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Referencing a prayer from Angelican healer Dorothy Kerin, Joey Traywick, R.N., said the path before he and his fellow nursing students wouldn't be easy.

"(We're) effectively asking for the bruising of our whole life so that people may be healed," he said.

Traywick was speaking to about 40 other members of the spring 2011 class of the practical and registered nursing program at the Montana State University Billings College of Technology. The pinning ceremony and graduation Friday evening signified the end of their two- and three-year educations.

His point was that, although they've chosen a difficult, stressful field, they're doing it to help others.

Joining the graduates at the COT's Health Sciences building were hundreds of family members and friends.

"This is about honoring the students' role into the practicing role of nursing," said Cindy Rossmith, the program's nursing director. "We want them to go through this pinning ceremony for each other and their families."

The evening included a speech from Dr. Audrey Conner-Rosberg, a video presentation about the 2011 class, a pinning ceremony with loved ones and a symbolic lighting of a candle.

"I can think of no profession that is more honorable than the nursing profession," said John Cech, Montana's deputy commissioner for two-year education and the COT's former dean.

Rossmith said this year's class is interesting because it features more men -- six RNs and a pair of LPNs -- than in the past. However, she said it's a well-rounded class.

"They come to us with busy, busy lives. They have families and they're already engaged in the medical community," she said.

Contact Zach Benoit at or 657-1357.