Practical Nursing Cohort 44 Graduation

October 14, 2020

The latest graduate nurses of the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center’s Practical Nursing Program celebrated their commencement in the cafeteria at the CTC’s Willow Street campus on Tuesday evening.  A dozen members of PN Cohort #44 received their diplomas and nurse pins while the ceremony was streamed live online to proud family and friends.

The restrictions in place for the allowed size of indoor events did not permit guests to watch the ceremony in person, but the pomp, circumstance and, dignity of the moment shone through.  The class of nearly nurses processed in to their seats right on time.  They sat, socially distant but still masked, as the Director of the Practical Nursing program welcomed them.

“Congratulations and thank you for persevering!” Director Josie Campbell said.  “We could have never imagined what the tail end of your program would have been like.”

Practical Nursing Instructor Gessy Desir addressed the class and reinforced Director Campbell’s comments.  She spoke about the journey and the challenges that the class overcame in the face of the greatest pandemic in over 100 years.  She spoke of the dedication of student nurses holding down full-time jobs and coming straight to class.  She spoke of students sacrificing time with families, missing birthdays, postponing anniversary celebrations, and cancelling the occasional girls’ night out in order to attend class or study.  She also spoke of what they are becoming as nurses.

“You will become the eyes for those who cannot see.  You will become the ears for those with difficulty hearing.  You will become the mouths for those who are unable to speak for themselves,” Instructor Desir said.

Each graduate was called up to receive her diploma and to get pinned.  The ceremony of receiving a nurse’s pin signifies the transition of a person from student to a recognized nurse.  It is the acceptance of the new nurse as a colleague among peers and a recognition of individual accomplishment.

The new nurses also recited the Practical Nurse Pledge, the Nurses’ Prayer, and honored Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, with the Presentation of the Lamp and passing of the light.

This ceremony is a symbolic passing of knowledge from faculty to students and from nurse to nurse rooted in the ancient practice of one nurse coming on duty taking the flame from the lamp from the nurse who was standing down.

Finally, the newly minted nurses processed solemnly out to friends and family waiting impatiently in the campus parking lot.  Well done, Practical Nursing Cohort #44!  You will make great nurses!

Congratulations to the Graduates and Award Winners from LCCTC Practical Nursing Cohort #44!


  • Erica Alissa Blevins
  • Donna Marie Gearhart
  • Monica Angelina Hoffman
  • Joelle Marie Khalil
  • Samantha Louise Kilgore
  • Mirineth Kim Ly
  • Lorena Anne McFadden
  • Katelyn Michelle Peyton
  • Destiney Sarah Rodgers
  • Jennifer Rose Sanderson
  • Jessica C. Swarr
  • Erika Nicole Trauger

Award Winners:

  • Elizabeth Graham Award: Samantha Kilgore
  • Sara B. She Leadership Award: Jennifer Sanderson
  • Practical Nursing Service Award: Erica Blevins
  • Excellence in Gerontology Award: Jessica Swarr
  • Valedictorian Award: Jessica Swarr
  • Salutatorian Award: Erica Blevins
  • Perfect Attendance: Donna Gearhart , Samantha Kilgore, Erica Blevins, & Jessica Swarr

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