MWCC e-news graphic

February 8, 2010

In This Issue
Art Student Survives Haiti Earthquake; Creates Sculpture Depicting Devastation
MWCC, FSC, Co-Host Regional Economic Summit
First 'Volunteer Fridays' Event Supports Troops
Theatre at the Mount Opens 2010 Season with 'Curtains'
MWCC Celebrates Black History Month
MWCC Offering FAFSA Workshops
Upcoming Events
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Art Student Survives Haiti Earthquake; Creates Sculpture Depicting Devastation

When MWCC art major Thalia Mayo arrived in Haiti on Jan. 9 on her fourth missionary trip to build schools and assist in an orphanage, she and other volunteers from the Hubbardston-based nonprofit Mission E4 had reason to be optimistic.

"Before the quake, those of us who had been there before had a sense that things were starting to look up," Mayo said. "The streets had been cleaned up a bit, the plants were starting to grow in the villages, because there's a lot of deforestation. It was a pretty optimistic feeling. We were going and digging wells and we were getting fresh water to these kids. We were building schools and hiring local contractors and builders. We were making a difference in their every day lives. I really feel drawn to the practical aspect of going and working alongside people, helping and being a part of them helping themselves."

Three days later, Thalia, her mother Janet, and a group of other local volunteers were riding in a bus in Port-au-Prince when the devastating 7.0 earthquake rocked the capital city, leaving an estimated two million homeless and an expected death toll of more than 200,000.

"The real tragedy is Port-au-Prince is what we could call a state of emergency before the earthquake," Mayo said. "Half the population lives there. The sanitation already was appalling. The AIDS rate is one in five in the city. It was a crisis before this, but this is what it took for people to hear about of it. What hurts is knowing that it cost 200,000 lives to get them the rebuilding they have needed all along."

The volunteer group typically assists building schools and working in an orphanage. During this trip, they also were building a small medical clinic at an orphanage in Leogane, near Port-au-Prince. After the quake, the volunteers were called upon to work in the orphanage or assist with medical care at a make-shift clinic. Mayo assisted with the amputation of a toddler's toes that had been crushed by cement. At the orphanage, she worked with others to ensure the children would be kept safe from the danger of human trafficking.

Through Mission E4, the Mayo family sponsors monthly a young girl at an orphanage and two schoolchildren in Leogane, who all survived the earthquake, and one "brilliant" teenage student in Fauche. The family has yet to hear if the teen has survived.

A diabetic, Mayo needed to return home when her insulin supply began to run low. She and her mother were driven to northern Haiti and flown home on Jan. 16. The following week, she returned to her studies at MWCC. One of her first assignments, in Professor Thomas Matsuda's sculpture class, was to create a sculpture consisting of 1,000 things.

Drawing upon her experiences in Haiti, she created a sculpture made up of smashed cinder block, bits of tile and pieces of photographs taken during and after the earthquake. The sculpture is on display in the East Wing Gallery along with other student artwork. She is currently working on oil paintings and previously had created a variety of pastel works reflecting on past trips to Haiti.

"One of my deepest fears is that people will get tired of hearing about Haiti," Mayo said. "The truth is it's going to take decades and decades of support. The devastation is not going away right away. The sculpture represents my hope that people will remember to be patient, and it also represents my anger - that I know having seen disasters before that they probably won't. And it's my memorial to the people who I saw that I was not able to personally help and that I have to trust that the doctors and the missionaries and the UN and all of the aid coming in will keep going and do what a team of 40 people couldn't."

Mission E4 is continuing its work in Haiti. Mayo plans to return as soon as possible.
Pictured above: MWCC art major Thalia Mayo with Vanese, an orphan and one of four children in Haiti the Mayo family sponsors through the Hubbardston-based nonprofit Mission E4. The photograph was taken at an orphanage run by the ministry in Leogane, near the capital of Port-au-Prince. (Photo by Jane Renzelman)

