21 students graduate from Dental Assisting program

Jul 25, 2022Gail Crutchfield
Dental Assisting Class of 2022

Hanceville, Ala. — Wallace State Community College’s Dental Assisting program recognized 21 students who successfully completed the one-year program, earning an Associate in Applied Science degree and entry into a new career field or a head start toward a becoming a dental hygienist.

“Two words came to mind when I think of your class,” said Dr. Sharon Alley, director of Wallace State’s Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene programs. “The first word is memorable; it will be difficult to forget this class. You navigated a global pandemic while enrolled as a student in a health program. I admire your determination and adaptation to all the challenges that you faced over the last year. I’m sure you will never forget your time here and we will certainly not forget your perseverance.”

Alley next mentioned gratitude. “The faculty and I are grateful for the opportunity to serve as your instructors,” she said. “We are so proud of your accomplishments, and you will all do amazing things, and our profession is lucky to have you.”

“I know each of you will be an asset wherever you are, and I hope you enjoyed your time with us here at Wallace State,” said Halli Melton, clinical coordinator before calling each student to the stage to receive their pledge and pin. She added that more than half of the students have found employment as dental assistants, and some are transitioning to the Wallace State Dental Hygiene program.

Several awards were presented to students, including:

  • Dental Assisting Program Award to Erica Howell of Albertville
  • Edmund Kells Award to Ella Hill of Oneonta in recognition of enthusiasm and dedication to the field of dentistry
  • Academic Excellence to Vanessa Serrano of Altoona, recognizing the highest academic average for the class
  • Clinical Excellence Award to Zakia Spencer of Gadsden, recognizing exceptional clinical skills

This was the first official pinning ceremony held for the program, Dr. Alley said. Previously, students were recognized during awards ceremonies.

“We’re excited to begin this new tradition with the class of 2022,” she said.

The Wallace State Dental Assisting program has been educating area students for more than 40 years, first offering an associate in applied science during the 1977-1978 academic year. It currently offers both an associate in applied science degree and a certificate option. The Dental Hygiene program has been active for 28 years.

Both programs accept new students each fall, with applications accepted from March 1 to June 1 each year. Prerequisite courses should be completed in advance of applying to the Dental Hygiene program and other general courses not specific to dental programs can also be completed in advance.

For more information about the dental health programs at Wallace State, call 256.352.8300 or visit www.wallacestate.edu.

Vanessa Serrano

Vanessa Serrano, left, of Altoona, received the Acaddmic Excellence Award for the Dental Assissting Class of 2022 from program director Dr. Sharon Alley. 

Zakia Spencer

Zakia Spencer, left, of Gadsden, received the Clinical Excellence Award for the Dental Assisting Class of 2022 from program director Dr. Sharon Alley. 

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