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The Telegram
  • ‘What a journey it’s been’ for HCCC graduates

  • Members of the class of 2013 at Herkimer County Community College donned caps and gowns to process into the gymnasium of the Physical Education building Friday evening to receive their diplomas.

    For some, commencement exercises marked their first or one of their few times on campus.

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  • Members of the class of 2013 at Herkimer County Community College donned caps and gowns to process into the gymnasium of the Physical Education building Friday evening to receive their diplomas.
    For some, commencement exercises marked their first or one of their few times on campus.
    Jennifer Denton and Lisa Borasky, who introduced themselves to each other while waiting to line up for commencement ceremonies, completed their classes online.
    Borasky, of West Monroe, received a degree in human services and plans to volunteer at Vera House in Syracuse to gain more counseling experience before seeking a full-time job in the field.
    “It’s nice,” she said of the online option, but she added, “You have to be really disciplined.” She admitted it isn’t always easy to come home from work and then spend time studying online.”
    Online students have to show that they are spending the necessary time online, said Denton, of West Winfield, who received her degree in meeting and events management. She plans to seek a job in a hotel or events facility. As the mother of five, Denton said, online was the way to go.
    Other graduates had a more traditional college experience.
    Abraham Dominguez, from Manhattan, majored in forensics while his friend, Angel Genao, from the Bronx, majored in criminal justice. Both said attending HCCC was a good experience and they plan to continue their education.
    “Once in a lifetime,” said Dominguez of his experience at HCCC.
    An ensemble from the Mohawk Valley Frasers led the procession into the gymnasium with bagpipes and a drum. Freshman Kevin Montano, of Sauquoit, sang the National Anthem.
    Local, state and college officials as well as fellow students offered congratulations and words of encouragement to the graduates.
    State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D - Utica, told the graduates he had started his college career at HCCC and urged them to use the tools they received there to move forward.
    “Be persistent, be polite and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it,” State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R - New Hartford, told the graduates.
    State Assemblyman Marc Butler (District 118) said, unlike in some previous years, graduates can look forward to job opportunities in New York state. “My advice to you is the wave is coming. Get ready to catch it.”
    HCCC Student Government President Anthony DeLuca, a sports and recreation management major from Frankfort, said when he sought advice from his high school guidance counselor, the counselor asked if he wanted to be successful. He said yes. The counselor told him he had to decide who he wanted to be — “not what, but who.” He also told his fellow graduates, “Don’t listen to the nay-sayers.”
    Katie Ranno, of St. Johnsville, a digital filmmaking major gave the student address titled “Commit, Complete, Compete.” When students took their first steps at HCCC they committed to higher education, she said. “And oh, what a journey it’s been,” she said. “We’ve laughed, we’ve cried and even pulled a few all-nighters. I can say, from my own personal experience here at Herkimer County Community College, that thought it all, I’ve had some really great experiences and have made some awesome friends.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Complete sums up what commencement is all about, she said. “All of that hard work over the past two years has finally paid off and is an accomplishment we will be able to carry with us into our successful futures.”
    As for “compete,” she said, “This is our challenge for tomorrow … we now get to go into the world and compete with others in our fields. We get to pursue those dreams that we’ve waited so long to live out and show the world what we’ve got.”
    College President Dr. Ann Marie Murray presented SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence to three members of the faculty and staff. The award for Faculty Service went to Sharon Gleasman-Howell, professor of physical education. The award for Excellence in Professional Service was presented to Linda Contino Lamb, associate dean of continuing education, and the award for Excellence in Classified Service went to Bonnie Wezalis, office assistant II.
    There were 682 candidates for degrees and certificates, which were conferred by Murray with assistance from Dean of Academic Affairs Michael Oriolo and Dean of Students Matthew Hawes. Those who did not have tickets to watch the ceremony from the gymnasium could view it on a large screen in the Sarkus-Busch Theater in the Robert McLaughlin College Center. The ceremony was also broadcast live on HCTV and there was a live webcast at www.herkimer.edu.
    A reception for graduates and their guests followed the ceremony.
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