A Week of Celebration at Lakes Region Community College
[LACONIA, NH] – It was a week of celebration at Lakes Region Community College, as students celebrated multiple milestones, including the 50th annual commencement ceremony, held Saturday, May 18. 174 students received degrees in 25 different areas, including automotive, business, culinary, hospitality management, electrical, fire science, liberal arts, and nursing. “This is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of our students, and I am proud of the hard work and commitment they have shown to their futures”, said Dr. Larissa Baía, President of the college. Baía awarded the Valedictorian’s award to Matthew Abel Dillon of Hebron. Dillon graduated with an Associate of Science Degree in Computer Technologies, and plans to attend Plymouth State University in the fall. Additionally, Savanna Brunelle (Gilford), a Liberal Arts student, was recognized with the Student of the Year award for her contributions to the college. Brunelle served as President of the Student Senate and will also be attending Plymouth State University in the fall. Keith Fletcher (New Durham) Associate Professor of Electrical Technologies, was awarded Teacher of the Year, a designation voted upon by the student body.
Several other celebrations took place leading up to commencement, including an academic awards dinner celebrating the college’s top students, a senior breakfast honoring the graduates, and recognition ceremonies celebrating the pinning of nursing students and students and industry partners for the General Motors ASEP program.
Each year top students from each program are honored at the President’s Awards for Excellence banquet, held the week of commencement. This year, 24 students were recognized, with three scholarships awarded, including the Dale Jones Memorial Scholarship, the Frank Fernald Memorial Scholarship, and the Joe Mastrullo, Jr./Mallard’s Landing Association Scholarship. ““The Awards banquet is one of the highlights of the recognition season, said Dr. Richard Underbakke, Interim Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs for the college.” He continued, “scholarship recipients have the opportunity to receive, to interact, and to thank their donors for their support. The academic departments and programs have a venue for recognizing the achievements of their students for accomplishments that may but don’t necessarily have to do with grade point average. The evening means a lot to the faculty. They get to ‘show off’ their best and brightest protégés, to the campus community in an annual reminder that while we teach classes to rooms full of students, each is an individual with a unique story.”
On Friday, eleven nursing students were recognized in a pinning ceremony, a tradition starting with Forence Nightingale, to reflect and recognize a nurse’s achievement. Students honored at the pinning ceremony were Cassandra Blackler (Laconia), David Chess (Laconia), Levi Dufield (Laconia), Brandie Gashlin (Campton), Melissa Knott (Laconia), Deidre Landry (Sunapee), Jillian Mailloux (Franklin), Rebecca McKinley (Alexandria), Melissa Murphy (Hebron), McKayla O’Gara (Alton), and Kami Ouellet (Ashland).
Upon graduation, each student will be eligible to sit for the state licensure exam. Once they pass the exam, they will be able to work as an RN. “We’re incredibly proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said Nursing Department Chair Martha Pasquali. “While most of the graduates have been offered positions, we anticipate everyone being employed once they have passed the licensure exam.”
Students in the General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program (GM ASEP) were recognized for their accomplishments at a luncheon held at the college. The sponsoring dealerships were also recognized and thanked for their support of the program. Jamie Decato, Department Chair of Transportation Technologies at LRCC, stressed the importance of automotive skills in today’s technologically-driven and rapidly changing world, saying, “The advancements in automotive technology today are incredible. It will be students like you who will lead the next generation. I encourage you all to get active and get involved.” Andrew Jarrett, District Manager for Aftersales, presented the 2019 GM-ASEP Leadership Award to LRCC graduate Cody Walker. In all, 12 candidates were recognized for completing the program. Each student must obtain sponsorship from a recognized GM dealer in order to participate in the GM-ASEP program. Students who successfully complete their program become extremely valuable assets to their employers and are almost guaranteed employment upon graduation. Recognized were Kevin Bergeron, Will Crosby and George Driscoll, sponsored by Tulley Buick GMC; William Bickford and Benjamin Lebreton, sponsored by Betley Chevrolet; Bryan Conover, sponsored by Bill Dodge Auto Group; Josiah Grace and Cody Walker, sponsored by Quirk Chevrolet of Bangor; Evan Hemond, sponsored by Littleton Chevrolet; Jonathan Lamoureux, sponsored by Walier Chevrolet; Tyler Laraway, sponsored by Shearer Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac; and Duncan Sirois, sponsored by Cantin Chevrolet.
Lakes Region Community College offers more than 40 educational programs, as well as workforce training for business and industry. Additionally, LRCC provides housing options for students, and has transfer agreements with many four-year colleges throughout the region, allowing students to begin their education at an affordable community college, with many transfer options to four-year schools. Lakes Region Community College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.lrcc.edu.