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May 11, 2010

In This Issue
Gateway Teen First to Simultaneously Graduate from College & High School
Congressman Olver Visits MWCC to Discuss Legislative Changes
MWCC Students Collectively Perform 12,003 Hours of Community Service
Computer Graphic Design Exhibit Showcases Student Talent
Nursing Students Present Health & Safety Tips to Teens
Psychology Students Present Anxiety Disorders Awareness Day
MWCC Employees Recognized for Service
Upcoming Events
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Teen's Spring Highlights: Graduate from College, then from High School

Lauren Laperriere
Like many 18-year-olds, Lauren Laperriere will head off to college this fall to earn a bachelor's degree. But unlike her teenage peers, Laperriere already will have earned an associate degree from Mount Wachusett Community College. The Gardner resident is the first Gateway to College student at MWCC - and in the state - to complete an associate degree while simultaneously earning her high school diploma.
The Gateway program is part of the Early College High School initiative, which nationally celebrated the second annual Early College High School Week May 3 through 9.
As part of her springtime activities, Laperriere will attend the senior prom at Gardner High School on May 14; graduate from MWCC on May 20 with a degree in broadcasting and electronic media; participate in MWCC's Gateway to College graduation the following week on May 26; then take part in the Gardner High School graduation on June 5. She plans to transfer her credits this fall to a private college to pursue a bachelor's degree in the communications field.
Due to numerous absences caused by debilitating migraine headaches during her freshman year at Gardner High, Laperriere was going to have to repeat the grade. This did not sit well with the motivated teen. "I always liked high school. I was never well enough to go. But staying back wasn't an option for me, and this was a great alternative. The Gateway program is a wonderful opportunity for kids who either don't fit into the traditional high school environment or had medical problems or just want to have a chance to excel in both high school and college," she said.
The Gateway to College program is designed for students ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school, are at risk of dropping out or are significantly behind in credits. The dual-credit program began in Oregon in 2003 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its partners, and has since grown into a national network of 27 colleges in 16 states. The program allows students to earn a high school diploma while also earning college credits toward a degree or certificate.
Laperriere, who enrolled in fall 2007, was determined to work at a fast pace to simultaneously complete the associate degree, including enrolling in courses during the summer. The support she received from her Gateway counselors and MWCC professors also helped keep her on track, she said. In addition to her academic studies, she contributed to the college's literary journal and participated in many activities associated with the broadcasting and electronic media program, including volunteering on the annual Gardner Rotary Club live auction.
"Lauren is very determined, mature and responsible and worked hard to develop her academic skills at the college level. She was committed to achieving her goals," said Gateway Resource Specialist Natalie Mercier.
"Gateway is a great program and provides a very supportive environment," said the teen's father, Fred Laperriere, an MWCC alumnus who went on to earn a bachelor's degree and master's degree in business administration.
"The program gave her wings to fly," added her mother, Colleen Laperriere. "It gave her the opportunity to explore the different curriculums and find the one that was the perfect fit for her." The couple's other daughter, Cara, was in a traditional dual-enrollment program at MWCC before graduating with an associate degree and transferring to pursue a bachelor's degree.
The Early College High School initiative is based on the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard and meet intellectual challenges. Early College High School compresses the time it takes to complete a high school diploma and the first two years of college.
MWCC's Gateway program was initiated in 2006 and has since matured into a self-sustaining model partnering with the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District. The program continues to grow, said Director Deb Bibeau. Approximately 100 students from throughout central Massachusetts are enrolled, and 22 students will graduate this spring. Most graduates continue their post-secondary education at MWCC or at a four-year public or private institution.

Congressman Olver Visits MWCC to Discuss New Legislation Affecting Students

Congressman OlverC
ongressman John W. Olver visited MWCC's Gardner campus on May 3 to speak with students, faculty and staff about health care reform and new legislation regarding student financial aid and support for community colleges.
Under new changes in financial aid, Pell Grants will increase from $5,550 in 2010 to an expected $5,975 in 2017, with the increases in aid tied to inflation beginning in 2013. In addition, the legislation makes future funding of Pell Grants mandatory.
Beginning in July, new federal student lending will be shifted to the Direct Loan Program, which will eliminate the middleman and save taxpayers more than $60 billion, Congressman Olver said. In addition, remaining debt for public service workers including teachers, nurses and military members will be forgiven after 10 years of public service.
Health care in the U.S. is 50 percent more expensive than in other industrialized nations, the Congressman said, yet a high percentage of young people are uninsured, the average lifespan for U.S. citizens is shorter, the infant mortality rate is 40 percent higher, and the preventable death rate caused by diabetes, cancer and heart disease is about 40 percent higher as well.
The health care reform legislation recently signed by President Barack Obama seeks to help those who are uninsured through a variety of measures, including allowing young adults to remain on their parents health insurance plans until the age of 26, and increasing the Medicaid threshhold to better assist individuals and families with low incomes. The new legislation will also put a greater emphasis on preventive care through community health clinics.

