Community Stories

Black Frankenstein bookThough the calendar says it’s the dead of winter, Frankenstein’s monster is still alive as Mount Wachusett Community College’s Humanities Project continues its series “Myths, Monsters, and Modern Science: Frankenstein’s Legacy” through April.

Sponsored through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this year’s theme takes an in-depth look at Mary Shelley’s 200-year-old novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, and its impact in the modern era. Free events will take place at MWCC’s Gardner campus and in the community

On Wednesday, February 17, Professor Robert Schwartz from Mount Holyoke College will present “Historical Perspectives on Frankenstein” from 12:30-1:30 pm in MWCC’s North Café.

Elizabeth Young, author of Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor, and a professor of English and gender studies at Mount Holyoke College, will speak Thursday, Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Fitchburg Art Museum. In her book, Young identifies and interprets the figure of a black American Frankenstein monster as it appears throughout 19th and 20th-century U.S. culture in fiction, film, essays, painting and other media.

On Saturday, March 5, from 11-5, Professor Joseph Moser of Fitchburg State University will present two film versions of Frankenstein: James Whale’s 1931 classic starring Boris Karloff, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh in 1994. This program, co-sponsored by the Friends of the Leominster Library, includes a light lunch between films. Registration to this event is required and can be made online through the Calendar of Events at www.leominsterlibrary.org or by calling the library’s information desk at 978-534-7522, ext. 3.

On Thursday, March 24, MWCC Assistant Professor of Philosophy Daniel Soucy and UMass doctoral candidate Shelley Errington Nicholson, director of community learning with MWCC’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, will discuss, “Girls and Their Ghost Stories: Feminism, Philosophy, and Frankenstein,” at the Athol Public Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

In April, two final events are scheduled in the North Café at MWCC: on Tuesday, April 5, Mel Brooks’ parody, Young Frankenstein, will be shown from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., and on Wednesday, April 27, MWCC students will present Frankenstein-themed projects from the 2015-2016 academic year.

MWCC nurse trip to Haiti Jan 2016A weeklong medical mission in Haiti gave a team of Mount Wachusett Community College students and faculty a close-up look at poverty in one of the world’s poorest countries, and an opportunity to do something about it.

The students and educators traveled to Fonfred, Haiti in January with MWCC nursing alumna Paula Mulqueen, who with her husband, Dr. John Mulqueen, founded the nonprofit Forward in Health to bring much-needed medical care to the Les Cayes region of Haiti. This past fall, the Gardner couple’s dream came to fruition when its Fonfred Klinik opened its doors after more than a decade of fundraising, construction and medical missions in temporary clinics.

The MWCC volunteers included nursing students Cassandra Pateneaude, Amy Moisan and Jessica Lugudde; Interdisciplinary Studies – Health majors Tiffany Cunningham and Isabella Smith; nursing professors Katherine Pecorelli and Donna Tully, and Marianne Stoy, administrative assistant for MWCC’s School of Health Professions, Public Service Programs & Social Sciences. This is the second consecutive year that Paula Mulqueen, a 1994 graduate of MWCC’s nursing program, brought a group from her alma mater.

While in Haiti, the MWCC team of volunteers helped organize supplies at the Fonfred Klinik, with assistance from University of Massachusetts Lowell civic engineering students and other volunteers. They toured the region’s nursing school and taught multiple classes of CPR. They also held a mountain clinic where they assessed approximately 100 patients, visited an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity, and provided children with lessons on health and dental hygiene. Professors Pecorelli and Tully also led a discussion on depression and treatment with nurses and a doctor at the clinic.

Without access to health care, even the most common of ailments than can be cured with over the counter medicines in the U.S. can become full-blown health issues in Haiti when left untreated, such as respiratory illness and skin infections. Klinik Fonfred is a primary care clinic providing life-saving healthcare to a community of 18,000 poor adults and children from birth through adulthood in the Fonfred area.

 

Pete Shungu

Musician, poet and rapper Peter Shungu, aka Afro D, kicks off Black History Month at MWCC with a performance on Feb. 10.

