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NECC Students Nominated for National Scholarship

Submitted by on April 5, 2017 – 1:32 pm

Dr. Carlos Santiago, commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (left) congratulates Daniela Chavez-Hernandez, following the State House ceremony. Bill Heineman, vice president of academic and students affairs is to the right.

Two Northern Essex Community College students, Daniela Chavez-Hernandez of Lawrence and Casimir Ntar of Haverhill, were recently nominated for the annual Coca Cola Transfer Scholarship Award of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, a national organization that provides enrichment opportunities for outstanding students.

Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society, a co-sponsor of the event, presented the honors at the Massachusetts State House in Boston on March 30th. Chavez-Hernandez and Ntar were two of 33 of the highest academic achievers of the Massachusetts community college system. Every year, Massachusetts Community College Executive Office (MCCEO) hosts this event at the State House in Boston to showcase the best and brightest of the 15-college system. The event is co-sponsored by the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society, the Coca-Cola Foundation, and MCCEO.

Dr. Carlos Santiago, commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (left) congratulates Casimir Ntar, following the State House ceremony. Bill Heineman, vice president of academic and students affairs is to the right.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Dr. John Cox, this year’s chair of the Community Colleges Council of Presidents, served as the master of ceremonies. Cox is the current president of Cape Cod Community College.

“It’s important to recognize the initiative, dedication, and hard work of so many students at our community colleges,” said President Cox. “These students exemplify that commitment, and we’re truly honored to be able to celebrate their accomplishments.”

Ntar, 23, who is originally from Cameroon, and Chavez-Hernandez, 27, who is originally from Mexico, were selected due to their academic success and community service.

Ntar is a business transfer student who led NECC’s African Students Club. He currently attends UMass Lowell where he is studying accounting. While attending NECC, he volunteered for the Cameroon Catholic Community religious services in Salem, MA, and helped serve their elderly. Back in Cameroon, he mentored his peers in secondary education and often invited classmates to stay with him during exam periods, so they could study together. During summer holidays, Ntar and his friends organized sporting events, like a soccer competition, so the community youth stayed productive and active. He also volunteered at a local church to clean its compound and visit the sick at a nearby hospital. He is an international student who hopes to visit his family in Cameroon soon.

Chavez-Hernandez, 27, plans to complete her associate degree in early childhood education at Northern Essex this May. She was active in NECC’s Early Childhood Education Club and served as the treasurer. She also joined Northern Essex’s PACE program and participated in weekly in-person and online workshops. In addition, she worked for the Learning Accommodation Services last semester by taking notes for a classmate who is deaf and she participated in NECC’s Student Leadership Development Program. Chavez- Hernandez plans to transfer to Salem State University to major in social services this fall. She is currently a preschool teacher at a local learning center in Lawrence while completing her studies at NECC. She has also worked with troubled teens back in Arizona. Her future dreams include serving the needs of Lawrence during her free time as she completes her bachelor’s degree.

The Coca Cola Scholarship Program recognizes exceptional students who have transferred or will transfer from NECC, hold a cumulative GPA or 3.5 or higher, and demonstrate significant community service involvement. For more information, please visit the scholarship page.

Students nominated for the Coca-Cola Scholarships are recognized at the State House and they are also eligible to win scholarships with a value of $1000 to $5000.  Each year two students from each of the 15 Massachusetts community colleges are recognized.