Practical nurses graduate during ceremony at campus

Practical nursing class of 2014
Practical Nursing Class of 2014

Graduates of Penn State Hazleton’s practical nursing program marked the completion of the program during a ceremony on Friday, January 17 in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium in the Physical Education Building. Twenty-two students completed the requirements to earn a certificate in practical nursing and will be eligible sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

The class began their studies in July 2012 for the 18-month program offered in the evening and on weekends in the newly renovated classroom and laboratory in the lower level of the Slusser/Bayzick Building. Students took classes at Penn State Hazleton and attended clinical studies at area partner facilities.

Chancellor Gary Lawler presided over the ceremony along with Director of Academic Affairs Elizabeth Wright and Associate Director of Continuing Education Debra Conway.

Guest speaker for the event was Michele Smith Cassic, R.N., M.S.N., C.E.N., P.H.R.N., who serves as director of education at Hazleton General Hospital and a faculty member of the practical nursing program.

A graduate of the Hazleton State General Hospital School of Nursing, Cassic earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration from King’s College and a master’s degree in Nursing from Wilkes University. She also attained designations as a Certified Emergency Nurse and as a Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse. She is a member of several organizations including the Emergency Nurses Association, American Heart Association, Pennsylvania Nurses Association, Chest Pain Society, and Six County Firemen’s Association.
During the ceremony, graduates received their certificates and pins to signify successful completion of the program.

Graduates and their hometowns included Arnold Baven, Bloomsburg; Mary Lynn Bradley, Beaver Meadows; Melanie L. Cromis, Orangeville, Tabetha L. DiNoia, Drums; Sara A. Gerringer, Danville; Debra L. Grasley, Catawissa; Sarah M. Machey, Drums; Miranda R. Motichak, Orangeville; Kristen L. Pascavage, Mahanoy City; Kesha M. Pitre, Mifflinville; Suzanne D. Rarick, Pitman; Leah R. Rumbel, Ringtown; Ailyn E. Santana, Hazleton; LeAnn M. Schlauch, Weatherly; Lisa M. Sinclair, Drums; Jill M. Timony, Bloomsburg; Linda E. Vasquez, Mountain Top; Colleen M. Wuttke, Tamaqua; Christene J. Wylie, Dupont; Mary J. Yagalla, Weatherly; Nanette E. Yuhas, Berwick; and Cassandra L. Zapotocky, White Haven.

Several members of the graduating class also earned special recognition with an award. The awards and winners included:

- Excellence in Clinical Practice, an award presented to the nursing student who best displays a high regard for clinical care and clinical aptitude. Instructor in practical nursing Laura Jones presented this award to Mary J. Yagalla.

- Academic Achievement, which is presented to the student earning the highest overall grade-point average. Instructor in practical nursing Denise Kelly presented this award to Linda E. Vasquez.

- Award for Leadership and Professionalism, which recognizes outstanding leadership and professionalism during the nursing education process. Instructor in practical nursing Andrea McAloose presented this award to Ailyn E. Santana.

- Most Compassionate, an award presented to the student who displays exceptional emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy for others. Instructor in practical nursing Lori Reiner presented this award to Tabetha L. DiNoia.

- Community Service, which is presented to the student who displays the initiative to reach out to those in need within the community. Instructor in practical nursing Candy Madera presented this award to Jill M. Timony.

- Commitment to Nursing Education, an award to recognize the student who is a wonderful example of perseverance and determination. This student has overcome life’s obstacles and remained committed while pursuing their nursing education. Instructor in Practical Nursing Roxanne Downs presented the award to Mary Lynn Bradley.

Photo caption:  Members of the Penn State Hazleton 2014 Practical Nursing graduating class were, front row, from left, Tabetha DiNoia, Debra Grasley, Sara Gerringer, Jill Timony, Arnold Baven, Ailyn Santana and Kesha Pitre. Back row, from left, Mary Yagalla, Leah Rumbel, Kristen Pascavage, Suzanne Rarick, Linda Vasquez, Sarah Machey, Nanette Yuhas, Miranda Motichak, LeAnn Schlauch, Melanie Cromis, Mary Lynn Bradley, Cassandra Zapotocky and Lisa Sinclair. Graduating in absentia were Colleen Wuttke and Christene Wylie.

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