second Chance Mississippi Zach Scruggs called graduates of the health science short-term program his heroes for doing the hard work necessary to complete their courses.

Scruggs Encourages Health Science Short-Term Program Graduates to Continue Lifelong Learning

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4057 - Melody Dixon

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Thu Dec 6, 2018

Health Science Short-Term Programs Graduation

Executive director of Second Chance Mississippi Zach Scruggs called graduates of the health science short-term program his heroes for doing the hard work necessary to complete their courses.

Zach Scruggs“People watched you go back to school and get this certification and they’re more likely now to value work and school, put in the work just like you did,” he said. “So your hard work is already making you better.”

The Pascagoula, Mississippi native told 50 graduates from the CCC

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Electrocardiography Technology (EKG), Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Paramedic programs that their hard work and commitment are going to catch the attention of their friends, as well as their ‘haters.’

“You’re going to get a job,” he said. “Hospitals, medical offices all over the mid-south, they’re looking for qualified, hard-working nurses—nurses just like you guys.”

Health Science Short-Term Programs Graduation“Now that you’re in this industry, there’s a lot of potential to start to move up to get more advanced degrees—LPN, RN, Paramedic. You name it.”

Scruggs pushed them to progress to the next phase in their career paths. If you’ve got a board certification exam, study for it, he said.

“Keep on getting more training,” Scruggs continued. “Whatever nursing certification you have, there’s a next step with more money, more responsibility, more advancement. Keep on working. And you can do that right here at Coahoma Community College. You know them. They know you.”

“You’ve already proved you can walk and it doesn’t take that much to go from a walk to a run.”

Scruggs joined his father Dickie Scruggs, founder of Second Chance Mississippi, in 2016 to lead efforts in making more people aware of the lack of education and the problem of employability among lower income adults in Mississippi. The organization has joined a network of seven Mississippi community colleges, including Coahoma Community College, along with civic and charitable organizations to work toward alleviating the long-existing stigma, helping adults earn their high school diploma and get vocational skill training for well-paying jobs. Scruggs and his father also continue fundraising efforts to get them proper educational and vocational support. His passion for this particular deficiency began when he served time in federal prison in 2008 and became a GED and literacy instructor for inmates. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Mississippi in 1996 and also graduated from law school at Ole Miss in 2000. He represented clients as a lawyer for eight years then moved to the renewable energy industry in 2012, working on projects in Florida and Puerto Rico. His most recent project aims to aid parents of children in Mississippi’s Early Learning Pre-Kindergarten collaborative programs in earning workforce education and training. He and his wife Amy reside in Oxford, Mississippi with children Augusta, 14, Elizabeth, 10, and Jackson, 16. They attend St. Peters Episcopal Church.

Scruggs told the graduates that they epitomize bravery for taking the initiative to enroll and follow through with the programs. He was particularly proud of the 13 nursing assistant graduates who were also part of the Second Chance program.

Health Science Short-Term Programs GraduationDean of Health Sciences Beverly Overton welcomed guests, family and friends, saying the graduates have received an early Christmas present by finishing the healthcare programs successfully. Rhett Nelson, program director of the EMT program, followed up with a heartfelt poem titled “Hear Me America, I am the EMT,” which expressed the great need for EMT professionals in urgent situations.

Lorean Willingham, program director of the nursing program, said the class of nursing assistant graduates, who received their certificates in light blue scrubs, was the most determined and enthusiastic class yet.

The Johnny Brister award, named for an outstanding area paramedic who mentored Nelson, went to EMT grad Willis Goodnight of Water Valley, Mississippi for performing well both academically and in clinical rotations. Paramedic grads Cameron Taylor of Lexa, Arkansas and Cleveland, Mississippi native Christopher Stewart were recognized for earning the highest grade point averages in their class.

Oxford, Mississippi native Richard Barbieri and Hunter Rybolt of Alligator, Mississippi received the Childress Mitchell award, for achieving excellence in the Paramedic program despite facing obstacles.

President Towner closed out the ceremony giving thanks to Scruggs for his philanthropic spirit.