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Berkshire Community College Pinning Ceremony
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
05:17PM / Friday, July 01, 2022
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BCC graduated a dozen students from its practical nursing program on Thursday.

Class President Sarah Dellaghelfa addresses her classmates at Thursday's graduation. See more photos here. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College on Thursday graduated a dozen future nurses in a pinning ceremony held in the college's Connector space.
Dean of Nursing Lori Moon commended the graduates of the 10-month course for entering the health-care industry especially after the pandemic and a national nursing shortage. She left them with some final advice -- to remember why they started this journey, to continue to ask questions and to have empathy. 
"I hope you guys will enter your new role with fresh energy and positivity. I hope that your attitude will be one that comforts patients and assures them that they will be taken care of," Moon. 
"It's a privilege to care for the people in our community. And I hope you all feel that way."
She also urged the graduates to focus not only caring for their patients but also themselves.
Class representative Walter Randall thanked his professors for being there and preparing them for their future career as he led the room in a moment of silence to look back on all the class had accomplished and overcame. 
President Ellen Kennedy said the faculty worked hard to shape this class to be prepared for entering this demanding profession where they will represent both the school and the community. 
"On behalf of the college and the community, and with our grateful thanks for what you have committed to yourselves to doing, and to I know the wonderful ambassadors you'll be for this program and this college and the commonwealth of Massachusetts in so many ways, congratulations and please go forward and make us all proud," Kennedy said.
Class President Samantha Dellaghelfa addressed her class in a humorous and inspiring speech as she reminisced on stressful times in the program during which they build strong friendships that she hoped will last a lifetime. 
"I think we may be one of the smallest classes to ever graduate from the LPN program, but we didn't lack in personality. We may have even made some of the professors second guess their career choices," she said, filling the room with laughter. 
Dellaghelfa spoke on her experience before committing to what she said had been a demanding course that will lead to a demanding career. 
Her mother, a nurse, had been her role model and Dellaghelfa had taken some courses toward becoming a registered nurse. A nursing instructor encouraged her to enroll in the practical nursing program as a bridge toward an RN degree.
But she questioned if she could do this with her already busy schedule as a single mom of three teenagers and caregiver for her grandfather. After much thinking, she enrolled and met like-minded individuals that shared in her drive to be a nurse turning strangers into lifelong friends. 
"I want to touch on how amazing each and every one of my classmates are. We all decided to become nurses after one of the most horrifying pandemics to hit our country. Some people may have thought we were crazy," Dellaghelfa said. 
"But we were amazing, strong, resilient, courageous, and powerful. We all started this program in September, and came from different backgrounds and stages in our lives. We all shared one thing in common: the desire to become a nurse."
Now the class has one last test between them and their future career.
Guest speaker Berkshire Health Systems education specialist Kara Kolodziej spoke on her experience working during the pandemic and described the trauma that will stay with her forever. The only thing that kept her returning to work was helping others. 
"But one thing that kept me showing up was that if nurses didn't take care of these individuals who would? This was at the time when not many departments were going into COVID rooms, which has since changed," Kolodziej said. 
"But if I didn't hold their hand, they would die alone and afraid. And we've come a long way from that. But the principle is still the same. Nurses can, you all can, enjoy the ride that is nursing, and you'll never know where it will take you." 
The graduates are: Ariana Baribeault, Chastity Gigliotti, Walter Randall, Jana Cushman, Samantha Dellaghelfa, Ashley Ring, Colleen Campbell, Shaina Petell, Maria Toledo, Elorm Kevin, Clarinda Gillyard, Sashaya Lewis 
  • Academic Excellence in Nursing: Sashaya Lewis
  • Clinical Excellence in Nursing: Clarinda Gillyard
  • Professionalism in Nursing: Chasity Gigliotti
  • Spirit of Nursing Award:  Elorm Kevin
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