MWCC e-news graphic

Aug. 9, 2010

In This Issue
College Access & Preparation Programs Help Curb "Summer Slide"
Area Teens Get Jump on College Through MWCC's Summer Programs
Campus Authors Pen Prose, Poetry
Upcoming Events
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
College Access & Preparation Programs Help Curb "Summer Slide"
Project Swirl Summer 2010Efforts to hinder "summer slide" are gaining momentum nationally, as leaders ranging from President Obama to the National Summer Learning Association and local educators seek creative and engaging ways to slow the loss of children's academic skills during the seasonal recess. At Mount Wachusett Community College, measures to prevent summer learning loss are woven into the College Access and Preparation Programs administered by the Division of Access & Transition.
This summer, hundreds of North Central Massachusetts children and teens participated in organized activities through a variety of programs offered annually by the division. Offerings included: an extensive summer component for students in Upward Bound Math and Science, a federal TRIO program funded by the U.S. Department of Education; three Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education-funded programs - MCAS Works! and Academic, College and Career Transitions (ACCT), in collaboration with Fitchburg High School, and MCAS Academic Pathways to Success; Summer UP and CyberCamp.
"All of the summer programs offered through the Division of Access & Transition are so successful because we have so much community support," said Rebeccah Sonn, director of community partnerships within the division. "Whenever times get harder, the kids need these programs even more, so the continued support of the community becomes even more significant, and we're so grateful for that support."
In July and early August, more than 200 children and teens participated in Summer UP, now completing its sixth year. The program is designed to increase employment opportunities and decrease unsafe behaviors for area youth by providing safe recreation spaces for middle school and high school students, as well as neighborhood children of all ages who attend the free activities at six park sites in Gardner, Fitchburg and Leominster. The program also includes special field trips for the counselors, as well as meaningful community service projects. 
Teens participating in the MCAS programs and Summer UP program assisted with Project Swirl, a Fitchburg community program designed to address blight and abandoned buildings. Following a presentation on the history of community demographics and issues such as graffiti, the students then painted murals to cover graffiti on city buildings.
In addition to MWCC, Summer UP sponsors this year included Fitchburg Public Schools, the Montachusett Opportunity Council, the Twin Cities Community Development Corporation, the Gardner Rotary Club, Scientific Molding Corporation, the Gardner Ale House, Project Bread, Olde English Village, the Spanish American Center, the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center and the Workforce Investment Board.
Pictured: Teens participating in MWCC's College Access & Preparation Programs this summer engaged in community service projects, including creating murals to mask graffiti in Fitchburg as part of Project Swirl.

Area Teens Get Jump on College Degrees Through MWCC's Summer Programs

UBMS Environmental Science LabSavvy teens looking to save time and money on their college education, or just get a taste of college life, have been accruing credit hours this summer through MWCC's Upward Bound Math and Science program, Presidential Academy, and other dual enrollment opportunities offered through the College Access and Preparation Programs.
This year, the college's Division of Access & Transition provided 10 college courses for North Central Massachusetts teenagers, up from two courses last summer. Veronica Guay, coordinator of community partnerships, worked with Drew Goodwin, director of the UBMS program, college administrators and others to expand opportunities for teenagers to earn free college credits and remain engaged in academic studies throughout the summer.
During the summer, 112 students from throughout the region enrolled in one or more courses, including American Literature, Statistics, Algebra, Psychology, Speech, Environmental Science and Career Planning and Development. The courses help provide teens with a "took kit" of college skills, Guay said. In addition to tackling the course content, the students are being prepped for college life by learning how to read a syllabus, use the Blackboard online learning system to supplement their coursework, and master other skills to succeed. In addition, the courses help them retain knowledge during the summer months before returning to school in September, Guay said.
For the third consecutive summer, high school students in grades 9 through 12 from Gardner High School, Athol-Royalston High School, Murdock Middle/High School in Winchendon and Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg had the opportunity to further experience college life by moving into dormitories at Fitchburg State University as part of a six-week component of the year-round Upward Bound Math and Science program. The grant-funded UBMS program serves students who have an aptitude for math and science, are from first generation college families and/or are income eligible.
The students meet throughout the academic year on the Gardner campus for academic advising, counseling and mentoring, MCAS and SAT preparation, math and science research projects, financial aid and scholarship workshops, educational and cultural field trips. During the summer component, the students study math, biology, chemistry, robotics, English, computer science and other topics in the morning, participate in math and science research projects in the afternoon, then take part in recreational activities and study sessions. Summer field trips included excursions to Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, a canoe trip on the Nashua River combining recreation with ecology and biology, and a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"I'm trying to get my college credits now so I can get ahead and finish faster," said Monty Tech student Arabia Ruiz of Fitchburg, who is pursuing a career as a nurse.  Her sentiments were echoed by many participating in the Environmental Science course, where the class recently conducted lab experiments to measure and calculate energy efficiency and alternative fuel sources.

