Knights dominate Mass Bay in their home court

On Saturday Nov. 19 NECC Knights defeated Mass Bay 109 to 79 in the Sport and Fitness Center on the Haverhill Campus.

Before the game I asked NECC basketball head coach Darren Stratton what they have to do to have a strong first half to pressure the other team and not have pressure on them pressure by trailing at the half ?

“… It wasn’t just this first half (against Quincy down by 11) it was against Suffolk, Essex it came out okay a little bet better even at the game before that against Qunsig(amond), we were struggling ….we are yet to put a complete game together. We put spurts together which is for four or five minute spurts but we are yet to put a complete half or a complete game together. That we are trying to evolve, trying to do that. We are looking at us as a coaching staff trying to maybe push the right buttons …. We are only one fifth in our season, we still have more than three quarters in our season left to go so we are trying to find what buttons to push the right guys trying to find the right rotations … hopefully we get everything figured out by ten or 11 games in,” he said.

The game started at 12:02. The Knights won the tip off.

The Knights opened the game with a 5-0 run and a 31-13 run to start the game.

After the game I asked Cristian Kinsley of Lawrence how he is a good three point shooter as every time he shoots for three it is rare that he will miss.

“It’s confidence it’s that the way it is the key to it is confidence that all it is,” he said.

Knights basketball vs Mass Bay on Nov. 19 at the Sport and Fitness Center in Haverhill, MA
Knights basketball vs Mass Bay on Nov. 19 at the Sport and Fitness Center in Haverhill, MA Photo by Editor-in-Chief/ Sports Editor Jose Rodriguez

The Knights started aggressive, they were hungry and the Knights were looking to have a strong first half to carry on to the second half.

It was looking that way for the first nine minutes of the ball game.

Then everything was shifting to Mass Bay’s side as Mass Bay was stealing the ball from the Knights and the Knights were fouling as well that Mass Bay went to the free throw line.

Mass Bay went on a 19 to 6 run against the Knights. That cut the Knights deficit from an 18 point lead to a five point lead, the Knights had a 37 to 32 point lead.

Knights called a 30 second time out so they could regroup and played basketball like they did in the first nine minutes of the game unlike the middle minutes of the first half.

After the time out the Knights went on a 15 to 2 run and everything was clicking for them as they had a 18 point lead and the score was 52 to 34. Then Mass Bay called a full time out.

Mass Bay finished the first half with a 15 to 8 run against the Knights.

The Knights went in their locker room at the half with an11 points lead, the score was 60 to 49. Knights 13 fouls in the first half Mass Bay 10.

“I felt Luis (Reynoso) didn’t have his best game, and it is good to see other guys step up around him. I thought R2 (Mehmet Asik) played extremely well, I thought Cristian Kinsley was a difference maker today, I don’t know if you saw but I moved him to point guard. I thought traditional to offense was much

better running point and I think I am going to move forward throughout the year doing that…” Stratton said after the game.

Stratton also told me that he was upset that his players gave up 49 points at the half.

In the second half the Knights went on a 20 to 11 run as the Knights was up 83 to 60.

The game eventually was 85 to 68 in favor of the Knights in the final seven minutes of the game. The Knights went on an absolutely tear as they finished with a 34 to 9 run against Mass Bay to end the game.

After the game I talked to Metin Yavuz of Istanbul, Turkey. I ask him what was his approach heading into this afternoon’s contest against Mass Bay?

“Just follow the approach that coach told us in the locker room we should’ve played better defense. We did a very decent job offensively, we knock down shots, finding the right shots, people were in the right spot in the right time so it came out 109 points total so it was one of our best offensive games but defensively we should’ve done better,” he said.

The Knights will return to the court a week from today on Nov. 26 for “NECC TD Bank Turkey Classic” as they will host SUNY Adirondack.

Knights come from behind win on their home opener

On Thursday Nov. 17, NECC Knights defeated Quincy College 83 to 81 at the Sports and Fitness Center in Haverhill Campus. The Knights entered the game with a 5 and 1 record after beginning the first six games to open up the season on the road. This was the Knights home opener.

