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April 28, 2010

In This Issue
MWCC Announces 2010 Service Above Self Award Recipients
Alpha Beta Gamma Induction Ceremony Marks 20th Anniversary at MWCC
MWCC Students Attend Massachusetts Student Leadership Conference
Honors Program Students Present Research at UMass Conference
Week of the Young Child Celebrated
Incoming Freshmen Welcomed at New Student Reception
Art Department Hosts 28th Annual Regional Exhibit of High School Art
MWCC Celebrates Earth Day
Applications Available for The Community Garden at MWCC
Upcoming Events
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MWCC Announces 2010 Service Above Self Award Recipients

Leslie Lightfoot
Long-serving community volunteers Leslie Lightfoot, founder and chief executive officer of the Fitchburg-based nonprofit Veteran Homestead, Inc., and David Rodgers, senior vice president of commercial development for Workers Credit Union, are the recipients of Mount Wachusett Community College's 2010 Service Above Self Award.
The Service Above Self Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the 29 cities and towns that make up the college's service area. The awards will be presented during the college's 45th Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 20.
"These individuals selflessly dedicate their time and talents to make our communities a better place. We are proud to honor them for their abiding commitment to serving others," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.
Leslie Lightfoot has devoted her life to serving veterans in need, through the nonprofit organization she founded and through volunteerism. Her passion for providing rehabilitation and counseling services to veterans stemmed from a young age, when her father, a World War II veteran, gave her his Purple Heart Medal. 
"At the time, I was too young to fully comprehend what the award meant, but it made me start thinking about what life was like for veterans," she said.
After graduating from high school, she enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served as a medic from 1967 to 1970. She went on to earn her bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology from Fitchburg State College and has now counseled veterans for more than three decades.
While working in Boston, she met a terminally ill Korean War veteran who was uninsured, but did not want to remain hospitalized. His plight inspired her to establish the Veteran Hospice in Fitchburg in 1993, the first veteran-specific hospice in the country for those who are terminally ill. Since then, the nonprofit organization has expanded to also include facilities to assist veterans who are suffering from drug or alcohol addictions, post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, or are homeless.
Veteran Homestead provides housing, hospice care and rehabilitation and counseling services to veterans in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico. The facilities include the Hero Homestead and Armistice Homestead in Leominster and the Veteran Victory Farm in Fitzwilliam, N.H.
Most recently, the organization has raised funds to construct the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center, currently nearing completion at MWCC's Gardner campus to serve combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. The center includes a rehabilitation facility and 20 duplex housing units to serve veterans who have suffered trauma or injuries while serving the country. They and their families will have access to housing, rehabilitation services and MWCC academic programs and campus amenities while living in a community setting.
Lightfoot serves on the Massachusetts Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans Services and the national Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. She lives in Ashburnham with her husband, Ray Fanelli. Her two daughters are veterans of the war in Iraq and her son is currently serving in Afghanistan.
David Rodgers
David Rodgers credits many people with fostering a strong sense of civic responsibility in him at a young age, particularly those who made a tremendous difference at times when he was in need of a helping hand. One such mentor was Col. James L. Conrad, the president of Nichols College when Rodgers was a student there. After finding a benefactor to help Rodgers cover his last semester's tuition, Conrad encouraged the new graduate to "go out and help anybody and everybody that you can, and hopefully together we will be able to make this a better world," Rodgers recalled. "And that's what I try to do."
For the past decade, Rodgers has helped nonprofit organizations in the area raise a combined total of more than $500,000 by volunteering as an auctioneer at more than 100 fundraising events. He picked up the rapid-paced auctioneer's chant as a hobby and decided to put it to good use. "This has been a way for me to give back to the various communities and help make the area a better place to live," he said.
One grateful organization, Congregation Agudat Achim of North Central Massachusetts, was so touched by an act of kindness Rodgers showed toward an elderly member during an auction, its board of directors had 10 trees planted in his honor at an orchard in Israel.
In addition, he helped raised $100,000 as a volunteer for the American Heart Association, as well as funds to purchase three defibrillators for the town of Lunenburg.
Rodgers and his wife, Karen, moved to Lunenburg 38 years ago, where they raised their family. Since then, he has volunteered in the community in many capacities, including serving on the town's Board of Selectmen, planning board, board of health, and finance committee. He is currently chair of the town's Board of Water Commissioners and is a founding member and past treasurer of the Lunenburg Turkey Hill Family Lions Club.
He has been a director and president of the Children's Aid & Family Services in Fitchburg, which has since merged with the Seven Hills Foundation of Worcester. Among many other activities, he has been a long-serving volunteer with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, the Foundation board at Fitchburg State College, the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic race committee, and is past president of the alumni board at Nichols College.

