Celebrating success: Nursing pinning ceremony honors new graduates

By Diane VanDyke
Montgomery County Community College celebrated the graduation of 42 nurses during a special pinning ceremony on May 2 at the Blue Bell Campus. Photo by Linda Johnson

Montgomery County Community College celebrated the graduation of 42 nurses during a special pinning ceremony on May 2 at the Blue Bell Campus. Photo by Linda Johnson

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) celebrated the achievement of 42 nursing students with an inspiring ceremony held on May 2 at the Blue Bell Campus, marking a significant milestone in their journey toward becoming healthcare professionals.  

Dr. Chae Sweet, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, welcomed the families and guests who filled the newly renovated theater in the Montco Cultural Center where the ceremony was held. She congratulated the students who successfully completed the Dr. Stuart H. & Sandra K. Fine Nursing Program and were ready to start their careers.

nursing grads“Nursing is, indeed, a critical and high-priority occupation. Hospitals, medical offices and clinics are facing  a shortage of qualified, well-trained nurses,” Dr. Sweet said. “I am proud that you are poised to step into these roles and make meaningful contributions. Nursing is not merely a career; it is a calling to make a positive difference in the many patients who will be in your care.”

The ceremony’s keynote speaker, Assistant Professor of Nursing Milissa Pelonero, MSN, RN, shared her words of wisdom with the graduates.

Milissa Pelonero“Your nursing education will unlock many opportunities,” Pelonero said. “Keep an open mind, an adventurous spirit, focus on your patients and their care, and the sky will be the limit. As you receive your nursing pins today, you will embark on a noble path, one that is dedicated to leading a very positive impact on all. Let empathy guide your every action. Let compassion fuel your resolve and let the pursuit of excellence drive your ambition. Leave your mark on the world, one patient at a time. Continue to inspire, hope and heal wherever you go.”

Following Pelonero’s speech, Dr. Tammi Britt, Assistant Director of Nursing, described the history of the pinning ceremony, and then the students lined up to walk on stage to receive their pins and lamps from faculty members Lindsey Doran, MSN, RN-BC; Karen Karaban, Ph.D., RN; Elizabeth Keene, MSN/Ed, RN, CNE; and Kelly Lyles, MSN, RN, CEN, CPEN. Together on the stage holding their lit lamps, they recited International Council of Nurses Pledge.

After the students returned to their seats, student speaker, Leslie Pezzano, spoke to her peers about their experience as nursing students and the strength and perseverance it took to complete the rigorous program.

student speaker“Being a nurse is not just about grades. Nursing requires initiative and dedication, a passion for caring for people, empathy, connection to individuals and critical thinking,” she said. “No book can teach you how to tell a family their loved one is dying. No one teach you how to find dignity in bathing someone. Nursing is about being able to love a person at their weakest moment. We are here because we have a passion for nursing that stems from some moment or experience in our lives.”

The spring 2024 graduates include Heather Battavio, Katherine Bratspis, David Brown, Beza Deneke, Kathia Elhocine, Julissa Facey, Kevin Farrell, Amina Garcia, Shannon Glicken, Melissa Graber, Zehor Irkakene, Celina Irizarry, Christina Jung, Anna Kanolash, Tiffaney Keeler, Jessica Kiefer, Noah Kwasniuk, William Manley, Rosemary Manna, Ryan Martin, Kelly McCormick, Sarah McNaughton, Michael Mikalonis, Trinity Miller, Ashley Palmer, Sunket Patel, Leslie Pezzano, Trinity Pizzo, Sally Sainto, Madison Scheuren, Zahara Shapiro, Brittina Sinclair, Henry Slack, Sierrah Slaughter, Sharon Stirling, Cachae Smith, Ewa Szewczyk, Madison Turvey, Crystal Vinogradov, Cierra Weathersby, Michael Wellock and Jennifer Yim.

Following the ceremony, graduates, families and friends enjoyed refreshments by MCCC’s Culinary Arts students.

Fines and studentsMCCC nursing graduates are fully prepared to complete the National Council Licensing Examination-Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). In 2021-22, MCCC’s pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam was 92.52%, which exceeded the state rate of 84.37% and the national rate of 79.92%. Most recently, in March 2024, MCCC’s pass rate of the NCLEX-RN exam was 97%.

Many of MCCC’s nursing graduates are employed at hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics and other health care settings across Montgomery County and the region. Upon completion of the Dr. Stuart H. & Sandra K. Fine Nursing Program, graduates may seamlessly transfer their Associates of Applied Science degree to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Some of MCCC’s top transfer schools include Drexel University, Penn State University and Ohio University.

nursing grads