Congratulations, ladies! Hanover Practical Nursing graduates ready for next step - Evening Sun

Betty Barrera has spent 30 years in healthcare, taking care of people with disabilities.

But without a nursing degree, the Abbottstown resident had little input in the medical decisions made about the people she took care of.

"I wanted to have my voice heard," she said.

So the 54-year-old went back to school.

Surrounded by family and clutching a fresh bouquet of flowers outside the auditorium of Hanover High School, the graduate of the 91st class of the Hanover Practical Nursing program was all smiles on Thursday night, knowing how far she came to earn her diploma.

People told her the program would be a challenge. It was all that and more, she said.

"It was the hardest year I've had in my life," Barrera said.

The 23 graduates of the Hanover Practical Nursing program were of different ages and backgrounds, said class president Jessie Parks in her speech.

But they shared a common goal of becoming nurses and using their skills to care for others.

Completing the year-long program and getting one step closer to that goal meant a lot of missed date nights and playtimes with their kids over the past year, Parks said.

"You realized you could live on four hours of sleep," she said as the audience laughed.

But it was a year filled with excitement, and one that strengthened the graduates' commitment to nursing, she said.

When students are accepted into the program - which is operated by the Hanover Public School District - they begin full-time coursework, Mondays through Friday for about 8 hours a day, said program director Mary Brown.

Because the community was short on nurses in 1964, the district superintendent, the school board president and the president of Hanover Hospital at the time got together and created the Hanover Practical Nursing program.

Since the first graduation in 1966, the program has flourished, Brown said.
From attending lectures to clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities, the students are given the foundation they need to earn a diploma and become qualified to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing. Upon passing the exam, they are each a licensed practical nurse.

The exam scores of the program's students have consistently been above the state and national average, Brown said.

Most students plan on taking the exam shortly after graduation, they said.

Thursday night's ceremony was a chance to look back upon the past year and celebrate.

The ceremony was steeped in tradition, with the graduates wearing pristine white nurse uniforms and the females wearing nurses' caps.

They were joined by the 92nd class and the 93rd class, who watched the ceremony from the front rows of the auditorium.

After the graduates received their diploma and nurse's pin, they lit small candlelight lamps in honor of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the country's first nurse. As the lights faded in the auditorium, the graduates solemnly recited a pledge to operate faithfully and carry out their work to the best of their ability.

Brown has no doubt that the class will find success.

"The class is very determined," she said.

As Parks looked across the crowded auditorium, her eyes were filled with determination and they met the eyes of the students in the 92nd class.

"The next graduation you'll attend is yours," she said. "And the view up here is great."

Betty Lou Barrera
Lauren Christine Carlquist
Donald Patrick Dahlen II
Amanda May Garland
Cory Lee Harrington
Danielle Marie Henn
Martha Dorise Honeywell
Kathleen Marie Houck
Martine Constant Hyacinthe
Jennifer Jean Jewell
Dawn Noel Kozak
Amanda Louise Kress
Mindy Ann Martin
Shirley Myriam Moreta
Jessica Lynn Moringstar
Hildred Moyo
Jessie Rae Parks
Rosa Mae Pascoe
Melody Lynn Prince
Christina Lynn Schwartz
Kimberly Ann Weaver
Kimberly Ann Wilt
Andrea Colleen Zumbrum