Nunez Honors Practical Nursing Grads At Pinning Ceremony

Nunez Community College held a socially-distanced Pinning Ceremony for 10 Practical Nursing graduates Dec. 17 at the Nunez auditorium. Pictured from left are Joshua Borchers, Diana Miralda, Rachel Johnson, Jennifer Dunn, Jowanda Taylor, Lashanda Matthews, Elizabeth Field, MaryAnn Schaeffer and Frank Case. Not pictured is Jasmine Doucette.

Nunez Community College celebrated the graduation of 10 Practical Nursing graduates on Dec. 17 with a socially-distanced Pinning Ceremony on the Nunez campus. 

Due to COVID protocols, no family or friends were allowed to attend the ceremony in the Nunez auditorium. Instead, the event was live-streamed on the Nunez YouTube page, where a video of the ceremony is available to view. 

The coronavirus pandemic loomed large over the Pinning Ceremony. Not only will the Nunez graduates enter a healthcare field that is battling a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, but they have been impacted by the disease since March when the initial wave forced students into all-virtual classrooms. 

“This class has faced being shut down just a few short weeks into their medical-surgical clinical rotations due to COVID,” said Nunez Practical Nursing Program Director Lauren Winters. “Our nursing staff had to regroup and find ways to bring the clinicals to students on a virtual platform. And the students had to adapt to a platform that was truly never the ideal for nursing school. But they met the task and eventually excelled.” 

Beyond the universal struggle to remain focused during virtual lessons, many Nunez PN students joined online classes while their own children were at home undertaking their own virtual schooling. Additionally, many Nunez nursing students were already working long shifts in healthcare settings, caring for COVID patients while completing their degrees. 

“Considering all the challenges, they scored extremely high on their licensing predictor exam,” said Winters. “These students have been wonderfully resilient and we expect great things from these graduates.” 

The unprecedented nature of their online classes and the work ahead for the PN students were referenced throughout the Dec. 17 Pinning Ceremony.  

“We always look forward to celebrating completion,” Nunez Chancellor Dr. Tina Tinney told the graduates in her opening remarks. “But this year is incredibly impactful. You represent the very best of students at Nunez.” 

Nursing graduate Frank Case, who was chosen by his peers as the student speaker for the Pinning Ceremony, summed up the situation in his remarks. 

“The world caught fire, and the 10 of us walked toward it,” said Case. “To the Class of 2020, we did it. It feels like a lifetime.” 

Winters described Case as a natural leader who buoyed his classmates with humor throughout the program and possesses “the confidence to take on any challenge.”  

Graduate Jowanda Taylor was presented with both of the Pinning Ceremony’s traditional awards: the Academic Achievement Award and the Florence Nightingale Award.  

“Jowanda has excelled in both her theory and clinical courses. She is soft-spoken, always smiling, and quick to review the rare answers she gets incorrect on tests,” said Winters. “She goes above and beyond to seek knowledge and understanding. During clinicals you could always find her in her patients’ rooms talking to them and their families.” 

Nunez’s Fall 2020 Practical Nursing graduates include: 

  • Joshua Borchers (Chalmette) 
  • Frank Case (Metairie) 
  • Jasmine Doucette (New Orleans) 
  • Jennifer Dunn (Metairie) 
  • Elizabeth Field (Gretna) 
  • Rachel Johnson (Pearl River) 
  • Lashanda Matthews (New Orleans) 
  • Diana Miralda (New Orleans) 
  • MaryAnn Schaeffer (Lacombe) 
  • Jowanda Taylor (Marrero) 

Applications for Nunez’s Fall 2021 Practical Nursing class will be open from Feb. 1-April 15. Registration for the Spring 2021 semester is open now at Nunez.edu.