Central Florida Black Nurses Association And Ivey Lane Elementary School Hosts Second Mini Nurse Academy Graduation

left to right - Vickie Felder (OCPS school bd. member), Denise Hardwick-Irwin, Lavonda Hill (CEO/President Eatonville Chamber of Commerce), CFBNA members - Juanita Green, Susie Forehand, Bernice Edwards, Lea Turnbull, Rose Lee, June Robinson, Gail Parker, Carmen Isom, Constance Brown, Gabrielle Phillips, Ebony Platt, Aisha Pyatt, and Gorsha Galbraith, (Principal).   Mini Nurse Academy graduates in front row.


ORLANDO – On Monday May 20, 2024, at 11AM the second graduating class of the Mini Nurse Academy (MNA) was held.  The class consisted of third, fourth and fifth grade students who attend Ivey Lane Elementary School in Orlando.  The MNA was funded by the National Black Nurses Association, CVS/ Aetna, and the instructors were members of the Central Florida Black Nurses Association of Orlando, Inc. (CFBNA).

The MNA is an eight-week course attended by volunteer students during their lunch hour.  The class ran from October to December 2023 but due to school schedule, county-wide school testing requirements and special events, the graduation was delayed until May 2024.

What did the students learn during the 8 weeks?  They learned the basics about chronic diseases that affect our community – hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, heart conditions, nutrition, and so much more.  They learned how to take manual blood pressures, and how to perform CPR on a baby manikin. Several students repeat the class because they had “learned so much”.

For graduation each student received a child size stethoscope, blue scrubs and a white laboratory coat.  They also received certificates of completion and a bag of goodies containing a nursing key chain, a pen resembling a syringe and the popular toy, Pop it.

The classes were taught by Aisha Pyatt, RN, 1st V.P. of CFBNA, MNA Ambassador, and assisted by Carmen Isom, RN, Constance Brown, RN, Ebony Platt, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C, CEN, Marie Desroches, student nurse, Denise Hardwick Irwin, CRNA , and Lavonda Hill, CEO/President of Eatonville Chamber of Commerce and Community Nook of Eatonville.  All instructors are volunteers and arrange the time they teach the class outside of their regular job requirements.

The students who graduated were – Zakiya Allen, Riona Bowyer, Quentcy Brantley, Paige Durham, Faith Echererry, Zyri English, Saari Harris, Samiya Hill, Desmond Johnson, Mauni Lewis, Bryan March, Selah’lee March, Garrett Morris, J’Aaliyah Sims, Kaylee White, Madison Younger.

The attendees consisted of proud parents/guardians, the school personnel, and many CFBNA member supporters.

Gorsha Galbraith, principal of Ivey Lane Elementary School, opened the program with a warm welcome and explained how dedicated these students are and how proud she is of their accomplishments.  Ebony Platt, CFBNA chair of the Mentoring Committee, offered greetings and an overview of the MNA to the attendees.

The students shared a posterboard presentation of the lessons that they learned.  One of their classroom activities that culminated the 8 week program was a project where they worked together in three groups, each of which focused on – the dangers of smoking and vaping, why education is important and what the students would like to see in their communities that help to accomplish these goals, nutrition and food deserts, and how to recognize and deal with school bullying.  Each group consisted of 3-4 students and each student presented a part of the lesson.  This gave them the opportunity to speak in front of an audience.  They all presented very well and received hearty applause from the attendees.

The certificate of completion was presented by Aisha Pyatt, RN and Carmen Isom, RN.  After closing remarks by Ms. Pyatt, refreshments were served.

The graduation was also attended by Ms. Raquel Flores, Principal Leader of School Transformation Office OCPS.  She represented Mr. William Bohn, Executive Leader of School Transformation, OCPS.  Also in attendance was Vicki Felder, Orange County School Board Member.  Before the ceremony adjourned, Ms. Felder commented on how pleased she was to see the CFBNA working in the community and bringing this important program to the students.  She remarked on her memories from decades past how this organization taught and brought immunization education and shots to the underserved communities of Central Florida. Health education and community outreach is a service that CFBNA has consistently done for over four decades.  The MNA program exposes these students to future career possibilities, that they have examples to look up to and to help them realize that they too can aspire to be nurses, pharmacists, doctors, laboratory technicians, lawyers, or whatever their dreams might be as an adult.  Her message was very inspiring and spoken with such energy that both the students and adults present held on to every word.

CFBNA wants to thank the students, the principal, Gorsha Galbraith and her staff, Denise Hardwick-Irwin, the children’s families, and the National Black Nurses Association who made this program possible and supported the students to the end.  The students especially were amazing and deserve all the kudos we can give.  If all required tasks can be in place, we look forward to continuing the program this fall school year.

For more information on CFBNA of Orlando Inc. please visit our website at cfbnaoforlando.org – or call and leave a message at 407-476-6862.  Someone will return your call within 24-48 hours.