Annenberg School of Nursing Celebrates Class of 2023
Spring carries with it the sweet smell of new beginnings, and so it was this past April that graduates of the Annenberg School of Nursing’s class of 2023 gathered together to mark the culmination of their studies and the start of a fresh chapter as licensed healthcare professionals.
A program of Los Angeles Jewish Health (LAJH), the Annenberg School is a premier destination for nursing education and a prime launching pad for high-impact nursing careers. This year’s 20 graduates were joined by more than 300 family members, friends, and LAJH staff to celebrate their achievements and to help send them off to their exciting futures in healthcare.
Benefitting from a return to in-person classes as school resumed its normal pace in the wake of the pandemic, the graduates gained critical, hands-on experience that prepared them well for their next step.
“They are all getting ready for the state board now, and I’m pleased to say that, thanks to our small cohort and individualized, one-on-one teaching, our passing rates for that exam exceed the state average,” says Amandeep Kaur, the school’s director. “I am confident our most recent graduates will distinguish themselves with their performance!”
The graduation ceremony itself was also in-person – the first one in three years to take place inside, as the past few years, health regulations required a drive-up ceremony in the nursing school parking lot. “We are so thrilled to have been able to share this year’s experience with everyone gathered together.” Amandeep says. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the critical support we received from the talented and caring staff of Los Angeles Jewish Health, its board of directors, and our board of directors at Annenberg School of Nursing.”
The program featured three student speakers including Talin Oz, class valedictorian. “We have worked so hard, gotten through long nights studying, early morning clinicals, and supported each other along the way to be here,” she said in her speech, also noting that the expertise, guidance, and mentorship of Annenberg faculty and staff were “priceless and instrumental in shaping us into the nurses we are today.”
Nina Heckathorn, who won the prestigious Florence Nightingale Award, also offered remarks at the event. “Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Nothing worth having comes easy,’ and he must have had us in mind,” she said. “We have all collectively been pushed to our absolute limits and stretched beyond imagination, yet in our stretching we’ve learned not just about our chosen field but about ourselves. Now I can say, without a doubt, it was truly worth it!”
The third graduation speaker was Kanoko Jones, who offered heartfelt congratulations to her peers. “We made it!” she enthused. “We persevered, and we overcame. I am so proud of each and every one of us.
For members of the class of 2023, persevering was not always easy. “This class was unique in its own way. We had students who lost family members during the program, as well as some who went through divorce, and others who were suffering from serious medical conditions,” Amandeep says. “But they kept fighting on, and I have such tremendous respect for them. Annenberg is really a special place, and our most recent graduates'' have made it even more so.”