December 13, 2013

Kuntz, Knight and Witte win top awards

2013 RN class posed on stairs.

The 2013 graduating class included the following nurses (in no particular order): Virginia Allen, Sterling, CO; Aaron Clark, Sidney, NE; Elly Cochran, Merino, CO; Loraine Esquibe, Denver, CO; Amanda Fiegel, Sterling, CO, Heather Gaines, Akron, CO; Kimberly Gray, Sterling, CO; Shelby Harris, Sterling, CO: Amy Kabore, Woodlands, TX; Sherilyn Knight, Holyoke, CO; Kristy Kuntz, Sterling, CO; Tiffany Maelzer, Amherst, CO; Traci Nolan, Sterling, CO; Amy Pallesen, Riverton, WY; Heidi Romero, Ft. Morgan, CO, Meghan Sandridge, Sterling, CO; Jessica Sullivan, Sterling, CO; Shawn Unrein, Sterling, CO; Abbey Whomble, Wray, CO; and Erin Witte, Wray, CO. (Courtesy Photo)

Northeastern Junior College’s nursing department awarded 20 associate degrees to students completing the registered nursing training at the end of the fall 2013 semester. During the long-standing and lovely pinning ceremony, 19 women and 1 man experienced the meaningful tradition which serves as a coveted rite of passage into the nursing industry.

“Receiving your pin is not only a rite of passage, but it is also a cross to bear, a medal and a badge,” Mary Lederhous, RN, MSN, associate professor in the NJC nursing program told the graduates. Lederhous was one of four instructors who helped conduct the ceremony.

During the program, Julie Brower, director of nursing program at Northeastern, welcomed the crowd which had filled the ballroom in Hays Student Center.  She took a moment to outline some of the requirements of successfully completing the training. “These students completed the program with a 77 percent or higher test score in a very rigorous curriculum, they completed multiple papers, drove multiple miles to multiple sites, and took direction from multiple supervisors.”

Marci Dowis, a registered nurse in the emergency department at Sterling Regional Medical Center, herself a product of the NJC nursing program, was selected by the class to give address the class.  She talked about watching all of the students’ progress in their training as they moved in and out of clinical rotations. She gave them 12 words to live by. The words were: smile, travel, pray, cry, grow, laugh, teach, change, save, read, fight and love. She gave a short description of how each word applied to the life of a nurse. She strongly encouraged the new nurses to fight for their patients when they cannot fight for themselves and to love their patients and to love themselves.

Co-Class Presidents Erin Witte and Kimberly Gray addressed the graduates and the audience with a light-hearted dialogue about how the households where the new registered nurses live may now change. “When she tells you that she had a SOB patient come into the emergency room, she doesn’t mean what you think she means,” noted Kimberly Gray, adding, “she means shortness of breath!”

Students who had received scholarships were introduced to the crowd and applause was awarded the donors who support this program, as well as the clinical sites that make themselves available for students to do on-the-job training.  Students in this particular nursing group had received scholarships from the Frank and Gloria Walsh Foundation, the Dinsdale Transition Scholarship, the Carlson Foundation, the Logan County Nursing Association and the Wray Community District Hospital Board.

The Highest Academic Average Award, sponsored each year by the Rotary Club of Sterling was shared by Kristy Kuntz of Sterling and Sherilyn Knight of Holyoke who had tied academically to lead the class.  Rotarian President Steve Smith presented both ladies with engraved plaques. The very competitive Best Bedside Nurse Award, presented by the Lion’s Club of Sterling was presented by Darrel Smith, President of the Sterling Lion’s Club to Erin Witte of Wray.  The Ladies Auxiliary of the Gideons presented each graduate with a beautiful white New Testament.

The 2013 graduating class included the following nurses: Virginia Allen, Sterling, CO; Aaron Clark, Sidney, NE; Elly Cochran, Merino, CO; Loraine Esquibel, Denver, CO; Amanda Fiegel, Sterling, CO, Heather Gaines, Akron, CO; Kimberly Gray, Sterling, CO; Shelby Harris, Sterling, CO: Amy Kabore, Woodlands, TX; Sherilyn Knight, Holyoke, CO; Kristy Kuntz, Sterling, CO; Tiffany Maelzer, Amherst, CO; Traci Nolan, Sterling, CO; Amy Pallesen, Riverton, WY; Heidi Romero, Ft. Morgan, CO, Meghan Sandridge, Sterling, CO; Jessica Sullivan, Sterling, CO; Shawn Unrein, Sterling, CO; Abbey Whomble, Wray, CO; Erin Witte, Wray, CO.