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July 12, 2010

In This Issue
MWCC and Mahar District Establish Innovation School
PN Graduates Celebrate Achievements
Students Recognized During CAPP Year-End Celebration
MWCC Offering $80,000 in Scholarships for Biotechnology Program
Upcoming Events
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MWCC and Mahar District Establish Innovation School
Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to excellence and innovation in education, the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School Committee in Orange voted unanimously to establish the second Innovation School in Massachusetts, in partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College, Education Secretary Paul Reville announced.
A signature component of Governor Deval Patrick's education reform bill signed into law in January, Innovation Schools will function as in-district, charter-like public schools that will employ the same inventive strategies and creative approaches to education that exist in many of the state's top performing charter schools - all while keeping school funding within districts. In May, the Revere School Committee voted to establish the state's first Innovation School.
"I am pleased to see our second Innovation School and another district taking advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to create high-quality schools," said Governor Patrick. "We must continue to adapt our education system to meet the 21st century needs of our students, and Innovation Schools provide a great new model to meet that goal."
The Pathways Early College Innovation School will be located on the MWCC campus and will serve students from the Mahar school district as well as from throughout North Central and Central Massachusetts. The primary purpose of this school is to provide motivated students, many of whom face particular socio-economic and other challenges, with an alternate pathway to higher education.
The innovation plan is modeled upon the Early College High School initiative launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Students will enroll in college-level courses offered by MWCC, and credits earned will apply to high school diploma requirements as well as toward an associate degree or certificate. Each student will receive individualized academic and career support, participate in internships and other employment opportunities to develop strong professional skills and have access to all MWCC facilities and services.
"We are excited and proud to be the first college in Massachusetts to establish the Pathways Early College Innovation School with our partner, the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "Early college programs are gaining momentum nationally due to the opportunities and advantages they provide. Students can experience college, save time and money by earning high school and college credits simultaneously, and can complete an academic certificate or associate degree to prepare them for entry into the workforce or for transfer into a bachelor's degree program at a public or private college or university."
The Legislature's Joint Committee on Education, which helped ensure passage of the Legislation that authorized Innovation Schools, also expressed enthusiasm for the partnership.
"I believe this is a testament to the strength of our education reform package," said Senator Robert A. O'Leary, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. "This innovation school will be an asset to the community and more importantly to the students, and I applaud the Mahar regional school district and Mount Wachusett Community College for joining forces on such an inventive and beneficial school plan."
The Achievement Gap Act of 2010 focused on improving the state's public schools by implementing new reform initiatives to intervene in underperforming schools and promote innovation in school districts across the state. The Innovation Schools portion of the legislation was designed to leverage the lessons learned from the state's top performing charter schools and replicate the school conditions including environment, schedule and instructional approaches that have led to improved teaching and learning for students.
The Pathways Early College High School represents an evolution of the current partnership between the school district and the college, which has been growing since Mahar became a partner with MWCC's Gateway to College dropout recovery program.
"One of the stated goals in the Patrick Administration's Education Action Agenda was to provide opportunities for accelerated graduation and early entry into college for qualifying students. It is really nice to see that this has become a reality," said Michael Baldassarre, superintendent of the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District. "I have no doubt that with the support the state, the Ralph C. Mahar School Committee, and with the expansion of our exceptional partnership with MWCC, that the conditions are set for a highly successful program. The thought of our students receiving their associate degrees at the same time that they receive their high school diplomas energizes us to do all that we can to encourage the growth of this program."
"This initiative will offer students the opportunity to begin their college work early, accelerate their learning, and explore different career pathways while doing so. It really is a wonderful program for our youth," said Pati Gregson, vice president of Access & Transition at MWCC.
"The fusion of wraparound academic support and free college credits, earned in the adult environment of a college campus, is a powerful incentive for motivated students who are eager for the intellectual challenges an early college high school will provide," added Deb Bibeau, director of MWCC's Gateway to College program.
In Fall 2010, the Pathways Innovation School will begin serving a cohort of 20 Grade 11 students, and each subsequent fall 20 new Grade 11 students will enroll, reaching a total maximum enrollment of 40 students. To be eligible, students must reside in a Massachusetts school district, be at least age 16 and entering Grade 11 by the start of the fall semester, be recommended by the sending school district, and complete the program application.

PN Graduates Celebrate Achievements; Take a Stand on Domestic Violence

PN Pinning Devens 2010The achievements of 27 students who have completed the academic requirements to become licensed practical nurses were celebrated on June 28 during a traditional pinning ceremony held at the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center theatre.
Each graduate, dressed in a traditional nurse uniform, was welcomed into the profession by having a nursing pin fastened to his or her lapel by a fellow nurse, a family member, friend or faculty member. MWCC's eight-star pin is imprinted with the words "Service to Humanity and the World." The pin symbolizes the medal of excellence Florence Nightingale presented to the women who nursed women soldiers of the Crimean War.

Throughout the past year, students enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at the Devens campus combined clinical experience with classroom lectures and presentations from guest speakers. One topic in particular, domestic violence, left an indelible mark on the graduating class. During the ceremony, the graduates presented a donation of nearly $300 to the Tiana Angelique Notice Foundation, which works to raise awareness about domestic violence against women and strengthen legislation to protect victims.
The students contributed to the foundation after hearing earlier this year about Tiana, the daughter of Kathy Lewis, community outreach counselor at MWCC's Leominster campus, and Alvin A. Notice, deputy superintendent of operations at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Shirley. A student at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, Tiana died on Feb. 14, 2009 in a violent attack by her ex-boyfriend.
During the pinning ceremony, graduate Carrie MacDonald presented the donation to Alvin Notice, who had shared his daughter's story with the class earlier this spring. The foundation established in Tiana's memory so far has helped strengthen legislation in Connecticut, with new laws adopted this spring to help prevent abuse and protect victims. Tiana's parents said they deeply appreciated the generosity of the nursing class.
Dr. Colin Blake, an anesthesiologist at Heywood Hospital, was the ceremony's guest speaker. "Some people wonder all their lives if they made a difference in the world," he said. "Nurses don't have that problem."
Pictured: Irene Elliott, left, a graduate of the Devens PN Class of 2010, was pinned by LPN and MWCC alumna Lili Batista during the traditional ceremony.

