Nassau Community College graduates 3,406

Bryan Freeman, of Springfield Gardens, shouts with fellow

Bryan Freeman, of Springfield Gardens, shouts with fellow classmates as hundreds graduate from Nassau Community College during their commencement ceremony held at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (Credit: Steve Pfost)

Nassau Community College number of graduates

3,406 associate degrees awarded

Keynote speaker

Kenneth Saunders, acting president of Nassau Community College


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"The process of developing your formula for success is not over . . . That formula for success will continue to evolve through trial — and yes, even through some error. But you should most certainly feel empowered by the knowledge that this formula for success will also be, in a very real sense, the infrastructure of your motivation, just as that motivation will be the powerful and enduring engine for achieving your goals."

Valedictorian

Elyse Zappia, 20, Malverne, liberal arts

"Success and sacrifice are, at the very least, two words that truly relate to all of us. We are all here today because we succeeded . . . Now is the time for us to embrace life's opportunities in our future endeavors. Do not fear this new chapter. As the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said, 'You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.' "

Zappia was joined by Alexis, her mother and fellow graduate, in the procession. Elyse Zappia said she asked her mother to speed her studies so they could graduate together.

Alexis Zappia, 55, Malverne, applied science

"She [Elyse] had asked me at the beginning of the year what I could do to graduate with her. I work full time. I said it would be really difficult . . . I thought if that's what you want, I'll do it — but it was rough."

Dan MacDonald, Long Beach, business

MacDonald left the Marine Corps as a sergeant after six years of service. Already accepted at Dartmouth College, he plans undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics and international affairs. "My aspiration is to be a foreign service officer with the State Department . . . I long for the sense of duty."

Eric Francis, 21, East Meadow, music

"I'm actually interested in becoming a hip hop rapper myself . . . my plan is to do some shows and get some exposure."

Lauren Sheedy, 22, New Hyde Park, criminal justice

She has passed the civil service exams for state trooper, police forces and corrections.

"It's just something I'm interested in — saving people's lives."

Her top choice would be the New York City Police Department "because you're interacting with a lot of people."

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