More than 100 adults graduate Capital Region BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program

Person is holding a certificate with a group of studnets behind her are clapping.
Lydie Carelle Tsapgou Mawoube is the Valedictorian of the full time Capital Region BOCES Adult Practical Nursing program.

From career changers to recent high school graduates, nearly 130 area adults are entering the post-pandemic world of healthcare thanks to the Capital Region BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program.

With family and friends looking on from the seats of Proctors, 128 members of the Adult Practical Nursing Class of 2024 received their diplomas and nursing pins in a tradition-packed ceremony Thursday evening.

“Think of today not as the end, but the beginning of your incredible journey as a nurse leader,” Director of Health Careers and Services at Capital Region BOCES Paula Negri told the graduates.

Board of Education President John Phelan, whose wife is a retired registered nurse, praised the graduates for choosing a “noble and rewarding profession.”

Deputy District Superintendent and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Elizabeth Wood noted that the hard work the students have done is important well beyond their personal lives and the lives of those they will care for.

“The work you have done matters. The work you did to get here matters,” she said, adding that it impacts the local economy, the regional economy and helps countless individuals.

Graduate smiling with head turned toward camera as person standing next to her attaches a pin to her shirt.
Kiava Nero smiles with pride as she receives her nursing pin during graduation from Capital Region BOCES Adult Practical Nursing program.

The adult graduates—who hail from communities as far afield as Amsterdam, Middleburgh, Troy and Margaretville—completed either a 10-month, full-time, or an 18-month, part-time practical nursing program that encompassed more than 1,100 hours of training that prepared them to take the certification exam to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Most have done so while holding down jobs and caring for their families.

Among them is Nazija Mitchell, an Albany resident.

“I enjoy helping people who are in need and caring for people,” she said.

Also graduating was Trenise Hughes of Rensselaer.

“I have been in healthcare for the past 10 years after my grandmother got sick with cancer and eventually died. I saw the care she received in the hospital, and I was inspired to become a nurse,” she said.

Graduate Elizabeth DiBenedetto spent three- to four-hours commuting each day for the last 10 months to pursue her education.

The Margaretville, Delaware County, resident drove around 180 miles daily to attend the Capital Region BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program in Albany.

Two gradutes standing next to each other facing the camera holding award certificates.
Graduates receive academic excellece awards from the Capital Region BOCES Adult Practical Nursing program.

“I like the program a lot,” she said. “The faculty are amazing, really helpful and caring.”

Negri said the record number of students will find themselves in high demand in the healthcare industry.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for LPNs will grow 5% by 2032 with the overall shortage of LPNs and registered nurses set to exceed 1 million workers.