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Pinning Ceremony Included in Nursing Commencement

Pinning Ceremony Included in Nursing Commencement

NORFOLK, Neb. - Associate degree - nursing (ADN) and practical nursing students were honored during a special ceremony at Northeast Community College last week that included the presentation of their diplomas.

In addition, the tradition of nursing students receiving their pins from family members or a close friend who has helped them along their journey was part of the ceremony. There were 35 associate degrees in nursing and 41 diplomas in practical nursing awarded on Friday, May 10

Karen Weidner, director of nursing programs, remembered the words of an American diplomat to recognize the nursing graduates as they begin their journey in the nursing profession. 

“Colin Powell said, ‘A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.’ Today that dream comes true for you our nursing graduates,” Weidner said. 

The nurse pinning observance is the culmination of the students’ initial journey of professional nursing education. It is a bridge from nursing’s past to nursing’s future and is a time-honored nursing school tradition. It also signifies the official initiation into the brotherhood and sisterhood of nurses. 

The history of the pinning ceremony is traced back to the Crusades of the 12th century. The modern ceremony dates 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 the student address during the Northeast ceremony, Tom Wilson, Norfolk, used humor to call attention to his nontraditional status. Wilson served as president of the Student Nurses Association as well. 

“I have the joy and pleasure of learning alongside students who are closer to my 14-year-old daughter's age than my own,” Wilson said. “In fact, my nontraditional student status becomes most apparent when I realize that I am older than some of the instructors, who have already had 20-year careers in nursing.” 

Wilson commended the more “traditional” students for taking on the responsibility of nursing school and desire to help others at their age. “I know what I was doing when I was 21, and it sure as heck wasn’t nursing,” he said, with a smile. 

Wilson said they have drunk from the “firehose of knowledge that is nursing school,” but their education has just begun. 

“We are the future of nursing,” he said. “I beg you to promote kindness, nurture well-being, and exemplify an environment of support and teamwork on the Med/Surg floor, the nursing home, the hospital, a provider’s office or wherever you choose to work. Let us strive to be the nurses who not only heal wounds but also mend broken spirits. Be the nurse that shows us that behind every diagnosis is a person deserving of dignity, respect, and unwavering support.” 

Leah Barrett, Northeast president, presented each of the graduates with their diplomas during the ceremony. Family members and friends distributed nurse pins prior to the distribution of diplomas. 

In addition to the pinning ceremony, the first year Essence of Nursing Award was presented to Christine Mosher, Crofton, for consistent academic effort, caring actions, positive motivation toward classroom learning and clinical experience, and professional behaviors. Second year Essence of Nursing Awards went to Andrew Franzluebbers, West Point. 

One graduate was named a Nebraska AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Scholar – Liz Schlamann, Dorchester. 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. 

In addition, Tom Wilson, Bailey Lemburg, Clarkson; and Brittany Foster, Madison, were recognized for being tutors, who among other things, provided individualized leaning experiences. 

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 ADN 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.  

The graduates are among over 900 others who were recognized in two additional ceremonies to mark Northeast’s 51st commencement.  

Associate Degree – Nursing 

Thirty-five graduates, listed in alphabetical order, received their associate degree - nursing diplomas and pins.  

Jordyn Albin, Plainview 

Jessica Allen, Stanton 

Alexandria Brestel, Norfolk 

Kezia Connealy, Tobias 

Audrey Coufal, Howells 

Kelli Dannenbring, O'Neill 

Kaylee Dvorak, Pierce 

Brittany Foster, Madison 

Andrew  Franzluebbers, West Point 

Lela Frerichs, Stanton 

Hannah Gaspers, Norfolk 

Kaylee Hinton, Naper 

Hailee Horst, Plainview 

Aubrey Jeannoutot, Bloomfield 

Josie Kahlandt, Hooper 

Alissa Kasik, Leigh 

Falycia Krugman, O'Neill 

Alyx Kurpgeweit, Bartlett 

Emma Labenz, Leigh 

Angel Lackey, Norfolk 

Bailey Lemburg, Clarkson 

Lindsey McGuire, Norfolk 

Erika McKenzie, Norfolk 

Brooklyn Nolting, Bancroft 

Megan Olson, Norfolk 

MacKenzie Peters, Norfolk 

Hannah Ross, Clarkson 

Reilly Schlomer, Norfolk 

Jody Tinker, Norfolk 

Jeremiah Ward, Norfolk 

Thomas Wilson, Norfolk 

Brynn Wortmann, Hartington 

Out of State 

Stefanie Baldo, Elizabeth, Colo. 

Morgan Beeson, Avon, S.D. 

Nayely Martinez, Oakland, Iowa 

Practical Nursing Diploma 

Forty-one graduates, listed in alphabetical order, received their practical nursing diplomas and pins. 


Hudson Barger, Bloomfield 

Shelby Behnk, Greeley 

Alexis Bliven, Holdrege 

Makayla Bruce, Fordyce 

Jan Karl Marie Casinillo, Wayne 

Jaclyn Cooper, Crofton 

Jessica Crouch, Columbus 

Veyra Escudero Rivera, Shelby 

Madison Hampton, Page 

Karley Heimes, Wynot 

Lauren Hinrichs, Norfolk 

Nicole Jackson, Norfolk 

Gretchen Kozisek, David City 

Jada Kreikemeier, West Point 

Vada Kruse, Norfolk 

Brooklyn Kumm, Plainview 

Sarah LeSuer, Shelby 

Holly Lewon, Randolph 

Alexa Martinez, Columbus 

Nikole Mewhirter, Albion 

Halanys Milian Auld, Columbus 

Hailey Miller, Norfolk 

Kylie Milligan, Wayne 

Marisol Montes, Columbus 

Crystal Morris, Columbus 

Christine Mosher, Crofton 

Kali Nedrow, Geneva 

Emily Nemec, Norfolk 

Kassandra Nolan, Columbus 

Allison O'Connor, Norfolk 

Juliana Pelan, Columbus 

Elizabeth Schlamann, Dorchester 

McKenna Shonka, Pierce 

Sydney Stelling, Milford 

Elyssa Tuttle, Norfolk 

Kiran Walker, Norfolk 

Megan Wesemann, Wisner 


Lester Kazako, Blantyre, Malawi 

Evangeline Merrick, Blantyre, Malawi 

Donnel Ray Pedrosa, Sindangan, Philippines 

Anderson Roberts, Arima, Trinidad and Tobago 

Samantha Rousseau, Blantyre, Malawi 

The ceremony was broadcast live by members of the Northeast Community College Media Arts – Broadcasting, and Media Arts – Audio Recording Technology programs.  

The ceremony may be viewed online at 

Nursing Commencement 

It was a day of emotions for nursing students, but mostly joy, during a commencement and pinning ceremony at Northeast Community College on Friday, May 10. (Northeast Community College)