Josue Garcia

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Nursing program recently celebrated their graduates in two pinning ceremonies held at TSTC’s Harlingen campus. Thirty-two Nursing and 13 Vocational Nursing graduates were honored for their commitment to providing the best patient care.

The smiling Nursing graduates walked across the stage and received a traditional nurse’s cap (with a black velvet stripe for registered nurses) and a pin, which signify their completion of the program and dedication to the health care profession.

The pinning ceremony is steeped in tradition and is a rite of passage that represents a sacred commitment to the healing of others. TSTC’s pin has gold for purity, red for courage, and a circle that stands for unending commitment. The pin also features the state of Texas and a lamp that represents nursing worldwide.

TSTC associate provost Jean Lashbrook said the TSTC Nursing graduates have chosen to be part of a group of professionals who are respected in the community.

“Take everything you have learned with you, and take compassion as your guide,” Lashbrook told the graduates. “Always give care with compassion, and be that compassionate caregiver.”

Adrienne Reyes, a TSTC Nursing instructor, said it was great to witness the graduates’ hard work being recognized in the ceremony.

“The students’ maturation is representative of their growth into the nursing profession,” Reyes said. “Many of them transitioned from the Vocational Nursing program or with more than 15 years of field experience.”

One graduating Nursing student who received his pin was Leonel Gonzales, of Harlingen. He said the pinning ceremony gave him a strong connection to those who have been recognized before.

“I am proud of this culmination, considering the obstacles I faced,” Gonzales said. “Many people in attendance appreciated what we accomplished and the sacrifices we made. As for a career, I have an interest in working in an intensive care unit with any company that notices my potential.”

Melissa Rios, of Harlingen, was another graduating Nursing student who was thrilled about her achievement.

“The ceremony was beautiful,” Rios said. “There was a pastor who blessed us. As for my career, I have interviewed for a possible position in the labor and delivery department at Harlingen Medical Center.”

Heather Sauceda, an instructor in TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program, said she is proud of the camaraderie of this group of graduates.

“This pinning ceremony was special because it is one of the strongest cohorts that have worked together to help each other graduate,” Sauceda said.

TSTC VN pinning 256x300 - TSTC Nursing program graduates ready for next chapter after pinning ceremonies

Maria Botello, of Raymondville, was a graduating Vocational Nursing student who accepted her pin. She said it takes a special person to go into nursing.

“We have the knowledge and skills now to fully take care of a patient,” Botello said. “It’s a great honor to be recognized at this ceremony, just as the others have in previous years. Now my goal is to work in the intensive care unit at Harlingen Medical Center.”

Jacob Leal, of Harlingen, was another Vocational Nursing student who was excited about his accomplishment.

“I feel proud,” Leal said. “I have wanted to become a nurse since I was 7 years old. My mother had a battle with cancer. At the time, seeing a student nurse help my mom brought her happiness. That situation inspired me to pursue health care. In addition, I’m a new father. I want to accomplish more to be a role model for my son.”

At the event’s conclusion, the Nursing program graduates recited the Nightingale pledge by candlelight.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at its Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. A Vocational Nursing certificate program is offered at the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit

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