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The Times
  • St. Elizabeth graduates told to ‘make things happen’

  • The journey into the nursing field for Rome resident Olivia Mellace was met with a few detours.

    She started off at Le Moyne College taking general education classes and then transferred to SUNY Cortland. A week after arriving there, Mellace said, “All those feelings came back to me.”

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  • The journey into the nursing field for Rome resident Olivia Mellace was met with a few detours.
    She started off at Le Moyne College taking general education classes and then transferred to SUNY Cortland. A week after arriving there, Mellace said, “All those feelings came back to me.”
    “I love science. I love the human body,” she said. “I think it’s fascinating.”
    And so she transferred one more time — to St. Elizabeth College of Nursing.
    On Saturday under a sunny, cloudless sky, Mellace filed out of the college building on Genesee Street toward her future as a nurse along with more than 60 of her fellow graduates.
    Richard Ketcham, St. Elizabeth Medical Center president and chief executive officer, offered several “nuggets of wisdom” to the graduates, some of which paralleled the journey Mellace had taken.
    “The path is full of open dams,” he said. “There are ups and downs, but stay on the journey.”
    Mohawk resident Marc Ritter’s path to nursing wasn’t a straight line either.
    Ritter said he decided to go back to school after being a medic in the U.S. Navy.
    “I enjoy it. It was kind of a lifelong dream,” he said.
    Plus, he said, there aren’t a lot of male nurses.
    “It’s neat to go outside the box,” he said, adding that people shouldn’t wait to further their education.
    “The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes,” he said. “If it’s your passion, do it.”
    Ketcham’s speech continued to emphasize this positive outlook for graduates, reminding them to “believe in yourself” and “make things happen.”
    Ritter and Mellace have jobs waiting for them after graduation, which Mellace said will be very rewarding.
    When it comes to nursing, Mellace said, “Be ready to work your butt off, but it’s so worth it.”

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