Return to All News

Atlantic Cape’s Nursing Program Recognizes 79 Graduates During Annual Nurses Pinning Ceremony

05/16/2024 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Nursing graduate with her mother

MAYS LANDING — The nurses pinning is a tradition that began nine centuries ago as a way to recognize those who vowed to care for the sick and wounded. On May 15, Atlantic Cape Community College’s Nursing Program held its Annual Nurses Pinning Ceremony in the Quad on the Mays Landing campus to continue this storied tradition and celebrate the program’s 79 graduates for completing their arduous educational journey.

While basking in the glow of their accomplishment, the nursing graduates were encouraged to continue their education by pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. To advance to greater heights in their professions, it was stressed upon them to always remain compassionate towards their patients.

Dean Myrna Morales-Keklak addresses the audience“Compassion offers empathy to those who are suffering, compassion compels us to want to reduce that suffering and compassion propels us to get involved,” said Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences Myrna Morales-Keklak. “Nurses jump at the opportunity to act on the behalf of those who are suffering because nurses know that care delivered with compassion speeds the healing process and makes the difference between a life or death situation.”

Morales-Keklak also vocalized the importance of remembering to look out and provide oneself with plenty of self-care.

“With self-compassion, we offer ourselves the same kindness, support and patience we offer others. Many times, when you are hurting you hear ‘it’s just part of the job,’ ‘just push through,’ or ‘don’t waste time feeling bad about yourself,’” said Morales-Keklak. “That is easier said than done. When the low moments come, try not to be too hard on yourself. Self-compassion is not self-indulgence and it is not self-pity, it is being kind and understanding to ourselves.”

Dr Tameka Scott gives the keynote addressKeynote speaker Dr. Tameka Scott, who serves as Director of Learning and Development at Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House, and is responsible for developing and implementing training programs for on-boarding and continuing education, spoke to the graduates about never forgetting the core principles, the ABCs of nursing, that they have been taught.

“Always be caring as nurses. A caring attitude should be at the core of the work that you do. Second, always be curious. The moment that you stop learning, you stop growing as nurses. Third, be courageous. Speak up and speak out. You have to speak up for your patients and for yourself. Lastly, always advocate for yourself,” said Dr. Scott.

Valedictorian Linsie Heitzmann gives the graduate speechValedictorian Linsie Heitzmann spoke before her fellow graduates and reminisced about the long and challenging journey that has been filled with many tears, meltdowns, thoughts of giving up during long clinical days and countless hours of study. But, most importantly, Heitzmann reiterated the importance of the work that they do for so many.

“It is essential to recognize the exceptional nature of this profession throughout our journey. Some of us have witnessed the miracle of life while others have been present at life’s final moments. This is the core of nursing,” said Heitzmann. “Nursing is about caring for strangers as if they were our own family, advocating tirelessly for their well-being, educating both family and patients, and demonstrating unwavering compassion.”

Following the presentation of pins to the graduates, Dr. Geralyn Michelfelder announced Imani Hubbard as the inaugural Atlantic Cape recipient of the DAISY Award, which is a recognition program that celebrates and honors extraordinary nurses for their compassionate care and dedication.

DAISY Award winner Imani HubbardHubbard, a resident of Cape May Court House who graduated with her Associate in Applied Science in Nursing degree on May 16, is currently a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army Reserve. Hubbard was selected from a group nine nominees for putting her patient’s needs first, by providing compassionate care and maintaining respectful communication with the patient’s primary nurse while they resolved the patient’s issues.

View a photo gallery of this event on Flickr at

Visit to learn more about Atlantic Cape’s Nursing Program.



About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape Community College is a Middle States accredited, 2022 Achieving the Dream Leader College and Hispanic Serving Institution proudly serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. As a comprehensive, two-year community college, Atlantic Cape offers 47 undergraduate degree programs, and 33 certificate and professional series programs at its Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May campuses. Atlantic Cape is home to the renowned Academy of Culinary Arts, rated the top culinary school in New Jersey, and for more than 50 years, our highly-acclaimed Nursing program. Atlantic Cape also partners with more than 30 colleges and four-year universities to offer students the opportunity to seamlessly earn a bachelor’s degree upon graduation.