Student Stories

Members of the 2017 Classes of the Pathways Early College Innovation School and the Gateway to College program graduated Friday night with their high school diplomas as well as college credits or degrees.

Over 60 students celebrated earning their high school diploma along with college credits or degrees through Mount Wachusett Community College’s dual enrollment programs Friday night.

This year’s graduates of the Pathways Early College Innovation School and the Gateway to College program were recognized during the May 19 graduation ceremony at MWCC. The programs are offered in partnership with the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District, the Athol Early College Experience and the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation, Inc. Career Tech Scholarship Program. They allow students to use school choice funding to earn their high school diploma while simultaneously earning college credits, an academic certificate, or an associate degree.

Gateway to College Valedictorian Eden Shaveet left traditional school at the age of 14 and never thought she was going to get her high school diploma let alone her Associate’s degree that she earned through the program. During her speech, Shaveet highlighted the need for continued support for programs like Gateway to College.

“In the absence of such programs, I would not be where I am today and the fact that we have to fight for these programs is absurd,” said Shaveet. “Programs like Gateway to College catch us before we fall to barriers in our way… I am eternally grateful to Gateway to College and Mount Wachusett for providing these opportunities where otherwise none would exist.”

Shaveet reclaimed her education at the Gateways program and exceed all expectations, achieving recognition on the President’s List for maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout her entire college career and becoming an integral part of campus life as a Student Leader in Civic Engagement. She will be attending Elms College in the fall to pursue her baccalaureate degree.

Pathways Early College Innovation School Valedictorian Faith Kurtz is graduating with a 3.98 GPA. She has been accepted to attend WPI this fall to study Electrical Engineering.

“My professors here have been kind, reasonable and understanding people who have my best interests in mind and many have gone above and beyond,” said Kurtz.

In addition to her academic achievements, Kurtz threw herself into the community and logged over 200 volunteer hours in her first six months; embracing the motto that you won’t start succeeding until you start doing. She hopes to continue giving back to her community through engineering after finishing her studies at WPI.

“Every student here deserves the success they have because they have earned it … You can’t fake what you have done,” said Kurtz. “To everyone in the audience – thank you for supporting these outstanding individuals and I would ask you to continue supporting them in whatever their next endeavor is.”

Keynote speaker MWCC President James Vander Hooven encouraged the students to listen and contemplate their interactions with others because there is no telling what words will prove influential.

“Write these things down and learn strategies by incorporating them into your life,” said President Vander Hooven.

In closing, the president added his own words of advice and encouragement to the graduates.

“Don’t over complicate your lives. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Congratulations to each and every one of you. We are so proud of you,” said President Vander Hooven.

Established in 2010 as one of the first two innovation schools in Massachusetts, the Pathways Early College Innovation School provides motivated high school juniors and home schooled students the opportunity to accelerate the pace of their academic. MWCC’s Gateway to College program, established in 2005 as the first Gateway site in New England, provides a second chance for students ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school, are at risk of dropping out, or experienced a setback, as well as an opportunity for home schooled students to complete high school and college studies.


The Gateway to College graduates were:



Mia DeFalco

Dustin Estelle



Leah Breen

Legacy Brooks

Kimberly Favreau

Sasha McCraney-Montalvo



Joelle Austin

Melinda Martin

Dylan Tambolleo



Julianna Ladd



Victoria DaSilva

Serena Ferri-Lima

Angela Nicoli



Owen Kennedy



Benjamin Almeida

Michael Hidalgo

Julia Mangiacotti



Victoria Duprey

Nicholas Kapp

Taylor Putnam

Maurisa Weld


Breanna Maysonet

Eden Shaveet

Zachariah Tancrell



Daniella Caetano

Sharie Melendez

Alexandria Ridlon

Zachary Riley

Scott Russo

Jareth Skelton

Andrew Wegiel



Rachel Wyman



Sydney Hudson



Sarah Haynes

Richard Tripoli



Nicholas Allard



Brendon Boulanger



Jonathan Blouin



Rebecca Schlier



Mary Grace Daly

Sydney Jaber

Sabrina Martin


The Pathways Early College Innovation School graduates were:



Cassandra Cardillo

Rachel Vargeletis



Aaron Kenney



Cameron Raymond


Athol Early College Experience

Zachary Bergquist

Natasha Ledoux

Lindsey Lee



Gabrielle Walker



Jason Tovar



Nathan Pierce



Michael Sadowski



Faith Kurtz



Alison Germagian



Olivia Gianakis



Alicia Schiller



Maris Clement

Benjamin Gilmore

Rachel Lundgren


Zoe Hammond



Natalie Chretien

Jay Pereira (Robinson Broadhurst)

Members of Mount Wachusett Community College’s associate degree nursing class of 2017 celebrate after taking the nursing pledge following their pinning ceremony at the Fitness and Wellness Center at MWCC.

Family and friends from as near as Gardner and as far away as Kenya came to celebrate the achievements of Mount Wachusett Community College’s associate degree nursing class during a traditional pinning ceremony held May 18 in the Fitness & Wellness center.

The 44th graduating class was comprised of 102 students enrolled in the day and evening programs and included LPNs who returned to continue their education through the college’s Bridge to Nursing program.

Dressed in traditional nurse uniforms, the students were welcomed into the profession by having the program’s nursing pin fastened to their lapels by a family member, friend, or an alumnus of the program, or a faculty member. The pin marks where the nurses completed their studies and distinguishes them from other health care professionals. The eight-star MWCC pin is imprinted with the words “Service to Humanity and the World.”

As part of the ceremony, the students also took a nursing pledge that dates back to Florence Nightingale, who distinguished herself during the Crimean War by coming to the aid of sick and wounded soldiers.

