West Windsor, N.J. – Handshakes, cheers, applause and tears marked the passage of student nurses to nursing graduates as Mercer County Community College celebrated the pinning of 34 students on May 20.
MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue welcomed the graduates, many of whom are adult students who returned to Mercer to pursue a second career. “This class of nursing students has demonstrated success in a rigorous, demanding process. Your knowledge and your expertise will be absolutely critical. I have confidence that you are ready and will represent Mercer proudly and effectively.”
Donohue also addressed the packed house at Kelsey Theatre, thanking families and friends. "We know you didn't do this alone. It's so important and fitting for your supporters to be here to share in your success," she said.
Valedictorian Nataliya Platonava recalled the exhilaration and rewards of the past two years, as well as the long days of study, and the stresses of exams and grades. “When I got my acceptance into the Nursing program, it was one of the happiest days of my life,” she said. “I quickly ordered my stethoscope and when it came in the mail I felt like a little girl opening my Christmas gift."
She spoke of the group's determination to succeed and the many friendships that were forged during the years of hard work. "These are friendships that will last a lifetime. We have proven we are tough enough to graduate from nursing school. I have no doubt we will be successful nurses."
Also participating in the ceremony was Dr. Guy Generals, Vice President for Academic Affairs, who saluted the students for successfully completing one of the college’s most challenging curriculums.
“Nothing could be more rewarding than saving lives,” he observed. He also instructed the graduates to do a pivot turn to studying for the NCLEX exam, the national exam that will certify them as nurses.
Director of Nursing Donna Penn presented the graduates with their pins, as Associate Professor Barbara Kunkel read the names of the candidates. Nursing faculty were introduced to cheers and applause from their former students.
See additional photos on Facebook here.
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