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Area Residents Earn Degrees, Certificates from NECC

Jun 25, 2019 01:31PM

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Bob Rivers, CEO of Eastern Bank, encouraged the graduates of Northern Essex Community College to pursue social justice.
 
“We all must show up, stand up, speak up, provide insight, and take meaningful, constructive, and intentional action to exercise the moral courage to engage others in this pursuit,” Rivers, told the Northern Essex Community College graduates and guests during the 57th Annual Commencement Ceremony under a white tent on the Haverhill campus quadrangle Saturday, May 18.
 
“In short, you must “aim high”, not only in your chosen field, but in your ideals,” he said.
 
Social equity and inclusion were the theme of the day as more than 1,100 associate degrees and certificates were awarded.
 
President Lane Glenn told the graduates, “Based on the education you received here and all of the hard work you have invested, you should be well prepared to transfer to a four-year college or university or to start your career—and also to make meaningful contributions to the world around you.”
 
Rivers, the keynote speaker, who began his career as a bank teller and bank janitor, said he was honored and humbled to be asked to speak during a landmark occasion for so many.
 
In his lifetime and before, right in his own family, there have been instances of inequity. His mother’s family moved often, priced out by rent increases. His mother, who was valedictorian of her high school class, was denied a four-year scholarship given to male valedictorians. His grandmother addressed the situation until she was given the same scholarship. 
 
“Later in my life, it was my ex-wife who, when she decided to express her true sexual identity, was rejected by those closest to her,” he said.
 
After becoming a bank president by the age of 42, Rivers recognized he could use his position to advance change and justice.
 
“Through many friendships and associations with those not of my own experience, I have come to more deeply and personally understand continued conditions that impede equal rights and opportunity in our society, and in the workplace,” he said. “As a person now of relative privilege in almost every way, I have come to recognize that I have an opportunity and indeed a responsibility to help drive necessary change and progress that has taken far too long to achieve.”
 
He encouraged the graduates to continue to make a difference.
 
Given all that you’ve accomplished, through your perseverance and drive and sacrifice to be here today - among the most memorable of all of your days – I know you are better equipped than most to undertake this challenge,” he said.
 
Rivers was awarded NECC’s inaugural Community Partner Award created to recognize people and organizations the college works with who are most valuable in helping the college accomplish its mission. President Glenn presented the award.
 
Another inaugural award was presented – the Social Justice Award. It was presented to Retired English Professor Dr. Paul Saint-Armand of Rockport. The Social Justice Award recognizes individuals, groups, departments or initiatives that promote values such as a commitment to equity and diversity or the advancement of human rights and social justice. It will come with a cash prize of $1961—in honor of the year the college was founded—that will be used to enhance social justice initiatives.
Saint-Amand, a Vietnam-era veteran, is committed to peace and to supporting veterans. When he arrived at NECC 11 years ago, he brought with him the concept for the Peace Poetry Project – a contest for school and college-aged students to write poems about peace. To date, more than 12,000 original poems on peace have been submitted over 11 years.
 
He is also responsible for creating a Veterans Writing group for NECC students – a place where students who have served in the military could share their stories in a supportive and encouraging environment.
 
Glenn presented the award saying, “Paul, for all you have done to promote peace on this campus and in the community; to help ease the transition to college for veterans, and to promote community service and service learning…”
 
Four longtime members of the faculty and staff were awarded Emeritus status. At Northern Essex, the rank of emeritus is an honor that recognizes sustained excellence in performance, character, and meritorious service to the college.
 
Jane Gagliardi, of Gloucester, a clinical social worker and therapist for 25 years before joining the Human Services Faculty in 2001, she retired last year as the program coordinator.
 
“Jane brought this enthusiasm—and her real world experience—to every class she taught.  She loved teaching and her students loved her,” Glenn said.
She was awarded Professor Emerita of Human Services.
 
Charlene Kennedy, of Richmond, N.H. along with her partner Susan Sanders was the face of NECC’s theater program for more than 30 years. In addition to teaching, Charlene directed two full-length shows each year, productions that ranged from Shakespeare to Broadway musicals.
 
“She also acted alongside her students, most famously in the college’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” which she starred in and directed for 15 years,” he said. “Charlene’s legacy is the many Northern Essex graduates who are working professionally as actors, directors, stagehands, and costume designers.”
 
She was awarded Professor Emerita of Theater.
 
Joe Leblanc of Haverhill joined the English faculty at Northern Essex in 1988.
 
For more than a decade, he was faculty advisor to the Observer, NECC’s award-winning student newspaper and coordinator of the college’s Journalism Program.
“Joe was demanding but well-loved and greatly respected,” said Glenn. “Under his leadership, the Observer received national and regional recognition.”
He was awarded Professor Emeritus of English.
 
“Karen Blanchard Mitchell was the first in her family to earn a college degree, and she devoted her career to helping other first generation students succeed in college,” said Glenn.
 
Mitchell, of Bow, N.H., served first as an academic and career counselor and later as director of the federally funded student success PACE Program.
She was named Director Emerita of Pathways to Academic and Career Excellence.
 
George Moriarty, of Haverhill, the retired executive director of Corporate and Community Education, received the NECC Outstanding Alumni Award. It is presented to an NECC graduate who has achieved career-related success, is active in the community and/or has exemplified active support for the college’s efforts.
 
Here is a list of the 2019 graduates by towns:
 
Northern Essex Community College Graduates 2019
Dracut
MA
Brittany G. Birolini
Associate in Science, Criminal Justice
Brittany G. Birolini
Certificate, Law Enforcement Cert
Debra C. Campagna
Associate in Science, Business Management: Computer Applications with High Honors
Laura J. Drago
Associate in Science, Business Management
Anne N. Kiniti
Associate in Science, Nursing
Samantha A. Klesaris
Associate in Science, Radiologic Technology
Aglaia A. Koravos
Certificate, Medical Billing with Honors
Derek J. Languirand
Associate in Science, Business Management
Andrew J. Lareau
Associate in Science, Business Transfer
Alan Larochelle
Certificate, Paramedic Technology with High Honors
Kevin C. Marcos
Associate in Arts, Liberal Arts: Physical Sciences Option
Cheryl A. Quintal
Associate in Science, Elementary Education
Brittany A. Rieger
Associate in Science, Criminal Justice
Kyle G. Scott
Associate in Science, Computer and Information Sciences: Information Technology
Soleivy Silverio
Associate in Science, Biology
Christina E. Theodore
Associate in Science, Elementary Education
James M. Van Loon
Certificate, Medical Assistant with High Honors
Tanya M. Zimmermann
Associate in Science, Accounting

Tewksbury
MA
Talia I. Bruzzese
Certificate, Deaf Studies: Sign Language Interpreter
Brittany M. Henriques
Certificate, Medical Assistant
Erika M. Katz
Associate in Science, Human Services
Erika M. Katz
Certificate, Alcohol Drug Abuse Counseling
Ivana E. Mattuchio
Associate in Science, Computer and Information Sciences: Transfer Option with Honors
Brendan M. Michaud
Associate in Science, Computer and Information Sciences: Transfer Option
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