Menu button
Home » Commencement 2024, Events, Mobile

Ceremony Honors NECC’s Early College Students

Submitted by on May 23, 2024 – 2:51 pm

Haverhill, MA (May 16, 2024) ­– More than 500 graduating seniors from 22 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.

Helena Mason of Haverhill received her certificate from her mom, NECC VP of the Lawrence Campus and Community Relations Noemi Custodia-Lora.

The students and their families celebrated at an Early College Recognition Ceremony on May 16, held on Northern Essex’s Haverhill Campus.

The students earned a total of 8,139 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 57 different public and private colleges, from UMass Amherst to Worcester Polytechnic Institute to Northeastern University. At least 90 have elected to attend Northern Essex in the fall.

Nine 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 Anna Perrin of Central Catholic High School; Derek Chase of the Clark School; Helena Mason, Abigail Mejia and Charles Sparrow of Haverhill High School; homeschooled students Kenza Maagoul of Haverhill and Lily Martino of Newburyport; Cassandra Doyle of Tec-Connections Academy; and Max Carson from Winnacunnet High School.

NECC CIS: Computer Science major Osaym Omar is an alumnus of the Early College Program. He took classes while a student at Haverhill High School and elected to continue at Northern Essex as a Promise Scholar in the fall of 2023. Omar shared how Early College shaped his outlook on academics and his career: “Early College laid the groundwork for my success. I was prepared for college courses and I have cherished memories from my time on campus.”

Gabriella Ortiz, a graduating senior who attends Whittier Tech, echoed Omar’s sentiments. “Initially, I worried that it would be too hard, that I couldn’t keep up,” she said. “But enrolling was so good for me. We got a real taste of college, what assignments are like and the importance of getting them in on time. Early College gave us the tools to be successful in all areas of our lives.” Ortiz will attend Merrimack College in the fall with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.


NECC is one of 22 colleges and universities participating in the statewide Massachusetts Early College Initiative. This initiative partners high schools with colleges and universities for designated programs. 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.

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 also offers the NECC Promise Scholarship Program to students from Haverhill, Lawrence, Whittier and now Seacoast area high schools. That allows students who earn at least 15 credits and a 3.0 GPA in Early College to continue at Northern Essex for free.

The Early College Program at NECC continues to see tremendous growth. In 2018, about 250 students were enrolled. This past semester, 1,018 high school students took Early College classes.

If you are interested in learning more about Early College opportunities at NECC, visit the webpage or contact