BANGOR, Maine — Editor’s note: You are starting to hear the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means.
As most high school and college seniors wait to see what will happen with their graduation plans, Beal College nursing students already know their fate.
The pinning ceremony is a nursing school tradition and an act of symbolism of becoming a registered nurse.
"[It's] like when a police officer gets his badge, it’s a very similar situation," Class President Tish Pendergast said.
The event was canceled due to concerns caused by the coronavirus and its spread in Maine. The students raised $4,000 over the course of more than a year for the celebration.
Instead of rescheduling the event, the future graduates decided to donate the money to current hospital workers.
“We could have easily held our pinning ceremony in the fall," Pendergast said. "[Now we can] give them hot meals, give them treats, just show our support.”
This cohort of students was set to be the first nurses pinned at Beal College. The first graduating class is always one to remember from an administrative side, but this class raised the bar pretty high.
“The first cohort will absolutely be remembered for this gesture absolutely," Dean of Nursing and Biological Science Dr. Colleen Koob said. “I and our leadership at Beal College couldn’t be more proud of our first nursing cohort and our first nursing graduates.”
Hospital workers and first responders are working on the front lines to combat COVID-19. To help the cause the nursing students will be done with class a week early so they can pass the registration exam and become nurses at local hospitals.
For Pendergast and her fellow classmates, it's been what they've been waiting for.
“You don’t go into the nursing field on a whim and decide one day you want to become a nurse, it takes a special kind of person," she added.