Nov. 22, 2011
In This Issue
MWCC Student Veterans Giving Back to the Community
Former MWCC Art Student Returns with First Solo Exhibit, "Systems"
MWCC Hosts Democracy Commitment Northeast Regional Meeting
MWCC Receives 13 NCMPR Awards for Communications Excellence
MWCC's Alpha Beta Gamma Donates to NEADS
Upcoming Events
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TopMWCC Student Veterans Giving Back to the Community

Veterans GroupMWCC is home to many clubs and organizations. And this time of year is particularly meaningful to one of them: the Veterans Group.


The Veterans Group, in conjunction with the MWCC Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, is doing its part to help veterans in the region. "We want to raise money for other veteran organizations and assist other veteran students," said business major Jason Catalano, an Army veteran and president of the student club.


Recently, student veterans raised more than $1,000 for charitable causes through a car wash, bake sales, a mini-flag fundraiser in honor of Veterans' Day, and other activities. Recipients include the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center in Gardner, which provides support to military veterans and their families, and the Johnny Ro Memorial Park in Leominster, which is being built in honor of Army PFC Jonathan Roberge, who died while serving in Iraq.


On November 21, members of the Veterans Group, along with the center's assistant director, Kristine Larkin, presented a donation to the Wreaths Across America program to place wreaths at the Winchendon Veterans Cemetery. In December, club members will return to assist Wreaths Across America volunteer John Farmer with placing the wreaths at veterans' gravesites.


According to Catalano, MWCC's student veterans are planning additional fundraising endeavors to help more veterans in the region.


The Center of Excellence is one of 15 centers created though a FIPSE grant awarded in fall 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education to serve as national models. The center addresses the unique academic, financial, physical, and social needs of veterans transitioning from solider to student. As the center nears its one year anniversary, it is serving more than 200 veterans and their dependents on campus.


"The mission of the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success is to help returning veterans transition back to college and back into the community as well," Larkin explained. "We've come a long way in a short amount of time."


"The Veterans Group and the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success gives us a sense of camaraderie," said Brian Laprise, a Navy veteran now majoring in criminal justice at MWCC. "I made a promise to myself, that veterans would never again in my lifetime be treated the way they were when they came home from Vietnam," he said. "It's all about supporting veterans."


Upcoming activities include: 

  • The Veterans Group is collecting personal care items, coats, gloves, mittens, hats and other items for the Alfred H. Marengo, Jr. Drive for Homeless Veterans through  Dec. 12. Donations can be made in the Veterans Center, room 138.
  • On Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 12:30 to 1:30 in the North Cafe, WAAF radio personality Mistress Carrie will speak about her trips to visit with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • In December, the Veterans Group will begin selling a MWCC 2012 Veterans Calendar. MWCC photography instructor Bob Mayer and his students photographed  student veterans for the calendar. Proceeds will be donated to the Jonathan Roberge memorial park.

 -Angela Marini

Pictured: Members of MWCC's Veterans Group and Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success recently presented a donation to support Wreaths Across America for the holidays. Pictured from left, center Assistant Director Kristine Larkin, Veterans Group vice president Rebecca Gilbert, Wreaths Across America volunteer John Farmer, club treasurer Kevin Finch, club president Jason Catalano, and club member Josie Wolski.
Former MWCC Art Student Returns for First Solo Exhibit: "Systems"
Jason Kotoch at MWCC's  2011 Evening of Excellence.
"Systems," the first solo exhibition by artist Jason Kotoch, is on display through December 22 in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center.

Kotoch, who began his professional art studies at MWCC, will be on the Gardner campus December 15 for a "Meet the Artist" event at 12:30 p.m. in the gallery.


The exhibit features nine pieces that explore the theme of a system. "From individual identity to global political systems, I am attempting to show both the beauty in systems and the disastrous effects of a system that degenerates into failure," Kotoch said. "I touch on self-identity, family structure, war, violence and disassociation."


