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Number of Commonwealth Honors Grads Increased this Year

Submitted by on August 3, 2020 – 8:05 pm
Young Black woman in floral dress stands in front of her honors project titled The Collaborative World of Theater.

Hygina Mathurin of Haverhill graduated from the Commonwealth Honors Program and will pursue further studies in Public Health.

This year, there was an increase in the number of students graduating from Northern Essex Community College’s rigorous Commonwealth Honors Program, which gives motivated students an enhanced learning experience including the opportunity for research and presentation.

While the college typically has three to four students graduate each year, the class of 2020 includes seven Honors Experience/Commonwealth Honors Scholars. The program was started in 1998.

Professor Ginger Hurajt, coordinator of the Commonwealth Honors Program at Northern Essex, attributes the increase to the addition of new introductory courses with the honors designation. “Students can now take Honors English Composition I and/or Honors Introduction to Psychology their first semester at Northern Essex,” says Hurajt. “By starting early, they have more time to complete the requirements.”

The Commonwealth Honors Program is challenging. Students must have a B+ average. They must commit to completing two honors projects or honors courses, participate in a community service project, enroll in the Honors Seminar, maintain a 3.3 GPA, and earn at least a B in designated honors courses. Students can do honors projects in online courses or evening classes.

“Honors students receive an honors notation on their transcripts,” says Hurajt. “That impresses transfer colleges and employers. There is also an award for honors graduates from the NECC Foundation, and we find our Commonwealth Honors Program grads receive generous scholarships from transfer colleges and universities.”

One of the most compelling arguments for enrolling in the honors program is that upon completion, students can transfer into the honors program at any Massachusetts state  university, a statewide collaboration unique to Massachusetts.

This year’s Commonwealth Honors Program graduates include: Michael Bushway of Lawrence, Liberal Arts Philosophy; Kristina Gelinas of Plaistow, Business Transfer; Daniel Huppe of Georgetown, Business Transfer; Dan Keating, Groveland, Business Transfer; Hygina Mathurin, Haverhill, General Studies Health Specialization; Ella Pellegrino, Nashua, NH, Liberal Arts; and Wasan Rajab, Methuen, Liberal Arts.

The honors program is ideal for students who are independent learners, who have motivation and perseverance, as well as the passion to pursue an honors level project, says Hurajt. Interested students can do just one honors course or project without committing to the honors program. That course receives the honors designation on the transcript.

For more information on the Commonwealth Honors Program at Northern Essex, contact Hurajt,