Methuen Mom Earns NECC Degree
Wendy Ramirez’s two young boys can now boast they have a smart mom and she has a college degree in early childhood education to prove it.
The Methuen resident was one of nearly 1,100 who graduated from Northern Essex Community College during its 56 annual commencement on Saturday, May 19, under a white tent on the Haverhill campus.
“I came into this program as a mom, so I definitely learn tricks and tips to use at home with my boys,” she said.
Ramirez, 29, who graduated with a near perfect GPA, arrived in the United States from El Salvador with her family when she was just five years old. The family settled in the greater Boston area. She attended Everett public schools while her mom worked for a commercial cleaning company. She graduated from Northeast Metropolitan Regional High School with a 4.0 GPA and a cosmetology degree. She worked for a hair salon for a few years before becoming a certified nurse assistant and working for Wellesley Hospital in the pediatric and maternity departments. It was then she decided to pursue a career working with young children.
So at 24, married with two children and a new home in Methuen, she and her husband formulated a plan so she could attend school full time for two years. He worked second shift at his job as a phlebotomist at Lawrence General Hospital so he could care for the boys during the day while she attended classes.
The last two years have been a mashup of classes, volunteerism, and practicums, she said. Each experience has been a treasure. She has served as vice president of the Early Childhood Education Club, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society of two-year colleges, and the National Society for Success and Leadership. In addition, she volunteered at Opportunity Works and Habitat for Humanity.
Ramirez hopes to transfer to a four-year teaching program in the fall. She dreams of teaching kindergarten in a local public school – quite possibly teaching special education students.
“I know Wendy will move on to make her dreams of being an early childhood educator a reality,” said Jody Carson, associate professor of early childhood education at NECC. “I also know her future students and their families will benefit greatly from being in her classroom. I look forward to seeing her shine.”
After completing her practicum at the Methuen YMCA and realizing how low supplies were, she launched a fundraiser and purchased art supplies for the nonprofit.
“I’m so grateful for my experience at Northern Essex. The opportunities have been incredible,” she said. “I feel prepared for the next step.”