Black History Month is observed as a remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans. In recognition, MWCC is hosting several events throughout the month of February at its Gardner campus and in the community. All events are free and open to the public.

The series of events begins on Wednesday, Feb. 10 with a performance by Afro D (Peter Shungu) a spoken word poet, rapper, trumpet player, educator and activist who uses performance art as a medium to promote reflection, understanding and community building. Shungu will perform from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the South Café at MWCC’s Gardner campus. The event is sponsored by MWCC’s office of Student Life.

The Bamidele Dancers and Drummers returns to the college to perform on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the South Café. The BDD are art educators, composers, musicians, dancers and choreographers from Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean who are dedicated to the preservation of African and African-rooted cultures through dance, music and song. Members have expertise in African, Caribbean and Brazilian culture. The event is sponsored by MWCC’s office of Student Life.

On Wednesday, February 24, the film “Freedom Summer” will be shown in the Wetmore Center, room W11, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sponsored by Student Life and the ALANA Club, the film looks back at the summer of 1964 when more than 700 student activists took segregated Mississippi by storm, registering voters, creating freedom schools and establishing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Members of ALANA will also host a voter registration drive during this event.

Black Frankenstein bookElizabeth Young, author of Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor, will give a presentation on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Fitchburg Art Museum. She is a professor of English and Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College. In this book, Young identifies and interprets the figure of a black American Frankenstein monster as it appears throughout 19th and 20th-century U.S. culture in fiction, film, essays, painting and other media.

The black Frankenstein’s monster has served as a powerful metaphor for reinforcing racial hierarchy, and an even more powerful metaphor for shaping anti-racist critique. Young’s lecture is part of the ongoing MWCC Humanities Project, sponsored through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now in its second year, the Humanities Project is focusing this year on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and its relevance today.

The series of events concludes with a Men of Color Panel and Black History Month luncheon on Monday, Feb. 29 beginning at noon in MWCC’s North Café. The panel presentation will explore obstacles men of color face in today’s society, workforce and education system. Panelists include University of Massachusetts Medical School: Brian Lewis, Ph.D., associate dean for student diversity and associate professor in the Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology department at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; Jesse Edwards, director of diversity and equal opportunity at UMass Medical School; Train Wu, senior outreach specialist/career coach with MWCC’s Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program; and Eric Rodriguez, Lead Organizer at United Neighbors of Fitchburg.

The presentation is sponsored by MWCC’s Diversity Consortium, Gateway to College and the Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program and is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health. Seating to the panel presentation and luncheon is limited. To reserve a seat, call 978-630-9143.

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President Daniel M. Asquino presented certificates and a free course to the winners of the fourth annual President’s Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition. From left, President Asquino, Darrège Bruny, Monica Kwan and Eddie Vargas of Gardner, with Human Resources Generalist Maria Gariepy, co-chair of the college’s Diversity Committee.

MWCC students from a variety of academic disciplines shared their views on diversity during the college’s annual President’s Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition. College faculty and staff selected four winning submissions from among the poems, essays and artwork entered into the competition.

This year’s winners are Gemini Walter of Leominster, Monica Kwan of Fitchburg, Darrège Bruny of Clinton and Eddie Vargas of Gardner. Each will receive a free, three-credit academic course for use during the spring or summer semesters.

Now in its fourth year, the competition was developed by MWCC’s Diversity Committee to highlight the value diversity brings to the learning and working environment. Students are encouraged to submit papers, posters, essays, research work, art work or other original, creative work related to issues of diversity or identity, such as those involving disability, race, socio-economic status, veteran status, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and national origin.

Walter, a Human Services major, is the competition’s first two-time honoree, following up on his winning essay on race relations last year with a new essay on what it means to embrace diversity.

“Diversity is looking into, not around your fellow human beings,” he writes. “Diversity is knowing in your heart that every man is your brother and every woman is your sister.”