The graduates were:


Cassandra Benes

Lisa St John



Aurora Erali

Jessi Kuehl

Sarah Rattet



Shawn Bello

Megan York



Andrea Inostroza

Heather Sinofsky



Tiffany Barsamian

Kayla Boutell



Sara Gallant

Meghan Robidoux


Cherry Valley

Stacy Riel-Rigiero



Colleen Hannen

Erin O’Connell



Shelmith Karimi

David Mungai



Stacy Stackrow



Nanam Adwubi

Allesandra Hollenkamp

Ashley McKinnon

Sharon Nabulime

Deanna Rossi

Amy Shattuck

Stefan Sicard



Simone de Souza

Hanna Gyamfi



Kristin Anderson

Benjamin Blake

Megan Casteel

Ashley Comley

Cynthia Cormier

Elizabeth Crete

Britnii Dyer

Acacia Fisher

Shannon Kelley

Charles Njaaga

Julia Pitre

Lani Scanlan

Kristina Snay

Amy Tervo



Megan McNeil


Greenfield, NH

Andrea Langley



Stephanie Casey



Carolyn Felicio


Jaffrey, NH

Amanda Boucher

Rebecca Myott

Paula Whitcomb


Keene, NH

Ryan Firmin



Samantha Berry

Elizabeth Brown

Lisa Doherty

Anna Gamaya

Felicia Harwood

Jocelyn Klein

Julie LeClair

Maysha Peckham

Veronica Valladares



Beth Mwangi

Mamawa Sannoh



Szerena Moyen-vonRosenvinge

Jodi Peternel

Valerie Poladian

Mija Waluck



Brenda Warren


New Ipswich, NH

Clayton Kuusisto


North Brookfield

Mindy Gendron

Keri-Ann Harvey



Elizabeth Mahoney



Lisa Korpiewski



Rachel Pinney



Ryan Lawrence



Christopher Martin


Richmond, NH

Margaret Laplume


Rindge, NH

Manzall Mitchell-Dwyer

Bridget Murphy



Ashley Sawyer



Sherry Whitman



Courtney Champlin

Katelyn Kane

Sabrina Pettigrew



Katie Cooper



Shannon Wolanski



James Mugwanja



Valerie Maloney

Amanda Nourse



Kristina Pelletier



Katherine Goguen


West Groton

Karen D’Agostino



Ashley Brunt

Leslie Cosentino



Aaron Aikins

Monica Boafo

Judith Hunter

Joseph Kum

Lydia London

Eliud Mwangi

John-Mark Njenga

Guerda Pierre

Marta Szczubelek

Shana Tobin

On Wednesday evening, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey addressed 730 students and their well-wishers at Mount Wachusett Community College’s 52nd Commencement.

On Wednesday evening, 730 students were awarded nearly 800 degrees and certificates as they graduated from Mount Wachusett Community College.

The gathered graduates at the College’s 52nd commencement were reminded by Keynote Speaker Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey of the hard work that they applied to make it to this day. Healey focused on the graduate’s own stories of perseverance, whether that meant working while going to school, raising a family while getting their degree, postponing their education to serve in the military or pushing themselves to return to school in the first place.

“You rolled up your sleeves. You worked hard and no one can take that away from you. But you also had The Mount at your sides and a school that told you you were not alone in this,” said Healey.

It was this commitment to their own education but also the greater community that drew her to speak at The Mount, she said. Because even though the graduates were working hard in their own lives that did not stop them from giving back to others.

“Despite all the demands on your time you still found time to give back to others and uphold this school’s national reputation for community service,” said Healey who commended the students for giving back nearly 150,000 volunteer hours in the last year. “You are changing lives day in and day out.”

Healey encouraged the graduates to continue giving back whether it is in the workforce or continuing to volunteer at their next school.

“You know your education belongs not just to you but to your community. That is really important,” said Healey. “I know you will find ways to give back to this community.”

In closing, the Attorney General said she could not give a graduation speech without passing along some kind of advice. Her words of advice included “use common sense” and “trust your gut” but Healey focused on the need to connect with others and not pre-judge them.

“It’s so important that we talk to one another… and talk to people that are different from ourselves,” she said.

President James Vander Hooven kicked off his address to students with a selfie.

In his remarks at his first commencement at The Mount, President James Vander Hooven commended the graduates for their accomplishments and reminded them of what they have truly learned during their time at MWCC: strategies. While you may have picked up some facts along the way, he told the graduates, learning strategies is what higher education is truly about. These strategies that served the graduates throughout their education are now the same ones that will be invaluable while facing future life or workplace challenges.

“By being here tonight, you have proven yourselves capable of utilizing tried and true strategies for achieving educational success. Whatever your next steps might be … use the strategies you have learned here to your advantage,” said President Vander Hooven.

Student Speaker Cynthia Doyle talked about her life as a part-time student and full-time employee at MWCC. The college is a huge part of her family, she said, with her mother having graduated from the school 32 years ago and her daughter having just finished her first year at MWCC.

At the age of 46, Doyle is graduating after four years of pushing herself through late nights and classwork on top of her daily challenges. This story of perseverance is not hers alone, however, but belongs to every student in the audience, she said. During her time working in the Student Accounts office, she has seen firsthand the hard work of many members of the graduating class.

“I am extremely proud to have been a resource for you and I am extremely proud to work for a college that will go to great lengths to set students up for success and will continue to provide support for generations to come,” said Doyle. “I have watched us all grow and mature, from the first semester walking through those doors to the strong confident men and women sitting here now.”

But neither the journey nor the struggle is over with this graduation, she said.

“What advice I give you today is to keep going forward, it doesn’t end here. Whatever it is that you want to strive for, whatever goal you want to achieve, it is doable, continue to go and do it. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work there is no limit,” Doyle said.

In addition to the speakers, business leader and community volunteer Wayne Canty received Mount Wachusett Community College’s 2017 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. Canty is highly involved in the region’s business and volunteer community through both his business Heat Trace Products and his activity on numerous boards and commissions.

Canty talked about his beginnings working in a factory from the age of 17 to earn money to go to school. During that time, he went to what was then called a junior college and would now be called a community college.

“I’ve been there where you have been; where you are. At least for a few minutes, I can be the poster boy or poster old man of success coming through the community college system. This one here I would consider to be the Ivy League of community colleges. Congratulations,” Canty told the graduates

State Representative Susannah Whipps was recognized as Mount Wachusett Community College’s 2017 Alumna of the Year. 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. Whipps is a local business owner and has served in government positions since being elected to the Athol Board of Selectman in 2005. Most recently, she was elected as State Rep. in 2015 for the Second Franklin District.

“Learning isn’t a contest or competition. It should be a journey and I’ve had a fabulous journey and the reason I’ve had such a fabulous journey is because of the foundation here at Mount Wachusett Community College,” said Whipps. “I felt a part of something when I was here at Mount Wachusett Community College.”

Jasson Alvarado Gomez was presented with the Trustees Award for his service this year on the MWCC Board of Trustees. The President’s Key Award for academic excellence was presented to Accounting major Cynthia A. Boucher of Ashburnham and Medical Laboratory Technology major Lara E. White of Lunenburg. Michel L Cocuzza of Winchendon was presented with the Dean’s Key, which is awarded to graduates for outstanding service to the college community.

Professor Emeritus status was bestowed posthumously upon Ed Stevens who passed away in April after teaching in the disciplines of physics, mathematics and engineering for over 50 years at MWCC.

