May 12, 2017

CARTERVILLE — The 2017 pinning ceremony for nursing graduates was just another example of how anything is possible at John A. Logan College.

“I’ve known my whole life that I wanted to become a nurse,” said nursing graduate Connie Simmerman, one of 73 graduates Wednesday night. “I wanted to raise my three children first,” she explained, noting a number of other situations in her life that kept her from school. “I knew I’d get here, I just didn’t know how long it would take. Tonight’s pinning ceremony proves you can do anything you put your mind to.”

It was a night of tears, laughter, flowers, and an amazing singing performance by two nursing graduates who stunned the crowd of nearly 800 gathered inside the Donald L. Brewer Gymnasium and Convocation Center.

Graduates Alicia Pritchett and Pamela Wright sang “For Good,” bringing about a rousing ovation from the crowd. “Wow,” said Marilyn Falaster, director of nursing at John A. Logan College who served as master of ceremonies. “Who knew we had nurses who could sing like that?”

After nursing graduates and Logan faculty and administrators proceeded into the gymnasium to “Pomp and Circumstance,” Falaster introduced Danny Beasley who gave the invocation. She then welcomed the crowd and introduced Dr. Ron House, president of John A. Logan College.

“I am extremely proud of our nursing program and I am extremely proud of all of you who are graduating tonight with your associate degree in nursing,” House said.

Falaster then introduced the nursing faculty. They included: Donna Farris, Janet Followell, Heather Hampson, Pam Hays, Cindy Henley, Julie Horecker, Mikeal Kos, Erin McGuire, Debbie Russell, and Barbara Patchett. Patchett’s introduction brought about a standing ovation.

“Barbara (Patchett) got the original program off the ground,” Falaster noted.

Three graduates then spoke, including Megan Anderson, Thomas Slavin, and Holly Sims.

“Being a nursing is anything but ordinary,” Anderson said.

“Remember, a patient is someone’s mother, father, or child,” noted Slavin.

“I have met the most wonderful people I have ever met in my life though the John A. Logan College Nursing Program,” said Sims.

The pinning of graduates then took place. Falaster read comments presented by each graduate. She also made comments about many of the graduates.

One graduate, she noted, had taught chemistry and biology in high school for 15 years before deciding to become a nurse. Another graduate taught dental hygiene at Southern Illinois University before deciding to a make a career change to nursing.

Another graduate, she noted, had taken a kayak during recent flooding in Southern Illinois in order to make it to class for finals.

Jaxson Haseker, the 22-month-old son of graduate Victoria Haseker, jumped from his grandmother’s lap and ran to take flowers to his mother as her name was read by Falaster. His shirt read, “My hero wears scrubs. I call her mommy.”

He walked away with a smile on his face. His mother wiped away tears.