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Bethel holds traditional nurses’ lamplighting for juniors

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Bethel College nursing class of 2009 held the traditional lamplighting for juniors Sunday, Feb. 10, at the college.

Forty-six students participated in the ceremony, making this the second-largest class of juniors in the Bethel nursing program’s history (last year’s was the largest, with 50). The original admission group numbered 56.

One highlight of the ceremony was when junior student Sunita Pudasaini, who was critically injured in a car accident in November, walked across the stage with the aid of a walker to pick up her lamp. She received a round of applause from her fellow students in appreciation for her effort and thankfulness for her recovery thus far.

This year’s “special speaker” was actually two and included a Bethel nursing alumna. Elizabeth “Buffy” Gatz, R.N., M.S.N., assistant professor of nursing, and her daughter, Abby Gatz, R.N., B.S.N., a 2007 Bethel graduate, spoke on “Our nursing journey.”

The lamplighting was a family affair in other ways. As a member of the nursing faculty, Julie Wiens, instructor of nursing, got to be one of those honoring her daughter, junior student Brittany Wiens, Hutchinson. Brittany’s aunt, Melody (Wiens) Bontrager, played the processional and recessional and served as musical accompanist. Way Eikleberry, father of junior student Shana Eaves, Hutchinson, gave the invocation.

The lamplighting honors upper-class nursing students for their commitment to the profession. The lamps are lit and then given to each student to keep. They symbolize the work of British nurse Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing, who served soldiers in the Crimean War. She was called “the nurse with the lamp” because of the shadow she cast on the wall as she made her night rounds.

Members of the nursing class of 2009 honored at the lamplighting were: Frederick Agbomanyi, Accra, Ghana; Carrie Ashford, Newton; Mirriam Barasa, Wichita; Marla Bell, Wichita; Luz Bragg, Wichita; Marissa Branson, Newton; Nadia Dayo, Wichita; Shana Eaves, Hutchinson; Lindsey Elder, McPherson; Peni Ens, Hillsboro; Rodney Freeland, North Newton; Lacey Fyler, McPherson; Munna Godfrey, Wichita; Cane Griffiths, Clay Center; Trista Hanley, Newton; Manuel Hernandez, Wichita; Katie Hougham, Nickerson; Amy Hulse, Peabody; Daami Izu, Wichita; Salma Juma, Wichita; Michael Kagiri, Wichita; Violet Karani, Wichita; Lynnet Maidhi, Wichita; Matthew Meehan, Abilene; John Muchina, Wichita; Punya Neupane, Wichita; Jane Njagi, Wichita; Justin Novinger, Wichita; Lindsey Oliver; Nnenna Olugu, Wichita; Fridah Orina, Wichita; Michelle Parks, Marion; Leslie Poelstra, Derby; Sunita Pudasaini, Wichita; Holly Ralstin, Wichita; Breanna Sauerwein, Hillsboro; Laura Schlabach, Wichita; Brittany Scogin, Derby; Monica Seidl, Wichita; Wendy Shumard, Wichita; Kristin Sorensen, Abbyville; Jacy Suttlemyre, Newton; Esther Waitherero, Wichita; Amanda Watts, Wichita; Brittany Wiens, Hutchinson; and David Young, McPherson.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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