Area graduates include:




Certificates: Raquel Maurice



Associates: Linda J Anderson, Megan J Barker, Cassandra Leigh Benes, Megan Elizabeth Bernard, Cynthia A Boucher, Cassandra Cardillo, Lynne Galvin, Rebecca L Gardner, Jennifer Marie Guerriero, William Robert Hoeksema, Dylan Robert Mei, Lisa M St John, Rachel Celina Vargeletis

Certificates: Patrick R Brownell, Lynne Galvin, Donna M Slocum



Associates: Kyna Joan Gilmore, Kimberly M Greig, Aaron B Kenney, Carl William Selmer

Certificates: Victoria Elizabeth Cummings



Associates: Nicholas  Alvarez, Anastasia  Anderholm, Samantha M Arsenault, Zachary  Bergquist, Heather Christine Chadsey, Sarah A Clark, Jessie A Corbett, Simon  Dufresne, Aurora A Erali, Troy Christopher Godin, Jason  Hicks-Greenough, MaRyea  Jennings, Isabelle C Johnson, Jessi H Kuehl, Cassondra L Lavigne, Lindsey  Lee, Sierra  Lopez, Kari  McGivern, Hannah M Pachalis, Sarah B Rattet, Cameron Jon Raymond, Courtney  Roche, Anthony  Rodriguez, William John Sawin, Donna  Songer, Alejita  Velez, Adam  Verock, Mathieu  Woodbury

Certificates: Allison R Aucoin, Danyelle M Bushee, Samantha M Farley, Luis A Rivera, Anthony Rodriguez, Russell P Vescovi, Matthew White



Associates: Shawn F Bello, Megan Elizabeth York



Associates: Andrea C Inostroza, Katherine Jordan, Patricia E Kelley, Michael J Murphy, Joseph Santiago, Caitlyn Marie Sherry, Heather E Sinofsky

Certificates: Kelly MacNeil



Associates: Tiffany R Barsamian, Kayla E Boutell, Tara DeWitte, Phylicia K Duguay, Laura Lyman, Caleb Simeon Matson, Alannah Marie McDonald, Kayla D Rameau, Kyle W Salam

Certificates: Samantha E Whalen



Associates: Christina M Ackert, Sean W Craig, Jordan M LaBelle, Matthew R LaPointe, Alexandria Morrissey, Sarah Jane O’Sullivan, Liam J Scanlon, Gabrielle Susan Walker

Certificates: Ann Giaquinto Scott, Jordan M LaBelle, Santo Mammone, Jayne Patrice Proctor



Associates: Christine A Brown



Associates: Graham Bateman



Associates: William M Andrews



Associates: Kayleigh M Cavanaugh, Daniel C Wuorio

Certificates: Peter S Hopkins



Associates: Wei He Yiu



Associates: Conner Dempsey

Certificates: Susan M LaForest



Associates: Mary K Faugno Wiles, Meghan Janice Robidoux


Buzzards Bay

Associates: Joshua T Goliber

Cherry Valley

Associates: Stacy L Riel-Rigiero



Associates: Megan F Ballenger, Eva Beland, Larry F Ciarletta, Laura Louise Coldwell, Colleen M Hannen, Nicholas Y Hernandez, Brittany A Hutchinson, Jeffrey Jean-Baptiste, Mailoan Nguyen, Erin E O’Connell, Elizabeth D Silva, Jason  Tovar

Certificates: Megan F Ballenger, Megan A Pasquale, Stephanie E Tor



Associates: Shelmith N. Karimi, David K Mungai, Sheila M Salaverry

Certificates: Alice W Ndungu



Associates: Stacy M. Stackrow


East Templeton

Associates: Lisa J. Delorme, Colleen Janice Moran, Courtney Lynn Wentz


Certificates: Justine N Pottinger



Associates: Marissa Susan Abell, Nana A Adwubi, Stephanie M Arnold, Mavis NS Barnor, Kayla K Blanchette, Courtney K Bouchard, Emily Morgan Boudreau, Colline D Butler, Shane  Carroll, Carlington C Clarke, Daniel P Clifford, Cassandra E Croft, Aritha  Daniels, Brittany  DuBois, Michael  Erhagbai, Jarelin Gesely Escobar, Christopher William Farmer, Maria Lucia Ferreira, Leah Rose Fletcher, Julie  Fluet, Eugenio Angel Garcia, Eunices  Gonzalez, Elida K Griffin, Leonela A Grullon, Jacqueline Amanda Healy, JoAnna L Heng, Kaylyn  Herold, Kayla J Hickey, Allesandra L Hollenkamp, Joshua L Irfan, Godwill  Karngong, Grace N Kiigi, Vanayda M Knight, Gianna Lucia LaPosta, Patricia J Lillie, Katelyn M Lingus, Nicole M Maldonado, Linda M Martel, Ashley R McKinnon, Yemni T Mendez, Bria R Monette-Harris, John  Moua, Sharon M Nabulime, Alicia  Navarro, Ritchie Alan Nelson, Sevina V Ortiz, Kris J Osgood, Estefanie  Palma, Ashley  Perez, Marymar  Perez Cruz, Nathan A Pierce, April L Quirk, Nataly  Ramos, Brian  Reyes, Faith  Robinett, Eduardo  Rodriguez, Nicolas R Romero, Deanna M Rossi, Megan  Rossi, Rose M Sanchez Pratts, Katherine Judith Sandoval, Samnath  Say, Amy E Shattuck, Stefan M Sicard, Giovani  Soto, Michael  Soto, Augustine J Tetteh-Quarshie, Ashley  Thibault, Skylyn  Torres, Tatiana Vazquez, Crystal A Witz, Staci L Wolski, Fuechee  Yang


Certificates: Vilmarie  Alvarado, Meghgan A Beauvais, Tamu L Brobbey, Michael O Bueno, Christofer  Butler, Salvador  De La Cruz, Matthew J DiPasquale, Jamaal R Dockery, Joseph Michael Favini, Nikita Rose Gilbert, Nicole M Mattson, Kimberly Lynn Mertell, Haley R Mullen, Alicia  Navarro, Sevina V Ortiz, Wilfred  Perez, Yarilis  Perez, Charmaine M Radzewicz, Sylvia  Ramirez, Diosmar  Reynoso, Eduardo  Rodriguez, Stephanie A Santangelo, Tonia M Sheridan-Hamblin, Marry K Sivilaythong, Colleen M Suarez, Augustine J Tetteh-Quarshie, Jessica L Theriault, Monica R Wirickx, Fuechee  Yang



