NECC Professor Nominated for Award
Paula Richards of Salisbury, who teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at Northern Essex Community College, was recently nominated for the Haverhill YMCA’s Educator of the Year Award.
The award recognizes the extraordinary work educators do in the community, honoring individuals who have made a significant difference in the lives of children.
Recipients must currently work in the field of education in Haverhill, and they are nominated based on their commitment to their profession over and above expectations, including encouraging family involvement, leadership opportunities, and more; outstanding contributions to the education of students in the Haverhill community; and commitment to serving the community.
Richards was nominated by Janice Rogers, NECC’s assistant dean of academic preparation, for her service to her students and the local community.
Richards is committed to service learning, a method of teaching, learning, and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service.
She frequently partners with Emmaus House, a homeless shelter in Haverhill, creating learning opportunities which incorporate service for her students.
This semester her students are collaborating with GED students at Emmaus House on a writing project. The Emmaus students visited NECC for several class sessions, gaining a greater understanding of what it means to be a college student. In return, NECC ESL students learn about homelessness and resources in their local community. Her students toured Emmaus and participated in group discussions and peer-editing sessions there. In the end, both the NECC and Emmaus students will reach their goal of writing a well-structured, grammatically correct essay.
Over the years her students have also organized a number of collection drives to bring new and gently used books to the children and families at Emmaus.
In addition to her teaching, Richards is the coordinator of the Service Learning Program at NECC.
Upon receiving the news that she was nominated for this award, Richards said she felt “so honored and surprised.” She says “the recognition truly belongs to all of my students who participated in their service learning projects with the faculty, staff, and students of Emmaus.”