With 63 graduates in blue and 6 in black, the room pulsed with excitement and anticipation. Waiting for the event to start, the graduates exchanged excited whispers and laughter to pass time between rehearsal and the event. The room quickly became full of cheers and hollars as family and friends watched their graduate descend the stairs and into their seat during the processional and did not cease until well after the ceremony had ended.
This graduation marks a few milestones for the College: Six learners from the RN-to-BSN Program graduated this semester, which is a new record, and this was also the very first graduation from the Evanston, Wyoming DDC (see all of our locations here).
Congratulations to the ADN and BSN Degree Programs’ graduates! To view photos of the event, visit our Facebook page.
Graduation Ceremony Highlights
Loraine Larsen, an instructor in our ADN Program, gave the graduates sound advise in her speech. “Nurses choose to be caring and compassionate,” she said. “A nurse chooses to be an advocate, a leader, a teacher, and at times a therapist. We all know that nurses are not ordinary, but what makes them extraordinary? To me, what makes a nurse extraordinary is being willing to dare greatly. Dare to keep trying even when you’ve failed. Dare to continue your education. Dare to stand up for your patients. Dare to say ‘stop’ when you see an unsafe practice. Dare to be the voice of civility in an uncivil workplace. Be willing to dare greatly.”
The valedictorian from both programs followed Larsen’s remarks.
Dionne Jaques, valedictorian of our RN-to-BSN Program, spoke on overcoming fear. “All of us started out nervous, scared, unsure of ourselves, unsure of how to combine school with our lives,” she said. “But we learned to take that fear and stomp on it, and say ‘We can do it!’” Read more about Jaques’ unique journey through nursing school here.
Theresa Troia, the valedictorian of our Associate Degree Nursing Program, said “We stand here today with our families and friends, instructors and classmates to celebrate and acknowledge that a rollercoaster journey is coming to an end, but another one is about to begin…It’s been a long, hard ride, but we did it!”
After being inspired by their valedictorians, graduates were inspired anew by their classmates who received honors and awards. There are several different awards given away at graduation, including the FLAME! FORWARD! Award, the Community Fellow Award, and the academic honors. Dionne Jaques and Megan Trappen received the Community Fellow Award for their dedication and service as volunteers.
The FLAME! FORWARD! Award is given to learners who have gone above and beyond our expectations. Faculty members nominate students for the FLAME! FORWARD! Award when they feel a learner exemplifies all the seven values of the college. Jonathan Loper and Stephanie Atkinson were presented with the FLAME! FORWARD! Award this year.
Next on the list, the graduates received their nursing pins from those individuals who had a profound effect on their nursing journey, usually a family member, spouse, or instructor.
The lighting of the lamps was next, a reverent ordeal in which the Nightingale graduates light each of their lamps to symbolize the lamp that Florence Nightingale tirelessly carried to and from each sickbed. They then repeat the Nightingale Pledge.
Then with cheers from the crowd, each graduate walks across the stage to receive their degree. Kara McDonald-Harmon, Vice President of Operations and Controller at the College, conferred the degrees at graduation. Bursting with excitement, graduates cheered as they moved their tassels.
What an accomplishment! We are so proud of all these learners who have studied countless hours, sacrificed precious sleep, and dedicated so much of their time and energy to becoming nurses. We know you will be incredible in this noble profession. The graduates of the ADN Program will now work toward passing the NCLEX-RN and becoming licensed as registered nurses.
The faculty and staff at Nightingale wish the graduates the utmost success in their future nursing careers. May the light of Florence Nightingale’s lamp and her unwavering values light your path onwards to great things, and remember, be willing to dare greatly!
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