WELLESLEY – MassBay Community College honored students at the College’s 56th Commencement ceremony at the Wellesley Hills campus.
Nearly 300 students participated in this year’s Commencement ceremony on May 17, representing students from 35 countries from around the world.
This diverse and talented group also recognized five students who earned a 4.0 GPA, seven students who earned the highest GPA in their academic divisions, and the Foster Furcolo Scholarship awardee.
This year’s Student Commencement Speaker and Commencement Singer of the National Anthem, were both student veterans graduating.
Student veteran Derek Jordan of Hudson, began the ceremony with the singing of the National Anthem. Jordan is an Army veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and served as President of the MassBay Student Veterans club. While serving in the Army, he was stationed in Ft. Bragg North Carolina and was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. While enlisted he sang with the 82nd Airborne Division’s All-American Chorus. As part of that Chorus group he performed all over the United States, with his highlight performance being the National Anthem at a New England Patriots/ Carolina Panthers game in 2013. Jordan graduated with an Associate of Science degree in Life Sciences and will transfer to UMass Lowell to pursue his studies in Exercise Physiology. He is a single dad to a son, Luke, and he is a resident of Hudson.
This year’s Student Commencement Speaker was student veteran Shaun Matthew Morand of Framingham. Morand, a retired Army Staff Sergeant, was part of the 25thInfantry Division and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight in the Global War on Terror. He decided to enlist in the Army after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Morand was medically retired from the Natick Soldier Systems Center due to combat injuries sustained in Iraq, and has since become involved in supporting local veteran’s charities. He has participated in a 200-mile ruck march from Boston to New York City’s Ground Zero to raise awareness of veteran suicides and another across the entire state of Massachusetts. Morand is the first in his family to graduate college and he will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts, maintaining a 4.0 grade points average every semester at MassBay. He will be transferring to San Diego, CA and hopes to pursue his bachelor degree in English. Morand lives in Framingham with his wife, Sonya, has two children Brooklyn and Madeline, and a dog named Ranger.
Gabriela Faria of Millis was awarded the Foster Furcolo Scholarship, named after Massachusetts’ 60th Governor, John Foster Furcolo. He was the first Italian-American governor of the Commonwealth, and active promoter of community colleges and also a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1949 until 1952. Each year one graduate from each of Massachusetts 15 community colleges is awarded a prestigious Foster Furcolo two-year scholarship to attend UMass Boston to honor the legacy of Governor Furcolo. Faria will continue her education at UMass Boston to study BioChemistry and her career goals include becoming a cancer researcher to honor her grandfather who passed away when she was 13 years-old from lung cancer. Faria is a single mother to a 5-year-old daughter Clara.
Needham resident Richard Han was awarded the Divisional Award for his 3.77 GPA in the Division of Automotive Technology, earning his Associate of Science Degree in Automotive Technology – Chrysler. Han currently works at the Brigham Gill dealership in Natick and plans to return to school in the future to earn a degree in business. He thanks his family for their support.
Nadine Fuller of Attleboro was unable to attend the Commencement ceremony, however she will be receiving the Divisional Award for her 4.0 GPA in the Division of Business and Professional Studies, earning her Associate Degree in Business Administration.
Watertown resident Suzannah Jones was awarded the Divisional Award for her 4.0 GPA in the Division of Business and Professional Studies, earning her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. While working in the education department at the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, New York, she knew she wanted a career in education. This fall, Jones will attend Lesley University where she will continue her studies towards a career in museum education. She thanks her family, especially her mother, for their support.
Alina Sorokina of Chestnut Hill was awarded the Divisional Award for her 3.76 GPA in the Division of Health Sciences, earning her Associate Degree in Nursing. Sorokina moved to the United States from the Ukraine 8 years ago, unable to speak English. She will continue her education at Framingham State University and plans to work in an Operating Room in the near future. She thanks her family and friends for their support.
Westwood resident Jaqueline Ng was awarded the Divisional Award for her 4.0 GPA in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, earning her Associate Degree in English. She started at MassBay by taking one class in Child Development, but soon discovered that she also loved literature and writing and now aspires to become an English professor. She credits MassBay for helping her rediscover her love of learning. Her mother describes Massbay as “the little college that could,” a place that helps students flourish and succeed that more people should know about. Ng will continue her studies at UMass Boston. She thanks her family and the English faculty at MassBay for all of their support.
Student Commencement Speaker Morand also was awarded the Divisional Award for his 4.0 GPA in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, earning his Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and will become the first person in his family to earn a college degree.
Waltham resident Andriy Kekosh was awarded the Divisional Award for his 4.0 GPA in the Division of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, earning his Associate of Science Degree in General Studies. Kekosh came to MassBay having already earned two Master’s Degrees in Europe. This fall, he will enroll in MassBay’s Radiologic Technology program. He thanks the faculty at MassBay for their help and support.
MassBay had five students earn a perfect 4.0 grade point average, earning an All-College Academic Award. The awards went to;
- Suzannah Jones, from the Division of Business and Professional Studies;
- Nadine Fuller, from the Division of Business and Professional Studies;
- Jaqueline Ng, from the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences;
- Shaun Morand, from the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences; and
- Andriy Kekosh from the Division of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
MassBay graduates who were awarded Divisional Awards are given $200 and All-College Academic Award winners are given $250 from the MassBay Foundation.
MassBay Community College was recently ranked by the Brookings Institution as one of the top schools for value added and earned salaries in the workforce. Ranked #1 for 2-year colleges in Massachusetts, #2 in New England and ranked #16 nationally. The College’s facilities in Wellesley Hills, Framingham and Ashland house day, evening and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career minded life-long learners. Online options provide convenience and allow faculty to facilitate the learning process. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and strives to meet the needs of the diverse local communities it serves.
Photo and release courtesy of MassBay
Pictured (from left) Suzannah Jones (Watertown), Alina Sorokina (Chestnut Hill), Andriy Kekosh (Waltham), Jaqueline Ng (Westwood), Richard Han (Needham) and Shaun Morand (Framingham).