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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso sends off first graduating class

The School Yard

POSTED: Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 11:44pm

UPDATED: Sunday, December 15, 2013 - 3:16pm

Graduation ceremonies took place all across the borderland today. But only one of those graduating classes can say they were the very first from their program.

Graduation is a time to celebrate achievements, and a time to express joy.

But these graduates have something else to be proud of, something no one can, or will, ever be able to say again.

“I feel like I was making history,” said Erick Klemchak, a graduate from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing.

The 65 graduates, 53 women and 12 men, are the very first class from the program in El Paso. During the past 16 months, they have been training to enter the nursing work force and Saturday they have their degrees.

While they all reached the same achievement this afternoon, every graduate has a different reason why they decided to go into nursing.

Laura Darilek helped her aunt, who is a nurse also, care for her grandfather on his death bed.

“She inspired me,” Darilek said. “When she hugged me goodbye, she complimented me on how well I helped and took care of him. It was nothing to me. It was just part of who I am.”

For Perla Aguilar, it was seeing her son almost lose his life.

“When he was young he had an accident,” she explained. “He was in the hospital for about 2 weeks. It was really hard for us. Just the way these nurses took care of him, it inspired me to do that for other people.”

And setting a good example of what is expected from future graduates is what Erick Klemchak looks forward to.

“We have to represent what Texas Tech is,” he said. “And if we do good, the school will do good, and the program will do good.”

Last May the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing became fully accredited under the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education. The school first enrolled students in the fall of 2011 under the Texas Nursing Board.

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