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NECC Announces This Year’s Student Commencement Speakers

Submitted by on May 11, 2021 – 6:36 pm

Shanna Guy, Business & Accounting Student Graduation Speaker

Typically, one student is selected to speak at Northern Essex Community College’s commencement ceremony. This year, five students will be speaking, one at each of the five smaller ceremonies that will be held on Saturday, May 15.

The ceremonies are organized by academic area, and each of the five academic centers was asked to select their own speaker based on academic record and contributions to the college and the community.

Janice Rogers, commencement co-chair, organized the process and was pleased with the results. “COVID has made everything more difficult, including celebrating our graduates,” she said. “The good news is that this year we get to hear five student stories, rather than just one, and the graduates who were selected are amazing.”

Here’s who has been selected to speak:

Business and Accounting:

Shanna Guy of Newburyport

Associate of Science: Business Transfer: High Honors

Guy attended Northern Essex soon after graduating from Amesbury High School in 2011, but things didn’t go as planned. Seven years later, she came back to finish what she started.

Read her story.

Professional Studies:

Shania Berard of Methuen

Associate of Science: Elementary Education, High Honors

Berard decided on her career path as a six-year old at the Tenney Elementary School in Methuen. She has been working full time as a teacher at the Andover Little Sprouts while in college.

Read her story.

Liberal Arts:

Michelle Colbert-Mason of Haverhill

Associate of Arts: Liberal Arts: Journalism/Communication Option, High Honors

Colbert-Mason dropped out of Haverhill High School when she was 16, but she didn’t skip a beat, earning her GED later that year, and enrolling in college at the age of 17.

Read her story.


Vladimir Ventura of Lawrence

Associate of Science: Computer Information Sciences: Computer Science Transfer Option, Honors

Ventura is graduating having completed two software engineering internships and with plans to transfer to UMass Lowell to continue his studies.

Read his story.

Health Professions:

Paola Sierra de Valerio of Lawrence

Associate of Arts: General Studies: Health Specialization, High Honors

A native of the Dominican Republic, Sierra emigrated from Spain in 2014 to fulfill her dream of graduating from college in the U.S.

Read her story.