Northwestern Connecticut Community College Student of the Year Erin Sullivan. Photo submitted.
Northwestern Connecticut Community College Student of the Year Erin Sullivan. Photo submitted.

NORTHWEST CORNER — The 55th commencement ceremony for Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) will be held on Thursday, May 27.
This year’s commencement will be held at the Five Points Center for The Arts, aka the former campus of the University of Connecticut in Torrington.
Last year’s commencement ceremony was virtual and online due to the Covid pandemic.
While this year’s ceremony will be in person, due to the pandemic it will be a drive-through event with students staying in their cars throughout the ceremony.
They will be staying in their cars and asked to tune into a radio station to listen to the speakers.
Once their name is called, students will drive up to a platform to pick up their diplomas.
This year’s speakers include Northwestern Regional President Dr. James Lombella, JoAnn Ryan from the Board of Regents; Five Points Executive Director Judy McElhone, and Hartford Healthcare regional vice-president Brian Mattiello.
Another speaker will be NCCC’s student of the year Erin Sullivan, a New Hartford native and a 2019 graduate of Northwestern Regional High School.
Sullivan has had numerous achievements during her time at NCCC, including being a founding member of the Students of Color Alliance Club, a Team Success Scholar, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, and a member of its All-Connecticut State Team, and the Human Library Project.
She will be receiving her Associate of Science Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences at the ceremony and is planning to attend Central Connecticut State University in the fall, majoring in psychological sciences with a minor in business.
“I was honestly pretty surprised that I was named student of the year, but it feels very good because NCCC values their students,” Sullivan said in an interview with The Winsted Phoenix. “I chose psychology because I feel like becoming a therapist or a counselor is a very good way to positively impact lives.”
Sullivan said that she started taking classes at NCCC during her senior year at Northwestern Regional through its college partnership program.
“I know it might sound corny, but my college experience at NCCC has changed my life,” Sullivan said. “In high school, I was a wallflower. I didn’t participate in pep rallies. I didn’t play sports because I worked full-time in high school. I was behind the scenes for my entire high school experience. Then I came to NCCC and applied to the Team Success Scholars program. It is so hard for me to express my gratitude for this program.”
According to NCCC’s website, the program supports students from traditionally underserved populations and helps young adults attending college to successfully navigate the college experience.
“The program has helped to open me up as a person,” she said. “It has enriched my entire educational experience. I feel like I have grown a lot because of NCCC and this program.”
Additionally, during her time at NCCC, Sullivan became a student ambassador, along with a recruitment specialist intern for admissions and the Team Success program.
As for what she will say at the commencement ceremony, she said that her speech will sum up her positive experience at NCCC, along with the experiences of other graduates.
“I am sending out a poll to other graduates asking them why they chose NCCC, and how it helped them with their plans,” she said. “Hopefully I will get a better idea about our collective experiences.”
When asked about what she will remember about her time at NCCC, she said she will always remember the people she met through the Team Success program.
“I will never forget the people I have met there,” she said. “I have acquired a lot of lifelong friends from the program. I will also remember campus activities and events. We hosted a lot of on-campus events, along with virtual events during the pandemic. There was a lot of community engagement during my time there at NCCC.”