The healthcare field has some much-needed help on the way after 36 local adults graduated from the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program on Tuesday, July 13.
Graduates of the licensed practical nursing program are now in position to work as LPNs and/or continue their education in healthcare.
Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Sandra Sherwood shared her appreciation for the nursing students during their graduation ceremonies and pointed out that they studied to become nurses during a pandemic.
“Congratulations to all of you, and thank you for your dedication to this field,” Sherwood said. “It is really remarkable. You’re going into a field that has never needed you more than now.”
The Herkimer BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program 57th Commencement and Pledge Ceremonies took place on Tuesday, July 13, at the German Flatts Town Park. Three separate ceremonies took place – one each for the full-time program, part-time day program and part-time evening program.
The nursing program is currently recruiting students for upcoming LPN classes. For information, call 315-867-2210 or visit www.herkimer-boces.org/LPN or www.facebook.com/HerkimerBOCESLPN.
During the graduation ceremonies, Herkimer BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program Coordinator Sara Nicolette said a special thank you goes out to the town of German Flatts for allowing a last-minute switch to the use of the indoor community center at the park due to high humidity outside and the possibility of thunderstorms.
Nicolette said the graduates dealt with many other changes along the way – particularly in regards to COVID-19.
“They worked very hard,” she said.
For each of the three ceremonies, Sherwood and Nicolette spoke to the graduates and their guests, nursing faculty members gave speeches, Sherwood and Nicolette presented the diplomas, guests selected by the graduates placed their nursing pins on them, Nicolette announced award winners, faculty member Janet Vickers led a candle-lighting ceremony and nursing pledge and Herkimer BOCES Director of Adult, Early Childhood and Outreach Education Mary Kline officially announced the classes as graduated.
Erin Brien, the faculty speaker for the full-time program graduation, thanked students and their supporters for their work in reaching graduation.
“You entered this field in a pandemic,” Brien said. “You chose this field in a pandemic. That says a lot about you.”
Brien said the students should be proud of their accomplishments.
“This is hard,” she said. “Clinical is hard. Nursing school is hard.”
COVID-19 made things particularly challenging.
“Thank you for showing up in masks, 6 six feet apart, in a snowstorm and even when your kids were sick,” she said.
The part-time day program had two faculty speakers: Marcia Thomas-Bruce and retiring faculty member Mary Prokopienko.
Thomas-Bruce recognized graduates’ family and friends for offering outstanding support for the students’ journeys.
“This is something that can’t be measured and can’t be described in words,” she said.
Thomas-Bruce discussed how students went to nursing school during a pandemic since March 2020 – including used mannequins that were sowed together, being involved with vaccines and more.
“You guys are part of history,” she said.
The flexibility and adaptability that students learned through this time are skills valuable for a nurse now and into the future, and students are needed now more than ever, Thomas-Bruce said.
Prokopienko offered thanks to BOCES administrators and nursing program staff for supporting the program.
“But the people who need the biggest thanks are you,” she said, while pointing to the audience.
The graduates’ family and friends offered great support and worked very hard along with the graduates, Prokopienko said, so she is glad they were there to help celebrate the student’s accomplishments.
Prokopienko also spoke directly to the students.
“I’m so proud of you,” she said. “You’ve worked hard, stayed focused and realized your goal.”
Prokopienko encouraged graduates to continue to their next steps of their nursing careers.
“Each of you will be an asset to the healthcare profession,” she said.
Janet Vickers was the faculty speaker for the part-time evening program. She mentioned that she graduated from the Herkimer BOCES LPN program in 1981 and is just a week away from being a nurse for 40 years.
As a former student and long-time faculty member, Vickers said she knows well how many aspects are involved with graduating from the program – including learning terminology, anatomy and physiology, diseases and disorders, how to help people deal with their health issues and more.
“It’s a long process,” she said. “It is truly daunting. They’ve done a great job.”
Switching for a period of time to virtual learning during the pandemic isn’t ideal for a hands-on profession such as nursing, but if there’s one thing we know for certain it’s that nursing requires flexibility, and changes occur quickly, Vickers said. A nursing education never ends, she said.
“Nursing is ever-changing, and you’ll continue to learn every day,” she said.
Vickers said nurses must be honest, compassionate and inquisitive and able to be the person that walks into a room with a smile and allows patients to know that someone cares about them.
“Congratulations,” she said, in closing. “Go out there and make a difference.”
- Nyisha Alston
- Tarik Boyd
- Shelby Brooks
- Alyssa Cleary
- Jenaye Convertino
- Katrina DePietro
- Sarah Dooley
- Almedina Habib
- Destiny James
- Adela Pekmez
- Amber Polley
- Genesis Rojas Mora
- Emily Santiago
Part-time day program:
- Kari Foster
- Michelle Lasnick
- Hannah Laurion
- Aimee Lewis
- Eddy Meza Altamirano
- Brooke Pratt
- Shannon Rowlands
- Anne Ryan
- Elisha Seamon
- Katherine Wayman
- Kimberly Wilson
Part-time evening program:
- Samantha Clark
- Nithsana Dongsavanh
- Nihada Dzehverovic
- Tasha Floyd
- Tempestt Martin
- Jennifer Mazzei
- Amethyst Murphy
- Jaymilee Plaza
- Nicole Purpura
- Melissa Seelman
- Kyle Stevens
- Tammy Wilday
LPN graduation awards
Highest Average in Fundamentals of Nursing:
- Full-time: Jenaye Convertino
- Part-time day: Kari Foster
- Part-time evening: Samantha Clark
Highest Average in Medical Surgical Nursing:
- Full-time: Alyssa Cleary
- Part-time day: Kari Foster
- Part-time evening: Samantha Clark
Best Clinical Nurse:
- Full-time: Amber Polley
- Part-time day: Hannah Laurion
- Part-time evening: Nicole Purpura
- Full-time: Sarah Dooley
- Part-time day: Anne Ryan
- Part-time evening: Tasha Floyd
Florence Nightingale Award:
- Full-time: Nyisha Alston
- Part-time day: Kimberly Wilson
- Part-time evening: Tammy Wilday
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program students in the full-time program participate in a candle-lighting ceremony during the 57th Commencement and Pledge Ceremonies on Tuesday, July 13, at the German Flatts Town Park.
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program students in the part-time day program participate in a candle-lighting ceremony during the 57th Commencement and Pledge Ceremonies on Tuesday, July 13, at the German Flatts Town Park.
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program students in the part-time evening program participate in a candle-lighting ceremony during the 57th Commencement and Pledge Ceremonies on Tuesday, July 13, at the German Flatts Town Park.