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Jamie Araki/KHTS News

Dozens Of COC Nursing Graduates Celebrated In Drive-By Ceremony

Sixty College of the Canyons (COC) nursing graduates were celebrated in a drive-by ceremony at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center Saturday morning. 

Graduates were joined by their family and friends in their vehicles, and welcomed by COC nursing staff members as they drove through the ceremony. 

Throughout the drive-by ceremony, the traditions normally held at graduation were still completed, one of the most important being the pinning of the nursing graduates. 

“Pinning is extremely important to the graduates. The nursing pin is something the graduates will carry with them their entire life,” said Mary Corbett MSN, RN, Nursing Program Director at COC. “We were so happy to be able to do a virtual pinning for them, where Dr. Dianne Van Hook spoke, and everyone was celebrating the students, but we wanted to do something in person.”

Jamie Araki/KHTS News

Graduates were able to exit their vehicles with one family member, who was able to place the pin on the graduate. After the pinning, the graduates were escorted by that family member down a red carpet, where their photo was taken. 

“I feel super blessed that the faculty put this together for us,” said Camille Henson, one of the 60 graduates. “Pinning really symbolizes finishing nursing school and I appreciate how the staff made something really special for us the best way they can.”

Along with the pinning, graduates also received their stoles and a gift box that included special items the graduates can carry with them forever. The items included a mug designed by Corbett and a jacket, along with other small gifts. 

Jamie Araki/KHTS News

With the onset of COVID-19 and the movement of classes at COC moved to online formats, the nursing students were faced with a unique semester. However, even with the changes in the program, all 60 students were able to finish their degrees and graduate. 

“We could not have done this without Dr. Dianne Van Hook, who really advocated for these students both locally and statewide,” Corbett said. “There was a huge change made because of COVID-19, and we were able to advocate to have the Department of Consumer Affairs and Board of Registered Nursing to make a change so the students could complete their hours and meet their clinical objectives doing different things. We created a whole telehealth model, where the students called the Canyons Promise students to help them with information and they checked on senior citizens receiving meals at home.”

Aside from telehealth, the graduates also had the opportunity to take part in the self administration COVID-19 testing site at COC. 

“We were at the COVID-19 testing site at COC, which was not only helpful for the students to meet their clinical hours and objectives, but it was also an amazing experience for them because they know that they stepped up during this time and that they helped their community,” Corbett said. “During that time they helped facilitate the self admin of over 7000 tests. We are proud of them, and are very grateful of the support from everyone here at COC.

When asked for a message to the graduates, Corbett touched on how the students truly encompass the idea of how nursing is both an art and a science, and how truly excited she is for them to enter the profession.  

“I am so excited for them because nursing is an amazing profession. It is an art and a science,” Corbett said. “They have so much to offer to the community in the future, and we are so proud to be able to say we had a hand in that.”

Jamie Araki/KHTS News

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Dozens Of COC Nursing Graduates Celebrated In Drive-By Ceremony

About Jamie Araki

Jamie is a photographer and journalist from Los Angeles, CA. She specializes in breaking news photojournalism, large event coverage and off-road sports photography. Jamie has been official media at events like King of the Hammers, LA Pride Parade and LA Comic Con. Jamie has been published multiple times, both in the US and in New Zealand.