NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Class of 2016: The countdown begins

The countdown to graduation has begun.

The NECC Alumni Office kicked off the countdown with a “50 Knights ‘til Graduation” celebration on March 29. Soon-to-be alumni and friends were invited to the gymnasium for food, music and jousting.

Bill Heineman, vice president of student affairs, called graduates to stand in a knighting ceremony, welcoming them into their alumnus status.

After a sword-wielding “knighting,” Heineman wished graduates luck as they went “onward and upward in (their) futures.”

Patrons of the event decorated goblets, got in a few rounds of friendly jousting and got dressed up for a photo booth with friends and even the NECC mascot.

Kellie Fone said she came to the celebration “to hang out and catch up before we graduate.”

Fone has been a student at NECC for three years and is graduating with her associate degree in early childhood education (ECE) this May. Fone will be continuing with her major at Merrimack College this fall.

Fone said she’s proud of her accomplishments as she goes on to the next step in becoming a full-time teacher. She would like to keep her focus on working with toddlers and preschoolers, an opportunity she was given as part of her practicum at NECC. “I love it,” she said of working with that age group.

Fone didn’t just find a passion and earn a degree at NECC, she also found love.

R.J. Scarelli and Fone met at NECC in the education program. Scarelli will be joining Fone at Merrimack in the fall to pursue his bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Scarelli said “getting out” is what he looks forward as an NECC graduate.

“My process has been a bit longer, so I look forward to my next steps,” he said.

Unlike Fone, Scarelli and so many others, many students are heading right into the workforce.

After being at NECC for three years, Ernie Ewusi is receiving his radiologic technology degree in May and is getting ready to apply for job positions in his field. Just a little nervous, Ewusi said he’s “ready to go.”

The ceremony will be held on the quad of the Haverhill campus on May 21 from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. Those participating must arrive at 10:30 a.m.

Along with the awarding of certificates and degrees, retired faculty members will be recognized for their emeritus status.

The distinguished faculty members are Catharine Dabrowski, Linda Desjardins, Allan Hislop, Nancy Nickerson and Susan Sanders.

There will also be a reception after the ceremony for graduates, friends and family. Guests are welcome to indulge in refreshments as the Jazz Ensemble performs. The Alumni Office will also be handing out gifts to the Class of 2016.

The submission deadline for petitions to graduate passed April 1.

All graduates with loans through the school must submit their exit counseling as soon as possible.

Anyone who needs to reserve a cap and gown must contact the NECC Haverhill bookstore before April 8 to ensure it is delivered before graduation.

The Haverhill bookstore hours are Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., direct all calls to (978) 556-3999.

45 days left, Class of 2016!