All posts by Observer Staff

Knights roll past Rams 91-66

Basketball players shoot a basket during a game.
Freshman Forward, Edwin SamMbaka leaps into the air tipping a pass in off the rim to put the Knights up 48-32 two minutes into the second period Daniel Henrick, Sports Editor

The Knights continued a five game home stand with a victory over the Rams from Springfield Technical Community College on Tuesday Jan 26 by a score of 91-66 at the Northern Essex fitness center. The win improves the Knight’s record to (20-1) and the Rams fell to (4-13).

This first meeting between the Knights and Rams on Dec 2, 2022, had featured an uncharacteristically poor offensive performance by the Knights shooting 30% inside field goal range and 20% from 3 point range.  In addition, the knights had scored a season low 27 points in their first half of that game.

“We’re going to try to run, we’re going to put a little more pressure on them going up and down the court to the type of style we want to play. We’re going with a quicker line up and we’re going to try to attack the rim much more and try to speed up the game a little bit more,” said head coach Darren Stratton regarding scheme adjustments to prevent another sluggish offensive start in this rematch.

These adjustments worked.

After a 2-2 tie, forward Edwin SamMbaka of Lawrence shot a two-pointer putting the Knights up 4-2 one minute into the rematch and the Knights never trailed or tied again. Overall, the Knights shot a much-improved offense in the rematch shooting 53% from field goal range and 50% from three-point land.

The score was 41-29 at halftime.

When the second period game clock hit zero the Knights were victorious by a final score of 91-66.

The win pushed the Knights win streak to 16 and remain undefeated in conference play.

The Knights were scheduled to be back in action for the third game of their five-game home stand Saturday, Jan 28, against Quinsigamond Community College at the fitness center.


Getting to know Kenoza Lake

As students and faculty make their way to the Haverhill campus each day, they’re greeted by the familiar sight of Kenoza Lake glistening in the sun as they drive past Winnikini Park off of Route 110.

While it can become easy to get used to such a beautiful sight, few people know just how central a role Kenoza Lake plays within the city of Haverhill and what problems it faces as the threat of water pollution looms it’s head.

Kenoza Lake serves another purpose beyond the asethetic; for more than a hundred years the lake has also served as a reservoir and one of Haverhill’s main supplies of fresh water. While beautiful, Kenoza Lake’s real contribution is the clean source of drinking water it’s provided over the decades. While the Merrmiack River has been grossly polluted as a result of illegal waste discharage and sewage overflow, Kenoza has remained relatively untouched. Despite this, the long term health and sustainability of the Kenoza Reservoir could pose a major threat in the coming years

The long term safety of the drinking water supply has been a concern in recent decades as well, with some noting the water treatment plant adjacent to the lake is now nearly 40 years old. While it’s inevitable that these facilities must eventually be replaced, the city has given no indication that it plans to make any adjustments to the wastewater treatment plant as of now.

While some might underscore the concern, the safety of Kenoza Lake and Haverhill’s other reservoirs will continue to grow as a topic of concern among residents fearing an unsafe drinking water supply. Although the city has spent a great amount of time attempting to alter it’s sewer system to protect Lake Kenoza, the reservoir can become vulnerable to elevated bacteria levels following bad weather. While these problems have been staved off with the help of dams and barriers so far, it’s possible the same issue could arise again in the future and greatly damage the city’s water supply.

The neglect shown to the neighboring Winnikinni Castle has also helped damage the prestige of Kenoza Lake. The city itself recognized this while attempting to earn a state grant for the renovation of the area. Until significant improvements can be made to the surrounding area, it’s likely the public will continue to ignore the problems posed by Kenoza Lake until its water supply is endangered. While we may not give the attention and care it deserves, Kenoza Lake has played a crucial role over the history of the cities existence. Local John Greenleaf Whittier immortalized it in at the opening of the park on August 31, 1859:

“Kenoza! o’er no sweeter lake
Shall morning break or noon-cloud sail,–
No fairer face than thine shall take
The sunset’s golden veil.G

Tipping culture

Families and friends often come together to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant to be able to sit down and enjoy each other‘s company, drinks and good food, as well as good service.

