Twenty-eight beaming nurses-to-be walked across a makeshift stage Thursday in the dining area at Weatherford College Wise County to receive their pins.
Some were greeted by spouses and children, others by mothers and fathers. Some were even pinned by their instructors.
They comprise the inaugural class of the associate degree nursing program at WCWC.
“It’s pretty neat,” graduate Shantell Walker said. “We’ve definitely gotten some special treatment. It’s been fun.”
A pinning ceremony is the traditional “welcoming into the profession” nurses receive, explained Carrin Adams, assistant director of the associate degree nursing program.
Each student is presented with a nursing pin and the class recites the Nightingale Pledge – the statement of ethics for the nursing profession. Graduates Kim McDaniel and Naomi Stallard led their class in the pledge at Thursday’s event.
Many of the students in the first class are parents, a role which has dictated the pursuit of their goals.
Walker said she was an LVN for 14 years and always wanted to become an RN. But she waited until her children grew up.
Classmate Tiffany Wooten said she has young children, but the college’s location enabled her to pursue her goal of becoming a registered nurse.
Both Walker and Wooten joined through the college’s LVN to RN bridge program. Others, like Kirsten Coleman, said they just needed a career change.
Following the pinning ceremony, all that stood in the way of the realization of those dreams was the conferring of diplomas at graduation – which is 2 p.m. today (Saturday) at the Weatherford College main campus.
There’s also “a pesky test” – the NCLEX, the National Council Licensure Examination – which all nurses must pass to receive their license.
During Thursday’s ceremony, staff recognized Jayme Staley as the class’s valedictorian and Whitney Lamance and Natalie Giddens as co-salutatorians.
Kim Taylor, president of the Student Nurses Association at WCWC, presented Durrett and Matt Joiner, associate dean of WCWC, a park bench on behalf of the class. The bench will be situated at the east end of the college, near the classrooms nursing students use.
“It’s a great day in the history of Weatherford College Wise County,” said Duane Durrett, dean of WCWC. “We are so proud of each and every one of you.”