MWCC Diversity Competition Photo 2 Gemini Walter

Gemini Walter, center, with Kim Kayser, Senior Community Outreach Specialist/Adult Basic Education and Leominster Campus Dean John Walshis, is the first two-time winner of MWCC’s President’s Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition.

Walter’s essay goes on to address gender, disability, illness, faith, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, and physical appearance. “Diversity is understanding that there are no absolutes when it comes to human beings…Diversity is not black and white.”

Kwan, a Dental Hygiene major, created a painting of a bee inching toward an abstract set of teeth through the unknown. The artwork represents her goal of gaining an education and becoming a successful healthcare professional in contrast to the discrimination against women in China.

“Bees area symbol of perseverance, while simultaneously advocating a team-oriented approach. Their nature of persistence and maintaining equality runs parallel to why my grandparents relocated to the United States from Hong Kong. I wish to honor my grandparents’ beliefs that women deserve an education and have the ability to defy stereotypes by being successful.”

Bruny, who recently transitioned from English as a Second Language student to an Interdisciplinary Studies major, wrote about the vast difference between how people with disabilities are treated in Haiti, where she was born, and in the U.S., where she now lives with her family. In her essay, the aspiring cardiologist shares the struggles her family experienced due to their physical and medical disabilities of her two young brothers.

“Haiti has a system where disabled people are ostracized or rejected by society. It is a system that will not be over soon, although a great deal of citizens are fighting every day to change it.”

Vargas, who is majoring in Media Arts and Technology with a concentration in photography, submitted a collection of photographs and a statement on the diverse, supportive community of skateboarders, a culture that does not discriminate. The submission stemmed from a year of photographing skateboarders of all ages and backgrounds through his volunteer work with the nonprofit organization he founded called Keep Kids Off the Streets, which strives to break stereotypes about skateboarders as trouble-makers.

“I’ve never seen a happier, more diverse or civilized group of people,” he said.

 

 

MWCC Workforce Diversity Pipeline appointments group photo

MWCC’s Workforce Diversity Pipeline team, from left, Heidi Wharton, Train Wu, Melissa Bourque-Silva and Shaunti Phillips.

Four area educators have been appointed to Mount Wachusett Community College’s Workforce Diversity Pipeline program, a new partnership with the Fitchburg and Leominster school districts funded through a five-year, $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.

The goal of the Workforce Diversity Pipeline program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged healthcare providers by creating a high school-to-college pipeline of students who plan to enter the healthcare field. The program will provide counseling, coaching, field trips, guest speakers, and dual enrollment courses to 120 high school students attending Fitchburg High School, Leominster High School and Leominster Center for Technical Education Innovation.

Melissa Bourque-Silva of Fitchburg has been appointed director of the Workforce Diversity Pipeline program. Since 2006, she has worked in partnership with area high schools throughout her employment with MWCC’s Division of Access & Transition, beginning as an academic counselor for the GEAR UP grant in the Fitchburg Public Schools. As a senior community outreach counselor and then as the director of dual enrollment contracts, she has had the opportunity to serve over 12 area high schools under the College Access Challenge Grant and the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program, developing dual enrollment opportunities for underrepresented youth. Bourque-Silva is also an English adjunct professor at MWCC.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, and a master’s degree in English from Fitchburg State University.

The program’s three newly appointed senior outreach specialists/career coaches are Shaunti Phillips of Fitchburg, Heidi Wharton of Harvard and Train Wu of Fitchburg.

Phillips joined MWCC in 2005, working as an academic counselor advising and mentoring middle and high school students through the college’s Division of Access & Transition. For the past three years, she has served as career vocational technical education transition counselor within the college’s Division of Academic Affairs. She previously worked as a mentoring specialist with LUK, Inc. in Fitchburg.

Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in school guidance counseling from Fitchburg State University.

Wharton most recently worked as an academic counselor in MWCC’s Rx program, a federal TRIO Student Support Services program for students pursuing healthcare majors. Prior to joining MWCC in 2012, she worked as a graduate intern in the office of International Education at Fitchburg State University.