Many believe that tips should not be included in their overall bill when paying for their food.

Customers sometimes find that paying their bills should be enough and tipping shouldn’t be put on a customer who came for just food. Not everyone understands the effort, time and dedication it takes to provide good service. Some may think that when waiters and waitresses are upset about their tip when they thought they provided you with everything you needed and delivered excellent service that they have no place to be upset, they may think “find a better job with better pay so I don’t have to pay you myself.”

Here are some thoughts that servers themselves have when it comes to tipping culture and the restaurant industry.
Colby Manning, a 20 year old finance major at Merrimack College and part time waiter finds that tips are most certainly earned “if a waiter or waitress does not give the customer what they need then they have every right not to tip extra money,” Manning said. When working in the restaurant industry.

A receipt that says Excellent service
The writer shares two receipt examples. This has smiley face and “Excellent Service,” written on it. Shantely Aquino

When asked if Manning believes when people have worked in the restaurant industry they are more understanding and whether the industry is meant for everyone at some point in their livesManning says “People with experience in the restaurant industry have better multitasking skills and are better at dealing with people. However it is not for everyone… the industry is demanding physically and mentally some people are better off working with a job that suits their skills and personality more.”

Some servers believe that if everyone has worked in the industry at some point in their lives they grasp a better understanding of how much pressure and dedication it takes to clock in and get on your feet for hours, and some like Manning understand that just isn’t for everyone.

“I believe that when waiters take in the risk into this job they should understand that sometimes they will make significantly less than what they expect and many times they make significantly more. You can’t have that type of reward without risk.” Manning then mentions that when your tips don’t add up to minimum wage the restaurant should cover that shortfall. In Massachusetts due to the Fair Labor Standards Act an employer may credit. a portion of tips toward the employer’s obligation to pay minimum wage. When working as a waiter if you make “too much” you usually don’t receive a paycheck because tips are accounted as a form of income so therefore the hourly wage you do make goes into taxes due to Congress enacting the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) in 1982. At times when employees have worked and servers have a “slow day” they are paid minimum wage for their hours. The Massachusetts Fair Wage Law Tips requires employers to pay tipped employees at least $6.15 per hour for each hour worked in cash wages or otherwise known as a “service rate.”

A receipt that says Excellent service
The writer shares two receipt examples. This has smiley face and “Excellent Service,” written on it. Shantely Aquino, Features Editor

Lauren Mcrimmon, a 20 year old communications major at NECC, and waitress found that it does take a certain personality to work as a server. “It takes a unique person to work in the industry because sometimes it shows the worst parts of how people act and it can also be a toxic environment with both coworkers and customers.” Customers can sometimes be very cranky when they’re hungry or sometimes employees have bad days just like everyone else.
When asked her thoughts on people’s perspective of if waiters should find a better job or a job where you aren’t paid less than minimum wage and dependent on the tips of customers

Mcrimmon said “I would not be a server if it changed to minimum wage because it is a much harder job than any other minimum wage job and if I were to rely on minimum wage as well as less tips it would not be rewarding at all.”
A good amount of working in the restaurant industry takes a certain kind of patience, consistency, effort and even a little bit of a gamble because servers don’t always know what they will come home with at the end of the day but they do always know the work they will have to put in. Gziah Nunez, a 22 year old psychology major and criminal justice minor at UMass Lowell and parttime waiter, says “it’s not necessary for everyone to work in the restaurant industry because it simply isn’t for just any person, but I do think that everyone should at least grasp the understanding that employees are human beings and deserve to be treated with respect regardless of any error they have made.” Some days servers find themselves going home with the money they worked hard for to not be as rewarding when they have had customers talk down to them and felt treated as less than when circumstances don’t always go the customers’ way.

When asked about the slogan ‘’the customer is always right,” 18 year old Lisa Roscillo, a waitress says “I do believe in order to be professional ‘the customer is always right’ even when it hurts to be treated poorly. It is a part of the job to accomodate for customers.”

