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NECC Students Receive State Educators’ Scholarship

Submitted by on October 27, 2017 – 5:34 pm

Jinette Galarza

Two Northern Essex Community College students, Jinette Galarza of Lawrence and James Kerr of Amesbury, recently received $750 scholarships from the Massachusetts Educational Opportunity Association.

Both are involved in NECC’s Pathways to Academic & Career Excellence Program (PACE), a TRiO Student Support Services program that assists first-generation, low-income, or disabled students to graduate and transfer to four-year colleges.

Only five MEOA scholarships of $750 are awarded to eligible college students who have demonstrated the ability to overcome great obstacles and attain educational excellence.

Galarza, a liberal arts major, will graduate in May of 2018. A 2003 graduate of Essex Agricultural and Technical High School, she plans to enroll in UMass Lowell in the fall of 2018. She hopes to become a high school history teacher and possibly teach abroad.

She is an NECC presidential student ambassador, an orientation leader, secretary of NECC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter, a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Science Club, Student Leadership Association, and Student Senate and the student representative on the Judicial Hearing Board.

In recommending Galarza for the scholarship, Kristen Arnold, her transfer advisor and director of the PACE Program, praised her for overcoming shyness as well as financial and personal hardship to

James Kerr

persevere and enroll in Northern Essex and immerse herself in the school culture.

“Jinette’s journey in higher education has not been an easy one,” Arnold wrote, “It has been interrupted many times by financial hardship, family illness and loss. Through it all, she has not only survived, but thrived …She works more than 40 hours a week at the local hospital to support her household. With the recent passing of her step-father, she has been taking on as many extra hours as she can to make ends meet. At the same time she is providing emotional support to her grieving mother, attending school full time, and working as a student employee on campus. She is responsible, dedicated, and strategic in each of the roles she plays.”

Kerr is a Human Services major who graduates in December. He will transfer to Lesley University in the spring. He hopes to become a licensed therapist or psychologist. He volunteers his time at the YWCA Rape Crisis Center.

In nominating him for the scholarship, Sheila Corsaro, his PACE advisor wrote, “He is an outstanding and extremely hard-working student, currently carrying a 3.90 GPA.  James has had to overcome significant obstacles in his journey to pursue his higher education…Despite his significant personal challenges along the way, James has proven to be an extraordinary student with great dedication to both his academic studies and his community…he has shown determination, dedication, and an overall drive to accomplish his goals and set a path towards achieving high standards in his academic journey.”

MEOA is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization made up of educators, policy makers, professionals in the private sector and other individuals committed to ensuring that secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities are appropriate and accessible to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.