I asked NECC basketball head coach Darren Stratton before the game if he expected a large crowd on opening night after going 5 and 1 in the first six games of the season?

“I think we will have a pretty good crowd tonight,” he said. “I think since it is our opening game and the kids’ family finally got a chance to watch them play. I mean we (have) been in the road for the last six games, it’s going to feel different actually playing here at home for the first time and we are already mid way through November so I mean we are excited and hopefully the kids can respond well in their home court.”

The Knights won the tip off against Quincy. Quincy scored first on a two pointer. Cristian Kinsley of Lawrence shot a three to put the Knights on top 3-2. After Quincy scored a three to put the game 5 to 3, Luis Reynoso of Lawrence tied up at five a piece.

Reynoso put the Knights on top 7 to 5. It was a back and forth game early in the contest. It was a clean basketball in the first five minutes of action with no fouls.

After Quincy commited their first fouls of the game Edwin SamMbaka of Paris, France was in the free throw line where he shot both free throws successfully. The game eventually was 13 to 11. The Knights were leading after a steal from Mehki Dedrick of Boston that tied the scoring up at 13.

A steal by  SamMbaka and he passed it to Tre Fite of Massillon, Ohio, where a foul was called as Fite went to the free throw line as he made one of two shots in. The Knights were up by a point. It was 16 to 15 when Dedrick made the two pointer and a foul Dedrick made the free throw shot to put Quincy ahead.

Quincy was on a 7-0 run against the Knights. It ended with Fite running at the glass, shooting for two and one. Reynoso took that free throw and made it in. The Knights were down by three as the score was 22 to 19. The Knights eventually were down by a point when Reynoso fouled Quincy was in the free throw line and shot two free throws in.

The game was 24 to 21 in favor of the Knights. Reynoso banged in a game tying three pointer to put the game at 24.

In the final six minutes of the first half, he wasn’t  Ryan Pacy of Salem N.H. that we know, Quincy was stealing the ball from him, Pacy did not catch the ball it  slipping out of his hand that it went out of bonds. It was nightmare for Pacy the last six minutes of the game.

A steal by Fite and a slam dunk put the Knights up 30 to 29.

Quincy went on a 12-0 run after Reynoso shot two free throws in. That made it 41 to 32 in favor of Quincy.

The Knights were down by 11 at the half, the score was 46 to 35 in favor of Quincy.

Knights preparing for the second half on Nov. 17 against Quincy on their home opener
Knights preparing for the second half on Nov. 17 against Quincy on their home opener Photo by Editor-in-Chief/ Sports Editor Jose Rodriguez

“… We beat them where we shouldn’t beat them last year in the Regionals semifinals and you know with us now being national recognized, I think they got really hyped up Luis (Reynoso) coming off National Player of the Week. They definitely came with high emotions, outwork us, out tough us, they did everything better than us in that first half, everything. It wasn’t that one thing that we did better than Quincy in that first half,” Stratton said.

He also told me that he and the coaching staff did some adjustments at half time to be prepared for the second half to keep them in the game.

Derek Williams of Rockland shot a three for Quincy. Pacy answered right back with a three of his own.

The Knights were down by 16 when Pacy went to the free throw line to shoot for two where he made one in.

The Knights started to play aggressive as they went on a 11-0 run against Quincy to make this a two point game.

The Knights were trailing 54 to 52.

Quincy went on a 9-0 run that ended when Kinsley shot a three to put the score 64 to 55 in favor of Quincy.

Reynoso shot a two, followed by Pacy’s three pointer to make this game 64 to 60. Quincy shot a three to make this a seven point game.

The Knights were looking to come back late in the game when the game was 72 to 66. Pacy shot for two at the rim and one for a chance for a three point play that made it 72 to 69.

Pacy made it a one point game in the next possession as it was 72 to 71.

The Knights were down by five with four minutes and 45 seconds remaining when SamMbaka made both shots in to make this a three point game.

The game was 79 to 73 when Reynoso scored for two.

SamMbaka tied the game with less than three minutes of regulation as the score was 79 to 79.

Pacy shot a three pointer with a minutes and 45 seconds left of regulation as the Knights were up 82 to 81.

