Five Towns College commencement

Graduates get ready to toss their mortarboards at

Graduates get ready to toss their mortarboards at the end of the May 24, 2014, graduation ceremony at Five Towns College in Dix Hills. A new report from the U.S. Education Department indicates that graduates with science and math are earning more. (Credit: Heather Walsh)

CLASS OF 2014

Five Towns College

The 40th commencement of Five Towns College was held Saturday at Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills.


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Number of graduates

14 master's degrees; 164 bachelor's; 15 associate; one doctorate.

Commencement speakerU.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington)

Israel commended graduates for pursuing their dreams via career paths in creative fields, and said more of an emphasis should be placed on arts education while students are in grade school. "Thank you for choosing creativity as a career, it is so important," he said. "I worry about this country losing its creative soul . . . We are testing our children to death; we are turning our backs on creativity."

ValedictorianHarrison Ingemarson, 21, composition/songwriting

Ingemarson of Scott Township, Pennsylvania, encouraged classmates to not fear the unknown yawning before them, and to instead embrace it, leaning on each other for support. "The only thing that can hold you back is yourself," he said. "There are plenty of trained, experienced professionals out there with whom we're going to have to compete, and we simply cannot afford to let our doubts get in the way."

StudentsLauren Carr, 20, business management

Carr of Howard Beach, Queens, who is also class salutatorian, finished her degree in three years and wants to work in publicity for a television network or become a TV producer. "I just finished an internship at CBS and I really loved that, so I'm hoping that will be in my future."

Jessica Pezdan, 24, vocal performance

Pezdan of Holbrook was recently hired by a Hicksville entertainment company to sing at weddings and other events. "I'm looking to become a recording artist . . . I'm not going to stop until I do," she said.

Barrington Steve Hall Jr., 21, audio recording technology

Hall of Freeport does sound engineering work in Manhattan. He said he hopes the networking opportunities he had at Five Towns will help him in the long run. "The people I met are the biggest part of the education. You meet people going into the same field as you, but different aspects of the field."

Danielle Palumbo, 21, theater arts

Palumbo of Staten Island said her next step is auditioning for stage productions and meeting with agents. "I would love to be on stage and sing on stage, and have a life just there," she said.

-- COMPILED BY CANDICE RUUD

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