The New England College Council is pleased to announce that three outstanding students will be awarded NECC scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year at NECC member institutions.
Eastern Maine Community College student Sara Clifford learned to work hard at an early age, and today she juggles three jobs to maintain her finances in addition to sustaining good grades at EMCC. Along with volunteering at various Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Student Success Center events, Sara spends quality time off-campus with local children as a volunteer Big Sister. She has a clear five-year plan to help others, beginning with earning an associate degree in early childhood development and a Behavioral Health Professional Certification, after which she will transfer her credits to the University of Maine Orono to obtain her teacher’s certification after an additional two years of coursework. She will then enroll for a fifth year of study to attain a master’s degree in guidance counseling for elementary schools, which she will apply to a career in helping children in the state of Maine. Sara’s instructor lauded her for encouraging, tutoring and mentoring her fellow students, and the judges wish her well on her ambitious and passionate plan to follow her dream of being an advisor and mentor for local youth.
In 2012, Jeanne Hallisey had to quit her supervisory job at a bank to nurse her husband, who had undergone his second stem-cell transplant, and to run her family’s household. For 25 years, Jeanne had worked in and risen through corporate ranks without a college degree, but that has become more difficult in today’s job market. She entered college for the first time last January at the age of 50 to attain an A.S. in order to pursue a new accounting position. Jeanne has already earned 43 credits toward her degree at Northern Essex Community College in Massachusetts and has earned a 3.95 GPA in addition to supporting her husband and children, working part-time at an internship, and serving on the board of the Amesbury Educational Foundation. Jeanne is proud of the example she is setting for her children by pursuing college and by working hard at it, and once her schedule permits it, she looks forward to continuing the extensive volunteering she had done in the Amesbury school system as well as at her children’s various sporting and school events. She was highly praised by her business professor for her impeccable work and for being a role model to other NECC students, and the judges found Jeanne inspiring and wish her the best of luck.
Sheyla Rivera, a student at Capital Community College in Connecticut, emigrated to the U.S. from Peru at 15. The experience of having to learn a new language and culture provided Sheyla with empathy to reach out to others in her situation, and for two years she taught English to immigrant adults in a local church to help them acclimate to the same new world. Despite many financial challenges and the hardship of having her mother deported, Sheyla has continued to develop and grow academically in her classes at Capital CC, professionally via a successful internship with Pepperidge Farm, and personally as the oldest child helping to run the household from a young age. She plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and gain experience as an exemplary banking employee until she can achieve the next step in her plan – creating a family business along with her father to aid community members with their taxes and finances. Her determination in the face of adversity, her strong desire to help people in and beyond her community, and her glowing recommendation from the accounting professor she had repeatedly impressed with her patience, professionalism, drive, and attention to detail convinced the judges to award Sheyla with a NECC scholarship.