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Virtual pinning ceremony held for Northeast nursing students

Virtual pinning ceremony held for Northeast  nursing students

NORFOLK, Neb. - Associate degree nursing and practical nursing students were recognized for receiving their nursing pins during a special ceremony recently at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

During a normal year, nursing students receive their pins from family members or a close friend who have helped them along their journey. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was necessary for the ceremony to be broadcast virtually this year.

“We are honored to be here with you today as we recognize and celebrate the achievements and milestones of our nursing graduates,” said Dr. Karen Weidner, director of the nursing program, as she spoke before a television camera in the Northeast broadcasting studio. “We celebrate the educational success and journey that 40 practical nurse and 35 associate degree nursing students have completed. There have been many quizzes, tests, lab experiences, clinicals and study sessions in your pursuit of this academic achievement and we are so very proud of you all.”

Weidner said the observance is the culmination of the students’ initial journey of professional nursing education.

“The annual ceremony is a bridge from nursing’s past to nursing’s future and is a time-honored nursing school tradition. It signifies the official initiation into the brotherhood and sisterhood of nurses.”

Each nursing school, at every level of education, has its own unique pin which is worn on the nursing uniform. The nursing school pin that graduates of the Northeast Community College’s associate degree nursing (ADN) and licensed practical nursing program receive is symbolic of nursing’s heritage and tradition.

Dr. Leah Barrett, Northeast president, told viewers of the ceremony although everyone could not be together to celebrate, faculty and staff created a unique and memorable event.

“It is a special day and I encourage you to take the time to celebrate your accomplishments,” Barrett said. “You have studied to serve. The work of nurses is so critical and has been highlighted in the media so much in recent weeks. Your time, your talent, and your care of human life and human spirit is truly an inspiration to us all.”

In her faculty address, Nursing Instructor Heidi Merritt congratulated the students for a job well done.

“You put your lives on hold to meet the demands and rigors of this program and you did it! You put in the work and overcame obstacles and you did it. You have balanced case studies and projects, virtual clinicals, Zoom meetings, and lots of exams, while homeschooling your children, caring for your families and working on the front lines. You did it!”

The history of the pinning ceremony goes back to the Crusades of the 12th century. The modern ceremony dates back to the mid-19th century when Florence Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of St. George for her tireless service to the injured during the Crimean War. To share the honor, she in turn presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates.

In addition to the pinning ceremony, one associate degree nursing and two practical nursing students were presented the Essence of Nursing Award for their consistent academic effort, caring actions, positive motivation toward classroom learning and clinical experience, and professional behaviors. 

Tamarie Vogt, Osmond, ADN graduate, and Allison Erwin, Norfolk, practical nursing student, were honored with the award.

In addition, ADN graduate Angelica Rocha, Norfolk, was named a Nebraska AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Scholar. The Nebraska AHEC Scholars Program is part of a national initiative that prepares health profession students who want to serve in rural or urban underserved areas of Nebraska to become leaders in the changing health care system.

Upon completion of the first two semesters of nursing studies at Northeast Community College, students are eligible to take the National Council of Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed practical nurses. Students who hold a 3.0 grade point average in their nursing courses are eligible to complete the last two semesters of the Northeast program and take the National Council of Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) to practice as licensed registered nurses.

Students who graduate with an associate degree in nursing are eligible to continue their studies for a bachelor of science degree in nursing. The general education courses for a bachelor of science in nursing can be taken at Northeast Community College. The majority of the practical nursing students have chosen to continue in the associate degree nursing program at Northeast.   

Students who were received the Associate Degree Nursing pin include:                                                                                                          


Atkinson - Lindsay Welsh
Battle Creek - Tylynn Johnson
Beemer - Heidi Marksmeier
Blair - Madison Kment
Bristow - Jennifer Holmberg
Columbus - Regina Frerichs
Elgin - Amanda Thomas
Hartington - Megan Leise
Hoskins - Nichole Lashley
Howells - Samantha Brester
Madison - Haley Hart, Laura Sanchez
Meadow Grove - Alishia Nelson
Neligh - Hallie Knutson
Newman Grove - Rebekah Rast
Niobrara - Audra Strom
Norfolk - Madyson Doggett, Tiffani Elwood, LaCash Howard, Lakyn McCarter, Aaron Peterson, Angelica Rocha, Jacob Steiner
Orchard - Amanda Schaaf
Osceola - Brittany Merry
- Kaylee Harvey, Breanna Hedstrom
- Tamarie Vogt
- Dana Pelster
- Pamela Albin
Rising City
- Natalie Wingard
- Alyssa Ludwig
- Brittany Lorimor
West Point
- Anna Hansen

Out of State

IA, Sioux City - Michelle Terrones

Students who received the Practical Nursing pin include:


Albion - Tayla Rasmussen
Atkinson - Miranda Bendig
Battle Creek - Bailey Mickelson
Broken Bow - Jordyn Anderson
Columbus - Elisabeth Schalk, Karissa Sims
Dodge - Alissa Thomsen
Elgin - Karlie Shoemaker, Tera Henkenius
Gering - Victoria Mueller
Grand Island - Ali Nowicki
Hoskins - Leah Anderson
Lindsay - Dinah Bialas
Lynch - Hannah Wright
Madison - Juana Sanchez, Marisol Sanchez
Monroe - Mattie Dohmen
Neligh - Bailey Belina, Kinsley Klabenes
Norfolk - Rebecca Armstrong, Stephen Bebb, Candace Clark, Allison Erwin, Brenda Halverson, Tessa Henning, Riley Johnson, Tylee Kemp, Timothy Lillard, Jennifer Madison
North Loup - Mikayla Strickland
O'Neill - Tarra Janzing, Jesse Turpin
Osmond - Erin Kumm
Spencer - Yazmin Bentz
Walthill - Taelor Washburn
Wayne - Melissa Nelson
West Point - Marco Flores
Wolbach - Megan Beck

Out of State

CA, Los Angeles - Jacqueline Arreola

CO, Wray - Sara Brandner

Brian Anderson, media arts – broadcasting instructor at Northeast, produced the virtual program. The ceremony may be viewed on-demand at

Dr. Michele Gill, interim vice president of educational services and dean of health and wellness, commended the students, faculty and staff for their work this year. She told the nursing students that they are entering a noble and important profession.

“We’re going to count on you. We’re so proud that you are leaving Northeast and ready to go on. For some of you, you will be returning next year to pursue that ADN degree, but to our ADN graduates you’re needed on the front lines and we know you are ready for the calling.”




                                                         PHOTO CUTLINE


Dr. Karen Weidner, director of the nursing program at Northeast Community College, (center) and nursing faculty and staff wave to viewers at the conclusion of the institution’s annual Nursing Pinning Ceremony recently. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony was livestreamed from the College’s broadcasting studio. Forty associate degree nursing and thirty-five practical nursing students received nursing pins this year.