Hands-on learning Local massage therapy program celebrates spring graduation

The Massage Therapy program at the Hudson County Schools of Technology (HCST) held a graduation ceremony last night in the program’s classroom in the district’s 83rd Street recreation facility. The graduates, Halina Maria Klejmont, 51, of Bayonne, Moises Luna, 20, of North Bergen, and Shirley Gierbolini, 35 of Jersey City, were presented with diplomas commemorating their completion of the rigorous six-month program.

Featuring 508 hours of instruction in study topics including Anatomy, Physiology, Swedish Massage, Stone Massage and Business Management, the HCST’s Massage Therapy Program is the most inexpensive curriculum of its kind to offer a full educational experience in the state. The program is administered by Thomas Soriero, director of post secondary education at HCST, and its instructor Monya Reydiboym. It accepts up to 10 students each fall and spring, with classes five days per week in the early evening.

Luna discovered the program during his time at North Bergen High School, and was immediately intrigued. “My father has had back and knee problems, and when I found out about the program I really wanted to do it,” said Luna. “I have a love of helping people feel better.”

Klejmont, an immigrant from Poland, has worked as a massage therapist for over 20 years, but took the class in order to obtain full certification and learn more about the craft. “My clients deserve the best, and I needed to refresh my memory,” said Klejmont. One of the factors that made her choose HCST’s program was the ability to fit it into her already busy schedule. “I did enormous research, this was the only program that fit my schedule.”

Gierbolini learned about the course on the internet, and also was drawn to massage therapy by family concerns. “My mother has had bad knee and back problems,” said Gierbolini.

With such a small class, the students learned not only from Reydiboym, but from each other. “Halina’s experience and observations were extremely helpful to the class,” said Reydiboym. “And no one can use the internet faster than Shirley. She taught us all a lot about that.”

The ceremony was small and intimate, with only family members and the graduates themselves in attendance. Soriero handed out the diplomas and had glowing comments for the students, calling Luna “the man with the golden hands.”

The program stresses practical massage experience in its instruction, and with that in mind, gives out hundreds of free massages every semester. The students visited the Hudson County Detention Center this spring to practice, and often take walk-ins from HCST students, faculty, and staff.

The Massage Therapy program will be registering students for the fall session through the end of August and from Sept. 1 to Sept. 6. Brochures and additional information are available by calling 201-662-6791 or by visiting hcstonline.org.


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