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Nashua Community College ‘Swings Into Spring’

NASHUA – Dave Manganello, owner of Riverside Barbecue, stood in the events center at the Courtyard Marriott Friday night, waving his meat cleaver at the more than 150 people gathered.

Manganello was the alumni guest speaker at the fifth annual Nashua Community College Swing Into Spring fundraiser and explained how NCC helped shape his life.

“I wanted to use this tool,” he said of the two pound meat cleaver, “and I get to use this tool, because I used NCC as a tool to help me get there.”

He explained how at the age of 33 he found himself in the “driver’s seat of my own life for the very first time” and realized he wanted to open a restaurant. Through a program at the college he was able to study in Switzerland (a program, admittedly, that the school no longer offers) and over the course of his college career gained the tools, both literal and figurative that he needed to succeed.

Swing Into Spring is the college’s largest fundraiser, using the money raised for the school’s scholarship fund to help make a college education “accessible and affordable for all students,” explained Lucille Jordan, NCC president.

Some of the scholarships the school offers help students who have gone through Drug Court, a rehabilitation program that helps people struggling with substance misuse get back on their feet.

“Many of these students have turned their lives around,” and NCC is able to be part of that journey, Jordan explained at the beginning of the evening.

The event included a seated dinner, dancing and live music by the Aaron Audet Band and both silent and live auctions, for which Jordan suggested patrons should “bid often.”

A true scholarship fundraiser, ten NCC students were collectively awarded $20,000 worth of scholarships.

By the beginning of the evening, the students knew they had won, but none of them knew exactly how much.

James Walsh, Cameron Joseph, Chaimae Naanai, Shelby Blackler and Jack Barnes were each awarded $1,000. Michael Pacheco and Sergei Bondarenko won $2,000 each and both Wayne Soucy and Patrick Livernois walked away with $3,000.

Isabelle Gosselin was the $5,000 winner. In an essay explaining how her college education has contributed to her life, Jordan told the crowd, Gosselin wrote that for the first time, she has put school as a priority and feels “hard work is rewarded.” Through her time at NCC, she wrote, she was developing the confidence to explore her interests and to support her opinions.

And, she added, “I’m learning something new from someone every day.”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashua

telegraph.com.