MWCC, FSC, Co-Host Regional Economic Summit

Delivering on the themes of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Economic Summit held in October, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today convened a cross-section of business, financial, education and public policy leaders from the Greater North Central region for a regional economic summit in Leominster.
The half day-long summit focused on ways to promote long-term economic recovery and job growth throughout the region, and was co-hosted by Mount Wachusett Community College and Fitchburg State College.
"Based on the great success of the statewide summit this fall, the Lieutenant Governor and I are now continuing the discussion on a regional scale," said Governor Deval Patrick. "By convening representatives of commerce, industry, and academia from each region of the state, we can continue to plot a collaborative course to make the most of our recovery and assure that no one is left behind."
Recent reports indicate that Massachusetts is set to emerge from the current recession more quickly than other states, thanks in large part to the Patrick-Murray Administration's focus on long-term economic development and investments in key industries, such as life sciences, health care, education and clean energy.
The Greater North Central Regional Economic Summit was the first in a series of regional events designed to help Massachusetts develop a strategic and targeted roadmap to recovery throughout the Commonwealth.
"We are committed to working collaboratively with industry and academia to address the challenges confronting us all," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "As we embark on a series of regional economic summits, including today's Greater North Central Regional summit, we have the opportunity to continue to work with our regional partners to encourage development across the entire Commonwealth, and help build a stronger, more innovative economy for Massachusetts."
The summit was organized in partnership with the Patrick-Murray Administration's Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, led by Secretary Greg Bialecki, who worked closely with a planning committee comprised of leaders from Mount Wachusett Community College, Fitchburg State College,
regional Chambers of Commerce, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, New England Peptide in Gardner and Nypro in Clinton to develop and lead the summit's comprehensive agenda. More than 100 business and community leaders attended the invitation-only event, held at the Four Points by Sheraton in Leominster.
"Mount Wachusett Community College is proud to be a partner in this vital collaboration to help North Central Massachusetts to compete, grow and thrive in the global economy," said President Daniel M. Asquino. "Community colleges play a key role in the economic health of their regions by preparing an educated, trained workforce with the skills businesses and industries need to remain competitive. Mount Wachusett Community College has been a leader in workforce development in our region for nearly five decades, and we continue to prepare students for jobs of the future, in growing industries such as biotechnology, energy management and health care. The ideas and plans that will emerge from this summit are essential to create a sustainable economy for our region and for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
The summit included discussions on the current state of the United States' and Massachusetts' statewide and regional economies, the Administration's four-point strategy for growth through regional economic development, investments in education, infrastructure and innovation that will create conditions for maximum job growth, and public-private collaborations that can move the local economy forward. Participant working groups also strategized around finding long term solutions to creating access to capital and advice for small businesses, clearing the way for business expansion and competing globally in manufacturing.  

First 'Volunteer Fridays' Event Supports Troops

In the first "On-Campus Volunteer Fridays" event sponsored by MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity, student volunteers packed more than 30 boxes for Operation Winchendon Cares to support service men and women serving overseas.
Numerous donations came in from staff, faculty, students and the community, including about 30 handmade valentine cards from Skyview Middle School in Leominster; 100 copies of CustomFighter magazine, published by MWCC Graphic Design alum Adam Frantz, cases of toothpaste and dental supplies from the Dental Hygiene program, loads of snacks, candy and other treats, blankets, socks, and $70 to help Operation Winchendon Cares defray the costs of shipping the packages to the troops.
"I just think that volunteering for the troops is somethign so basic, everyone should do it," said theatre major Stephanie Needle, one of the volunteers. "It brings light to their lives during times of war and it gives them a little piece of home to hold onto, which is really important."
"It's important to give back to the troops because they give so much for us," added volunteer Julian Fox, also a theatre major. "They're putting their lives on the line, so whatever we can do to help is great."
"We are truly lucky to be part of a community that cares so deeply about supporting our troops," said Fagan Forhan, director of the Center for Democracy & Humanity. "We are so pleased with the level of engagement and commitment that MWCC students demonstrate on a regular basis."
The next Volunteer Fridays event will take place on March 5 with a Knit-a-Thon from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Warmer Winters, a local nonprofit that creates handmade hats, scarves, mittens, blankets and other items for North Central Massachusetts residents in need.

Theatre at the Mount Opens 2010 Season with "Curtains"

Theatre at the Mount opens its 2010 season with a production of the Tony Award winning musical Curtains, with performances on February 26, 27, March 5 and 6 at 8 p.m., and March 7 at 2 p.m.
It's the brassy, bright, and promising year of 1959. Boston's Colonial Theatre is host to the opening night performance of a new musical. When the leading lady mysteriously dies on stage the entire cast and crew are suspects. Enter a local detective, who just happens to be a musical theatre fan!
From the creators of Chicago and Cabaret, this "whodunit" musical is a delight for all ages.
Curtains, directed by Justin McCoubry, features Aaron Whipple as Lieutenant Frank Cioffi, Laurie Marcinkewicz as Niki, Becky Ufema as Georgia, Joel LeBlanc as Aaron, Chelsea Young as Bambi, Michelle Caissey as Carmen and  an ensemble of 20 singers and dancers.

Ticketsare $20 for evenings and $15 for matinees and may be purchased at the TAM box office at (978) 632-2403. Subscription packages for the complete 2010 season are also on sale for just $65 for all 5 shows. Individual and season tickets may also be purchased online at

MWCC Celebrates Black History Month

  Billie Holiday
MWCC is celebrating Black History Month, a remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans, with a series of events throughout February.
Scheduled events continue on Thursday, Feb. 18 with the film, "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North," which depicts one family's painful but persistent confrontation with the continuing legacy of the slave trade. Katrina Brown uncovers her New England family's deep involvement in the Triangle Trade, and in doing so, reveals the pivotal role slavery played in the growth of the whole American economy. Events also included the films "Road to Brown" and "Strange Fruit" earlier this month.
A panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Vincent M. Bates, Dean of Liberal Arts, Math, Education and Developmental Studies, will take place Wednesday, Feb. 24. The panel will reflect on the highs and lows of the first year of President Barack Obama's presidency and what they see as challenges for the future.
All events begin at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café and are free and open to the public.