Associates: Hanna Gyamfi, Simone M de Souza



Associates: Leslie Ann Ackers, Raina  Aiello, Kristin J Anderson, Samantha Mariel Badia, Scott  Batchelder, Benjamin K Blake, Christine C Boisvert, Destiny D Boisvert, Emily A Bradshaw, Taylor M Butler, Chelsea May Caron, Megan E Casteel, Rebekah L Cohen, Ashley Marie Comley, Donald T Connors, Cynthia M Cormier, Elizabeth A Crete, Timothy  Cronin, Harli L Curtis, Rebekkah  Dietz, Wendy A Dobbins, Viclinepon S Duangsay, Brittany A Dufresne, Britnii J Dyer, Acacia A Fisher, Samantha  Gravlin, Jose Manuel Herrera, Erika A Holm, Jessica Noel James, Latisha  Johnson, Nicole Brianna Joseph, Alyssa M Juliano, Shannon M Kelley, Kendyll Marie-William Knight, Lisa K Kowalczyk, Kristina M LaBombard, Samantha JM LeBlanc, Jordan Robert Learmonth, Krista  Lennerton, Anthony C MacKenzie, Douglas  Marroquin, Jessica l McKay, Kaitlyn Marie Mearn, Keith A Melanson, Marguerite Elizabeth Nicholas, Charles M Njaaga, Olivia  Ouellet, Kevin W Oxford, Melissa  Paulhus, Julia R Pitre, Nicholas  Powell, Estephany S Rodriguez, Michael T Sadowski, Lani D Scanlan, Julia N Scott, Tracy J Shackett, LaKeya  Springfield, Jerrika  St John, Deborah-Jean  Strachan, Amy M Tervo, Eva  Tolman-Brown, Laurie  Tucci, Scott  Vieira, Cameron  Walsh, Melissa S Wright


Certificates: Kyle J Blanchette, Christopher T Blouin, Tanya Lee Botelho, Jessica L Cahill, Sadiya M Clark, Ramsey E Clayter, Harli L Curtis, Brittany A Dufresne, Curtis Hall, Lisa K Kowalczyk, Grace Kraft, Elizabeth P LaPan, Angella  Nakanwagi, Lee Ann M Orsalock, Janice  Perez, Emma L Phillips, Sarah E Pierce-Legassey, Kari L Quinlan, Deborah-Jean  Strachan, Nathan A Thibault, Scott  Vieira, Kathleen D White



Associates: Jonathan Cheney, Megan Leigh McNeil



Associates: Katherine Newell

Certificates: Katherine Newell



Associates: Stephanie J Casey

Certificates: Courtney N Monaco

Associates: Cody Allen Braese, Kaitlyn Elizabeth Malin



Associates: Jari Squire



Certificates: Jennifer A Koinange



Associates: Michael E Dodd, Shannon E Drohan, Carolyn M Felicio, Faith Kurtz

Certificates: Cheyanne Elizabeth Rigney



Associates: Victoria R Allen, Tyler J Charland, Andrew David Como, Gabrielle Rose Deloge, Alison  Germagian, Jessica A Horgan, Andrew Amorntap Horsung, Stevie  LaBelle, Adam James McHugh, Jana Christin Murphy, Amy L Pasakinskas, Mason William Prentiss, Eden  Shaveet, Jareth D Skelton, Lauren  Stohler, Evan  Tucker, Jasmine  Welch

Certificates: Matthew R Brooks, Sheila Marie DeMalia



Associates: Lorna Arimboh Tambi



Associates: Nicole Boufford, Stanley Louis Choruzek, Sherry Cutler, Matthew Harris, Haley  Isaacs



Associates: Jessika Lyn Little



Associates: Donovan A Aboal-Caceres, Samantha  Aviles, Kahlil  Beauregard, Carlotta Y Belle, Samantha L Berry, Brianna C Boulay, Brittney  Brown, Elizabeth A Brown, Guece B Clermont, Karina N Colon, Kimberly P Contreras, Sarah L Costa, Nicholas Robert Crawford, Nellie R D’Albora, Christopher Paul Dagle, Omar  De Jesus, Carrie F DeCosta, Lisa M Doherty, William  Doyon, Samantha L Elliott, Precious E Erving, Mikayla L Esposito, Yolandese  Exceus, Anna John Gamaya, Olivia P Gianakis, Melissa  Gonzalez, Kimberly A Goulston, Galadriel D Hahn, Michael Edward Harris, Felicia D Harwood, Nhat T Hoang, Alana Beth Jones, Dana Raymond Jones, Jennifer E Jones, Lauryn E Kelley, Jocelyn Marley Klein, Julie M LeClair, Rafaela Oliveira Lopes, Taisha  Lopez, Mariaris  Luna, Daniel J Mahoney, Isaac  Michail, Maisa J Moreira, Iddriss  Mutari, Maysha I Peckham, Mark A Ramos, Selena Michelle Ray, Gilbert  Revesai, Felicia  Rice, Maria M Rivera, Kyria M Salgado, Samantha A Seidl, Erika Vanessa Seijo Gonzalez, Isadora  Silva Andrade, Ellen E Smith, Joseph F Sottile, Haley  Szidat, Taylor Lee Thibodeau, Veronica  Valladares, Olga  Vlah, Gemini M Walter, Danielle Elizabeth Waseleski, Jonathan T Wentworth, Kelsi S Whittemore, Letecia Winters


Certificates: Alham  Ajez, Marisol  Alejandro Oquendo, Romolo S Cataldo, Allison M Correa, Denny L Cruz, Omar  De Jesus, Alondra  DeLeon Guimaraes, Ingrid J Del Orbe, Kiana I Delgado, Nelida  Figueroa Lopez, Felicia G Freel, Danielle Faye Johns, Donna M King, Jared Steven Kuczwara, Emily Patricia Lemieux, Taisha  Lopez, Mariaris  Luna, Yamara  Martinez, Isaac  Michail, Marcela C Minas, Iddriss  Mutari, Florisa A Ramos, Elaine C Rice, Karla  Rivera, Teresa  Silveira, Yonaly  Tavarez, Tanairi  Valentin, Autumn L Wendel, Molly M Winand



Associates: Haley Lee Saarinen



Associates: Vises Horth, Beth Karimi Mwangi, Mamawa Dauretta Sannoh

Certificates: Akua Agyeiwaa Quardson, Stella W Mwangi, Peter W Wangondu



Associates: Anne M Allan, Hayes J Amaral, Christina J Bernatchez, Meredith A Billiter, Anthony Michael Cintron, Jarrod Mark Haas, Nicole D Ignazi, Bonnie E Logan, Szerena J Moyen-vonRosenvinge, Kamerin P Munroe, Jodi L Peternel, Valerie P Poladian, Amber L Rivera, Mija L Waluck, Lara E White


Certificates: Carter Robert Filiau, Trystan E McFetridge, Gail Mercier, Adam M Nano, Jillian M Smith



