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Rafaela Lopes 2016 Newman Civic Fellow

Newman Civic Fellows Award recipient Rafaela Lopes

For her dedication and commitment to serving others, Mount Wachusett Community College student Rafaela Lopes has been presented with Campus Compact’s national 2016 Newman Civic Fellows Award.

The Leominster resident was inspired to make a difference in the lives of others by creating a youth-run social venture that helps young people experiencing or close to homelessness, as she had experienced as a child in Brazil before moving to Massachusetts seven years ago.

“Rafaela has made such significant contributions to our community both locally and globally, that even at her young age, she truly stands out as an inspirational leader deserving of recognition,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We are very proud of her for her spirit of generosity, and proud that she becomes MWCC’s fourth student to consecutively receive this prestigious award.”

Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. The award honors the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders and a tireless advocate for the civic engagement of higher education.

A dual enrollment student in MWCC’s Gateway to College program, Lopes will earn her high school diploma this spring and an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences in the fall. After that, she plans to transfer to pursue a bachelor’s degree, and then enroll in dental school.

“I believe that helping others is my life’s mission. I try to lead by example, in the hope that one kindness will yield another, in turn generating a chain of kindness,” she said.

For the past three years, Lopes has been actively involved in the United Way Youth Venture program, which is co-sponsored by MWCC, the United Way of North Central Massachusetts and Ashoka’s Youth Venture. She created the social venture Go Make a Difference when she was just 15. Since then, she has led her team in fulfilling its mission to help the community locally by providing regular birthday celebrations for homeless children and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts.

The culmination of her dream – to make the impact of her venture global – was realized in February when she organized a student trip to a rural village in Haiti for a week of service at a nutrition and health center. She was instrumental in raising thousands of dollars and collecting 14 suitcases packed with essential supplies in preparation for the trip. She is in the process of organizing another group trip to Haiti next winter so more young people can experience the joy of giving back.

Lopes is also actively involved with the UWYV team Friends of Rachel’s Challenge at Leominster High School and with the ALANA club at MWCC.

“With both organizations, I’ve been able to serve and support the community while sharing positivity and friendship. I plan to continue to lead service and inspire my fellow students to help me make a difference with volunteering, whether with homeless families or in regions of severe poverty.”

Recipients of the Newman Civic Fellows Award are nominated by their college’s president or chancellor. Honorees are chosen for their leadership and ability to take action in pursuit of long-term, positive social change. This year, 218 students were selected to receive the award.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate such an extraordinary group of students,” said Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn. “We are seeing a resurgence in student interest in acting to create lasting social change, and this year’s Newman Civic Fellows exemplify that commitment.”

academic adventuresEach summer, nearly 800 children and teenagers from throughout the region participate in Mount Wachusett Community College’s Adventure Academy. This year, the college is offering more than 30 classes and sports programs between June 27 and Aug. 5.

Classes include Legos, beginning veterinary medicine, American Girl, theater, pottery, painting, sculpture, forensic science, dinosaurs, rockets, basketball, soccer and martial arts. A majority of the classes are taught by area elementary school teachers on summer break and incorporate lessons in STEAM (science technology, engineering, art and math) education. MWCC’s Adventure Academy is offered to children ages 5 to 18 and includes all supplies and materials. Lunch is provided for students attending full-day classes.

Among the new offerings this year is an Introduction to the Potter’s Wheel course for teens age 16 and above, adults and art teachers.

For more information and to register, visit mwcc.edu/noncredit, call 978-630-9525 or email noncredit@mwcc.mass.edu.

 

Ray_MartinoCommunity leader and long-serving volunteer Raymond J. Martino is the recipient of Mount Wachusett Community College’s 2016 Service Above Self Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions within the 29 cities and towns that make up the college’s service area.

Mr. Martino, president and CEO of Simonds International, Inc. and chair of the MWCC Foundation, will be recognized during the college’s 51st commencement ceremony on May 18.

