Not just the seemingly endless hours of studying or the dozens of times she practiced her speech.
The 19-year-old St. Johnsville resident has been working since August 2011 to get to Friday—Herkimer County Community College’s 45th annual Commencement.
“Oh, what a journey it’s been. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and even pulled a few all-nighters,” Ranno said in her student address to the packed gymnasium.
“Today is a day of celebration. All of that hard work over the past two years has finally paid off and is an accomplishment we will be able to carry with us into our successful futures,” she said.
Ranno was one of 682 candidates for degrees and certificates that graduated Friday night.
She is graduating with her associate of science degree in digital filmmaking and is looking into colleges to further her education next year. Ultimately, she wants to work for a morning news show.
Ranno said she’s excited about graduating, but it’s “bittersweet.”
“I’ve made friends for a lifetime here,” she said.
Ranno’s speech was selected by the Commencement Committee to be given at the ceremony. It highlighted the school’s “Commit, Complete, Compete” initiative, encouraging students to stay in school and graduate.
“Today is the day that we officially get to complete our commitment in front of our friends, families and fellow graduates by getting up on this stage today and having President (Ann Marie) Murray hand us our degrees,” Ranno said to the other graduates.
“Let’s go grab life while we can. For it’s today that we complete and tomorrow we compete,” she said.
Crystal Bastien, 34, of Ilion, knows much about completion.
Bastien graduated with an associate degree in Science. She plans to go to SUNYIT next year for her bachelor’s degree, and ultimately wants to be a physician’s assistant.
“I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, and I feel it’s good to go on ahead and do something else,” Bastien said.
“I’m proud, very proud,” she said about graduating. “I have 10-year-old twins and a 3-year-old and I managed to graduate in a year and a half with a 4.0.”