Pictured: Matthew Lenthall, an Upward Bound Math and Science student who will be a freshman at Gardner High School this fall, and Arabia Ruiz, a senior at Monty Tech who participates in GEAR Up through MWCC's Division of Access & Transition, were among the dual enrollment students learning how to convert vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel during a recent Environmental Science lab experiment.

Campus Authors Pen Prose, Poetry

Campus Authors Kristine Asselin, Jess Mynes and Gardner WoodGardner Wood's two children and his skill in the bygone craft of folding a newspaper into a triangular hat served as the inspiration behind his newly published children's book, The Newspaper King.
Wood, a maintainer in MWCC's Facilities Department, is one of three prolific college staff members to see their written words reach publication this year.
Kristine Asselin, a training manager and grant writer in the Division of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development, released her first children's book earlier this year. Taurus, Virgo, & Capricorn: All about the Earth Signs, is one of a four-book set designed to introduce young readers to astrology. Published under the Snap imprint of Capstone Press, a leading publisher of children's books in the U.S. education market, All about the Earth Signs takes a look at the traits and styles of people born under these astrological signs.
Asselin, who also has been published in a national magazine for children, recently completed two additional nonfiction children's books for Capstone Press for a science series on the solar system, and has another in the works for a history series. In addition, she is currently writing a young adult novel inspired by her experiences playing golf as a teenager.
Jess Mynes, technical services coordinator in the college's LaChance Library, is the author of several published works, including his first full-length book of poetry, Sky Brightly Picked, published this year by Skysill Press. Other works include Birds for Example, published by CARVE Editions; If and When, published by Katalanche Press, and a collaboration with poet Aaron Tieger, Recently Clouds, by Petrichord Books.
Mynes is the editor of Fewer & Further Press, where he publishes chapbooks and broadsides of poetry, and also co-curates a reading series in western Massachusetts, All Small Caps. One Anthem, his second full-length collection of poetry, is due to be published next year by Pressed Wafer Press.
Over time, Mynes shifted his focus from short stories to poetry. "It seems to be my mode of expression. The concision of language is a big part of it, and the music of the language. That's probably the biggest part of it," he said.
Wood, who worked with Tate Publishing & Enterprises on his rhyming picture book about a young boy's quest to get an older sibling to play, said he was encouraged to pursue the project by his brother, who is also a writer. "Anything creative is what fuels our whole family. If it isn't one project, it's another," said Wood, who is working on his second children's book.
Asselin, a member of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, offered the following advice for aspiring writers: "Be confident in your ability, read books on the craft of writing and go to conferences and workshops."
Pictured: MWCC staff members and writers Kristine Asselin, Jess Mynes and Gardner Wood.

Upcoming Events

MWCC invites prospective students to "Kick Off Your Education" by attending an upcoming open house. The open houses will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Leominster campus; Wednesday, Aug. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Devens campus and Thursday, Aug. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Gardner campus. The events will provide resources about the enrollment process, filling out the FAFSA, taking placement tests and registering for classes. In addition, information will be available on degree and certificate programs, training opportunities for the unemployed, online learning, the new GI bill, health science careers, English as a Second Language programs, and more. Placement testing, by appointment, will begin at 3 p.m. at all three sessions. For additional information, contact the Enrollment Center at (978) 630-9284 or
The Sixth Annual Summer Leadership Camp, sponsored by the office of Student Life, will take place Aug. 12 and 13 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. As part-of the popular event, new MWCC students will participate in a variety of interactive workshops and activities, and volunteer on service projects, including a backpack and school supplies drive to benefit local elementary school children in need. The collection, held in collaboration with MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity, will run through Aug. 12. Donations may be brought to the Student Services office, room 141. For more information, call (978) 630-9252.
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
The Gardner Lions Club is planning a Car and Motorcycle Show for Saturday, Aug. 21 at MWCC's Gardner campus, featuring cars and bikes, music, food and beverages. For more information, visit
MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: 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; and Energy Management: Aug. 19, 3 to 4 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 201. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday through Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Prospective students 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