“We are proud to present this year’s Service Above Self award to Ray Martino,” said President Daniel Asquino. “Through his work professionally and in a volunteer capacity, he is making a tremendous difference in the lives of North Central Massachusetts residents and in the lives of our students. His willingness to share his time and talents exemplify the importance of engaged citizenship and the difference one person can make in the world.”

“It’s an honor to be recognized with this award and to be involved in a community so willing to serve others,” Mr. Martino said. “When a community has leaders driving partnerships and fundraising, it spreads, it’s contagious. The more leaders who participate, the more others step up and the bar is raised.”

Born and raised in Connecticut, Mr. Martino moved to Lunenburg with his wife, Susan, and their family in 1999 to head Simonds, a leading worldwide supplier of cutting tools for the wood and metal industries. He immediately became involved in community service and over the past 17 years, has supported the region in a wide range of capacities and has encouraged a culture of volunteerism at Simonds.

He served on the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce for nine years, including as past chair, and continues to serve on the chamber’s leadership committee. In addition to serving as chair of the MWCC Foundation, he serves as vice chair of the Workers’ Credit Union board of directors, and is a member of the Fitchburg Plan, a group of local volunteers working on a grassroots level to help facilitate economic development in the city.

In addition, he is chair of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, which has provided $1.5 million in loans to regional organizations, and is also active with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts.

He previously served on the Fitchburg State University Foundation and is a past member of the university’s Regional Economic Development Institute. He also served on the board of overseers for the University of Connecticut’s School of Business and is a past director of the Connecticut Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Mr. Martino earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fairfield University, and a master’s in business administration and a master’s in economics from the University of Connecticut. He is the past president of several divisions of the Connecticut manufacturing corporation The Stanley Works, now Stanley Black & Decker.

PTK officers group photo cropped

From left, PTK advisor Fagan Forhan, assistant dean of K-12 partnerships and civic engagement, Stevie LaBelle, Lindsay Jamison, Thomas Berger, Jana Murphy, Lisa Barry, Kimberly Cook, John Bombach and Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke.

MWCC’s Phi Delta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society inducted 61 new members and presented donations to community organizations from funds raised through a variety of events this academic year.

During the May 5 induction ceremony, the chapter presented checks of $500 each to the Gardner Community Action Council, the Winchendon Community Action Council, and the student-run Students Serving Our Students (SOS) mentor program at MWCC. PTK officers also recognized MWCC staff member Gardner Wood for his volunteer support building creative, fanciful props for the PTK annual Character Breakfast.

Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke, an MWCC alumnus and honorary PTK member, was the keynote speaker.

“Coming to the Mount was truly the best decision I ever made,” he said after confessing to being a “straight C” student in high school. “It gave me the direction I needed and showed me what hard work would help me achieve. My professors gave me encouragement and inspiration to carry on.”

After graduating from MWCC in 1994, Mayor Hawke went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from UMass, Amherst, and an MBA from Anna Maria College.

“If Mount Wachusett Community College had not been here, if Mount Wachusett Community College had not had the caring and professional professors and staff, I wouldn’t be here. And if I’m not here, just imagine what condition the city of Gardner would be in,” the five-term mayor quipped.

Chapter officers during the 2015-16 academic year were recognized for their service: President Jana Murphy; Vice President Thomas Berger; Secretary Stevie LaBelle; and Treasurer Lindsay Jamison. Officers installed for the upcoming academic year include Jana Murphy, for her second year as president; Lisa Barry, vice president; Kimberly Cook, secretary; and John Blombach, treasurer.

Founded in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa recognizes and encourages the academic achievement of two-year college students and provides opportunities for personal, academic and professional growth through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.

