Blackhawk Nursing Graduates Honored in Pinning Ceremony

May 9, 2024


Front row (left to right): Tara Schenk, Megan Lallier, Helly Patel, Cassidy Frey, Jenna Jordan, Kailee Schimelpfenig. Middle row (left to right): Tasha Zimmerman, Cassie Kapaun, Leslie Lavariega, Mara Wanninger, Jenellan Reetz, Grace Schrenk, Abbie Stubbendick. Back row (left to right): MaKenna Balch, Sierra Hill, Kassandra Berget, Mariana Tinajero-Espinoza, Melissa Nandory, Dakota Thompson. Not pictured: Kassi Marler

Twenty graduating Nursing students were celebrated on Thursday in a special pinning ceremony for their completion of the Associate Degree of Nursing.

“Nursing is hard, stressful, mentally and physically exhausting. Why would we choose to go into something like this? Because of the patients and families we have cared for and we’ve made an impact on,” said Melissa Nandory, graduate and student speaker. “Even in our short time as student nurses, several of us have had the opportunity to provide excellent care. When a patient or family says to you: ‘Thank you for making a difference.’ Or ‘Thank you for listening to me when no one else would.’ That’s why we do it – because we can make an impact.”

The pinning ceremony is a rite of passage for nursing graduates. The tradition began in the 1860s when Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale the Red Cross of St. George to recognize her service as a nurse during the Crimean War. Nightingale, who is credited as the founder of modern nursing, wanted to share this recognition. She later presented medals to her nursing students.

At Blackhawk, each nursing student designates a person in their life to “pin” them. That person – often a family member or friend – presents the graduate with a pin.

Led by nursing graduate Grace Schrenk, the graduates also recited the Nightingale Pledge, which is often cited at pinning ceremonies for nurses and is like the Hippocratic oath that is recited by new physicians.

Mariana Tinajero-Espinoza received the Students’ Choice Award. The students voted for one classmate who’d they like caring for them or their loved ones.

Many of the graduates have already been hired by area health care providers. Jobs range from hospice care and home health to hospital and clinic positions.

Congratulations to the Spring 2024 Nursing Graduates:

  • Makenna Balch
  • Kassandra Berget
  • Cassidy Frey
  • Sierra Hill
  • Jenna Jordan
  • Cassie Kapaun
  • Megan Lallier
  • Leslie Lavariega
  • Kassi Marler
  • Melissa Nandory
  • Helly Patel
  • Jenellan Reetz
  • Tara Schenk
  • Kailee Schimelpfenig
  • Grace Schrenk
  • Abbie Stubbendick
  • Dakota Thompson
  • Mariana Tinajero-Espinoza
  • Mara Wanninger
  • Tasha Zimmerman

Blackhawk will hold two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 18, at The Dream Center, 2460 Milwaukee Road, Beloit. The 9 a.m. ceremony will include graduates from Blackhawk’s University Transfer, Business, and Manufacturing, Apprenticeship, Technology & Transportation division programs. The 11:30 a.m. ceremony will include graduates from Health and Public Safety programs. Both ceremonies will be broadcast at

Previous Article Doubleday Retires as EPD Instructor After More Than 15 Years
Next Article First Dental Hygienist Students to Graduate from Blackhawk
© 2024, Blackhawk Technical College. All rights reserved.