Vocational nursing graduates share in-person ceremony with their families

Photo by Paul Prado

The stage was filled with nursing graduates from Class 29, from last year, and Class 30 of this year durng the June 18 graduation.

BY PAUL PRADO

For the Record Gazette

On June 18, the Beaumont Unified School District’s adult school held a graduating ceremony for two vocational nursing classes at Beaumont High School’s Performing Arts Theater.

Estaban Garcia-Camacho, a resident of Cabazon, was excited that the ceremony was going to take place.

“Today is a special day for me. We all worked hard to become nurses, and we made it,” said Garcia-Camacho, who intends on continuing his education to become a registered nurse and eventually a travel nurse. “Because of the pandemic, our program was lengthened from 18 months to about two years. Our classes were stretched to include on-line and in-person learning, but we did it.”

Garcia-Camacho said the program offered lots of support through the pandemic.

“They tried to figure out the best way for us to get the best education we could get, considering all that’s happening,” said Garcia-Camacho.

“They taught us that nursing is not just about learning about medicine and the business part of it. It’s also about human interaction and building trust with patients.”

Garcia-Camacho was glad that he chose this program to receive his licensed vocational nursing education.

Becky Linden has been an LVN since 1974.

She has been an instructor since 1990.

“Tonight’s ceremony is exciting,” Linden said. “It takes me back, decades. Being here together after COVID is wonderful. The door has opened, and everyone gets to be here together to celebrate their success. I wish the graduates much success in their endeavors for years to come.”

Kataline Tidwell was at the graduation to share in her brother’s success. “I think highly of Esteban’s accomplishment considering that he did this after coming out of the military,” she said.

Tidwell said that she is happy for her brother following in the footsteps of other family members that are in the medical field.

“My mom is an LVN, too,” Tidwell said. “She wasn’t able to come to the graduation because she lives in Missouri.”

Graduating as an LVN was an emotional journey for Ernie Acosta.

“There are so many reasons why I wanted to get into nursing,” said the 21-year old Acosta. “Last year, when I graduated, we didn’t get to have a ceremony because of COVID. This year, it’s really nice to be able to graduate and see other people graduate with us too.”

Acosta had a personal reason to finish his classes and graduate as a nurse.

“I wanted to follow my dad’s life. He was studying to become a registered nurse. Sadly, he passed away and couldn’t finish his dream. So, I’m here to complete his legacy.”

Acosta found the nursing program to be challenging.

“When it comes to testing, you have to think about many things,” Acosta said.You have to consider each question, step-by-step. It’s definitely not a high school test.”

After graduation, Acosta would like to find work as a wound treatment nurse in a hospital in Indio.

Two nursing classes received recognition during the ceremony; Class 29 and Class 30.

Five students would be recognized for Class 29, and 29 students were recognized from Class 30.

“Technically, Class 29 graduated last August,” said Bonnie Ryan, a clinical instructor for the program. “But because of the pandemic, we weren’t able to have a ceremony.

“Five of the students of that class will be in attendance tonight.”

Ryan was elated that the ceremony was able to take place this year.

“It’s amazing that we get to celebrate tonight,” Ryan said. “I’m really happy because it’s a big deal in their lives.”

“When you become a nurse, your whole life changes. You don’t know exactly where you are going, but it’s somewhere new; uncharted territories.”

There were two volunteer nursing students that greeted attendees as they entered the auditorium.

Kerry Amagrande was one of them. She will be graduation next year with Class 31.

Amagrande believes that it is never too late to pursue a career.

“I’m 45-years-old. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, and I’ve always been a caring person. Obviously, I take care of my kids, and this seemed to be the right thing for me,” said Amagrande. Who found the classes to be challenging, but enjoyed the camaraderie of the other students. “The courses are challenging, but we have a really good class. We learn together and study together. We all climbing this hill together.”

Monique Willis, a student of the class 31 pupils, shared her thoughts about nursing and the ceremony.

“I’ve always had a love of helping people and seeing them get better,” said Willis.

“I took a medical terminology class in high school, and that sparked the direction for where I wanted to go as far as the medical field.”

Willis was encouraged by her mother to take LVN classes to try and secure a job. This way, she would be able to pursue her goal of becoming an RN in the future.

As the graduates entered the auditorium, parents were applauding and cheering loudly, as the students found their seat.

During the ceremony, Principal Melanie Petago said that the class demonstrated perseverance and courage, especially during the pandemic.

At the end of the ceremony, the nurses received their certificates, pins and lamps.

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