Black Hills State University celebrates graduates at 174th commencement ceremony

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The U.S. Census Bureau reports that around one third of the nation's adult population has a bachelor's degree or higher in 2016.

And Saturday, graduates from Black Hills State University joined that special group.

Black Hills FOX Reporter Katrina Lim takes a look at what some of their plans are after graduation.

Black Hills State University President Dr. Tom Jackson Jr. says, "Today we are celebrating our commencement exercises at Black Hills State University. It is without question the most exciting day of any academic year."

Nearly 200 graduates hit a major milestone at BHSU's 174th commencement ceremony.

Phydell Paris received a bachelor's degree in psychology.

He says he's a first-generation college student, so finishing university means the world to him.

Undergrad Phydell Paris says, "It's a really big deal. It's something that I've always kind of wanted to do. I've always talked about it growing up, getting into college and getting a degree that my parents didn't get. Now that I'm here it's just really humbling. I can't thank them enough."

Hannah Armstrong hopes to teach first and second graders with her bachelor's degree in elementary education.

Undergrad Hannah Armstrong says, "When I was going through school I had a really hard time and I just know what kids go through maybe at home and their certain circumstances. I just wanted to be that one person in their lives that they can know that they can always come to and just be that loving figure for them."

Debra Harrison earned a master's degree in education with a focus in reading and English as a second language.

She says she's already a high school teacher, but she wants to improve her skills even more.

Graduate Debra Harrison says, "This degree will help me fine-tune my teaching a little bit and help me be a better teacher and have better tools to teach my students what they need to learn."

Phydell Paris says, "I actually plan on working at a treatment center for local at-risk kids and putting that degree to work and eventually trying to upon up my own private practice after I go to grad school."

Many of the students said if you're struggling with college right now, push through, because it will be worth it in the end.