Jahana Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the Year and NVCC Alumna was the keynote speaker at the College’s fifty-second commencement ceremony. The event was held on the afternoon of Thursday, May 25, at 2 p.m. at the Waterbury Palace Theater.
NVCC proudly conferred over one thousand degrees or certificates for the sixth consecutive year. The program included a welcome and opening address by Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., NVCC President; remarks by the Honorable Neil M. O’Leary, Mayor of the City of Waterbury; Mark E. Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities; Merle W. Harris, Ed.D., Member of the Board of Regents for Higher Education; the presentation of an Honorary Associate of Arts Degree to Felipe Karam Domingues Alves, Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence; and the awarding of the Presidential Medals of Honor to Peter J. Jacoby, MD, FACEP, Chairman of the Emergency Department at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Steven Parlato, Associate Professor of English at NVCC, and Christina L. Berger, graduate of the NVCC Class of 2017.
NVCC was honored to feature a 2002 graduate of Naugatuck Valley Community College and National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, as its commencement speaker. Hayes was the first in her family to graduate from college, despite a challenging upbringing. She went on to teach history at Waterbury’s Kennedy High School. Besides being a history teacher, Hayes sees herself as an advisor, counselor, confidant and protector. “As a teacher, I strive to facilitate learning in a way that engages students by connecting on a personal level and stimulating academic growth, while simultaneously producing conscientious and productive members of society,” she says. For Hayes, being a teacher is a privilege and an opportunity to transform lives and foster a sense of social responsibility in the next generation.
NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis proudly commented that, “Jahana Hayes is a fine affirmation of the value of a community college education and the access and excellence that define our work. NVCC is proud to welcome her back home to inspire another class of graduates.”