The Middlesex Community College (MxCC) Computer Club awarded eight HP Notebook laptops to worthy MxCC students on Tuesday afternoon during an awards ceremony that highlighted the holiday spirit of giving within the college community.
“This will help me to achieve my poetic dream,” explained Nick Reyna, a class of 2015 laptop recipient and a resident of Rocky Hill. “Thanks to this generous gift I will have the ability to stay in touch with many people as well as my friends here at MxCC.”
Members of the College’s Computer Club; MxCC faculty and staff members; Anna Wasescha, president of MxCC; and Sharon Griffin, trustee of the Peach Pit Foundation, Inc. were all in attendance during the ceremony. These representatives worked in collaboration with one another over the past few weeks to make this basic technology wish a reality for the eight deserving students.
The spirit to pay it forward began when the MxCC Computer Club initiated their fourth annual laptop giveaway contest; open to all MxCC students, in October. The contest required students to compose an essay explaining how they or their family could benefit from a laptop and to submit two faculty or staff recommendations along with their personal essay. In total, ten applications were received and reviewed by a small committee of MxCC faculty, staff, and student judges who were faced with the difficult assignment of choosing only two students from an equally eligible pile of applicants.
“I was a judge for this year’s contest and read the essays and I was awakened to the terrible struggle some students have in accessing this technology,” said Nancy Kelly, coordinator of the MxCC accounting program, and a judge for the contest.
“All the students were worthy, but the club had only two computers available,” she said. Funds to purchase the two initial computers came from year-long fund raising events that the Computer Club held around campus.
Before Thanksgiving break MxCC student Barra Friedman of Middletown, along with a second student who wanted to remain anonymous, were chosen as the lucky winners of the contest, both overjoyed at the graciousness of the Computer Club and the opportunity to achieve new levels academically. While their joy was abundant, Professor Kelly couldn’t help but feel moved to bring the contest’s remaining applicants some holiday encouragement as well.
An appeal to MxCC faculty and staff was established by Kelly along with Donna Hylton, the program coordinator of health information management, computer information technology, and management information systems, as well as faculty representative for the Computer Club. The appeal asked for MxCC employees to donate in any way they could to ensure the club could purchase additional laptops before the holiday hiatus.
“Staff and faculty just started dropping off checks,” said Kelly about her appeal. “It was absolutely amazing.”
The appeal raised $1,800 in just a few weeks, and the Peach Pit Foundation, who heard about the generosity spreading around campus, stepped in to bridge the nearly $600 gap for the total of the remaining laptops, ensuring a happy holiday for all ten of the contest applicants.
“Sometimes a little act of kindness can perpetuate further acts,” said Griffin about the Peach Pit Foundation’s involvement in this Computer Club endeavor. Griffin explained that the Peach Pit Foundation was started by her and her husband in an effort to teach their children about giving and appreciating others.
“MxCC has always been a part of our family,” said Griffin. “To hear about how the faculty and staff here felt about these applicants, we had to be a part of it. It is a blessing to us as well.”
The eight students that received laptops at the ceremony include: Katrina Forman and Franklin Perlata of Middletown; Susan Greene, Catalina Vasquez, and Timothy Zakrzewski of Meriden; Jeannette Negron of East Haven; Nicholas E. Reyna of Rocky Hill; and Candance Taylor of Hartford.
“This is so exciting,” said Hylton about the ceremony. “We are calling it our Christmas miracle!”
Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College (mxcc.edu) is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System. In all it does, Middlesex Community College strives to be the college of its community. By providing high quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, the college enhances the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. MxCC, recently named a “Great College to Work For” by “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” offers more than 50 degree or certificate programs at the main 38-acre campus in Middletown, the downtown Meriden Center, through its shoreline programs at Westbrook High School, and online.