MWCC Students Collectively Perform 12,003 Hours of Community Service

Dawn-Marie GouldCollectively, MWCC students completed 12,003 hours of service to the community through service learning projects this academic year, which carries a value to the community of over $315,000. "Good job, ladies and gentleman. You truly are making a difference in our community," Fagan Forhan, director of MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity, said after announcing the tally during the annual Service Learning Celebration on May 4 in the South Cafe.
Whether they were crunching numbers on income tax returns, designing a book on historic Gardner for the city's upcoming 225th anniversary celebration, helping the Molly Bish Foundation provide child safety I.D. kits, administering flu shots to senior citizens, or participating in a wide range of other activities, MWCC students were extremely busy this year serving others.
Two students were selected to receive Service Learning Awards for their outstanding endeavors over the past year. Nursing student Dawn-Marie Gould, who has volunteered more than 875 hours as a doula at Heywood Hospital, and Chrissy Lajoie, an Early Childhood Education major who has volunteered in numerous capacities in programs benefiting young children and local nonprofit agencies, will be recognized during the Evening of Excellence celebration on May 13.
During the celebratory luncheon sponsored by the Division of Academic Affairs, hundreds of students were commended for donating their time and talent. Students completing 40 hours or more of serve were presented with medallions and students who completed 20 hours of service received a service learning pin.
 Chrissy Lajoie
President Daniel M. Asquino commended the students for their dedication to serving their communities, noting that civic engagement has long been woven into the fabric of the college's learning experience. "I hope you all feel good about your experiences. I can guarantee they will remain with you throughout your life," he said. The president also thanked the faculty for their work in coordinating the projects and engaging students in the endeavors.
Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke, an alumnus of the college and member of the Board of Trustees, was the featured speaker. In addition to generating a "warm, fuzzy feeling" for helping others, Hawke said, the service learning projects will show future employers that the students are engaged in their community.
During the celebration, Computer Graphic Design student Barbara Stowell and Professor Sheila Murphy presented the mayor with a booklet designed by Stowell for the city's upcoming 225th anniversary celebration. The booklet features drawings by Murphy's father, the late James D. Murphy and former Board of Trustees chairman, and writings by Tom Malloy, former MWCC English professor. Stowell also designed a walking tour guide for the celebration.
Pictured: MWCC students Dawn-Marie Gould, above, and Chrissy Lajoie will receive the Service Learning Award during the annual Evening of Excellence celebration.

