Byline: Steven H. Foskett Jr.
WORCESTER - Charles F. Desmond, chairman of the state Board of Higher Education, told the Quinsigamond Community College class of 2009 yesterday that his own upbringing in a broken home and his early troubles in school should serve as an example of seizing opportunities in life.
Early on in his academic career, Mr. Desmond said, he was an "academic disaster," lacked motivation, and stumbled often.
"Some people overcome those circumstances," said Mr. Desmond, a Vietnam War veteran and Fulbright scholar. "Many don't."
Mr. Desmond was appointed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick in September to the state Board of Higher Education, and was appointed chairman late last year.
The longtime educator and advocate for urban educational reform said successful people in society rarely achieve what they do alone, and he asked the graduates to stand and applaud the support systems - friends, spouses, partners, faculty, staff, and family - that helped them get to where they were yesterday.
Hundreds of family and friends flocked to the tent set up on an athletic field for the graduation. It was standing room only; large buckets offering free bottled water were empty after an hour on a warm, sunny, breezy afternoon. More than 800 men and women received certificates or degrees yesterday.
Student senator Alexis Jaramillo could barely contain his exuberance while addressing his fellow graduates.
"This is our moment," Mr. Jaramillo said.
He spoke about his time at the school, and said he saw single mothers find a way to support their families, and saw boys grow into men. He said the diversity of the student body was a powerful force.
"People from different backgrounds came together to do amazing things," Mr. Jaramillo said.
He urged the class of 2009 to go on to continue to make history and to "become giants." He also said they should accept the challenge to "bring light to the world."
Associate professor Jane Gauthier spoke in stark terms of darkness and light. She said the deepest fear is not the fear of being inadequate, but the fear of doing something great.
"It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us," Ms. Gauthier said.
She said the world awaits the graduates, and she told them that along with the knowledge they picked up at QCC, all they needed was their heads, their hands and their hearts.
"I say to you, fear not. Let your light shine," she said.
Dean Messier, director of human resources for Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, was presented with the Trustees' Citizen's Award. According to the college, Mr. Messier has been a key liaison between the InterCare Alliance, a group of 11 long-term nursing care providers, and health care programs at the school.
Following are the graduates.
Associate in Applied Science
Auburn: Robert Kirkorian.
Ayer: Robert Pare.
East Douglas: Christopher Marchand, Allen Moulder.
Grafton: Richard Landry, Michael McClune.
Lunenburg: Steven Ayles.
Millbury: Elker deMello.
Oxford: Timothy Beachboard, Jerome Kann.
Shrewsbury: William Hyman.
Webster: Matthew Krupsky.
Westminster: Robin Moisan.
Worcester: Thomas Contonio, Keith Fournier, Jonathan Gilbert, Christopher Shea.
Associate in Arts
Ashby: Alanna Mulford.
Auburn: Amanda Goding, Kaylee Johnson, Malgorzata Loftus, William Loftus, Courtney Noonan, Bryan Parandes, Adaliz Santiago.
Bolton: William Graham.
Brimfield: Elizabeth Phillips.
Brookfield: Zachary Fisher.
Charlton: Michelle Beauregard, Kendra Bergstrom, Tara Conway, Erica Dubenetsky, Emily Foley, Christopher Legacy, Victoria Osborn.
Cherry Valley: Matthew Zollo.
Clinton: Alyson Achorn, Thomas Konan, Amanda Ribeiro, Carree Villeneuve, Gladys Wells.
Dudley: Ashley Brown, David Flynn, Arthur Kiritsis, Stephanie Leger, Lesli Patrock, Sara Russell, Madison Zabka.
Fiskdale: Maria Reilly.
Gardner: Lindsay McCance.
Grafton: Jessica Connolly, Christopher Flynn, Brian Johnson, Kelly Stratford.
Holden: John Armstrong, Marc Grossi.
Holland: Evan Turkington.
Hopedale: Martin Meyer.
Hubbardston: Kimberly Ivanowski.
Lancaster: Heidi Jarvis.
Leominster: Mary DeBlois.
Lunenburg: Anna Duggan.
Marlboro: Emily Moog, Marta Rivera.
Milford: Kimberly Martino, Nicole Miles.
Millbury: Cassidy Fyvie, Melissa Grosse, Kristopher Harackiewicz, Adam Maguire, Stephanie Massicotte-Kozlowski, Elyssa Mellen, Malen Parenteau, Jimmy Yanchenko.
North Brookfield: Rachel Helleberg, Aram Thomasian.
North Grafton: Kristie Lamprey, Kyle Polselli.
Northboro: Erica Abro, Stacy Archibald, John Earlie, Raja Kota, Stacey Paradise.
Northbridge: Chelsey Fortier, Kimberly Metcalf, Melissa MicKunas, Steven Molinaro.
Paxton: Daniel Jastrzebski, Allison McGrath.
Rutland: Pamela Duncan, Jennifer Rabidou.
Shrewsbury: Melissa Alvino, Stephen Bellows, Zachary Eddy, Keona Gavin, Elizabeth Maddison, Jill Mastromatteo, Daniel Nhial, Sheila Parnell, Danielle Qualey, Christina Tomaiolo.
Southbridge: Digmarie Baez, Michael Baker, Katarzyna Ciemiega, Melissa Recore, Samantha White.
Spencer: Daniel Healey, Erin Houle.
Sterling: Heather Sherman.
Sutton: Lisa Lukason, Ashley McKinnon.
Uxbridge: Deborah Sawyer.
Ware: Toni Delsignore.
Webster: Kristin Berthiaume, Patricia Perez.
West Boylston: Felicia MacNicol, Ashley Mercurio, Kaitlin Mercurio, Maeve O'Connor, Ashley Reid.
West Upton: Corbin Brody.
Westboro: Linda Barnes, Rae Goldstein, Meryl Papaz.
Whitinsville: Julianne Creasia, Rebecca Messier, Dusan Obsajsnik, Sandy Wade.
Worcester: Violet Anabaka, Emmanuel Asante, Irina Atechian, Zuriel Ayala, Ann Ayrton, Benedict Beluchukwu, Gabriel Beluchukwu, Krystle Bernal, Naana Biney, Tasha Boykin, Ericka Brindisi, Michael Broadway, Shamecia Burgess, Canisha Burnett, Jamie-Lynn Cederlund, Danielle Cole, Alpha Comara, Alison Connor, Lucinda Costa, Helen D'Angelo, Nina Darling, Elena Dede, Joyce Durning, Leila El-Refaei, Erica Faulkner, Jessica Fraioli, Sarah Gagne, Tyrenna...