Freshman, Fresh Start

This past year has been hard on everyone, but particularly devastating for many high school students. They’ve endured missed milestones and learning loss right as they’re preparing for the critical transition to college and the workforce.

Backpack pictured outdoors

It’s a big problem with no single solution. Speaking with colleagues who work in education, we’re all trying to think of ways to encourage students not to give up on their education. So far, the most important advice is to remind students that there is always a way forward. For instance, the college alumni below had a difficult time in high school, but found a fresh start after graduation.


After struggling in high school, Mickey became a top student college and later earned his Master’s Degree.

“When I graduated from high school, I found myself without a path,” he said. He turned to community college for a path to a degree. “Nashua Community College (NCC) did something I didn’t think was possible. It made me feel like I had potential, made me feel intelligent, made me feel like I belonged at an institution of education and that I was capable of great things.”

After earning his associate degree in Business Management at NCC, Mickey went to UMass Lowell and received two bachelor’s degrees, one in Finance and one in Accounting. He graduated Magna Cum Laude. After UMass, he went to the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester for his Master’s Degree in Accountancy. “I was nominated and received the Dean’s Leadership award for my work as the President of the Simon Accounting Society as well as graduated with honors.”

Mickey’s siblings Phillip and Hannah also enrolled in community college, improved their grades, and went on to four-year programs.


Hannah used college as her opportunity to start over. Learning from the past, she took the extra time to talk to her instructors when she needed help.

Hannah also embraced the College community, serving as Student Senate Secretary, then President. She was a member of a Rotaract, and Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for two-year colleges. Hannah also served on the Board of Trustees for the Community College System of New Hampshire.

Now in 2021, she’s preparing to graduate with her Bachelor’s from Northeastern University in Boston, “My goal is to get an entry level position in Investment Banking at either a premiere boutique or bank,” said Hannah. “My long term goals are to eventually start my own fund which promotes women in finance and is focused on the responsibility of giving back to various nonprofit organizations.”


Phillip’s college journey began at Nashua Community College and has led to medical school. “I am currently in medical school at the West Virginia School of Ostoepathic Medicine and am in my third year preparing myself for residency,” he said.

As a high school senior, Phillip went to NCC to get his grades up before pursuing a four-year degree. He graduated from NCC’s Liberal Arts program in 2013 then transferred to Johns Hopkins University.

Get Support

No matter your high school experience, you can always chat with your local community college and explore your options.

The NHHEAF Network is another valuable resource for high school students. The NH Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) Network is a nonprofit organization helping families plan and pay for higher education.

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