Named valedictorian was Mary Tieche, of Smithville, daughter of Greg and Peggy Tieche, of Wooster. Salutatorian was Brooke Worstell, of Dalton, daughter of Dan and Kathy Rufener, of Dalton.
Worstell won the Tillie Lorincz Scholarship, the Edward, Arlene and Kaye Maibach Scholarship, and the Martell Family Scholarship; and the University of Akron scholarship went to Leah Ziegman, of Dalton. Worstell also won first place in the state of Ohio in practical nursing competition, and will represent Ohio at the SkillsUSA national competition in Kansas City, Mo. in June.
Students receiving honor certificates, maintaining a 90 percent or higher grade point average, were Tieche, Worstell, Samantha Schmale of Orrville and Ziegman.
Schmale gave the invocation, then Worstell spoke about the past two years. The class went from being quiet strangers to becoming a family, she said. She described the days that the class went through hallways portraying people with handicaps, simulating blindness or being confined to a wheelchair or crutches.
“It was a challenging couple of years,” Schmale said, “but a lot of fun was mixed in with the work.”
Valedictorian Mary Tieche said, “As we walk out these doors, there are new beginnings.” At first, she questioned whether or not she had the “right stuff to be successful.” Now, the class is academically prepared as well as professionally, with the care and compassion they all learned, she said. She thanked the instructors, Beth Gagnon and Pamela Vorkapich, for all they have done. “Our friends and families have supported us; together we have been successful,” she said. Tieche is confident that the class will “overcome our future fears” as they did at the beginning of their journey.
Vorkapich thanked the career center administration and staff for their support of the students, as well as that of the preceptors, nurses the students have worked with in clinicals.
She said she is not here to be the students’ friend, but to give them the means and information to become a nurse. “If a friendship is developed, that’s a bonus,” she said. The students have combined their skills and education to become advocates for their patients and their families. Great nurses are good with communication skills, both in speaking and listening to their patients and medical staff.
While the two-year program is stressful, Vorkapich continued, nurses need to learn how to deal with traumatic situations, and not allow stress to affect them. Nurses also need to be flexible, because many will spend countless hours working overtime, weekends and nights. Good nurses pay attention to detail, and don’t skip steps in their care of their patients. They need to problem solve quickly and be prepared for sudden incidences. Throughout all this, nurses need to respect patient’s wishes, as well as their varied cultures and traditions.
Each student nurse presented blue carnations to two people in the audience who supported them most.
Practical Nursing coordinator Jackie Shrock presented the class to Dr. Kip Crain, superintendent. She held up the nursing pin she had received when she became a nurse.
“You have been through extremely hard work and long nights stuffing knowledge in your brains,” said Shrock. “You have developed a love of caring for others. Hang on to your pin; it will remind you of the work you have done.”
Crain remarked that the nursing students began their school day earlier than any other class at the career center, and were limited in other activities because of the difficulty of their program.
“You have demonstrated character, hard work, perseverance and leadership,” he said. “You exemplify the great traditions and expectations we have of nursing classes. We didn’t make it easy, so you will be successful.”
A reception followed in the commons. Gideon representatives presented each nursing student with a white Bible.
Other members of the class were: Jessica Bilinovich of Triway, Angela Facemire of Manchester, Kaitlin Howard of Norwayne, Kendra Jett of Chippewa, Allison Keck of Norwayne, Seth Lepley of Smithville, Kaitlyn Miller of Waynedale, Carissa Szwed of Rittman, Vada Watson of Wooster, Jordan Wheeler of Orrville, and Katelyn Zacharias of Orrville.
Published: June 1, 2012