EDWARDSVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Commencement ceremonies have been canceled or postponed across the country this spring due to the coronavirus.
But locally, a nursing student was surprised with a graduation ceremony just for her, and Eyewitness News was there to capture the special moment.
Saturday was a day to remember for Jessica Young.
The graduate told Eyewitness News how shocked she was to see everyone. “I’m really grateful that everyone came out. It’s nice to celebrate, “says Jessica Young, LCCC graduate.
The nursing student would have officially graduated from Luzerne County Community College this May.
However, her graduation ceremony was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But, that didn’t stop her family from celebrating her achievement.
“We wanted to do something special to acknowledge all her hard work because she went to school full time she worked as a CNA at a nursing home. I’m so incredibly proud of her I can’t even describe.”
The entire event was a surprise.
Jessica’s best friend, Maggie D’Angelo, says “she was kind of suspicious, but pulling it off today was hard,”
Family and friends lined up their cars on Short Street in Edwardsville to congratulate Jessica— while practicing social distancing.
“It means a lot to be able to give her something, even as little as this. It means a lot,” says D’Angelo.
“She is such a great kid and she has worked very hard for this so it means everything,” Angie Harry, Jessica’s aunt.
And with the help of her aunt— a pinning ceremony was held.
“I wouldn’t want to give it to anyone else,” Harry adds.
Angie Harry passed down her nursing pin to her niece to mark the day, because pinning factories have been closed due to the coronavirus.
“As soon as they told me she was going to pin me I started crying. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without my family. She was one of my big supporters,” says Jessica Young.
The celebration doesn’t stop there, Jessica says she happily accepted a position at Geisinger Wyoming Valley, and she’s ready to stand by fellow healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m really excited I can’t wait to start and to get down and dirty. This is what I signed up for,” Young expressed.
Luzerne County Community College will hold a virtual celebration to recognize all graduates on May 28.
The school plans to have a traditional in-person ceremony on Friday, August 14.