GARDNER — They’ve officially gone from students to certified dental hygienist.
On Friday, May 12, Mount Wachusett Community College held a pinning ceremony for seven members of the Dental Hygiene program Class of 2023 to celebrate the accomplishment.
“Congratulations to each and every one of you, it takes enormous work to get to this point in such a rigorous program,” MWCC President James Vander Hooven told graduates. “You have chosen a caring profession and you are going to be working with people who are in great need of your care, your help, and your empathy, and for that we all thank you.”
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Matthew Mara, DDM, who currently serves as an assistant professor of General Dentistry in the Office of Global and Population Health at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.
In a press release, the school said Mara is deeply committed to education, having served two years as a Teach for America Corps Member before earning his Master’s in Curriculum and Teaching from Boston University’s Wheelock School of Education in Health Professions. He works in private practice in Worcester and Boston’s South End. He believes strongly in community college, his mother served as faculty and Director of Early Childhood Education at Quinsigamond Community College.
“It is an exciting time for the dental profession,” Mara said. “As students of the pandemic the lessons that you have learned will allow you to think more critically as you enter the clinic and profession knowing of potential risks and exposure. You made the decision to join this profession during a global pandemic, and for that I applaud you.”
The Dental Hygiene Class of 2023 graduates are:
• Jillian Achbady, Watertown
• Kathryn Bessette, Erving
• Marlene Boucher-Ripley, Rutland
• Rosa M. Collazo, Westminster
• Lais Dias, Acton
• Sarah Direda, Worcester
• Emily Jacob, Leominster
• Amber Kear, Rindge, N.H.
• Eliana Mello, Princeton
• Alejandra McPherson, Ayer
• Shelby Ponusky, Amherst
• Svetlana Prive, Dracut
• Christopher Starbard, Gardner
• Ann Vaillancourt, Winchendon