For Immediate Release:
May 17, 2021
Primary Media Contact:
Public Relations Specialist
Laurel Ridge honored 125 newly-minted registered nurses during a virtual pinning ceremony on Saturday. There were 97 RN graduates on the Middletown Campus and 28 on the Fauquier Campus.
For the second straight year, the Covid-19 pandemic meant the ceremony could not take place in person on each campus. However, nursing graduates who took part in drive-thru diploma walks last week were able to be pinned in person at that time.
During the virtual celebration, Laurel Ridge President Kim Blosser told the graduating nurses the college is proud of them.
“You have persevered, you have completed this program, you have done things no other nursing student has probably ever done in their program,” she said. “Many of you have been part of our vaccination clinics. You have treated covid patients on your clinicals. You have done things that will serve you well in your nursing career. We are so, so proud of all that you have been able to accomplish.”
Teena Stevic was the class speaker for the Fauquier Campus cohort of RN students.
“Little did we know that halfway through our first year, the world around us would be greatly impacted by a pandemic and our education would change [to] an almost immediate transition into online schooling,” she said. “Labs and clinicals were canceled. Again, [we were] wondering, ‘what have we signed up for? Will we be able to do this? How are we going to learn to care for patients when we’re learning online?’”
Thankfully, Laurel Ridge’s nursing professors reassured their students, “You can do this,” Stevic said.
“We found ourselves at the frontline of the pandemic, working with contact tracing and later, when vaccines became available, we administered vaccines at the hospital, first to health care workers and later, to residents in our community,” she said.
Rather than discouraging them from their calling, the pandemic highlighted “the determination, the courage and the adaptability” of the nursing students, faculty and hospital partners, said Chad Godfrey, who was the class speaker for the Middletown Campus’s nursing program.
“For some of you, this is your first college experience; others, like myself, took a bit longer to discover nursing,” said Godfrey, a U.S. Army veteran. “Regardless of our backgrounds or the paths that we traveled getting here, it is our calling to care for others that unites us.”
The pinning ceremony was also a chance to present awards, including the Outstanding Graduate for each campus.
Fauquier Campus nursing program lead Amanda Brooks said the award goes to the student with the highest grade-point average for nursing courses only. This year, the campus had three students who graduated with a 4.0 GPA: Stephanie Hoshauer, Colleen Manfre and Tyler Willis.
“These students have been mentors to their classmates, have juggled families, school, work and volunteer time, and are always willing to lend a hand to their fellow classmates,” said Dr. Brooks.
Four Outstanding Graduates, all with 4.0 GPAs, were named on the Middletown Campus: Donna Kelly, Francis Atangan, Emma Delaney and Christopher Williams.
“They have demonstrated professionalism, conscientiousness, critical thinking, and above all, determination to overcome obstacles,” said Kristina Simpson, nursing lead in Middletown and the director of health professions at Laurel Ridge. “They have been leaders and have gone above and beyond to ensure their success both in the classroom and in clinical settings.”
The following awards were also presented during the pinning ceremony:
- Spirit of Nursing Award, Fauquier: Michael Williams
- Spirit of Nursing Award, Middletown: Chad Godfrey, Francis Atangan
- Transcendence Award, Fauquier: Irene Mburu
- Transcendence Award, Middletown: Gabby Piteira and Shandi Stanford
To watch the pinning ceremony, visit www.laurelridge.edu/commencement.
Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).
Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected], 173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.