Education, Healthcare

Laurel College of Technology celebrates first associate degree nursing class during pinning ceremony

MORGANTOWN – Laurel College of Technology celebrated its first graduating class and pinning ceremony for its Associate Degree in Nursing program Thursday night. On a night of firsts, it was also the first class to graduate from Laurel College’s new home on Wedgewood Drive.

Campus Director Sherri Rimel told the graduates, “We are all so very proud of you.” They and their friends and families should feel a true sense of pride for what they’ve accomplished, she added. “Nursing is not for the faint of heart.”

Twelve students made up the fall 2022 class and nine attended the ceremony.

Grace McMillen received the Mon Health Scholarship. She started as a medical assistant, she sid. “I wanted to further my education. … I always liked the nursing aspect, even in high school.” She will be working in the Mon Health Medical Center emergency room.

Kayla Swisher and Sydney Reddinger both received the Your Community Foundation of North Central WV scholarship.

Swisher said she started as a clinical assistant at Ruby Memorial Hospital. “I loved taking care of people, helping them get better.” She will be working in Ruby Memorial’s 10 East neurology stepdown unit.

Reddinger works in health care and her mother was a nurse. “I love science and I love people. Put them together ….”

Looking ahead, she said a lot of her teachers came from cardiac stepdown at Ruby and she did some time on that floor. “I find the heart really interesting, it’s fascinating.” and she’d like to work there.

After Rimel opened the ceremony, Laurel President and CEO Nancy Decker talked about the college’s move from Westover to its new home, and that the nursing program was the reason – the Westover site was too small.

“We are just so excited that they chose us for their nursing journey and we’re so excited to be here celebrating them tonight,” she said. She also praised and thanked the teachers.

Laurel partners with Mon Health System for the program (the building once housed Mon Health’s Wedgewood Primary Care) and Mon Health President and CEO David Goldberg offered some remarks to the class.

“What an exciting time this is for you,” he said. “Thank you for what you are about to do.” They will be taking care of people at a vulnerable time, he said, a time when they don’t want to be there but they need to be.

“Don’t let the tough environment wear you down. Keep the flame inside,” he said. And remember the health care team is a family. “Let us help you, never feel alone.”

Nursing Director Michelle Borland led the presentation of pins and talked to the class about what it means to be a nurse.

“You will never be bored. You will always be frustrated,” she said. “You will be surrounded by challenges.” They will see triumphs and failures, but “you will step into people’s lives and you will make a difference.”

Reddinger and co-valedictorian Emily Solt led the class in the Nightingale Pledge and teamed for their valedictorian address, both working through tears of joy.

Solt said the small group has formed lifelong friendships. “This is a special group and we are forever bonded together by this experience.”

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