Alpha Beta Gamma Induction Ceremony Marks 20th Anniversary at MWCC 

ABG officers and advisor Linda BolducMWCC's Chi Gamma Chapter of Alpha Beta Gamma introduced 36 new members this spring. Just as impressive, the international Business Honor Society for community, technical and junior colleges is celebrating its 20th anniversary on campus.
Over the past two decades, Alpha Beta Gamma has welcomed more than 600 MWCC students, according to Professor Linda Bolduc, the chapter's longstanding advisor. To be eligible for membership, students must be enrolled in a business curriculum and have completed 15 academic credit hours in a specific degree program. At MWCC, the programs are Business Administration, Paralegal Studies, Computer Information Systems, Computer Graphic Design, and Medical Assisting. In addition, students must demonstrate academic excellence by attaining a 3.0 GPA.
"Being a member of Alpha Beta Gamma helps students round out their academic studies and looks great on their resume and transcript," Bolduc said. Some of the benefits to students include recognition of academic achievement; leadership opportunities and the ability to tap into more than $500,000 in scholarships at four-year colleges. MWCC's Alpha Beta Gamma members have gone on to transfer to the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, Bentley College, Fitchburg State College, Worcester State College and Nichols College, to name a few.
Through their involvement in Alpha Beta Gamma, members are also engaged on campus and in the community on a variety of service projects. The Chi Gamma chapter has been active in numerous volunteer endeavors, including activities to benefit NEADS, a Princeton-based service assistance dog organization; the House of Peace and Education in Gardner; local food pantries; military troops serving overseas; the national Alzheimer's Association; and relief organizations assisting victims of natural disasters throughout the world, including the recent earthquake in Haiti.
During the induction ceremony on April 16, chapter president Scott Brown welcomed the newest members and guests, and Executive Vice President Ann McDonald and Vice President of Academic Affairs Melissa Fama congratulated the inductees on their achievement. Renee Denno, catering sales manager at Four Points Sheraton Leominster, delivered the keynote address, filling in for scheduled speaker Jason Durkin, director of marketing development for Nypro, Inc., who was detained while traveling by the plume of volcanic ash over Europe.
Denno, former president for the society, said the knowledge she learned from ABG helped her throughout her career in the hospitality field. Denno's advice for the new members was to "always reach for the stars because each challenge makes you stronger."
Before the night ended, the ABG members gave gifts to their supportive professors, including a commemorative plaque awarded to Bolduc to show their appreciation to their advisor for her support, encouragement and efforts with ABG. The members also made Durkin an honorary member.
- Joseph Benavidez
Pictured: Alpha Beta Gamma advisor Professor Linda Bolduc, with chapter president Scott Brown, treasurer Edwin Martinez, secretary Cheri Powell and vice president Jakob Hamm.

MWCC Students Attend Massachusetts Student Leadership Conference

Student leaders with Commissioner FreelandMembers of MWCC's Student Government Association attended the 2010 Massachusetts Student Leadership Conference on Friday April 16 at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston.

The annual student leadership conference is held each spring to provide a forum for students to identify issues of importance regarding campus life and the public higher education experience, and to share these issues with leaders in higher education and state government.
The central theme of this year's conference, "Proud to Go Public," was advocacy. The conference featured several workshops on leadership topics and keynote addresses by Charles F. Desmond, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education; Department of Higher Education Commissioner Richard M. Freeland; and state Senator Benjamin B. Downing and state Rep. David M. Torrisi, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Higher Education.

Pictured: MWCC Student Government Association members Julian Fox and Kyle Carlson, DHE Commissioner Richard M. Freeland, SGA Treasurer Sam Dickens and SGA President Bryan Klink.

Honors Program Students Present Research at UMass Conference

MWCC Honors Program studentsStudents enrolled in this spring's Honors Colloquium, "Nutrition, Health and Sustainability," presented their research findings during the 15th annual Undergraduate Research Conference, held April 23 at UMass, Amherst.
The 19 MWCC students were among 600 students from Massachusetts public colleges and universities attending the conference. In addition to discussing their research topics, the honors students had the opportunity to learn from other presenters.
The colloquium course, taught this semester by biology Professor Tom Montagno and nursing Professor Raeann LeBlanc, is part of the Honors Program coordinated by psychology Professor Sheila Murphy.
The course explored the historical, cultural and political influences on our food, food sources and the provision of food as well as the health implications of these influences. The research projects focused on a variety of topics, including milk safety, community supported agriculture, tenets of the Weston Price Foundation, the slow food movement, concentrated animal farm operations and nutrient density.
"The quality of the work was impressive and the opportunity for the students to be part of a multidisciplinary educational community, where research is being developed and discussed, was a true teaching and learning activity," LeBlanc said.
In addition to presenting at the conference, the students also presented their research during the Honors Program luncheon on April 15 and during MWCC's Earth Day Fair on April 22.
Pictured: MWCC Honors Program students who presented research on milk safety at the 15th annual Undergraduate Research Conference at UMass, Amherst were: Aryoung Choi, Bibianna Da Silva, Frances Stypteras and Brianna Bodley-Gomes.

