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MCCC Nursing Students Celebrate Graduation During Pinning Ceremony


WEST WINDSOR – Students, faculty, staff and family joined in the graduation celebration of 29 Mercer County Community College Nursing students, who received their diplomas Jan. 13 and now begin a challenging and rewarding career as health care professionals.

“Tonight is one of those special nights where we celebrate the living, learning, and working to learn all the right skills you will need when called upon,” said MCCC President Dr. Patricia C. Donohue. “The college supports you and applauds you as you serve the community, and all of us.”

The Nursing Education Pinning Ceremony is the ceremonial last step before the graduates take their certification exam and move into careers. And it is no small accomplishment, according to MCCC Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Eun-Woo Chang.

“You have the best occupation I can think of,” Chang told the graduates. “You have earned it. You can impact people’s lives.”

Christine D’Angelo, class valedictorian, noted the long hours, hard work, and challenges each of the graduates faced – as well as the impact on family members.

“It has been a long, hard road,” D’Angelo said. “There have been some real sacrifices our families have made for us to be here today.

“So many times I wanted to quit. It took a lot of courage and support from my husband, my family, and my kids.”

The MCCC Nursing class of January 2015.
Nursing valedictorian Christine D'Angelo relates her personal challenges during the MCCC Nursing Education Program pinning ceremony Jan. 13.
D’Angelo related a personal story, reaching back to her experiences as a grade school student. She said she was always a good student, but her teachers would often comment that she “was not living up to her potential.” Then at 16, she quit school, and notes “it was not my only bad decision.”

“Now, the girl that did not live up to her potential, the girl who quit, who ruined her live, has survived Nursing school,” D’Angelo said. “Not only is she a nurse, but valedictorian. I didn’t even know there was a valedictorian!

“I worked harder at this than anything in my life. I did it for me. I survived all the bad decisions.”

For the first time, the Nursing Education Program presented a series of awards to graduates, including:

  • Academic Excellence Award: Christine D’Angelo
  • Clara Lidz Nursing Leadership Award: Erika Niglio
  • Helen Marie Dolton Award for Clinical Excellence: Yaroslava Melynk
  • MCCC Nursing Faculty Award: Geraldine Maxwell
  • Nightingale Award: Jennifer Salaga



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