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Latest News from the Career and Technical Center

More than 100 graduate from adult LPN program


Single moms, retirees, career-changers earn honors and ability to become LPNs in Proctors Theatre ceremony

Joshua Carl Autida celebrates on the stageMore than 100 adults earned their professional nurse accreditations at a ceremony at Proctors Theatre on June 27 and are on their way to becoming Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

During a tradition-filled ceremony, the 115 adult students — who hail from communities across the Capital Region and beyond — were honored for overcoming obstacles to change careers at this time in their lives.

By reciting the Florence Nightingale Oath and lighting candles, the white-clad nursing students closed a chapter on their lives and rewrote their own history. The successful completion of the 10-month, full-time class or the 18-month, part-time adult practical nursing class allows the adults to now take the national certification exam and become LPNs, opening doors into the licensed health care workforce that has been facing a national shortage as a result of the aging of the baby-boom generation.

The graduates include recent high school graduates, single mothers, career-changers and even a retiree who is pursuing her childhood dream.

“I worked in the restaurant industry for years. I started as server and worked my way to banquet manager and restaurant manager, but I always wanted to be a nurse,” said graduate Jackie McCormack, who entered the program as a 54-year-old retiree. “Four years ago when my mother passed away, all of my dreams resurfaced and I saw how people cared for her and all of the other patients. I decided then to do it.”

For Alex Ramos, a recent high school graduate, the adult program is a stepping stone to a career as a registered nurse (RN). Nadalie Barends and Amber Guyett

"I want to use adult practical nursing as a stepping stone. I started from the beginning last year and I plan to become an RN next," Ramos said.

Ramos, a 2016 high school graduate who immediately entered the adult education program,
said, "I plan to spend some time working in the field before I go back to school, but I am going to do it."

For Natalie Fisher, the program offers a chance to give back.

“I had a daughter who was stillborn. It was tough, really tough. If it wasn’t for the nurses, I don’t know if I would have been able to make it. I want to be that person for somebody,” said the 30-year-old single mother of three children.

Speaking to fellow graduates, as well as hundreds of family and friends, graduate Shanta Pointer recalled for the crowd how the students learned from each other.

"We have learned to take care of others by first taking care of ourselves," she said.

Fellow graduate Shatika Morris offered her classmates words of encouragement.Essence Fullard walks across the stage to receive her diploma

"We did this, we know this, we are prepared," she said.

Numerous speakers praised the graduates for overcoming their circumstances and completing the rigorous course while working full-time and raising families.

"As we celebrate your hard work and diligence, it’s important to note that the paths you took to get here could not be more diverse. Some of you enrolled straight out of high school, while others of you are retirees looking to fulfill a childhood dream. Still others decided to change careers, to look for better options and seize upon all that a career in medicine has to offer," said Dr. Valerie Kelsey, deputy director of the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School.

"You are the epitome of what high school graduates across this great nation were told this past weekend to do. You have lived the advice speaker after speaker always gives — never stop learning, never stop growing," added John Yagielski, chief executive officer of Capital Region BOCES.

Highest academic averages
  • Nadalie Barendse (FT)
  • Amber Guyett (PT)
Perfect attendance
  • Amber Guyett (PT)
  • Kiley Hartman (PT) Catherine Anselment shakes hands with BOCES CEO John Yagielski
Academic honors
  • Nadalie Barendse (FT)
  • Amanda Bidwell (FT)
  • Shannon Chrysler (FT)
  • Erin Chuchta (FT)
  • Lindsay Fry (FT)
  • Amber Guyett (PT)
  • Tracey Jackson (FT)
  • Shannon Stanton (FT)
  • Danielle VanWormer (FT)
  • Charles Williams (FT)


Lois Bergman Excellence In Clinical Practice Award presented to student(s) who apply theory to professional practice and demonstrate consistent, clinical performance in caring for patients:

  • Brianna Burris (FT) Brianna Burris and Heather Fredette pose after receiving  the Lois Bergman Excellence In Clinical Practice Award.

  • Heather Fredette (PT)

Dorothy King General Excellence and Leadership Award presented to student(s) with high academic standing; consistently positive attitude; well-developed leadership skills in dealing with fellow students and staff; high degree of professionalism.

  • Amanda Bidwell (FT)

  • Katie Jones (PT)

Click here for a complete list of graduates and more photos.

Click here to access a photo array.

Top photo: Joshua Carl Autida celebrates on the stage.

Second photo: Highest academic average awardees Nadalie Barends and Amber Guyett.

Essence Fullard walks across the stage to receive her diploma.

Catherine Anselment shakes hands with BOCES CEO John Yagielski.

Brianna Burris and Heather Fredette pose after receiving  the Lois Bergman Excellence In Clinical Practice Award.


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