"You are the embodiment of love and compassion."
May 30, 2023

Spring 2023 Nurse Pinning Ceremony: An Evening of Cheers and Tears

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It was an evening of cheers and tears, as twenty-nine graduating students of the Nurse Education program were recognized on May 22 in a traditional nurse pinning ceremony that was touching and meaningful for honoring not only the graduates, but also the PCCC nurse education program, and the entire profession.

Family and friends packed the theater at the Main Campus in Paterson, applauding the two lines of graduates as they descended the theater stairs, clad in their white uniforms, and walked in procession onto the stage set with chairs. Welcoming the graduates and their guests, Dr. Donna Stankiewicz, dean of Nurse Education and Sciences, noted that “the pinning ceremony is a longstanding tradition that marks the completion of the educational program. Dr. Stankiewicz congratulated the new nurses for their achievement. “The graduates are to be commended for their dedication to their studies and their commitment to achieving this most challenging goal.”

Dr. Steven Rose, President of PCCC, related that he had recently been hospitalized for surgery and complimented the nursing staff he encountered in the hospital. “I got to meet a lot of nurses, there,” he said. “And they were all great.”  With his usual wit, Dr. Rose advised the graduates to keep in mind something he discovered while hospitalized. “You nurses run the hospital,” he said. “It’s not the doctors. It’s the nurses who keep everything going. Nurses are a special breed.”

Dr. Rose also commended Dr. Stankiewicz who will retire after more than a decade of leading the Nurse Education program. “We acknowledge the impact she has had on not only on the nursing program, but on a lot around here. She is going to be missed,” said Dr. Rose, as applause broke out, especially from the graduates, expressing their appreciation.

Recipients of the Nursing Awards L to R:  Jose Barrantes, Juliana Fenning, Shandae Pinnock, Jessica Tomesco

Four graduates received special achievement awards. Jose Barrantes received the Academic Achievement award given for the nursing graduate who had the highest GPA. The Professional Nursing Award, given for clinical excellence throughout the program went to Juliana Fenning. Shadae Pinnock is the recipient of the 2023 New Jersey League for Nursing award which goes to a New Jersey resident who demonstrated involvement in both school and community activities, especially those related to healthcare.

Jessica Tomesco received the Nurse Education Service award which is given by the nursing faculty for both the quality and quantity of contributions to the program, college, community, and peers.
Jessica also received a Certificate of Appreciation award for outstanding service to the Nursing Student Organization.  

Guest speaker Leyla Ganchi, a 2018 alumna of the nursing program, delivered a powerful speech about following one’s heart to the right career. A native of Iran, Ms. Ganchi was just a toddler when she was dazzled by a group of white-clad nurses at work. “I knew then that I would become a nurse, one day.” Various factors detoured young Leyla to an MBA degree and into a very successful career as vice-president of a financial management company.

But the dream to become a nurse remained in her heart and grew stronger when someone tried to discourage her.  Determined, Leyla enrolled at PCCC, and received her AAS in Nursing with high honors and awards for academic excellence and clinical excellence. She went on to earn her BSN and MSN from Chamberlain University and is now the director of nursing at Ganchi Plastic Surgery.  “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something you want to do,” affirmed Ms. Ganchi. 

In an emotional and exuberant pinning ceremony, several of the graduates received their pins from relatives who were themselves alumni of the PCCC nursing program. Graduate Ricardo Wong was pinned by his sister, Karla T. Wong, Class of 2017. Nur Hadzi was pinned by her mother, Gonxhe Hadzi, a 2018 alumna. Nikol Rodriguez was pinned by her identical twin sister Inselis N De La Rosa, who graduated in 2021. The other graduates were pinned by nursing professor Theresa Borovskis. As names were called by Professor Robin Fox, loud cheers and applause rang out after every name. Some tiny voices called out, “I love you, Mommy,” when their mothers stood to receive their pins.

Lights were lowered in the theater for the traditional candle lighting ritual. Wearing the gold pins signifying their profession, the new nurses held lighted candles, and – led by fellow graduate Giselle Urena – recited the International Council of Nurses Pledge in unison.

The candlelighting ceremony and recitation of the International Council of Nurse Pledge

The class speaker, Myriam Coronel, recounted the days the grads spent together from the beginning of the program, through studying for exams, conducting head-to-toe assessments on each other, and racing to keep up with their daily demands. “We created a special bond. We cried, we laughed together, and in our darkest hours, we gave each other strength to rise when we thought we were defeated.” Miriam described the nursing program as rigorous and challenging, but necessary, “given the great responsibility that will be placed upon us.” Thanking the professors for preparing the grads well, Miriam also called her fellow grads “the embodiment of love and compassion,” and congratulated them on their achievement. “Can’t wait to see you all out in the field,” she said.

Following this especially touching pinning ceremony, graduates and guests enjoyed a reception in the PCCC food court.  The nursing program graduates received their Associate in Applied Science degrees at the 51st Commencement on May 25.  Congratulations to the Nursing graduates of 2023. See more photos on Facebook