As students turn their tassels, administrators offer one more round of applause
Hope was the central message of Branford Hall’s Jersey City Campus Director Dr. Robert Jannicelli’s commencement address on the evening of June 10th. This class had come a long way, Jannicelli explained, and their dedication was such that it would inspire others to pursue their future goals as well.
Jannicelli’s address, which served to open the ceremony, was one of several that were presented throughout the evening. Valedictorians, Branford, Jersey City administrators, and even a previous graduate took center stage before it was over.
Exercises were held inside the Loew’s Landmark Theater, a historic movie palace that has been in operation since 1929. The Landmark boasts gothic ceilings and a multi-pedal pipe organ that rises like a platform out of the floor. The theater’s stage is wide and spacious, opening out onto a 3,000-seat auditorium.
The Landmark was brimming on this evening, as family, friends and current students filed in to offer their support. The graduating class was comprised of approximately 200 students, the accumulation of a campus that is currently five career training programs strong.
The national anthem was sung by Karen Joy Zapanta, a 2015 graduate. Awards were presented for highest grade-point average (in each program), general excellence and perfect attendance,(among other categories. Toward the end of the ceremony, students were called by name, at which point they appeared onstage to be presented with their diplomas.
Giant windshield, tiny mirror
The biggest surprise came when Dr. Jannicelli introduced Jonnetta Allen, a 2013 Branford Hall graduate who was now not only a medical assistant, but a motivational speaker and a self-published author, as well.
“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon,” Allen proclaimed (she then repeated it a second time). Allen’s message seemed to resonate, particularly after she explained what she had once been forced to overcome.
Allen admitted that prior to enrolling at Branford Hall she was homeless, bouncing from place to place, while trying to maintain custody of two kids. Given Allen’s post-graduate success, her endorsement provided an apt compliment to Dr. Jannicelli’s initial message of hope. The graduates were seated in a historic movie theater, after all. To quote a movie that’s proven popular ever since it was released during the early nineties: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
The Jersey City campus currently offers computer networking & security courses, graphic design & animation courses, medical assistant programs, and medical billing and coding training. Have friends or family that might be interested in pursuing career education? Tell them to schedule an appointment or request more information about Branford Hall.