Celebrating the Class of 2019
MA Commissioner of Higher Education addresses 2019 graduates at 45th Commencement exercises.
On Thursday, May 23, 2019, Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) awarded 1,754 degrees and certificates to the Class of 2019 at the 45th Commencement Exercises.
BHCC President Pam Eddinger opened the ceremony with the annual “ritual of gratitude,” where graduates thank family and friends in attendance for their support throughout their educational journey. Eddinger also reflected on the cultural wealth of the graduates and how it has left a positive impact on her as College President.
I am braver today because I have learned from your struggles and have seen your courage,” said Eddinger. “I am more hopeful, because you have shown me, in your multiple languages, your ancestral songs, and your lived experiences that while life can be harsh, it is also limitless and ever-renewing.”
Santiago also received the President’s Distinguished Services Award in recognition of his extraordinary service to the community and BHCC. Santiago has served as Commissioner of Higher Education since July of 2015. He has made a great impact on important issues affecting the BHCC students; in particular, his commitment to food and housing insecurity and equity in higher education resonates with the College community.
The BHCC Nurse Education Department was awarded with the Trustees Distinguished Service Award, presented by William J. Walczak, Chair of the BHCC Board of Trustees. The department was recognized for the success of its collaborative leadership, steadfast resolve and decisive actions toward a secure and thriving program, and the increased performance of their graduates on the NCLEX, a nursing licensure examination.
For the past two years, new leadership and the full and ongoing engagement of the Nursing Education program's faculty and staff were all critical during an intensive reaccreditation process. The program's faculty and staff have implemented high impact student success, pedagogical and post-graduate student interventions that have achieved immediate results: most notably an NCLEX pass rate of 94 percent for its Fall 2018 graduating class. Dean of Health Sciences Maryanne Atkinson, Assistant Dean Donna Savino, Director Elizabeth Tobin and Associate Professor and Chairperson Kristen Wenger accepted the award.
Also honored at the Commencement ceremony were faculty speaker Bryan D. Craven, Student Government Association President Joan Acosta Garcia, and President’s Leadership Award recipients Cam Do and Eva Montrond.
Adult Education Program Celebrates Steps Toward the American Dream
BHCC’s Adult Education and Transitions program celebrated the achievements of students who passed their high school equivalency exam, adult basic education courses, or college courses for the Transitions to College program, at a ceremony in June at the Homewood Suites in Chelsea.
At the event, Carlos L. Maynard, Associate Professor, Behavioral Science, delivered the keynote address to the graduates, and Michelle
Surin, Director of Workforce and Economic Development, congratulated students on behalf of the College before student speakers were invited to the stage.
Angela Lux, a student from the HiSET® program, which provides preparation for the high school equivalency exam, shared her experiences with the guests. Forced to leave school after the third grade to help her family with household responsibilities, Lux arrived in Los Angeles in 1989 from Guatemala. In 2017, she moved to Boston and enrolled in the Spanish HiSET® program. “Thanks to our desire to learn and persevere in our classes,” Lux said, “we are on step closer to achieving our goals and having better opportunities.”
Verona Whittaker spoke on behalf of the Transitions to College program, which enables students currently or previously enrolled in an adult education program to enroll in college-level courses to learn the essential skills needed to be a successful college student. She told guests about her steps from getting a secondary education credential to entering BHCC. Whittaker came to the U.S. from Jamaica 11 years ago. After receiving her GED, Whittaker, a former janitor, decided to take courses at BHCC to improve her English skills and pursue higher education. Her advice to fellow students was, “Be optimistic and ask for help,” she said. “You may not have anyone to cheer you on. If you can’t find anyone to cheer you on, be selfish and cheer on yourself.”
Emmanuel Paul’s experience can be used as a model for Adult Education, a program at the BHCC Chelsea Campus and Boston Education consortium that provides educational and support services for adults who lack English language and literacy skills and/or do not have a high school diploma. A former journalist from Haiti, Paul came to the U.S. in 2013. He enrolled in adult basic education to improve his English skills. After completing the basic education program, he attended classes at BHCC, receiving an associate degree in finance and transferring to Northeastern University to obtain his bachelor’s degree and become a CPA. His next step is to take courses at Harvard Business School. Paul knew that his journey began the same way as those who were being recognized at the celebration. He encouraged his fellow BHCC Adult Education alumni to continue their educational careers in college. “You can achieve whatever you want regardless of where you come from,” Paul said. “Think of this program not as a destination, but as a journey.”