Now a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) in Boston, Kotoch uses a variety of materials in his work, ranging from industrial materials to graphite and paint. "The materials that I choose are significant in that many of them have had previous lives. I enjoy imagining the already rich lives that these materials have lived. I enjoy the mystery and how the materials' history speaks to me and guides my hand in my work. It's a kind of cooperation that is frustrating at times, but also richly rewarding."


Who I am or think I am at the moment
'Who I am or think I am at the moment' mixed media, 5'x7'.

Kotoch said he was influenced by his professors in the art department at MWCC. "I can't say enough about the quality of instruction at the Mount. Tom Matsuda, Joyce Miller and John Pacheco helped me develop a process and were instrumental in teaching me ways to use different materials. I am also very grateful to my art history instructor, Donalyn Schofield, who introduced me to the long history of art. She also helped me develop a language of art; she taught me how to speak and write critically about art, which has proven to be of utmost importance in my practice." 

As Kotoch continues his education, he hopes to continue to grow as an artist.


"I am getting my feet wet and trying new things. I am still a student and as such, I hope to be challenged and to grow as an artist. This is a very exciting time for me. I have never displayed my work in a solo show before. I am thrilled to have the opportunity." 


- Angela Marini


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MWCC Hosts Democracy Commitment Northeast Regional Meeting

Democracy CommitmentMWCC is joining more than 100 community colleges across the country to empower students through a growing national initiative called The Democracy Commitment.


The Democracy Commitment, an offshoot of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' American Democracy Project, supports the belief that a healthy democracy depends on engaged citizens who are proud of their rights, thoughtful about their responsibilities and informed about their choices. The Democracy Commitment provides a national platform for the development and expansion of programs and projects aimed at engaging community college students in civic learning and democratic practices.


As a part of The Democracy Commitment, MWCC hosted the first Northeast regional meeting of The Democracy Commitment on November 15. Amee Bearne, national coordinator of The Democracy Commitment, Kathleen O'Connell of The New York Times and representatives from Keene State College were among the featured speakers. New Hampshire Technical Institute and Broome Community College of New York also participated. The meeting, hosted by MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity, encouraged discussion between schools that are currently participating in The Democracy Commitment and schools that are interested in bringing it to their campuses.


MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino explained that an education in democracy is about understanding one's connection with the world. "In this economy, it is more important than ever that we are all involved," he said. "The Democracy Commitment is an exciting way to engage students." 

O'Connell presented the advantages of using The New York Times in the classroom and how it can foster global awareness by creating conversations between students. The newspaper is available to MWCC students for free as part of this initiative.


Another presenter, Jos Mangual, academic counselor & Perkins advisor at MWCC, spoke of the way in which English as a Second Language (ESL) students at MWCC are taking part in service learning opportunities to expand and enhance their leadership skills, specifically through community outreach activities.


Maureen Provost, associate professor of early childhood education at MWCC, and Fagan Forhan, director of experiential learning opportunities & civic engagement at MWCC, explained the Seven Revolutions program, created by The Center for Strategic and International Studies. Provost began implementing the pilot program in a First Year Experience course this semester. The program is a strategic look at the future of the planet to the year 2025. The Seven Revolutions identifies areas of change expected to be the most revolutionary, including: population, resource management and environmental stewardship, technological innovation and diffusion, the development and dissemination of information and knowledge, economic integration, the nature and mode of security and conflict, and the challenge of governance.


- Angela Marini


Pictured: Luz Cruz, president of the ESL Club at MWCC, speaks about the club's civic engagement activities during The Democracy Commitment regional meeting. Also pictured, club member Yendy Rodriguez, club secretary Maria Quinteros and MWCC Academic Counselor Jos Manguel. 


MWCC Receives 13 NCMPR Awards for Communications Excellence
MWCC ViewbookThe National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, District 1, has awarded 13 Medallion Awards for excellence in communications to Mount Wachusett Community College's Marketing & Communications division. The awards were announced on Nov. 14 during the annual district conference in Baltimore, MD. More than 315 entries were submitted in 41 categories.

