Steven Corr was one of 20 LPN graduates this week at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES who felt a profound sense of appreciation for the classmates and instructors who made the achievement possible.
Corr spoke at graduation ceremonies Thursday night at Gillette Road Middle School in North Syracuse. He called his message, “The Gratitude Speech.”
“I’ve been profoundly affected by each and every one of them,” he said of his classmates and instructors. “I want them to be recognized.”
Fifteen years have passed since the tragedy of 9/11 pushed Steven Corr into an unexpected direction, one that ultimately led him to the full-time LPN program.
As a former emergency medical technician – and a first responder at the World Trade Center – Corr said the aftermath of that trauma led him to a journey of personal recovery, odd jobs in construction and eventually a move to Syracuse, where the slower pace appealed to him. When he heard about the BOCES LPN program, it re-kindled a desire to become a nurse, a profession shared by his mother and sister.
“I had always talked about it but never made the commitment,” he said.
On Thursday, at age 47, Corr experienced the honor of speaking to his class on a proud and emotional night. The event featured the traditional Florence Nightingale pinning ceremony in which loved ones had the honor of placing a pin on each graduate’s nursing uniform as a symbol of their hard work and dedication.
OCM BOCES Instructor Laura Yeomans said her students have displayed incredible growth in knowledge and maturity since the 1,290-hour program began a year ago. Corr, for example, had a perfect score in a recent interview with Loretto, a large continuing healthcare provider in Syracuse. He hopes to work there after graduation. He also hopes to continue taking nursing classes at Onondaga Community College so he can eventually become a registered nurse. The program at OCM BOCES, which ties in well with OCC, has prepared him well.
Even more, it helped him feel at home.
“I’ve made some real bonds with people in this class ... some long-lasting friends,” he said. “It’s amazing.”