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St. Joseph's College holds 99th commencement

Danielle Manco, center, 28, of Mastic Beach, waves

Danielle Manco, center, 28, of Mastic Beach, waves at the crowd during the St. Joseph's College commencement Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum. Credit: Danielle Silverman

St. Joseph’s College held its 99th commencement Wednesday at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

Number of graduates

745 undergraduate degrees, 315 graduate degrees.

Commencement speaker

St. Joseph’s College President Donald R. Boomgaarden reminded the graduates that a high-paying job, material possessions and fame will not bring them happiness. “What will give you joy and joy to all those around you, is to follow your dream to do good, and to link that dream to a higher cause,” he said.

Student speakers

Conor Johnson, 23, of Holbrook, a political science and history major, told his classmates to never stop learning and to make a difference in the world. “Above all, we must strive to never give up and never ever stop doing what we know is right,” he said. “Even when the odds are long, and the chances of success are slim, it should not be in our nature to surrender to a difficult challenge.”

Nikki Yvette Caputi, 32, of West Islip, who graduated with a master’s degree in literacy and cognition, said college provided the support, knowledge and skills needed to excel. “It is up to us to share our intellectual values with the world and reach out to other friends, colleagues, neighbors, communities, and the global audience to cause a movement, inspire hope, take action, and have a positive impact on the world today,” she said.

Graduates

Marissa Boncimino, 23, criminal justice

“I was a C, B student,” said Boncimino, of Port Jefferson Station. That is until she had her daughter, Vivianne, who’s now 1. “I’m an A student now. I made the dean’s list, so she’s completely my motivation.”

Darren Opoku, 21, business

“It’s really bittersweet because freshman year I was just trying to figure out the quickest way to graduate, but now I’m kind of sad,” said Opoku of North Babylon. “All my friends, a lot of people I’m going to miss. But everyone has to move on sometimes in life.”

Sandra Grant, 57, health administration

“I wanted to move up, not just be a bedside nurse,” said Grant, of Orange, New Jersey, who has been a nurse for 32 years. “With me having my bachelor’s, it’s a plus. It teaches you how to manage people.”

Anthony Farina, 23, child studies

The Lake Grove resident said his career plan is motivated in part by negative experiences he had in school while growing up. “I had many teachers that made me feel like I didn’t know what I was talking about, or put me down,” Farina said. He plans to get his master’s in school counseling to be there for other children, be someone they feel they can turn to. “It’s all about the kids,” he said.

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