45 graduates participated in HCC nursing pinning ceremony

  • Clayton Marquiss gives a hug to Hagerstown Community College nursing instructor Stephanie Nicholson Saturday after receiving his associate degree in the nursing program.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

In keeping with the tradition of the Hagerstown Community College nursing program and the nursing profession itself, 45 graduates participated Saturday afternoon in a pinning ceremony.

“Pinning signifies the culmination and attainment of each student’s accomplishments,” nursing program director Karen Hammond said. The practice dates back to the days of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War, Hammond said.

Following Saturday morning’s commencement, nursing graduates returned for the afternoon ceremony, where each received a pin bearing the name of the college and the profession.

Hammond said the ceremony is “very important” to nursing graduates.

“It gives them a chance to revisit faculty, to gives hugs and kisses and thank them for all they’ve done to support them. The nursing program is pretty hard,” she said.

Thirty graduates received an associate degree in registered nursing and 15 earned practical nursing certificates.

The ceremony included a processional candle lighting and remarks by faculty and graduates.

Susan Clutz, professor of nursing, said the graduating class was especially determined and diligent.

“These women are mothers, grandmothers, caregivers who have done an incredible job. They have made such an impact. They absolutely will not quit,” Clutz said.

Kristle Larmore, 27, of Greencastle, Pa. earned an associate degree in registered nursing and attended the pinning.

“It’s not for all of HCC, but just for our program,” Larmore said. “It sets us apart as nurses.”

Brittany Trotta, 26, of Hagerstown, also received an associate degree in registered nursing and said she valued the custom of pinning.

“It’s a big tradition that came long before us. Now, it’s our turn,” Trotta said. “I like the whole Florence Nightingale idea of it. I just hope we can live up to her legacy.”

Hammond said the pinning was the graduates’ “send-off into the profession of nursing.”

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