The new inductees are: Donovan Aboal-Caceres, Kwadwo Acheampong, Terri Alden, Rebekah Amburgey, Linda Anderson, Sophia Andrews, Lisa Barry, Alexander Batutis, Sheila Boria, Amanda Boudreau, Romina Cabrera, Micaela Canessa Giorello, Matthew Casaubon, Karen Chapalonis, Sarah Chatigny, Kimberly Cook, Melanie Cranfill, Rhonda Cutler, Colleen Demboske, Simon Dufresne, Tara Dugan, Jaclyn Esparza, Amanda Favreau, Michelle Francisco Pimentel, Gregory Germagian, Samantha Goodale, Kristin Grantz, Zoe Hammond, Antonina Herbst, Michele Higginson, Nhat Hoang, Inna Kalfayan, Francis Koina, Rose LaFargue Joseph Leblanc, Christopher Lerew, Valerie Maloney, Yemni Mendez, Anne Nash, Matthew Niles, Hillary Nna, Cassandra Pateneaude, Lindsey Paul, Shannen Pimental, Marissa Pitisci, Dawn Marie Placentino-Olen, Crystal Pratt, Melissa Raggi, Kelsey Rayner, Brian Richard, Katelyn Schreiber, Rhonda Scoville, Benjamin Smith, Silvana Sosa, Michael Soto, Sarah Soto, Grace Stafford, Hollace Stevens, Casey Thoel, Rachel Vargeletis and Elizabeth Walsh.

 

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The state Department of Higher Education will recognize top students from across Massachusetts during the sixth annual “29 Who Shine” award ceremony on Monday, May 9 at noon at the Grand Staircase of the Massachusetts Statehouse.

The ceremony honors an outstanding graduating student from each of the state’s 29 public colleges and universities, as well as each award recipients’ faculty or staff mentor. The honorees, chosen because of their academic achievements and record of student leadership and community service, contribute greatly to the civic life and economic well-being of the state, whether furthering their education or entering careers in Massachusetts in fields as diverse as education, public policy, medicine, creative arts and engineering.

This year’s MWCC recipient is Bella Ballin, a Liberal Arts: Chemical Science major who is enrolled in the Pathways Early College Innovation School. Ballin began her academic studies two years ago at age 16 as a dual enrollment student.

While the Worcester resident enjoyed high school, she chose to tap into the opportunities available through MWCC’s unique Pathways Early College Innovation School, which has allowed her to simultaneously earn her high school diploma and an associate degree at no cost through school choice funding.

“I wanted to get ahead. Not for ambitious reasons, but because through experience, I learned that good health and time are not things that should be taken for granted,” said Ballin, who was diagnosed at age 15 with Multiple Sclerosis. “When I learned about the Mount’s Pathway’s Early College Innovation School, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

A member of the Commonwealth Honors Program, Ballin is a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s prestigious Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship. After earning her associate degree, she will transfer to a four-year school this fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in science.

At MWCC, she has been named to the President’s List every semester for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average, and this year was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. A mentor to her two younger brothers, she plans to build a career in science in Massachusetts, and at some point in her future, would like to become a teacher.

She enjoys helping peers as a math and chemistry tutor within MWCC’s Academic Support Center, serves as president of the student Math Club, and has volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. Additionally, she participated in MWCC’s Leadership Camp, Leadership Retreat, and Women in Leadership Forum.

She chose Natalie J. Mercier, Academic Counselor in MWCC’s Division of Access & Transition, as her staff mentor.

“I can come to Natalie at any time with anything. I know I can always count on her.”

The 29 Who Shine honorees “represent our future citizenry and workforce and have already made substantial contributions to the Commonwealth,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education. “I am so proud of what they have achieved and look forward to seeing how they continue to put their talents to work on behalf of our local communities.”

Dr. Vincent Ialenti, Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, and Math Professor Ken Takvorian were recognized for 45 years of service by President Asquino and the college community during the 21st annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony.

Dr. Vincent Ialenti, Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, and Math Professor Ken Takvorian were recognized for 45 years of service by President Asquino and the college community during the 21st annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony.

