Nursing graduates honored at pinning ceremony

December 19, 2023 Rich Rezler

Graduate address
Tomika White gives her graduate address at the Fall 2023 WCC Nursing Pinning Ceremony on Monday. (Photo by JD Scott)


Tomika White stepped to the podium and described the Fall 2023 Graduate Pinning Ceremony as “the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and unwavering commitment.”

Chosen as one of two student speakers to represent the latest graduating cohort from the WCC Nursing program, White described the experiences of the 52-member class to a near-capacity crowd of family and friends at Towsley Auditorium and those watching via a live stream (view replay) on Monday afternoon.

“Many of us are non-traditional students, juggling families, jobs and myriad other responsibilities … yet here we stand, having seen our dreams through to fruition. We leaned into our own resilience and determination, facing the complexities of nursing education head on,” said White, who is one of five graduates to earn Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society membership, joining James Blaschko, Mia Chalabian, Meleah Nunn and Suri Zielinski.

“It is a testament to our collective strength that we stand here today – adorned with our pins, a symbol of our tenacity and commitment to this noble profession,” White added.

Fellow student speaker Bobby Golden noted that although the graduating class was diverse in demographics and life experiences, they were being honored because of a similarity.

“The one thing we all have in common is, we showed up,” Golden said. “All of us are here today because we made the sacrifices, we put in the hours, we put in the work. … We made the choice to succeed. Failure was not an option.”

The graduating class was taking a giant step closer to joining the nursing profession by participating in the pinning ceremony, a time-honored tradition dating back to the 1880s that represents an initiation into the profession.

Up next for the group is passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a licensed Registered Nurse.

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WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, Interim Vice President for Instruction Dr. Brandon Tucker and Dean of Health Sciences Dr. Shari Lambert provided congratulatory greetings and Nursing faculty member Dr. Marva Brooks served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

In her address, Bellanca noted the quality of the WCC Nursing program — citing its 2023 re-designation as a Nursing Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing — and thanked the faculty for creating such a rigorous and respected academic curriculum.

Recently-retired faculty member Theresa Dubiel returned to provide the faculty address and noted that this graduating class would have been completing their prerequisites for the nursing program in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many people were leaving health care, running away as fast as they could, trying to get as far away as possible,” Dubiel said. “You were inspired. You stood up, leaned in and applied to the program … ready to serve. This says everything about your character, your work ethic and your giving spirit.”

Members of the Fall 2023 WCC Nursing Graduating Class include (in alphabetical order):

Michelle Baker
Terri’A Baskin
Taylor Beaudoin
James Blaschko*
Taylor Bondy
Juliana Boyd
Gillian Bross
Laura Butkovich
Summer Carignan
Mia Chalabian*+
Meagan Chrysler
Angela Cosme
Xiaoyan Cui
Emma Cummings
Grazia Curcuru
Umangini Desai
Emily Duscheck
Taylor Fegan
Melanie Ferguson
Chase Geimer
Laura Gilbert
Bobby Golden
Edward Gorman
Bjorn Graham
Jacob Griffith
Ashley Haver
Dana Hayes
Emily Johnson
Paige Johnston
Hannah Litow
Shaylin Marlow
Amanda Martus
Brittan Mayes+
Marina Maynard
Emmalee Mesky
Kendra Moore
Matthew Mullen
Meleah Nunn*
Joy Onuoha
Shayna Palinkas
Sylvia Pate-Fehser
Tabatha Raymor
Allison Reed
Wendie Robbins
Jamie Sams
Kelly Spurlock
Rebecca Walls
Tomika White*+
Monique Wieckowski
Suri Zielinski*+
Hailey Zink

* - Member of the Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society, HX chapter
+ - Member of the National Student Nurses Association

Tags: Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, Class of 2023, Graduation, Nursing, Student Succes

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