“We definitely fought hard after being down 11 at half time I told the guys at the half time this team is not 11 points better than this and we came up and prove it in the second half,” Fite said.

The Knights went on to defeat Quincy 83 to 81.

Luis Reynoso named NJCAA National Player of the Week

On Nov. 16, Luis Reynoso a forward freshman from Lawrence was named NJCAA National player of the week.

Reynoso played five of the six games for the Knights to open the season heading into Nov. 16 when he got named for this award.

According to Reynoso had 60 points, 47 rebounds and 10 steals during the week.

Reynoso wasn’t impressed on the number that he put during the week because he knows that he could’ve done better than that.

I asked him how he found out he got player of the week.

Luis Reynoso named NJCAA National Player of the Week
Luis Reynoso named NJCAA National Player of the Week Courtesy

“I saw the news on twitter,” Reynoso said.

“It was exciting of course but we still got work to do,” he said.

He said he would like to thank God, his mom, also his teammates for pushing him during practice everyday working hard, and also his coaches.

I asked him how did he get to be so good?

“Just everyday working out at practice and working hard and just going harder everyday,” Reynoso said.

I asked him what he has to do to set the bar to win this achievement again or even winning player of the month or player of the year ?

“Just got to keep going working hard every day at practice with the team,” he said.

Reynoso told me that he told his mom about the news and that his mom was excited.


‘Proof’ was astounding performance

I had the absolute pleasure of attending the opening performance of the play Proof at Northern Essex Community College on Nov. 10.

Proof, a play by David Auburn, was directed by NECC alumni Matthew Lundergan. It featured Olivia Barberian as Catherine, Elian Gonzalez as Hal, Samantha Wheatley as Claire and George Tournas as Robert.

Audience seated in chairs watching two people on stage
The opening night of the play “Proof” on the Haverhill campus had a full crowd on Nov. 10 Photo courtesy of Theater Professor Brianne Beatrice

Having no prior knowledge of the play, I sat down a bit tired and with zero expectations – being the first in person indoor theater performance at the college in years, how good could it possibly be?

To say that my expectations were blown out of the water would be an understatement.

Proof was an absolutely astounding performance from all those involved, with such a heartfelt message that I couldn’t help but be enthralled.

Exploring the relationships between people is such a complicated thing, but Proof masterfully links it to the field of academics and the desperation that those can feel when trying to prove a concept as their own- it’s messy, makes no sense from an outside perspective, but given time and thought is perfectly clear.

The entire cast – which consisted of four people, mind you- delivered such emotional genuinity that by the time it had reached intermission, I could hardly stop myself from standing up and demanding they continue immediately.

The use of costume changes and props to imply changes in scenery where there was truly none was incredible- selling the changes in temperature and reacting to differences that, to the audience, weren’t there immersed me more than I would have believed.

It was a lesson in making more from less – and, while some may have found that confusing, it served the plot well.
However, the downside of a production being a more philosophical story interested in bridging the gap between the scientific and the highly emotional is that it may not be for everyone.

While I enjoyed every second, I couldn’t help but feel that, had I glanced away for a moment, I might have lost the path of the plot entirely. This issue isn’t the fault of anyone in particular- in fact, it seems that the play itself knows that fact and, despite it, continues to be one of the most heartwarming, subversive pieces I have seen.

I would say that I recommend the reader give it a watch – but as of the time of this writing, the play is over, and the theater will be moving on to the next production.

So while I cannot recommend Proof anymore, I can safely say that the theater program has thoroughly proven themselves – and you can guarantee that I’ll be firmly in a seat for their next production.

For more information about upcoming theater productions or classes, email Theater Coordinator Professor Brianne Beatrice,

Capitalism contributes to climate change

In today’s world, the climate crisis has made its way into everyday dialogues.

This issue, though it has remained persistent for decades, has proved that it will most negatively affect Gen Z, predominantly people of color and other minorities. Despite continuous negligent feedback from government officials, activists proceed to push back and demand sustainable change; many advocate for the use of alternative energy sources to replace extremely harmful fossil fuels.

