Recent McCann grad claims SkillsUSA national gold medal


NORTH ADAMS -- One group of students and teachers from McCann Technical School are glowing this week, and it's not just because school's out for the summer.

McCann's SkillsUSA team returned Sunday night from the National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City with significant honors.

Just-graduated senior Benjamin Boisvert beat out 30 projects to win a gold medal in the category of Sheet Metal Working.

And his classmate and fellow graduate Brian Dougherty received the President's Volunteer Service and SkillsUSA Legacy awards and a scholarship. Dougherty has served as a Massachusetts national voting delegate and Region III vice president for the workforce development and leadership organization of high school and college students. To earn the service award, he completed more than 100 volunteer hours within a year's time.

Laura Heritage, a rising senior, and Samantha Dorwin, a rising junior, also attended the national event, both serving as Massachusetts national voting delegates and state officer-elects.

McCann SkillsUSA adviser and science teacher Lisa Collins said that to her knowledge, this is the first time that a McCann student has taken home a gold medal in the sheet metal category. She chaperoned the trip, along with metal fabrication instructor Glenn Andrews.

Collins said that to compete at the national level, Boisvert had to place well in the schoolwide SkillsUSA competition held in the fall, then again at the district competition, which he did. He then earned a gold medal at the SkillsUSA state competition that was held in May in Marlborough. During the national competition, Boisvert then had to earn high marks on both a written test and in a hands-on technical challenge.

"It felt amazing to win gold, coming from such a small town and school, and being able to bring the gold medal back home is such and amazing opportunity," Boisvert said.

"I feel that without my shop teachers John Kline and Glenn Andrews helping me and teaching me everything that they did, I wouldn't have been anywhere close to where I am now," he said. "I'm proud to be able to represent such a small school and community."

Collins said that Massachusetts students brought home the second-greatest total of medals from the national SkillsUSA competition -- 59 medals, which is the highest number ever received in the state. The commonwealth also holds the highest number of organizational memberships in the country.

In terms of this year's achievement for McCann, Collins said, "This [gold] win, along with having national voting delegate representation by three of our McCann students, is a huge morale booster for our school.

"These students have taken it upon themselves to show that they are both skilled in their trade and in leadership qualities. At the school level, we'd like to believe that we are always preparing our students to be the best of the best. The results from the past week have helped to solidify our beliefs and we could not be more proud."


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