MOUNT VERNON — Drawing on their own, and each other’s inner strengths, as well as the support of family and friends, 14 individuals successfully completed the massage therapy class at the Knox County Adult Career Center and celebrated their graduation on Tuesday.
After a welcome by adult education director Jane Marlow, student Kelly Warner gave the invocation. She reminded her classmates that a person’s name is associated with success, and a person’s character is associated with how he or she responds to hardships.
Speaking of inner strength, Kristi Derflinger said, “I couldn’t have asked for better classmates.” She talked about the dfficult times class members had juggling family, careers and studies, and said, “It was worth it. The laughs and the memories we share are just as important as the academic things we learned.”
Derflinger paid tribute to the family and friends in the audience. “We couldn’t have gotten through this alone,” she told them on behalf of the class. “Thank you all for what you did. You have been our support system and our biggest fans.”
She also gave recognition to the massage therapy program staff: Anatomy and physiology instructor Mary McCabe, massage theory and clinical instructor Mandy Thompson, program assistant Amber Hedrick and former massage therapy coordinator Eva Campbell.
Thompson thanked the family and friends for allowing the students to follow their dreams, and read a letter from Campbell to the class.
McCabe praised the students for their tenacity and encouraged them to remember they have chosen a profession that not only makes people feel better, but makes them feel special. She too honored and recognized the family and friend who helped the students reach the graduation milestone and told the supporters to “Collect on massages. It’s the perk of a lifetime.”