Yes, tips are usually earned but servers did not create the system in which they have to earn their money per table; they simply live in it. Tips are earned but respect doesn’t need to be.

Most people don’t know what a normal shift looks like for a server. There isn’t ever a normal shift, it isn’t the same as working a desk job and doing the same thing 9-5, you are always dealt a new hand everyday you come into work. The gamble of being a server takes a special kind of person and sometimes servers wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

Alumni share stories: Dynamic Duo share memories of their times at NECC in interview

Two women sit next to eachother on a couch.
Photo of Carolyn Martino (left) and Jean Aiken(right) sitting before their interviews Aibhne Martino, News Editor

Northern Essex Community College opened its doors on the new Haverhill campus in 1971 to more than 2,300 students, and has since then yielded numerous possibilities for academics as young as highschoolers taking part in duel enrollment to adults continuing their education.

No matter the goal, the college has a place and a program for any student with a goal and ambition. I interviewed my grandmothers, alumni Jean Aiken and Carolyn Martino on why NECC was an excellent fit for them. Both came from different backgrounds, and were working towards different goals, but found that the college substantially helped them along the way. Aiken, 75, attended courses to earn an accounting associates degree, and continues her passion for accounting as a bookkeeper at The Natural Grocer in Newburyport. Martino, 76, attended continuing education courses at NECC to update her nursing license after she served as a nurse in the Vietnam war.

“Every course I took was a feather in my cap,” said Aiken, expressing the satisfaction and knowledge taken from her classes. “What prompted me to start, was that there was a piece in the Newburyport Daily News that Northern Essex Community College was going to offer some non credit evening courses at Newburyport High.” Each alum voiced what caught their eye about the school.

“Northern Essex was convenient and the courses they offered were interesting,” Martino said, “I went with a friend actually, so that made it even more interesting! It was always a good experience.” It serves as a good reminder that a friend in academia will always heighten the experience and yield good results. Aiken additionally expressed that the college provided the opportunity to explore her interest. “I took Bookkeeping I, liked it. I took Bookkeeping II, liked it, and I knew that’s what field I wanted to go into,” she said, “I enjoyed it but I knew I would need much more education in order to advance… So a year later, I enrolled in NECC up in Haverhill and took my first on campus course, Accounting I.” In those days, the Northern Essex campus was brand new, and provided an exciting and certainly memorable opportunity to receive an education in a state-of-the-art college. “It was very modern, a new campus, and was very nice to attend,” Martino recalled, stating that it was amazing to be among some of the initial students to take classes.

Though, aside from the modernity of the school, NECC left more than just memories of a new campus. “I think it gave me the self confidence and the knowledge that I could go out into the working field and do my job and do it well, and I credit Northern Essex for that,” Aiken said.

This is something that still holds true today, students attend NECC and successfully transfer to four-year schools and to the working field with the skills to achieve. Along with wonderful academic opportunities, Northern Essex presented as accessible, even during its earliest days.

Martino expressed: “The nice thing about attending a community college is that it is affordable for most people and there’s a wide variety of courses you can take there… I happened to only need the continuing courses at the time, but who knows, I may take courses there in the future!” Aiken shared similar views on the subject of accessibility. “You could get all the extra help you need, [the courses] all gave office hours in Lawrence or on the Haverhill campus to get academic assistance… there were no computers when I was going in the beginning, so you had to meet in person… no one would ever turn you down for extra help!” An added bonus today is Academic Advising offices offer virtual meetings, so students no longer have to schedule time to drive to campus.

When considering that these two lovely ladies came to NECC from different backgrounds, and were working towards different goals on different pathways, it is amazing to see that both received the same incredible experience. Aiken said: “I’d really say that NECC gave me the confidence and knowhow to achieve and enjoy my working career.”

Jean Aiken grew up in a North Shore city in a small family and attended NECC while raising two children; Carolyn Martino grew up in rural Appalachia Pennsylvania in a family of 10, and attended the college after serving in the Vietnam war. Aiken worked towards an associates degree in Accounting, and Martino worked on courses for her nursing license. In the end, they both left the college with skills for taking on the working field.

