Photo Gallery | 2016 McCann Tech Postsecondary Graduation

NORTH ADAMS — The only problem with completing a postsecondary program that readies a student for a career is there isn't much time to relax.

Megan Marie Heppleston was awarded a certificate after completing the dental assisting program at McCann Technical School's annual postsecondary graduation ceremony on Monday. She planned on celebrating with family and friends Monday night—and then heading to work at a Pittsfield dentist's office in the morning.

"It's kind of surreal," Heppleston said after the ceremony, during which she won a surprise scholarship.


McCann focuses on preparing students for in-demand careers through its postsecondary programs, which include cosmetology, medical assisting, dental assisting, and surgical technology.

Between the four-year-long programs, 27 women celebrated graduating onto the next phase in their lives after a short-but-sweet ceremony that had students switching over their tassels in less than an hour in the McCann gymnasium on Monday. Though it isn't the largest graduating class, family and friends of graduates left little room in the bleachers and hollered in support of the graduates.

Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School Superintendent James Brosnan noted that when they began in September, many of the students may have thought they'd never get here.

"You've worked extremely hard all year, with an awful lot of heartache from time to time and an awful lot of 'I can't believe I accomplished this," Brosnan said. "You have made of us proud. Since you're going to be taking care of all of us in the future, we appreciate the fact that you did so well."

Thomas Mahar, the chairman of the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School Committee, told the students that they have built the foundation for their future, and should take time to thank those who supported them.

Cosmetology graduate Emily Jo Hart picks up her son Cadence, 2, and carries him out during the recessional following McCann Technical School’s
Cosmetology graduate Emily Jo Hart picks up her son Cadence, 2, and carries him out during the recessional following McCann Technical School's Graduation Ceremony of the Postsecondary Programs in the school's gymnasium Monday. (Gillian Jones — The Berkshire Eagle |

Mahar admitted that he often ignored the advice of those who comprised his support network, and later paid the price. He passed on some of that advice to the graduating students.

"Participate in life. Real life. Not just your phone and social media, but face to face communications. You'll be surprised at how interesting people can be and what you can learn from them."

Be honest, Mahar added, because it's important that people "can trust you."

"Accept life won't always be fair, but only you have the power to decide how you will handle it. How you handle life's frustrations will define your character. Take responsibility for your actions," Mahar said.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.