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Nassau Community College holds 2017 commencement at Coliseum

Yacinyah Cayemitte, 21, of Elmont, attends her graduation

Yacinyah Cayemitte, 21, of Elmont, attends her graduation with daughter Audriannah Heckstall, 1, at Nassau Community College's 57th annual commencement inside the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Tuesday evening, May 23, 2017. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Nassau Community College held its 57th commencement Tuesday in the renovated Nassau Coliseum.

Number of graduates

2,041 associate of arts degrees, 679 associate of applied science degrees, 1,101 associate in science degrees and 131 certificates

Commencement speaker

Nassau Community College President W. Hubert Keen, delivering his first speech as head of the school, told graduates they must be ready to adapt, change with technology and be lifelong learners. “Work like hell to succeed in the next phase of your life. Own your future. You are not going back. Enjoy and celebrate today the success you so justly deserve. Our hopes and hearts go with you.”

Student speaker

Valedictorian Christian Bossio talked about being motivated by adversity, telling his personal story of his mother’s murder in Honduras when he was 16. “Only because of a promise I made to my mother and myself — I promised I would work as hard as I could to become a high-achiever — I would live and breathe to make that amazing woman who brought me life prouder than ever.”


Marly Delatour Gabriel, 35, nursing

Delatour Gabriel, of Elmont, who has already started the nursing bachelor’s program at Stony Brook University, emigrated from Haiti 10 years ago. “I was born in a place with no electricity. I’m the first person in my family to graduate college and live in America. I knew two English words and I became an honor student.”

Julio Espinoza, 24, criminal justice

“I’m planning on becoming a cop. I want to fight crime. It’s a childhood dream for me,” said Espinoza, of Farmingdale.

Kelly Kennedy, 39, liberal arts

“My children will be here. They are thrilled. I guess I’m showing them you can endure,” said the Port Washington firefighter and mother of two teens.

James Borzumato, 35, commercial arts/digital technology

“Out of high school I went straight to work, and at 30 I decided to go back to college part-time. It just opens more doors. It was hard, but I really believed in myself,” said Borzumato, of Valley Stream.

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