MWCC received six gold Medallion Awards, including a top award for the college's print viewbook and for the "I did it. You can too" marketing campaign featuring MWCC students and alumni in print, radio, online, billboard and mall advertising. The college also received gold awards in the radio advertising category for the "I did it. You can too" series; in the online marketing/advertising category for the branding of MWCC across social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter; and in the social marketing category, for the Green on Green Street blog. In addition, the college won a gold award in the communications success story category for media coverage, new media, community outreach and photography pertaining to the construction and dedication of the college's two wind turbines, which also incorporated videos created by Joel Anderson, chair of the Broadcasting and Electronic Media department, students Tiffianie LeBlanc, Andrew LeBel, Anthony Scheffield, Benjamin Arsenault, and the Media Services department.

Zak Stoddard and MWCC's PriusMWCC received four silver Medallion Awards, including an award in the outdoor advertising/billboard category for the "Innovation is a Breeze" wind turbine banners created in conjunction with Computer Graphic Design students Doug York, Jon Skinner and Noah Chicoine and CGD Chair Leslie Cullen; and in the transit advertising category for the Prius car wrap created in conjunction with Cullen's CGD class and CGD student Zak Stoddard. In addition, the college received silver awards in the government/community relations category for the AmeriCorps Job Ready Project, which is a collaboration between MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity and Fitchburg State University; and in the website category for the homepage refresh implemented as an interim step in the college's website redesign.

MWCC received three bronze Medallion Awards, including in the postcard category for the summer registration flip flop mailing; in the original photography category for a photo depicting students in the courtyard that was used on the cover of the college viewbook; and in the specialty advertising campaign category, for the turbine pride t-shirts created in conjunction with Cullen and CGD students.

Green on Green Street blogAn affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges, the NCMPR is the only organization of its kind that exclusively represents communications professionals at community and technical colleges. District 1 is comprised of community colleges in the eastern U.S. from Maine to the District of Columbia, as well as in the maritime provinces of Canada and in the United Kingdom.

Public Relations Director Janice O'Connor and former Marketing Director Nichole Carter served as co-chairs of the Medallions committee, with assistance from Vice President of Marketing & Communications Robin Duncan and department staff Christine Sargent, Sarah McMaster, Dana Armstrong and Stephanie Pinto. Don Knower, Darlene Morrilly, Lisa Williams, Kristine Asselin, Karen Doherty, Shelley Errington-Nicholson, Fagan Forhan and MWCC's media services and IT departments also provided assistance in the process. In this capacity, MWCC took the leadership role of coordinating the awards program, which was judged by an independent panel of communications professionals from the region.

Area professionals serving as judges were: Mary Lourdes Burke, chief communications officer at HealthAlliance Hospital, Leominster Campus; Andres Caamano, senior news editor at The Gardner News; Tim Carelli, vice president of sales, Travers Printing; James Casey, Principal Creative Director of Casey Design & Visual Communications; Ed Collier of Ed Collier Photography; Ron DiNinno, independent film director/producer; Tisha Geeza, senior account executive, Davis Advertising; Abby Guinard, president/creative director, Barbanel Design, Inc.; Leah Lamson, editor, Worcester Telegram & Gazette; Matt Maguy, founder/strategist, Compassed; Dana Mattson, senior partner, MassMedia; Maegen McCaffrey, chief communications officer, RCAP Solutions; Gary McGovern, account executive, CBS Radio/Digital/Event Marketing; Jim Pond, founder/strategist, Compassed; Marcia Priestley, president of Priestley Marketing Group; Rob Riggieri, creative marketing specialist, Citadel Broadcasting; Mike Ransdell, founder, Mike Ransdell Copywriting; Rob Simpson, president, RSA Communications; and Matthew Tivnan, sales manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Fitchburg.