Associates: Taryn K Graybeal



Associates: Courtney R Aulden, Christina L Knox, Jose Saquich, Evangelia S Sunberg, Brenda L Warren

Certificates: Paola Andrea Molina



Associates: Andrea K Lontine



Associates: Alicia Rose Schiller



Associates: Eduardo A Freitas


New Braintree

Certificates: Caitlin R Stevens


New Salem

Associates: Shawnee A Lewis-Phillips


North Brookfield

Associates: Keri-Ann J Harvey, Sara R LeBel, Kyleen Roman



Associates: Elizabeth M Mahoney, Aaron Jeffrey Witkos



Associates: Jennifer M Ballou, Keira Bradshaw, Maris Clement, Matthew Crumbley, Cynthia R Doyle, Benjamin Gilmore, Julia Griffin, Lisa A Korpiewski, Natasha Ledoux, Hillary D Leh, Rachel M Lundgren, Brianna Marsh

Certificates: Cynthia R Doyle, Eliza Graton, Anna M Morin, Gregory Suprise



Associates: Kayla A Shabo

Certificates: Nga T Le, Valerie Schiller



Associates: Julia R Overhiser, Rachel Mae Pinney, Shannyn A Pomeroy, Elizabeth A Sappet, William F Stone

Certificates: William Ronzio



Associates: Ryan L Lawrence, Rachel K Sexton



Associates: Stephanie Jane Girouard, Kathleen Julius, Tyana Kandi Maki, Brooke Pacheco, Hayleigh D Sundstrom



Associates: Christopher M Martin



Associates: Kelly E Frazier, Dylan C Hall, Ashley R Sawyer



Associates: Sherry N Whitman



Associates: Courtney A Champlin, Asher A Crane, Katelyn L Kane, Sabrina A Pettigrew

Certificates: Lisa Lange, Laura Teves



Certificates: Ashley Ann Ferris



Associates: Robert Hamilton Davenport Pisarchuk



Associates: Matthew D Callahan, Katelin Griffin, Joseph John Holmes, Timothy F Kelly, Sarah Soto

Certificates: Bert A Dawson, Julie M Henderson



Associates: Katie E Cooper, Courtney B Hurley



Certificates: Alfred Pierre-Noel


South Lancaster

Associates: Khaien B Donawa



Associates: Amarilys G Lozada, Elizabeth A O’Mara, Shannon Lynn Wolanski

Certificates: Linda Maher



Associates: James N Mugwanja



Associates: Cameron Jewett Alden, Miles Robert Gray, Valerie H Maloney, Amanda L Nourse, Neil Rosinski

Certificates: Sirirath J Chanhsy, Christine Wagner



Associates: Kristina Nicole Pelletier



Associates: Lynnea Joy Anderholm, Devin  Bellis, Cynthia J Bettencourt, Jason  Boski, Elizabeth J Conner, Allison  Cormier, Katherine Iris Goguen, Zoe H Hammond, Timothy Shane Hazelton, Daniel R Martin, Benjamin Thomas May, Jacob Ryan Parent, Shaina R Wallace, Eric Wilson, Sarah E Young

Certificates: Holly S D’Angelo, Angelica Mona De Los Rios, Daniel R Martin, Jonathan K Martin



Associates: Jeffrey A Garafola, Dylan B Jones, Julie E LaFleur, John J Lord, Anna Christine Roberts, Rachel L Sullivan, Tiffany Ann Vincenti

Certificates: Kerri Lynn Burton, Pamela M Corbett, John J Lord



Associates: Leah Downer Trudeau



Certificates: Deena Marie LeBlanc, Samantha M Peters



Associates: Mackenzie Christensen, Esther Gichuhi


West Boylston

Associates: Alex J Gariepy


West Brookfield

Associates: Peter Samuel French


West Groton

Associates: Karen M D’Agostino


West Townsend

Associates: Tyler C Gribi, Emily Seeley, Scot Sullivan



Associates: Nicholas R Auffrey, Jared James Aveni, Corey P Boucher, Jonathan Chernoch, Kaitlyn A Gagne, Travis J Martin, Joshua S McDermott, Dillon Thomas Morgan, Nicole R


Certificates: Jessica N Goguen, Joslyn Emily Winter



Associates: Madeline M Allard, Brandon William Beals, Lauren  Bennett, Jonathan P Blodgett, Mariah  Boisvert, Kelsey  Bosselait, Philip  Brady, Samantha  Brooks, Ashley E Brunt, Daniel  Caputi, Jaymisen M Carr, Natalie  Chretien, Cayla M Clinkscale, Michel L Cocuzza, Kristen A Cormier, Leslie A Cosentino, Robert W Courtemanche, Melanie  Cranfill, Marygrace  Daly, Joel T DeVelis, Riley  Elliott, Mark T Gagnon, Stephanie J Goodwin, Bridget  Harrington, Becca  Hill, Lindsay K Laporte, Sarah E Larson, Joseph Daniel LeBlanc, Di  Lin, Ryan Patrick May, Brity T Murphy, Trevor Goodwin Page, Iva  Quinn, Kelsey  Schecker, Kristina D Snay, Gordon Dale Tuttle, Jonathan D Zukowski


Certificates: Katherynn R Alden, Cassandra  Anderson, Michel L Cocuzza, Joseph A Duerr, Jana S Egan, Becca  Hill, Jay  Pereira, Yaribeth  Torres



Certificates: Karen  Putnam



Associates: Aaron A Aikins, Jasson  Alvarado Gomez, Monica  Boafo, Albert J Encarnacion, Judith I Hunter, Joseph K Kum, Lydia Varesa London, Kevin  Lynch, Eliud M Mwangi, John-Mark M Njenga, Opeyemi Sakiru Odewale, Courtney N Paradise, Nga  Pham, Guerda  Pierre, Marta  Szczubelek, Constance  Tazelaar, Jessica B Tobar, Shana L Tobin


Certificates: Akosua O Amoako, Jackline  Dartey, Albert J Encarnacion, Faviola D Flores, Jennifer Marie Gelinas, Buruburu  Kagotho, Jason M Kiragu, Shakesha  Thompson




San Diego

Associates: Erika L Stamas





Associates: Joseph Francis Lecza


New Hampshire



Associates: Casey R Bedingfield, Julia Josephine Roma McHugh

Certificates: Kenneth F Roy



Associates: Andrea M Langley



Certificates: Brianna M McDougal



Associates: Nicole N Reynolds



Associates: Jason M Wright



Associates: Amanda B Boucher, Shauna M Chamberlain, Rebekah Chiasson, Rebecca J Myott, Katrina K Ung, Paula D Whitcomb

Certificates: Margaret E Hart-Smith, Kaitlynn Shea



Associates: Ryan J Firmin



Associates: Richard  Schaufenbil


New Ipswich

Associates: Tatsiana  Brovina, Clayton W Kuusisto, Aimee Joy Matson

Certificates: Tatsiana  Brovina, Shannon R Kuusisto



Associates: Angela M Haynes, Jennifer R Haynes, Margaret M Laplume



Associates: Andrew Michael Hoenig, Breanna Marie McAvoy, Gregory A McAvoy, Manzall  Mitchell, Bridget Troy Murphy

Certificates: Jade  Hill, Lee-Ann  Johnson


Certificates: Danielle R O’Brien





Associates: Helena  Santee

Joe LeBlanc went through MWCC’s STEM Starter Academy and is set to attend WPI this fall.

