• Commencement 2015
  • “I want to be secretary-general at the United Nations, fighting crimes against humanity," says T. Harmonie Kobanghe who dreams of equal rights for women in such war torn countries as the Congo, her parents’ native country. She moved from Paris by herself to attend LaGuardia Community College and fulfill this goal.

    Graduating maxima cum laude with a Social Science and Humanities degree, Harmonie’s repertoire of achievements is quite impressive: she was a member of Coca Cola’s 2012 All-State Community College Academic Team; the 2011-2012 southern region vice president for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society; and as a CUNY Caucus Scholar, she was placed as intern to New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith.

    Among several noteworthy scholarships, she was one of sixty community college students nationwide to receive a Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This award will fund $90,000 of Harmonie’s education, which she will continue at Georgetown University.

    She achieved all this while being active in LaGuardia’s Honors Student Advisory Committee (HSAC), an Urban Studies/History research assistant and a part-time French tutor. And she’s not all talk. Her passion for social justice is proven by the volunteer counseling she’s done at the Central Punitive Segregation Unit on Rikers Island. However, Harmonie didn’t always live la vie en rose. She struggled growing up in a bad neighborhood and chafed at elitism of the French education system. "At LaGuardia, I saw the possibility of a second chance. I quickly became part of the Honors community of students, and faculty there helped me tap into my inner strengths,” she says. “I have thrived in this environment.”

    Harmonie’s grandmother, who helped pay her tuition, passed away in 2011. Grieving and on the verge of dropping out, the LaGuardia Foundation awarded her a full semester scholarship.

    “Whenever I reflect on my educational path, I see that I have only been able to accomplish so much because of the support of people at LaGuardia who believed in my passion,” says Harmonie.

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