She earned a master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Spanish from Capital University. She previously worked in England for 3 Com (UK) Ltd.

Wu has more than 15 years of experience working with diverse youth and students in the education and human services sectors. He earned a master’s degree in education, with a concentration in higher education, from Merrimack College, and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College.

He previously was a case manager for My Turn, Inc. in Fitchburg, a program instructor at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, and a youth development coordinator at LUK, Inc. 

 

L to R: Jim Adams, VP/Regional Business Advisor at Enterprise Bank; Daniel M. Asquino, President of MWCC; Tina Sbrega, Chair of MWCC's Board of Trustees

L to R: Jim Adams, VP/Regional Business Advisor at Enterprise Bank; Daniel M. Asquino, President of MWCC; Tina Sbrega, Chair of MWCC’s Board of Trustees

With toes tapping and fingers snapping, an audience of nearly 500 grooved to the soulful songs of the Motown era during a benefit performance Friday, Jan. 22 that raised more than $100,000 to support student scholarships and youth programs in the region.

The “Magic of Motown at the Mount” benefit, co-sponsored by the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, took place in the college’s newly renovated Theatre at the Mount.

The five-person cast of singers and dancers recreated the harmonies, dance moves, stylish looks and legendary musicianship of the era, including the hits Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Isley Brothers and others.

“It was heartening to see so many people enjoying an evening of fantastic entertainment while supporting our college students and area youth,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.

Established in 1971, the MWCC Foundation now offers 38 scholarships for continuing students and transfer students pursuing certificates and degrees in a wide range of academic disciplines. More than $260,000 is awarded to students annually.

The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has worked in youth development since 2001. A STEAM- (science, technology, engineering, art and math) focused club, it serves young people ages 8 to 18 from many economic, social and family circumstances.

“We are truly grateful to Mount Wachusett Community College, President Asquino and Theatre at the Mount for coordinating another spectacular community event,” said Donata Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club. “The music was superb and the community’s support for our organization is so greatly appreciated.”

Event sponsors were Dr. Daniel Asquino and Alberta DelPrete; Advanced Cable Ties, The Ronald M. Ansin Foundation, Enterprise Bank; Heat Trace Products, LLC; Heywood Hospital; IC Federal Credit Union; Fidelity Bank; UMass Memorial HealthAlliance Hospital; Bemis and Associates; Clementi Family Trust; GFA Federal Credit Union; Hometown Bank; Workers’ Credit Union; Rollstone Bank & Trust; Medical Associates Pediatrics; Geosearch Inc.; Leominster Credit Union; Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School; North Middlesex Savings Bank; Royal Steam Heater Co.;

Shawmut Design & Construction; Simonds International; Tyco SimplexGrinnell; Anderson, Bagley and Mayo Insurance; Scot and Janice Barrett; Dunkin Donuts KCMC Management; Fitchburg State University; Molds International & Consulting Co. Inc; Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Moran, Jr.; Zottoli Family Trust; Avidia Bank; Becker College; Commonfund Securities, Inc.; Geronimo Properties; GVNA HealthCare, Inc.; Raymond and Susan Martino; W.E. Aubuchon Foundation; and media sponsor the Sentinel & Enterprise.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter 10 years in a cashier’s job that left her unfulfilled, Francine Cochran of Winchendon became determined to pursue her dream of working in a salon as a nail technician.

It didn’t take long for her to realize that in order to pursue training and certification in this field, she had unfinished business to resolve. Cochran, one of many area residents who left high school before earning her diploma, needed to earn a high school equivalency credential before she could move forward with her plan.

So she enrolled in the Winchendon Skills Program, a free Adult Basic Education program offered through Mount Wachusett Community College at the Winchendon Community Action Center through a generous grant from the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation. After eight months of taking evening classes twice a week, she aced her exams and earned her high school equivalency credential in January 2013.