Week of the Young Child Celebrated

ECE Club with Molly Bish FoundationThe creativity of young children, and the need to keep little ones safe from harm, were key themes during the annual Week of the Young Child Celebration at MWCC.

On Tuesday, April 13, the Early Childhood Education Department and Early Childhood Education Club sponsored the annual art show and open house at the Garrison Center for Early Childhood Education.
As part of the day's events, volunteers from the Molly Bish Foundation distributed child safety I.D. kits, with volunteer assistance from criminal justice students in Assistant Professor Reed Hillman's classes and MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity.

Throughout the semester, the ECE Club raised money through bake sales to raise funds to support the foundation's child safety advocacy. During the Week of the Young Child celebration, club members presented a check for $285 to Karen Jolin of the Molly Bish Foundation.
Pictured: Early Childhood Education Club members Kayla Stowell, secretary, Amber McCassie, Mary Miller, vice president, Chrissy Lajoie, president, and Tina Arsenault, with Karen Jolin of the Molly Bish Foundation, ECE Associate Professor Maureen Provost and Fagan Forhan, director of the Center for Democracy & Humanity.

MWCC Welcomes Incoming Freshmen

Incoming freshmen at accepted students dayMore than 350 area students and family members turned out for MWCC's Admitted Student Welcome Day on April 27. The incoming freshmen attended presentations and information sessions throughout the morning.

The event has been a great success over the past few years as the college celebrates spring with current students and welcomes newly accepted students and their families to campus, said John Walsh, director of Admissions. The day included a morning reception;  campus tours; greetings from faculty, alumni and current students; workshops on financial aid; advising and course selection; and information on student activities.
Representatives from spoke about the importance of getting off to a good start in college. In the aftersnoon, students ate lunch while being entertained by acoustic pop/rock guitarist Jason LaVasseur. They also received free gifts and chances to win prizes.

Pictured: Leominster High School students Bobby Nguyen, Denise Ramos and Adderly Jimenez, who have been active in MWCC's College Access & Preparation programs, will be among the incoming freshmen in September.

Art Department Hosts 28th Annual Regional Exhibition of High School Art

Wachusett Regional High School student artistsNearly 300 students from 14 local high schools participated in the 28th annual Regional Exhibition of High School Art, sponsored by MWCC's Art Department. Ten students were presented cash prizes and a number of students received honorable mentions for their work during an awards ceremony on April 15.

"We're always impressed with the exceptional artwork that is submitted each year," said Professor Joyce Miller, chair of MWCC's Art Department. "The idea of this exhibition is to encourage students to continue on with their work."
The exhibit featured an array of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, wall hangings ceramics and sculptures. Participating high schools included: The Bromfield School, Con-Val Regional, Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Mahar Regional, Monadnock Regional, Murdock, Narragansett Regional, North Middlesex Regional, Oakmont Regional, Quabbin Regional, Wachusett Regional, and the Winchendon School.
"It's always impressive," said Ellen Softic, an art teacher at the Ralph C. Mahar Regional High School, who has been encouraging students to exhibit their work since the competition began. "They are inspired by others students' work and they enjoy seeing what everyone else is doing."
Pictured: Wachusett Regional High School students Jeffrey Greene and Cassandra Driscoll were among the top award recipients in the 28th annual Regional Exhibition of High School Art, sponsored by MWCC's art department.

MWCC Celebrates Earth Day

The Green SocietyMWCC celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 with a festival featuring a variety of displays, presentations, free eco-friendly products, and entertainment by musician Nathan Crain. The festival was sponsored by The Green Society, CATS (Campus Activities Team for Students), and the offices of Student Life and Sustainability & Energy Management.
On April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million Americans took part in a nationwide demonstration to raise awareness about environmental issues. Since then, Earth Day has become an annual celebration in 190 countries.

Applications Available for The Community Garden at MWCC

Love fresh vegetables but short on space? Consider planting and harvesting your own crop at The Community Garden at MWCC. Applications for 30 plots are currently being accepted. The 20-by-15-foot plots, located adjacent to the MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center, are available to North Central Massachusetts residents and organizations on a first-come, first-served basis.

