LPN Graduates Ready to Move On

ECC President Augustine A. Boakye congratulates LPN students at their pinning ceremony

LPN graduates at their rehearsal prior to the pinning ceremony

The 23 excited members of the Essex County College Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Class of 2021 took center stage on Friday, January 21. They were joined by their proud families and friends in a joyous celebration held in the College’s Smith Hall. The students completed their requirements in December of 2021

After first taking note of the long hours of rigorous course work required for him and his classmates to reach this point, LPN Class President Leonardo Vaca declared, “We are feeling great and ready to move on!” 

Moving on as LPNs, as well as continuing their health care education, is on the minds of these graduates. Their first step is preparing for the upcoming National Council Licensure Examination (known as NCLEX).

Leonardo, who served in the United States Army for six years, said his military experience has inspired his career path. “I want to help those who served. I’m ready to become an RN and then earn my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.” He eventually wants to work in the mental health field.  

Loleeta Butler has worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for 18 years. “Receiving my LPN is a continuation of my nursing career,” said the Newark resident, adding she plans to continue toward becoming a Registered Nurse. “I’ve always been interested in the medical field. As a child I loved walking around with my medical play bag,” she said with a laugh.

“Nursing has always been my dream,” said Anita Peters. She recalled a family tragedy when her cousin was in a car accident in another country and died from those injuries. That tragedy inspired Anita, of East Orange, to pursue her dream and be in a position to “give back to the less fortunate.” Her goal is to become a nurse practitioner.  

Tomas Olivier works in the ER at St. Michael’s Medical Center and had been thinking of continuing his education. “I heard about the LPN program at ECC and decided to give it a try,” Tomas said. Now that he has earned his LPN, he believes his medical experience will help when working with Covid patients. “Covid is a very complex issue and we have to be in a position to help the community out,” said the Newark resident.

Ricky Saurel is very clear where she sees herself going. “Nursing is my passion,” said the Newark resident. She hopes to become a nurse within five years and has the confidence to achieve that goal. 

LPN class Valedictorian, with a 3.83 grade point average, is Augusta Nwachukwu, and Salutatorian, with a 3.81 average, is Tania Cheron.   

“When you entered the program here, you had a dream. You followed your dream and tonight we see the fruits of that dream. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” keynote speaker Dr. Eunice Kamunge, Chair of ECC’s Division of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, said.   

After congratulating the graduates on their achievement, ECC President Augustine A. Boakye said, “you need to first understand this important job and then commit to it. Do it from your heart and with love. Today we need more nurses due to do battle with Covid-19.”  

In closing, Dr. Boakye said he expects to see the graduates back on campus working toward their RN degrees. That’s something which the Class of 2021 agrees.