Dozens of community members, area dignitaries and college officials came together in Lincroft on March 14 to recognize the fall, winter and spring graduates of Brookdale’s Continuing and Professional Studies (CPS) division.
More than 30 graduates from 13 different career training programs – including dental assisting, patient care technician, veterinary assistant, interpreting, pharmacy technician, horticulture and business office support specialist – were presented with official certificates of completion and congratulated by a wide range of speakers, including the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and interim Brookdale President David Stout.
“On behalf of all of us here at Brookdale, I want to congratulate you on your remarkable achievements,” said Stout, who joined CPS Director of Operations Joan Scocco and Workforce Training Director Dominic Latoracca in recognizing the graduates.
“Events like these are the reason we are all here. Our mission as a college is to help you achieve your goals and find success in any path you choose. So your success is our success, and you make us all incredibly proud.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Monmouth County Freeholder Director and Brookdale career training alumnus Thomas Arnone, who came to the college after high school to learn the ins and outs of the landscaping industry. After completing his training, Arnone went on to launch a successful landscaping business at the age of 22.
“This ceremony is very special to me. It really hits home,” said Arnone. “You have all made a decision to pursue a career, or to enhance your career, and you have made a decision not to be stagnant, not to be satisfied with where you are at. You decided to take a step forward. And that decision is going to pay off for you time and time again… On behalf of all of us here, thank you and congratulations.”
The ceremony also featured testimonials by new CPS graduates Isabelle De Abreu and Kenya Rosario. De Abreu, who completed Brookdale’s interpreting training program and currently works in education, thanked the gathered instructors, administrators and support staff who helped her “find her place” at Brookdale.
“I really didn’t think I would ever get to go to college one day, but now I’m here and I’m standing in front of you and telling you about all these great, wonderful things that I’ve encountered here,” she said. “I learned that there is always opportunity. Every single day you wake up, you have an opportunity to be better than you were yesterday. And I learn that it is possible. You can do these things.”
Rosario, who completed the Certified Nurse Aid program and now works at CentraState Medical Center while waiting to join the Brookdale nursing program, spoke passionately about the CPS staff and counselors who helped her forge a promising new career in healthcare.
“Along with my family, I am lucky to have such a great college behind me,” said Rosario, who successfully applied with CentraState after spending hours with CPS staff to perfect her resume and attending the division’s Healthcare Career Opportunities Day in December.
“The counselors, everyone at the college has been so helpful and instructive. Any time I get a phone call and I see that ‘224,’ I know that something good is coming. We all have busy lives, so to have that support, to have a school that is actively reaching out and trying to help you get ahead, it’s beyond words. You cannot ask for more.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Monmouth County Freeholders John Curley, Patrick Impreveduto and Gerard Scharfenberger; Brookdale Associate Vice President of CPS Marie Lucier-Woodruff; and a wide range of instructors and staff representing Continuing and Professional Studies.
Learn more about Brookdale’s affordable, short-term career training programs here.
Check out more photos of the Commencement Ceremony here.