Feb. 1, 2011

In This Issue
MWCC Alumni Association is Building Bridges
Local Residents Get New Start Through MWCC's GED Program
MWCC's New Parent Ambassadors Share Their Perspective With Others
MWCC Celebrates Black History Month
Students, Faculty, Providing Tax Assistance to Area Residents
Upcoming Events
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MWCC Alumni Association is Building Bridges

Alumni association

Throughout North Central Massachusetts - and beyond - a bond connects thousands of nurses, dental hygienists, business owners and managers, teachers, police officers, computer information specialists, videographers and countless others in a host of careers. They're all alumni of Mount Wachusett Community College.

The MWCC Alumni Association, with a newly elected board of officers, is working toward developing and strengthening relationships between alumni in the community and the college.

"Our theme is impact," said Alumni Association President Cailte Kelley of Athol, a Realtor and professional musician who graduated in 2005 with a degree in Liberal Arts. "We want to use our resources to make an impact on the community and also help the college make an even greater impact in the community."

In the coming months and years, the board is interested in expanding opportunities to mentor current students, increasing its presence at college events, and assisting with recruitment efforts by being strong advocates for the quality education received at MWCC, Kelley said.

Past president Philip DeCharles, who was a member of the college's first graduating class in 1966, spent the past several years building up the board and establishing a solid base of active participants and continues to serve on the board. In addition to Kelley, the association's officers include Michelle Rattanavong of Fitchburg, owner of Precise Event Planning and marketing and leasing manager for Geronimo Properties, Inc., and Paula DelGuidice, board secretary, a sales representative with Avon.

All MWCC alumni are automatically considered members of the association the moment they receive their diploma, and no dues are required for membership. The association's board meets regularly throughout the year. The 15-member board currently has three vacancies, and MWCC alumni who are interested in serving in this capacity are invited to contact the board at


Each year, the Alumni Association presents a scholarship to a graduating student during the annual Evening of Excellence. In 1989, MWCC established its annual Alumnus/ae of the Year Award to recognize the accomplishments of its graduates. Nominations for the 2011 award are currently being accepted.

For more information about the association, visit The association also can be found on Facebook and  LinkedIn.


Pictured: Alumni Association President Cailte Kelley and Vice President Michelle Rattanavong.

Local Residents Get New Start Through MWCC's GED Program 

GEDIn this economy, finding a silver lining behind every pink slip is not easy. But for a group of local men, the experience of losing their jobs provided an opportunity to set and achieve new goals.

The five men - Richard Bernard, Donald Caron, Robert Enwright, Jr., Hoomphang "Pang" Duangmanee and Arthur Tucker, Jr. - accomplished something they never envisioned previously. They returned to school after decades away to earn their General Educational Development (GED) certificates.

The men found themselves among the unemployed last year when the Leominster-based manufacturing company they worked for, Mohawk Wire, relocated. They made their way to the North Central Career Center for guidance. The center, which partners with MWCC through a dislocated workers program, advised the men that in order to even be considered for a job in today's market, they needed to return to school to earn a GED, which would then pave the way for additional training opportunities. They were referred to MWCC's Division of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development, which was offering an intensive, full-time GED program at the college's Devens campus.

"Without a GED, you can't find a job anywhere," said Caron, who had worked for Mohawk for 25 years and, like his co-workers, had anticipated retiring from the company.

The Regional Adult Education Center at MWCC offers free classes in Adult Basic Education, GED preparation and English for Speakers of Other Languages. The ABE and GED classes at various levels are offered both in the mornings and evenings at four convenient locations to help adults improve reading, writing and math skills. Classes are free through funding from the Massachusetts Department of Education, Employment Links, and the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation.

The group of full-time GED students enjoyed a special camaraderie as they tackled social studies, mathematics, science and language arts five hours a day for 26 weeks with the assistance of Adult Basic Education Director Dale Sanborn, Assistant Director Candice Conner, and GED instructor Kelly Cordio. Together, they met their goal of earning their GED certificates, and in January, they each began vocational training in the HVAC field. They recently returned to the Devens campus for a mini-reunion with their instructors.

"They made it fun. They made us want to learn," Tucker said of the MWCC staff. "If class was like this when I was a kid, I wouldn't have left school."


Pictured: Five local men who lost their jobs when the company they worked for relocated, took a team approach to earning their GEDs as a first step in pursuing retraining opportunities. Front row, Pang Duangmanee and Arthur Tucker, Jr.; Back row: ABE Assistant Director Candice Conner, Richard Bernard, Donald Caron, GED instructor Kelly Cordio and ABE Director Dale Sanborn. The group also included classmate Bob Enright.

MWCC's New Parent Ambassadors Share Their Perspective With Others 

Parent ambassadorsIf you're a parent wondering how your child will enjoy attending MWCC, who better to ask than - a parent. Two local residents, Mike Amburgey of Lunenburg and George Janicello of Baldwinville, volunteer at many college events as parent ambassadors, a new program launched by the Admissions office.


"I like being involved in the community, and this is a way of giving back," Amburgey said. "We attend college events and give our opinions on why we like having our kids here, and what we think of the school," he said, adding, "I love everything about the college."

Amburgey said his son, Mike, has a strong interest in art and is exploring a variety of academic and career options. "Everything seems to work for him. If he has questions, he goes to his advisor and gets answers. He enjoys MWCC."


