ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
North Shore Community College student Osarumwense Agbonsalo, who is studying nursing, received a “29 Who Shine” award from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education at the State House.
Osarumwense Agbonsalo wants to be a nurse.
But the soon-to-be North Shore Community College (NSCC) graduate is poised to play a role eclipsing the one he will carve out in his chosen profession.
State educators singled out the Lynn resident and 28 other public community college graduates on Monday. They saluted them for being shining examples of perseverance and success.
Agbonsalo plans to continue his studies in Maine. He wants to return to his Nigerian homeland to practice his medical skills. But his life journey could take him back to Lynn where he can expand his family, buy a home and if he’s lucky, work for a medical provider.
That full-circle odyssey will make a shining example of how NSCC and schools like it benefit the communities around them.
Agbonsalo received a State House salute coinciding with the springtime ritual of college graduations. Most of the pomp and circumstance surrounding graduation focuses on the hopes and aspirations of young people. At North Shore Community College, those hopes translate into expanded opportunities for students who have juggled school and work as well as people pursuing degrees after exhausting other interests and immigrants like Agbonsalo who want to build the American dream one class and course at a time.
In a city like Lynn, a community college is not just an institution of learning isolated from the neighborhoods around it and concerned only with teaching and learning. NSCC gives Lynn residents and people from other communities a leg up on their careers or helps launch them into a career.
If Lynn represents the threshold to opportunity for thousands of immigrants like Agbonsalo who come to the city, the school is the gateway people from distant lands pass through on the way to building a new life.
The college’s ongoing expansion project with its new addition rising above Broad Street defines its role as a crucible of opportunity. A testament to Lynn state legislators who secured tax dollars to pay for the addition. The project is a response to an enrollment boom on the college’s Lynn campus that began years before work on the addition started.
When a devastating fire swept away economic opportunity on Broad Street in 1981, the college eventually arose on the site and brought renewal and opportunity to Lynn’s center.
If Agbonsalo is a great example of the bright minds the school produces, then the college’s Lynn campus is an example of the way community colleges can enhance the lives of working people and immigrants. Anyone who realizes college is a path to success, send them back into the community to shine.