President Daniel M. Asquino and the Division of Human Resources and Payroll honored employees who reached the milestone years of service with the college during the 21st annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony on May 2.

Collectively, the recipients represent 625 years of service to MWCC students and the college community.

Vincent Ialenti and Professor Ken Takvorian were recognized for 45 years of service to MWCC. Donald Knower and Mary Plummer were recognized for 35 years of service, and Kathleen Suchocki was recognized for 30 years of service.

Rosanne Morel, Patricia Sabulis and Madhu Sharma were recognized for 25 years of service, and Denise Bolduc, Susan LaBonte, William Land, Jr., Ann Marshall, Kathleen Mcginn, Jo Ann Meagher, and Jacqueline Shakar were recognized for 20 years of service.

Employees recognized for 15 years: Eleanor Gauthier, Constance Helstowski, Deborah Holland, Angela Lunn-Marcustre, Joyce Maynard, Paul Swerzenski and Tina Wilson.

Employees recognized for 10 years: Charity Cooley, Peggy Dow, Dawn Fontaine, Andrew Goodwin, Amy Kendrick, Heather Layton, William Lefrancois, Thomas Matsuda, Kathleen Panagiotes, Ellen Pratt and Collene Thaxton.

Employees recognized for five years of service include: John Femino, Michelle Goderre, Festus Kiprono, Danielle LaPlante, John Little, Tammi Lloyd, Mary Maga, Sarah McMaster, Shelley Errington Nicholson, Raeanne O’Sullivan, Marcia Rosbury-Henne, Daniel St. Onge and Paul Valila.

FHS Career Fair 4 29 16 photoWhat do you want to be when you grow up? 1,000 Fitchburg High School students had the chance to visit with more than 50 professionals in a wide range of careers and vocations during the annual career fair sponsored April 29 by MWCC’s Division of Access & Transition.

Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke photoGardner Mayor Mark Hawke has been named Mount Wachusett Community College’s 2016 Alumnus of the Year. He will be recognized during the college’s 51st Commencement on Wednesday, May 18.

“We are extremely proud to honor Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke as our 2016 Alumnus of the Year,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “Like many of our students, Mayor Hawke discovered his potential while attending Mount Wachusett Community College, and then followed that path to achieve success both academically and professionally. Moreover, he has consistently demonstrated his commitment to public service, to Mount Wachusett Community College, and to our students.”

Created in 1989, the award recognizes a Mount Wachusett Community College graduate who has exhibited exceptional career leadership, service to community and commitment to the college.

“I am deeply indebted to MWCC,” Mayor Hawke said. “While I didn’t know it then, the Mount and its faculty put me on the track to success. As a graduate, I have firsthand knowledge of the college’s positive impact on students. As mayor, I have seen the transformative influence the college has had on our community. Gardner is truly fortunate to be home to MWCC.”

The son of Nancy Hawke and the late State Rep. Robert Hawke, Mayor Hawke is the youngest of five siblings. He attended Gardner public schools and graduated from Gardner High School as a three sport letterman. After earning his associate degree in general studies from MWCC, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a master’s degree in business administration from Anna Maria College.

Since being sworn into office in January 2008, he has continually worked to bring Gardner into a new age through investments in the city’s infrastructure, economic development, playgrounds and other facilities. Under his leadership, Gardner became one of the first communities to sign on to the Baker Administration’s Commonwealth Community Pact.

Prior to his election, Mayor Hawke served as Gardner’s grants administrator for over six years. He previously worked in the private sector as a business analyst for a wireless communications company, as an operations manager for a transportation company, and as a logistics analyst for a waste management company.

Mayor Hawke currently serves as President of the Massachusetts Mayor’s Association and on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Among his community activities, he serves on the Board of Incorporators of Heywood Hospital; the Board of Directors of Gardner’s downtown association, Square Two; and the GFA Federal Credit Union Board of Directors. Previously, he has served as president of Gardner Square Two; on the Board of Directors of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, and on MWCC’s Board of Trustees.