The goal of new energy, while achievable, remains out of reach. Though it may seem unattainable at this time, it is still possible to effectively make the switch to alternative energy sources if the people stand in solidarity and commit to change; by holding corporations and politicians accountable while also recognizing that capitalism is the root cause of the crisis, as well as beginning with a reduction in the world’s overall consumption of energy, a significant decline in emissions may be seen.

It is necessary to begin with holding corporations and government officials accountable for their prominent roles in exacerbating greenhouse gas emissions. A 2021 report from UMass Amherst PERI used data from a study in 2019 to determine the leading 100 corporations that were at fault for over 70% of emissions.

The results concluded that the top five energy companies alone, being Vistra Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, Berkshire Hathaway, and American Electric Power, emitted a total of approximately 425 million metric tons of CO2. Though these corporations may seem far out of our reach, several are parent companies to smaller brands that the general population accesses on a daily basis.

Blackstone, for example, which places 31st on the list with 19 million tons of CO2 emissions, owns Hilton Worldwide, which is the owner of the Hilton Hotels and Resorts, one of the largest hotel chains internationally. One may be quick to take this information and turn it on the individual, the consumer.

This reaction accomplishes nothing, it merely aggravates the already worsening crisis at hand, a matter that can be summarized in an excerpt from Mark Fisher’s, Capitalist Realism; “At this point, suddenly, the causes of abuse or atrocity are so systemic, so diffuse, that no individual can be held responsible… But this impasse – it is only individuals that can be held ethically responsible for actions, and yet the cause of these abuses and errors is corporate, systemic – is not only a dissimulation: it precisely indicates what is lacking in capitalism.”

It is becoming a commonly known fact that it is better to divert the condemnation from the consumer to the corporations or the governments that turn a blind eye to the issues they cause. To effect a substantial transition to alternative energy sources, this must be the first step.

In the acknowledgement of the origin of the climate crisis, it must be acknowledged that capitalism is the core motive. The system itself has, over centuries, become so deeply ingrained in our society that we have entered what is known as “late stage capitalism,” a modernized era in which the economic system has, with its multitude of hypocrisies and absurdities, essentially dug its own grave. In this era, climate change has been provided the opportunity to progress, almost to a “point of no return,” in which the future appears to be grim; to quote Mark Fisher once more, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of Capitalism.”

According to the 2021 United Nations Report, since the Industrial Revolution, between the years of 1760-1820 when capitalist economies were put in place, the world has experienced a dramatic spike in greenhouse gas emissions. A

dditionally, with the endless efforts from private owners to increase their profit have forced perpetual overproduction while relying on destructive energy sources, it is better to divert the condemnation to the corporations or the governments that turn a blind eye to the issues they cause. The conversation around the climate crisis is constantly evolving, though the issues around it remain pressing for the future.

Despite scientific evidence, general counter arguments are constantly made, such as the claim that fossil fuels are cheaper and more effective than alternative energy sources, and therefore, should remain the primary energy source. However, numerous studies have proved that, in the long run, alternative energies are more cost effective than fossil fuels which have proven to be key contributors to the climate crisis, a fact that outweighs their “effectiveness.”

Again, the path of climate activism is long and ever changing, it is still possible to effectively make the switch to alternative energy sources if the people stand in solidarity and commit to change; by holding corporations and politicians accountable while also recognizing that capitalism is the root, a decline in emissions may be seen.

NECC campus Trick-or-Treat a success

This year, Northern Essex Community College’s campus wide Trick-or-Treat was a smashing success; with routes among the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses, students and their families had the opportunity to visit over 30 locations to collect candy and treats.

Several offices even provided festive baked goods to trick-or-treaters. Along with the route for candy, the SOAR program hosted a virtual costume contest on their Instagram, @soar_necc, where the photos of numerous creative costumes can be viewed as well as the three winners of the contest.

While this event provided fun and spirit to participants as well as the opportunity to dress up in costume, the Campus Wide Trick-or-Treat imparted more than just a bag of sweets.

Many staff and students agree that this Halloween event sparks connection and brings together the NECC community.

