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Marion S. Whelen School of Practical Nursing holds Drive-Thru Commencement



The Marion S. Whelan School of Practical Nursing (MSWSPN) celebrated the commencement of their 85th graduating class on June 18, 2020 during a WebEx virtual ceremony. A “Drive-Thru” celebration was held on June 19.  The class of eight students is now eligible to take their Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) exam. Graduates include Anna Bauer (Farmington), Gabrielle Daggett (Branchport), Raven Davis (Waterloo), Ashley Lawrence (Canandaigua), Kristy McNicholas (Geneva), Ryan Parmelee (Geneva), Alissa Plate (Waterloo) and Kathryn Sennett (Rushville).

Program Coordinator, Deanna Mills, MS, RN presented the diplomas and pins to the graduates during the “Drive-Thru” celebration as well as the special awards.

The Mary Breckinridge Award is given to the graduate practical nurse who has worked diligently to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their dream to enter the nursing profession. Gabrielle Daggett was presented with this award.

The Catherine J. Loudin Achievement Award is given to the graduate practical nurse most exemplifying the values of Finger Lakes Health during his or her educational training.  This year’s award goes to Alissa Plate.

The Alice Bergstresser Memorial Award is given to the graduate practical nurse who exemplifies the characteristics Alice portrayed in her everyday living; namely, determination, dedication and compassion. Anna Bauer was honored with this award.

Alissa Plate was recognized with the Fidelia Harmon Memorial Award for highest academic achievement in the nursing program.

Kathryn Sennett received the Marion S. Whelan Memorial Award, given to a graduate practical nurse who exemplifies the characteristics of dedication to nursing and self-discipline, which were such an important part of Miss Whelan’s life.

Raven Davis was awarded the MSWSPN Service Award given for outstanding service in medical/surgical nursing.

The William J. DiCicco Memorial Award honors the graduate practical nurse who exhibits the attributes that Bill demonstrated throughout his life:  devotion to family, a strong work ethic, the value of education and love of country. This year’s recipient was Ryan Parmelee.

The Practical Nursing Student Determination Award was established by Carl Belawske, a Finger Lakes Health employee who knows firsthand the perseverance needed to complete an educational program.  The recipient is a graduate who, despite challenges both in and out of the classroom, has overcome them with the determination and grit to excel.  We are proud to recognize the drive, passion and tenacity to succeed of Kristy McNicholas with this award.

Ashley Lawrence received the Advocate Award, given to the given to the graduate practical nurse who has shown the qualities most important to healthcare delivery; caring, quality, professionalism and passion.

Photos from the event can be viewed on Flickr and accessed from Finger Lakes Health’s website at

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