PNWBOCES Graduates Practical Nursing Program

June 13, 2018

Gina Esterly, a 32-year-old resident of Peekskill, attended Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES’ Practical Nursing program while working full time in a medical office. On June 13, 2018 she became the third member of her family to graduate from the program. 
“My mom graduated from Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES’ Practical Nursing program in the 1970s,” said Esterly. “My sister completed it in the 1990s.”
While BOCES’ Practical Nursing program has served people like Esterly’s family for generations, the Class of 2018 will be its final one. As of fall 2018, the educational organization will offer stackable credentials applicable to multiple healthcare certifications.
Esterly and the sixteen other graduates looked crisp and professional at commencement; the women in white dresses, white stockings and caps. Kenneth Kwalar, the only male graduate this year, wore a white jacket, and white shirt and pants.
“In choosing nursing, you are entering a noble profession,” said District Superintendent Dr. James M. Ryan in his opening remarks. “You will provide comfort and support to hundreds of people.”
Judy Gromer and Ellen Pappas, instructors with the program, addressed the students.
“You’ve donned your whites and nurse’s caps. Let’s spend a moment thinking about what that means,” said Gromer. “With your white uniform you claim entrance into a career based on ethical principles. Your cap is a symbol of respect. To be capped means to outdo, excel, surpass.”
She highlighted the graduates’ diversity—some were parents; others, grandparents. The group included immigrants from Cameroon, Jamaica, and the Philippines. The students commuted from Dutchess, Fairfield, Putnam, and Westchester Counties.
“I look out and see confident, practical nurses,” said Pappas. “Soon you will take the New York State Licensing examination. Many of you will go on to become Registered Nurses. You are all highly-talented, empathetic professionals who will make a difference.”
Meagan Rose Wright spoke on behalf of the one-year/full-time cohort.
“We’ve attained much more than our certification,” said Wright. “We’ve been moved and humbled by the miracle of life.”
Gina Esterly, the Graduate Speaker for the two-year/part-time cohort, recalled for her classmates why they chose this vocation.
“We have the capacity to think outside of ourselves, and to love our patients at their weakest moments,” said Esterly.
Tenisha N. Fearon, Kenneth K. Kwalar, and Meagan Rose Wright received the Bedside Nurse Award. Tara Mulligan, Kadian L. Adams-Small, Tajana Crowl-Reynolds, Kenneth K. Kwalar, and Ligaya Namilit received the Perfect Attendance Award. Tara Mulligan and Ligaya Namilit received the General Excellence Award.