Janicello's son, John, a 2010 graduate of the North Central Charter Essential School, is studying criminal justice and law. "When he was young, he participated in summer camps here, so he was comfortable with The Mount," Janicello said. "It's close to home and the school is very welcoming."


For several years, the Admissions office has sponsored a student ambassadors program, calling upon a number of students each year to conduct tours of the college and volunteer at campus events. The parent ambassadors program is an offshoot of that program, said Carol Cullins, assistant director of admissions, who oversees both initiatives.

For more information about becoming involved in the parent or student ambassador programs, contact Cullins at 978-630-9594.


Pictured: Carol Cullins, assistant director of admissions, recruited George Janicello, left, and Mike Amburgey, right, to serve as the college's first parent ambassadors.

MWCC Celebrates Black History Month 

Black history monthMWCC is celebrating Black History Month, a remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans, with a series of events in February. All events are free and open to the public.

Internationally recognized jazz flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq will perform Tuesday, Feb. 8 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the south cafeteria. Abdur-Razzaq has performed at various venues worldwide for more than three decades. He is a former student at Berklee College of Music in Boston and is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey. An arranger, composer, music director and writer, Abdur-Razzaq has performed with artists Billy Taylor, Sonny Phillips, Gwen Guthrie, Eddie Gladden and Clifford Adams, among many others, and is also a regular speaker on jazz and its historical significance. The performance is sponsored by the Student Life office.

On Wednesday, Feb. 9, a panel presentation will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the north café on the relevance of Black History Month in the 21st century. Dr. Vincent M. Bates, dean of Liberal Arts, Math, Education and Developmental Studies, will moderate the discussion, which will include members of the college community as panelists. Topics to be addressed include whether the observance is still as relevant today as when it began; whether there is still a need for a separate observance in the 21st century; and whether the observance promotes and perpetuates separatism among races. The presentation is sponsored by the Student Life office and the School of Liberal Arts, Math, Education and Developmental Studies.

The spring Student Life Film festival will feature The Great Debaters on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 12:30 p.m. in the north café. This drama is based on the true story of Mel Tolson, a professor at Wiley College who inspired his students to start the school's first debate team. The students comprised the first African American team ever to compete against Harvard and defeated the prestigious team in the national championships.

MWCC Students, Faculty, Providing Tax Assistance to Area Residents

It's tax season, and once again MWCC faculty, staff and students are volunteering to provide filing assistance to income-eligible area residents. Free assistance with 2010 income tax returns is available to low and moderate-income residents through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), offered this year through MWCC, the  Montachusett Opportunity Council and the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center in cooperation with the IRS.

Trained volunteers will assist with basic tax forms and help residents understand tax benefits. The volunteer effort at MWCC is coordinated by Jacqueline Feldman, vice president of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development, and Professor John Reilly.

The VITA program is being offered at MWCC's Gardner and Leominster campuses. In Gardner, assistance is available in room 240 on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 978-630-9124. At the Leominster campus, appointments are available on Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. Appointments at this location can be made through MOC by calling 978-343-5706. In addition, assistance is available in Fitchburg at the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center on Mondays and Wednesdays by calling 978-342-2069, ext. 200, and on Tuesdays and Saturdays at the MOC office by calling 978-343-5706 

Those seeking assistance must bring the following to their appointment: proof of identity; copies of all W-2, 1098 and 1099 forms; Social Security (SSN) or Individual Tax ID (ITIN) numbers for all individuals to be listed on the return; child care provider' identification number; taxpayers' banking information (voided check and/or savings deposit slip) for refund deposits; estimated tax payments made; amounts of other income; and verification of health insurance. Photo identification is necessary, and both spouses must be present for those a filing joint return.

Upcoming Events

Student art exhibitAn exhibit of paintings and sketches created by students enrolled in Drawing III and Painting III is on display through Feb. 11 in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


A Chocolate Sampler celebrating Valentine's Day will take place Monday, Feb. 14 between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. in the South Cafe. Free samples of chocolate desserts will be available while while supplies last. This event is sponsored by the Student Life office.

An American Red Cross Blood Drive will take place Wednesday, Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Commons. To register, contact the Health Services office at ext. 136, or 978-630-9136. Walk-ins are also welcome.


Theatre at the Mount will kick off its 2011 season with The Drowsy Chaperone. A modern-day musical theatre addict listens to his rare record of a 1928 musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone. The musical magically bursts to life in his very apartment. In his own front row seat, he learns the tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to get married and leave show business forever. The characters surrounding this starlet are her producer who tries to sabotage the nuptials, her chaperone, her charming groom, the dizzy chorine, the Latin lover, and a pair of gangsters who pose as pastry chefs. Performances are Feb. 25 and 26 and March 4 and 5 at 8 p.m. and March 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for evening shows, $15 for the matinee, and $10 for students and may be purchased at the TAM box office, by phone at 978-632-2403 or online at 


MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Clinical Laboratory Science: Feb. 22, 4 to 5 p.m., HealthAlliance Hospital, Leominster; Physical Therapist Assistant Degree: Feb. 22, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204; Dental Hygiene: Feb. 16, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204; Nursing A.S. Degree: Feb. 7, 5 to 6 p.m., Devens campus, room 124 and Feb. 15, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204; and Practical Nursing Certificate: Feb. 17, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204 and March 7, 5 to 6 p.m., Devens campus, room 124. 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