U.S. Coast Guard Academy holds commencement ceremony

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) – The U.S. Coast Guard Academy Class of 2016 has graduated. Their proud families looked on as they received their diplomas on Wednesday morning.

News 8 spoke with Cadet First Class Jacquelyn Kubicko, a graduate from Connecticut. She had her first experience with the Coast Guard when she was just 9 years old. She was in a sailing accident and the Coast Guard rescued her. Now as an adult she’s the first in her family to join the military. Kubicko, who is from Stratford, was ranked first in her class academically for the past two years.

“Academics became a passion of mine,” she said. “I kind of from there just wanted to see how far I could go, just keep on pushing myself.”

Kubicko was a Marine Environmental Science major. She’s received awards for her grades and in technology. She also received a Fulbright Scholarship to study Ocean Sciences at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. She her dreams involve reaching for the stars.

“I really want to be a Coast Guard astronaut,” she said. “I know that sounds funny but that’s part of the reason why I want to go into acoustics.”

Now Kubicko is one of the newest graduates of the Coast Guard Academy. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke to them at the ceremony. Kubicko says she and her classmates have been through a lot together.

“I’ll miss having 186 of my closest friends near me at all times,” she said. “We live together, we’re pretty much together 24-7 here.”

But even though she’ll miss them, they’re ready to go their separate ways. They’re ready for what comes next, for their careers with the Coast Guard.

“We do have four years here and people know it’s a pretty intense program they run here,” Kubicko said. “But in the end looking back on it I’d do it all over again.”

President Obama gave the keynote address at last year’s graduation.

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