Essex County College LPN class completes step in health care career

Photo Courtesy of Wayne Yourstone
Pictured are members of Essex County College Licensed Practical Nurse Class of 2022.

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The 11 members of Essex County College’s 2022 Licensed Practical Nurse class proudly entered Smith Hall on Jan. 20 to receive their LPN pins.

“This class is mighty in spirit, commitment and full of energy. They will need those characters and more in the nursing profession,” said Gale Gage, chairperson of the Division of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Olusegun Adeniyi, who served as LPN class president, said that, growing up in Nigeria, he frequently watched his mother work as an auxiliary nurse. 

“I would see people coming into the doctor’s office sick and I would then see them leaving happy. I knew helping people like that was something I wanted to do,” the current Newark resident said. 

Adeniyi plans to continue his education after working as an LPN for a year. He is interested in pediatric and ICU nursing. At the pinning, he received the LPN Leadership Award and was class salutatorian with a grade-point average of 3.41. 

Co-valedictorians, with GPAs of 3.48, were Natasha Golding and Joseph Odirih.

Orange resident Onyinye Okafor attributes her decision to pursue nursing as both family and cultural. 

“I’m Nigerian and it’s a Nigerian thing,” she said. In addition, she said some of her family members are either doctors or nurses. Okafor plans to work and gain experience for a while before pursuing her next goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.

East Orange resident Bridgette Martin earned her Associate degree in general science from ECC in 2021. That came after working nine years as a certified nursing assistant as she now moves on as an LPN. 

“I’m trying not to waste any time,” she said.

Martin said she took care of her grandmother in Jamaica, which helped spark her health care dream. At the ceremony, she received the Clinical Excellence Award.

Mariama Yanka, who received the Florence Nightingale Award, had the honor of leading the class in the recitation of the Nightingale Pledge. Asha Winters received the Community Service Award.

The next step is preparing for the upcoming National Council Licensure Examination.