Joseph F. McCloskey School Of Nursing Celebrates Its 124th Commencement
BY MICHAEL PECKMAN
Not even a global pandemic could hold back the 2021 graduating class of the Joseph F. McCloskey School of Nursing at LVHN. Twenty-seven students celebrated this phase of their nursing education at an outdoor, in-public ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium at Pottsville Area High School. They join the more than 2500 graduates of the School since its inception in 1895.
Commitment during crisis
Keynote speaker was Melanie Bendinsky, MSN, who retired last year after a 40-year nursing career where she most recently served the school’s Program Coordinator and a medical/surgical nursing instructor. “First – I have a question for all of you – my former students,” said Bendinsky. “Did anything unusual or unexpected happen during your time as students in the school of nursing?
Bendinsky’s very personal address echoed that of other speakers noting that the rise of and reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique and very valuable learning experience beyond any classroom, lab or patient floor. “You are now part of history, having participated, and survived and you will be able to add your insight and experiences to that history. It is important that you do. My advice to you all is not to be afraid of new challenges and opportunities if they present themselves. That is how you will grow. This includes continuing your education.”
Also offering remarks were Robert Baracco, MD, Chief Academic Officer for LVHN Department of Education, William, “Bill” Reppy, LVH–Schuylkill President, Patrick Jones, PhD, Chancellor, Penn State–Schuylkill, Class President Madison Garland and Class Valedictorian Antonio H. Madera who also led his classmates in the Nightingale Pledge. Hospital Chaplain, Sister Jo Magdalinski offered the invocation.
A legacy of local (and global) healers
Established in 1895 as The Pottsville Hospital School of Nursing, the school serves as the primary source of Registered Nurses in Schuylkill County. Its graduates have worked worldwide in every nursing setting imaginable including service to our country in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam through present day.
The School is named in honor of Judge Joseph F. McCloskey, long-time Board member and Chairman of the Former Pottsville Hospital and Schuylkill Health. He was a strong advocate of the nursing program and the impact it has on the community.