Two women sit next to eachother on a couch.
Candid Photo of Martino (left) and Aiken (right) Aibhne Martino, News Editor

To connect with Academic Support Services, visit the NECC website,, and scehdule an appointment.

Service learning project promotes 988 lifeline

Poster reading Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988
This poster was created by Danielle Davidian as part of the service learning project in Doris Buckley’s class. The Observer hopes to run more of the posters next semester. Poster by Danielle Davidian

Students in Dr. Doris Buckley’s Introduction to Psychology online class were given a service-learning project this semester to promote the new 988 Mental Health Hotline. One of the topics students always want to learn about when taking Introduction to Psychology is mental disorders. They want to know how they can support their friends and families. The reality is that Introduction to Psychology has many topics to cover and mental disorders is only one small part of the course content.

Students were given a lot of freedom with this assignment as long as it met the goal of promoting the hotline. They were also required to write a reflection on their project. The outcome of their projects was so impressive! Projects included videos to share on social media, letters, and posters to put around campus to name a few.

One of the letters was written specifically for the Observer and is included here. This edition of the Observer also includes a poster that a student created. (Editor’s note: The Observer plans to feature more of the posters as public service announcements next semester.)

The holidays are a time of year when there are plenty of celebrations. However, for many it is also a difficult time for a myriad of reasons.

I hope that the amazing projects created by my students will bring awareness to our community but more importantly encourage individuals to reach out for help if needed.

988 for mental health

By Lindsey Latchford

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in children. Read that again. It is the second leading cause of death in children aged 10-24. The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is now offering easily accessible help that is avalible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

During 2020, Congress designated the 988 dialing code to replace the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as an attempt to transform America’s crisis care system. Making the process to call for help easier couldn’t have come at a better time for our youth. Covid was at its peak and our youth were tremendously suffering right under our noses.

After talking to my own children and their friends about the impact of Covid, a few common complexities continued to surface; loneliness, isolation, and fear. We, their parents and the government created a world that was nothing like the world they knew.

We isolated them from their friends and family, stopped them from attending their sports and activities, and what seems to be the most impactful of them all, taught them from zoom calls. We had created all this change to protect their health and just hoped that they’d come out okay on the other side.

Of course, some seemed just fine. They were able to adapt and “go with the flow,” but many suffered deep sadness, anxiety, fear, and other social complications. As a result, when it was time to enter back into the “normal life,” or close to it rather, they were significantly behind in society. Having two children of my own that now require medications for crippling anxiety, I observed that not only has the need for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) increased, but the absence of psychiatric assistance is also a substantial issue.

Implementing 988 as a resource for anyone suffering from thoughts of suicide has made it much easier for those feeling those desperate feelings to seek help. The website itself is easy to navigate, organizing specific care from youth to veterans and anyone in between. All it takes is one simple click and you can discover the 988 line.

The site ensures confidentiality, offers both call and text options, as well as clearly explaining what will happen if or when you call the line. It is made very clear that they are non-judgmental and ready to help, making note that any problem is worth calling about. This prevents those little problems from piling up, which can have an affect just as bad as one big problem would have.

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline site also shares valuable information for friends or family members who are worried about loved ones. The site lists warning signs, risk factors, and steps to take if someone you know is potentially suffering from suicidal thoughts, or any mental health issue. Not only does it tell you how to help your loved ones, but it tells you how to help yourself if there is too much weight on your shoulders.

There is no denying that our world is suffering from a mental health crisis and having resources like this one are vital for us to overcome it. Whether you or someone you know are experiencing these thoughts, there is something you can do to help. Having the option to call 988 is a great way to begin that healing process.

An introduction to the new coordinator for the Center for Liberal Arts

To the Editor,

Hello! My name is Sarah and I am the new Center Coordinator for the Center for Liberal Arts.

The Center is located in the Spurk Building in room C-209 on the Haverhill campus.

The Center is a place where students and faculty can hang out and get some work done. It’s a social and academic home base for the liberal arts.

There are computers and printers available as well as snacks and drinks.

We also host some events throughout each semester. We are here to answer any questions that come our way.

