McCann graduates urged to push through challenges


Photo Gallery | 2016 C. H. McCann Technical School Graduation

Related | McCann Class of 2016

Related | McCann Technical School Awards & Scholarships

NORTH ADAMS — Energy and enthusiasm punctuated Wednesday night's Charles H. McCann Technical School graduation. The 119-member Class of 2016 received diplomas at the Amsler Campus Center at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

McCann Superintendent James Brosnan and Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District School Committee Chairman Thomas R. Mahar presented the diplomas.

Some students said that their dreams are approaching reality. Metal Fabrication program graduate Spencer Tanner, 18, said he is bound for the West Coast next month.

"I am moving to California to build extreme off-road rigs and race cars," he said. "This is a dream come true for me."

For Information Technology program graduate Collin Racette, his diploma was very much like the icing on the cake — his birthday cake. Graduation day was also his birthday, he said.

"Getting my diploma on my birthday is pretty cool," he said. "I'm leaving the area and going to Myrtle Beach South Carolina with my girlfriend. She's going to school and I'm going to work."

Racette offered words of advice to the upcoming freshman class.

"It goes by quick so have fun," he said.

Justin Brassard, 18, will not pursue a career based on his Information Technology education but will attend MCLA and study athletic training.

"I do think that McCann was definitely a good decision for me as a high school," he said. "At McCann, you meet people from all over the area and it broadens your horizons."

Kristin Schneider, 18, will use her Information Technology education, she said.

"I am going to college for game design," she said. "For my Science project this year, I made my first video game."

Machine Technology program graduate and salutatorian Samantha Dorwin is the first technical high school student named as a Presidential Scholar. Her selection reflects on the school and its emphasis on excellence, she said.

"I would tell incoming freshmen to push themselves," she said. "It's easy to take the easy route but especially at McCann, you can really grow if you can get out of your comfort zone."

During her speech, Dorwin narrated a trip down memory lane beginning with freshmen year and freshmen fears and ending with the mature graduates that they have become.

"We soon discovered that ready or not, time waits for no one," she said. "Senior year, from the last first day of school to our first major milestone, our first tassel turn, was filled with good-byes and hellos, beginnings and ends, and lots of uncertainty."

She has great faith in her classmates, she said.

"I have confidence that you will achieve all that your heart desires," Dorwin said. "Hang onto your youth, appreciate these moments, and be willing to begin a new chapter, for every story has an end but in life, every end is a new beginning.'

Valedictorian Amanda Vallone encouraged the class to face, tackle, and overcome challenges. Vallone graduated from the Computer Aided Drafting program and was honored with a Massachusetts Superintendents Association Outstanding Student award in May.

"Without happy memories and without challenges, we wouldn't be the people we are today," she said.

"What if we hadn't pushed through all the challenges life threw our way," she said. "What if we decided that one of those challenges was just too difficult to overcome? If we hadn't persevered we wouldn't be sitting here today at this graduation ceremony."

Vallone shared her struggles with social anxiety.

"It took years and a lot of help to finally overcome it and that's okay," she said.

Giving up must not be an option, she said.

"Oftentimes people forget that you rarely succeed on your first try," Vallone said. "If you do that's great but if you don't that's okay too. The important thing to remember is to remain optimistic and believe in yourself. In the words of Winnie —the- Pooh, 'You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.' The key to succeeding is believing in yourself and persevering through every challenge you encounter."


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