INA, Ill. (May 10, 2018) – Soon-to-be graduates of Rend Lake College’s Radiologic Technology program celebrated their upcoming commencement and board examination with a Pinning Ceremony this afternoon in the Student Center.
The students were surrounded by friends and family as program faculty offered words of encouragement and praise. Opening the ceremony was Program Director Holly Heisner who commended the 16 students for their dedication through a trying year.
“Thank you for always giving us your best when you were here,” said Heisner. “You’ve been working full-time, part-time, taking care of your families at home. We’ve had some personal medical issues and emergencies, but you really have stayed dedicated and devoted, and we saw that every day. I hope that you continue to grow in your profession, that you stay driven, and that you always want to be the best.”
For those in the audience, Heisner also summarized the hard work each student put into the two year program, and thanked them for their support.
“I’d like to talk about the specifics that our grads had to endure to get to this point. Every one of them has completed 69.5 credit hours. They’ve had to obtain 62 clinical competencies through five different clinical semesters, and they also have logged 167 clinical days for a total of 1,336 hours of free labor. Most of these graduates have been doing all this while juggling personal lives, work and family, so this is a huge accomplishment,” said Heisner. “Thank you to the loved ones who have given these students all the support they’ve had through this program.”
Echoing Heisner’s words was class speaker Nicholas Hirsch of Du Quoin. Hirsch recounted the personal struggles many of his classmates underwent, all while focusing on clincals, tests, and much more.
“I think we all knew this experience wasn’t going to be easy,” said Hirsch. “All of us have had different challenges. Some of us have had children, some have raised children, some have raised children on their own. Some have been engaged, married, suffered loss, dealt with death, and one person even lost their home to a fire. I know some have struggled with one, two, or even three jobs outside of school just to try to support their families. We couldn’t have done it without the people sitting in this room today. Our mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, spouses, and friends have all made tremendous sacrifices that have allowed us to accomplish our goals. We know it wasn’t easy to always put us first. I want to thank everyone in this room who made any sacrifices to help us get to where we are today.”
Several special student awards and recognitions followed Hirsch’s speech. Decided on by Heisner, Robinson and two part-time faculty Lyndsey Epplin and Josh Wilkerson, the awards were for students who went above and beyond, both in the classroom and at clinicals.
Both Hirsch and Sarah Wilson of Woodlawn were named the 2018 Most Outstanding Radiologic Technology students. De Soto’s Raelyn Blumenstock was named the 2018 Most Improved Radiologic Technology student.
Wilson also received special recognition for perfect class and clinical attendance. Fellow classmate Megan Moody of Pinckneyville was recognized for perfect class attendance. Seven students were also honored for their hard work to join the Lambda Nu Honor Society: Blumenstock, Hirsch, Moody, Celeste Ellis (McLeansboro), Alison German (Eldorado), Hillary Ionson (Benton), and Alexandrea Ritchey (Mt. Vernon).
Heisner and Bria Robinson, Clinical Coordinator, then called each graduate forward to present them with their pin. After the pinning ceremony, Robinson left the students with a few tips to take with them on their career.
“One, never stop learning. We know our field continues to evolve and change and grow. Don’t ever be the one who says, ‘I didn’t know that.’ Continue to learn,” said Robinson. “You all have probably heard me say this a thousand times too, and I’m going to say it one more time. Always be kind. Thank you so much to the parents, grandparents, and family for helping and supporting. Congratulations Class of 2018.”
The students alongside their friends and family, and RLC faculty, staff and administrators enjoyed punch and cake following the ceremony. A prayer during the pinning was led by Moody.