Marquis Harris

Naugatuck Valley Community College Alumnus, Marquis Harris, graduated with an A.A. in liberal arts and science in May 2019. A 2016 graduate of Wilby High School, Marquis chose NVCC because it was affordable and he did not know what he wanted to do, at the time.

When he arrived at NVCC, it was a big transition. “It was very demanding with lots of academic responsibility, but I progressed through it at a pretty good rate. There are really good teachers there who help you find your way. I had no idea what I wanted to do after college. All I knew was that I was a very good writer, who excelled at interpreting literature. Professor Julia Petitfere inspired me with a destination for my future. Through the confidence she instilled in me, I knew I was going to be a teacher.”

In the spring of 2018, heading towards graduation and his goal, he was abruptly stopped by a sudden, inexplicable heart attack. He was hospitalized for a month, followed by a period of intense recuperation.  His graduation was postponed, although, he was determined that it would happen. He spent an additional year at NVCC rebuilding his health and mental stamina. He finally did graduate in May 2019.

This fall he began his junior year at the University of Saint Joseph, in West Hartford, CT. Marquis lives on campus and enjoys a vibrant campus life while pursuing a Bachelor’s in English and Education.

He plans to continue his education towards Master’s degree in English, after which he intends to teach high school English, hopefully at Wilby High School. As a high school English teacher, he would ask his students to name their favorite music artist, and remind them that they connect to that artist because of the artist’s words. Now take the words of your favorite artist and rewrite them in your own words. If you can do that, you can apply that skill to anything.

Marquis returned to NVCC this fall to share his story and to thank NVCC Professors, Steve Parlato, Nikki McGary, Patti Pallis, Kim O’Donnell and Julia Petitfrere for helping him gain his confidence back during a very challenging semester.

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Naugatuck Valley Community College serves Beacon Falls, Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Middlebury, Naugatuck, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Prospect, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Thomaston, Washington, Waterbury, Watertown and Woodbury. The College is located on a 110-acre campus at 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, Conn., and in Danbury at 190 Main Street. The College is one of 17 institutions governed by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. Visit for more information.