Family and friends of the first class of SJC Long Island students to complete the College’s four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing filled the Muriel & Virginia Pless Center for Performing Arts last month for a special Pinning Ceremony.
“The pinning ceremony commemorates our graduates’ successful completion of our rigorous nursing program,” Program Director and Associate Professor Maria Fletcher, Ph.D., R.N., C.N.E., said. “It is a time-honored tradition in which faculty, families and friends celebrate the achievements of our nursing students, as they are pinned with the emblem of the nursing profession and begin their new careers.”
In addition to receiving their pins, the inaugural class of 31 students also received Nightingale Lamps from the Office of Institutional Advancement, in honor of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
“As you go forward, I hope that you always remember that you are a graduate of St. Joseph’s College,” Interim Provost Thomas Travis, Ph.D., said. “I hope you bring not only the knowledge that you acquired here, but also the values you have learned and absorbed.”
For Syncia Cajuste, it was a matter of teaching her children they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.
“It was important for me to set a goal and accomplish it,”said Cajuste, who hopes to work as a medsurg nurse in a hospital before going returning to College for her master’s degree. “I wanted to show them it’s possible and give them a sense of hope and achievement — that you can do whatever you want to do as long as you stay at it and fight for it.”
Anne Marie Duval‘s inspiration to become a nurse came from growing up in a Haiti.
“Because of the poor health care, I always wanted to help in some way,” Duval, who wants to be a labor and delivery nurse, said. “I want to go back and see if I can make a change.”
Lizabeth Canas, a first-generation college graduate, hopes to land a job at North Shore University Hospital.
“About seven or eight years ago, my father was admitted there for open heart surgery,” she said. “That was the number-one reason why I was interested in nursing.”
Marianna Sblendorio’s inspiration to join the nursing profession came after her grandmother got sick.
“I’m doing it in her honor to become a nurse and take care of other people, the way nurses took care of her,” Sblendorio said. “My family inspires me and helps me through everything.”
Canas’ father was among 10 of Lizabeth’s family members in attendance at the Pinning Ceremony.
“I’m very proud that my daughter is a first-generation college graduate who’s becoming a registered nurse,” Canas’ father said in Spanish, with his daughter providing the English translation. “I want to thank God for everything that’s happened in our family.”
Sblendorio’s father spoke excitedly of his daughter’s accomplishments.
“We know she worked so hard for this over the past four years, and today is one of the proudest days of our lives,” he said. “We saw her work endlessly, and we know her accomplishments. We’re just so filled with joy and love for her. We know she’s going to be an awesome nurse.”
The students graduated Wednesday, May 29, at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.