MWCC Offering FAFSA Workshops

The financial aid office at Mount Wachusett Community College is offering FAFSA Filing Workshops to assist students and parents with online filing of the 2010-2011 Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The free workshops will take place at MWCC's campus in Gardner, as well as at several area high schools and are open to students who are preparing to attend any private or public college or university this year. The FAFSA helps students and parents determine their eligibility for federal and state student financial aid, including Pell grants, Stafford loans, MASS Grants and other state and federal programs. In addition, the FAFSA form is used by colleges to determine awards for non-federal aid.
FAFSA Filing Workshops will take place at
Murdock Middle/High School in Winchendon on Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 4 to 7 p.m.; Fitchburg High School on Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.; Leominster High School on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m.; Gardner High School on Tuesday, March 2 from 4 to 7 p.m.; and Monty Tech High School on Thursday, March 4 from 4 to 7 p.m.
FAFSA workshops also will take place at MWCC's Gardner campus, room 240, on Saturday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Tuesday, April 27 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Registration is not required; families may stop in anytime during the workshop hours for assistance with filing the FAFSA. Students and parents are advised to bring the following documents: 2009 W2 forms; 2009 federal tax forms; value of assets; and Federal FAFSA PIN (if a prior-year filer). The MASS Grant deadline for filing the FAFSA is May 1.

Upcoming Events

  Weaver: Walnut Ink and Darjeeling Tea on paper, 2008
"Negotiants+Transitioners: New Works in Drawing," an exhibit by artist Kevin Dacey is on display through March 6 in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center. An artist and educator, Dacey currently lives on Eagle Hill in scenic East Boston. From there, he can look back to formative years spent looking and listening while working for the Fogg Art Museum as a researcher and archivist for collections of photographic media. In 2002, he received his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, returned to work for Harvard University, and in 2007 graduated with an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Arts and Theory from Maine College of Art. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in the design and architecture departments and at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, in the art department. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The gallery will be closed on Monday, Feb. 15.
An  American Red Cross Blood Drive will take place Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Commons. Donors may sign up in the Health Services office, room 133. Walk-ins are also welcome.
A Valentine's Day Celebration Chocolate Sampler will feature free samplers of chocolate desserts on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. (or while supplies last) in the South Cafeteria. Sponsored by the Student Life office and CATS.
The annual Mardi Gras Carnival will take place Thursday, Feb. 11, featuring karaoke from 6 to 8 p.m. and dancing from 8 to 10 p.m. in the South Cafeteria. Costume prizes of $100, $70 and $30 will be awarded and a door prize of $100 will be awarded hourly. Snacks and beverages will be provided. Admission is free for MWCC students, faculty and staff and a guest. Sponsored by the Student Life office and CATS.
"Musical Theatre University" comes to Theatre at the Mount/Mount Wachusett Community College on Friday, March 12. This day of master classes in music, dance, acting and technical theatre is a workshop program for high school theatre students, teachers and directors, and is an outreach of the popular TAMY Awards program for high school musicals. Workshops will be taught by local professionals and will cover such topics as: Building the Perfect Monologue, Dancing with Props, Costume Essentials, Basic of Stage Make-Up, Vocal Performance, Energizing the Actor, Painting with Lighting, Sound Technology and many other areas.Participation is open to all area high schools. For more information or to obtain a pamphlet and registration form, call Professor Gail Steele at (978) 630-9162 or visit the TAM web site at
Free assistance with 2009 income tax returns is available to low and moderate-income taxpayers through Mount Wachusett Community College in cooperation with the IRS. Trained volunteers will assist with basic tax forms and help residents understand tax benefits. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is being offered Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. at MWCC's Gardner campus. Appointments are required and may be made by calling (978) 630-9124. Area residents interested in receiving assistance are asked to bring documents to the appointment, including their 2008 return, 2009 W-2s, 1099 forms and all other information relevant to income and expenses for 2009. Photo identification is necessary, and both spouses must be present for those filing a joint return.Due to the enactment of the Massachusetts Health Reform Act, Massachusetts residents must bring verification of health insurance. If a taxpayer does not prove insurance or becomes denied for an exemption, a penalty is applied. Insured taxpayers should bring the 1099 HC form, mailed to them in January by private insurers, or proof of government issued insurance, such as a MassHealth/Medicare card.
The Enrollment Center is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Associate Degree Nursing Program: March 9 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Practical Nursing Certificate: Feb. 9 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Dental Hygiene: March 3 from 2 to 3 p.m., Burbank Hospital; Complementary Health Care/Massage Therapy/Physical Therapist Assistant: Feb. 9 from 2 to 3 p.m., Enrollment Center; Clinical Laboratory Science: Feb. 24 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Heywood Hospital, Laboratory Education Area; Energy Management, Feb. 18 from 3 to 4 p.m., Devens campus; Accelerated Business Administration: Feb. 16 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Gardner campus, room 125. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday - Thursday beginning at 3:00 p.m. Prospective students interested in all other information sessions are asked to call the Enrollment Center at (978) 630-9284 (TTY (978) 632-4916), or send an email to 
Archived editions of Mount Wachusett Community College e-News can be found online at To submit a story idea or request coverage for your event, contact the Public Relations Office at (978) 630-9547. 
Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College
(978) 630-9547