Students Recognized During CAPP Year-End Celebration 

CAPP year-end celebration 2010High school graduates who have participated in college access and preparation programs administered by Mount Wachusett Community College were honored recently during an awards recognition brunch at the courtyard Marriott in Fitchburg. Tina Sbrega, president and CEO of the GFA Federal Credit Union and vice chair of the college's Board of Trustees, delivered the keynote address to more than 220 students and family members who attended the event.
The event celebrated the achievements of high school seniors from Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Athol and Murdock high schools who are completing their participation with MWCC's Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound Math Science TRiO programs and the Gateway to College program. Seven scholarships of $250 and three $100 scholarships were presented to 10 area students who will be pursuing degrees at MWCC as well as at other private and public colleges and universities.
Since 2001, MWCC's Division of Access & Transition has grown from two college access and preparation programs to 12 serving approximately 3,500 students in North Central Massachusetts. The programs include: The Upward Bound Math and Science program, which prepares high school students for college programs that lead to careers in the field of math or science; Educational Talent Search, which helps participants successfully complete middle and high school and enroll in postsecondary education; and Gateway to College, which offers students who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out a true second chance to achieve educational success.
Pictured: Gardner High School students Phillip Larmonth, Eddaliz Correa and Jungfil Seo with Tina Sbrega, President and CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union.

MWCC Offering $80,000 in Scholarships for Biotechnology Program 

MWCC is offering up to $80,000 in scholarships in the upcoming academic year to students pursuing an associate degree or certificate in the college's biotechnology/biomanufacturing credit programs.
"We want to reward continued excellent performance and help students pursue careers in this growing industry," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.
New and current students are encouraged to apply for the scholarships, which will be awarded based on merit as selected by a scholarship committee formed by Janice Barney, dean of Business, Science and Technology at MWCC.
The scholarships are available through a U.S. Department of Labor Employment Training Administration (DOL-ETA) Community Based Jobs Training Grant, which the college received to support its biotechnology program. The college already has awarded $42,414 in scholarships through this grant. Awards were made to students majoring in biotechnology with a cumulative grade point average greater than 3.0.
Program graduates will be able to pursue careers as lab technicians, lab assistants, research assistants and manufacturing technicians.

Students interested in obtaining the application materials should contact Tami Morin at the MWCC biotechnology department at Applicants must also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The quickest way to apply for this is online at the website Applicants should list the federal school code for MWCC (002172) on the application.

Upcoming Events

MWCC Golf TournamentMount Wachusett Community College Foundation, Inc. will sponsor its 15th Annual Golf Tournament to benefit student scholarships on Tuesday, July 27 at Wedgewood Pines Country Club in Stowe. The cost is $200 per person to play, which includes breakfast and dinner, or $40 for dinner only. Registration, breakfast and a silent auction begin at 8:30 a.m., with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. The tournament will conclude with a social hour and awards dinner from 3 to 6 p.m.
Auction items include Red Sox tickets donated by the Huhtala Oil Company; tickets to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, donated by the museum; tickets to the Worcester Tornadoes and Worcester Sharks games, donated by the teams; gift certificates to Sean Patrick's, O'Connor's Restaurant and Gardner Ale House, donated by the restaurants; golf apparel and items, donated by Provo Financial Services; overnight accommodations at Four Points by Sheraton, Leominster, and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Devens Commons Center, donated by the hotels; and a three-credit academic course and gift certificates to Theatre at the Mount, donated by MWCC. Corporate sponsorship and silent auction opportunities are still available. For more information or to register, call (978) 630-9387 or email
Theatre at the Mount presents the Broadway sensation, "The Wedding Singer."  It's 1985 New Jersey - hair is big, collars are up and the radio is on! This musical comedy follows the story of jilted wedding singer Robbie Hart who agrees to help waitress Julia Sullivan plan her wedding, until complications arise as Robbie discovers his true feelings for her. The musical, adapted to the stage from the highly successful 1998 romantic comedy film starting Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, pokes nostalgic fun at the decade's quirky fads and foibles. Performances will take place Aug. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for evening performances and $15 for matinees. For tickets, contact the box office at (978) 632-2403 or go online at
MWCC, in association with the Broadcasting and Electronic Media program and Phi Theta Kappa, is pleased to once again offer Commencement DVDs. This professional quality, edited DVD of MWCC's 2010 graduation ceremony will be available at a cost of $15 each. This low cost includes shipping and handling. Half of the profits from the DVD sales will go to MWCC's Phi Delta Chapter of the PTK Honor Society. PTK students will donate the other 50 percent of the profits directly to the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center's food pantry. To order a DVD, contact Sheila Murphy, PTK advisor, at
MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing: July 20, 21, 27 and 28 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 2 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Devens campus; Clinical Laboratory Science: Aug. 25, 3 to 4:30 p.m., HealthAlliance Hospital, Leominster; Dental Hygiene: Aug. 12, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, Wetmore wing, room W11; Energy Management: July 22, 3 to 4 p.m., Devens Campus, and Aug. 19, 3 to 4 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 201; Practical Nursing Certificate: Aug. 3 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, Wetmore wing, room W11. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday through 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