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After seven weeks of intense training—often spanning more than 10 hours a day, six days a week—Delta’s newest flight attendants were presented with their wings Friday during a graduation ceremony.

The new flight attendants will begin flying as early as next week and are the latest of some 2,000 new in-flight crew members expected to join the airline by year’s end. They’ll join 20,000 of their colleagues who crisscross the globe on more than 3,500 flights a day, providing safe and comfortable service to Delta’s 175 million annual customers.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Delta team,” said Tyler V., one of the airline’s newest flight attendants. “I know I’m embarking on an exciting, global career unlike anything I’ve ever done alongside 80,000 dedicated and passionate people. I can’t wait to fly.”

Hand-selected from tens of thousands of applicants, Friday’s class of 101 recruits would have had an easier time getting into Harvard than to make it this far.

“Each of you were selected because Delta saw something special and we knew you’d have what it takes to be a Delta flight attendant,” said Sandy Gordon, Delta’s Vice President –  In-Flight Service, to the group of graduates. “Our core values and the Rules of the Road distinguish us from our competitors. We work harder, care more and are more determined by the motivation to exceed our customers’ expectations. That’s the team you’re joining today.”

At Delta’s In-Flight Training Center at the airline’s Atlanta headquarters, flight attendants are trained in the many hats they will wear in their career—far beyond excellent customer service. They’re trained to put out fires, administer CPR, provide medical care, handle tense situations and serve a globally diverse group of customers.

And they come from all walks of life. In Friday’s graduating class for example, former teachers, healthcare providers, retail managers and even a distiller from Lexington, Ky., proudly walked across the stage in full uniform to receive their wings.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Delta team,” said Tyler V., one of the airline’s newest flight attendants. “I know I’m embarking on an exciting, global career unlike anything I’ve ever done alongside 80,000 dedicated and passionate people. I can’t wait to fly.”

Delta will continue training more new flight attendants in the fall and expects to continue hiring for the foreseeable future.