Class of 2024 Graduate Profile: Crys Secino

Crys Secino and Daughter Class of 24 profileAt Mount Wachusett Community College there are many students whose stories of resilience, transformation, and unwavering determination resonate deeply with anyone who has ever faced adversity and emerged stronger on the other side. Fitchburg resident Crys Secino is one of these students, and her story serves as a beacon of hope for all.

Secino’s journey began long before she set foot on the MWCC campus. It began with dreams deferred and aspirations put on hold. Life had thrown her curveballs, from illness to addiction, from heartbreak to the daunting task of rebuilding her life from scratch. Yet, through it all, she never lost sight of the flicker of hope that burned deep within her soul.

She started her college journey at Fitchburg State in 2004 but decided in 2005 to put her education on hold to work and raise her daughter. She went on to have a successful career working with individuals with developmental disabilities and enjoyed her work.

Then disaster struck. In 2015 she became ill with a mystery disease that left her on life support in a coma. Doctors told the family there was nothing they could do, but luckily her grandmother refused to allow them to take her off life support. Eventually, her body started to gain strength and she slowly recovered.

When she woke, she had lost many of the basic functions we take for granted. She had to relearn how to walk, talk, and even feed herself. She was in constant pain and doctors still had no answers. Her life was changing dramatically, she had lost hope and turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Her illness strained her marriage and she divorced, ready to raise her daughter on her own.

The brain injury, multiple prescriptions, and alcohol combined to leave her feeling that she no longer knew who she was. Five years after she first became ill, she committed to detox, a difficult process and complicated process, but she forged on and has been sober and medication-free since 2021.

With her new clearer perspective, Secino found that she wanted more from life, to build a career in holistic medicine, but was unsure of the path. She decided to re-embark on her educational journey despite apprehension and nervousness about her brain’s ability to meet the demands of college-level courses. Despite her fear, she decided to enroll at Mount Wachusett Community College.

At MWCC she found a community of mentors and allies who saw her potential, even when she could not see it herself. Through the Trio Visions program, she received services she did not know she needed. The Visions advisors helped her identify learning challenges that she had, and how to compensate for them. They supported her with planning, organization, and time management, facilitating her ability to complete coursework while still working full-time and raising her daughter.

But her journey was not just about academic achievement, it was about self-discovery and acceptance. At the Mount, she found the courage to embrace her true self, unapologetically and without reservation. She learned that true strength lies not in perfection and success but in vulnerability and resilience.

She is now conveying the wisdom and skills she gained at MWCC to her daughter, passing on to her a love of learning and supporting her to be more confident in her own education goals for high school and college.

“MWCC has truly changed my life, it set the pace for my future, allowed me to gain confidence, let my authentic self blossom, and continues to give me the courage to admit my struggles,” stated Secino. “I am taking the struggles and all I have learned, and turning it into positivity. I now understand that my destined path is to provide hope and healing for others.”

Secino graduates with the MWCC Class of 2024 with her Associate Degree in Independent Studies – Allied Health concentration.