New beginnings

CASSADAGA – The Erie 2 BOCES School of Licensed Practical Nursing and the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy once again celebrated the success of their partnership and recognized 15 graduate practical nurses.

The graduates have just completed their journey through this intense nursing school and now prepare to take their state licensing exam. The graduates are; Cameron Chung, Shannel Hodge, Jamiesha Reynolds, Rico Coar, Athena Stokes, Thomas Perry, Ana Mercado, Tanisha Jean, Jordan Kiyak, Peter Nyame, Kristina Ruth, Roxanne Finch, Audra Campbell, Laura Menard, and Christelle Richard.

The commencement included speeches from the valedictorian, the class president and special awards presented to outstanding students. Class President Audra Campbell addressed the class and stated, “Tomorrow our journey begins, not as what we were yesterday but as we are today, graduates of Practical Nursing.” She went on to say, “We should not fear the NCLEX (licensing) exam, the NCLEX should fear us!” Valedictorian Cameron Chung also addressed her class. She recounted her clinical experience in local healthcare facilities and stated, “Suddenly you see these things you have read about come to life, and you are making these connections as the doctors and nurses talk about the procedure they are performing. This was the moment where we came to life and our brain was on fire”! She went on to thank the instructors and staff by saying, “This special time in our life was made possible by all the staff on Center and our wonderful instructors. They have guided us, shown us patience when answering thousands of questions and grading exams while we waited because we needed to know how we did, now. They have rolled up their sleeves and sweated it out at clinical with us, and for all of this we thank you.”

Receiving special recognition during the graduation were several students who were standouts in different areas. Chung was class valedictorian and Jordan Kiyak was class salutatorian. Winning the Exceptional Academic/Clinical Nurse award was Kristina Ruth of Randolph. Jamiesha Reynolds and Roxanne Finch of Randolph were awarded for Academic Achievement. The final award was given to Peter Nyame, recognizing him as Outstanding Bedside Nurse.

Guest Speaker Mike Pease, CEO of the Chautauqua Center in Dunkirk, reminded the class they “are following in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, Mary Todd Lincoln and Walt Whitman. You have something in common with these great people; you have a desire to help others and make a difference in this world.”

He concluded his remarks by saying, “You have to respect the responsibility your place in life has created for you: you now have the responsibility to help others less fortunate. Realize that there’s something significant about this ceremony: it’s indicative of the way you should view yourselves. You’ve got a diploma. Now you’ve got to honor the commitment you make to the world today.”

Graduates received certificates, caps and pins presented by the faculty of the Nursing school. Following individual recognition the entire class, as well all nurses in attendance, recited the Nurses’ pledge to affirm their commitment to their profession.

Students enrolled in the LPN program at the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy are co-enrolled with both the Academy and Erie 2 BOCES. The program consists of classroom lecture and instruction, development of nursing skills and techniques and rotations through local healthcare facilities that allow students firsthand clinical knowledge of the duties of a nurse. All students receive instruction and clinical supervision from BOCES staff while supportive services and a scholarship to attend the program are provided by Job Corps. This graduating class will now finalize preparations to take their LPN board exams later this year.

For more information about the LPN program at the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy please contact Mike Pietrkiewicz at 716-595-4298 or visit

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