Asnuntuck Community College has announced that Len and Cherylann Gengel will be this year’s Commencement Speakers. Commencement is scheduled for Thursday, May 29th at 6 p.m. The ceremony will take place on the college’s field in the rear of the school.

The Gengels authored “Heartache and Hope in Haiti: The Britney Gengel Story”. Their 19-year-old daughter Britney, a student at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL, travelled with a group of students and teachers to Haiti as part of a school sponsored trip. The Gengels will tell their story of how they were first notified that their daughter survived the devastating earthquake to only learn that it was another student who had been located and their daughter had perished. It took 33 days before Britney’s body was recovered from the collapsed Hotel Montana.

The Gengels have honored their daughter’s last wish, which they received in a text message from her. The message came following her visit to an orphanage in Haiti just three hours before the earthquake. “They love us so much…. They are so appreciative. I want to move here and start an orphanage.”

Today the Gengels have committed to raising 66 orphans—33 boys and 33 girls in an orphanage they along with hundreds of supporters have raised the money to build. Len’s 30 years of building homes, coupled with support from families, companies and individuals, have helped the couple grant Britney’s final wish. Len has Connecticut ties having earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Connecticut State University.

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Asnuntuck, for the first time, will have the college’s Continuing Education students be a part of the commencement ceremony. These students will receive the certificates they have earned, alongside students who are earning degrees and certificates on the credit side of the house.