Akwasi Owusu's trip across the stage today to receive his diploma will only take a few seconds.
The journey that led Owusu to Jamestown Community College, however, has taken the graduate from West Africa to New York City and, now, Jamestown.
Originally from Ghana, West Africa, Owusu moved to New York City in 2003 and lived there for six years.
"I was going to school (in New York City) while I was there," said Owusu. "However, due to personal and financial issues, I decided to come to (Western New York)."
Once Owusu settled in here in Chautauqua County, he employed the services of the Cassadaga Job Corps. When he expressed to the corps that he would like to further his education, the organization directed him to JCC.
"The (job corps) told me that JCC would be a good place to start," said Owusu. "I came here and visited the campus and I liked what I saw. Needless to say, the last two years have been a really beautiful ride for me."
In December 2011, Owusu graduated from JCC with an Associate Degree in Mathematics and Science. He recently has been accepted and will be attending SUNY Fredonia where he will earn his four-year degree. He would eventually like to attend medical school and ultimately would like to become a doctor.
Outside of the classroom, Owusu is a gifted soccer player. Due to NCAA eligibility guidelines, Owusu was unable to play soccer for JCC, however he helped out with coaching and practices while at JCC and will be eligible to play for SUNY Fredonia's soccer team.
In graduating, Owusu has nothing but thanks and praise to offer to the faculty and students alike at JCC.
"The professors I had were very caring and outgoing and were always looking to help (students) out," said Owusu. "It's a whole different environment coming from a big city to a small town, and the professors and students all made me feel very welcome."
Specifically, Owusu wanted to thank Rosemarie Torres-Carvella, Taylor Pancoast, Rebecca Nystrom, Janis Bowman and his advisor Jacqueline Crisman for their part in helping him succeed.
"They've all been exceptional professors for me," said Owusu. "They've always listened to me and whenever I had to talk to them about (schooling) they've given me great advice. And it's not just me, whatever they do for me they do for every single student. ... Rose Torres was the (faculty member) I spoke to in admissions and she's the one that made my education at JCC happen, so I owe her a lot of thanks as well. Basically everyone I've gotten to know has been great. It's almost more like a family here than a college."
And in moving on to bigger and better things, Owusu has some words of encouragement for prospective students who are on-the-fence about JCC.
"The key to life is finding a goal," said Owusu. "Once you have that goal, you need to figure out how to execute it. My advice is to come here, speak with professors and students and let them help you (achieve your goals). Everyone here is more than willing to help you out and if you stay focused, no goal you want to achieve is unattainable."