Four Mount Wachusett Community College students are set to continue their studies this fall at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Joe LeBlanc, Jonathan Chernoch, Zachary Bergquist and Faith Kurtz have been accepted to WPI for the fall semester.

Joe came to the school through the STEM Starter Academy that launches students into college the summer before their first full year with two free classes and a $1,000 stipend to allow them to focus on their studies. Joe built not only his knowledge, but his confidence at MWCC.

“If I went to WPI straight out of high school I think I would have felt overwhelmed at first. Going here first allowed me to get over that,” he said. “And when they came here I thought all their projects were really interesting and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Jonathan said he feels ready for the next step as well.

“I feel very prepared with the material that I have learned here,” said Jonathan who plans to go on to get his Ph. D. in Physics. “You can definitely transition pretty seamlessly to what they are doing there.”

Jonathan Chernoch is set to attend WPI this fall.

The two students were deeply involved with a budding partnership between MWCC and WPI that has been ushered in by WPI Alumnus and MWCC Assistant Professor of Math and Physics Peter Olszak. Over the past three years, he has been working to connect MWCC students with the Worcester school, bringing current WPI students in for presentations and instilling in MWCC students that their education at the college prepares them to go anywhere.

Joe, of Westminster, took part in one of those labs and said that seeing the culture of WPI up close was as helpful as realizing that he could handle the technical aspects of what the students at WPI were tackling.

“Seeing what I would be doing there first hand allowed me to finalize my decision,” said Joe who volunteered in a lab at WPI. “I began to feel like I was a part of WPI and that really helped me finalize my decision.”

Zachary Bergquist is set to attend WPI this fall after getting his high school diploma and Associate’s degree through MWCC’s Pathways program.

The two other students set to transfer to WPI, Zachary Bergquist (from Athol) and Faith Kurtz (from Holden), will be graduating this week not only with their Associate’s Degree but also their high school diploma through the Pathways Early College Innovation School that is operated out of MWCC’s Gardner campus. This program gives students the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and an Associate degree while completing their junior and senior year taking courses at MWCC.

Zachary said that this program has allowed him to get an immersive college experience while completing high school. He said that the fast pace of Pathways at MWCC, which included accelerated classes that met very frequently but for a short period of time, has prepared him for the kind of studying he expects to encounter during his time at WPI, which has seven week course lengths.

“I would rather have that fast pace without a lot of courses together so that you can focus on getting the most quality work you can,” said Zachary who wants to launch an innovative hardware company after he graduates. “I think there is a way to make it a lot more accessible and economical to get technology out to working people earlier.”

Faith Kurtz plans to put the engineering knowledge she will get from WPI to work helping others.

Also a Pathways student, Faith has been accepted to attend WPI this fall to study Electrical Engineering. As part of her application, she created an original dual-action hand pump design that was reviewed and refined with an engineer at Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Upon coming to MWCC, Faith threw herself into the community and logged over 200 volunteer hours in her first six months; embracing the motto that you won’t start succeeding until you start doing. She hopes to continue giving back to her community through engineering after finishing her studies at WPI.

“With a career in engineering, my goal would not only be to support myself, but to improve as many people’s lives as possible along the way. I hope to use creative problem solving to meet the needs of my community and approach projects with compassion so that the solutions they create serve those who need them most,” Faith said. “My dream job is to design inventions which will improve the lives of others.”

All four students will be participating in MWCC’s Commencement Wednesday where 751 degrees and certificates will be awarded to 717 students. In addition to their degrees, these students will receive words of wisdom and encouragement from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey who will be the college’s Commencement Speaker this year.

Students from the Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting at Mount Wachusett Community College celebrate after their pinning ceremonies.

Twenty students graduating on May 17 with their Dental Assisting or Dental Hygiene degrees were honored Friday night during a special pinning ceremony.

The ceremony is a time to recognize the hard work of the students and welcome them into the dental professions, according to Cindy Cadoret, the director of the dental education programs at Mount Wachusett Community College.

That commitment to their studies and the work they will be doing in the community were recognized during the ceremony by State Senator Harriette Chandler.

“Your jobs are so important. You are going to make a difference,” said Senator Chandler. “These jobs are life changing jobs.”

Special awards were presented to students who showed exemplary skill within their discipline. April Quirk was presented The Hu-Friedy Award for excellent clinical skills and competence and the willingness to always go above and beyond in the clinical setting. The Dental Hygiene Department Award was presented to Christina Knox for her overall strong academic achievement, clinic excellence, leadership, and making the dental setting team-oriented. The Dental Assisting Department Award was presented to Victoria Cummings for her overall excellence in academic achievement and clinical skill. In a new award, Brittany Hutchinson was recognized for her work promoting oral health with the Oral Health Promotion Award.

State Senator Harriet Chandler addresses the Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene students Friday night.

The students honored from the dental programs were:

Dental Assisting
Ashby: Victoria E. Cummings
Fitchburg: Meghgan A. Beauvais
Leominster: Felicia G. Freel
Shirley: Julie Henderson
Worcester: Faviola Flores
Greenville, NH: Brianna M. McDougal

Dental Hygiene

Ashby: Kimberly M. Grieg
Ashburnham: April Quirk
Athol: Cassondra Lavigne, Hannah Pachalis
Clinton: Brittany A. Hutchinson
Fitchburg: Eunices Gonzalez
Leominster: Ellen Smith
Lunenburg: Christina Bernatchez
Marlborough: Christina Knox
Ware: Leah Trudeau
Winchendon: Stephanie J. Goodwin
Worcester: Mailoan Nguyen, Nga Pham
Fitzwilliam, NH: Casey R. Bedingfield

President James Vander Hooven presents Jana Murphy with her 2017 Newman Civic Fellow Award at the Mount Wachusett Community College Evening of Excellence.

Mount Wachusett Community College celebrated the academic achievements of extraordinary students during its annual Evening of Excellence awards dinner May 12 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Leominster. Students were recognized not only for their performance inside the classroom, but for their contributions in the community as well.

