Meelia Center Celebrates Staff from the Class of 2021

April 27, 2021

By Abigail St Jean '21

The Meelia Center for Community Engagement hosted a ceremony to honor members of the Class of 2021 on Friday, April 23. The Meelia Senior Appreciation event is an annual event that celebrates the Meelia Center seniors who have worked at the Meelia Center for one or more semesters throughout their time at Saint Anselm College. With this event, the seniors are able to reflect on the work they have accomplished through Meelia.

In past years, this event has taken place in person and professional staff members, community partners, families, and Richard Meelia '71 and Jane Burbank come together for a nice dinner and award ceremony. Each senior is honored with a speech about their work from their community partner (non-profit or program that they coordinated for) and a senior gift. This year, the event was a hybrid ceremony of both in person and online. The first portion took place online via Zoom webinar. Nickie Lora, Richard Meelia, and President Joseph A. Favazza spoke briefly about the seniors' work and impact on the community. The benefits of having a virtual ceremony was that anyone could tune in and watch, including family members and friends.  Olivia Leonard '21 receiving sparking cider to toast to her accomplishments

Olivia Leonard ‘21 mentioned how “all of the seniors were so grateful that we were able to have an in-person portion of the evening to see everyone at the same time. Even if this year has looked very different from past years, it was important to highlight and appreciate the work that our students made possible.”

Juliana (Juli) Cole ‘22 and Ana Morrison ‘22 who are a part of the Meelia Center management staff highlighted each of the seniors and their work. Promptly after this introduction, there were short video clips displayed about each senior which was recorded by whoever they worked closely with in their time at Meelia. This varied from community partners, Saint Anselm faculty members, a Meelia Center professional staff member, student co-coordinator, peers, Manchester School District students, or a mentee. The videos spoke to how the seniors have impacted their community and this portion evoked many emotions for our seniors.

After the online portion was completed, the seniors were invited to a socially-distanced gathering on the Lower Quad between 7-8pm. Here, there was a celebratory toast to the seniors with a speech from Dan Forbes ’81, the former director of the Meelia Center. The seniors had a wonderful opportunity to connect with each other, the Meelia Center professional staff members, and Rich Meelia. To top it off, the seniors were awarded a senior gift and a rose to commemorate their hard work and dedication to the Meelia Center.

As a fun surprise, the underclassmen staff members of the Meelia Center were invited to join the festivities on the JOA quad for the in-person event. Due to COVID protocols, they were not able to join the senior group under the event tent, but they were able to stand around the tent at a distance with signs to show their support of their fellow peers in true Anselmian spirit. 

“I've loved working for Meelia for so many reasons, but primarily because of the passion and determination that I'm surrounded by in the office. I'm so excited to see what the future of Meelia holds once we can get back to in-person community engagement” said Leonard.


List of Meelia Center seniors being recognized:

  • Lily Andros
  • Riliegh Armstrong
  • Tess Beardsley
  • Hannah Beaudry
  • Ashley Berthiaume
  • Marivella Blann
  • Abby Borrotto
  • Michael Botsch
  • Haley Bragdon-Clements
  • Talia Carcieri
  • Caroline Catanese
  • Derek Chisholm
  • Emily Coderre
  • Gabirelle Dacunha
  • Lily Ditchfield
  • Megan Donohue
  • Meagan Dubois
  • Dawson Ellis
  • Alex Fischer
  • Seana Grealey
  • William Hogan
  • Gisselle Howe
  • Jonathan Reynolds
  • Elise Jolly
  • Olivia Leonard
  • David Micali
  • Chris Millet
  • Meredith Mitchell
  • Manon Nadeau
  • Maia Nevens
  • Erin Pigman
  • Matt Provost
  • Maggie Queenan
  • Julia Rourke
  • Ernesha Salcedo
  • Sammy Sanchez
  • Caleigh Sullivan
  • Shelsey Vega
  • Casey Welsh
  • Jake Yanski
  • Lindsay Yurek

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