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On July 28, South Florida State College graduated a class 24 practical nurses in a traditional pinning ceremony in the Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts at SFSC’s Highlands campus in Avon Park.
The graduates were Jordan Buck, Angelica Chavez, Ruben Coronado, Stephanie Cox, Wayne Craig, Sarah Danielson, Jenna Flemer, Kathryn Flood, Rebecca Fones, Luis Garduno, Susan Henson, Casey Kopta, Tulsi Lauria, Jess Love, Yesenia Lozano, Veronica Ramos, Jonathan Robles, Brittany Rode, Peyton Sullivan, Charley Taylor, Savannah Taylor, Cristian Tellez, Jose Torres, and Chelsea Vickers.
The class treasurer, Charley Taylor, introduced the guest speaker, Rebecca Schumacher, an adjunct instructor in SFSC’s Nursing Education program, who the students had selected to give words of encouragement on their send off to careers in hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers.
From the start, Schumacher injected a dose of levity into the evening’s ceremony. “It was 343 days ago that you embarked on the easy task of becoming nurses,” she said to the chuckles of the graduates seated on stage.
“A class with six male nurses who said ‘wow, a class full of women’ at the start of the program,’” Schumacher said. “But six male students who said ‘get me out of here’ 343 days later.” A quip that had the graduates, all clad in white and sitting shoulder to shoulder, and the audience, erupt in laughter.
“But in all seriousness, congratulations on persevering,” Schumacher said, changing her tone and looking at graduates seated to her side. “You never gave up on your dream of becoming nurses.”
Before accepting their pins, the graduates took a moment to say thank you to a mentor.
Each class of nurse graduates awards the Golden Duck Award to a fellow health care provider who has served as a mentor, guiding them through to graduation. The D.U.C.K. acronym represents the foundational elements of the mentoring arrangement: Developing, Understanding, Compassion, and Knowledge.
Chelsea Vickers, class secretary, presented the Golden Duck Award to Chelsea Giddens, a patient care technician at Highlands Regional Medical Center, who worked with the students during their clinical training. “She was there to lend a helping hand to us and always with a smile on her face,” Vickers said.
“Her work ethic, compassion, and positive attitude has made a lasting impact on us as we start our careers.”
During the ceremony, the graduates accepted their nursing pins from spouses, parents, and their children. Dr. Michele Heston, director of the SFSC Nursing Education program, introduced each person presenting their loved one with the pin, reading words of thanks written by each graduate.
The practice of pinning new graduates has been a nursing school tradition in the United States since 1916. The pin is worn prominently on a nurse’s uniform throughout her or his career.
In addition to its 11-month practical nursing program, SFSC offers an Associate Degree in Nursing degree (ADN) for students interested in becoming registered nurses, a one-year Transition-LPN to RN program, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
For more information about these programs, call the SFSC Advising and Counseling Center at 863-784-7131.