Twenty-four students received their Licensed Practical Nursing pins Thursday, the 100th class to graduate from Southeast Community College's program since it began 50 years ago.
A reception, complete with a slide show, photo albums of past classes and refreshments, was held for students, their families, alumni, current and former instructors, and friends.
Mary Trumble, chair of the Lincoln Campus program, was pleased with the event.
"I'm very satisfied with how the day went," said Trumble, who is retiring in June after 17 years with SCC's program, the last 11 as chair. "This is my last pinning ceremony. I've had a great time with this program, and I have enjoyed watching students come through the program and become nurses."
The first seven classes of the Lincoln Public School of Practical Nursing were graduated under the Manpower Development and Training Act and started on Oct. 28, 1963, by the State Board of Nursing. On March 17, 1964, approximately 30 students were admitted into the first program class, which would admit students every six months.
Judy Balka was a member of the fourth graduating class in September 1965. She attended Thursday's event.
"I went to the employment office in Grand Island looking for summer employment," said Balka, a 1964 graduate of Central City High School. "I needed to save money for school. They told me about this Manpower Training Act, which paid your tuition and gave you a small stipend for living expenses. That's how I ended up in Lincoln and in the program."
Her first job after graduation was with the Lutheran hospital in Grand Island. Since then she's worked in a variety of health care settings, has served on the State Board of Nursing and held an office with the Licensed Practical Nurse Association of Nebraska. She recently retired.
"The instructors were very dedicated," she said, "and the schooling and training helped me do a good job. In fact, most of the jobs I had I did not apply for. People contacted me."
Balka's class was held in the Rudge & Guenzel building in downtown Lincoln. The program has been offered in various other Lincoln locations, including Millard Lefler Jr. High. On Dec. 8, 1969, the program was granted full accreditation by the National League for Nursing and has remained accredited continually since. In early 1970 the name of the program became Lincoln Technical College School of Practical Nursing, and the March 1970 graduating class was the first to graduate under that name.
Since that first class 50 years ago, more than 2,500 students have graduated. Balka said nursing has changed a lot in the 49 years since she received her pin, but the commitment to caring for people has not.
"I feel very fortunate to have found an occupation that I really enjoy," Balka said.
The 100th graduating class of SCC's Practical Nursing program:
McKenze Kay Anderson, Lincoln; Jennifer Elizabeth Anker, Lincoln; Jessica Jo Brazda, Lincoln; Taisa Marie Brumagen, Lincoln; Sarah M. Bryant, Lincoln; Kaylee Mae Burrows, Clarkson; Lyndsee Cisman, Phoenix, Ariz.; Rosanna Marie Fuller, Lincoln; Tami Sue Girard, Lincoln; Kim-Lien Thi Ho, Huế, Vietnam; Prince Katty, Harbel, Liberia; Tabitha Leann Klingenberg, Lexington, Mo.; Jacqueline Marie Kowalewski, Lincoln; Xiaoping Li, Harbin, China; Samiullah Mohsini, Lincoln, NE; Danielle Karee Neujahr, Hamburg, Iowa; Sabrina Elizabeth Novak, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; Sara Jo Oleson, Norfolk; Lassissi S. Salahou, Lomé, Togo; Shalene Marie Shepard, Milford; Erin E. Singh, Hastings; Amy L. Thompson, Lincoln; Kassoum Valian, Burkina, Faso; Kayleigh Alyssa Zautke, Waverly.
Current SCC faculty are Diane Anderson, RN, MSN; Kami Brinkerhoff, RN, MSN; Denise Lagueux, RN, MSN; Erin Putney, RN, MSN; Dawn Renshaw, RN, MSN, PNP-BC; and Jennifer Rohr, RN, BSN, MSN.