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Early College Graduation Awards Diplomas to 57 Students and Associate Degrees to 40 Students

Mount Wachusett Community College’s full-time Early College programs, Gateway to College and Pathways Early College Experience, held a graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 18, 2023, to honor the 57 students graduating with their high school diplomas, 40 of whom also earned their associate degree.

Welcoming students to the ceremony was Gateway to College student Chloe Caisse, who in addition to earning her associate degree, served as Student Government President and President of Cru Club during her time at MWCC.

“Today we come together as one body of students who, despite the pain and challenges of the sleepless nights and countless hours of homework, have come out with an experience that is invaluable as we leave here and start the next chapter of our lives,” Caisse told her fellow graduates. “Some students will go on to continue their education, some will go into the workforce, while others may travel. No matter where we go, the experience we have all gained here will be carried with us.”

“The work we do would not be possible without the deep relationship we have with Gardner Public Schools,” noted MWCC President James Vander Hooven. “We are grateful for their innovation and partnership, and the tremendous impact that our collective work is having on the student experience.”

Dr. Mark Pellegrino, Superintendent of Gardner Public Schools, welcomed graduates and commended them for making the brave decision to enroll in an early college program, to pursue college credits while finishing their high school diplomas and wished them luck as they continued their journeys.

Gateway to College Alumna Keynote speaker was Molly Murphy, a 2009 graduate who has since earned Master’s Degree in Social Work from Salem State University and currently works for the Department of Children and Families. The Pathways to Early College Alumni Keynote was Thomas Elbourn, a Gardner native who was a member of the first Pathways class in 2012. Elbourn has since earned degrees in Psychology, Divinity and Theology at Assumption University and Gorden-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is an adjunct professor of Theology at Assumption University.

The Gateway to College Class of 2023 are:

2023 Gateway to College GraduatesAilin Burns, Athol, MA
Melanie Pichardo, Ayer, MA*
Chloe Caisse, Baldwinville, MA*
Shannon Caponigro, Barre, MA*
Hailey Soderman, Barre, MA
John Dixon, Bolton, MA
Nadya Aldrich, Fitchburg, MA*
Ryan Bornstein, Fitchburg, MA*
Dellabee Gagnon, Fitchburg, MA*
Roland Larsen, Fitchburg, MA
Sabrina Reed, Fitchburg, MA*
Cole Zeppa, Fitchburg, MA
Ariana Butler, Gardner, MA*
Maggie Campbell, Gardner, MA*
Josephine Gedenberg, Gardner, MA
Destiny Loabe, Gardner, MA*
Lilly Maillet, Gardner, MA*
Carlye Rose, Gardner, MA
Jasmine Santiago, Gardner, MA*
Corey Stan, Gardner, MA*
Geneva Herzig, Hubbardston, MA
Maya Beland, Leominster, MA*
Gavin Brosseau, Leominster, MA*
Taysia Buefort-Laforce, Leominster, MA*
Katelyn Thompson, Leominster, MA*
Cejai Weber, Littleton, MA
Kendyl Murphy, Lunenburg, MA
Lilliana Woodard, Orange, MA
Aurora Morgan , Sterling, MA
Samantha Bonner, Templeton, MA*
Gracelyn Currie, Templeton, MA*
Mikayla Walter, Templeton, MA
Austin Ghenatos, Townsend, MA*
Vermin LeBlanc, Winchendon, MA
Sarah Proietti, Winchendon, MA
April Rosello, Winchendon, MA

The Pathways Early College Class of 2022 are:

2023 Pathways Early College Experience GraduatesMadison Paine, Ashburnham, MA*
Julia Benoit, Athol, MA*
Candice Cooley-Johnson, Athol, MA*
Cameron Botko, Baldwinville, MA*
Nathan Lillie, Fitchburg, MA*
Jessica Starr, Fitchburg, MA*
Juliana Wentworth, Fitchburg, MA*
Azucena Thibault-Munoz, Gardner, MA*
Christine Boadu, Holden, MA*
Sarah Bravo, Leominster, MA*
Skylar Sweeney, Leominster, MA*
Maia Soucy, Monson, MA*
Daniel Kidwell, Orange, MA*
Jeffrey Kidwell, Orange, MA*
Jenny Brandeberry, Philipston, MA*
Stephen Gaj, Phillipston, MA*
Connor Knechtel, Royalston, MA*
Joshua Gifford, Shirley, MA*
Anita Peters, Warwick, MA*
Danielle Fitzpatrick, Winchendon, MA*

*Also earned an associate degree.

About MWCC’s Gateway to College
MWCC’s Gateway to College program, established in 2006 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 homeschooled students to complete high school and college studies.

About MWCC’s Pathways Early College Experience
MWCC’s Pathways Early College Experience offers motivated students interested in getting a head start on college the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and an associate degree while completing their junior and senior years in high school taking courses at MWCC.

Both programs are designated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as approved Early College programs, and are offered in partnership with Gardner Public Schools.