ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- The Students of Elmira College's Class of 2024 entered the next chapter of their lives as they officially graduated at their commencement ceremony.

This year's class consisted of over 100 students, many of whom earning honors and receiving awards. For many of the students here, their first semesters were taken during the height of the COVID pandemic.

In that time they fostered relationships with their peers and professors, and set the foundation for their lives ahead of them.

"I'm in a dream a little bit. I knew this day would come for four years, and even before that, but, I never actually, like, until I got here, I was like, whoa, this is actually happening. It feels surreal," said Lindsey Smith, recipient of degrees in Childhood Education and Childhood Special Education.

For these students -- the path to graduation proved to be rocky, uncertain, and anything but ordinary. But the hard work has paid off and the next chapter of these graduate's lives, has begun. They've set the foundation for their lives ahead of them.

"I'm planning on continuing my research in the biomedical sciences at University of Mass Chan Medical School, which is in Worcester, Massachusetts. A little bit different from here, but sudden nonetheless," remarked Christian Zweirlein, who majored in Biochemistry.

No matter where they go, each one of these graduates will have the opportunity to change the world around them. Their communities benefitting from the skills and talents they learned over the last four years.

"I'm definitely going to take away being, you know, one of the first people who ever came here to wrestle and I'm going to take away all of the memories I've made with my friends and the awesome, like, recommendations that I've gotten from my coaches and peers," stated Leslie Monterrosa, recipient of degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology.