Naugatuck Valley Community College President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., administrators, students, faculty and staff hosted community leaders and partners from the College’s 22-town service area at the College’s tenth annual Community Meeting. The meeting traditionally focuses on NVCC’s progress “Toward a Splendid College,” as outlined in its 2016-2026 strategic plan.
This year the meeting opened with the dedication of Waterbury First Responders Hall honoring the firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurse, doctors and other first responders. The dedication was made possible by the support of the Monteiro Family in honor of those who bravely serve. Representatives from Waterbury’s first responders including police, fire-fighters, ambulance and EMTs, were present. Doctor Peter Jacoby, chair of NVCC’s capital campaign for Founder’s Hall represented the doctors and emergency rooms.
Superintendent of Waterbury Public Schools, Dr. Verna Ruffin took the stage next to announce the establishment of an early college high school. Ruffin shared plans for Waterbury Public Schools to open the Early College High School in the fall of 2020 at Crosby High School; it would be a collaboration with Naugatuck Valley Community College. President De Filippis commented on the collaboration, "We are delighted to partner with the Waterbury Public Schools on a life-transforming opportunity for high school students and for the communities we serve."
Dr. Ruffin commented that "An Early College High School offers a life changing learning environment for the youth in Waterbury. We are pleased to partner with Naugatuck Valley Community College to collaboratively create this school at Crosby High School for 2020-2021."
NVCC alumnus, Jacob Armstrong, graduate of the Class of 2019 shared his story with an inspirational anecdote about the College’s impact on his life. He thanked the College and the faculty for their part in his success.
Based on the theme, Your Community College: Exploring Community Horizons, three speakers addressed the audience with themes supporting the 5 goals of the College’s Strategic Plan. William Foster, III, Professor of English, NVCC (retired January 2019), shared anecdotes from the classroom about his teaching Diversity and Equity to students and reminded the audience that diversity and equity are up to us all, every day.
In a vignette called “High Tech and High Touch” Charles Pagano, Jr., Vice Chair, NVCC Foundation shared memories from his engineering background and how it has evolved from engineering to relationships and community activism in his own career. High Tech has led to High Touch and NVCC has become a part of that process.
Kathy Taylor, J.D., Professor of Legal Studies at NVCC, and co-chair of the Center for Racial Dialogue and Community Transformation, spoke about Civility and Citizenry. In the spirit of goals 2 and 5 of the NVCC Strategic Plan, faculty and staff make a difference, NVCC is an engine of change, Taylor assured listeners that NVCC is indeed making that difference. She shared the details of a recent community conversation around the pledge of allegiance. She invited the community to use the Center as a place where these difficult conversations can take place.
Master of Ceremonies and Dean of Community Engagement, Waldemar Kostrzewa orchestrated the closing section of the meeting. He invited guests to share their take-aways in a “Community Voices” theme that invited questions, answers, reactions, suggestions and offers.
President De Filippis invited the participants to contact her office to pursue further discussion on any of the suggestions, including student internships.
She noted, "Before the end of my eleventh year as the president of your community college, I’m proud to report that it has been a very productive and rewarding year,” President De Filippis continued. “We believe in our communities and in our partners; we believe in you; we believe in the awesome potential that our working together has to produce meaningful outcomes.”