WCC nursing graduates celebrated during virtual ceremony

May 4, 2021 Rich Rezler


Sixty-one graduates of the Washtenaw Community College Associate Degree in Nursing program were honored during a virtual pinning ceremony on Tuesday.

The pinning of nursing graduates is a time-honored tradition dating to the 1880s that represents an initiation into the profession. Though restrictions against large in-person gatherings prevented the Class of 2021 cohort from participating in the physical act of receiving their nursing pin, the 65-minute ceremony was filled with emotion and celebration.

In her address, WCC Dean of Health Sciences Dr. Valerie Greaves cited a recent Gallup Poll that rated nurses as the most trusted profession in the United States for the 18th consecutive year.

“I hope as your name is announced today in the pinning ceremony that you’ll feel a sense of pride, a sense of duty and a sense of calm knowing that you’re fully prepared to continue to carry the torch for another generation of the most trusted profession,” Greaves said.

The fact that the Class of 2021 faced the challenge of completing a bulk of its studies during a global pandemic – and were preparing themselves to join the front-line battle – was a common theme throughout the evening.

Nursing department chair Dr. Theresa Bucy, who served as emcee throughout the event, told the graduates that completing the nursing program during these challenging times only made them stronger.

“Now you’re going to carry that pride of accomplishment and all of the coping mechanisms and strength that you’ve had to learn in school out into the practice setting,” Bucy said. “You are well prepared and your pin represents that.”

WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca addressed the graduates and noted that nursing has always been an honorable profession, but it became even more apparent during the pandemic just how much communities depend on the profession.

“What does completing this program today say about you? It says that not only do you have the aptitude to do a great job; but you have courage, you have bravery, you have dedication and you have perseverance,” Bellanca said. “Those qualities will make a difference your whole life through.”

Graduates Emma Atkins, Chelese Frame and Justin Tepper were selected to speak on behalf of the class. Each of their remarks included mention of the unique challenges the Class of 2021 were met with.

Said Atkins: “I believe that my cohort did not just adjust, but has thrived within these harsh new conditions. My classmates and I would once recoil in fear when told, ‘Today’s a skill check-off day,’ but now I would trust them to treat and care for my loved ones.”

Said Frame: “This is not a minor accomplishment. It is a story we can tell for years to come. We beat the odds. We pushed ourselves for this. This push has taught me that I can do anything. … You, I, we can do anything we put our minds to.”

Tepper thanked the program’s faculty, clinical instructors and staff: “To have to go through a massive change in March 2020 and still have the ability to teach us and inspire us under those changes was nothing short of Herculean. … Thank you for reaching down the nursing ladder to bring us up.”

The program concluded with Director of Nursing Joanne Yastick leading the class in the recital of the Florence Nightingale Pledge.


The Class of 2021 nursing graduates include:

  • Hanifa Abdullah Al Basir
  • Bahar Abrarova
  • Evelin Alvarez-Hernandez
  • Emma Atkins
  • Elizabeth Barnes
  • Alexandra Birmingham
  • Jordan Bota
  • Shayna Brown
  • Steven Brown
  • Amy Claire Buchler
  • Brandy Cameron
  • Christina Choi
  • Alexander Clark
  • Jamie Clogg
  • Stephanie Compton
  • Heather Crosby
  • Veronica Darling
  • Savannah Dougherty
  • Nicole Dulinski
  • Deven Dusseau
  • Veronica Echlin
  • Bailey Eiland
  • Danya El-Yaman-El-Dandashli
  • Scott Elder
  • Shawn Elston
  • Kirsten Ferguson
  • Alexander Finzel
  • Chelese Frame
  • Karyn French
  • Delaney Gilligan
  • Marina Goetzke
  • Larry Gunderson
  • Timothy Guttman
  • Jenna Hansen
  • Mairin Hatch
  • Bradi Henson
  • Elliott Hill
  • Jodie Hughes
  • Maxwell Kowalczyk
  • Pamela Laird
  • Anna Lipinski
  • Jillian McCardell
  • Casey McDurmon
  • Olivia McEldery
  • Jessa Moua
  • Nicole Ortiz
  • Audra Ready
  • Gemmabelle Reyes
  • Alexa Reyst
  • Ethan Schmidt
  • Ivana Senic
  • Justin Tepper
  • Amy Todd
  • Megan Townsend
  • Jacob Tuthill
  • Tihana Vojvodic
  • Stephanie Watson
  • Amy Whaley
  • Devinne Whiting-Everett
  • Sarah Woolson
  • Maya Zaitounh

Tags: Class of 2021, Graduation, Health Sciences, Nursing, Student Success, ousearch_News_2021

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