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Clad in white uniforms, the 34 graduates of the Licensed Practical Nursing program of the Workforce Development division of Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES strode into Scharmann Theatre on the campus of Jamestown Community College to accept their diplomas in front of hundreds of family and friends on Thursday, June 21st. The future nurses just completed a year-long program at the Hewes Educational Center in Ashville.
Following an introduction by E2CCB staff member Megan Grice-Rohlin, longtime E2CCB Board of Education member guest speaker Sylvester Cleary told the graduates they must share love from the heart.
“Never forget: There is greatness in you. In each and every single one of you,” said Cleary. “You’re going to be serving someone, so do it well and give it a little extra. Nursing is a very specialized field and we need folks like you – healers – everywhere.”
Dr. Janeil Rey, Director of Workforce Development, then thanked the nursing faculty and support staff for their hard work, expertise and guidance before singling out Michelle Johnson-Anderson, the program’s longest- serving instructor, for her commitment to the program and her students.
Rey thanked the families for supporting the graduates personally and professionally during the rigorous, 12-month program.
“You stepped forward and picked up the burden,” Rey said. “You are critical to making this possible.”
Co-valedictorians Matthew Zampogna and Julie Zanghi shared the podium when giving their remarks.
Zampogna, who also received the Perfect Attendance award, expressed gratitude to his family for their support and encouragement.
“These people were all just strangers 12 months ago,” said Zanghi. “We learned to rely on one another while going to class and dealing with jobs, family, marriages, children, and the daily grind of life.”
“Congratulations to all of us,” said Zampogna and Zanghi in unison.
The class salutatorian was Andrea Lewis. The Achievement Award was presented to Samantha Macri. Jody Prinzi received the Humanitarian Award and Brianna Briggs was presented with the Clinical Excellence Award. The Joan C. Chiapetta Scholarship was awarded to Brittany Green. Several students in the class – Brianna Briggs, Victoria Calimeri, Victoria Ferino, Stephanie Gassman, Brianna Jaynes, Malinda McGuinn and Nathaniel Stevens – impressively earned averages of 90% or higher.
Following the presentation of awards, certificates and pins, the Nurse’s Pledge was led by Health Care Services Specialist Susan Sosinski, along with all the nursing faculty, graduates and all nurses in attendance.
Johnson-Anderson, who was referred to earlier in the ceremony as the LPN program’s “fearless leader,” gave closing remarks.
“You survived it and through it all you stayed true to your dream of becoming a nurse,” said Johnson-Anderson. “You’re about to embark on a career that is rewarding. We have confidence you will be excellent nurses.”
The graduates are: Brandi Ashdown, Brianna Briggs, Zackery Butts, Victoria Calimeri, Stacey Conyer, Joshua Dinger, Victoria Ferino, Stephanie Gassman, Brittany Green, Jessica Hale, Brianna Jaynes, Ashley Jones, Todd LeVier, Andrea Lewis, Megan Ludwiczak, Samantha Macri, Malinda McGuinn, Monica McNair, Jessica Mosher, Melissa Peet, Jacqueline Penhollow, Jody Prinzi, Rachel Ritter, Joseph Rivera, Kayla Robinson, Courtney Smith, Autumn Solada, Nathaniel Stephens, Madison Styers, Aaron Williams, Linnie G. Wood, Michelle Wynn, Matthew Zampogna, and Julie Zanghi.
Following the ceremony, a reception with cake and punch was enjoyed in the theater foyer.
For information regarding Health Career Training programs available through Erie 2 BOCES, please call (716) 664-4866.