Wallace State OTA program holds drive-through pinning ceremony

Wearing her custom-made mask and newly pinned, Wallace State Occupational Therapy Assistant graduate Sherry McDowell of Guntersville poses for a photo during the recent drive-through pinning ceremony for her graduating class.

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The Wallace State Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant program honored its most recent graduates during a drive-through pinning ceremony at the college.

The ceremony was delayed from earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak affected the number of openings at clinical sites where students complete their training. Working with non-traditional sites, Program Director Laura Smith developed emerging practices where the students could complete their clinical fieldwork in order to graduate.

“I think they were pleased that we were able to hold the drive-through pinning ceremony, since they weren’t able to do a traditional graduation or pinning,” Smith said. “We were pleased to recognize their achievement of finishing the program.”

During the event, each graduate drove through the circular drive located in front of the Burrow Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. They were presented with their pin and diploma cover.

“Though not a typical pinning ceremony thanks to COVID, I still felt honored and a sense of accomplishment when my instructors pinned me and handed me my diploma with words of encouragement as well as stating their pride in us all,” said graduate Molli Clark of Carbon Hill. “I am ever so grateful to Wallace State Community College for allowing us this opportunity. It was definitely worth the drive!”

“Although it was not what I had in mind when I started this program back in fall of 2019, it was exactly what I needed and I could not have asked for anything better,” said Sherry McDowell of Guntersville, who that day was also celebrating passing the licensure exam to become a certified occupational therapy assistant. “Thank you all for going the extra mile, providing us with the opportunity and honor of receiving our pins from our instructors, signifying the completion of such a major milestone in our lives.”

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is a five-semester curriculum, with the first two semesters consisting of pre-requisite courses needed before applying to the program. The program accepts new students each fall, with applications accepted from March 1 to June 1 each year.

Priority registration for the Spring 2021 semester begins Nov. 17, with classes beginning Jan. 19. Visit www.wallacestate.edu or call 256-352-8000 for more information.

Molli Clark of Carbon Hill poses for a photo during the recent drive-through pinning ceremony for the Occupational Therapy Assistant class of 2000 at Wallace State Community College.