ADN graduates recite the Nightingale Pledge.

AVON PARK, Fla. – June 26, 2019 – Thirty-seven graduates of South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program were honored in a traditional pinning ceremony on Thursday, June 20 in the Alan J. Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts at SFSC, Highlands Campus, Avon Park.

The graduates are Isabel Abel, Pallavi Agarwal, Jacalyn Baldwin, Patrick Barabas, Allison Beck, Eliany Cabrera, Rolando Chavez, Hannah Cribbs, Sarah Danielson, Robert De Lara, Esmeralda De Loera, Alana Siracuse Gordon, Samantha Jansen, Yesenia Lucatero, Samantha Lusby, Keomi Marasigan, Susan Mathis, Alexis Muller, Kayla Nichols, Luzedy Ocasio, Michael Oftedahl, Deisy Piedad, Patricia Quinn, Brenda Ramirez, Faustina Ramirez, Cheyenne Roldan, Cassia Rosser, Maria Ruiz, Jenny Sabogal Pasquino, Yesenia Sanchez, Claudia Shelton, Andrea Silva, Chelsea Vickers-Edwards, Shelby Votaw, Edena Walton, Kathrine Yeager, and Maria Zamora.

The guest speaker was Dr. Marilyn Goodman, who teaches SFSC’s Medical/Surgical II clinicals and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) online pathophysiology course. Addressing the graduates, she said, “At SFSC, we use the Seven C’s of Caring model—Competence, Compassion, Confidence, Conscience, Commitment, Communication, and Culture. These Seven C’s have been instituted in all aspects of the nursing program. They were provided to ensure that as you were in the classroom learning to provide competent skills to your patients, you were also trained to be a well-rounded individual and give back to your communities.

Dr. Goodman commented that when she was working on her dissertation for her Ph.D., patients told her that they wanted a nurse who was present and competent with their skills. “We cannot provide care if we’re not present,” she told the graduates. “And the skills that we’ve learned make us competent.”

She concluded by saying, “When you’re taking care of patients, each one has their own story. We’ve been provided with the tools to help instruct. Be the best nurse you can. Be the difference you can make. Your communities are dependent on your skills and technique.”

Instructor Melody Reeder accepted the Golden Duck Award from ADN graduate Susan Mathis.

Each year, ADN graduates award the Golden Duck to someone who has served as a mentor to the students in the program. The D.U.C.K. acronym represents the foundational elements of the mentoring arrangement: Developing, Understanding, Compassion, and Knowledge.

During the ceremony, ADN graduate Susan Mathis presented the 2019 Golden Duck Award to Melody Reeder, a clinical adjunct instructor for the ADN and practical nurse programs. “[She] taught us that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. It’s OK to be the new nurse full of questions. It’s OK to be nervous and feel like we have no idea what’s going on. She taught us that it’s OK to be all these things, but to be fierce, be compassionate, be caring. The biggest thing was that she wasn’t just saying these things because it’s what she’s supposed to say as an instructor. She is a walking example of what a nurse should be and it radiates through her.”

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. One story of the ceremony’s beginning goes back to 1883, when Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale the Royal Red Cross on St. George’s Day for her service to the sick and injured during the Crimean War. In turn, Nightingale later extended the honor to her outstanding nursing students by presenting them with a medal of excellence.

Graduates of the ADN program become registered nurses by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) exam. SFSC nursing graduates are usually fully employed in nursing within a few months of graduation.

SFSC’s ADN program is the only nationally accredited nursing program in its service district of Highlands, Hardee, and DeSoto counties. It is accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN).

SFSC offers ADN program options for students interested in becoming registered nurses: a two-year Generic-RN program and a one-year Transition-LPN to RN program. The college also offers a BSN program as well as a one-year practical nursing occupational certificate program. For program entry requirements, consult the SFSC College Catalog online at or call 863-784-7027.