Shining his way to the State House and beyond

North Shore Community College student Osarumwense Agbonsalo with Gov. Charlie Baker after he received a “29 Who Shine” award from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education at the State House.


LYNNOsarumwense “Sheddy” Agbonsalo was one of 29 public college students honored Monday at the State House.

The Nigerian-born resident, who studies at North Shore Community College’s (NSCC) Broad Street campus, is on track to graduate with an associate degree in health science.

Gov. Charlie Baker presented Agbonsalo the Who Shine Award.

The prize celebrates graduates of Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities who show exceptional promise as a future leader in Massachusetts.

His mother, Mercy, father, Isaac, and teenage sisters, Faith and Favour, attended cheering him on, along with brother, Evans, a student at Brandeis University.

Agbonsalo shook hands with Baker who told him, “Oh, I see you are from Lynn. I live in Swampscott.”He called the honor one of the greatest moments in his life and said Baker was happy to pose for a photo with Agbonsalo’s family.

”My mom will post those all over Facebook, I am sure,” he said.

Agbonsalo attributes his academic success at to the TRIO  program. The federal outreach and student support service program’s mission is to help students who experience challenges to higher education gain access and be successful. It offers free tutoring services, career planning, scholarship search assistance and cultural and social activities.

“I am so blessed to be part of this school and that program,” Agbonsalo said. “This is a great institution and I want people to know that. I have received help from so many people, including professors, fellow students and the TRIO team.”

He called his advisor, Ina Racknuff, “my American mom” and said his next challenge is starting classes as a junior at the University of Southern Maine in Portland in the fall. He is planning to major in nursing.

“I hope someday, by God’s grace, maybe I can return to Nigeria to help those in need,” he said.


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