FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Graduating students of Farmingdale State College arrived for commencement on Saturday morning. And just steps away was a congratulatory message, mixed with a message of sadness for the two students who died in a plane crash on Wednesday.

The students are excited for their day, but at the same time they’re realizing that those two students will never get to do this.

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“It’s so sad because of all the work and dedication that they probably put into it,” Chris Dunn of Massapequa Park told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano. “It’s just really sad.”

“Everyone is going to try to put it behind them right now and enjoy this special day,” Nick Field of Hauppauge added.

Three students were on board the private Mooney M20J when it crashed. They were leaving Sterling, Pennsylvania for Long Island.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

Piloting the single-engine plane was 34-year-old Patrick Sheridan of Long Beach. He, along with 19-year-old passenger Casey Falconer of Garden City Park were killed.

Evan Kisseloff of Oceanside is the only survivor and he’s still recovering from the crash, but he was able to attend the commencement. He sported a bandage on his hand as he walked up to receive his diploma, reported WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.

His father described how his son saved his own life.

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“The first thing Evan yelled to everyone was, ‘Get out, Get out,’ Evan’s father, Alan, said. “But he didn’t get any response from the two passengers up front. But he saw a window was broken and he was able to pull himself out.”

“I’m happy that at least one person made it out,” one graduate said. “I can only imagine how he’s feeling right now.”

Evan told CBS 2 that he wants to honor his friends and their passion for flight.

“This stuff is based on passion, for them to be so determined…That’s what I’m going to remember about them. If I questioned why I’m alive it’s not respectful, it’s not honorable to them,” he said.

At Farmingdale State College and at Republic Airport, flags are at half-staff. Falconer was an only child, and the day trip was to have dinner with his parents.

Neighbors fondly remembered the two men who loved to fly.

“I heard that [Casey] had a passion for becoming a pilot,” Falconer’s neighbor said. “He was such a nice kid and he helped the neighbors.

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