WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- Hundreds of graduates walked the stage at Mohegan Sun Arena Thursday evening in Luzerne County.
Luzerne County Community College held its commencement with one of its largest graduating classes.
At Mohegan Sun Arena near Wilkes-Barre, the 803 members of the graduating class marked a major milestone in front of family and friends. And now, as these graduates are set to embark on the next chapter in their lives, what will be their next step?
“The next step is to take some classes online, finish my bachelor's degree out and eventually work towards a masters,” said Bruce Feist from Wilkes-Barre.
“I'm going to continue to pursue my education. I'm going for my bachelor's degree in music therapy at Marywood University,” said Fernando Obando from Scranton.
“My next step is to relocate somewhere else and continue my education and become a masters,” said Jonathan Santana from Wilkes-Barre.
That's right, a large number of students here say they'll be pursuing a higher degree now that they've finished at the two-year college.
“Well, I think one of the most important considerations today on the part of families and individuals is the incursion of debt,” said LCCC President Thomas Leary.
Leary says he's seeing more students make the financial decision to attend LCCC first, then enroll at a four-year college or university.
“We have dual admission agreements that will allow students to transfer all their credits, enter as a junior at that four-year college, and literally save 50 to 75 percent of their tuition,” said Leary.
“Close to home and the good price, that's it,” said Kiersten Shultz from Berwick.
“I remember when I applied to LCCC a while back ago and it was really cheap, and I heard the teachers are really good,” said Bryan Velez from New York. “So I decided hey, why not. I want to go to LCCC and here I am.”
A familiar face from Newswatch 16 delivered the commencement address as the principal speaker.
Marisa Burke told the graduates to set a destination for themselves and follow it.
"Go forward now with hope, strength, and determination that you will succeed in whatever you do regardless of the those other responsibilities and commitments of life, along with the obstacles, that may come your way," Burke said.
Marisa Burke worked at Newswatch 16 for more than 30 years before leaving last fall.