I graduated from Northern Essex in 2019, with an associate’s in liberal arts, right before the pandemic hit.

I then went on to Southern New Hampshire University and graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s in communications.

I am excited to be back on this dynamic and lively campus!

You can connect with us on Instagram, @neccliberalarts.

You can also send us an email at We hope to see and hear from you soon!

Sarah Regan-Kelley
Center Coordinator, Center for Liberal Arts

Politicians denounce Trump’s lunacy

Former President Donald Trump is still delusional about his loss in the 2020 election. So delusional in fact that he is calling to terminate the U.S. Constitution.

Trump took to his Truth Social platform with his infamous election fraud hits that he repeats over, and over again about how the 2020 election was stolen from him. Now Trump calls for the termination of the Constitution. Terminating the same Constitution that Trump swore an oath to protect and defend against enemies both foreign and domestic is a new one for Trump.

“So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD AND DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC and the Democratic Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION?” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post published Saturday.
Trump continued to say, “A Massive Fraud of this type of magnitude allows for the termination, of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False and Fraudulent Elections.”

The former president is in pure panic mode and will do anything he believes will stop the ongoing investigations of his many alleged crimes.

Trump announced his candidacy for the 2024 Presidential Election last week and unprecedented two years before the election, thinking it would shield him from the ongoing criminal and civil investigations and possible grand juries and indictments he may be facing soon.

Trump’s deranged post came days after, the soon to be House Majority Speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-California) tweeted, “on the very first day of new Republican elected Congress, we will read every single word of the Constitution allowed from the floor of the House – something that hasn’t been done in years.”

I think Leader McCarthy should read out loud the Constitution to the former president because I do not think he understands it.

There is ample evidence that Trump never had a grasp of what the U.S. Constitution stands for or means, let alone how much time, effort, and bi-partisan consensus it takes to amend it legally, according to Axios.

Trump truly is unhinged this time. 25 months after the 2020 Presidential General Election was called for Joe Biden (both Electoral College count and Popular vote), the former Apprentice host feels the need that the document that lays the foundation for all rights in the United States needs to be “fired.”

Donald Trump’s remarks were condemned by the White House, with Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates stated “attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation,” according to The Hill.

In a separate statement issued by Bates to The Hill, he called on all GOP lawmakers to “reaffirm their oath of office.”
According to Axios, several influential GOP figures have come out and criticized Trump’s insane claims.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) tweeted on Monday, “as elected officials, we take an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution,”
Rounds goes on to say, “we should never dishonor the oath. No one is above the Constitution. Anyone that desires to lead our country must protect the Constitution. They should not threaten to terminate it.”

Rounds finished with “there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would alter the results of the 2020 election.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Arkansas) who was among a few Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial in 2020, condemned Trump’s comments in a tweet Sunday night stating “suggesting the termination of the Constitution is not only a betrayal of our oath of office, it’s an affront to our Republic,” according to ABC News.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) who also voted to convict Trump, said the Republicans have historically represented “the party of the Constitution,” which puts the former president’s comments into conflict with being a Republican, according to ABC News.
“When President Trump says he wants to suspend the Constitution, he goes from being MAGA to being RINO,” Romney also said, using the acronym for Republicans in name only.

Former Vice President Mike Pence told WVOC Radio in South Carolina “everyone who serves in public office, everyone that aspires to serve or serve again, should make it clear we will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Other Republican lawmakers had harsher things to say.
Representative Liz Chaney (R-Wyoming) said in a tweet on Sunday night “no honest person can now deny that Trump is an enemy of the Constitution.”

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) tweeted on Sunday “with the former president calling to throw aside the Constitution, not a single conservative can legitimately support him, and not a single supporter can be called a conservative.” Kinzinger added “this is insane. Trump hates the Constitution.”
Representative Mike Turner (R-Ohio) denounced Trump’s claims telling CBS’s “Face The Nation” that the former president’s remarks were “certainly not consistent with the oath we all take.” He goes on to say, “I vehemently disagree with the statement Trump has made.”

