Brookdale Community College held a Continuing and Professional Studies Completion Ceremony on June 8, 2022, honoring 350 students for their dedication and hard work in completing a certificate or professional training course. An overall feeling of happiness and recognition filled the air in a room filled with recipients, their family and friends, and dedicated faculty. A powerful sense of community also surrounded the room and was passed on highlighting those who worked for their successes, those who contributed to these successes, and those who even made Brookdale a better place.  

“All completers tonight know that investing in education is difficult,” said President of Brookdale Community College, Dr. David M. Stout, in his opening remarks. “It’s not just a matter of investing your money, but it’s also a matter of investing your time. Choosing to put time into continuing your education is incredibly valuable and will continue to be valuable and lead you to higher wage jobs. Not everyone chooses that pathway. You really deserve a commendation for that.”   

The completers’ accomplishments included healthcare training, business training, information technology, career and technical education, online certification, small business development training, and medical training. 

Briann Ferguson

Among the completers awarded was student speaker Briann Ferguson, who focused on how there is no time limit in pursuing your dreams and reaching your goals. Briann completed Brookdale’s Nonprofit Management Certificate and Peer Recovery Specialist Program. In addition, she is on track to finish her associate degree in social work.  

“When I originally enrolled at Brookdale, I was a new mother but, I knew that I had to further my education,” Ferguson said. “I wanted to become something not only for my daughter, but for myself as well. My passion is to help others who struggle with mental health and substance use disorders. I picked social work originally because it gives me a broader range of who I can help on a clinical level. I found and chose peer recovery because I want to help others overcome what I have overcome on a peer-to-peer level.”  

Lawrence Sculark

Lawrence Sculark also was a student speaker who completed the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist program. Paying it forward, Lawrence has taken the knowledge and skills he learned from the peer recovery program and started a “Men In Recovery” coaching program, empowering others on the road to recovery. Through his speech, Lawrence thanked Brookdale staff and faculty for their support in helping him with his journey and touched on the criticalness of having these support systems in place.

“The peer recovery program helped me to think critically about the current state of our nation, and issues surrounding mental health and addiction,” Sculark said. “And more importantly, the value and the vital role peer recovery are playing in bridging this gap. The program has given me the tools necessary to improve myself academically and experimentally.”  

Shore House, a clubhouse where local community members with mental illness can learn new skills, develop new relationships, and explore new opportunities, also had students walk at the ceremony. Like those completing certificate programs, students from the non-profit Shore House learned valuable skills and tools they can use to find jobs or even start a business.  

“The Continuing and Professional Studies division of Brookdale Community College helps to transform lives,” said Dr. Stout. “We thrive on making sure that you are succeeding.”  

Woman’s Exchange of Monmouth County

During the Awards and Recognition portion of the night, Dr. Stout and Dr. Joan Ali Scocco, dean of Continuing and Professional Studies at Brookdale, honored those who made the night so special to the College. Among those awarded were members of the Woman’s Exchange, for awarding scholarships that helped nineteen students this year complete their programs. In addition, Brookdale’s Office of Information Technology Joshua Berry and Moe Rahman were awarded the “Unsung Hero Award,” along with Events Specialist Nil Onder, for their incredible hard work at Brookdale behind the scenes.