State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) nursing graduates were awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships to continue their studies to achieve their Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) during SCF’s nurses pinning ceremony Friday, May 4, at SCF’s Neel Performing Arts Center.
More than five dozen graduating nurses received their nursing pins during the ceremony. Along with fellow nurses on stage and in the audience, the graduates recited the International Pledge for Nurses. The pinning ceremony included a welcome from Dr. Roseanne Fairchild, SCF’s dean of nursing and health professions. Four of the region’s hospitals each awarded $5,000 to the top nursing graduates. Blake Medical Center, Manatee Memorial Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Hospital Volunteers of Venice on behalf of Venice Regional Bayfront Health all set up scholarships through the State College of Florida Foundation (SCFF) to encourage nurses to continue their studies and to continue working in the region.
Two memorial scholarships also were awarded. Jerry Lane awarded the Dustin Lane Memorial Scholarship, to Jennifer Griffon, president of the Student Nurses Association, who will continue her studies to pursue her BSN. She plans to eventually earn her Master of Science in nursing and work with struggling adolescents.
In presenting the $1,000 scholarship, Lane told the students, about his son Dustin and why he decided to set it up.
“Like all of you on stage, Dustin sat up here last year eager to embark on a new and exciting career. Later, at dinner, he announced it was the proudest day of his life, and we, his family, were equally proud,” Lane told the students. “In July he passed his boards and subsequently took a position in the Progressive Care Unit at Blake hospital. Soon thereafter he told me it was the best job he ever had, and I could tell he meant it. But it was only the beginning for Dustin. By mid-August he was already at work on his bachelor’s degree here at SCF. His ultimate goal: to become a nurse anesthetist. Sadly, on Labor Day weekend Dustin passed away unexpectedly. We were devastated, but we knew he would want his time in nursing to count for something, so we set up a yearly scholarship to be awarded every spring. I know he would be incredibly honored.”
Yvonne Cavazos won the Pat Kuebler Award, a scholarship in memory of Kuebler, who worked as an assistant administrator in charge of nursing for Sarasota Memorial Hospital before she came to teach at Manatee Junior College, now SCF. While teaching for four years she had a profound effect on her students. She died in 1981 from cancer. In 1985, the nursing department of Manatee Memorial Hospital, made up of many of her former students, established the scholarship in her name for students who exemplify her character, compassion and dedication to nursing. Cassandra Holmes, executive director of the State College of Florida Foundation, presented the award to Cavazos.
Cavazos is described as academically dedicated and intellectually gifted. “She is also a genuinely kind, gentle, generous, and humble individual, which is something that her patients and colleagues just seem to sense about her as soon as she enters a room and introduces herself,” said her clinical instructor, Kiara Fitzgerald. “She has a quality, a shine, that eludes precise definition, but instantly elicits comfort, ease, and an intuitive trust from those around her.”
Presenting the Excellence in Nursing Scholarship awards from the four hospitals are Bob Bartholomew, president, Hospital Volunteers of Venice (presented in Venice); Vernon DeSear, Vice President, Manatee Healthcare System; Adam Fletcher, Chief Nursing Officer, Blake Medical Center; and Dr. Jean Marie Lucas, Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. Lucas also served as the speaker for the ceremony.
The four winners are:
• Tessa Hysell, Manatee Memorial Hospital, said she has always wanted to be a nurse. She graduated with her ASN with a 3.53 grade point average. She plans to work at a local hospital while studying for her BSN and volunteer in a clinic that works with low-income individuals.
• Alexandra Jacob, Blake Medical Center, graduates with her ASN with a 3.8 grade point average. She said she has always wanted to be a nurse and SCF has helped her realize her goals. She is thrilled to be able to continue at SCF to obtain her BSN.
• Alina Kulakevich, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, is proud of her parents, who were immigrants and worked hard to make sure she received an education. She graduated with a 3.35 grade point average. She is eager to represent SCF and Sarasota Memorial Hospital as a proud BSN graduate.
• Alexandria Scappatura, Hospital Volunteers of Venice, plans to become a Certified Nurse Anesthetist. She graduated with a 3.86 grade point average. She cares for her mother and works full time at Coastal Behavioral Healthcare while going to school at SCF.
For information about SCF’s nursing program, visit SCF.edu/Nursing. For more information on creating a memorial scholarship, contact Allison Nash, scholarship manager, at NashA@SCF.edu or 941-752-5653.