FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Highland Community College postponed its May commencement and later announced a virtual celebration of graduates. Highland’s spring class of 2020 had more than 200 graduates. During the traditional annual graduation ceremony, the Nursing program would hold a special pinning ceremony for Nursing and Medical Assistant students. This year, the college hosted the ceremony on Aug. 1.
The pinning ceremony was held in the parking lot next to the Natural Science Center/Ray and Betty Stamm Health Science Nursing Wing. With socially distanced seating for the graduates, with family sitting in their cars or on lawn chairs, the ceremony recognized each graduate with speeches from Chris Kuberski, President of Highland Community College and Dr. Jennifer Grobe, Associate Dean of Nursing & Allied Health.
The pinning ceremony is a time-honored nursing school tradition. Often more personally meaningful than the graduation ceremony for nurses, it signifies the official initiation into the brotherhood and sisterhood of nurses. The ceremonies began to include other allied health fields, such as Medical Assisting in the 20th century.
“This year, because the students could not be together in the last eight weeks of class to celebrate together, the pinning ceremony is a final time to join together to commemorate more than two years of hard work,” said Dr. Jen Grobe. “Because of the late date of the ceremony, many students have already passed their State Boards and have secured jobs. This made the day especially exciting.”
Kathryn Cifonie of Freeport was given the DAISY in Training award. The DAISY in Training Award is designed to remind students, even on the hardest days in nursing school, why becoming a nurse is an enriching career choice. It is for those students who exemplify the delivery of clinical care in a compassionate way to patients and their families.
Cierra Martin of Rockford was recognized with the ROSE award. The ROSE Award, which stands for Recognition of Service Excellence, rewards and celebrates the extraordinary efforts and compassion of a student.
Apple River: Carolyn Karlow
Belvidere: Angel Anderson
Chana: Athena Page
Davis: Ashton Lizer; Nichole Tobler
Dixon: Krystal Theisinger
Elizabeth: Mollie Thoren
Freeport: Ammber Ammons; Ana Awender; Katya Awender; Jacqueline Bennett; Aurora Bollon; Nichole Buss; Kathryn Cifonie; Josie Cotherman; Miranda Cox; Jenny Gerber; Lindsey Huenefeld; Rebecca Kundert; Briana McNett Brittany Mordini; Michael Spangler; Dajonna Taylor; Ronald Webb; Autumn Yoder; Elisha Yount
Leaf River: Nina Barker
Monroe, WI: Nathan Middagh
Mt. Morris: Karen Jacinto
Pearl City: Tori Clark
Pecatonica: Crystal Mason
Polo: Alexis Grobe
Rockford: Krystle Cole; Catalina Galvan; Colleen Gulley; Jillian Kinney; Lillea Miramontes; Nyssa Russ
Sterling: Stephanie McLean
Stillman Valley: Tiffany Wolf
Stockton: Montana Bartell
Medical Assistant Graduates:
Freeport: Garrett McDonald; Kelsey Schmit
Lanark: Jenessa Witt
Lena: Jordyn Hughes
Ridott: Ashly Bliss
Rockford: Cierra Martin
To learn more about the Highland Community College Nursing and Allied Health program, go to highland.edu/nursing or call 815-599-3679.