NJC recognizes 21 at nursing pinning ceremony

Guest speaker: Do the right thing, use your moral compass.

By CALLIE JONES | | Sterling Journal-Advocate
PUBLISHED: May 15, 2023 at 12:56 p.m. | UPDATED: May 15, 2023 at 3:13 p.m.

May 16, 2023
Northeastern Junior College recognized 21 graduates at its Associate Degree Nursing Pinning Ceremony Thursday, May 11, 2023.

It was only fitting that a new crop of nurses entered the field last week during National Nurses Week. Northeastern Junior College recognized 21 graduates Thursday, May 11, at its Associate Degree Pinning Ceremony.

The ceremony started with an invocation by graduate Heidi Binnendyk, followed by a welcome from Julie Brower, director of the nursing program.

Guest speaker for the evening was Kevin Stump, NJC math professor, who gave the graduates some wise advice starting with “If grandma wouldn’t approve, don’t do it.”

“Do the right thing. You have a moral compass… use it. Don’t lower your standards, don’t compromise your principles. Stand up for the little guy, Be worthy of trust, be kind, play nice, loyal, friendly, courteous,” Stump said.

Additionally, when in doubt he told the graduate to use the Scout Law. A Scout is:

• TRUSTWORTHY – Tell the truth and keep promises. So people can depend on you. AND give your trust.

• LOYAL – Show that you care about your family, friends, leaders, craft and country. Uphold the values and traditions of being a nurse, and an American.

• HELPFUL – Volunteer to help others without expecting a reward.

• FRIENDLY – Be a friend to everyone, even people who are very different from you.

• COURTEOUS – Be polite to everyone and always use good manners.

• KIND – Treat others as you want to be treated. Never harm or kill any living thing without good reason.

• CHEERFUL – Look for the bright side of life. Cheerfully do tasks that come your way. Try to help others be happy.

• OBEDIENT – Follow the rules of your family, school, and faith. Obey the laws of your community and country.

• THRIFTY – Work to pay your own way. Try not to be wasteful. Use TIME, food, supplies, and natural resources wisely.

• BRAVE – Face difficult situations even when you feel afraid. Do what you think is right despite what others might be doing or saying.

• CLEAN – Keep your body and mind fit. Help keep your home and community clean.

• REVERENT – Be reverent toward God. Be faithful in your religious duties. Respect the beliefs of others.

Stump also reminded the graduates to be humble and respectful and to remember they’re not always right, so it’s important to be willing to learn. But most importantly, if it’s not fun it becomes work.

“Congratulations Class of 2023 – you did it and everyone is proud of you!” he said.


Next, there were brief remarks by class president Cristen Houghton followed by Kelsey Dillinger, associate professor of nursing, recognizing scholarship recipients.

Later, two special awards were presented.

The Highest Academic Average Award, presented by the Sterling Rotary Club, went to Houghton.

Corazon DeJesus Mendez was honored with the Best Bedside Nurse Award, presented by the Sterling Lions Club. This award is very special as the recipient is chosen by the nursing faculty who work with the students in the clinical setting. This individual is awarded for demonstrating the best patient care and compassion while being trained as a nurse.

Next, the nursing faculty spoke about the history of the pinning ceremony and the importance of nurses and then it was time for the graduates to walk across the stage and receive their nursing pins. Each was pinned by one of their family members and after receiving their certificate, as they walked off stage they were gifted with a New Testament from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Gideons.

The Class of 2023 includes: Sonya Lee Batty of LaPorte; Heidi Patricia Binnendyk of Hillrose; Hashon Boyd of New Haven, Connecticut; Samantha Marie Buchanan of Wray; Savannah Ganesa Burris of Holyoke; Diego Doering of Yuma; Bailie Duncan of Eaton; Cristen Houghton of Sterling; Halle Parker Jones of Wray; Corazon DeJesus Mendez of Wiggins; Vanessa Meza of Kingsburg, California;  Darci Colleen Muller of Otis; Ruth Elizabeth Olivas of Yuma; Chelsea Lea Peterson of Greeley; Kaylee Propst of Atwood; Mercedes Patricia Puga of Stockton, Califfornia;  Rocio Sanchez of Fort Morgan; Monika Schmidt of Julesburg; and Jerelyn Straber of Chappell, Nebraska.

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