In addition to college curriculum and outstanding achievement awards, the MWCC Foundation also presented a number of memorial awards and scholarships during the ceremony. The foundation has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships this year.

“You have earned and you deserve the excellence that has brought you to this moment,” said President James Vander Hooven, who took over the office in March. “I haven’t been here very long but I can say from the bottom of my heart that I am proud of each and every one of you for the excellence you have shown. I implore you to use whatever you have gained at The Mount to benefit others and to build and strengthen our communities because we need that now more than ever.”

The following awards were presented:


Art                                                                    Kevin Lynch of Worcester


Communications Track                                      Rebekah Chiasson of Jaffrey NH

Early Childhood Education – Career                    Leslie A. Ackers            of Gardner


Early Childhood Education – Transfer                 Samantha Gravlin of Gardner


Elementary Education Track                               Brianna Marsh of Orange


Liberal Arts & Sciences                                      Faith Kurtz of Holden

Eden Shaveet of Hubbardston


Interdisciplinary Studies                                     Angela M. Haynes of Richmond, NH


Accounting Concentration                                  Cynthia A. Boucher of Ashburnham


Business Administration – Transfer                     Iva Quinn of Winchendon

Business Administration – Career                        Linda J. Anderson of Ashburnham


Analytical Laboratory and Quality                       Staci Wolski of Fitchburg

Systems Concentration


Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing                        Nicolas R. Romero of Fitchburg


Biological Science Track                                    Jennifer M. Guerriero of Ashburnham


Computer Information Systems                          Marguerite E. Nicholas of Gardner


Chemical Science          Track                           Lorna A. Tambi of Hudson


Natural Resources                                             Jari Squire of Harvard


Paralegal Degree                                               Carrie F. DeCosta of Leominster


Physics or Pre-Engineering Track                       Liam J. Scanlon of Barre


Fire Science Technology                                    Dylan B. Jones of Townsend


Criminal Justice

-Law Enforcement Concentration                        Joshua T. Goliber of Buzzards Bay

-Corrections Concentration                                 Alicia Navarro of Fitchburg


Human Services                                                Rachel C. Vargeletis of Ashburnham


Dental Hygiene                                                  Mailoan Nguyen of Clinton


Complementary Health Care                               Lisa K. Kowalczyk of Gardner


Physical Therapist Assistant                              Courtney B. Hurley of Shrewsbury


Medical Assisting                                              Nicole B. Joseph of Gardner


Medical Laboratory Technology                         Anne M. Allan of Lunenburg


Nursing                                                             Elizabeth A. Brown of Leominster


Nursing – Evenings                                            Kristina D. Snay of Winchendon

LPN to ADN Bridge                                           Joseph K. Kum of Worcester


MEMORIAL AWARDS                                                        


Aspasia Anastos Award                                     Sofia G. McDonald Games of Barre


Judge Moore Awards                            Katrina K. Ung of Jaffrey, NH (Academic Excellence)

Rebekkah Dietz of Gardner (Excellence in Writing)


Peter J. Trainor Leadership Award                      Kimberly A. Cook of Gardner


Roberts Scholar                                                            Jessie Mascitti of Rindge, NH


  1. Marilyn Kiosses Scholarship             Colleen M. Suarez of Fitchburg


Craig Hamel Scholarship                                    Sabrina A. Pettigrew of Rutland


Melissa Herr Marsh Scholarship                         Sybil L. Sinclair of Ashburnham


Joseph S. Baldyga Veteran’s Fund                    Stanley Choruzek of Lancaster


MWCC Veteran’s Memorial Scholarship             Cristen C. Comptois of Hubbardston


James D. Murphy Scholarship                           Jasson Alvarado Gomez of Worcester




Honors Program Graduates


Lisa K. Kowalczyk of Gardner

Jana Murphy of Hubbardston

Marymar Perez Cruz of Fitchburg

Eden Shaveet of Hubbardston




All-USA Community College                                         Michel L. Cocuzza of Winchendon

Academic Team Nominees                                 Eden Shaveet of Hubbardston


2017 Newman Civic Fellow Award                       Jana Murphy of Hubbardston


Visions Program Award                                     Nicholas Coddington of Winchendon

Sarah L. Mello of Shirley


RX Program Award                                            Ann Giaquinto Scott of Barre


Best of English 101 Award                                 1st Place: Tara Dugan of Templeton

2nd Place: Amanda Pawlikowski of Gardner

3rd Place: Jessica I. McKay of Gardner


Mount Observer Scholarship                              Courtney L. Wentz of East Templeton


Best of Mathematics                                         Liam J. Scanlon of Barre


Ellen Daly Dental Hygiene Scholarship               Linda N. Mclean of Troy, NH


John Burton Award                                            Kayla Arianna Shabo of Paxton


Jean Tandy Award                                             Kyle W. Salam, Baldwinville


Carrie Progen Memorial Scholarship                   Kayla D. Rameau of Baldwinville


Carl Tammi Award                                             Colleen J. Moran of East Templeton


Keith Nivala Award                                            Nicholas R. Auffrey of Westminster


Sandy Signor Award                                          Jessica L. Decker of Westminster


Service Learning Scholarships                           Rachel C. Vargeletis of Ashburnham

Ryan B. Weston of Hubbardston


Sharyn Rice Award                                            Tianna M. Caisse of Gardner

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker stands with Faith Kurtz at the 29 Who Shine event on Friday after she received her award

The MA Department of Higher Education recognized Mount Wachusett Community College’s Faith Kurtz along with 28 other top students from across Massachusetts during the seventh annual 29 Who Shine award ceremony on May 5 at the Massachusetts Statehouse.

The ceremony honored outstanding graduating students from each of the state’s 29 public colleges and universities, as well as each award recipients’ faculty or staff mentor. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker distributed the award to the students at the Statehouse ceremony.

“Congratulations today, but what I’m really excited about is what happens next,” said Baker explaining that all 29 students have already accomplished so much.

Faith Kurtz is a Pathways Early College Innovation student majoring in Liberal Arts and Sciences and currently has a 3.98 GPA. She will be graduating in May with her high school diploma and Associate Degree. She will be attending WPI in the Fall of 2017.

“With a career in engineering, my goal would not only be to support myself, but to improve as many people’s lives as possible along the way. I hope to use creative problem solving to meet the needs of my community and approach projects with compassion so that the solutions they create serve those who need them most,” Faith said. “My dream job is to design inventions which will improve the lives of others.”