Computer Graphic Design Exhibit Showcases Student Talent

CGD Exhibit Web Best of ShowComputer Graphic Design students Madeleine Plaut and Noah Chicoine won the top awards during the department's annual spring exhibit and awards ceremony on Thursday, April 22. Plaut won Best of Show in the web category for her feature flash animation and Chicoine won Best of Show for the print category for his Tazo tea print advertisement. The juried exhibition featured nearly 300 print and web design entries, which were reviewed by 18 judges.
"It was a great event this year," said Associate Professor Leslie Cullen, chair of the Computer Graphic Design department. In addition to a large turnout for the reception and awards ceremony, for the first time the event featured an online web exhibit with nine new live and interactive categories, she said. The final web design exhibit can be viewed at
"We are very proud of our students. Their hard work and dedication really shows in the exhibit," Cullen said. Fifty five submissions were entered into the web design competition, which was judged by five professional web designers. A total of 238 entries were submitted for the print competition, which was judged by a panel of 13, including graphic designers, web designers, art professors and alumni.
CGD Best of Show PrintOver the past several years, the event has grown significantly. The annual competition serves to provide students with inspiration to hone their skills to produce award-winning work, Cullen said. The print and design work will remain on exhibit at the Gardner campus through early September.
In addition to the best of show awards, the following students received awards:
Print Advertisement: Noah Chicoine Tazo, best of category; Emily Joy Ashman, honorable mention;
Promotional Email: Carina Morand, best of category; Sarah Marchessault, honorable mention;
Magazine Design: Erik Liepins, best of category; Barbara Stowell, honorable mention;
CD Design: Barbara Stowell, best of category; Julie Lepoer, honorable mention;
Logo Design: Emmy Carr, best of category; Noah Chicoine, honorable mention;
Identity Design: Barbara Stowell, best of category; Ashley Stevens, honorable mention;
Classic Type Piece: Barbara Stowell, best of category; Emmy Carr, honorable mention;
Illustrated Poster: Julie LePoer, best of category; Kara Fitzgerald, honorable mention;
Single Page Montage: Emily Joy Ashman, best of category; Derek Johnson, honorable mention;
Triptych Montage: Shelby Skowronski and Bridgette Wiesenauer, tie for best of category; Jason LaBossiere, honorable mention;
Package: Carina Morand, best of category; Katrina Burton, honorable mention;
Digital Photo Art: Sarah Marchessault, best of category; Barbara Stowell, honorable mention;
Website Design 1 Page: Michael Salem, best of category and honorable mention;
Illustrated Interface: Madeleine Plaut, best of category; Erik Liepins, honorable mention;
DVD Cover/Package Design: Matthew Tuomala, best of category; Noah Chicoine, honorable mention;
Digital Photography: Philip Mailloux, best of category and honorable mention;
Flyer: Carina Morand, best of category and honorable mention;
Brochure: Noah Chicoine, best of category; Barbara Stowell, honorable mention;
Miscellaneous Print: Katrina Burton, best of category; Carina Morand, honorable mention;
Information Websites: Jessica Gloriant, best of category; Julie LePoer, honorable mention;
Entertainment Websites: Jennifer Freeman, best of category; Noah Chicoine, honorable mention;
Business Websites: Madeleine Plaut, best of category; Barbara Stowell, honorable mention;
Nonprofit Organization Websites: Barbara Stowell, best of category; Katrina Burton, honorable mention;
Personal and Portfolio Websites: Madeleine Plaut, best of category; Noah Chicoine, honorable mention;
Flash Animation: Madeleine Plaut, best of category; Katrina Burton, honorable mention;
Interactive Flyer: John Steele, best of category; Katrina Burton, honorable mention.
Pictured: Computer Graphic Design students who won Best of Show awards in this year's exhibit are Madeleine Plaut and Noah Chicoine.

Nursing Students Present Health & Safety Tips to Athol Teens

Nursing Students at Athol Health FairFirst year nursing students enrolled in the course "Nursing Care of Children and Families" took their knowledge on the road last week to participate in the fourth annual Athol High Teen Health Education Symposium and Fair.
Approximately 150 Athol teens attended the six interactive educational sessions targeted at health prevention and promotion. The May 5 fair focused on Community Associated MRSA; Substance Use & Abuse; Relationship Safety; Energy Drinks & Alcohol; Noise Induced Hearing Loss; and Internet Health, Safety and  Addition. The topics were identified by members of the Athol High School Peer Mentors group and the school's director of health education, Kathleen Horrigan.
 "Service learning and community outreach are vital to nursing education," said Professor Raeann LeBlanc, who coordinated the service learning project. "The students learn about communication, education and understand the health risks assessment of communities. In this experience they learn a great deal about teens health issues and concerns. Their presentations need to be developmentally appropriate as well as targeting a health behavior for positive change."
Pictured: MWCC students Patricia May, in front, and Samuel Githinji, Felicia Stanikmas, Cynthia Coxall, Amanda Hanssen and Anita Carbone were among the 29 first year nursing students who presented a health and safety fair to teens at Athol High School as a service learning project.

Psychology Students Present Anxiety Disorders Awareness Day

Steven Tsao
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, yet when excessive, it becomes a disabling disorder. To shed light on the major types of anxiety disorders and effective treatments, students in Professor Sheila Murphy's Abnormal Psychology sponsored an Anxiety Disorders Awareness Day on Thursday, April 29 at MWCC's Gardner campus as a service learning project.
Students and representatives from a number of area mental health agencies presented information on the major types of anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Panic Disorder; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; and Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder).
The event featured a panel presentation with Steven D. Tsao, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, behavior therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute and an instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School; Eric Durmer of North Central Human Services; Lonny Brown, HHC, Holistic Health Practitioner and MWCC adjunct instructor; and J.L. Vallee, author of "Severed Soul," a book about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Melissa Manzi of MWCC's counseling and advising center presented relaxation training techniques.
Among the organizations participating in the mental health resource fair were LUK Crisis Center, North Central Human Services, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and MWCC Counseling and Health Services offices.
Students participating in the service project were Alvaro Herrera, Anthony Verrocchio, Carmelo Kuffel, Deseri Talty, Heather Reilly, Jessica Peters, Kimberly LaCroix, Melissa Desjean, Nicholas Duval, Rebecca Williams, Sarah Thibaudeau, Thomas Randazza and Victoria D'Angelo.
Pictured: Steven D. Tsao, Ph.D., a behavior therapist at MGH/McLean OCD Institute, was among the guest speakers during a mental health fair organized by MWCC students.