He is also an active member of the Acadien Social Club of Gardner, the Napoleon Club of Gardner, the Polish American Citizens Club of Gardner, the Gardner Museum, the Acadien Club Hockey League and City League Softball and an honorary member of the Gardner Rotary Club.

He and his wife, Shelly, live in Gardner with their son, Justin.

MWCC students named to the 2016 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities were recognized during a student leadership celebration, held April 28 at the Gardner Museum.

MWCC students enrolled in a range of academic programs and involved in numerous activities have been selected as national outstanding campus leaders and will be included in the 2016 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

The 44 students were selected based on their academic achievement, service to the community, leadership in extracurricular activities and the potential for continued success. They join an elite group of students from more than 1,000 higher education institutions in the United State and several other countries. The tradition of recognizing noteworthy college students in a Who’s Who biographical volume began in 1934.

This year’s honorees are: Alyssa Adoretti, Thayna Aguiar, Joseph Almeida, Marcus Altman, Jasson Alvarado Gomez, Arturo Aponte-Cruz, Bella Ballin, Andrea Bartlett, Thomas Berger, Aleisha Berthiaume, Levi Bushnell, Aurea Carrion, Karen Chapalonis, Michel Cocuzza, Emanuel Corbeil, Elizabeth Cross, Kevin Figueroa, Nelida Figueroa Lopez, Jennifer Gariepy, Trevor Hansen, Thomas Hill Jr., Tatjana James, Alana Jones, Bethany Jones, Sara Khan, Stevie LaBelle, Julia McHugh, Kimberly Mertell, Nathan Morris, Jana Murphy, Hillary Nna, Camila Pereira, Marymar Perez Cruz, Shannen Pimental, Rebecca Pincott, Michael Racine, Christian Rossi, Ellen Smith, Benjamin Spurr, Jari Squire, Cathy Teague, Leah Trudeau, Ashlie Visco, and KellyWilliams.

 

 

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President Asquino, guest speaker Jim Bellina of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce joined students, staff and faculty for the 26th annual Alpha Beta Gamma induction ceremony.

President Daniel Asquino and Jim Bellina, president and CEO of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce joined MWCC business faculty and college officials to welcome 18 students into the Chi Gamma Chapter of the Alpha Beta Gamma international business honor society.

“Alpha Beta Gamma, the international business honor society. They key word is honor, and it’s an honor for me to be here this afternoon to honor your achievement,” President Asquino said.

The 26th annual induction ceremony was led by Professor Linda Bolduc, ABG advisor and business department chair, with outgoing ABG President Kathy Matson. The celebration included recognition of the chapter’s newly elected and newly inducted officers: Michel Cocuzza, president, Alana Jones, vice president, Bethany Jones, treasurer, and Kimberly Mertell, secretary.

Bellina congratulated the students on selecting MWCC for their academic studies, noting that many of the students are busy balancing work and family responsibilities and volunteering in the community and at the college while earning their degree.

“You will be the type of people that others lean on,” he said. “You are leaders and you have the background of being at Mount Wachusett Community College.”

In addition to the four officers, other inductees are: Donavan Aboal-Caceres, Alexander Batutis, Paula Brown, Angelique Chaput, Joel DeVelis, Katie Dupont, Michelle Francisco, Tammy Goodgion, Jessica Guyer, Sheila Hebert, Lindsay Jamieson, Kevin LeBlanc, Marissa Pitisci and Nicholas Traverna.

Alpha Beta Gamma was established in 1970 to recognize and encourage scholarship among students at two-year colleges, provide leadership training opportunities and career assistance to members. To be eligible for membership into the honor society, students must be enrolled in a business curriculum, have completed 15 academic credit hours in a specific degree program and demonstrate academic excellence by attaining a grade point average of 3.0 or above. At MWCC, the programs include business administration, paralegal studies, computer information systems, graphic & interactive design and medical assisting.