“I would recommend this to anybody,” said Cochran, who credits her mother Ardy Bilodeau, her sister Cassie Cutting, and MWCC Adult Basic Education faculty and staff with providing her with support and encouragement she needed to reach her goal.

“It’s a lot of work, but if you want to do it, you can do it.” Cochran’s dedication inspired her boyfriend to take the challenge, and now their diplomas are proudly displayed beside each other on a wall in their living room. “It was a great accomplishment.”

Cochran went on to enroll in specialized training at an area cosmetology school and become a state-licensed nail technician. She is now happily employed in town at Dugan’s Salon & Spa and “enjoys coming to work” in an industry that makes people feel happy.

Adult Basic Education programs seek to inspire students to see beyond the challenges of their daily lives, said Adam Duggan, MWCC’s Interim Director of Adult Basic Education.

“Supportive instructors and staff collaborate with students to realize their full potential as members of their communities. Francine is a perfect example of how our program supports students in pursuit of their academic, personal, and professional goals. We are so proud of her accomplishments and contributions to the Winchendon community.”

MWCC is committed to providing adults and out of school youth the opportunity to obtain a high school equivalency credential in order to assist them in accessing post-secondary education and skills training programs. The college operates a High School Equivalency Test Center serving adults 18 years old and older seeking to complete their high school equivalency test if they have not previously earned a high school diploma.

MWCC’s free Adult Basic Education courses to prepare students for the HiSET test are also available at the college’s campuses in Gardner, Leominster and Devens, as well as a site located in Fitchburg on the Fitchburg State University Campus. These classes are funded through various grants from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

For more information about enrolling in the free classes, contact Pamela Dempsey-O’Connell at 978-630-9259, email pdempsey-oconnell@mwcc.mass.edu, or visit mwcc.edu/abe.

 

Former state Senator Robert D. Wetmore

Former state Senator Robert D. Wetmore

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend, Senator Bob Wetmore,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “He left an indelible mark on Mount Wachusett Community College in so many ways, from his unwavering support of students seeking careers and opportunities through higher education to his dedication and guidance when we began converting our all-electric campus to all-renewable technologies.”

The college community joins his family and many friends in mourning a man who meant so much to so many in his public career and in his private life.

Following his retirement, the senator remained a frequent and welcome figure on campus, expressing his creative side by attending creative writing classes.

MWCC recognized Senator Wetmore with an honorary degree in 1996, and in 2004 dedicated a newly constructed wing on campus as the ‘Robert D. Wetmore Center for Innovation and Design.’

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A dozen current and recent graduates of MWCC’s Gateway to College program recently shared their experiences with 27 incoming Gateway students. Pictured from left, Katriona Bell, Mariah Courtemanche, Mary Grace Daly, Angela Nicoli, Jasmine Welch, Anders Bigelbach, Alysia Ladd, Mya Shepard, Manny Corbeil, Kayla Pollack, Jason Alvarado-Gomes and Arturo Aponte-Cruz.

With the new academic semester about to begin, Mount Wachusett Community College is welcoming its largest spring cohort of Gateway to College students to campus.

The free dual-enrollment program, offered in partnership with the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District, is open to Massachusetts residents ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school, are at risk of dropping out, or experienced a setback due to health or personal reasons. Home schooled students are also eligible to enroll in the program, which allows students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and college credits toward an academic degree or certificate.

“I’m excited to be surrounded by people who have priorities,” said Kali Stetson, 16, of Orange, one of 27 new Gateway students from throughout central and north central Massachusetts who will begin classes on January 20.

During the week of January 11, the cohort attended a three-day orientation which included a “Been there, done that!” panel presentation with 12 current Gateway students and recent graduates; information sessions on technology, student support services and resources, and campus clubs and activities; campus and library tours; a viewing of the film “Homeless to Harvard: the Liz Murray Story,” and an indoor ropes course at Cottage Hill Academy in Baldwinville.

A national program that began in 2000 in Portland, OR, Gateway to College is now offered at 43 colleges in 23 states. MWCC’s Gateway to College program, now in its 10th year, was the first program established in New England and now serves nearly 100 students each year.

