News Students Complete Gcs Paramedic Program - Garrett College
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Campus News

May 16th, 2022

Students complete GC's paramedic program

Twenty-one students recognized for their achievements

Garrett College recently recognized twenty-one students for completing Garrett's paramedic program offered through Continuing Education & Workforce Development.

"This is a monumental night in the history of our program and a reflection of our graduates and instructors as we celebrate the 19th class of the paramedic program," stated James Koon, Advanced Life Support (ALS) program director at Garrett College. "Tonight, your education does not end – it is just the beginning."

Grantsville resident Jill Morgan-Rounds was named class valedictorian and Keyser, W.Va. resident Hanna Taranto was named salutatorian at the program's certificate competition ceremony last Thursday.

"Thank you to all those who helped get me from start to finish," shared Morgan-Rounds, who chose Garrett's program over others due to the proximity. "My classmates, instructors, and the program's learning environment have made these past two years and the extensive number of training hours enjoyable."

After Taranto obtained certification as an EMT-basic through her volunteer department, she quickly realized this was the path she wanted to take as a career. The overall pass rates and cost-effective tuition of Garrett's paramedic program became selling points in her decision to attend Garrett.


Photo credit: Hannah Sickles
Keyser, W.Va. resident Hanna Taranto addresses the audience and other Class 19 graduates at the first ever completion ceremony for Garrett College's paramedic certificate program.


Photo credit: Hannah Sickles
Class 19 valedictorian speaker Jill Morgan-Rounds of Grantsville delivers her student address to her classmates and those in attendance at last Thursday's completion ceremony at Garrett College.

"Garrett's program is the most cost-effective in the area (discounted even further if you are Maryland certified); there are no pre-requisites other than an EMT-basic certification, and Garrett has the highest overall pass rates compared to local competitors," Taranto remarked. "Ultimately, I chose Garrett's program because I wanted to give myself the best opportunity for success."

Both Taranto and Morgan-Rounds credit the instructors in Garrett's program to their success.

"Every single instructor and preceptor involved with our program has been an incredible asset," stated Taranto, who is currently employed as an EMT-basic full-time by the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services, per diem by Valley Medical Transport, and a volunteer with the Fountain Volunteer Fire Company. "They dedicate their own time and energy into helping mold us into the best paramedics that we can be."

Taranto added, "I cannot speak highly enough of the people that I have been privileged to work alongside of during my clinical and class time. I would like to say thank you to everyone that has shared their knowledge and experience to help me reach the end successfully."

"Doug was the ‘go-to-person' for everything," stated Morgan-Rounds. "He is the organizational guru that makes it all happen, even during the day-to-day changing COVID restrictions and vaccine confusions, he always pulled it together."

Paramedic graduates will now be able to test at the national and state levels to earn their paramedic certification.

"I feel very well prepared to take the National Registry paramedic certification that is required to be certified as a paramedic," Morgan-Rounds said.

Graduates of the program began studying in September 2020 and have completed nearly 1,000 training hours between the classroom, hospital setting, and riding an ambulance with another advance life support provider over the last four semesters.

"We are required to dedicate countless hours of clinical, field, and class time to ensure we meet certain benchmarks throughout the class," noted Taranto. "This, along with the personal time spent reading and studying, proved to give me the best opportunity for success in this program and for the future of my career."

Garrett College offers students the option to obtain a paramedic certificate or degree in paramedic studies – or both.

Brooke Croston, Danielle Hardman, Destiny Jackson, Michael Ringler, Karen Tingle and Brett Thomas - will also be graduating with their associate of applied science degree in paramedic studies at Garrett College's 50th commencement ceremony on May 21st. Thomas was named one of two student speakers for this year's ceremony. Hardman will be graduating with her degree in August.

"Now that the certificate portion has come to an end, I intend to complete the paramedic studies degree program," stated Taranto. "With this degree, I look forward to the realm of opportunities that will become available."


Photo credit: Hannah Sickles
Pictured (left to right) at the first paramedic program completion ceremony are: Josh Hook, paramedic program lead instructor; James Koon, paramedic program director; Michael Ringler, Salisbury, Pa.; Kasinda Morlen, Wiley Ford, W.Va.; Jill Morgan-Rounds, Grantsville; Justin Sklodowski, Fort Ashby, W.Va.; Brett Thomas, Barton; Destiny Jackson, Oakland; Ryan Woods, Fort Ashby, W.Va.; Cole Roomsburg, Romney, W.Va.; Karen Tingle, Oakland; Phil Rook, program instructor; Hanna Taranto, Keyser, W.Va.; Seth Beeghly, Cumberland; Sue Clark-Cecil, program instructor; Nick Miller, LaVale; Noah Davis, Cumberland; Amber Snyder, Hyndman, Pa.; Justin Glass, Berkley Springs, W.Va.; Danielle Hardman, Charity Collins, Brooke Croston, all of Cumberland; Arron Blacker, program instructor; Kaulin Kamauf, LaVale; Mike Salvadge, program instructor; Adam Townsend, Cresaptown; Vince Pyle, program instructor; Doug Beitzel, paramedic program coordinator.

Garrett's program prepares students to provide pre-hospital assessment and care for patients of all ages with a variety of medical conditions and traumatic injuries to obtain certification as a paramedic.

"The ALS program is designed to educate skilled, well-trained ALS providers to the communities of Allegany and Garrett counties and surrounding areas," stated Doug Beitzel, ALS program coordinator at Garrett College. "As you can imagine, this group of students had to overcome many challenges over the last two years during COVID-19."

Areas of study include an introduction to emergency medical services systems, roles and responsibilities of the paramedic, anatomy and physiology, medical emergencies, trauma, special considerations for working in the pre-hospital setting, and providing patient transportation.

"The amount of time and effort that is put into becoming a paramedic is undersold. I remember starting the program and thinking how overwhelmingly impossible it seemed," Taranto shared. "There is a huge sense of accomplishment that comes along with the completion of the program. I look forward to bringing it all together to be the best that I can be for myself and the communities I serve."

Beitzel credits Josh Hook, who was hired in December 2020 as the ALS program's lead instructor, with the student's success as he was able to switch lecture instruction to an online format.

"Bringing Josh on board as a lead instructor has been a great addition to our program," remarked Koon. "He is able to follow the students closer and see them in every class session. We are lucky to have him."

Morgan-Rounds found value in the many fieldwork opportunities and practical instruction provided by the program.

"Jim Koon guided us with his wisdom and pushed us to be serious, buckle down, and to get it done, always reminding us that this profession isn't easy," she stated. "I also appreciate all the support [provided by the] instructors and preceptors who offered the valuable field and practical teachings throughout our program."

Taranto plans to continue moving forward in her career while gaining as much knowledge and experience as possible.

"As clinicians, the desire to be the best we can be for ourselves and the communities we serve leaves little room to become stagnant," she explained. "Matched with the ever-evolving system, there are limitless opportunities for growth. We truly love what we do and we can now go anywhere we want from here."

Morgan-Rounds seeks to remind students it's never too late to continue their education.

"I didn't start out as the oldest of the class, but finished as the oldest one," she shared. "Don't ever let things like age, or whatever your uphill challenges are, hold you back. Whatever your next step is in life, always remember the sky is the limit and don't forget to reach for it."