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Sixteen students pinned at RLC’s Practical Nursing ceremony

A handful of Rend Lake College students finished a year-long journey through the Practical Nursing program yesterday with a pinning ceremony in front of friends and family. The event was a symbolic welcoming of the students into the nursing profession.

After Nursing Director Nancy Buttry opened the ceremony in the Private Dining Area and welcomed everyone in attendance, Alison Clarke of Waltonville spoke on behalf of her class. She said the decision to come back to nursing school was a hard one to make, but worthwhile.

Alison Clarke addresses her classmates with words of advice and wisdom during the Pinning Ceremony yesterday afternoon.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

“I debated whether I wanted to do [practical nursing] and last minute felt like it was a good choice to make. After the first day of class, I was 100 percent sure it was a great decision,” said Clarke. “Thank you so much to Lynn (Salesberry, Nursing Instructor) for putting in your time, patience, and energy, and for always being supportive. Our confidence levels have increased by far from where we came.”

Clarke ended her speech with a quote from Maya Angelou to sum up her hopes for all 16 graduates: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Afterward, Salesberry presented the pins to each individual student and lead the group in the Nightingale Pledge, an oath recited by nurses to uphold specific ethical standards, which is named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

The Practical Nursing students in attednance at the Pinning Ceremony are, FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT, LeeAnn Garrison (Woodlawn), Katrina Templeton (Pinckneyville), Micah Neal (Benton), Mary Katherine Kopshever (Pinckneyville), and Alison Clarke (Waltonville); BACK ROW, Michele Dorris (Benton), Kamillia Hathaway (Bluford), Rebecca Heil (McLeansboro), Sabin Kohut (Pinckneyville), and Alyssa Russell (Broughton). Not pictured is Jared Allison (Benton), Jason Bernard (Belle Rive), Jami Cope (Pinckneyville), Kara Jarvis (Royalton), Glenda Lakin (McLeansboro), and Peighton Young (Carterville).
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

In closing, Buttry took to the podium again to challenge the students to maintain those ethical standards only just mentioned moments before.

“It’s important to remember how the public sees nurses. Since 1999 when the Gallup Poll added nurses to the list of professions they evaluate for ethics and honesty, nursing has been number one, except for one year,” said Buttry. “That’s a real challenge for nurses to continue to uphold. This trust is something we must continue to work for every day. That’s my challenge to you as you go forward.”

Buttry also expressed her hopes that each student pass their upcoming nursing exam and thanked family and friends in the audience for their support for each student.

She continued, “It’s always important to say, talking for the students but also for myself, we are thankful to the family and friends who support these students through their education. It’s not easy to come to nursing school with the long hours that are needed and the getting up early and all of the studying. It is a challenge, and sometimes it’s very stressful. We appreciate that you’ve done that for them this far, and we hope you’ll continue to support them in the future as they move forward with their education.”

A reception was held after the ceremony concluded. To learn more about RLC’s Practical Nursing program, visit