“I think it’s important for the community piece, but also engaging faculty, staff and students in this process,” commented Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs/ Dean of Students Jonathan Miller, “I think that it also offers opportunities for students and faculty staff to also engage their kids, as bringing them to the college could present NECC as an option.”

This is an element occasionally overlooked in events such as these, as exposure to possible future academic pathways.

Faculty of the SOAR program, coordinators of the Trick-or-Treat, shared similar views on the event’s importance.

“In the SOAR program, one of the things that we’re always trying to do is recognize that a strong, cohesive college community helps students academically. If you feel like you’re involved and playing your part and that you belong to something, it makes you more involved in academics as well,” says Jacques Morrow, “If you’re not, it means you’re disconnected, it means that you don’t feel like you can reach out to somebody for help. It really helps people in the long run, being a part of that campus community, which is why these events are so much fun and so important.”

It becomes clear that encouraging students to engage with the community around them has numerous benefits, both mentally and academically. Students at the event also recognized this importance.

An attending participant commented, “A friend of mine told me about this months ago … I think events like these are very important because when I was in high school we didn’t really have many events like these to meet people. I’m going to be honest, I don’t know who half these people are, but that’s not stopping me from going out and having a good time!”

An student attendee, Christian, included, “You really get to know people and build up your skills with other students.” Though, when asked what drew them to the event, the most prominent answer was “candy.”

With the outstanding success of this event, it can be said that most students likely cannot wait for the next Halloween at NECC.

Haverhill plans multimillion construction project in a rural neighborhood

A new development project has brought out mixed emotions among local residents. Joseph’s Trattoria is currently occupying the lot at 145 Oxford Ave. off of Route 125 in Haverhill, though with news of a multimillion dollar construction project on the horizon this will all soon change.

The Haverhill City Council recently voted unanimously on Nov. 10 to approve plans by the owners of Joseph’s Trattoria to construct a retail and residential complex set to include two hundred residential units, private event space, a newly built restaurant, and several new retail spaces.

The family that owns Joseph’s have already constructed a similar development in Salem, New Hampshire, with more than 20 million dollars being invested to construct the shopping plaza connected to an adjoining 74 unit residential community.
There are also plans to construct an artisan grocery store similar to the Tuscan Market also in Salem New Hampshire. Its estimated tax revenue from the complex could bring in an additional $270,000 a year in revenue for the city of Haverhill, if everything goes as planned.

Mayor James Fiorentini of Haverhill published a letter in support of the project, saying the development will help create a walkable shopping center for local residents, calling the project ‘One of the finest developments to come to this city in some time.”

While some are enthusiastic about the potential new economic opportunities might have, others are more wary when it comes to the impact it’ll have on the surrounding community.

Critics have suggested that the city’s infrastructure might not be up to par to support such a massive community, with potential plumbing and water pressure issues being discussed as a potential problem in the future.
Civil Engineer Rick Friberg identified several key issues city officials and residents had with the project at the city council meeting on Nov. 1.

Several people have already voiced their concerns regarding impact the village will have on local roadways and traffic safety, though city officials have attempted to quell these concerns with plans for additional traffic lights and sidewalk installation in place to deal with the increased traffic the project will bring.

Some residents are unhappy with the potential additional traffic to their neighborhoods and fear the project could make what was once a quiet community far more crowded than they’d hoped for.

Crescent Farms owner Mike Davidowicz questioned at the Nov. 1 City Council meeting how the city planned to increase the availability of water in the area, which is already an ongoing issue in the neighborhood.

He stressed the importance of being cautious when it comes to new development projects that might negatively impact unoccupied land in Haverhill, especially considering Crescent Farms has been in operation for nearly a century.
“We preserved our land and we want it to remain open space. It’s kind of like The OJ case,” he said in reference to the construction plan, “the glove just doesn’t fit here.”

It’s still unclear whether or not local residents and the property developers plan to work out an arrangement as the start date for construction on the new property looms closer and closer.

Registration now open for winter, spring and summer

Starting Nov. 7, students attending Northern Essex Community College can now register for classes in the winter, spring, and summer.

“I feel confident. I’m excited to try new classes and explore what’s out there,” says Observer News Editor Aibhne Martino, a student at NECC.

