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Aspiring Social Worker Selected as NECC Student Commencement Speaker

Submitted by on May 1, 2017 – 2:25 pm

Daniela Chavez-Hernandez, NECC’s 2017 Student Commencement Speaker

Daniela Chavez-Hernandez, a Northern Essex Community College Early Childhood Education major with a 3.96 grade point average, has been selected as the student speaker for the college’s 55th Annual Commencement Exercises, which will be held on Saturday, May 20 on the Haverhill Campus.  Now living in Dracut, Chavez-Herandez is a former resident of Lawrence.

Born in Mexico, Chavez-Herandez came to the United States when she was 16 years-old, speaking no English.  She attended an Arizona high school for two years where she honed her English writing and reading skills.

Chavez-Herandez is the mother of a two-year old daughter and she also works full-time as a pre-school teacher at the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council’s Child Care Center, which provides services to low income families.  Still, she has found the time for campus life, as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, a national community college honorary society; treasurer of the Early Childhood Education Club; a student note taker; and a participant in Pathways to Academic and Career Excellence, a federally funded support program for disadvantaged students.

After graduation, Chavez-Herandez plans to transfer to Tufts University.  Her goal is to become a social worker and work with underprivileged children, a direction which has been shaped by her work as a pre-school teacher.  “I see a need in the community for social workers and I want to continue working with children and families to improve their quality of life through community services and counseling,” she says.

Chavez-Hernandez has taken day, evening, online, and hybrid courses while a student at Northern Essex and she credits her professors and the support she has received from staff for helping her to succeed.

Her father died when she was one-year-old and she and her three sisters were raised by her mother who sometimes worked multiple jobs to support the family.  Her mother as well as her younger sister will be coming from Arizona to celebrate her graduation.

Chavez-Hernandez was nominated for this honor by Deirdre Budzyna and Gail Feigenbaum from the Early Childhood Education Program and Kristin Arnold from PACE.

Over 1,000 graduates will receive certificates and associate degrees at the college’s 55th Annual Commencement, which will be help on Saturday, May 20, at 11 a.m. on Northern Essex’s Haverhill Campus.

For more information about the NECC Commencement, visit the website,