LAWRENCE — During a tour of Northern Essex Community College yesterday, interim U.S. Sen. William “Mo” Cowan listened attentively as students, administrators, trustees, local politicians and businessmen told how the school has had an impact on their lives.
“I’m so happy I came here,” said Emily Ramirez. Before Northern Essex, the Lawrence resident was enrolled in a state school and was one of 200 students in some of her classes She said it was different at Northern Essex, which was more conducive to her studies.
“I also liked how supportive everyone was, especially the teachers who stayed after class to help,” said Ramirez, who is studying engineering. “That motivated me to do more.” One teacher even encouraged her to run for Student Council.
Omar Anagam of Lawrence went to Northern Essex to learn English when he moved here from Morocco. After being laid off from his job in informational technology, he began taking classes in respiratory care. He graduated last week with high honors.
“I noticed if I made a change, it would open doors for me,” Anagam said.
Cowan, a Democrat, who was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick in February to take over from John F. Kerry who became U.S. Secretary of State, praised the school for the work it is doing.
“Community colleges are doing a great job helping students get degrees and getting skills they need,” he said.
“We have a wonderful story to tell. This is a good opportunity for the state to know there’s a lot of potential for families and businesses to invest here,” said school President Lane Glenn said.
Also at the school yesterday was David Legg, vice president of quality assurance at Charm Sciences. The Lawrence company that does diagnostic tests for the food industry has hired Northern Essex alumni.