More than 200 community members, area dignitaries and college officials came together in Lincroft on Aug. 31 to recognize the Summer 2017 graduates of Brookdale’s Continuing and Professional Studies (CPS) division.
Nearly 60 graduates from 12 different career training programs – including welding, patient care technician, veterinary assistant, medical assistant, and business office support specialist – were presented with official certificates of completion and congratulated by a wide range of speakers, including interim Brookdale President David Stout and Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley.
“I salute each and every one of you on behalf of our entire Board of Freeholders,” said Curley, a Brookdale alumni and county liaison to the college. “Thank you for taking this step for yourselves and for your families, and for making this world a better place to live. God bless you in all that you do.”
CPS Director of Operations Joan Scocco also took time out to thank the family and friends in attendance for supporting the students throughout their training.
“This ceremony continues to grow each year, and it is awe-inspiring to see so many of you here with your families,” said Scocco. “Tonight we are here to celebrate your success, and we are thrilled to have you and your families here as part of Brookdale’s family.”
In one of two class addresses, former student Dawn Bonadonna spoke about her experience since completing Brookdale’s Certified Home Health Aid training program in 2016. After receiving a promotion at work and becoming a recruiter for Home Instead Senior Care in Eatontown, Bonadonna said she recently discovered she was only 22 credits short of an associate degree.
Now, while continuing her work for Home Instead, she has returned to Brookdale to earn a degree in psychology.
“The certified home health aid course changed the entire path of my life, and it is still changing my life,” she said. “It is a huge deal what you have accomplished, and you should be very proud. You may not know where your training can take you, so keep your eyes and ears open for those new opportunities. Congratulations to you all.”
Carmella Avon, a 2017 graduate of Brookdale’s Medical Assistant Certification program, took time out to thank the CPS staff, instructors and college employees who helped her make a successful transition from the classroom to the workforce.
“Up until a few years ago I didn’t imagine I would be going back to school. But life happens, things change, and there was a need. So I turned a negative event into a positive opportunity,” said Avon, who became certified as both a medical assistant and an EKG/monitor technician during her time in the program and was recently hired by a local health care provider.
“I am very happy I made that choice. I want to thank everyone at Brookdale who has helped me every step of the way. Your dedication is priceless, the help you offer is unending, and it is greatly appreciated. It was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it.”
In addition to their certificates of completion, Avon and her classmates were presented with ceremonial Brookdale medical assistant pins marking their successful completion of the program.
The graduates of Brookdale’s free welding training program – run this year in partnership with Ocean County College (OCC) – presented Curley with a custom sculpture in appreciation for the county’s support.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Marie Lucier-Woodruff, associate vice president of CPS; Dominic Latoracca, workforce training director; John Radvany, program manager for the Ready to Work NJ program; Patricia Fenn, OCC assistant vice president of continuing and professional education and workforce development; Michael Forcella, OCC’s manager of business engagement; and a wide range of CPS employees, instructors and student support staff.
Learn more about Brookdale’s affordable, short-term career training programs here.
Check out more photos of the Commencement Ceremony here.