24 future nurses celebrated at Central Arizona College’s nursing pinning ceremony

By Guy Harrison, Media & Marketing Specialist 

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – Twenty-four Central Arizona College students were celebrated and recognized for completing the college’s nursing program, one of the most challenging curricula offered in higher education. 

The program’s 46th Nursing Division graduating class was confirmed during the Spring 2013 Nursing Convocation Ceremony held at the Signal Peak Campus on May 14. 

After a warm welcome given by CAC Dean of Health Careers Julian Easter, CAC President Doris Helmich and Acting Director of Nursing Janice Vermiglio-Smith, the graduates received their pins, a time-honored tradition of nursing schools across the country, signifying a student’s completion of the program. 

The graduates were addressed by Allison Bethune, CAC’s professor of nursing, who told students, “You have gained much knowledge during your time with us and now it’s time to take that knowledge to the next level: wisdom.” 

Once the graduates received their pins, class speaker Pamela Canington (Chandler, AZ/Hamilton) addressed her fellow graduates and thanked family members in the audience for their support throughout the graduates’ respective journeys. 

“I feel like I can say with certainty that none of us knew what we were getting into when we started,” Canington said. “Nursing school can never be properly explained to those who have never been through it; but nonetheless, our husbands, wives, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers have stuck it out with us, and we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” 

Numerous awards were given to a select few graduates. Karen Althouse (San Diego, CA/Mount Carmel) was recognized with the Outstanding Academician Award for having graduated with the highest grade point average, while Zachary Villanueva (Casa Grande, AZ) earned the program’s Outstanding Clinician Award. 

The evening concluded with a candle lighting ceremony and the graduates taking the Florence Nightingale Pledge. The pledge, an adaption of the physician’s Hippocratic Oath, was written in 1893 by Lystra E. Gretter and the Farrand Training School for Nurses in Detroit. 

The following 24 students received their pins during the ceremony and received an associate of applied science degree during graduation ceremonies May 17-18. 

Karen Althouse (San Diego, CA/Mount Carmel)

Karen Buie (Casa Grande, AZ)

Pamela Canington

Jessica Ellis (Coolidge, AZ/Coolidge)

Linda Eppich (San Tan Valley, AZ)

Melissa Gunderson (Casa Grande, AZ/Casa Grande Union)

Alisa Hartman (Gold Canyon, AZ/Valley)

Leslie Hooten (Lynden, WA/Lynden Christian)

Jennifer Jackson (Howells, NY/Minisink Valley)

Adetutu Jolaogun (Casa Grande, AZ)

Brian McDowell (Queens, NY/Long Island Lutheran)

Amber Middleton (Florence, AZ/Florence)

Jennifer Miller (Spokane, WA/Flathead)

Ashley Needham (Henderson, NV/Basic)

Tanya Pacanas (Chandler/Mountain View)

Lindsey Pren (Sturgis, SD/Sturgis Brown)

Kaara Robert (Pawtucket, RI/Saint Raphael Academy)

Stacy Streicher (Casa Grande, RI)

Karen Stults (Apache Junction, AZ)

Sarah Sykes (Apache Junction, AZ/Apache Junction)

Madeline Tecson (Coolidge, AZ)

Rebecca Turley (Tempe, AZ/McClintock)

Eryn Vest (Molalla, OR/Molalla)

Zachary Villanueva


Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814