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Juneteenth Closure

TCC will be closed Wednesday, June 19, in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

Father and dual-enrolled daughter graduate together

Marvin Fletcher and his daughter SaNayah Hill were surprised to find out they are graduating from Tidewater Community College at the same time.

“I never thought my daughter and I would be wearing a cap and gown together. I’m utterly speechless,” Marvin said.

SaNayah added, “I feel like it will be a fun experience and not something a lot of people can say.”

Marvin’s degree has been a decade in the making. He is earning an Associate of Applied Science in Management. SaNayah, a junior at Deep Creek High School, is a dual-enrollment student earning a Career Studies Certificate in Emergency Medical Service/Emergency Medical Training.

“As parents, we want a better start for our kids,” Marvin added. “To see SaNayah graduate with a certificate at 17, I’m really proud. A lot of kids don’t aspire to do all that.”

A military veteran, Marvin served in both the United States Marine Corps and the Army. He spent 12 years doing transportation and logistics, with overseas tours in Afghanistan and Kuwait. “Serving in the military slowed down my studies as I moved around the country and did multiple deployments,” Marvin said.

Marvin credits TCC veterans’ advisor Howard Darden for helping make his graduation possible. “I needed my official transcript from the military so I would get credit for my PE class, and he made that happen.”

He added, “The help I received from the start from TCC’s military center has been monumental to my success and has everything to do with where I am now.”

A native of Portsmouth, Marvin remembers his family living paycheck to paycheck. “My sister Sonya and I would go outside and cut wood, so we’d have a fire in the stove and heat in the house. We had a very humble childhood,” he added.

Marvin also remembers failing at least two classes every year since sixth grade and having no one invested in his education. He attended summer school annually to pass each class and graduated from I.C. Norcom High School.

“I wanted different for my daughter,” Marvin said. “And that’s happened largely because of her mom and my support, and because of her hard work.”

SaNayah decided to pursue the EMT certificate because of her interest in medicine. She hopes to one day be a general practice physician.

SaNayah’s program included ride-alongs with area firefighters, something she called “intense,” but worth it. “I craved the experience and wanted to get out there and do it,” she said. “People often doubt themselves. But I say get out there and do the work and see what doors will open.”

Marvin added that he found a good fit at TCC. “I liked the teachers and the challenge of it all,” he said. “I enjoyed in-person classes then being able to go to faculty and staff and get the help I needed.”

Marvin plans to use his degree to open and manage group homes for disabled adults and veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something he suffers from as well. He says that it’s a confidence booster earning this degree and a motivator to continue to serve.

“Life isn’t about where you start, but where you finish,” Marvin said. “There were times when I thought I couldn’t do it, but the staff at TCC motivated me and my family support systems made all the difference.”

Become a paramedic in months, not years, thanks to two TCC programs

If you’re already a certified emergency medical services provider and you’d like to advance to paramedic, Tidewater Community College can get you there quickly beginning in March.

Students who have achieved Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) – Intermediate certification can bridge to paramedic in just 20 weeks by completing TCC’s “Intermediate to Paramedic Boot Camp.”

Classes meet twice weekly at the Regional Health Professions Center on the Virginia Beach Campus with flip/flop options available to accommodate shift schedules.

To be accepted into the program, applicants must be Virginia-certified Intermediates and pass the entry capstone exam. A mandatory two-week review course in preparation for this exam comprises the first two weeks of boot camp. EMT-Intermediates certified within the last year do not need to complete the capstone exam.

Classes for boot camp begin March 20/21 and conclude Aug. 4/5.

“The boot camp program is our newest addition,” said Jason Ambrose, head of the EMT program at TCC. “This program was designed for the practicing Intermediate looking to bridge up quickly while still working.”

Current EMTs can also advance their careers via TCC’s Accelerated Paramedic program. Classes meet nearly every weekday for five months starting March 5.

“The Accelerated Paramedic program is ideal for those with some existing medical knowledge, such as independent duty corpsmen, looking to transition to a new career in the EMS or fire industries,” Ambrose said.

Four rounds of clinical rotations are part of both programs.

TCC will offer the national exam in the Regional Health Professions Center on Aug. 10.

Students can stack all their credits toward TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services.

TCC offers the largest program in emergency medical services in the state. All of the college’s EMS programs are nationally accredited.

The Virginia Department of Health funds EMS scholarships that can cover 100 percent of the cost for qualified applicants. For information, visit

For information about EMS programs at TCC, call 757-822-7335.