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Long IslandSuffolk

Retired astronaut tells SCCC grads of challenges ahead

3,200 graduate at Suffolk County Community College


Number of graduates: 3,200


Keynote speaker: Sunday's commencement ceremony featured retired NASA astronaut Commander Robert "Hoot" Gibson Gibson who graduated from SCCC in 1966. "I know you are going to have many more great accomplishments, because you are the type of people who succeed in what you do," Gibson told the graduates. "A world of challenge and opportunity is out there waiting for you, and I can promise you that you will all be challenged. But I am certain that you will measure up to whatever challenges come your way when you make your decisions always on the side of beauty and truth."


Class speakers: Rasha Mohammed Herzalla of the school's Eastern campus said she had had doubts about being able to attend college. Now, she said, "the higher we go, the more setbacks and disappointments we'll face. . . . Think of these setbacks as speed bumps. They will slow you down, but won't stop you from going forward."

Anthony Pennington of the Ammerman campus: "If there's one thing that Suffolk taught me that will remain in my heart for all time, it is responsibility," Pennington said. "I learned that we have the responsibility to use our education for the betterment of humankind. . . . I challenge you that when you accept your diploma, that you also accept responsibility of leaving this world a better place than we found it."

Heather Stefanescu of the Michael J. Grant campus: "We made it through together. Each and every part of attending Suffolk . . . [has] given us something that we'll never forget."


SCCC graduates speak out


Olivia Huppert, 20, Westhampton

Associate degree in criminal justice

"I plan to take a Kaplan LSAT course at Stony Brook. Hopefully next spring I'll be at Pace University. I plan to go there to get a bachelor's in criminal justice."


Cheryl Contrino, 31, Coram

Associate degree in liberal arts

"I plan on becoming an X-ray technician at Stony Brook."


Michael Hughes, 21, Selden

Associate degree in liberal arts

"I'm going to Stony Brook for physical therapy and sports medicine. I'd like to work with the elderly. There's a lot of money in it, and it's a good field to get into."


Chris Morton, 23, Wading River

Associate degree in criminal justice

"I'm in the process of [becoming] a Riverhead police officer. I just took the polygraph, and hopefully I'll find out what's going on by September."


Antoinette Prince, 20, Medford

Associate degree in liberal arts

"I'm going to Stony Brook, and eventually, hopefully getting into law school. I know with a political science degree, I can pick and choose."

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