photo of Dental Assisting class 2021

The 2021 Dental Assisting class

AVON PARK, Fla. – July 20, 2020 – South Florida State College (SFSC) honored 12 graduates of its Dental Assisting Program in a pinning ceremony in the Alan J. Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts at SFSC on Thursday, July 15. Dental Assisting graduates receiving their pins were: Deborah Figueroa, Dacie Luna-Moreno, Laynee Galvan, Briana Molina, Monica Medrano, Jannete Godinez, Yasmine Martinez, Joanna Perez Granados, Blanca Serapio Vivanco, Wendy Yvette Rivera, Elizabeth Gomez, and Jasmine Gutierrez-Montes.

To open the ceremony, Dr. Michele Heston, dean of health sciences, paid special tribute to Bob Sconyers, who retires from SFSC in August after serving 15 years as dental assisting professor. “Mr. Sconyers told me once that he doesn’t like pinning ceremonies and that they should never happen,” she said. “During a ceremony, I learned the reason behind his perplexing comment. He was keynote speaker and shared his passion for his profession, his students, and teaching them to become the most compassionate, competent dental assistants that they could possibly be. He said he hated pinning night because his students would leave his classroom. He treasured that time with students so much that the goodbyes were heartbreaking.” Dr. Heston shared several of the graduates’ warm and complimentary comments about Sconyers.

Class president Deborah Figueroa introduced Sconyers as the evening’s keynote speaker. As a special thanks to him on behalf of her class, she presented him with a plaque. “As a gift for your past and to remember us in your future,” Figueroa said.

“This is my last official function,” Sconyers said. “The whole 15 years, I’ve enjoyed. The last year has been so special, and it’s all because of these young women.”

Addressing the graduates, he said, “I want to talk a little bit about the dental assisting profession. Dental assistants make dentistry faster, safer, and cheaper. They make it faster by being the dentist’s right hand or right several hands, so that they can do their job quicker. Dental assistants make dentistry safer by keeping the dental clinic clean and keeping the patient comfortable. If the dentists had to do dentistry by themselves, we couldn’t afford it. But with dental assistants, dentists are able to see many more patients and are able to keep the cost down.

Deborah Figueroa presents a plaque to Bob Sconyers

Class President Deborah Figueroa presents a plaque of recognition to Dental Assisting Professor Bob Sconyers.

“This is the best class I’ve ever taught,” Sconyers continued. “Every time I asked them to do something, they made it their mission to get it done quickly and correctly. They were the best ever at practicing their skills over and over until they could get 100% on every process. And they have made me a better teacher. You leave as highly trained dental assistants. Now your job is to be the best dental assistant ever. But don’t stop there. Continue to challenge yourselves. Keep learning. Whatever you do, wherever you want to go, you have to have a plan to get there. Make life happen on your terms. You need a plan for your education. Do you want to be a dental hygienist? Do you want to be a dentist? Do you want a bachelor’s degree? You can do it.

“The small things you do will have a great impact on others,” he said. “You can donate blood, you can volunteer wherever you like. Community service is its own reward. Always be nice. Being nice is a choice. I want to thank my students. You made this the best and most enjoyable year.”

After completing the 11-month Career Certificate program in Dental Assisting, graduates can work as certified dental assistants by passing the Dental Assisting National Board Examination (DANB) and qualifying for the Expanded Functions Dental Assisting Certification as well as Orthodontic Assistant Certification.

For more information on SFSC’s Dental Education programs, call 863-784-7027 or email