Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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Wednesday, September 22, 2021
74.6 F

Coming of Age in the New Normal: New Sewickley Nursing Graduate Navigates Uncertainty in Pandemic

Editor’s Note: This article is part of’s ongoing series, “The Beaver County Coronavirus Chronicles,” the county’s historical experience of the pandemic. Click here to see more of the series.


Twenty-year-old Cassie Kohler of New Sewickley Township was walloped this week by restrictions caused by the coronavirus.

She lost her waitressing job at The Sports Grille in Cranberry Township when it closed, and the Community College of Beaver County nursing student was told her in-person classes and hospital clinicals were suspended.

This is her final term in CCBC’s two-year associate degree in nursing program, which will allow her to become a registered nurse after taking and passing her state boards. Those boards cost $200 plus state fees, which right now are an additional burden.

CCBC told her not to expect to return to in-person classes until at least April 10. And the organization that coordinates the boards has suspended it until at least April 16.

Kohler is skeptical that she’ll actually return to in-person classes, though she’s been reassured she’ll be allowed to graduate. She doesn’t know if she’ll be able to personally collect her diploma as expected on May 5 in front of her proud parents. She doesn’t know if CCBC will have the pre-boards preparation that would typically take place in an auditorium. And she doesn’t know when she might be able to take the in-person boards.

But she does know she has already accepted a job offer at UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland on the pulmonary unit starting on June 22, contingent on her passing the boards. Many of her friends also have job offers, she said. The excitement she felt accepting that job a few weeks ago is now tempered.

Now, she’s hunkered down at home with her parents, studying hard online. She and her fellow students and friends message and miss each other.

“It’s like suddenly we woke up and everything is done,” she said. “I worked so hard for this and to not walk across the stage with my friends would be disappointing.”


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Lori Boone
Lori Boone
Lori DeLauter Boone has more than 20 years of experience in investigative and community journalism. She’s won more than a dozen regional, state and national journalism awards.

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