Employees Recognized During 2010 Service Awards Celebration

Employee recognition ceremonyPresident Daniel M. Asquino and the Human Resources department honored employees who reached milestone years of service with the college during the 15th Annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony on Monday, May 3 in the North Cafe. Collectively, the group contributed 375 years of service to students and the community.
Assistant Dean of Library and Information Services Linda Oldach was recognized for 40 years of service to MWCC.
Douglas Kallio was recognized for 35 years; Peter Kaufmann and Bonnie Toothaker were recognized for 30 years; and Luz Lopez and Laurene Minns were recognized for 20 years of service.
Employees recognized for 10 years of service: Patricia Brewerton, Nichole Carter, George Couillard, Julie Crowley, Teresita Encarnacion, Melissa Fama, Jacqueline Feldman, Patricia Gregson, Michelle Holman, Cynthia Krusen, Valerie LaPorte, Joseph L'etoile, Deirdre Moran, Laura Smith, Nancy Thibodeau, Stephanie Wiseman and Gardner Wood.
Employees recognized for five years of service: Joel Anderson, Kristine Asselin, Deborah Bibeau, Gregory Clement, Joan Croteau, Rebecca Forest, Judy Fredette, Michael Greenwood, Margaret Jaillet, Gaurav Khanna, Kathy Lewis, Anne Malkasian, Thomas Montagno, Jess Mynes, John Reilly, Candace Shivers, Brenda Tatro, Donna Thibault and John Walsh.
Pictured: MWCC long-serving employees Linda Oldach, Douglas Kallio and Peter Kaufmann.

Upcoming Events

The academic achievements of MWCC students will be celebrated Thursday, May 13 during the
annual Evening of Excellence. The event will take place at the Four Points by Sheraton, Leominster and will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and an awards ceremony. Students will be honored with merit and scholarship awards during this special ceremony. For more information, contact Jackie Suhoski at (978) 630-9142.
MWCC's Dental Hygiene Pinning Ceremony will take place Tuesday, May 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center. Graduates will be pinned and freshmen will recite the Dental Hygiene Oath. The guest speaker is Myron Allukian, Jr., DDS, MPH, an internationally recognized public health expert and the former director of oral health for the Boston Public Health Commission.
MWCC's 44th Commencement will take place Thursday, May 20 at the Fitness & Wellness Center. Gardner native and entrepreneur Joyce Landry, CEO of Landry & Kling, Inc., will deliver the commencement address and American hero Harold E. Brown, Jr., will be honored posthumously as the Alumnus of the Year. Long-serving community volunteers Leslie Lightfoot and David Rodgers will be recognized with the Service Above Self Awards, and the late James D. Murphy, the first chairman of MWCC's Board of Trustees and long-serving community volunteer, will receive an honorary degree . Outside the fitness center, members of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society will conduct the 7th annual "Project Graduation," food drive. All graduates and their guests are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the rehearsal or ceremony, which will be donated this year to the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center in Gardner.
The 39th Annual Exhibition of Art by MWCC students in on display in the East Wing Gallery through May 20, graduation night. To purchase a piece of artwork or to contact a student to commission a work, contact Professor John Pacheco at
MWCC's 37th Annual Nurse Pinning Ceremony will take place Friday, May 21 at 6 p.m. in the Fitness & Wellness Center. Nancy Duphily, Director of the Nursing Program, will deliver the keynote address, and Eileen Costello, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Community Service Programs, will serve as emcee.
MWCC is accepting registrations for Summer Programs for Kids & Teens. Families are encouraged to reserve seats early to secure a spot in popular summer programs in drama, art, computers and athletics.
Sports and fitness camps offered through the MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center include basketball, soccer, baseball, field hockey, tennis, fit camp, and more. 
Course descriptions and registration forms can be obtained on the college website at, or call 978-630-9273 for more information
Love fresh vegetables but short on space? Consider planting and harvesting your own crop at The Community Garden at MWCC. Applications 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.
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. To apply for a plot, go to or call (978) 630-9262 to request an application form.

The Enrollment Center is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Practical Nursing Certificate: June 8 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Dental Hygiene: June 2 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Complementary Health Care/Massage Therapy/Physical Therapist Assistant: 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