The program provides students with full access to campus resources and a dedicated resource specialist for academic advising counseling, tutoring and instructional support. School choice funding covers the cost of tuition and fees. Students also receive free textbooks during their first semester and are eligible to continue receiving free textbooks if they earn a grade point average of 3.0 or above.

“Students come here for a variety of reasons,” said MWCC Senior Resource Specialist Sharmese Gunn. “Some come for the environment – it’s a different environment than high school and allows them more flexibility with their time and schedules. Others come in due to medical issues, or they have been home schooled and this is their first formal classroom experience. Some students want to have that academic rigor. They enroll as a cohort and we create a community within the college for them. They take some courses together when they are starting out, then continue on with a major of their choice.”

“I really was inspired to further my education and the Gateway program provides a great opportunity,” said current student Manny Corbeil, 19, of Baldwinville. After he graduates this spring with an associate degree in liberal arts & sciences and academic certificates in business administration and small business management, he plans to transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

“I like everything about Gateway and the college experience,” said Mariah Courtemanche of Orange, who plans to become a certified nurse assistant and then continue her education to become a registered nurse. The flexibility of a college schedule allows her better balance family time with her two-year-old daughter and a part-time job, she said. “I can work and spend time with my daughter.”

This spring, MWCC will begin hosting information sessions for students interested in enrolling in the Gateway to College program for the fall 2016 semester. For more information, visit mwcc.edu/gateway or call 978-630-9248.

 

 

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Members of the Fitchburg High School Class of 2015, pictured with Principal Jeremy Roche and Victor Rojas, Assistant GEAR UP Director at MWCC, returned to the school to advise seniors on transitioning to college.

Take time to tour a variety of colleges and universities prior to enrolling. Seek out scholarships and financial aid. Once enrolled, become involved with clubs and activities to meet new friends. Beware the “freshman 15” weight gain. Learn to manage your time. Don’t skip class, and above all, study.

A dozen Fitchburg High School alumni returned to their alma mater on January 8 to offer these and other tips to high school seniors about successfully transitioning to college. The alumni, all graduates of the Class of 2015, are now pursuing a variety of academic programs at public and private colleges and universities.

The hour-long Alumni Breakfast forum, sponsored by Mount Wachusett Community College’s Division of Access & Transition and the high school’s guidance department, covered a wide range of topics including selecting a school and a major, financing an education, study habits, course load, time management, dorm life and enduring difficult roommates.

“If you’re not a morning person, I don’t recommend taking early morning classes,” advised Mariah Comeau, a student at the University of South Carolina. “Your mother is not there to wake you up.”

The forum was open to the entire senior class through MWCC’s GEAR UP program (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), which is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The annual event was initiated more than a decade ago and is still going strong.

“It is a wonderful chance for FHS alumni from the class of 2015 to give back to FHS,” said Principal Jeremy Roche. “They provide the messages and advice about planning for college that the current seniors find most relevant and credible. This is some of the most helpful information coming directly from their peers.”

When discussing balancing classes, homework, study time and a social life, Worcester State University education major Kelsen Boyette advised the students, “manage your freedom well.”

Similar events are also taking place this month at Leominster, Athol, Ralph C. Mahar and Murdock high schools.

“This is certainly an impactful experience from which the seniors get important lessons on the transition to college,” said MWCC GEAR UP Director Andrew Goodwin.

Participating Fitchburg High School alumni were Micaela Canessa Giorello (Mount Wachusett Community College); Alicia Giannetti (Boston University); Caylin Rymph (Ashland University); Jillian Crocker (Fitchburg State University); Dasia Aldarondo (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); Hannah Hallett (UMass Amherst); Morgan Gray (UMass Amherst); Kelsen Boyette (Worcester State University); Janelle Forgues (Bridgewater State University); Mariah Comeau (University of South Carolina); Isabel Wilder (Southern New Hampshire University); and Bridget Colon (UMass Dartmouth).