ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A small graduation ceremony was held on Sunday to celebrate eight students who have graduated from the Rochester Police Department’s Workforce Development Program.

The ceremony was held inside the Public Safety Training Facility on Scottsville Road as the eight graduates were officially hired by the Rochester Police Department.

Many of the graduates expressed how they feel about graduating from the program.

“I feel great. Like I said before, when you want something in life, you have to work really hard for it,” said graduate Duane Henry. “Success doesn’t just fall into your lap.”

Sailesh Bhattarai, another graduate, reflected on becoming the first Nepalese police officer in Rochester while giving advice to those who want to become police officers.

“I’m very proud, very excited,” said Bhattarai. “I’ve only been in this country for nine years and my English wasn’t the best. I learned a lot with this program. Just push yourself. I would encourage anyone to be here, it can be done.”

Sergeant Justin Collins of the RPD’s Recruitment Unit explained the next steps for these eight graduates.

“The next step for them is to complete the police academy, which will start next week,” Sgt. Collins said. “For us, it’s next man up, next woman up to take over, and then we’ll add more people from the community. A lot of folks will say they want to be police officers, but as I mentioned, it’s a long process, but this unique, innovative approach works.”