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NECC Celebrates Early College Graduates from Ten Local High Schools

Submitted by on May 23, 2022 – 6:17 pm

A group of Lawrence High School Early College grads celebrate their achievement.

Three-hundred graduating seniors 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 12 Early College Recognition Ceremony, held under a tent on Northern Essex’s Haverhill Campus.

The students earned a total of 4,760 credits while in high school, an average of 16 credits each, which translates to a full college semester. The students will transfer their credits to 48 different public and private colleges, from UMass Amherst to Middlebury. Fifty-eight have elected to attend Northern Essex in the fall.

Five students are graduating with both associate degrees and their high school diplomas this year, having completed two full years of college while still in high school. That group includes Zoe Glenn, Amesbury, who earned an associate degree in business transfer with high honors; Blake Holcomb of Haverhill, General Studies: Health Specialization; Brooklin Joubert of Oxford, Liberal Arts with honors; Zachary Kaczor, Haverhill, Computer Science with high honors; and Maria Soracco of Newburyport, Chemistry, Physics, and Environmental Science with high honors.

NECC President Lane Glenn, father to Zoe, told the graduates that he imagined his daughter’s experience was like theirs. “I saw first-hand how challenging this was. In the best of times, it’s hard but you were dealing with COVID as well as applying to college and all the extra stress of senior year. This is a major accomplishment and I’m so happy to be celebrating with all of you.”

Student Speaker Jaydalise Scott of Lawrence, who is graduating from the Phoenix Charter Academy, said when offered the opportunity to take college courses in the spring of 2020 she almost didn’t do it. “I didn’t know if I had what it took. I took on the challenge because I wanted to be a role model for my three little brothers.”

President of her high school class, Scott has been accepted to three colleges and she will be attending UMass Boston in the fall.

Early College grads Nathanial Buteau and Victor Martinez from Haverhill HS. Buteau plans to attend UMass Lowell and Martinez is headed for Bridgewater State, where he will play football.

Nathanial Buteau of Haverhill High School earned 37 credits as part of the Early College Program and he will transfer them to UMass Lowell, where he will study Exercise Science, with plans to apply to medical school.  His dream is to be a primary care doctor. “Early College gave me insight on college opportunities,” he says. “It was good to start early.”

Akira Matos of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School wants to be an ophthalmologist. She will bring her 18 credits to Northern Essex with plans to earn an associate degree in one year and transfer to UMass Boston. Once she has her bachelor’s, she will apply to the MA College of Health and Sciences for her graduate studies. She had taken the highest level classes at Whitter and Early College gave her the opportunity to stretch herself. She says it was fairly manageable, except for chemistry, which her “teachers got her through.”

Early College Graduate Akira Matos of Whittier plans to take the 18 credits she earned and graduate from NECC in one year. Her goal is to become an ophthalmologist.

Darleny Rosario of Lawrence High School will attend the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst in the fall. She plans to study cosmetology while getting her business degree and eventually open her own business, a salon specializing in “curly hair.” Rosario is in the National Guard Reserves and she said Early College helped give her insight on college. “I learned how to manage my time,” she says.

Also speaking at the ceremony were Dr. Jennifer Mezquita, NECC vice president of student affairs; Aaron Altman, NECC associate dean, PK12 Partnerships; Mary Jo Shafer, Early College professor; Dr. Paul Beaudin, NECC vice president of academic affairs; Jason Meland, Haverhill High School principal; Victor Caraballo-Anderson, Lawrence High School principal; Martha Tatro, Methuen High School counseling department chair; Nachelle Gordon, Phoenix Charter Academy head of school; and Maureen Lynch, Whitter Regional Vocational Technical High School superintendent.

Early College graduate Darleny Rosario of Lawrence High School has earned 18 credits and will attend UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management in the fall.

Students honored at the May 12 ceremony were from Amesbury, Andover, Dearborn Academy, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Newburyport, North Andover, Oxford High School, Pentucket Regional, Phoenix Charter Academy, Sanborn Regional, Timberlane Regional and Whittier Regional high schools.

NECC is one of 22 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. Students spend part of their day at the high school and travel to the college campus by bus for morning or 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.

Northern Essex’s partnerships have seen tremendous growth. There were 554 students enrolled in Early College Programs in the fall of 2021 and 654 students enrolled this spring, an 18 percent increase.

Here’s the Recognition Ceremony Program with a full list of grads from the ten high schools.

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