Homegrown Island nursing program graduates nine new LPNs
The dividends of a program designed to provide career opportunities and improve health care on the Island were evident at a modest graduation ceremony held Friday night at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs.
In front of more than 150 relatives, friends and hospital co-workers nine women, ranging in age from 21 to 50, celebrated the completion of an intensive 10-month practical nurse program offered through Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School (UCCRTS) in partnership with the Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Samantha Cron, Carol Marie Grow, Morgan Ann Hauck, and Maureen Elizabeth Tripp of Edgartown, Jade Mazza and Nicole McCue of Oak Bluffs, and Latonia James, Beth Johnson, and Deb Tucker of Vineyard Haven wore white gowns and apricot tassels on their mortarboards, traditional for those in nursing schools.
As part of the commencement exercises, they participated in a candle-lighting ceremony, another tradition for graduating nurses. UCCRTS nursing instructor Deborah Herlihy lit a candle, which was used to light each student's candle in turn, to represent passing the flame of knowledge of their new profession to them.
Ms. Herlihy also presented the graduates with their nursing pins. Unique to the UCCRTS nursing program, the pin's design depicts the Cape Cod Canal and the Bourne and Sagamore bridges.
Two students received special recognition: Latonia James for clinical excellence; and Beth Johnson for academic achievement.
UCCRTS leaders invited to participate in the ceremony included Superintendent Kevin Farr and Principal Robert Dutch, District School Committee chairman Donald Haynes, and Director of Nursing and Health Careers Pat Gales. Ken Chisholm, Martha's Vineyard Hospital's Director of Human Resources and Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center's Administrator, also took part.