Words such as successful, proud and outstanding were heard as adult students were praised at the end of 70 hours of classroom study in a medical terminology course. Students of the first class completed their finals and received certificates at the end of the 13-week course held at Manila High School. The words of praise came from Ron and Cheryl Kelton, owners of Kelton Schools, Inc., who were on hand for the event. Mr. and Mrs. Kelton are former Manila High School graduates.
Kelton School Inc., licensed by the State Board of Private Career Education, and Manila Schools partnered to provide an educational opportunity to citizens of the area.
The medical terminology class is a prerequisite for the upcoming two courses that will be offered. The students were given the opportunity to sign up for the next class, medical transcript. These classes will begin Aug. 11 and run through October 23. Students will also have the opportunity to attend two sessions to familiarize them with the computers that will be used in the medical transcript classes. A third class will be medical billing and coding.
The idea for the adult classes came from Charolette Wagner, Manila Superintendent. When she heard about grant money available for education and economic improvements, she applied for and received a $249,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority. The Manila project was one of 16 original projects funded through DRA.
Mr. Kelton said when he was first approached by Mrs. Wagner with the idea of the partnership he wondered if a program based on scholarships would offer the incentive for students to succeed but this class exceeded all expectations.
"We had no drop-outs, no problems with absenteeism, no problems with grade point averages. We made no difference in this class than at our school. We are so very proud of this class. Kristin (Kristin Miller, instructor) has done a great job. This is one of the highest grade points we've ever had from a class," Mr. Kelton said.
Students must have 80 percent to pass in the medical classes. All 27 students that enrolled finished with a grade of 80 percent or higher.
Mrs. Kelton said classes are usually not over 25. Ordinarily there are always a few that for one reason or another cannot continue with the school. At the Manila classes 27 enrolled and 27 finished.
Twenty-three students from Mississippi County received scholarships to attend the classes. There were four non-scholarship students from out-of county in attendance.
Students included Debi Cherry, May Ann Minton, Linda Reams, Barbara Land, Tonja Sutotn, Penny White, Martha Lucas, Monica Wilhite, Sarah Tippy, Polly Girdley, Lisa Sammons, Barara Rhodes, Teisa Daniels, Amy Weathers, Angela Stone, Jamie Page, Janice McWhirter, Jennifer Baur, Jennifer Channey, Kacie Oates, Lisa Taylor, Stacey Faulkner, Trina Eichron, Sherry Scroggins, Julie Wood, Marilina Dew and Katie Lee.
The instructor is Kristin Miller. She praised the hard work of the students and is looking forward to the next class.
Miller presented a plaque to Teisa Daniel who made perfect grades throughout the course, including the final.
Daniel said she is happy to have the experience to attend classes.
"It has been a fun, learning experience and I am hoping to use it in the future. Because of my children, I could not have gone out of town to attend classes. I would not have been able to pay for the classes right now. This has been a God sent for me," Daniels said. "I'm hoping my daughter will take it next."
Barbara Rhodes, a student, commented that she is hoping to incorporate what she learns in these classes with her business.
Rhodes owns a Fast Tax business in Blytheville and Jonesboro. Tax preparation is not a year round business and she wants to add medical transcription services to her business.
"I am very thankful for the scholarships," Rhodes said.
Student Sherry Scoggins, hair stylist, also praised the opportunity to get the education offered through the program.
"It is a great opportunity right here at home thanks to Mrs. Wagner, Kelton School and the DRA funding. I have learned a lot," Scoggins said.
Student Trina Eichron also offered her appreciation for the opportunity.
"I worked as business manager for 17 years. I thought I had job security but I was laid off in December. These classes will be good for me as I look to start a new career in the medical field. We learned a lot just in the first class," Eichron said.
In addition to offering the opportunity for the evening adult classes, the Manila High School students get access and the opportunity to use the high tech computer lab during the day classes.
The upcoming class will be split in two classes with half meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the other half on Mondays and Wednesdays.