Courtesy photo
Mike Eruzione addresses an audience full of students being honored at Mount Wachusett Community College’s Evening of Excellence.

GARDNER — Mount Wachusett Community College celebrated the achievements of 68 students during its annual Evening of Excellence awards event on May 16.

“I stand in awe of the achievements that you have made both inside and outside of the classroom. Getting good grades is only part of it. You’ve distinguished yourself to a level that has caught the attention of faculty as well as your fellow students,” said MWCC President James Vander Hooven, who explained that all the students worked hard to overcome various obstacles to get to this point. “You have earned this opportunity.”

The ceremony recognizes student accomplishments both inside and outside of the classroom, as well as in their communities. The ceremony gave time to each student, with faculty members telling a brief version of their story and what prompted them being honored. It became clear that many students balanced not only their school work but their personal lives and other outside obligations.

It is this hard work that guest speaker Mike Eruzione highlighted. Eruzione was the captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team whose success against the Soviet Union and gold medal victory at the Lake Placid Olympics inspired many and was the basis of the Disney movie “Miracle.”

Although the team’s success was dubbed a miracle, Eruzione explained that it was actually built on hard work and dedication. Success doesn’t happen as the result of ability, but because of grit and determination. Much like the hard work that all the students put in to achieve their goals.

“This is the end result of your hard work, your determination and your dedication… It’s a process. It takes time. It takes work. It takes effort. It takes sacrifices. It’s little things that when you add them all up are the reason you are here and successful,” said Eruzione.

The following local students were honored with awards:

Ayer: Benjamin Richard, Theater Arts Track Curriculum Award and Mount Observer Scholarship

Shirley: Craig-James Mauro, Carl Tammi Award, Sarah Mello, Commonwealth Honors Program

Townsend: Katie Langone, Nursing Curriculum Award