During the open house event on January 31 that marked the first anniversary of Rappahannock Community College’s Kilmarnock Center, many local business and community leaders stopped by to express their appreciation for the RCC presence in the lower Northern Neck.
The celebration allowed RCC to showcase the various programs and services available at the Kilmarnock Center. Several live demonstrations were offered: in health and emergency medical services, involving two local rescue squad crews as well as current practical nursing and associate-degree nursing (ADN) classes; green energy programs, solar-powered hydrogen cars, and solar technology; and information and computer technology. In the last, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a hands-on iPad class, in order to learn about the popular tablet’s capabilities and software applications.
“The day’s events were quite spectacular and innovative,” says Charles Smith, RCC’s dean of health services. “The college’s Nursing and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) programs provided a wide array of high-tech simulations and high-touch screenings. Their knowledge and skills were evident; all of our health programs students are clearly excellent ambassadors for their programs, for RCC, and for the communities we serve. The citizens of our area are fortunate to have such high-caliber individuals learning to provide for their healthcare needs.”
The college also expressed its appreciation to the many who attended the event by holding several prize drawings. The lucky winners received RCC-logo apparel, gift certificates for RCC Workforce Development Office classes in viticulture and digital photography, and the grand prize—a new Kindle e-reader, which was won by a current ADN student.
Dr. Elizabeth Crowther, the college’s president, addressed attendees with remarks that not only recognized the community and local government for their strong support, but also emphasized the important role the Kilmarnock Center has played in the lives of the many students served during its first year. “The intense support of the community for this site is reflected in the visitors to and participants in today’s celebration,” she said. “We all have big hopes that this RCC location will help prepare more individuals to perform excellently in the local workforce. This expectation is already playing out in such programs as Emergency Medical Technician; our students, instructors, and local responders gave us a tremendous demonstration today of the value of high technology equipment, and a facility such as RCC’s, to deliver this essential training for our community.
“In its one year,” she continued, “the RCC Kilmarnock Center has offered 100 course sections—from accounting, to nursing, to history, to sailing—with 678 enrollments. Community programs such as ‘Visions’ and its sponsored ‘Lead Northern Neck’ curriculum have brought numerous volunteers, business leaders, and community activists together. The reason the college is here is to provide economic stimulus, through infusing life into a pre-existing location, and through training individuals to perform well in new and existing jobs.” She praises the site’s new coordinator, David Valadez, as bringing excellent business skills and knowledge of program delivery to the position, as well as familiarity with regional business leaders and their needs.
“I am looking forward to working closely with business and community leaders around the area,” responds Valadez. “I am always interested in finding out what education and training is needed by businesses and job seekers. Providing the right classes and certification programs at the Kilmarnock Center to meet those needs is my number-one goal.” He adds, “We really appreciate the warm welcome that we have received from the local community.”