Pictured: MWCC's award-winning communications projects include the college viewbook; the Prius car wrap designed by Computer Graphic Design student Zak Stoddard; and the Green on Green Street blog.

MWCC's Alpha Beta Gamma Donates to NEADS

ABG NEADS donation Nov 2011.Millhouse is a far cry (or rather 'woof') from your average dog. Not only does he get to wear an orange jacket and travel anywhere his partner Tom Rich travels, but he also plays a crucial role in Rich's ability to hear and react to the world around him. Millhouse is a service dog, and serves as ears for Rich, alerting him if he has visitors, if there is an emergency situation, and even when it is time to get up.


However, Millhouse wasn't born with an innate ability to warn people about noises. Rather, he was trained through the National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS) in Princeton. NEADS provides independence to people with disabilities through the use of canine assistance. The nonprofit organization also provides assistance dogs to qualifying combat veterans at no cost through the Canines for Combat Veterans program.


Millhouse and Rich visited MWCC on Nov. 8 to educate students, faculty and staff about the assistance service dogs provide to their owners. At the end of the presentation, Kevin Finch, president of Alpha Beta Gamma, presented NEADS with a $100 donation recently raised through a bake sale the honor society held on campus. 

- Angela Marini 


Pictured: Alpha Beta Gamma advisor Professor Linda Bolduc, ABG Vice President Brenton Allen, NEADS volunteer Tom Rich, and ABG President Kevin Finch, with Millhouse.


Upcoming Events

The annual Winterfest Fair will take place Tuesday, Nov. 29 and Wednesday Nov. 30 in the Commons Area from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair will feature raffles of decorated wreaths and theme baskets to benefit the student emergency fund and scholarships. There will be a variety of vendors selling items from children's books to pashmina scarves, Sponsored by the Student Life office and Student Services.


Children of EdenTheatre at the Mount concludes its 2011 season with the popular Stephen Schwartz musical Children of Eden, opening for six performances beginning Thanksgiving weekend. From the creators of Godspell, Pippin and Les Miserables comes this joyous and inspirational new musical about parents, children and their search for understanding. Children of Eden is a musical parable based on the first nine chapters of the Book of Genesis, from Adam and Eve to Noah and the Great Flood. Stephen Schwartz, who also wrote the music for Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt, created the music and lyrics, and John Caird wrote the book. The cast includes Matt Dombroski as Father, Nick Howe as Adam/Noah and Fatima Lewis as Eve/Mama Noah. Also featured in the show are Amanda Carpenito, Alison Laverdiere, Taylor Lawton, Michael Kozloski, Tyler Moran, Joel LeBlanc, Melissa Gates, Jacob McDonald, Emily Xarras and a large ensemble of singers and dancers. Performance are November 25, 26 and December 2, 3 at 8 p.m., and November 27 and December 4 at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $20 for evenings, $15 for matinees, and $10 for children ages 16 and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Theatre at the Mount Box Office at 978 632-2403 or online at


"Warm Your Heart for the Homeless" is a service project to benefit "Our Father's House", a shelter for the homeless in our community. Students in Terry Andrews' Introduction to Human Services began this campaign on the Leominster campus and students in the Human Service Club are continuing the drive on the Gardner campus through December 9. The club is accepting donations of new or gently used adult winter clothing (hats, scarves, sweaters, sweatshirts, boots, socks, gloves, hand warmers) and/or travel sized personal hygiene products and laundry detergent. Drop off boxes are located in the cafe hallway and at the entrance to the college near the Commons Area. 


MWCC is offering Information Sessions on several academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: A.S. Nursing at Gardner Campus: Dec. 14, 2 to 3 p.m., room 204;  Dental Hygiene: Dec. 7, 2 to 3 p.m., Burbank campus, Fitchburg; Physical Therapist Assistant Degree at Gardner Campus, Dec.15, 2 to 3 p.m., room 204. Prospective students interested in attending an information session are asked to call the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 (TTY 978-632-4916), or email


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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