MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) - Southern Regional Technical College in Moultrie held its first-ever drive-thru pinning ceremony Tuesday night, honoring its nursing students.
Finally complete with the one-year bridge program, 24 Associate of Science in Nursing students received their pin, symbolizing their right of passage into the nursing profession.
“It’s a big relief. It marks the end of this journey, really, and the start of a new chapter. It’s nice to be able to come out here and see everybody for one last time,” said Nestor Nunez, a graduating nursing student.
”I’m so glad that they made it happen for us. It’s very special and it’s something that we can always remember,” said Kristal Sheffield, another nursing student who earned her pin.
Nunez and Sheffield both said they didn’t think they would be able to have a graduation like this, but instead, would have a virtual ceremony.
Nunez said they took a poll, electing the drive-thru ceremony because it felt more personal.
“It’s been a long journey especially, especially doing it during a global pandemic. Already being a nurse and working the front lines, it’s very emotional but I’m very excited and I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of my classmates,” said Sheffield.
During the ceremony, each student received a pin and lamp from faculty and several students were also recognized with awards.
After a long and hard year, Nunez and Sheffield said going through this program during a pandemic makes them more passionate about the profession, regardless of the challenges they faced.
“We had some students that had some very close encounters with COVID, and just the fact that we were able to help them out, come together and make sure everyone made it through the end. It was fascinating to watch,” said Nunez.
Nunez said he’s going on to work at Tift Regional Medical Center in the COVID unit.
Sheffield said she’ll continue working at Colquitt Regional Medical Center and become a certified labor nurse.
“This school and our instructors made it possible. I couldn’t have done it without them. I’m just thankful and proud,” said Sheffield.
This class of students will officially become registered nurses after passing their board exams.
In the next few weeks, nursing students in Thomasville and Tifton will receive drive-thru ceremonies as well.