U.S. rep's aide relates to QCC grads' struggles.


Byline: Steven H. Foskett Jr.

WORCESTER - Gladys Rodriguez, district representative for U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, told graduates at Quinsigamond Community College's commencement yesterday that she once sat where they were, and said she hoped one day they would be standing where she stood.

Ms. Rodriguez related snippets of her personal story, from her arrival in the United States from Puerto Rico as a child who couldn't speak English to having a front seat at historic local, national and even international events as a member of Mr. McGovern's staff. Her path from her first job, which was coincidentally at QCC, to where she is now was filled with as much struggle and hardship as that of many in the audience, she said.

She said she graduated from high school with a baby, and took nine years to graduate from college, because like some of yesterday's graduates, she had to postpone a semester here and there when she had to deal with a child's illness or couldn't get reliable transportation or day care.

Still, graduating remained a goal, and education remained a passion, she said.

"Once I made it into the classroom, I felt I could conquer the world," she said.

Once the graduates get their degrees, nobody can take that away, she said.

Resilience and perseverance got the graduates to this point, she said. "You worked, you borrowed, you bummed a ride, you took care of children," she said.

QCC President Gail Carberry told the graduates that 35 years ago, she too was a community college graduate. She said they have taken steps to make their visions into reality.

"Once upon a time each of you had a thought," she said, "the idea of what would happen if you enrolled in college."

State Rep. Peter J. Durant, R-Spencer, congratulated the graduates, and noted the diversity of the student body and the fields they had studied. He joked that for students who didn't get all A's and B's, "there's always politics."

Representing QCC alumni, Sharon Doherty urged graduates to give back, with both time and money. She urged the graduates to take advantage of the social, recreational and networking opportunities the alumni association offers. And giving back to the college is more important than ever in an age of skyrocketing higher education costs, she said.

"Help keep Quinsigamond Community College the best place to get a degree without breaking the bank," she said.

Area graduates of Quinsigamond Community College are:

Associate in Applied Science

Ashburnham: Brian Chapman

Douglas: Travis McLaughlin

Dudley: Anthony Scopa

Fitchburg: Jason Sundstrom

Holden: Sean Keenan

Leominster: William Parker

Millbury: James Lapierre

Phillipston: Shawn Graham

Southbridge: Anthony Theodoss

Spencer: Joshua Church

Sturbridge: Daniel Widen

Worcester: Joseph Boulay, Charles Darling, Christopher Mulbah, Chan Nguyen, Andrew Scott, John Semavor

Associate in Arts

Auburn: Corey Bonzey, Daniel Bouley, Michael Capozzo, Daniel Cronin, Bryan Ethier, Patricia Fallon, Brittany Higgins, Ashley Hynes, Michael Morin, MaryLou Russell, Anthony Telemaque

Berlin: John Gonzales

Blackstone: Matthew Deryck

Bolton: Nicole Kovacs, Ruth McLaughlin

Boylston: Verna LaMonda, Glenn Pettit, Caitlin Rajala

Brookfield: Jillian Fisher, Amy Jefferson, Cody Mundell, Kellie Stewart, Roberta Tibbetts

Charlton: Kayla Adams, Joshua Evans, Robert Kingman, Terri Nolette

Clinton: Nora Boisoneau, Eric DeLeo, Sam Gonyea

Douglas: Caitlin Brooks, Bethany Dzivasen, Michelle Fisher

Dudley: James Brink, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Kunkel, Ashley Olson, Mariola Powichrowski

East Brookfield: Debbie Bailey, Caitlin McKeon

Grafton: Rochelle Bechard, Amanda Charest, Nicholas Harasen, Casey Kearin, Stephanie Lettery

Holden: Kimberly Depasse, Nicholas Jeneski, Jacob Koertge, Thomas Prendiville, Cathleen Ramsdell, Wendy Ricciardi, Stepfani Roskey, William Salter, Anisa Sulstarova

Holland: Kimberly Hermanson

Hudson: Susana Cabral, Susan Fernandes, Kristine Hutchinson, Amy Jacquart

Lancaster: Kristy Gonzalez

Leicester: Kristen Arsenault, Karisa Badosa, KayLee Dowd, Sherry Gaspar, Elizabeth Graham, Adah Idoko, Amanda Neale, Erica O'Rourke

Leominster: Zoila Aguirre, Matthew Burns, Henri Colin, Samantha Fenwick

Lunenburg: Larry Colburn

Marlboro: Laura Anderson, David Bacon, Sherry Bresnahan, Natalia Coelho, Tyler Russell

Milford: Paola Gomez

Millbury: Matthew Beaucage, Barbara Borowska, Justin Castro, Gabrielle Davis, Kristin Hamm, Kate Hanlan, James Pavoni, Jonathan Price, Kimberly Rudge, Erica Stevenson

North Brookfield: Jessica Barton, Brian Bonnayer, Alexandra Chisholm, Maria Thomasian, Kristopher Toomey

Northboro: Nicole Bellizzi, Lezlie Bischoff, Esther Brown, Andrew Burke, Ashley Flanigan, Jonathan Moreno, Roberta Powers, Devon Seymour, Blake Stone

Northbridge: Ricardo Arriaga, Jill Aselbekian, Matthew Curtis, Matthew DeVries, Nicholas Hadley, Shelby Morreale, Melanie Plitouke

Oakham: Rachel Metterville

Oxford: Kerrie Catacchio, Charlene Dutting, Emily Fitzpatrick, Ann Flattery, Breanna Gagliardi, Jean Lane, Oscar Magill, Crystalyn McTigue, Nicholas Pastier

Paxton: Sean Donahue, Dorian Morrissey, Melisa Ouimet, Venerika Qirici

Princeton: Nicholas Choquette, Jaclyn Kirk

Rutland: Kelly Slack

Shrewsbury: Marianne Cadena, Derek Chung, Ryan Connor, Emily Deagle, King Duncan, Ashley King, Fatouma Morou Hima, Sasha Prince, Satya Rameshwar

Southbridge: Claryn Heath, Kirsten Larson, Ivelisse McKinstry, Stephanie Smith, John Tautenhan, Christine Veshi, Ashley Wilson

Spencer: Christina Berard, Belinda Burgess, Nicholas Church, Julie Gagnon, Lynnel McGee, Tracy Tabicas

Sterling: Kevin Farr, Leewood Lane

Stow: Kendal Newton

Sturbridge: Tiphani Brewer, Nicholas Crouse, Tyler Gustafson, Lauren Munoz...

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