Menu button
Home » Headline, Mobile, Programs

NECC Celebrates Early College Graduates from Ten Local High Schools

Submitted by on May 24, 2021 – 9:42 pm


Madeline Aquino and Irland Metivier of Lawrence HS

Two-hundred and fourteen graduates from ten local high schools earned college credits, in addition to their high school diplomas this year, as participants in Northern Essex Community College’s Early College Program.

The students, along with their families, celebrated at a May 13 Early College Recognition Ceremony held under a tent on Northern Essex’s Haverhill Campus.

Graduating Early College students earned an average of 23 credits—close to 8 college courses each—which they will take to 40 colleges in the fall, including public universities and private institutions, such as UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, Boston University, Clark University, Merrimack College, and Providence College. Thirty-eight of the graduates will attend Northern Essex.

Northern Essex President Lane Glenn told the graduates that “No one in the history of the world has ever done what you’ve done. You’ve been taking high school and college courses and likely working part-time during a global pandemic.”

HHS Graduate Lily Hood is transferring to UMass Lowell.

Haverhill High School’s Lily Hood graduated with credit for nine college courses which she will transfer to UMass Lowell in the fall. Hood plans to major in Health Science and continue on for a master’s and become a physician’s assistant. Thanks to the college credits she’s earned, she should be able to graduate with her bachelor’s at least a semester early and get a jump on her master’s. Her older brother and sister both participated in the Early College Program. What she appreciated most were the “flexibility” and “the amazing professors.”

Her classmate, Haverhill High School graduate Chelsea Daigle, will continue at Northern Essex in the fall. Daigle admits to having a lot of interests and she plans to explore her options at Northern Essex, taking courses in political science, chemistry, journalism, and education. Having already earned 40 credits, Daigle should be able to graduate with her associate degree in just a year.

Yarendy Lopez, a 2021 Lawrence High School graduate, will transfer her 28 credits, or eight college courses, to Northeastern University, where she will study Health Care Management. Speaking about Early College, she said “I am very glad I did it. Early College gave me an insight into what’s waiting for me in the fall.”

Lawrence High graduate Mishael De La Cruz will continue their education at Northern Essex, where he plans to major in Psychology. For him, Early College was an excellent learning experience and he loved meeting students from other high schools.

Lawrence’s Mishael De La Cruz will continue his studies at Northern Essex in the fall.

In addition to President Lane Glenn, speakers at the recognition ceremony included Marcy Yeager, Northern Essex, executive director of PK-12 Partnerships and International Programs; Peter Maskaluk, Early College English faculty; Bill Heineman, Northern Essex provost and vice president of academic affairs; Victor Caraballo-Anderson, Lawrence High School head of school; Glenn Burns, Haverhill High School principal; and Maureen Lynch, Whittier superintendent.

NECC is one of 19 colleges and universities participating in the statewide Massachusetts Early College Initiative, which partners high schools with colleges and universities for designated programs between them. NECC has designated programs with Haverhill High School, Lawrence High School, and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Students from these designated programs earn college credits for free while they’re still in high school. Plus, the classes count toward both students’ high school graduation requirements and their future college degrees. Most students spend the morning at their high school and travel to the college campus by bus for afternoon college-level courses.

And because the Early College program also includes “pathways” that mimic college majors, including business, criminal justice, healthcare, and education, students can experience the rigors and culture of college while also getting a taste of their possible major.

In addition to its state designated partnerships with Haverhill, Lawrence, and Whittier, Northern Essex offers its Early College Program to students from 25 other local high schools. These students can earn credits at a 50% discount.

Students honored at the May 13 ceremony were from Amesbury, Methuen, Newburyport, Pentucket Regional, Sanborn Regional, and Timberlane Regional high schools as well as the Phoenix Academy.

Northern Essex’s partnerships have seen tremendous growth. There were 548 students enrolled in Early College Programs in the fall of 2020, a 37% increase over the fall of 2019 when 398 students were enrolled.

Here’s a full list of grads from the ten high schools.

If you are interested in learning more about Early College opportunities at NECC, contact

Northern Essex Community College has campuses in both Haverhill and Lawrence. It offers approximately 60 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  Each year, 6,000 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 2,000 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  For more information, visit the website at or call 978-556-3700.