Upon coming to MWCC, Faith threw herself into the community and logged over 200 volunteer hours in her first six months; embracing the motto that you won’t start succeeding until you start doing. Faith’s mentor Natalie Mercier, the Director of the Pathways Early College Innovation School and Early College Experience, said she has seen Faith transform during her time at the college and come into her own as a leader.

“Natalie Mercier has helped me through every major step in my college career at MWCC,” said Faith. “She has always made herself available when I have questions or need advice. She has been not only an invaluable resource, but also a kind and supportive friend who helped give me the confidence to believe I could succeed.”

In addition to Faith’s involvement at the college, which includes being the current President of the SGA and of the Music Club, she has taken part in the United Way Day of Caring as well as Awana.

MWCC President James Vander Hooven, Faith Kurtz, Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Chairman Chris Gabrieli, Faith’s mother Denise and the Director of the Pathways Early College Innovation School Natalie Mercier pose for a photo following the 29 Who Shine award ceremony on May 5.

Faith has been a strong leader throughout her time at MWCC serving in many capacities as a volunteer and a voice for the student body. At the Fall 2016 Community College Student Leadership Association Student Conference she was awarded the Lisa Milso Emerging Leader Award for her work on campus as an emerging leader. Her willingness to serve wherever needed along with her outgoing and friendly demeanor have made her an asset to the MWCC community.

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.

“The outstanding 29 Who Shine students have made good on Massachusetts taxpayers’ investment in their education,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Every year the 29 Who Shine remind us that our public college and university graduates represent the future of the Commonwealth. They are here to learn, here to stay, and it is incredibly inspiring to see how each honoree is contributing to our common good.”

Mount Wachusett Community College Student Jana Murphy has been recognized for her dedication to the community by being named one of Campus Compact’s national 2017 Newman Civic Fellows Award winners.

Mount Wachusett Community College Student Jana Murphy has been recognized for her dedication and commitment to serving others by being named one of Campus Compact’s national 2017 Newman Civic Fellows Award winners.

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a one-year fellowship for community-committed college students from Campus Compact member institutions. Honorees are chosen for their leadership and ability to take action in pursuit of long-term, positive social change. This year, 273 students were selected to receive the award.

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

Murphy, a resident of Ayer, said she was most excited to be a part of this year’s cohort and learn from them how they handled situations and challenges and helped improve their schools.

“It will be interesting to see what the other fellows did at their campuses and what we can do here. Because I will be an AmeriCorps VISTA here again, I will be able to put into action what I learn as a Newman Fellow back here at the college,” said Murphy.

Each year, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate one community-committed student from their institution for the fellowship. That is no guarantee that the nominee will receive the fellowship, said Shelley Nicholson who is the Director of the Senator Stephen M. Brewer Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement at Mount Wachusett Community College and has worked closely with Murphy during her time as a student volunteer and AmeriCorps VISTA. Murphy’s selection reflects all the hard work she has put in during her time at MWCC.

“Jana is truly dedicated to improving her community and helping her fellow students. She has a yearning to prove herself as a scholar and a citizen and for that I greatly admire her,” said Nicholson. “She was nominated for this honor based on the work she has done to embed civic engagement into the fabric of the college as much as for the recognition that this is a life-long commitment for Jana. She will continue to inspire others to be civically engaged as she moves forward with her career.”

Murphy has been engaged with the Mount Wachusett Community College community since her first semester serving as an S.O.S. (Students Serving Our Students) Peer Mentor, member of the Parents Support Club and a 2015-2016 Student Leader in Civic Engagement. In addition, Jana is now serving a term of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA dedicated to increasing student volunteerism in relation to hunger through a partnership with the Gardner Community Action Committee. In this capacity, she coordinated the United Way Day of Caring where over 44,000 meals were packaged by MWCC student, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers, beating all previous records. These meals were distributed to area food banks and our own students in need. Working in collaborating with community partners, she will be continuing to explore the social justice issues behind food insecurity and working hard to eliminate that barrier to educational success in the next year of her AmeriCorps *VISTA service.

Eight Mount Wachusett Community College students were elected by their peers to student government leadership positions recently.

The vote that took place in April set the student representation at the college for the next year. Those representatives are:

Sophomore Representatives:
Olivia Rose Howe
Ashley McHugh
Samantha Shippell-Stiles

Freshman Representative:
GiaBao Truong

At Large Representatives:
Taylor Rameau
Gabriel Roberts
Sarah Urbina

Gina Vilayphone will serve as student trustee on Mount Wachusett Community College’s board.

Also elected was Gina Vilayphone who will serve as student trustee on the college’s board. She hopes to foster additional involvement for students at the school and encourage them to network and meet each other.

“I really want the satellite campuses to come together. My wish is for other campuses to get more involved,” said Vilayphone. “I want people to get involved in their community more than anything else.”

A non-traditional student, Vilayphone is currently completing her second semester at Mount Wachusett Community College majoring in Communications. She is a mother who is passionate, continuously works for positive change, and strongly believes that everyone can succeed with the right support and acknowledgment.

Gateway to College students at Mount Wachusett Community College take classes at the college through which they earn their high school diploma as well as college credit. MWCC’s Gateway to College program was recently recognized for exceeding all four of the Gateway to College National Network’s performance benchmarks: grade point average, one-year persistence, two-year persistence and graduation rate.

Mount Wachusett Community College has been recognized with a 2017 Gateway Program Excellence Award from the Gateway to College National Network.

The award honors MWCC for exceeding all four of the Gateway to College National Network’s performance benchmarks: grade point average, one-year persistence, two-year persistence and graduation rate.

“We all enjoy our education. That is why we are here. We all want to be here,” said Gateway to College Junior Morgan Blavackas who explained that the program helps students accelerate their education. “Even if you’re behind you can get ahead two-fold here.”

MWCC’s Gateway to College program is a free, full-immersion dual enrollment program for Massachusetts students ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school, are at risk of dropping out or have experienced a setback in high school. The program provides motivated students a fresh chance to achieve academic success while getting a jumpstart on college.

Established in 2005 as the first Gateway site in New England, MWCC’s Gateway program is offered in partnership with the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District. Students simultaneously earn their high school diploma as well as college credits toward an academic degree or certificate. All classes take place on MWCC’s campuses.

“This award recognizes not only the hard work of MWCC’S Gateway to College team, but all of the Gateway to College students who put in time and effort to be successful and exceed these important benchmarks. We are truly honored to have been selected for this award,” said Fagan Forhan, MWCC’s Assistant Dean K-12 Partnerships and Civic Engagement.

The Gateway to College National Network has programs operating at 40 colleges in 21 states as a strategy to address the needs of off-track and out-of-school youth.

MWCC is currently enrolling Gateway to College students for the Fall 2017 academic year. For more information about the program or to register for an information session, call 978-630-9248 or visit