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, an adviser to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said “I don’t know why anybody would say such a thing like that, certainly not an ex-president. I think that’s irresponsible.

On the Democratic side, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) tweeted on Sunday “for Donald Trump last week it was dinner with antisemites. Now he’s calling for an end to America’s Constitutional democracy. He’s out of control and a danger to our democracy. Everyone must condemn this attack on our democracy” according to Axios.

Representative Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey) tweeted Sunday “a few hours ago the leader of the republican party Donald Trump called for destroying the Constitution and making himself dictator.”

Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California) tweeted Monday “every congressional reporter should demand responses from Congressional Republicans about Donald Trump’s call for the Constitution to be terminated… how many of them call themselves ‘Constitutional conservatives’ during the Obama years???”

“Trump’s words and actions are well beyond the bounds of acceptable political discourse,.They stoke hatred and political violence, and they are dangerous” a statement made by Representative Don Beyer (D-Virginia), he went on to say, “Trump has openly declared himself an enemy of the Constitution, and Republicans must repudiate him.”

After a lot of backlash from the Republican Party, Trump tried to back track his statement by saying his posts were misinterpreted by the “fake news media” about his suggested that election rules should be scrapped so he can return to office.
According to Forbes, Trump insisted Monday that “what I said was that … steps must be taken to right the wrong, with the massive and widespread fraud and deception” he claims occured in the presidential election despite no evidence of his claims, according to Forbes

Newly elected Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) told ABC’s This Week on Sunday he “thought it was strange statement.” He went on to say, “the Republicans are going to have to work out their issues with the former president and decide whether they are going to break from him and return to some semblance of reasonableness, or continue to lean into the extremism, not just of Trump but of Trump-ism”

I bet the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves.


Panel highlights mental health

A group of people sit in audience while speakers speak on stage.
A crowd turned out in the Spurk lecture hall on Dec. 1 for a panel discussion, “Personal Stories on Mental Health Struggles, Recovery and Advocacy.” Panelists shared their stories. Sarah Peirson, Correspondent

On Dec. 1 students and staff members of Northern Essex Community College were invited to a mental health panel located in the Spurk building.

Everyone was greeted with refreshments before taking a seat in lecture hall A for the event that was from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Raffle tickets were given out to help encourage people to stay the duration of the event.

Associate Professor and Psychology Program Coordinator Krista Titone was the organizer of this event and announced at the beginning of the speeches, “We want to help reduce the stigma surrounding psychological disorders.”
Four guest volunteers, were Pamela Gaudreau, Michelle Howard, Melissa Richardson and Jason Martin, shared their stories. They sat at the front of the room and one by one each person shared their personal connection with psychological disorders.


Bipolar Depression, Anorexia, Alcoholism and ADHD were discussed during the event. Pictures and self produced music were shared during two of the speeches.

Michelle Howard who was accompanied by her sister who suffered for 39 years with anorexia, shared awareness of her book “The Thin Woman” and shared some of the excerpts from the text.

Guests sitting in the audience were allowed to ask questions about treatment and careers.

If you are interested in going into a career in the psychology field or are in need of support through personal psychological problems, Northern Essex Community College is here to support you. Check the calendar on the Northern Essex homepage for further information about similar upcoming events.
See related story about mental health on Page 5

Moving on to my next journey

 I am so sad that my duties as the Sports Editor and Editor-In-Chief will come to an end after the  end of the semester. This is my last issue of the Observer as a staff member.

I have a lot of people to thank. First of all, I would like to thank all of my teachers that I have currently and in the past who helped me succeed in this community college, which will help me in the real world when I go to a four year school.

I would like to thank the tutors that helped me on my essays for English Comp 1 and 2 and other course that is related to writing, for example my American Literature class that I took over the summer.

I want to thank the Athletic Director Dan Blair for making me the PA announcer for home basketball games, to have some practice. It is a good learning experience for me for the future to get better and better for the real world and it is good to put in my resume.

Thank you Mary Jo for giving me an opportunity to be on staff when I joined the Observer in mid October of 2021 as the sports editor and a semester later I took over double duties also as Editor-in-Chief.

