LaGuardia students celebrate graduation under shower of confetti

T. Harmonie Kobanghe of St.Albans received the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Photo by Philip Newman
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With screams of joy from many, a thousand graduates of LaGuardia Community College filed across the stage at the Javits Center in Manhattan Friday in a highlight of the school’s 40th anniversary.

Dr. Sandra Hanson, who joined the faculty in its early days, was the keynote speaker. She quoted New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who said “teachers did not become teachers to make a world of money. They became teachers to make a world of difference.”

The professor, who is chairwoman of the English Department, said “those were the colleagues I found at LaGuardia” when she started at LaGuardia in 1974.

Among the speakers was Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who got a thunderous response when she reminded the grads “You made it!”

“This graduation of LaGuardia Community College is a Queens occasion I never miss.” Marshall said.

The class of 2012 representative and honor student graduate was T. Harmonie Kobanghe of St.Albans, recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. She plans to study for a law degree at Georgetown University in Washington.

Kobanghe, who maintained a 3.9 grade point average at LaGuardia, said she hopes to ultimately create an international organization to help women of the Congro who were victims of violence and war reclaim their lives and gain a voice in governance of their country.

At the conclusion of the commencement at Jacob Javits Center, clouds of confetti rained down on the graduates – a first among traditions of the schoool.

The total of graduates totaled nearly 2,500 with about1,000 taking part in the graduation exercised.

LaGuardia opened in Long Island City in 1971.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or phone at 718-260-4536.

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