Now that there are less than six weeks left in the fall semester, students and professors can expect to be busy during this time.
Not only are they getting through their workload, but they are also preparing themselves for next year and making their schedules.

The final exams are right around the corner too.

Despite everything that is happening, it is important for students to register as soon as possible.

“It’s important for students to have a plan as to what courses they want to take next. The fall is coming to an end, more quickly than people realize,” says Sarah Regan-Kelley, coordinator of the Liberal Arts Center.

Students are encouraged to meet with an adviser, or they can visit the academic center assigned to their program.
The Liberal Arts Center is a wonderful place for students to sign up for their classes and ask questions as well.

Transfer Fair draws a crowd

On Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., over 30 admissions representatives from multiple four-year public and private institutions visited Haverhill’s Northern Essex Community College’s campus.

There, the admissions counselors supplied information to interested students on what programs are available to them as well as transfer requirements and more.

It had been two years since this event took place on both Haverhill and Lawrence campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now arrangements for the next Transfer Fair are being considered.

At the Hartleb Technology Center (Building TC) in Haverhill, NECC students were greeted with pizza and given the opportunity to enter a raffle when they signed up at the front entrance.

A transfer checklist was handed out and on it were guidelines as to how students can prepare to transfer to a four-year school after graduating as well as questions that they can ask representatives.

NECC’s Director of Transfer, Articulation, and Academic Center Advising, Michelle Sunday, says, “The Transfer Fairs give students an opportunity to talk to transfer counselors at the college they were thinking about transferring to after graduation as well as some colleges they maybe haven’t considered.” She explains that the best time for students to connect with transfer counselors is in the Fall, before graduation in May.

Sunday continues, “Connecting with a transfer counselor is important because they are the experts on the admissions process, criteria to get into certain majors that might be more competitive than others, deadlines, and scholarships … It is important to begin those conversations early so there are no surprises once graduation rolls around and they’re ready to transfer.” The privileges of completing an associate degree at Northern Essex Community College are that individuals can save over thirteen hundred dollars when transferring to a state or private university, and most four-year institutions have better scholarships when transferring with an associate degree.

NECC’s Deb LaValley, says, “NECC has many Joint Admissions Agreements four-year Institutions that make transferring easier.”

Not only is Northern Essex Community College partnered with colleges and universities in Massachusetts but also in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. For anyone who was not able to attend this event, current students can reach out to their academic advisor, academic center, program coordinator of their major, or even Director, Michelle Sunday and Deb LaValley.
They can answer questions about the transfer process, connect students to transfer counselors at the transfer college/university, and connect them to resources like transfer scholarship opportunity. It is vital that students check NECC’s Event Calendar for College Tabling Visits.

Radiologic Tech club holds food drive

From November 1st to December 1st, the Radiologic Technology Club is hosting a food drive for students and staff to participate in as a part of this holiday season.

On the Lawrence campus the boxes are set up in the Dimitry building and on the Haverhill campus the boxes areset up in the student center.

Food donation bins
Donation boxes in the Dimitry building on the Lawrence campus for the Radiologic Tech Club’s food drive. Sarah Peirson, Correspondent

The Radiologic Technology Club at Northern Essex participates in alot of fundraising to help raise money for their seminars.

During the seminars students are able todiscuss what they have learned through their programs, talk about fundraising,how they can helpeach other and how they can help the community as a whole. The food drive is usually once a semester, but the club tries to target Thanksgiving to help students with money or food insecurities.

Emma Luce the President of the Radiologic Technology Club states that she enjoys the fundraising aspect of the club because it helps you get involved with the community and help them outside of just the medical field.

“We hosted some coat drives that did really well and we wanted to continue to help people so we hosted the food drive as well,” Luce states.

This semester was the first time in three years the club has been meeting on campus

Luce talks about how you meet a lot more people in this program that you may have never met in your classes and how it’s a great way to make connections.

“If any students are interested in anything regarding radiology or the Radiologic Technology Club, definitely contact Angela Bowers,” Luce encourages.

You can take your non-perishable food items to either Dimitry Building or Student Center to help out those in need this holiday season.