This year's class of nurses graduating from Colorado Northwestern Community College includes recent high school graduates and seasoned veterans already in nursing careers.
April Wynkoop was born and raised in Craig and is a 1999 graduate of Moffat County High School. She has been in nursing classes for two years.
"It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be," Wynkoop said. "The scheduling was hard also with evening sessions. It was tough."
After graduation and passing the state examination, Wynkoop plans to look for a position at The Memorial Hospital in Craig or Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs.
For Jean Jones, who has been a licensed practical nurse for years, the classes to become a registered nurse took a little catching up.
"It was a little harder because of all the bookwork I needed to relearn," Jones said. "We started being on the same level about halfway through the course."
Jones worked at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurses As----sociation for 14 years and is considering returning.
Ivy Henderson knew her senior year at Moffat County High School in 2003 that she wanted to be a nurse. She was glad she could take the classes locally.
"It was hard but very rewarding," Henderson said. "I'm very close to all the students. We've been together two years."
Henderson is engaged and will move to Kansas after graduation.
Julie Jantz has wanted to be a nurse for a while. She had completed the basic courses, and the cost of taking the program in Craig made sense to her.
"It was a juggling act, between home, work and school," Jantz said. "It's a good career. I like taking care of people."
Jantz works at The Memorial Hospital and will continue to work there. She hopes to eventually work in the emergency room.
Jones said she would recommend the nursing program at the college as a way to improve one's life.
A better life is what Wynkoop was planning for herself and her two children.
"It's a very rewarding career. You can say, 'Here's what I've done,'" she said. "From here on out, all our lives will be better."