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Picolla congratulated the graduates and wished them luck with their careers. "Our lives are literally in your hands now," he said. Herkimer BOCES Board of Education President Daniel LaLonde presented the diplomas as nursing faculty awarded graduation pins, nursing program coordinator Sara Nicolette led a candle-lighting ceremony, nursing instructor Janet Vickers led the students in a nursing pledge and Herkimer BOCES Director of Adult, Early Childhood and Outreach Education Mary Kline announced the class of 2017 as graduated. The adult practical nursing program offers a full-time class and part-time classes that can either be taken during the day or evening. One student from each class gave a farewell address at the graduation: Courtney Burke for the full-time class, Jose Alvarado for the part-time day class and Beth Jasewicz for the part-time evening class. The speakers touched on a variety of topics. Burke said it was a demanding year, but the knowledge and confidence gained was worth every effort. Alvarado said on the first day, he wondered what he got himself into, but his classmates went from strangers to family through great and tough times. Jasewicz, like the other speakers, thanked their teachers, family and friends for their support. Christina Ham, a registered nurse at Crouse Hospital, was the guest speaker for the commencement. She talked about her background, including graduating from Ilion in 2004, before deciding to go to the Herkimer BOCES adult practical nursing program and graduating from it in 2009.

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