Weather permitting, a community till and soil preparation day will take place on Saturday, May 1. Planting of cold tolerant crops may begin the following week, and the official opening day is Saturday, May 29. An organic gardening class will take place on Saturday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Community events, such as potlucks, will be planned throughout the summer for all participants.

MWCC alumna Amanda Dettloff, former president of the college's environmental club The Green Society, will return as garden coordinator. She will teach the organic gardening class and provide assistance throughout the growing season. Established last year, The Community Garden is sponsored by W.E. Aubuchon Co., Inc., GFA Federal Credit Union and MWCC.

Gardeners of all levels of experience may participate and are encouraged to bring their own tools. Tools also will be available on site for those who need them.

The cost is $20, which includes participation in the May 8 organic gardening class. The class is also open to non-participants for $10. Apply for a plot online at call (978) 630-9262 to request an application form.

Upcoming Events

Motivational speaker Gary Guller will present "Scaling New Heights - Reach Your True Potential," on Thursday, April 29 in the Fine Arts Center theatre. An international motivational speaker, film producer and adventurer, Guller led the largest cross-disability group to reach Mt. Everest Base Camp at 17,500 feet, before setting a record of becoming the first person with one arm to reach the summit of Mt.  Everest. Tickets are $10 and can be obtained by calling (978) 632-1230 or the Gardner Visiting Nursing Association, Inc., in partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College. Whether it is scaling new heights or overcoming obstacles in your personal or professional life, Gary Guller shares a message of accomplishing more.
Anxiety Disorders Awareness Day, a health fair coordinated by students in Professor Sheila Murphy's psychology class, will take place on Thursday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A panel presentation with mental health professionals and people in recovery from anxiety disorders will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Commons area, and relaxation training sessions will take place from 11 a.m. to noon in room 127. A resource fair, featuring anxiety screenings, films on anxiety disorders and representatives from local agencies, will take place throughout the event. Participating organizations include: LUK Crisis Center, North Central Human Services, the National Alliance on Mental Illness - Massachusetts, North Central Human Services and MWCC's offices of Health Services and Counseling Services. Panelists include Steven D. Tsao, licensed clinical psychologist and behavior therapist at MGH/McLean Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute and psychology instructor at Harvard Medical School; J.L. Vallee, author of "Severed Soul," a book about PTSD; Holistic Health Practitioner Lonny J. Brown; Melissa Manzi of MWCC's Counseling and Advising Center; Eric Durmer of North Central Human Services; and Lisa Pineo, a licensed mental health counselor with LUK Crisis Center.
The annual Service Learning Celebration, sponsored by the division of Academic Affairs, will take place Tuesday, May 4 from 12:30 to 1:45 in the South Cafeteria. Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke, a member of MWCC's Board of Trustees and an alumnus of the college, will be the featured speaker. During the ceremony, pins and medallions will be awarded to students who participated in service learning projects during the academic year.
The Institute for Nonprofit Development at MWCC is offering a conference for nonprofit organizations featuring sessions on fundraising, financial management, earned-income, leadership, collaborations, building a sustainability plan, and more. The S.O.S. (Strengthening Our Sustainability) conference will take place Tuesday, May 4 from 7 a.m. (registration) to 3:30 p.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton in Leominster. This conference is made possible by a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services' Compassion Capital Demonstration Fund, and as a result, the Institute is able to offer this $160 value at the nominal fee of $40, which includes breakfast, lunch, workshop sessions and materials. Bill Pinakiewicz, New England Director for the Nonprofit Finance Fund, will be the keynote speaker. His presentation will provide insight into the financial forecast for the nonprofit sector, what the forecast means to nonprofit organizations, and how to prepare for it.
For more information and to register, go to or call INPD Director Linda Trowbridge at (978) 630-9144.
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: May 11 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Practical Nursing Certificate: June 8 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Dental Hygiene: May 5 and June 2 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Complementary Health Care/Massage Therapy/Physical Therapist Assistant: May 11 and June 15 from 2 to 3 p.m., Enrollment Center; Clinical Laboratory Science: May 19 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., HealthAlliance Hospital, Leominster and June 23, Heywood Hospital, Laboratory Education area; Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing: June 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Devens campus; Energy Management, June 17 from 3 to 4 p.m., Gardner campus, room 201 and May 13 from 3 to 4 p.m., Devens campus; Accelerated Business Administration: June 8 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and May 11 from 6 to 7 p.m., Gardner campus, room 125. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday - Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Prospective students interested in the Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing program are asked to call Tami Morin at (978) 630-9578, (TTY (978) 632-4916), or email 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 issues of Mount Wachusett Community College e-News can be found online at To submit to the MWCC e-News 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