SFSC Dental Pinning Group

Dental Assisting graduates reciting their oath.

South Florida State College honored eight graduates of its Dental Assisting program in a traditional pinning ceremony in the SFSC University Center Auditorium on July 7.

The graduates had just completed SFSC’s occupational certificate program in dental assisting. They can now work alongside a dentist as a member of a dental health care team.

Before pinning each graduate, Dr. Deborah Milliken, chair of the SFSC Dental Education program, congratulated them on their dedication to seeing themselves through to the completion of 11 months of intense training that included several weeks of in-office practice with a dentist.

“Follow your dreams and transform your lives,” Dr. Milliken told the graduates, who sat together in the front row of the auditorium, with family, friends, and SFSC administrators looking on.

Dr. Milliken said those seven words had remained affixed to her refrigerator for decades. She noted they had served as an inspiration to get through dental school and achieve her own dream: working as a dentist.

Receiving their pins from Dr. Milliken were Rachelle Benoit, Emily Flores, Taylor Hepler, Crystal Miranda, Ashley Rodriguez, Beatriz Rodriguez, San Juanita Rodriguez, and Taylor Sofo. (Pictured, left to right.)

Joining Dr. Milliken in pinning the graduates was Bobby Sconyers, SFSC’s professor of dental assisting, who led them in reciting an oath in which they pledged to seek always the welfare of their patients to the honor of their profession.

Terra Tippie, served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Dr. Milliken noted that, when she asked the graduates who ought to deliver the keynote speech, without hesitation and in unison they requested Tippie.

Tippie, an adjunct instructor in the SFSC dental education program with 30 years of experience in dental assisting, singled out each graduate by noting one quality they exhibited that had made an impression on her. One always had a smile, another was funny, and one kept Tippie on her to toes, their instructor said to the laughter of the audience.

“But each of you cared for each other,” Tippie said. “You all helped each other to succeed so that you could get to this night.”

Tippie encouraged the graduates to listen to their patients, show compassion, and always to persevere in the face of obstacles.

Upon completing the Dental Assisting program, graduates can work as Certified Dental Assistants by passing the Dental Assisting National Board examination.

Several of the graduates also earned state orthodontic certification. They can assist an orthodontist with procedures in adjusting braces, making impressions, and helping with office administrative duties.

SFSC also offers a two-year Associate in Science degree program in dental hygiene. Upon completing this program, graduates become dental hygienists by passing the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination and the Florida State Clinical Licensure Examination.

For more information on the dental assisting program, contact Bobby Sconyers, at 863-784-7022 or sconyersb@southflorida.edu.