On December 6, 2021, four Massasoit Commonwealth Honors students – Cori Forbes, Jaden Hardiman, Ekechak Waters, and Lisa Jolliemore – were awarded with $500 Honor Garden Scholarships for their exceptional grades and winning application essays. The Scholarship was established in 2013 to recognize outstanding academic achievement in the Commonwealth Honors Program at Massasoit, and in the years since, more than 40 students have been recipients.

“As someone who decided to go back to school and pursue a degree ten years after graduating from high school, I never in my wildest dreams expected to be where I am in my studies and receiving this scholarship,” said Cori Forbes. Cori is truly honored and very proud of her achievements. As a Liberal Arts Studies major, Cori has taken courses geared towards a future degree in women, gender, and sexuality studies. At Massasoit, Cori has enjoyed discovering a side of herself that she never knew existed. She says she has been so very lucky to have amazing professors to support her growth and development, and she is excited to continue that evolution.

Cori has worked full-time while studying at Massasoit – something she knew was going to be hard. She would like to say that she is grateful for her support system. Her partner, parents and siblings, close friends, and coworkers have been behind her 110% since day one and are a big part of where she is today.

Jaden Hardiman is a Social Science Transfer major and will be graduating this upcoming spring. He was overwhelmed and honored when he heard that he was selected to receive the Honor Garden Scholarship. During his time at Massasoit, Jaden served as a Student Senator for two semesters and is currently a member of the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Earth Club, Radio Club, Gamer’s Guild, and the Honors Speakers Bureau. Jaden also works part-time and volunteers with the Best Buddies organization.

After Massasoit, Jaden plans to transfer to a four-year university to study film and wants to get his master’s degree in the subject. Jaden would like to take some acting classes to see if that’s another path he’d like to pursue. His ultimate dream job is to be a professional wrestler; he currently goes to the New England Pro Wrestling Academy. He also hopes to become a filmmaker, and potentially an actor as well. Jaden would love to write and direct his own films in the future.

Ekechak Waters was ecstatic when she heard that she would be a recipient of the Honor Garden Scholarship. “I could not be happier; I never thought I could achieve this, but it’s here… my teachers are simply the best,” said Ekechak. Ekechak has enjoyed the academic challenges she’s faced at Massasoit, but admits that it has been tough working two jobs and attending school. She would not trade it for anything, though. Ekechak is member of the Student Senate, and as a Nursing major, she loves to help others. She would like to become a registered nurse someday, and after graduating with her associate degree next year, Ekechak may take advantage of Massasoit’s RN-BS program.

Ekechak immigrated from Africa, and at 41, she used to think that she was “too old” to start over. She has children who are still back home and is married to “the love of my life” David. Ekechak likes to go on bike rides, and is learning how to roller skate and contemporary dance. She loves it at Massasoit.

Fascinated with the sciences and healthcare, Lisa Jolliemore is a Chemistry Transfer major and wants to pursue a career that allows her to help others. The Commonwealth Honors Program at Massasoit has inspired her “to pursue greatness,” and as a writer herself, she enjoyed getting to know the authors that were covered in Professor LaFontaine’s honors course. She loves to learn and feels that the honors courses at Massasoit have prepared her to take rigorous courses when she transfers to a four-year university. Inspired by helping others, Lisa joined the Student Senate to give all Massasoit students the best experience possible. She is also active in the Honors Speakers Bureau and serves as the student representative on the Honors Advisory Council, which have helped her develop her leadership skills.

After Massasoit, Lisa wants to work in healthcare. She wants to work somewhere where she can make a difference and best utilize her skills. She is passionate about all services for people and has spent time volunteering and training with Red Cross. Lisa is also interested in writing and enjoys the arts and theater.