As a Sports Editor, I take this very seriously. Every game I can possibly can I will go to too cover the teams This was a fun experience that I really enjoyed. I enjoyed doing pre game interviews before the games to have sense of what the game is going to be about, so nothing will catch me by surprise in the game. I have also enjoyed writing what is happening during the games and doing post game interviews with head coaches and athletes. Also just preparing my self before the game, I don’t just look at the Knights stats, I also I look at their opponents ,their record and which players from the other team might give us a hard time and what the head coach is going to do to avoid that specific player.

Because of this Eagle Tribune assistant sports editor Hector Longo, gave me an opportunity to be a freelancer correspondent for the Eagle Tribune. free lancer as a corresponded for I covered high school football games during the month of October and early November. He told me he will reach out to me for high school basketball and hockey games and I don’t think any of this would’ve been possible if I was not part of the Observer.

This has been really fun. I wouldn’t trade this for anything in this world. I feel I am already a journalist even though I am just a student who is climbing up the ladder trying to be a sports journalist.

My ultimate goal dream job is to be a play by play baseball announcer and a sports talk show host on the radio.

I will miss NECC so much. This is my home. This is not a good bye, this is I will see you guys soon, take care.

Union members advocate for new contract

Members of the Massachusetts Community College Council union at NECC recently voted to go to “work to rule,” in reaction to ongoing contract negotiations with the Board of Higher Education.

I interviewed coordinator of academic coaching and president of the executive board of the Northern Essex MCCC union chapter   Linda Giampa to get some background on what the MCC is and who it represents.

“…We are a union and we represent faculty and we represent professional staff. I am a professional staff, professional staff people like adviser, financial aid, those will be professional staff and faculty is the instructor that teaches the classes,” she said. “The contract that we are negotiating now is for full time faculty and staff. We also have a separate contract for (adjunct instructors) but that one has already has been negotiated… We are affiliated with the Massachusetts Teacher Association, MTA and the NEO which is the National Education Association,” she said.

Faculty and staff union members at NECC are advocating for a new contract with the state's Board of Higher Education
Faculty and staff union members at NECC are advocating for a new contract with the state’s Board of Higher Education Photo by Editor-in-Chief/ Sports Editor Jose Rodriguez

Giampa told what work-to-rule is and explained why faculty and staff have voted to do this.

me what is work-to rule and give me an explanation why faculty and stuff are in work to rule ?

“We can’t strike,” she said. “… What work to rule basically is is that we just do the work that we are contractually required to do… So that means we don’t do extra things like we wouldn’t serve on extra committees, search committees… so we are asking our members not to do anything extra, they should only do what they are required to in the contract,” she said.

I interviewed Tom Greene, he is a faculty member and Day Grievance coordinator in the MCC union here at Northern Essex.

I ask him if he thinks an agreement will be reached soon?

“There is negotiating that is happening, (negotiations)are ongoing,” he said.  “It is really hard to tell how close things are for reaching in agreement. It seems a couple months ago the agreement was about to happen and lately it seems that it is dragging on and on and is not going anywhere,” Greene said.

Greene and I talked about the number of community colleges that are in work to rule in Massachusetts. “Right know I think it is only two but unless there were some kind of resolution two days ago now all of the colleges are being asked to vote whether or not (they will go on) twork to rule so maybe more very soon,” he said on Dec. 1

I ask NECC President Lane Glenn if he feels not having a contract affects the morale of staff and faculty. “I understand why some people may feel discouraged by not having a contract yet unfortunately, historically it is not unusual l for things like this to happen. That doesn’t make it right or comfortable but this has happened (a numbers of times) over the years for lots of different reasons, but certainly I understand how it can be discouraging for employees which is one of the reason that we want to make an agreement as soon as possible,” he said.

I asked him how is it impacting students ? “So far I have not heard any negative impacts on students,” he said. “I think our faculty and staff are very mindful not to negatively impact our students, they know the student are most important, they are the reason why we are here in the first place, Everybody, and I don’t know a single person in this college however they are feeling in every given day who would’ve negatively impact our students.”