WILKES-BARRE – It's been a long, hard road with several stops and starts along the way, but Mike Charneski finally earned his Bachelor of Science degree at King's College summer commencement Saturday.
Held in St. Mary's of the Immaculate Conception, almost 80 students received master's or bachelor's degrees.
Charneski, 41, of Wilkes-Barre, has worked at King's as an evening custodian since 1999.
"I always felt that education was important," said Charneski, who began taking classes in 2004. He took two classes each semester and studied before and after work and during breaks.
"I took what he could, and it's a big relief to get it done," he said. "I was always stressed out about paying my bills and going to school."
Charneski said he's thinking about continuing his education and pursuing a master's degree. "If I wasn't working here, I wouldn't have been able to complete my degree."
Kristen Piazza, 23, was among the 38 graduates who received a master's degree in physician assistant studies. "It's amazing," Piazza said of finally reaching graduation day. "All of our hard work finally paid off," she said. "I'm looking forward to a rewarding career."
Piazza, of Pittston, was awarded one of only six post-graduate residencies in surgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She will begin her one-year residency in late October.
"It's a day of great celebration," guest speaker Susan F. Sordoni, M.D., told the class.
Sordoni is chairwoman and volunteer physician of the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Wilkes-Barre and the medical director of Hospice Community Care in Kingston. She is currently a member of the Commonwealth Board of the Medical College of Pennsylvania and serves on the board of the Sordoni Foundation Inc. She also is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from King's.
Sordoni told the graduates to try to control the stress in their lives and others. "More than 50 percent of people that enter a physician's office are on anti-depressants," she said. "It's a sign of the times. It's a sign that the biggest pathological problem is stress." She offered them some "pearls of advice." "Always remember that the (journey) from where you came from to where you're going is a very short ride."
Sordoni also told the class that the secret to happiness is to find someone they love, who loves them back, and to work at something they feel passionate about. She told them to remember the words of Maya Angelou as they go about their lives: "People may not always remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."
MASTER OF EDUCATION
CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
Annette Conigliaro Adair, Dunmore; Kristin Lynette Brice, Wilkes-Barre; Charles Dinofrio, Freeland;
Michele Lynne Kordek, Wilkes-Barre; Donna Marie Rentschler, Huntington Mills; and Kristin Vanderhoff, Wilkes-Barre
MASTER OF EDUCATION
Alyssa Jamie Aritz, Exeter; Kathleen M. Burns-Szafran, Wilkes-Barre; Megan Leigh Dreabit, Plains;
Jaime Ann Maddon, Breiningsville; Samantha Ann Pisano, Hughestown; Julie Marie Schlude, Ashley;
Erin Svilokos Shymanski, West Wyoming; and Zoe Isabelle Van Jura, Tunkhannock
MASTER OF SCIENCE
HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION
Kevin C. Boyanowski, Wilkes Barre; Devon Rae Grochowski, Forty Fort; Michelle Marie Jewett, Leraysville; Vincent James McClosky, Wilkes-Barre; Andrew Zachary Miller, Mountain Top; Corey John Roccograndi, West Wyoming; and Catherine Ann Sommers, East Norriton
MASTER OF SCIENCE
PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT STUDIES
Daniel Andrew Carducci, Columbus, Ohio; Adriane Yvonne Cimino, Galeton; Sarah Ann Cordani, Wolcott, Connecticut; Christine Anne Cowell, Wilkes-Barre; Jacquelyne Marie Dalczynski, New Britain, Connecticut; Michael Paul Dana, Kingston; Megan Colleen Devine, Harveys Lake; Anna R Domday, Summit Hill; Julie Ann Edwards, Easton; Nicole Lynn Fonos, Munhall; Brendan John Hartman, Hatfield;
Kaitlyn Elizabeth Hefferan, Macomb, Michigan; Colleen Hoeg, Piscataway, New Jersey; Shannon Kay Hoffman, Boyertown; Andrew Walter Hunadi, Palmerton; Sara Lynne Hunter, Dupont; Chelsea Lyn Keehfuss, Philadelphia; Ashley Nicole Keramas, Bethlehem; Kimberly A. Kleinberger, New City, New York; Zachary Randolph Leonard, Vestal, New York; Colleen Margaret Lizewski, Pine Grove; Carly Marie Morcom, Scott Twp.; Elyssa M. Nieddu, Shenandoah; Allison Marie Pamlanye, Ronkonkoma, New York;
Kristen Marie Piazza, Pittston; Victoria Grace Posatko, Dallas; Jennifer Ann Posner, Boynton Beach, Florida; Laura Leigh Provenzano, Kunkletown; Audrey Catherine Reighard, Kingston; Jenna M. Schappell, Ringtown; Jessica M. Sekelski, Dunmore; Theodore Robert Siskovich, Plains; Lindsay M. Smith, Plains;
Katie Sopp, Old Forge; Chelsey A. Spadt, Bethlehem; Jillian Michal Tallarico, Lancaster; Jamie Lee Woolfolk, Hanover Township; and Megan S. Yetter, Saylorsburg
BACHELOR OF ARTS
Erika Ann Samuels, Larksville
Russell Oho Keen, Dickson City
Margaret Farrell Height
John Michael Morgan, Weatherly
William Joseph Baratta, Wapwallopen; and Mary Kay Zekus, Plains
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE
Matthew C. Kujat, Freeland
CLINICAL LAB SCIENCE-MED TECH
Chelsea Elizabeth Farling, Allentown; and Eric H. Weiss, Hellertown
Michael Joseph Charneski, Wilkes-Barre
HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
Victoria Lyn Stuccio, Swoyersville
Navruz Cangoz, Clarks Summit
Michael L. Jordan, Hughestown
Kerri A. Ladines, Hanover Twp