McCann post-grads worked through pandemic

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NORTH ADAMS— Although face masks hid their facial expressions, phones and cameras popped up in the audience to capture the special moment the graduates' tassels changed sides.

Then the audience applauded, and a hearty "yee-haw" rang out.

The 23 graduates were celebrating the completion of their respective post secondary programs at McCann Technical School in North Adams. The school held a socially-distant commencement ceremony on its front lawn Wednesday evening for those completing cosmetology, dental assisting, medical assisting and surgical technology programs.

James Brosnan, the superintendent, gave the welcoming address. He told the graduates that they would remember the evening not only because of the unusual masks on their faces but because they "accomplished what others did not" by persisting in their education after COVID-19 ended in-person instruction at their school in mid-March.

"You didn't miss a beat," Brosnan said. "You made it happen."

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School Committee Chair Gary Rivers lauded the graduates' flexibility and the "many, many obstacles" that they had to overcome this year. He told them those "juggling" skills would come in handy in the workforce.

"This was extremely difficult for everyone," Rivers said.

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Matthew Gadson was one of seven graduating from the cosmetology program. He said that the short 17-minute ceremony marked a "bittersweet" end to a stressful year but that he was very thankful and relieved to have made it to graduation.

"It feels a lot more special," Gadson said.

Michelle Racette, the coordinator of the dental assisting program, said she's impressed with the students' perseverance and willingness to continue in their programs well into the summer. The five students had to postpone their typical training hours spent in dental offices until this summer because the offices were temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

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"I give them so much credit for pursuing their dreams through this pandemic," Racette said.

Terry LeClair, the coordinator of the medical assisting program, echoed that sentiment.

"It was certainly an adventure," she said.

McCann Technical School is holding another graduation ceremony on its athletic fields Thursday evening for the school's graduating high school seniors.

Caroline White can be reached at cwhite@berkshireeagle.com.


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