» Health » Goals

Women finally beat the MCAS

By Vic Johnson
Goal Achieving Expert
Updated: September 28, 2008
It took 10 retests, but this year Nicole Pasquarelli of Beverly, Mass., and Ruth Nazoliny of Boston finally passed the MCAS exam, and on Friday they'll receive the diplomas they were denied when their classmates graduated three years ago.

School officials have asked Pasquarelli, 21, to speak at the North Shore Technical High School graduation in Middleton. She said Thursday she'll offer a simple reason to show resolve amid failure: "To prove to yourself you can do it."

"I would say she's a strong-willed young lady," North Shore Tech principal Richard McLaughlin said. "She had an inner quality some people don't have."

Ten is the highest number of re-tests possible since the 2001 inception of the exam, which students in Massachusetts must pass to graduate. Students first take the test in 10th grade, and can take the twice-a-year retests as many times as they want afterward until they pass.

Department of Education spokeswoman Heidi Perlman said the women are the only two the state knows of who passed the MCAS after 10 retests.
Continue Article Below

"I can't emphasize strongly enough how much we applaud these girls," Perlman said. "Unless they meet us halfway, we have no right to keep dragging them back to high school. These girls have been personally committed to their education and they've believed in themselves."

Pasquarelli was supposed to graduate in 2003, but the day came and went without a passing score. She moved on, taking several jobs and working up to manage a pizza restaurant. But MCAS stayed on her mind, and she got reminders from McLaughlin.

His computer had notes stuck to it with phone numbers for Pasquarelli and her mother. He'd call each time a re-test was scheduled.

When results were due in April, Pasquarelli made repeated calls to the school office to ask, "Am I going to graduate?" Dawes finally called her on her cell phone while she was driving and told her to pull over, then gave her the good news. She'd scored 228, above the 220 minimum needed.

The diploma means a bump in pay at work, and Pasquarelli doesn't have any plans to change jobs or attend college. She's looking forward to enjoying a graduation that's been a while in coming.

"I'm so proud of her McLaughlin said. I think everyone in school is proud of what she's done. "
Free Profile
Age: Current Weight:
Height: ft in Target Weight:
Free Profile
Related Goals Articles
The Biggest "To Do" List in The World
Posted on December 10, 2008
It ain't over till it's over
Posted on November 15, 2008
Sponsor Links